CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: SUN. FEB. 7, 2010: HEADLINES-
VATICAN: POPE: DIVINE CALL OF OUR LORD-
AUSTRALIA: STATUS OF CARDINAL PELL'S HEALTH-
AMERICA: USA: RIGOROUS SAFEGUARDS IN PROTECTING HAITIAN CHILDREN-
ASIA: INDIA: EU DELEGATION BLOCKED FROM ATTENDING TRIAL COURTS-
EUROPE: GERMANY: POPULATION AGING AND THE CHURCH'S RESPONSE-
AFRICA: KENYA: OPPOSITION TO THE INCLUSION OF KADHI COURTS-
VATICAN: POPE: DIVINE CALL OF OUR LORD-
Pope Benedict XVI tailored his message before the Sunday Angelus around the "divine call" of the Lord presented in today's Liturgy. The Holy Father taught that through the examples of Isaiah, Peter and Paul man can realize his "call," regardless of the limitations. First, said the Pope, there is Isaiah, who responds "Here I am Lord, send me!" after being fearful and feeling undeserving before the Lord. Then, there is Simon Peter and the other disciples who cast their nets at the bidding of Jesus and find fish where there were none. When the "overabundant catch" is landed, Simon Peter tells the Lord, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man," but the Lord invites him and the others to leave everything and follow him as "fishers of men."
Paul is also struck by his unworthiness to be called an apostle because of his history of Christian persecution, but he recognizes the changes that have taken place in him due to the grace of God, the Holy Father pointed out. With the grace of God, St. Paul dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel, despite his limitations, the Pope said.
"In these three experiences we see how the true encounter with God brings man to recognize his own poverty and inadequacy, his own limits and sin. "But," said Pope Benedict, "regardless of the fragility, the Lord, rich in mercy and forgiveness, transforms the life of man and he calls him to follow him."
The humilty of these three witnesses in Sunday's Liturgy "invites all who have received the gift of the divine vocation to not concentrate on their own limits, but to keep a fixed gaze on the Lord and on his surprising mercy, to convert their hearts and continue, with joy, to 'give up everything' for Him," Benedict XVI taught.
The Lord sees the heart of man, and makes "intrepid apostles and announcers of salvation" of weak and poor, but faithful, men.
In conclusion, noting the occasion of the Year for Priests, the Holy Father prayed to "the Patron of Masses" to send workers that know how to respond to the Lord's invitation to follow him with generosity, "not trusting in their own strength, opening themselves to the action of His grace."
"In particular," he finished, "I invite all priests to revive their generous availability to respond each day to the call of the Lord with the same humility and faith of Isaiah, Peter and Paul."http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/gods_grace_makes_it_possible_for_weak_men_to_answer_divine_call_declares_pope/
The Australian reported that the Catholica.com.au website cited "strong rumours" that Cardinal Pell "had a heart turn in Rome recently and that he is in hospital there or has been in hospital there".
Spokesman Mr Danny Casey told The Australian that the Archbishop was "100 per cent well".
"I just got off the phone with him and he gave me five jobs to do before I head back to Australia tomorrow . . . he is certainly in good health," Mr Casey said from Rome.
The Australian understands Cardinal Pell was taken to hospital when he first arrived in Rome two weeks ago after he collapsed, due to ill health and exhaustion, but was released from the hospital the same day.
INDIA: EU DELEGATION BLOCKED FROM ATTENDING TRIAL COURTS
UCAN) — A European Union delegation was today [Feb. 5] blocked from attending trial courts in Kandhamal hearing cases against people charged with taking party in the orgy of anti-christian violence in 2008.
Authorities stopped the diplomats from the planned visit to the courts for “security reasons.” but lawyers say it was to shield a faulty justice system from scrutiny.
EU delegation leader Christophe Manet said the diplomats were “disappointed” by the cancellation
He said the 11-member team was told by the collector, the highest government official in the district, this morning that the court visit had been scrapped.
The team met with a group of eight lawyers in Phulbani, the district headquarters, before leaving for Bhubaneswar, the state capital.
