Wednesday, March 10, 2010



(VIS) - During today's general audience, celebrated in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope turned his attention to the written works and doctrine of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. St. Bonaventure "authentically and faithfully interpreted the figure of St. Francis of Assisi", said the Holy Father. He reacted against the "Spirituals" in the Franciscan Order who, drawing on the ideas of Joachim of Fiore, held that "with St. Francis the final phase of history had begun", and looked to the creation of a new Church of the Holy Spirit, "no longer tied to the structures of old". St. Bonaventure dealt with this question in his last work, "Hexaemeron", in which he explained that "God is one throughout history. ... History is one, even if it is a journey, a journey of progression. ... Jesus is the last word of God" and "there is no other Gospel, no other Church to be awaited. Thus the Order of St. Francis must also insert itself into this Church, into her faith and her hierarchical order. "This does not mean", Benedict XVI added, "that the Church is immobile, fixed in the past, that there is no room in her for novelty". With his famous expression "the works of Christ are not lacking but prospering", St. Bonaventure "explicitly formulated the idea of progress", certain "that the richness of the word of Christ is never ending and that it can also being new light to new generations. The uniqueness of Chris is also a guarantee of novelty and renewal in the future". The Holy Father noted how "today too opinions exist according to which the entire history of the Church in the second millennium is one of constant decline. Some people see this decline as having begun immediately after the New Testament". Yet, the Pope asked, "what would the Church be without the new spirituality of the Cistercians, the Franciscans and the Dominicans, the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross? ... St. Bonaventure teaches us ... how to open ourselves to the new charisms given by Christ, in the Holy Spirit, to His Church". "Following Vatican Council II some people were convinced that all was new, that a new Church existed, that the pre-conciliar Church had come to an end and that there would be another, completely different Church, an anarchic utopia. Yet thanks to God the wise helmsmen of the ship of Christ, Paul VI and John Paul II, defended on the one hand the novelty of the Church and, at the same time, the uniqueness and continuity of the Church, which is always a Church of sinners, and always a place of grace". Going on then to comment of some of the saint's mystical and theological writings, "which were the core of his governance" of the Franciscan Order, the Pope identified the most important work as "Itinerarium mentis in Deum" (The Journey of the Mind to God). In that book St. Bonaventure explained that knowledge of God is a six-stage journey, culminating "in the full union with the Trinity through Jesus Christ, in imitation of St. Francis of Assisi". In St. Peter's Basilica, before today's general audience in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope met with a group of pilgrims from the Italian Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, who were marking last October's beatification "of that outstanding Milanese priest". Referring to the "extraordinary activities" they undertake on behalf of "children in need, the disabled, the elderly, the terminally ill and in the vast field of assistance and healthcare", the Holy Father noted how "through your projects of solidarity you seek to continue the meritorious work begun by Blessed Carlo Gnocchi". "In this Year for Priests", the Pope concluded his remarks to the group, "the Church once again looks to him as a model to imitate. May his shining example support the efforts of those who dedicate themselves to serving the weakest, and arouse in priests the desire to rediscover and reinvigorate their awareness of the extraordinary gift of Grace that ordained ministry represents for the person who receives it, for the entire Church and for the world".AG/ST. BONAVENTURE/... VIS 100310 (710)

APPEALS FOR TURKEY AND NIGERIA VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI expressed his "closeness to people affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey, and to their families. To each of them I give assurances of my prayers, as I ask the international community to contribute promptly and generously to aid efforts". He then went on to mention the violent events of recent days in Nigeria. "My deepest condolences also go to the victims of the terrible violence that has bloodied Nigeria, not even sparing defenceless children. Once again I say from the bottom of my heart that violence does not resolve conflicts, but only increases their tragic consequences. I appeal to those who hold positions of civil and religious responsibility in the country to strive for the security and peaceful coexistence of all the population. Finally, I express my closeness to Nigerian pastors and faithful and pray that, strong and firm in hope, they may be true witnesses of reconciliation".AG/APPEAL/TURKEY:NIGERIA VIS 100310 (170)

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS AND HUMAN RIGHTS VATICAN CITY, 10 MAR 2010 (VIS) - On 3 March, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi C.S., Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva, addressed the thirteenth ordinary session of the UN Human Rights Council, which was meeting to discuss the world economic and financial crisis. Before beginning his talk, the archbishop expressed his delegation's "condolences and solidarity to the people of Chile for the victims of the recent earthquake". Speaking English, the nuncio then went on to reaffirm the Holy See's "conviction that the perspective of human rights provides a positive contribution for a solution to the current financial crisis". This situation "calls for new regulations and a sound global system of governance that ensures a sustainable and comprehensive path to development for all", he said. Among the negative consequences of the financial crisis, the archbishop mentioned "the scandal of hunger, growing worldwide inequality, millions of unemployed people and millions of others reduced to extreme poverty, ... lack of social protection for countless vulnerable persons". He also recalled words used by Benedict XVI in his Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" to the effect that these imbalances "are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution". "In fact", Archbishop Tomasi went on, "the common goal is the protection and respect of human dignity that binds together the entire human family. ... In this context, the review of the Human Rights Council should aim also at making change on the ground a reality, and the concrete implementation of human rights its priority". "The social doctrine of the Church has always pursued such a goal with special care for the more vulnerable members of society. In fact, by giving priority to human beings and the created order that supports them on their earthly journey, we can modify the rules that govern the financial system to serve concrete change, to move away from old habits of greed that led to the present crisis, and to promote effective integral development and the implementation of human rights since 'the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is the human person in his or her integrity'".DELSS/HUMAN RIGHTS/TOMASI VIS 100310 (380)

Pope Benedict XVI in his message for the 44th day of "Social Communications" expressed the following:
Responding adequately to this challenge amid today’s cultural shifts, to which young people are especially sensitive, necessarily involves using new communications technologies. The world of digital communication, with its almost limitless expressive capacity, makes us appreciate all the more Saint Paul’s exclamation: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16) The increased availability of the new technologies demands greater responsibility on the part of those called to proclaim the Word, but it also requires them to become become more focused, efficient and compelling in their efforts. Priests stand at the threshold of a new era: as new technologies create deeper forms of relationship across greater distances, they are called to respond pastorally by putting the media ever more effectively at the service of the Word.
Responding to this call is Catholic Distance University, USA. They were featured in this years "Newman Guide".

