Thursday, December 3, 2009










(VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique yesterday evening: "This afternoon, 3 December 2009, His Holiness Benedict XVI received in audience Dimitri Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation. The president had previously met with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States. "During the cordial discussions pleasure was expressed on both sides at the cordial relations that currently exist between them, and it was agreed to establish full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Russian Federation. "Following an exchange of opinions on the international economic and political situation - also in the light of the Encyclical "Caritas in veritate" of which the Holy Father presented the president with a copy in Russian - attention turned to the challenges currently facing security and peace. The talks then turned to cultural and social questions of mutual interest, such as the value of the family and the contribution believers make to life in Russia".OP/AUDIENCE/PRESIDENT RUSSIA VIS 091204 (190)

POPE ATTENDS SERMON FOR ADVENT VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, in the presence of the Holy Father and of the Pontifical Family, the first sermon for Advent was delivered in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace. In this Year for Priests the theme of the meditations - pronounced, as is customary, by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap, preacher of the Pontifical Household - is: "Servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries". The next two sermons will be delivered on Friday 11 and Friday 18 December..../ADVENT SERMONS/CANTALAMESSA VIS 091204 (100)

BENEDICT XVI PRAISES THE SPIRITUAL RENEWAL OF ALBANIA VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience His Beatitude Anastas, archbishop of Tirana, Durres and All Albania, who was accompanied by other representatives of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania. "As is well known", said the Pope in his English-language address to the group, "Illyricum received the Gospel in apostolic times. Since then, Christ's saving message has borne fruit in your country down to our own day. As the very earliest writings of your culture bear witness, through the survival of an ancient Latin baptismal formula along with a Byzantine hymn about the Lord's Resurrection, the faith of our Christian forefathers left wonderful and indelible traces in the first lines of the history, literature and arts of your people. "Yet", he added, "the most impressive witness is surely always found in life itself. During the latter half of the past century, Christians in Albania, both Orthodox and Catholic, kept the faith alive there in spite of an extremely repressive and hostile atheistic regime; and, as is well known, many Christians paid cruelly for that faith with their lives". The Holy Father went on: "The fall of that regime has happily given way to the reconstruction of the Catholic and Orthodox communities in Albania". In this context he praised the archbishop's missionary activity, "particularly in the reconstruction of places of worship, the formation of the clergy and the catechetical work now being done, a movement of renewal which Your Beatitude has rightly described as 'Ngjallja' (Resurrection). "Since it acquired its freedom, the Orthodox Church of Albania has been able to participate fruitfully in the international theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox. Your commitment in this regard happily mirrors the fraternal relations between Catholics and Orthodox in your country and offers inspiration to the entire Albanian people, demonstrating how it is possible for fellow Christians to live in harmony. "In this light, we would do well to emphasise the elements of faith which our Churches share: a common profession of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed; a common Baptism for the remission of sins and for incorporation into Christ and the Church; the legacy of the first ecumenical councils; the real if imperfect communion which we already share, and the common desire and collaborative efforts to build upon what already exists". Benedict XVI then went on to mention two initiatives currently underway in Albania: the establishment of the Inter-confessional Biblical Society and the creation of the Committee for Inter-religious Relations, describing them as " timely efforts to promote mutual understanding and tangible co-operation, not only between Catholics and Orthodox, but also among Christians, Muslims and Bektashi". Closing his remarks the Pope expressed his joy at the "spiritual renewal" of the Albanian people, and gave assurances to Archbishop Anastas that the Catholic Church "will do all she can to offer a common witness of brotherhood and peace, and to pursue with you a renewed commitment to the unity of our Churches".AC/ALBANIA/ANASTAS VIS 091204 (500)
AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eleven prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, on their "ad limina" visit: - Archbishop Murilo Sebastiao Ramos Krieger S.C.I. of Florianopolis. - Bishop Aloisio Alberto Dilli O.F.M. of Uruguaiana. - Bishop Gilio Felicio of Bage. - Bishop Irineu Gassen O.F.M. of Vacaria. - Bishop Paulo Antonio De Conto of Montenegro. - Bishop Antonio Carlos Rossi Keller of Frederico Westphalen. - Bishop Liro Vendelino Meurer, auxiliary of Passo Fundo. - Bishop Giuseppe Negri P.I.M.E. of Blumenau. - Bishop Walmir Alberto Valle I.M.C. of Joacaba. - Bishop Irineu Roque Scherer of Joinville. - Bishop Manoel Joao Francisco of Chapeco.AL/.../... VIS 091204 (120)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 4 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted: - The resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Southwark, England, presented by Archishop Kevin John Patrick McDonald, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. - The resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Nha Trang, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Paul Nguyen Van Hoa, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Joseph Vo Duc Minh.RE/.../MCDONALD:NGUYEN:VO VIS 091204 (90)