The diplomats are scheduled to leave for New Delhi this evening. They began their visit on Feb. 3.
A lawyer at the meeting told the team that the justice system was “beset with faulty police investigation” and “intimidation of witnesses.”
The administration “could have arranged security if they wanted. Maybe they have other reasons to stop the team from visiting the court,” said the lawyer, who does not want to be named.
The administration had set up two fast-track courts in the district to speed up cases relating to the seven-week-long riot that began Aug. 24, 2008.
Christian leaders and victims say Hindu fanatics “intimidate” witnesses against testifying in the court.
Mobs also gather at the courts supporting the criminals and intimidating the victims, a priest-lawyer said.
The lawyers also told the delegation that several people accused of rioting were not arrested, creating fear among Christians of more violence.
The courts also summon witnesses sometimes too late resulting in their inability to reach in time for the hearing.
The EU delegation came to Kandhamal to gain first-hand information about the situation of those affected by the violence, including their socio-political situation, as well as the criminal justice system.
The violence began after a Hindu leader was shot dead on Aug. 23, 2008.Hindu fanatic groups blamed Christians for the killing, despite police accusing Maoists for the crime. The violence left at least 90 people dead and displaced about 50,000 others.Hindu groups had earlier opposed the EU team visiting Kandhamal saying “outsiders” have no right to interfere in India’s internal matters.
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, who heads the Catholic Church in the state, says those opposing the visit fear it would expose the “real situation” of people in the district.
The delegation consists of members from Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.http://www.ucanews.com/2010/02/05/eu-team-leaves-orissa-disappointed
CNA report: Population aging and the Church’s response to it will be the focus of a one-day workshop at the upcoming plenary assembly of the German bishops.
The assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) will take place in Freiburg February 22-25.
The workshop, titled “The aging of society as a challenge for the Church,” will analyze the consequences of demographic change. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau, the DBK President, will attend the workshop with Peter Neher, President of Caritas Germany, and other bishops and experts.
Population decline is projected to seriously affect the sustainability of many countries because it reduces the economic and tax bases of nations.
Other topics at the assembly include the deployment of German troops in Afghanistan, pastoral care for vocations, assistance to the population in Haiti, and the treatment of sex abuse cases.http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/german_bishops_assembly_to_discuss_aging_population/
Catholic Service Agencies Serving Haitians Call For Rigorous Safeguards In Protecting Haitian Children
WASHINGTON—In a letter to three Cabinet secretaries February 4, the heads of five major Catholic agencies serving Haitian earthquake victims outlined steps that should be taken to ensure the protection of unaccompanied Haitian children in the aftermath of the January 12th earthquake. The leaders of Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and the International Catholic Migration Commission wrote on the topic of Haitian children, February 4, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The compassion of the American people has been evident in their response to Haitian children who have been left alone after the earthquake,” the executives wrote. “As social service providers with experience in handling unaccompanied children, we believe that certain processes should be established before such children are brought to the United States and placed in adoption proceedings.” The letter outlined the following procedures to protect Haitian children:
The establishment of safe havens in Haiti so children would have security and proper care;
The assignment of child welfare experts to make best interest determinations for each child, including the best placements for children;
Family tracing efforts so that children could be reunited with their parents and families;
Placement in foster care with refugee benefits for those children whose best interest is served by relocation to the United States; and
Expedited consular processing for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with minor children in Haiti, as well as for those with approved petitions for family reunification.
The agency heads stressed that Haitian children who are not already matched with adoptive parents in the United States should only be brought to the United States after it is determined that it is in the interest of the child. “Family reunification is an important goal and must be protected to the greatest extent possible, while placement with a guardian within Haiti will sometimes prove to be the appropriate course,” they wrote. “If no family or appropriate guardian is found, and if it is further determined that it is in the child’s best interest not to remain in Haiti, the child should be considered for international placement.” The executives concluded that, in the long-term, reconstruction funds should include resources to the Government of Haiti to provide protection to unaccompanied children who remain in Haiti. Full text of the letter follows:
Dear Madam Secretaries:
As representatives of the Catholic social service network in the United States and internationally, we write to offer our views on the situation of Haitian unaccompanied children (commonly, but not always correctly referred to as “orphans”) in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12.