Here is a brief description of Catholic Distance University:
History: CDU was founded in 1983 as the first catechetical institute in the United States to award the Catechetical Diploma and teach the Catholic faith to adults using distance education. 2008 marked CDU’s 25th year as a Catholic institution of higher learning. Location: The school’s academic and administrative offices are located in Hamilton, Virginia, about 50 miles west of Washington, DC. CDU students are located in all 50 states and over 40 countries.
Mission: Our mission is to educate adults worldwide in the teachings of the Catholic Church through the techniques and technologies of modern distance education, providing both academic degrees and non-credit adult faith formation.University Motto: Joy From The Truth, gaudium de veritate
Chairman of the Board: The Most Reverend Paul S. Loverde, DD
Contact Information: Our web site can be reached at . Contact us at, 1.888.254.4238 ext. 700 or you can write CDU at 120 East Colonial Highway, Hamilton, VA 20158.
Accreditation: CDU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), an accrediting agency fully recognized and approved by the U.S. Department of Education, and is certified as a degree granting institution by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV). The university's catechetical programs are approved by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. The USCCB lists CDU as an approved Catholic college and university offering distance education. The university is a Title IV school recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Academic Programs:
Master of Arts in Theology (39 credits) with concentrations in Ecclesial Service, Sacred Scripture, Philosophy/Theology, and Catholic Culture
Bachelor of Arts in Theology completion program (36 credits earned at CDU combined with 90 general electives earned at any accredited college or university)
Catechetical Diploma (36 credits)
Graduate and undergraduate level courses for students not seeking to earn a degree
Continuing Education Programs:
Advanced Catechist Certification (11 continuing education courses)
Continuing education for professional development and adult faith enrichment
Online seminars
Parish Plans
Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for any of CDU’s programs.
Average class size: Classes average 10-20 students.
Tuition Rates:
MA programs $390/credit
BA program $239/credit
Undergraduate Catechetical Diploma $239/credit
Advanced Catechist Certification $143/course
Continuing education courses $143/course
Online seminars $143/course
For a complete schedule of tuition and fees
Financial Aid: CDU participates in the tuition assistance programs of all U.S. military services. Program students are eligible to participate in the Sallie Mae private loan programs. Three and four-month payment plans are also available for three-credit courses. To learn more about financial aid options available at CDU

TO DONATE TO CATHOLIC DIST. UNIVERSITY: . Contact us at, 1.888.254.4238 ext. 700 or you can write CDU at 120 East Colonial Highway, Hamilton, VA 20158.

CISA report:
The first ever general meeting bringing together Consolata lay missionaries, Lay missionary couples and the friends of Consolata is taking place at Bethany House in Sagana, in Central Kenya beginning Friday 5th to Sunday 7th.The groups are drawn from Uganda and Kenya so as to forge closer links to continue witnessing their Catholic faith while supporting the Consolata missionaries in their mission activities.According to Julius and Carolyne Masiga one of couples from Uganda who begun the couple movement, the lay movement and the friends of Consolata are playing an important role in revitalising the basis of all vocations, the family.The couples’ movement is specifically targeting to help young Catholic families to raise their families according to the example and teachings of Christ as inspired by the blessed Joseph Allamano.


Asia News report:
Ramkhamhaeng University awards an honorary degree in political science to Hai Khanchanta, who in 1977 launched a court case that lasted more than 30 years against arbitrary land seizure in Ba Na Tan. The ruling that vindicated her struggle came last year. Bangkok (AsiaNews) – “I am very glad that I finished my education with an honorary master degree. I was born into a poor family. The only degrees I have are those that life granted me. Throughout my life, I have believed in justice and have struggled to keep my land. Today, I can teach my grand-children the importance of an education, the only path towards a better life, and the way to help the nation,” said Hai Khanchanta, 81, who today was awarded an honorary degree in political science by Ramkhamhaeng University.
“Grandma Hai”, as she is affectionately known in Ubon Ratchathani province, fought for 30 years (and won) her case against the forced confiscation of land belonging to her community in Ba Na Tan, for the construction of a local dam. She received the reward for “her continuous efforts in seeking justice within the limits of the law.”
“Grandma Hai overcame difficulties and hardships to earn a living as well as fight for her community,” the dean of Ramkhamhaeng University, Kim Chaisansuk, said. “Today, she is active in the Eastern Anti-Poverty Assembly, whose members want justice from Bangkok.”
Development plans for the province could end up wiping out existing rice fields, which are the basis of the local economy, this in a region where residents have no other way to survive.
Police General and National Human Right Committee member Vanchai Srinualnad said, “Grandma Hai is a good example of patience and steadfastness. She is a symbol for those who live in poverty, and proof of how education is at the basis of the social progress that makes a country great.”
Grandma Hai began to fight for her rights in 1977. The sentence that ruled in her favour, forcing the government to compensate residents affected by the dam, was pronounced on 22 September 2009.“Grandma-Hai”-gets-university-degree-for-her-fight-on-behalf-of-the-poor-17848.html


CNA report:
Beginning Thursday a two-day international theological convention will take place at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Focusing on the "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest," the convention aims to shed light on priestly identity, the liturgy and celibacy.
According to a press release distributed for the occasion, 50 bishops and 500 priests are expected for the convention this week which takes place under the auspices of the Congregation for the Clergy. Addresses will be given between the two days of the meeting by some very well known leaders of the Church.
From March 11-12, seven cardinals and eight bishops and archbishops will give addresses. Talks to be delivered include: "The Priesthood and the Hermeneutic of Continuity" by Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna Carlo Caffarra, and "Priesthood and Liturgy: Education for the Celebration" by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Sessions will be presided over by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Cardinal William J. Levada and Cardinal Franc Rode.
A noon audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Apostolic Palace is planned for Friday.