CNA reports that following the announcement that Uruguay's left-wing candidate won the country's recent presidential election, pro-life leader Alvaro Fernandez warned that “the ballot for life in Uruguay is frankly compromised,” as the newly elected leader has said he would not oppose a possible legalization of abortion, as did his predecessor, outgoing President Tabare Vasquez.
In an interview with CNA, Fernandez explained that president-elect Jose Mujica was a member of the Tupamaros during the 1970s, a Marxist group that resorted to violence to bring about social change in Uruguay. His wife, who was also a member, is also “clearly supportive of the legalization of abortion.”
Fernandez said the differences between the various presidential candidates “were notable, not only for exterior reasons or because of their different political styles, but also because of deep philosophical differences.”
For example, he said, former president and candidate of the National Party, Luis Lacalle, “had promised he would veto any law on abortion that was passed by Parliament. Mr. Mujica promised he wouldn’t put any obstacles against the law on abortion.”
In order to warn the fellow Uruguayans of the importance of the November 29 elections, Fernandez explained, Uruguayan pro-lifers took the streets on November 23 to protest the legalization of abortion, with some 3,500 participating.
“What is certain and sure is that the pro-life battle in Uruguay is frankly compromised,” Fernandez said, adding that pro-lifers “would continue fighting like always. We will do everything we can to achieve the impossible. We are counting on the prayers of all, and, much to the dismay of Mr. Mujica, on the help of Divine Providence.”
Carlos Polo, the director of the Office for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, told CNA, “While it is true that candidate Mujica said he supported abortion, President Mujica does not necessarily have to come down on the side of his personal convictions. He won by a very small margin and almost half of the country does not concur with his positions.” For this reason, Polo warned, “Mujica must govern everyone and not only a particular social or political group, as there is a growing social tendency in Uruguay against the legalization of abortion.” (SOURCE;



CNA reports that in light of World AIDS Day, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) released a statement in which the bishops noted the struggles Africa faces while highlighting the work the Church is doing “facing HIV in Africa and caring for people infected and affected.”
World AIDS Day is celebrated each year on December 1. This year's theme, "Universal Access and Human Rights,” seeks to challenge discriminatory laws, practices and policies that stand between people with HIV/AIDS and prevention, treatment, care, and support.
The letter, signed by Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on behalf of SECAM began by stating that the “Church is second to none in facing HIV in Africa and caring for people infected and affected. Earlier this year, responding to a journalist en route to the continent, Pope Benedict XVI said: 'The most efficient, most truly present player in the fight against AIDS is the Catholic Church herself.' And we African Bishops know he is right.”
The statement then noted that the bishops are “constantly present among millions of Africans who are badly affected by the pandemic.” Because of this, they “see how AIDS continues to ravage our populations, even if it is slipping down the agenda of governments, civil society and international organizations.”
“The global recession and economic downturn have a detrimental impact on our brothers and sisters infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Climbing prices of food and other basic necessities are hampering progress of treatment, because people cannot afford the food essential to support their medication.”
“At a time when official concerns about the pandemic are receding, we re-affirm theologically that the Body of Christ has AIDS, and express our pastoral determination as Family of God to provide fitting responses. For our continent is still the worst afflicted,” the statement continued.
In looking for a solution, the bishops called for a comprehensive approach. “For the tide to turn, the impact of all contributing factors must be recognize and tackled holistically: wars; fragile or failing states; inequality between men and women; the ravages of climate change and many more. All these make the poor even poorer, more dispossessed, more vulnerable to HIV and, if infected, more likely to develop AIDS,” they added.
“HIV/AIDS is not just a medical problem and investing in pharmaceutics alone will not work.” They noted that AIDS cannot be overcome “by relying exclusively or primarily on the distribution of prophylactics. Only a strategy based on education to individual responsibility in the framework of a moral view of human sexuality, especially through conjugal fidelity, can have a real impact on the prevention of this disease.”
“The Church's understanding of marriage as the total, reciprocal and exclusive communion of love between a man and a woman prompts the most effective behaviors for preventing the sexual transmission of disease: namely, abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage.”
The bishops also expressed great confidence in the youth of their continent, exhorting them, “ Let no one deceive you into thinking that you cannot control yourself… Formation of the human person is the true recipe, the key to it all, and we are intent on preparing you to be tomorrow's salt of the earth and light of the world, active, generous and responsible members of society and Church.”
The statement concluded by expressing the hope that Catholics around the world would “continue supporting the long-term commitment of the Church in Africa to raise awareness, to accompany the infected and the affected, to form the youth, and to face this great challenge - along with many others - in a spirit of inclusivity, reconciliation, and greater harmony in families, communities, parishes and all dimensions of Church life.” (SOURCE:



CNA reports that a British couple elected on November 10 to discontinue medical care for their son of 13 months of age. "RB" suffered from congenital myasthenic syndrome and, his doctors said, would only live a short life on artificial respiration and feeding tubes.Irene Gemeno, of the Scottish Edinburgh Napier News, reported that "RB", as he was referred to in order to protect his identity and that of his parents, could barely, if at all, move his limbs or breathe due to limitations resulting from the neuromuscular condition, but his brain appeared to be healthy.
Doctors, however, advised that he wasn't expected to live beyond three years of age and would never shed the artificial support for basic body functions.
According to the boy's father, the child was able recognize relatives and made an effort to play, but his doctors said it was impossible to know if these responses were involuntary or a result of the child's will.
After all known treatments for the congenital disorder had been attempted and the professional medical personnel had made their best efforts to treat the condition, doctors advised that they were out of options.
The mother of the child consented to disconnecting all life support, but the father, "Mr. AB," took the case to the tribunal in defense of RB's life, hoping to put the boy on a portable life support system through a tracheotomy, reported the Italian daily, La Stampa. The case was then taken to Britain's Family Division of the High Court to determine from experts' testimonies if any improvement in the baby's health could be expected.
Justice McFarlane, the court magistrate, reported in his remarks on the evidence provided by doctors, that RB “has not shown any effective response and the prospect of effective treatment for him, which would involve both identifying the defective gene and relying upon the development of a new pharmaceutical, which must be many years down the line."
After a week of the hearings, Mr. AB withdrew from the legal battle.
RB was taken off life support shortly thereafter.
Opinions supporting both sides surged on internet forums and in local British media. Some call it a case of child euthanasia, while others say that there is no obligation for doctors to provide treatment if there is no possibility that it will benefit the patient.
No one has criticized the parents, of whom Justice McFarlane recorded RB's key nurse describing them as "brilliant; they are great parents; they love him dearly, are always at his bedside and always want what they feel is best for him." But, many have called for an evaluation of the case and its relevance to the euthanasia debate. (SOURCE:



UCAN reports that Asia's largest Catholic country is temporarily losing at least two more priests after they registered as candidates in the May 10 elections.

Father Emerson Luego greets his parishioners after his last Mass as he takes leave from his priestly ministry
One priest, Father Eddie Panlilio, was given leave of absence by his bishop in 2007 when he ran for governor of Pampanga. He won and registered to run for re-election on Dec. 1.
On Dec. 4, Archbishop Paciano Aniceto of San Fernando said the priest's registration as candidate this time compels the bishop to initiate procedures for his suspension from priestly duties.
"Now that he is running again, we have to initiate the canonical process. He will not be working as a priest anymore," Archbishop Aniceto says in an article on the CBCP website.
In the south, also on Dec. 1, Father Emerson Luego of Tagum diocese, Davao del Norte province filed candidacy papers for mayor of Santo Tomas town.
Father Allan Alindajao, Tagum's judicial vicar, told UCA News his confrere's suspension from priestly ministry takes effect when he receives the official letter from the diocese.
Canon 285 and 287 of the Church's 1983 Code of Canon Law states that clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.
Father Luego told reporters that after a "tough" decision, he was filing for leave of absence from the ministry.
He said he chose politics over his ministry "so I can serve my hometown."
The 36-year-old priest, ordained in 1999, has also served as council board member for nine years. He said he wants to help his hometown "by breaking the monopoly of leadership there, which has not contributed much to its development."
He is running on a platform of good governance based on "transparency and consultative leadership, just like what we are doing in our BECs (basic ecclesial communities)." Hundreds of parishioners grew emotional as he announced his candidacy at his final Sunday Mass in San Isidro this year.
Northwest of Tagum in Bukidnon province, Jesuit Bishop Honesto Pacana of Malaybalay also suspended Father Diosdado Tabios from his ministry after the priest registered for the gubernatorial race.
"After discerning, Father Tabios opted to run and I told him of his suspension and he understood the consequences," Bishop Pacana wrote in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.
The 76-year-old prelate said under the suspension, Father Tabios may not administer the Sacraments and perform other priestly duties. He stressed, however, that the priest can resume his priestly duties and obligations after an evaluation process when his political career ends.
In addition to citing canon law, Bishop Pacana explained, "Partisan politics can divide people."
Division intensified among clergy and lay members of the San Fernando archdiocese during the term of Father Panlilio as provincial governor, his confreres acknowledged.



Cath News reports that Perth charity campaigner Father Brian Morrison, who dedicated his life to helping those less fortunate and ran a crisis care centre in Perth for 37 years, has died from leukaemia. He was 76.
His doctor, Clay Golledge, has told ABC local radio Father Brian was larger than life.
"There will never be another Brian Morrison, I don't think, in terms of the amount of charity work he has done in this state and internationally and particularly with his work in Chernobyl and some of his estate is going to further that work," he said.
He had been unconscious for about four days and died late yesterday afternoon, PerthNow cites Seven News reporting.

