To 31 December 2012 the world population was 7,023,377,000 with an increase of 90,067,000 units compared with the previous year. Population growth was registered on every continent above all in Asia (+ 51,473,000) and Africa (+ 26,664,000) followed by America (+ 8,639,000); Europe (+ 2,977,000) and Oceania (+ 314,000).
On the same date Catholics in the world numbered 1,228,621,000 units with an overall increase of 15.030.000 more than the previous year. The increase affects all continents especially America (+ 6,509,000) and Africa (+4.920,000) followed by Asia (+ 2,403,000); Europe (+ 1,122,000) and Oceania (+ 76,000). The world percentage of Catholics slightly decreased by 0.01 %, settling at 17.49%. By continent: increases were registered in America (+ 0.12) and Asia (+ 0.01) while decrease was shown in Europe (-0.01) and Oceania (- 0.02), unvaried in Africa.
Mission stations with a resident priest number 1,847 (65 more than in the previous year) and increases registered in America (+31), Asia (+51) and Oceania (+11). Decreases in Africa (-23) and Europe (-5). Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in number by 658 units, to 130,795. Compared to the previous year, increase is registered in Africa (+1.152) and Asia (+433); whereas the number dropped in America (- 2,038); Europe (- 4) and Oceania (- 201). The total number of priests in the world increased by 895 units, to 414,313. The only continent which registered a decrease was again Europe (- 1,375) America (- 90) and Oceania (-80), whereas figures grew in Africa (+ 1,076); and Asia (+ 1,364).
An overall decrease in the number of women religious (- 10,677), today 702,529. An increase was registered in Africa (+ 727) and Asia (+ 2,167), decrease in America (– 4,288), Europe (- 9,051) and Oceania (- 232). The number of lay missionaries in the world is 362,488 units, with an overall decrease of 19.234 units. Numbers increase in: Asia (+ 324) and Europe (+ 71). Numbers decrease in Africa (- 578), America (+ 18,794) and Oceania (-257). Catechists in the world increased by 45,408 units to a total of 3,170,643. The only increase was in Asia (+ 61.913), but numbers dropped in: Africa (+ 7,254), America (- 4,090), Europe (- 4,341) and Oceania (- 820).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71,188 kindergartens with 6,728,670 pupils; 95,246 primary schools with 32,299,669 pupils; 43,783 secondary schools with 18,869,237 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,381,337 high school pupils, and 3,103,072 university students. Charity and healthcare centres run in the world by the Church are 115,352. The ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) to 8 October 2014 are 1,109. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions are mainly in Africa (507) and in Asia (476). Followed by America (80) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/10/2014]
Caritas Fights to Contain Ebola as Death Toll Tops 5000
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
11 Nov 2014
11 Nov 2014
So far more than 10,000 men, women and children have been infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea with the World Health Organisation warning that this figure is rising sharply and by December could see as many as 10,000 new cases each week.
"The Ebola crisis is not just about a couple of countries in West Africa. It is a global issue," Paul says.
In a bid to halt to the spread of the virus, the US has sent 3000 military troops to West Africa to set up 17 treatment centres and train healthcare providers. Britain has also sent military medical teams and donated more than $400 million towards the fight to contain the disease. Europe has contributed as much as 1 billion Euros as well as personnel.
But even with the help of the NGOs on the ground such as Caritas Internationalis, the Red Cross, Doctors without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres), Oxfam, Save the Children and Catholic Relief Services, far more is needed, Paul says.
"The scale of the need in West Africa continues to be much higher than the capacity of healthcare and medical facilities available," he says.
While the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response reports that the spread of the virus in Liberia may be improving, and that it also seems to be stable in Guinea, in Sierra Leone the number of those infected continues to escalate.