Cath News report:
Sydney Archbishop Cardinal George Pell will launch a series of talks to youth next week at Cabramatta in Sydney's west, speaking on the topic "Without God we are nothing" at Sacred Heart Parish.
The series, titled "Voice of the Youth", will be held from March to October, featuring talks from the Australian bishops on various topics in the catechesis style of World Youth Day, the Catholic Weekly reports.
The series of talks, which begins on March 19, is aimed at youth aged 16-35 and will be delivered in coming months by Cardinal Pell, Bishop Terry Brady, Bishop Julian Porteous, Bishop Eugene Hurley and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn.
"Voice of the Youth is a new series of talks that provides an opportunity for young people to get together to share their faith. Along with catechesis sessions from the bishops, there will be music, testimonies, prayers, WYD11 update information, food and entertainment," said Father Liem Duong, assistant priest at Sacred Heart Cabramatta.


Forty Martyrs of Sebaste
Feast: March 10
Feast Day:
March 10
320 AD, Sebaste

A party of soldiers who suffered a cruel death for their faith, near Sebaste, in Lesser Armenia, victims of the persecutions of Licinius, who, after the year 316, persecuted the Christians of the East. The earliest account of their martyrdom is given by St. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea (370-379), in a homily delivered on the feast of the Forty Martyrs (Hom. xix in P.G., XXXI, 507 sqq.). The feast is consequently more ancient than the episcopate of Basil, whose eulogy on them was pronounced only fifty or sixty years after martyrdom, which is thus historic beyond a doubt. According to St. Basil, forty soldiers who had openly confessed themselves Christians were condemned by the prefect to be exposed naked upon a frozen pond near Sebaste on a bitterly cold night, that they might freeze to death. Among the confessors, one yielded and, leaving his companions, sought the warm baths near the lake which had been prepared for any who might prove inconstant. One of the guards set to keep watch over the martyrs beheld at this moment a supernatural brilliancy overshadowing them and at once proclaimed himself a Christian, threw off his garments, and placed himself beside the thirty-nine soldiers of Christ. Thus the number of forty remained complete. At daybreak, the stiffened bodies of the confessors, which still showed signs of life, were burned and the ashes cast into a river. The Christians, however, collected the precious remains, and the relics were distributed throughout many cities; in this way the veneration paid to the Forty Martyrs became widespread, and numerous churches were erected in their honour.
One of them was built at Caesarea, in Cappadocia, and it was in this church that St. Basil publicly delivered his homily. St. Gregory of Nyssa was a special client of these holy martyrs. Two discourses in praise of them, preached by him in the church dedicated to them, are still preserved (P. G., XLVI, 749 sqq., 773 sqq.) and upon the death of his parents, he laid them to rest beside the relics of the confessors. St. Ephraem, the Syrian, has also eulogized the forty Martyrs (Hymni in SS. 40 martyres). Sozomen, who was an eye-witness, has left us (Hist. Eccl., IX, 2) an interesting account of the finding of the relics in Constantinople through the instrumentality of the Empress Pulcheria. Special devotion to the forty martyrs of Sebaste was introduced at an early date into the West. St. Gaudentius, Bishop of Brescia in the beginning of the fifth century (d. about 410 or 427), received particles of the ashes of martyrs during a voyage in the East, and placed them with other relics in the altar of the basilica which he had erected, at the consecration of which he delivered a discourse, still extant (P. L., XX, 959 sqq.) Near the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, in the Roman Forum, built in the fifth century, a chapel was found, built, like the church itself, on an ancient site, and consecrated to the Forty Martyrs. A picture, still preserved there, dating from the sixth or seventh century, depicts the scene of the martyrdom. The names of the confessors, as we find them also in later sources, were formerly inscribed on this fresco. Acts of these martyrs, written subsequently, in Greek, Syriac and Latin, are yet extant, also a "Testament" of the Forty Martyrs. Their feast is celebrated in the Greek, as well as in the Latin Church, on 9 March.

Matthew 5: 17 - 19
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.
For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.





NOTE BY PRESS OFFICE DIRECTOR ON CASES OF SEXUAL ABUSE VATICAN CITY, 9 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the text of note issued today by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. concerning cases of the sexual abuse of minors in ecclesiastical institutions: "For some months now the very serious question of the sexual abuse of minors in institutions run by ecclesiastical bodies and by people with positions of responsibility within the Church, priests in particular, has been investing the Church and society in Ireland. The Holy Father recently demonstrated his own concern, particularly through two meetings: firstly with high-ranking members of the episcopate, then with all the ordinaries. He is also preparing the publication of a letter on the subject for the Irish Church. "But over recent weeks the debate on the sexual abuse of minors has also involved the Church in certain central European countries (Germany, Austria and Holland). And it is on this development that we wish to make some simple remarks. "The main ecclesiastical institutions concerned - the German Jesuit Province (the first to be involved, through the case of the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin), the German Episcopal Conference, the Austrian Episcopal Conference and the Netherlands Episcopal Conference - have faced the emergence of problem with timely and decisive action. They have demonstrated their desire for transparency and, in a certain sense, accelerated the emergence of the problem by inviting victims to speak out, even when the cases involved date from many years ago. By doing so they have approached the matter 'on the right foot', because the correct starting point is recognition of what happened and concern for the victims and the consequences of the acts committed against them. Moreover, they have re-examined the extant 'Directives' and have planned new operative guidelines which also aim to identify a prevention strategy, so that everything possible may be done to ensure that similar cases are not repeated in the future. "These events mobilise the Church to find appropriate responses and should be placed in a more wide-ranging context that concerns the protection of children and young people from sexual abuse in society as a whole. Certainly, the errors committed in ecclesiastical institutions and by Church figures are particularly reprehensible because of the Church's educational and moral responsibility, but all objective and well-informed people know that the question is much broader, and concentrating accusations against the Church alone gives a false perspective. By way of example, recent data supplied by the competent authorities in Austria shows that, over the same period of time, the number of proven cases in Church institutions was 17, while there were 510 other cases in other areas. It would be as well to concern ourselves also with them. "In Germany initiatives are now rightly being suggested, promoted by the Ministry for the Family, to call a 'round table' of the various educational and social organisations in order to consider the question from an appropriate and comprehensive viewpoint. The Church is naturally ready to participate and become involved and, perhaps, her own painful experience may also be a useful contribution for others. Chancellor Angela Merkel had justly recognised the seriousness and constructive approach shown by the German Church. "In order to complete these remarks, it is as well to recall once again that the Church exists as part of civil society and shoulders her own responsibilities in society, but she also has her own specific code, the 'canonical code', which reflects her spiritual and sacramental nature and in which, therefore, judicial and penal procedures are different (for example, they contain no provision for pecuniary sanctions or for the deprivation of freedom, but for impediment in the exercise of the ministry and privation of rights in the ecclesiastical field, etc.). In the ambit of canon law, the crime of the sexual abuse of minors has always been considered as one of the most serious of all, and canonical norms have constantly reaffirmed this, in particular the 2001 Letter 'De delictis gravioribus', sometimes improperly cited as the cause of a 'culture of silence'. Those who know and understand its contents, are aware that it was a decisive signal to remind the episcopate of the seriousness of the problem, as well as a real incentive to draw up operational guidelines to face it. "In conclusion, although the seriousness of the difficulties the Church is going through cannot be denied, we must not fail to do everything possible in order to ensure that, in the end, they bring positive results, of better protection for infancy and youth in the Church and in society, and the purification of the Church herself".OP/SEXUAL ABUSE/LOMBARDI VIS 100309 (780)