St. Barbara
Feast: December 4
Feast Day:
December 4
Patron of:
Artillery gunners, masons, mathematicians, miners, military engineers, stonecutters, against lightning, anyone who works at risk of sudden and violent death

There is no reference to St. Barbara contained in the authentic early historical authorities for Christian antiquity, neither does her name appear in the original recension of St. Jerome's martyrology. Veneration of the saint was common, however, from the seventh century. At about this date there were in existence legendary Acts of her martyrdom which were inserted in the collection of Symeon Metaphrastes and were used as well by the authors (Ado, Usuard, etc.) of the enlarged martyrologies composed during the ninth century in Western Europe. According to these narratives, which are essentially the same, Barbara was the daughter of a rich heathen named Dioscorus. She was carefully guarded by her father who kept her shut up in a tower in order to preserve her from the outside world. An offer of marriage which was received through him she rejected. Before going on a journey her father commanded that a bath-house be erected for her use near her dwelling, and during his absence Barbara had three windows put in it, as a symbol of the Holy Trinity, instead of the two originally intended. When her father returned she acknowledged herself to be a Christian; upon this she was ill-treated by him and dragged before the prefect of the province, Martinianus, who had her cruelly tortured and finally condemned her to death by beheading. The father himself carried out the death-sentence, but in punishment for this he was struck by lightning on the way home and his body consumed. Another Christian named Juliana suffered the death of a martyr along with Barbara. A pious man called Valentinus buried the bodies of the saints; at this grave the sick were healed and the pilgrims who came to pray received aid and consolation. The emperor in whose reign the martyrdom is placed is sometimes called Maximinus and sometimes Maximianus; owing to the purely legendary character of the accounts of the martyrdom, there is no good basis for the investigations made at an earlier date in order to ascertain whether Maximinus Thrax (235-238) or Maximinus Daza (of the Diocletian persecutions), is meant.
The traditions vary as to the place of martyrdom, two different opinions being expressed: Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin legend given by Mombritius makes Heliopolis in Egypt the site of the martyrdom, while other accounts, to which Baronius ascribes more weight, give Nicomedia. In the "Martyrologium Romanum parvum" (about 700), the oldest martyrology of the Latin Church in which her name occurs, it is said: "In Tuscia Barbarae virginis et martyris", a statement repeated by Ado and others, while later additions of the martyrologies of St. Jerome and Bede say "Romae Barbarae virginis" or "apud Antiochiam passio S. Barbarae virg.". These various statements prove, however, only the local adaptation of the veneration of the saintly martyr concerning whom there is no genuine historical tradition. It is certain that before the ninth century she was publicly venerated both in the East and in the West, and that she was very popular with the Christian populace. The legend that her father was struck by lightning caused her, probably, to be regarded by the common people as the patron saint in time of danger from thunder-storms and fire, and later by analogy, as the protector of artillerymen and miners. She was also called upon as intercessor to assure the receiving of the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist at the hour of death. An occurrence of the year 1448 did much to further the spread of the veneration of the saint. A man named Henry Kock was nearly burnt to death in a fire at Gorkum; he called on St. Barbara, to whom he had always shown great devotion. She aided him to escape from the burning house and kept him alive until he could receive the last sacraments. A similar circumstance is related in an addition to the "Legenda aurea". In the Greek and present Roman calendars the feast of St. Barbara falls on 4 December, while the martyrologies of the ninth century, with the exception of Rabanus Maurus, place it on 16 December. St. Barbara has often been depicted in art; she is represented standing in a tower with three windows, carrying the palm of a martyr in her hand; often also she holds a chalice and sacramental wafer; sometimes cannon are displayed near her.

St. John Damascene
Feast: December 4
Feast Day:
December 4
676, Damascus
December 4, 749, Mar Saba, Jerusalem

This Doctor of the Church was born in Damascus, Syria, and his father was a government official under both the Byzantine emperor and the Muslim rulers of Damascus. Receiving an excellent classical education, and fluent in Arabic as well as Greek, St. John Damascene worked in the Muslim court until the hostility of the caliph toward Christianity caused him to resign his position, about the year 700.
He migrated to Jerusalem and became a monk at Mar Sabas monastery near Jerusalem. He taught in the monastery, preached many of his luminous sermons in Jerusalem, and began to compose his theological treatises.
It was about this time that the iconoclast controversy shook the Churches of the East, when the Byzantine emperor ordered the destruction of images in Christian churches. John fought the heresy, bringing down upon himself the wrath of the emperor and the hatred of the iconoclast party.
He has left a rich legacy of writings, including his principal dogmatic work, , which was a , a refutation of heresy, an exposition of the Orthodox faith, and a study of contemporary religious issues. His writings on Mary constitute a true theology of the Mother of God, and his sermons of the saints, the liturgical feasts, and the Gospels show not only vast learning but also give us information about local customs and contemporary happenings.
Since he lived in the midst of political and theological turmoil, John wrote much to clarify true doctrine and to do his part in spreading the Gospel. The fact that he lived and worked in Jerusalem itself gives his sermons, delivered at many of the holy places, a special appeal.
He died at a very old age, some say one hundred four, in the midst of his labors, beloved by his fellow monks and revered by the people. He was buried at the monastery of Mar Sabas and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1890.(SOURCE:


Matthew 9: 27 - 31
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, "Have mercy on us, Son of David."
When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord."
Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith be it done to you."
And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, "See that no one knows it."
But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.





(VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message for the eighteenth World Day of the Sick, which is due to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on 11 February 2010, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Noting how the forthcoming Day coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, the Holy Father expresses the hope that this fact "will be the occasion for a more generous apostolic commitment at the service of the sick and of their carers". "In the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection", writes the Pope, "human suffering finds meaning and fullness of light. ... At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus, before returning to the Father, bent to wash the Apostles' feet in a foretaste of His supreme act of love upon the Cross. With this gesture He invited His disciples to follow His own logic of a love that especially gives itself to the weakest and to those most in need. Following His example all Christians are called to relive, in different contexts, the parable of the Good Samaritan". Jesus, says the Holy Father, "exhorts us to attend to the bodily and spiritual wounds of so many of our brothers and sisters whom we meet on the roads of the world. He helps us to understand that, with the grace of God accepted and lived in everyday life, the experience of sickness and suffering can become a school of hope". "At the current historical-cultural time", the Message continues, "there is an increasing need for an attentive and extensive ecclesial presence alongside sick people, as well as a presence in society capable of effectively transmitting evangelical values for the protection of human life in all its phases, from conception until natural end". The Pope expresses his heartfelt thanks "to the people who daily 'serve the sick and suffering' ensuring that 'that their apostolate of mercy may ever more effectively respond to people’s needs'". In the current Year for Priests, Benedict XVI also addresses the "'ministers of the sick', sign and instrument of Christ's compassion which must reach everyone who suffers". In this context he invites clergy "to show no reserve in offering help and comfort. Time spent alongside the suffering is rich in grace for all other dimensions of pastoral care. "Finally," he adds in conclusion, "I address you, dear sick people, and I ask you to pray and to offer your suffering for priests, that they may remain faithful to their vocation and that their ministry may be rich in spiritual fruits for the benefit of the entire Church".MESS/WORLD DAY OF SICK/... VIS 091203 (460)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Dimitrij Anatolievic Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, accompanied by an entourage.AP/.../... VIS 091203 (40)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father: - Appointed Bishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bafoussam, Cameroon, as archbishop of Bertoua (area 26,320, population 327,550, Catholics 122,655, priests 56, religious 97), Cameroon. The archbishop-elect was born in Akok-Bekoe, Cameroon in 1952 he was ordained a priest in 1987 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Archbishop Roger Pirenne C.I.C.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Sosthene Leopold Bayemi Matjei of the clergy of Eseka, Cameroon, professor of philosophy at the University of Central Africa in Yaounde and collaborator of the apostolic nunciature to Cameroon, as bishop of Obala (area 14,849, population 713,842, Catholics 407,865, priests 91, religious 80), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Matomb, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Jerome Owono-Mimboe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Faustin Ambassa Ndjodo C.I.C.M., provincial superior of the Scheut Fathers and president of the conference of superiors major of Cameroon and of that of Africa and Madagascar, as bishop of Batouri (area 15,981, population 205,000, Catholics 47,000, priests 27, religious 44), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Ekouda, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1997. - Appointed Fr. Gines Ramon Garcia Beltran, canon of the cathedral of Almeria, Spain, as bishop of Guadix (area 5,677, population 109,982, Catholics 107,000, priests 66, religious 131), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Lora, Spain in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Juan Garcia-Santacruz Ortiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. - Appointed Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou of the clergy of the diocese of Abomey, Benin, secretary general of the "Conference Episcopale Regionale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest Francophone" (CERAO) and of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA), and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture. - Appointed Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.NER:RE:NA/.../... VIS 091203 (390)