With only four Ebola Treatment Centres in Sierra Leona with a capacity of just 288 beds when the UN says at least 1864 beds are needed, leaving more than two thirds of new cases recorded over the past three weeks without treatment. The UN also suspects that more than 50 percent of cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone are not being reported, and warns that even with the commitment by Australia and other Western nations to set up Ebola Treatment Centres, the 10 planned fall short with a combined capacity of just 1333 beds.
The latest outbreak of Ebola began in March this year. Western nations were slow to act to the crisis and it was not until August this year when more than 1900 had died that governments began donating money and medical personnel to West Africa to fight Ebola.
But from the beginning, Caritas Internationals together with Catholic priests, brothers, religious and missionaries are at the forefront of the battle against Ebola and on the ground in the poverty stricken West Africa.
With the World Health Organisation estimating that between 40% and 70% of all African healthcare infrastructure is the property of or managed by Catholic churches, Caritas and the Catholic Church have long cared for the poor and sick of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
For those living in rural and remote areas the only available healthcare has long been Catholic-run clinics which are operated by dedicated religious, brothers and local parishes.
However as the Ebola crisis has escalated, West Africa's entire healthcare infrastructure has been stretched to breaking point. Liberia's Catholic Hospital of St Joseph in Monrovia, which has long been considered to be one of the best health facilities in the nation, was forced to close in August this year after the tragic deaths from Ebola of the Hospital's Director, Brother Patrick Nshamdze and eight staff members.
"These medical missionaries, and the local staff with whom they worked, gave their lives because they were committed to the medical oath of serving all sick people and of upholding the dignity of the human person from conception until natural death. For them the practice of medicine was not a 'business;' it was a vocation," says Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo, the Rome-based special advisor to Caritas Internationalis and Head of the Caritas Delegation to the UN on HIV-Aids and Health.
Mons Vitillo recently returned from Liberia and reports that due to deaths from Ebola and fears of transmission of the virus, many other hospitals and clinics have had to close which he says has made it virtually impossible for local people to obtain treatment for any other medical emergency or disease.
"There is tremendous fear," says Paul O'Callaghan. Comparing feeling on the ground in West Africa's Ebola-affected areas with the panic triggered by the Black Death plague of the Middle Ages, he says local people are traumatised and terrified.
Caritas is providing psychological support to families, households and communities affected by Ebola as well as medical supplies, hygiene kits, education about the transmission of the virus via body fluids and raising money to reopen some of the hospitals that have had to close.
The Brothers of St John of God are in the process of reopening the Catholic Hospital of St Joseph in Monrovia but needs funds to do this as well as establish an Ebola Screening Centre.
Caritas Australia has launched an Africa Emergency Fund to help the fight against Ebola and to support the dedicated work of Caritas staff and volunteers on the ground in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. To donate log on to:http://www.caritas.org.au/learn/emergency-response/ebola-outbreak
Shared from Archdiocese of Sydney
- Year XXII - Num. 198
|Pontifical Letter to G-20: “Responsibility for the poor and marginalised must be an essential element of any political decision”|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Tony Abbott, prime minister of Australia, who will chair the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 20 Countries (G-20) scheduled to take place on in Brisbane. The agenda of the meeting will focus on efforts to relaunch sustained and sustainable growth of the world economy and the fundamental imperative, which emerged from the preparatory work, of creating dignified and stable employment for all. Extensive extracts from the text are published below:
“I would ask the G20 Heads of State and Government not to forget that many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions, and it would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle. Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists. In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.
It is my hope that a substantial and productive consensus can be achieved regarding the agenda items. I likewise hope that the assessment of the results of this consensus will not be restricted to global indices but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality. I express these hopes in light of the post-2015 Development Agenda to be approved by the current session of the United Nations Assembly, which ought to include the vital issues of decent work for all and climate change.
The G20 Summits, which began with the financial crisis of 2008, have taken place against the terrible backdrop of military conflicts, and this has resulted in disagreements between the Group’s members. It is a reason for gratitude that those disagreements have not prevented genuine dialogue within the G20, with regard both to the specific agenda items and to global security and peace. But more is required. These conflicts leave deep scars and result in unbearable humanitarian situations around the world. I take this opportunity to ask the G20 Member States to be examples of generosity and solidarity in meeting the many needs of the victims of these conflicts, and especially of refugees.