The compassion of the American people has been evident in their response to Haitian children who have been left alone after the earthquake, including the many offers to adopt children who might have lost their parents in the tragedy. As social service providers with experience in handling unaccompanied children, we believe that certain processes should be established before such children are brought to the United States and placed in any legal adoption proceedings.
In any humanitarian crisis, many children are left without anyone to care for them. Whether parents or guardians are killed or families are separated by war or natural disaster, these children are in dire need of special assistance or protection. In order to properly serve these children and to ensure that their special needs are met, safeguards and procedures must be established that preserve the best interest of each individual child.
We are heartened to learn that the U.S. government, in cooperation with the United Nations and the government of Haiti, has taken steps to protect Haitian unaccompanied children within Haiti and to locate parents or family members. Other steps must be taken to ensure that child protection standards are maintained.
In our view, the U.S. government must take the following steps to ensure that Haitian children are cared for in an appropriate manner:
Safe havens for Haitian unaccompanied children must be established within Haiti, so that proper care can be given to the children and appropriate screening can be conducted. We are in support of the efforts of the United Nations and the government of Haiti, in conjunction with the U.S. government, to establish safe zones and interim care centers for children who are unaccompanied. Such arrangements for the security and material support of these children, who might otherwise be subject to kidnapping and human trafficking, should be the highest priority, and will permit the appropriate screening processes to proceed without delay.
Child welfare experts should be assigned to engage in ongoing assessment and to make best interest determinations (BIDs) for each child, including individualized recommendations for the placement of any children. Child welfare experts should be deployed to ascertain the circumstances of each child and make recommendations for his or her care and placement. This would include immediate registration, an assessment of the family situation, physical and emotional needs of the child, and long-term placement options. We applaud the initial efforts of the United Nations, the government of Haiti, and nongovernmental organizations in this regard.
Family tracing should be conducted for each child, to determine whether parents, other family members, or guardians remain alive and, to ascertain whether family reunification is a possibility. We are heartened that family tracing has been initiated within Haiti to determine whether a child’s parent, family, or guardian can be located. Family reunification is an important goal and must be protected to the greatest extent possible, while placement with a guardian within Haiti will sometimes prove to be the appropriate course. If no family or appropriate guardian is found, and if it is further determined that it is in the child’s best interest not to remain in Haiti, the child should be considered for international placement. In the case of the United States, such children should be paroled and placed in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where they will be eligible for program services for unaccompanied refugee minors.
Children should be placed in foster care placements prior to being considered for adoption.Unaccompanied Haitian children arriving in the United States should be put under the auspices of HHS and, consistent with the results of best interest determination and processes, placed in foster homes or community-based facilities, until family reunification can occur or adoption avenues explored. This will require an appropriate level of resources and reinforcement of the network of public-private partnerships engaged with HHS in this work.
By following these processes, Haitian children would be able to receive benefits and services tailored to their specific needs and would be under the care of families, in the foster-care context, who have been carefully screened by the U.S. government and child welfare experts. They would also remain connected to family tracing services which would enable them to return to their family and country if the opportunity arose.
Expedited consular processing should be provided for children who have parents in the United States. In some cases, children in Haiti are related to Haitian permanent residents in the United States with whom they should be reunited but cannot because of delays in the family-based immigration system. Currently, U.S. citizens may have immediate relative petitions pending for their minor children in Haiti. These petitions (along with petitions on behalf of their spouses, who are also in the immediate relative category) should be expedited and immigrant visas be granted immediately.
In cases where U.S. citizens or permanent residents have approved petitions with current priority dates for their families waiting in Haiti, their consular processing should be expedited to bring these family members, including children, to the United States as soon as possible.
Where petitions have been approved and priority dates are not yet current, especially those on behalf of minor children and spouses of permanent residents, beneficiaries should be granted humanitarian parole to wait in the United States until they are able to adjust their status.