CONCERN AND HORROR AT VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA VATICAN CITY, 9 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. yesterday expressed "concern and horror" at the violent conflicts which have taken place in Nigeria in recent days, and which have led to the deaths of five hundred Christians of the Berom ethnic group in villages in the centre-north of the country, at the hands of Muslims of the Fulani ethnic group. Fr. Lombardi also explained that the events are to be seen "not as a religious, but a social confrontation". For his part, Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, speaking to Vatican Radio, affirmed that "this is a classic conflict between herdsmen and farmers, only the Fulani are all Muslims and the Berom all Christians. The international media are quickly led to report that it is Christians and Muslims who are killing one another; but this is not true, because the killings are not caused by religion but by social, economic, tribal and cultural issues. The victims are poor people who know nothing about, and have nothing to do with, any of this and are completely innocent. For our part in the Church, we continue to work to promote good relations between Christians and Muslims, seeking to reach agreement in an attempt to overcome violence and to work together to face the real political and ethnic problems". "We pray for peace, for good government and for truth. And we pray also that people may realise that the only way to survive in this country is to recognise one another as brothers and citizens of the same nation", the archbishop concluded..../NIGERIA/LOMBARDI:OLORUNFEMI VIS 100309 (280)

SOLUTIONS THAT RESPECT THE DIGNITY OF WOMEN VATICAN CITY, 9 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, yesterday addressed the fifty-fourth session of the Economic and Social Council's Commission on the Status of Women, which was meeting to discuss "Item 3: Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled 'Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century'". Addressing the commission in English, Archbishop Migliore said: "From the successive interventions in these days, ... it seems that the assessment is not entirely positive: It includes some light, but also many and disturbing shadows. "The advancements achieved regarding the status of women in the world in the last fifteen years include, among others, improvements in the education of girls, the promotion of women as key to eradicating poverty and fostering development, growth of participation in social life, political reforms aimed at removing forms of discrimination against women and specific laws against domestic violence", he added. "In particular, among the many parallel events, some have stressed the indispensable role played by civil society in all its components, in highlighting the dignity of women, their rights and responsibilities. This having been said, women continue to suffer in many parts of the world". The permanent observer highlighted the importance of not overlooking "violence in the form of female feticide, infanticide, and abandonment", as well as "discrimination in health and nutrition". He noted, moreover, how "girls and women 15 years of age and over account for two-thirds of the world's illiterate population". The archbishop went on: "It is a sad fact that three quarters of those infected by HIV/AIDS are girls and women between the ages of 15 and 24", and that, among the victims of human trafficking, "minors account for up to fifty percent and approximately seventy percent are women and girls". The reasons for this situation are to be found "in cultural and social dynamics as well as delays and slowness of policy", he explained. "Achieving equality between women and men in education, employment, legal protection and social and political rights is considered in the context of gender equality. Yet the evidence shows that the handling of this concept ... is proving increasingly ideologically driven, and actually delays the true advancement of women. Moreover, in recent official documents there are interpretations of gender that dissolve every specificity and complementarity between men and women. These theories will not change the nature of things but certainly are already blurring and hindering any serious and timely advancement on the recognition of the inherent dignity and rights of women". Archbishop Migliore stressed the fact that the final documents of international conferences and committees often "link the achievement of personal, social, economic and political rights to a notion of sexual and reproductive health and rights which is violent to unborn human life and is detrimental to the integral needs of women and men within society". "A solution respectful of the dignity of women does not allow us to bypass the right to motherhood, but commits us to promoting motherhood by investing in and improving local health systems and providing essential obstetrical services", he said. "Fifteen years ago the Beijing Platform for Action proclaimed that women's human rights are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. This is key not only to understanding the inherent dignity of women and girls but also to making this a concrete reality around the world", he concluded.DELSS/CONFERENCE WOMEN/UN:MIGLIORE VIS 100309 (600)



CISA report:

The Catholic Archbishop of Khartoum, Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako is urging Christians who are eligible, to “vote wisely” during the forthcoming general elections slated for April this year, in order to bring about a “robust change” in the Sudan. Cardinal Wako said this while addressing Christians from various denominations gathered at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Khartoum on Monday March 1, for an ecumenical prayer for elections.The Cardinal urged eligible voters to exercise their right during the up-coming elections so that they can elect people who will represent them in the government.He suggested that those vying for positions should embark on sensitizing one another on the voting process in order to avoid “rigging” during the elections. “I would like to encourage all of you to know very well by now those for whom you are going to vote so that you don’t participate in corruption that will come later, and when something good comes from the people you vote for in the future, you will certainly be proud and say ‘I participated’ in this good thing because I voted for the people in this government,” Cardinal Wako stated.The prelate also called on the faithful to be alert and cautious of things that can spoil not only elections, but might threaten people’s lives. He urged voters to be wise enough when they vote so that they don’t become part of any confusion that might arise. The prelate also called on both politicians and their supporters not to give any chance for violence in one way or another during the time of elections in order to avoid post elections violence.He cited that what happened in Zimbabwe and Kenya as prototypes of post elections violence caused by what he dubbed “distortions” from politicians! “We want a brighter future for our children and this future is in our hands today, and if we spoil this future, these children will continue to live in war. There are children of various ages who have not tasted peace in their lives. They hear about peace as a story. So, we as a Church say such a reality must stop”! The cleric declared.Cardinal Wako urged the Southern Sudanese in particular to wake up and take effective part in the forthcoming elections in order to be part of the government that will be established at all levels of the country. Meanwhile, the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wau and the president of Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SCBC), Rudolph Deng Majak exhorted Christians all over the Sudan to take active part in the elections.He announced that during elections, he will vote in his capacity as a citizen of Wau in Southern Sudan because the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Interim National Constitution grant every citizen of Sudan the right to vote in an election.He also encouraged those who have registered to vote during the elections in April. The Chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Mawlana Abel Alier has also cautioned that if electorates do not vote wisely during the forthcoming general elections, the process might revert the country back to square one, probably to war! According to Nichola Mandil who attended the occasion, the Mr. Alier was very clear that all voters have to make wise decisions.



Asia News report:

US charity sounds the alarm, claiming Bangladesh is blocking aid and medical treatment for refugees, who are locked up in open-air prisons. Rohingya are a Muslim minority from Myanmar and are persecuted by that country’s military dictatorship. Bangladeshi authorities dismiss accusations, saying, “We are the victims.” Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A US medical charity has warned that thousands of Burmese refugees in Bangladesh are facing starvation. Physicians for Human Rights said that government authorities in Bangladesh are preventing the Rohingya from receiving adequate care. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority who fled Myanmar to escape persecution. The government has dismissed these allegations as it did for similar reports by Doctors without Borders (MSF) last month.
The Rohingya are one of the many ethnic minorities that make up the Union of Myanmar. They live in Rakhine State, in the country’s north-west, and are among the poorest and most persecuted ethnic groups in the world. Myanmar’s military regime has denied them citizenship and refused to let them own land. It does not even allow them to travel or marry without first getting permission from the authorities.
Tens of thousands have fled, especially to predominantly Muslim Bangladesh and Malaysia. Bangladeshi authorities have granted refugee status to 28,000 Rohingya, who live in United Nations refugee camps in Kutupalong. However, government sources put the actual number at 200,000 or even 300,000.
The government in Dhaka is now cracking down to stop further mass exodus as neighbouring Myanmar prepares for elections later this year.
The report by the Physicians for Human Rights says that children will starve if aid is not delivered. It blamed local authorities for "arbitrary arrests, illegal expulsion and forced internment" of refugees.
“The government of Bangladesh is absolutely ignoring it [the refugee problem]. They are sweeping it under the rug," said Richard Sollom, director of research and investigation for the group.
Dhaka has rejected the charges. Abdul Momen, Bangladesh's representative in the United Nations said they were "totally false". Instead, he said, "Government officials just have to make sure that any aid isn't coming from terrorist groups".
"We are the victims,” he explained “an impoverished country, and in spite of that, we tried to help them as best we can.”
Last year, press reports focused on the persecution of the Rohingya by Thailand’s military. Despite Bangkok’s denials, many refugees who entered Thai territorial waters were stopped by the Thai Navy and sent back into the open sea without food and water.



Maryborough, Queensland's Father Paul Kelly wants the district's pubfest banned and has asked for an "honest and independent survey" on the pub crawl-turned-fest.
Fr Kelly's ban call comes on the back of Liquor Licensing giving the festival the go-ahead for full strength beer, the Fraser Coast Chronicle reports.
"I am not a wowser. I go to pubs here with friends and enjoy a drink," he said.
"I am not getting at the pubs but after observing part of the pub crawl last year I truly fear for the safety of people. "The change of name and various additions over the years, such as more water, suggestions of lower strength alcohol, a charitable 'cause, etc, really are just trying to minimise the basic nature of the thing as a pub crawl, with all its negative connotations.
"This community does not need what is really still a pub crawl in spite of the council dressing it up as a festival and adding charities and church water stations."
Some churches in the city will hand out water and food and offer toilets for the event, the report said.
Chair of the World's Greatest Pub Fest councillor Anne Nioa is cited saying: "Father Paul has never liked the pub crawl and I respect his opinion. Fifteen thousand people do like it so it will continue."
The event is scheduled for June 13 this year, according to the pubfest website, which also says past years' events have won the Guinness world record for the "Most people on a pub crawl".



CNA report:

Bishop Juan Antonio Reig Pla of Alcala de Henares remarked this week that by signing a bill into law that dramatically liberalizes abortion in Spain, King Juan Carlos has actively cooperated with the evil of abortion.
Despite numerous requests that the Spanish monarch refuse to sign the bill, King Juan Carlos put his signature to the new measure during a private ceremony last weekend. The law will take effect in July.
During an interview with Intereconomia TV on Saturday, Bishop Reig Pla openly commented, “What (the King) has done constitutes remote cooperation with evil.”
“The King should have thought about whether or not he was cooperating with the implementation of a law that will cause the death of innocent people,” the bishop said, noting that the King could have chosen a different option. “He could have refused to sign it, saying that his conscience came before signing a law that will not bring about good.”
Bishop Reig Pla rejected claims by some bishops that the King had no choice because of the constitutional requirement that he must sign duly passed laws. The new law “will not only make the abortion situation worse, but it will also lead to the imposition of sexual education in the classroom, as well as gender ideology, which is this government’s calling card.”
More than 60,000 people singed a petition urging the King not sign the bill into law, but last Wednesday his order to move forward with the measure was published in the Official State Bulletin, naming July 5 as the date it would go into effect.