The situation in the Middle East has revived debate about the responsibility of the international community to protect individuals and peoples from extreme attacks on human rights and a total disregard for humanitarian law. The international community, and in particular the G20 Member States, should also give thought to the need to protect citizens of all countries from forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious. I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximisation of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice. Responsibility for the poor and the marginalised must therefore be an essential element of any political decision, whether on the national or the international level”.
|The Pope to the Italian Episcopal Conference: no to “clerical” or “functionary” priests|
Vatican City, (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy, read the message sent by Pope Francis to the participants in the 67th General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, of which Cardinal Bagnasco is president. The meeting, which will finish , is being held at the Domus Pacis of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, and is dedicated to the life and formation of priests.
In his message, the Holy Father writes that convening in Assisi recalls “the great love and veneration that St. Francis nurtured for the hierarchical Holy Mother Church, and in particular for priests … through whom the maternity of the Church reaches the entire People of God. How many of them we have known!” he exclaims. “We have seen them spending their lives amongst the people of our parishes, educating the young, accompanying families, visiting the sick at home and in hospital, and taking care of the poor”, in the knowledge that the gravest error is to separate oneself from others.
“Holy priests are sinners who have been forgiven, and instruments of forgiveness. Their existence speaks the language of patience and perseverance; they are not tourists of the spirit, eternally undecided and unsatisfied, as they know that they are in the hands of He Who never fails in His promises, and whose Providence ensures that nothing can ever separate them from their belonging. … Yes, it is still the time for priests of this substance, 'bridges' enabling the encounter between God and the world”.
“Priests like this cannot be improvised: they are forged through the valuable formative work of the Seminary, and Ordination consecrates them forever as men of God and servants of His people”. However, “the identity of the presbyter, precisely as it comes from above, demands he follow a daily itinerary of reappropriation, starting from that which made of him a minister of Jesus Christ. … The formation of which we speak …. is without end, as priests never cease to be disciples of Jesus and to follow Him. Therefore, formation as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister throughout his life”, writes the Holy Father. “Initial and continuing formation are two parts of a single entity: the path of the presbyter disciple, enamoured of his Lord and constantly following him”.
“You are aware that there is no need for clerical priests whose behaviour risks distancing people from the Lord, or functionary priests who, while they fulfil their role, seek their consolation far from Him. Only those who keep a steady gaze on what is truly essential may renew their acceptance of the gift they have received. … Only those who allow themselves to conform to the Good Shepherd find unity, peace and strength in the obedience of service; only those who take their breath in presbyteral fraternity leave behind the falsehood of a conscience that claims to be the epicentre of everything, the sole measure of their feelings and actions”.
The Pontiff concluded by expressing his hope that the participants in the Assembly would experience “days of listening and comparison, leading to the definition of itineraries of permanent formation, able to link spiritual and cultural, communicative and pastoral dimensions: these are the pillars of life formed according to the Gospel, preserved in daily discipline, in prayer, in the guardianship of the senses, in care for oneself, in humble and prophetic witness; lives that restore to the Church the trust that she first placed in them”.
|Special College of cardinals and bishops to study the appeals process for serious offences established in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela|
Vatican City, (VIS) – St. John Paul II's Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela (SST), published on 30 April 2001 and implemented on 21 May 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI, defines the offences reserved to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (cf. Art. 1-6), in accordance with Art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges these offences by penal or administrative procedures (cf. Art. 21 paras 1 and 2, No. 1 SST), taking into account the possibility of submitting the decision directly to the Supreme Pontiff in the most serious cases (see Art. 21 para. 2, No. 2 SST). Crimes against faith remain, in the first instance, within the sphere of competence of the Ordinary or the Hierarch (cf. Art. 2 para. 2 SST).