From our experience working with children in disaster-related and other displacement contexts, it is our view that as a general rule it would not be in the best interest of Haiti’s children, or Haiti as a whole, for unaccompanied children to be evacuated from their home country without a careful, individualized assessment of what is best for each of them. While it is important to respond quickly to protect these children in the wake of the disaster, long-term harm could come to them if this response is not carried out in line with international protection standards.
Over the long-term, the U.S. government should ensure that future reconstruction funds to Haiti include resources that provide protection to unaccompanied children who remain in Haiti, so that they are not victims of human traffickers or other criminal elements.
We appreciate the response of the U.S. government to the natural disaster in Haiti and hope to work with you to ensure that these vulnerable children, as well as other victims of the earthquake, receive the care and support they need to resume their lives.
Ambassador Johnny YoungExecutive DirectorMigration and Refugee ServicesUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Maria OdomExecutive DirectorCatholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.
Father Larry SnyderPresidentCatholic Charities, USA
Ken HackettPresidentCatholic Relief Services
Johan KetelersSecretary GeneralInternational Catholic Migration Commissionhttp://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2010/10-027.shtml
The Kadhi Islamic Courts should not be included in the new proposed Kenyan constitution, a group of religious leaders have declared.In a press statement, read to journalists on February 1, the religious leaders, representing 23 Church and Christian organisations said, “We remain extremely opposed to the inclusion of Kadhi Courts in the constitution.”“It is clear that the Muslim community is basically carving for itself an Islamic state within a state. This is a state with its own Sharia complaint banking system; its own Sharia complaint insurance; its own Halaal bureau of standards; and is now pressing for its own judicial system,” pointed out the Kenyan church leaders.Such a move, added the religious leaders, is tantamount to dividing the nation on the basis of religion and is a dangerous trend that will destroy the country.Entrenchment of one religion in the constitution is a risk that we should not take. We have witnessed many countries that have broken up because of religion, pointed the religious leaders in their statement.“We further state here that if the draft constitution presented at the referendum does not reflect these cardinal principles, we the Christian Church in Kenya shall have no option but to reject it in total and vote NO,” added the Church statement, whose title was: Entrenchment of Islamic Sharia Law in the Constitution at Our Own Risk.“We assert that a religion does not have to be in the constitution for its adherents to enjoy its system,” pointed the religious leaders, stressing that, “We remind all that all Kadhi Courts are maintained by public resources raised from taxes. We do not find it fair and just that all Kenyans are required to pay to maintain what amounts to a dispute resolution mechanism for only one religious group.”At a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Select Committee, which was assigned to look at the contentious issues on the Draft Constitution by the Committee of Experts (COE), and which-issues included the Kadhi Courts, the Committee failed to have this clause on the Kadhi Courts removed as proposed earlier by some Christians.But the Church in the country was happy that the Committee did include a clause to the effect that life begins at conception and not at birth as earlier proposed by the COE.(SOURCE: http://www.cisanewsafrica.org/story.asp?ID=4396
St. Colette of Corbie
FOUNDRESS OF THE COLETTINE POOR CLARES
Feast: February 7
February 7 or March 6
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
6 March 1447, Ghent
24 May 1807
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV. St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States.(source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcoletteofcorbie.asp
TODAY'S MASS READINGS
Isaiah 6: 1 - 2, 3 - 8
In the year that King Uzzi'ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple.
Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven."
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
Psalms 138: 1 - 5, 7 - 8
I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, for they have heard the words of thy mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou dost preserve my life; thou dost stretch out thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, and thy right hand delivers me.
The LORD will fulfil his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever. Do not forsake the work of thy hands.
1 Corinthians 15: 1 - 11
Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand,
by which you are saved, if you hold it fast -- unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,
that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.
Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Luke 5: 1 - 11
While the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennes'aret.
And he saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
And when he had ceased speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."
And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets."
And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking,
they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish which they had taken;
and so also were James and John, sons of Zeb'edee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.