CNA report:
A federal judge in Buenos Aires has nullified the “marriage” of two gay men that took place last week in the Argentinian capital, saying “no elements existed” for the union to constitute a marriage.
On Monday, Judge Felix Gustavo de Igarzabal of Buenos Aires reversed a decision which allowed two gay men to marry at the city's civil registry office on March 3. In his ruling the judge said no marriage took place “because of the absence of the institution’s structural elements,” in this case a man and a woman, and thus declared the act to be invalid.
He also said any “legal effects derived from the act shall be suspended.”
The judge ordered the two men to turn in any marriage licenses or documentation received from the civil registry office within 72 hours or face monetary penalties.


St. Frances of Rome
Feast: March 9
Feast Day:
March 9
1384, Rome
March 9, 1440, Rome
1608, Rome by Pope Paul V
Major Shrine:
Santa Francesca Romana Church, Romea
Patron of:
Benedictine oblates; automobile drivers

One of the greatest mystics of the fifteenth century; born at Rome, of a noble family, in 1384; died there, 9 March, 1440.
Her youthful desire was to enter religion, but at her father's wish she married, at the age of twelve, Lorenzo de' Ponziani. Among her children we know of Battista, who carried on the family name, Evangelista, a child of great gifts (d. 1411), and Agnes (d. 1413). Frances was remarkable for her charity to the poor, and her zeal for souls. She won away many Roman ladies from a life of frivolity, and united them in an association of oblates attached to the White Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria Nuova; later they became the Benedictine Oblate Congregation of Tor di Specchi (25 March, 1433) which was approved by Eugene IV (4 July, 1433). Its members led the life of religious, but without the strict cloister or formal vows, and gave themselves up to prayer and good works. With her husband's consent Frances practiced continency, and advanced in a life of contemplation. Her visions often assumed the form of drama enacted for her by heavenly personages. She had the gift of miracles and ecstasy, we well as the bodily vision of her guardian angel, had revelations concerning purgatory and hell, and foretold the ending of the Western Schism. She could read the secrets of consciences and detect plots of diabolical origin. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience, exemplified on the occasion ofher husband's banishment, the captivity of Battista, her sons' death, and the loss of all herproperty.
On the death of her husband (1436) she retired among her oblates at Tor di Specchi, seeking admission for charity's sake, and was made superior. On the occasion of a visit to her son, she fell ill and died on the day she had foretold. Her canonization was preceded by three processes (1440, 1443, 1451) and Paul V declared her a saint on 9 May, 1608, assigning 9 March as her feast day. Long before that, however, the faithful were wont to venerate her body in the church of Santa Maria Nuova in the Roman Forum, now known as the church of Santa Francesca Romana.

St. Dominic Savio
Feast: March 9
Feast Day:
March 9
April 2, 1842(1842-04-02), San Giovanni, a frazione of Riva presso Chieri, Piedmont, Italy
March 9, 1857, Mondonio, a frazione of Castelnuovo d’Asti (today Castelnuovo Don Bosco), Piedmont, Italy
12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Major Shrine:
The Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians in Turin (his tomb)
Patron of:
choirboys, falsely accused people, juvenile delinquents, Pueri Cantores

Here is a boy-saint who died at the age of fifteen, was one of the great hopes of St. John Bosco for the future of his congregation, and was canonized in 1954.
He was one of ten children of Carlo and Birgitta Savio. Carlo was a blacksmith and Birgitta was a seamstress. When Don Bosco was looking for young men to train as priests for his Salesian Order, his parish priest suggested Dominic Savio. Dominic became more than a credit to Don Bosco's school—he single-handedly organized those who were to be the nucleus of Don Bosco's order.
St. Dominic Savio was twelve when he met Don Bosco and organized a group of boys into the Company of the Immaculate Conception. Besides its religious purpose, the boys swept and took care of the school and looked after the boys that no one seemed to pay any attention to. When, in 1859, Don Bosco chose the young men to be the first members of his congregation, all of them had been members of Dominic's Company.
For all that, Dominic was a normal, high-spirited boy who sometimes got into trouble with his teachers because he would often break out laughing. However, he was generally well disciplined and gradually gained the respect of the tougher boys in Don Bosco's school.
In other circumstances, Dominic might have become a little self-righteous snob, but Don Bosco showed him the heroism of the ordinary and the sanctity of common sense. "Religion must be about us as the air we breathe," Don Bosco would say, and Dominic Savio wore holiness like the clothes on his back.
He called his long hours of prayer "his distractions." In 1857, at the age of fifteen, he caught tuberculosis and was sent home to recover. On the evening of March 9, he asked his father to say the prayers for the dying. His face lit up with an intense joy and he said to his father: "I am seeing most wonderful things!" These were his last words.
Thought for the Day: "I can't do big things," St. Dominic Savio once said, "but I want everything to be for the glory of God." His was the way of the ordinary: cheerfulness, fidelity in little things, helping others, playing games, obeying his superiors. This heroism in little things is the stuff of holiness.


Matthew 18: 21 - 35
Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"
Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;
and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.'
And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.'
So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.'
He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt.
When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place.
Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me;
and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'
And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.
So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."