Due to the number of appeals and the need to guarantee that they are examined more rapidly and following detailed reflection, in the Audience granted to Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin on 3 November 2014, the Holy Father Francis decreed the following:
1. A special college is to be instituted within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of seven cardinals or bishops, who may either be members of the Dicastery or external to it;
2. The President and the members of the aforementioned College are to be appointed by the Pope;
3. The College is a provision made by the Ordinary Session of the Congregation to enable greater efficiency in processing appeals in accordance with Art. 27 SST, without substantive modification to its competences as established in the same Art. 27 SST;
4. Should the offender be of episcopal dignity, his appeal shall be examined by the Ordinary Session, which will also be able to decide specific cases according to the Pope's judgement. Other cases to be decided by the College may also be deferred to the Ordinary Session;
5. The College shall periodically report its decisions to the Ordinary Session;
6. Specific internal regulations shall determine the working methods of the College.
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father received in audience Emma Madigan, new ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, presenting her letters of credence.
|Other Pontifical Acts|
Vatican City, (VIS) – The Holy Father has appointed Rev. Prosper Balthazar Lyimo as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Arusha (area 67,340, population 2,364,000, Catholics 512,073, priests 128, religious 639), Tanzania. The bishop-elect was born in Kyou-Kilema, Tanzania in 1964 and was ordained a priest in 1997. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University, Rome, and subsequently obtained a doctorate in canon law from St. Paul's University, Ottowa, Canada, and is currently chancellor and judicial vicar of the archdiocese of Arusha, Tanzania.
ARCHBISHOP AND MARTYR
Feast: November 12
1580 at Volodymyr, Lithuania (modern Ukraine)
12 November 1623 at Vitebsk, Belarus
Josaphat is one of those figures in history caught in a web of controversy where even good people find it hard to keep their heads. He was caught in a battle between Catholic and Orthodox, Latin and Byzantine, and found himself criticized and opposed on every side: by the Orthodox for being Catholic and by the Latins for being Byzantine. He held firmly to Catholic unity against the Orthodox and just as firmly to Byzantine rights against the Latins. At that period of history, it was a no-win situation, and he is the great martyr to the cause of unity.
St. Josaphat was born in Lithuania about 1580 into a Catholic family and early promoted Catholic unity in a country divided between Orthodox and Catholic. He entered the Byzantine monastery of Holy Trinity in Vilna in 1604 and was elected Catholic archbishop of Polotsk in 1614. While clinging firmly to unity with Rome, he firmly opposed those Latins who saw unity only in Latin terms and would suppress Byzantine traditions in the name of Catholic unity. He firmly opposed the Latinization of his people and made enemies and severe critics among the Latin clergy of Poland.
Politically, the Catholic and Orthodox clergy were rivals in Lithuania, and the archbishopric of Polotsk was one of the contested sees. An Orthodox archbishop of Polotsk was appointed, and Josaphat was accused of taking office invalidly. Many of his Byzantine Catholics were won over to allegiance to Orthodoxy. Even the king of Poland wavered in his support of Josaphat, especially when Polish bishops accused him of betraying his faith by not Latinizing his diocese.
One of the hotbeds of trouble in Josaphat's diocese was Witebsk, and in November of 1623 he went there to bring about peace in his flock, preaching in the churches and trying to reconcile differences. On November 12, a mob broke into the house where he was staying, shouting hatred and violence. When he confronted them, he was struck in the head with a halberd and shot. His mangled body was dragged out and thrown into the river. He was canonized by Pope Pius IX in 1867.
Thought for the Day: It is important to say that there was a martyr for unity on the Orthodox side as well, and even good men were uncertain where truth and justice lay. St. Josaphat died working for reconciliation, and peacemakers often find themselves hated by both sides. It is part of the risk of being a true follower of Christ.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. Men of God in days of old were famous for their faith.—Hebrews 11:1-2