CNA reports that a federal judge in Buenos Aires has barred same-sex “marriage” from taking place in the Argentinean capital this week, overturning a decision by a lower court judge who had previously ruled it to be unconstitutional to prohibit marriage between two persons of the same sex.
Judge Martha Gomez Alsina ruled that the lower court judge did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the country’s Civil Code, which states that marriage is a contract between one man and one woman.
The lower court ruling had struck down two articles of the Civil Code as unconstitutional for prohibiting marriage between two persons of the same sex. Judge Gomez suspended the ruling until further review.
Lawyers appealing the lower court decision said they were driven by “the concern of many married couples that two men were going to be allowed to marry, and thus the foundations of an institution that forged the greatness of Argentina...would be destroyed.”
“We want to be clear that this is not a religious issue. The civil institution of marriage is not the result of some lawmaker 100 years ago. Lawmakers then simply recognized what common sense, history and nature tell us about what is best for the good of a society: that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and that this was the foundation of the Argentinean family.”
The Arcbhishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, recently commented on the unease Catholics felt over the failure of the Buenos Aires government to appeal the initial ruling, saying the government officials “failed gravely in their duty as leaders.”(SOURCE:



CNA reports that Caritas International’s special advisor for the fight against AIDS, Msgr. Robert Vitillo, said this week that one of the main ways of combating the disease is to teach values to young people. He added that though it doesn't cost anything to do this, it requires “much effort and is tiresome.”
Speaking to Vatican Radio from Nairobi, Msgr. Vitillo recalled that the Church is always close to those who are suffering most. “This pandemic continues and according to U.N. statistics, more than two million people were infected in 2008. This means that we must re-dedicate ourselves to the prevention of this disease.”
He noted that teaching young people is not easy, “as it is difficult to successfully make them discover values and their own dignity. But it is necessary to establish healthy connections among them.”
Msgr. Vitillo also pointed out that in poor countries, 60 percent of the population does not have access to medicine. He remarked that this is a major issue because only 20 percent of HIV-positive children receive treatment because “the drugs are not specifically for pediatric use.”
Vitillo said pharmaceutical companies and governments must invest in developing drugs that are especially adapted for children.
According to recent data, as of 2009 some 33.4 million people are living with HIV, while some 2.7 million became infected in 2008, and another 2 million died that year as a result of complications from the disease. Estimates are that in 2008, 430,000 children were born HIV-positive, with 2.1 million infected children under the age of 15.(SOURCE:


UCAN reports that most of Japan's Catholic bishops do not want their country to build up its military, and support retention of their constitution's "peace clause," says Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki.

Archbishop Joseph MitsuakiTakami of Nagasaki (File photo)
The Church leader, speaking to UCA News recently while visiting Rome, said he hopes the new government, led by Yukio Hatoyama, will not change Article 9 in the constitution.
That clause is "very important" in curbing militarization, he said.
Japan has significant military might, but for defensive purposes only. Following the country's World War II defeat, the victorious United States forced the inclusion of Article 9 into the 1946 Japanese Constitution. It aimed to prevent Japan ever going to war again, Archbishop Takami recalled.
The Japanese people, the clause says, "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes." It states that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained" and asserts that "the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
Right-wing nationalists have long advocated revising this article to allow the development of a military capacity. Their campaign has gained ground in the last decade as the United States encouraged Japan to take a more active role in security concerns.
Born in Nagasaki on March 21, 1946, Archbishop Takami was in his mother's womb when the United States dropped an atomic bomb there. Almost 74,000 people died instantly, and at least 25,000 more in the years that followed. Among them were the archbishop's grandmother, two aunts and a cousin.
His recent visit to Rome coincided with the Nov. 24 anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's beatification last year of 188 Japanese martyrs from the 17th century. Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo led the pilgrimage group of seven bishops and 163 lay Catholics.
Pope Benedict met them briefly on Nov. 25. Archbishop Okada handed him a letter of gratitude signed by the Japanese bishops and a reliquary containing a bone of one of the martyrs.
Archbishop Takami told UCA News that besides militarization, another major challenge facing Japan's Catholic Church is evangelization.
The Catholic Church in Japan has about 1 million members, but less than half are native Japanese. The majority are Brazilian, Filipino, Korean and Chinese migrants who have brought new life and resources to the Church, the archbishop said.
He acknowledged that Pope John Paul II's historic 1981 trip to Japan, where he visited Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo, inspired the whole Catholic community. The bishops convened national evangelization conventions in 1987 and 1993, each followed by a national missionary effort, but Archbishop Takami admitted these efforts have borne few visible fruits.
The bishops feel they have to do "something new" to evangelize, he added, and are planning to issue a letter on this, perhaps in 2010.
The archbishop also responded to a question about a reported comment by Ichiro Ozawa, secretary general of Japan's ruling Democratic Party, that "Christianity is an exclusive, self-righteous religion," he said.
Ozawa "has some reason" for his statement, in the attitudes Churches have taken in history, Archbishop Takami remarked.
"We exclude when we consider another religion as nothing, and when we consider ourselves to be right and the others to be wrong." Likewise, Japan was also being exclusive "when it expelled missionaries and denounced Christianity as a bad religion," he said.
Nonetheless, "the Christian Gospel is absolutely good and a supreme value and I believe in it," the Japanese prelate asserted. "We don't always live exactly according to the Gospel, and that is a problem, and we recognize it."


Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has called for an end to the buying and selling of African farmland by rich nations during UN hunger summit the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy.Speaking at a UN hunger summit, he described it as “new feudalism” which could spread to Latin America as well.“We should fight against this new feudalism, we should put an end to this land grab in African countries,” Libyan Colonel declared.“Rich countries are now buying the land in Africa. They are cheating African people out of their rights. This is also going to happen in Latin America,” Gaddafi said.However, Gaddafi’s call was disputed by Kanayo Nwanze, who heads the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development. Nwanze said, "It is wrong to call them land grabs. These are investments in farmland like investments in oil exploration. We can have win-win situations." But French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by the Reuters news agency agreeing with the Libyan colonel - that "predatory" farmland acquisitions in poor countries should be halted.In the past two years, various non-African countries China, India, South Korea, Britain and the Arab Gulf states leading the pack have picked up huge tracts of farmland in Africa by lease or purchase, to produce food or biofuels for their own use.In Sudan, South Korea has acquired 1.7 million acres of land to grow wheat. The United Arab Emirates, which already has 74,000 acres hectares in Sudan, is investing in another 959,000 acres to grow corn, alfalfa, wheat, potatoes and beans. In Tanzania, Saudi Arabia is seeking 1.2 million acres. According to reports most of the land claimed by foreign acquisition was already in use by local people.(source:


Cath news reports Brisbane Archdiocese launched a comprehensive statement on disability and inclusion to mark the International Day for People with Disability today.
The Sign of the Kingdom statement acknowledges the Church has often reflected the same myths and misunderstandings about people with disability as are found in society, the Archdiocese said. It is being offered as a resource for reflection on inclusive practice in parishes, schools and agencies of the Archdiocese.
In his letter for the statement Archbishop John Bathersby encourages everybody "to know and support people with disability and to develop the confidence and capacity to go about this task."
"I invite you to listen to the stories of people with disability and their families, to examine with them ways in which your parish, school or agency may become a more inclusive community."
The community is encouraged to look at their capacity to assist people with disability to gain access to education, employment and to walk with them as advocates with government and agencies that work with people with disabilities.
The statement provides a theological framework for inclusion grounded in the theology and spirituality of communion and includes stories from people with disabilities and their families as a reflection point especially for people who have little experience of disability, the Archdiocese said. (SOURCE:


St. Francis Xavier
Feast: December 3
Feast Day:
December 3
April 7, 1506, Javier, Navarre
December 3, 1552, China
March 12, 1622 by Gregory XV
Patron of:
African missions; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; Bombay, India; China; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Goa India; India; Tokyo, Japan; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; navigators; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith

Born in the Castle of Xavier near Sanguesa, in Navarre, 7 April, 1506; died on the Island of Sancian near the coast of China, 2 December, 1552. In 1525, having completed a preliminary course of studies in his own country, Francis Xavier went to Paris, where he entered the college de Sainte-Barbe. Here he met the Savoyard, Pierre Favre, and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. It was at this same college that St. Ignatius Loyola, who was already planning the foundation of the Society of Jesus, resided for a time as a guest in 1529. He soon won the confidence of the two young men; first Favre and later Xavier offered themselves with him in the formation of the Society. Four others, Lainez, Salmeron, Rodriguez, and Bobadilla, having joined them, the seven made the famous vow of Montmartre, 15 Aug., 1534.
After completing his studies in Paris and filling the post of teacher there for some time, Xavier left the city with his companions 15 November, 1536, and turned his steps to Venice, where he displayed zeal and charity in attending the sick in the hospitals. On 24 June, 1537, he received Holy orders with St. Ignatius. The following year he went to Rome, and after doing apostolic work there for some months, during the spring of 1539 he took part in the conferences which St. Ignatius held with his companions to prepare for the definitive foundation of the Society of Jesus. The order was approved verbally 3 September, and before the written approbation was secured, which was not until a year later, Xavier was appointed , at the earnest solicitation of the John III, King of Portugal, to evangelize the people of the East Indies. He left Rome 16 March, 1540, and reached Lisbon about June. Here he remained nine months, giving many admirable examples of apostolic zeal.
On 7 April, 1541, he embarked in a sailing vessel for India, and after a tedious and dangerous voyage landed at Goa, 6 May, 1542. The first five months he spent in preaching and ministering to the sick in the hospitals. He would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a number, he would take them to a certain church and would there explain the catechism to them. About October, 1542, he started for the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula, desirous of restoring Christianity which, although introduced years before, had almost disappeared on account of the lack of priests. He devoted almost three years to the work of preaching to the people of Western India, converting many, and reaching in his journeys even the Island of Ceylon. Many were the difficulties and hardships which Xavier had to encounter at this time, sometimes on account of the cruel persecutions which some of the petty kings of the country carried on against the neophytes, and again because the Portuguese soldiers, far from seconding the work of the saint, retarded it by their bad example and vicious habits.
In the spring of 1545 Xavier started for Malacca. He laboured there for the last months of that year, and although he reaped an abundant spiritual harvest, he was not able to root out certain abuses, and was conscious that many sinners had resisted his efforts to bring them back to God. About January, 1546, Xavier left Malacca and went to Molucca Islands, where the Portuguese had some settlements, and for a year and a half he preached the Gospel to the inhabitants of Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and other lesser islands which it has been difficult to identify. It is claimed by some that during this expedition he landed on the island of Mindanao, and for this reason St. Francis Xavier has been called the first Apostle of the Philippines. But although this statement is made by some writers of the seventeenth century, and in the Bull of canonization issued in 1623, it is said that he preached the Gospel in Mindanao, up to the present time it has not been proved absolutely that St. Francis Xavier ever landed in the Philippines.
By July, 1547, he was again in Malacca. Here he met a Japanese called Anger (Han-Sir), from whom he obtained much information about Japan. His zeal was at once aroused by the idea of introducing Christanity into Japan, but for the time being the affairs of the Society demanded his presence at Goa, whither he went, taking Anger with him. During the six years that Xavier had been working among the infidels, other Jesuit missionaries had arrived at Goa, sent from Europe by St. Ignatius; moreover some who had been born in the country had been received into the Society. In 1548 Xavier sent these missionaries to the principal centres of India, where he had established missions, so that the work might be preserved and continued. He also established a novitiate and house of studies, and having received into the Society Father Cosme de Torres, a Spanish priest whom he had met in the Maluccas, he started with him and Brother Juan Fernandez for Japan towards the end of June, 1549. The Japanese Anger, who had been baptized at Goa and given the name of Pablo de Santa Fe, accompanied them.
They landed at the city of Kagoshima in Japan, 15 Aug., 1549. The entire first year was devoted to learning the Japanese language and translating into Japanese, with the help of Pablo de Santa Fe, the principal articles of faith and short treatises which were to be employed in preaching and catechizing. When he was able to express himself, Xavier began preaching and made some converts, but these aroused the ill will of the bonzes, who had him banished from the city. Leaving Kagoshima about August, 1550, he penetrated to the centre of Japan, and preached the Gospel in some of the cities of southern Japan. Towards the end of that year he reached Meaco, then the principal city of Japan, but he was unable to make any headway here because of the dissensions the rending the country. He retraced his steps to the centre of Japan, and during 1551 preached in some important cities, forming the nucleus of several Christian communities, which in time increased with extraordinary rapidity.
After working about two years and a half in Japan he left this mission in charge of Father Cosme de Torres and Brother Juan Fernandez, and returned to Goa, arriving there at the beginning of 1552. Here domestic troubles awaited him. Certain disagreements between the superior who had been left in charge of the missions, and the rector of the college, had to be adjusted. This, however, being arranged, Xavier turned his thoughts to China, and began to plan an expedition there. During his stay in Japan he had heard much of the Celestial Empire, and though he probably had not formed a proper estimate of his extent and greatness, he nevertheless understood how wide a field it afforded for the spread of the light of the Gospel. With the help of friends he arranged a commission or embassy the Sovereign of China, obtained from the Viceroy of India the appointment of ambassador, and in April, 1552, he left Goa. At Malacca the party encountered difficulties because the influential Portuguese disapproved of the expedition, but Xavier knew how to overcome this opposition, and in the autumn he arrived in a Portuguese vessel at the small island of Sancian near the coast of China. While planning the best means for reaching the mainland, he was taken ill, and as the movement of the vessel seemed to aggravate his condition, he was removed to the land, where a rude hut had been built to shelter him. In these wretched surroundings he breathed his last.
It is truly a matter of wonder that one man in the short space of ten years (6 May, 1542-2 December, 1552) could have visited so many countries, traversed so many seas, preached the Gospel to so many nations, and converted so many infidels. The incomparable apostolic zeal which animated him, and the stupendous miracles which God wrought through him, explain this marvel, which has no equal elsewhere. The list of the principal miracles may be found in the Bull of canonization. St. Francis Xavier is considered the greatest missionary since the time of the Apostles, and the zeal he displayed, the wonderful miracles he performed, and the great number of souls he brought to the light of true Faith, entitle him to this distinction. He was canonized with St. Ignatius in 1622, although on account of the death of Gregory XV, the Bull of canonization was not published until the following year.
The body of the saint is still enshrined at Goa in the church which formerly belonged to the Society. In 1614 by order of Claudius Acquaviva, General of the Society of Jesus, the right arm was severed at the elbow and conveyed to Rome, where the present altar was erected to receive it in the church of the Gesu.


Matthew 7: 21, 24 - 27
"Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock;
and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;
and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."