LENT: GOD INVITES US TO INDIVIDUAL CONVERSION VATICAN CITY, 7 MAR 2010 (VIS) - This morning Benedict XVI visited the parish of St. John of the Cross in the northern sector of the diocese of Rome, where he celebrated Mass. In his homily, the Pope said that "during Lent each one of us is invited by God to change our lives, to think and live in accordance with the Gospel, correcting some aspect of our way of praying, acting, working and of our relations with others. Jesus makes this appeal to us not with a severity that serves as an end unto itself, but precisely because He is concerned with our good, our happiness, our salvation. For our part, we must respond to Him by making a sincere interior effort, asking Him to show us in what particular points we must seek to convert". He then went on to comment on the parish itself, which was founded twenty-one years ago, noting how "it has opened itself to the new movements and ecclesial communities, thus maturing a broader understanding of Church and experiencing new forms of evangelisation. "I encourage you to continue courageously in this direction, while undertaking to involve all sides in a united pastoral project", the Holy Father added. In this context he expressed his joy at the fact that the parish community "aims to promote - while respecting the vocations and roles of consecrated and lay people - the co-responsibility of all members of the People of God. ... This requires a change of mentality, especially as regards lay persons, 'considering them not merely as collaborators of the clergy but recognising them as co-responsible in the life and activity of the Church, thus favouring the promotion of a mature and committed laity'". Turning then to address the families and young people of the local area who frequent the parish, Benedict XVI encouraged them "to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone. Do not wait for others to come bringing you other messages, messages which do not lead to life, but make yourselves missionaries of Christ for your brothers and sisters in the places where they live, study or spend their free time. Here too, implement a capillary and organic activity of pastoral care of vocations, consisting in the education of families and young people to prayer and to living life as a gift that comes from God". Lent, he said, "invites each of us to recognise the mystery of God present in our lives. ... On the hill of Golgotha God, Who on the flight from Egypt revealed Himself as the One Who frees us from slavery, revealed Himself as the One Who embraces all men and women with the salvific power of the Cross and the Resurrection, freeing them from sin and death and accepting them in the embrace of His love". The Pope concluded by encouraging the faithful to continue "contemplating this mystery of the name of God in order better to understand the mystery of Lent and to live as individuals and communities in a permanent state of conversion, so as to be a constant epiphany in the world, witnesses of the living God Who frees and saves us out of love".HML/CONVERSION/ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS PARISH VIS 100308 (550)

CONVERSION MEANS READING EVENTS IN THE LIGHT OF FAITH VATICAN CITY, 7 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, following his morning visit to the Roman parish of St. John of the Cross, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in order to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. Commenting on the first reading from today's liturgy - the narrative of Moses and the burning bush which was not consumed by the flames but continued to burn, and whence God called to Moses - the Pope explained how "God shows Himself in various ways, also in our own lives. However, in order to recognise His presence it is necessary for us to approach Him with an awareness of our own lowliness and with profound respect. Otherwise we would be incapable of meeting and entering into communion with Him". He then went on to comment on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus is asked about certain tragic events: the murder in the Temple of certain Galileans by order of Pilate, and the collapse of a tower that killed several passers-by. "Against the facile conclusion of considering evil as the effect of a divine punishment", said Benedict XVI, "Jesus proclaims the innocence of God, Who is good and cannot wish evil, and He warns against thinking that calamities are the immediate consequence of the personal guilt of those who suffer them". Jesus replies to His questioners saying: "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did". Christ, the Pope explained, "is inviting us to read those events differently, to see them in the perspective of conversion: calamities and tragic events must not arouse our curiosity or our desire to find the supposedly guilty, but should be occasions to reflect, to reject the illusion that we can live without God and to strengthen, with God's help, our commitment to change our lives". "The possibility of conversion demands that we learn to read the events of life in the light of faith. ... In the presence of suffering and tragedy, true wisdom is to ask ourselves about the precarious nature of existence and to read human history with the eye of God Who, always wanting only the good of His children for an inscrutable design of His love, sometimes allows them to be tried by pain in order to lead them to a greater good". After praying the Angelus the Pope greeted, among others, a group of French pilgrims making particular mention of the people affected by the storm that struck western France last week.ANG/CONVERSION/... VIS 100308 (460)

GUARANTEE A FUTURE FOR CHRISTIANS IN THE HOLY LAND VATICAN CITY, 8 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, has sent a letter to the bishops of the world encouraging them to participate in the collection for the Holy Land, which traditionally takes place on Good Friday. The letter, which also bears the signature of Archbishop Cyril Vasil S.J., secretary of the congregation, "is inspired by the pilgrimage 'in the historical footsteps of Jesus' which the Holy Father Benedict XVI made last May". Cardinal Sandri recalls "the pastoral, ecumenical and inter-religious concern that enlivened" the Pope's words and actions on that trip and notes how, "together with the ecclesial community of Israel and Palestine" we heard "'a voice' of brotherhood and peace. Strongly emphasising the ceaseless problem of emigration, His Holiness recalled that 'in the Holy Land there is room for everyone', and he urged the authorities to support the Christian presence" while assuring "the Christians of this land of the Church's solidarity". "The Year for Priests involves the beloved priests and seminarians of the whole Church, together with their respective bishops, in a commitment to the Holy Places", writes the cardinal, inviting everyone to "work tirelessly to guarantee a future for Christians in the place where 'the kindness and humanity' of Our God and Father first appeared. "The Pope has entrusted the Congregation for the Oriental Churches with the task of keeping alive interest in that blessed Land", Cardinal Sandri adds. "In his name I urge everyone to reinforce the solidarity that has been shown so far. In fact, the Christians of the East have a responsibility that belongs to the Universal Church, in other words the responsibility to preserve the 'Christian origins', the places and people who are the sign of them, so that those origins may always be the reference of the Christian mission, the measure of the ecclesial future and its security. They therefore deserve the support of the entire Church". A document drawn up by the Custody of the Holy Land and a note from the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, details the projects undertaken using the 2008-2009 collection. Apart from providing study grants for priests and seminarians from the Holy Land to study in pontifical universities, various restoration projects were carried out in, among other places: Ain Karem (shrine of the Visitation), Jerusalem, Bethany, Bethlehem, Haifa, Magdala, Nazareth, Mount Nebo, Mount Tabor and Nain. Funds were also distributed to support parishes, families, schools and universities, and - through the Custody of the Holy Land - to various cultural projects, such as the faculty of biblical sciences and archaeology of the "Studium Biblicum Franciscanum" in Jerusalem, and the Francisca Media Centre, a new form of apostolate which uses television networks to divulge the message of the Holy Places and the life of the local Christian communities..../COLLECTION HOLY LAND/SANDRI VIS 100308 (490)

AUDIENCES VATICAN CITY, 8 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. - Three prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Henry Apaloryamam Ssentongo of Moroto. - Bishop Emmanuel Obbo of Soroti. - Archbishop James Odongo, emeritus of Tororo and military ordinary. On Saturday 6 March he received in separate audiences: - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops. - Two prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit: - Bishop Joseph B. Willigers M.H.M. of Jinja. - Bishop Giuseppe Filippi M.C.C.J. of Kotido.AP:AL/.../... VIS 100308 (120)


Cath News report:
A group called the Christian Save the Sheik Coalition says it has collected thousands of signatures on a petition to prevent the deportation from Australia of Iranian cleric Dr Mansour Leghaei.
Dr Leghaei, a moderate Iranian Shia who has lived in in Australia for 16 years, has been declared a security threat by ASIO, The Australian reports. The reasons for the ASIO assessment have not been publicly revealed.
Anglican priest Dave Smith said he could guarantee that Dr Leghaei was not a threat to national security and called on the minister to order a new security assessment.
Dr Leghaei has been given until March 19 to leave the country, after an immigration appeals tribunal rejected his final application to remain here.
His lawyer, Stephen Hopper, said the sheik would make representations to Immigration Minister Chris Evans to intervene in the case and use his ministerial discretion to halt the planned deportation.
Dr Leghaei, who preaches at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Earlwood in Sydney's inner-southwest, is the head of a local interfaith committee and has been instrumental in building bridges between the ethnically and religiously diverse communities in Sydney's inner-west and inner-southwest.
The Christian coalition includes Anglican, Catholic, indigenous and Muslim community leaders, including the professor who formerly headed up the Cancer Council, Alan Coates, boxer Nader Hamden and Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskander.


CNA report:
In comments to the newspaper, “Le Point,” Jewish historian Saul Friedländer defended Pius XII against accusations that he was “Hitler's Pope.” Friedländer recalled that Pope Pacelli's aversion to Nazism was made known by his collaboration in the writing of Pius XI's encyclical, “Mit brennender Sorge.”
Friedländer previously taught contemporary history at the University Institute of Higher International Studies in Geneva and also worked at universities in Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. He is the author of such books as, “Hitler and the United States,” “Pius XII and the Third Reich,” and “Reflections on the Future of Israel.”
In the interview with Le Point, which was covered by L’Osservatore Romano (LOR), the Jewish historian referred to the silent work of Pius XII.
While some say he did little to protest the deportation of Jews and the Holocaust, written records and witnesses tell another story. They testify to his actions in defense of the Jews. Accounts of his intervention to save 4,000 Jews from a ghetto in Rome and place them in convents and Catholic schools refute claims of his passiveness.
In response to accusations against Pius XII's character, LOR pointed out, “Friedländer says he does not want to transform Pius XII into ‘Hitler’s Pope,’ as others have done. Instead, he recounts Pope Pacelli’s aversion to Nazism and his collaboration in the drafting of Mit brennender Sorge,” Pius XI’s encyclical condemning Nazi ideology.


CNA report:
The bishops of Costa Rica released a statement expressing concern over a recent ruling by the country's Constitutional Court which stripped the Church its right to choose which religion teachers will be hired in Costa Rican schools.
Last month, Costa Rica's Constitutional Court took away the Church's right to choose which religion teachers it will hire, after reversing a 1972 law stating that all religious teachers must be approved by the Bishops’ Conference of Costa Rica.
“We respect the decision of the Constitutional Court, but at the same time we are concerned about the insecurity and confusion that the ruling has caused among teachers and students of religious education, as well as parents,” the bishops said.
The foundation of religious education, they explained, “lies in the inalienable right of Catholic parents to educate their children according to their faith and convictions. It is a human right that must be respected, and it is the duty of the Costa Rican State to make the greatest effort possible to ensure parents are offered this education in public schools.”
After noting that religious education is also good for the state, the bishops expressed their concern over “the tendency to want to replace Catholic religious education with … education in ethics, aesthetics or values, denying the rights of parents and to choose Catholic religious education for their sons and daughters.”
For these reasons, the bishops called on parents to provide the necessary religious education to their children; on authorities to respect this right; on teachers to assume this task with responsibility and to respect “current law that protects Catholic religious education.”
They also encouraged a strengthening of the collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in the area of education.


AsiaNews report:

On the anniversary of protests in March 2008 (the army fired on the crowd, hundreds of deaths, Tibet closed to visitors and the media), the Chinese authorities have introduced new security measures and enhanced controls. Tibetan Prime Minister in exile: we will not lose hope, we will continue our non-violent protest.
Dharamsala (AsiaNews) - A new crackdown by Chinese authorities in Tibet with hundreds of arrests and tightening of already stringent security measures in view the anniversary of protests that erupted in Lhasa on 10 March 2008. In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile after the Chinese authorities have made clear that they will choose the new Dalai Lama.
The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) reports that since 2 March, the beginning of this new "safety campaign", around 500 Tibetans were arrested in Lhasa City and there is strict monitoring of the capital’s 3 main monasteries (Drepung, Gaden and Sera) prohibiting monks to leave without a special permit from the authorities.
From 1 March a new "security corps" was also set up that will work with the police "to maintain social order through inspection and detention of suspects and arrests of whoever is devoid of the 3 documents required: ID card, residence registration (hukou in Chinese) and temporary permission to stay "suspected cases will be reported to the police.
This will create a capillary system of control for any individual who is in Lhasa.
The TCHRD reports that basic rights are being violated, such as freedom of movement, and the aim is to actually intimidate the population, so as to prevent any form of dissent and commemoration in view of the 2nd anniversary of street protests in March 2008, bloodily quashed by the army, which were followed by hundreds, perhaps thousands of arrests and convictions to years in prison.
Professor Rinpoche tells AsiaNews that "we have been in exile for 51 years [after the Dalai Lama and closest followers had to flee abroad in fear of Chinese retaliation for an attempt to regain Tibet's independence] but the Tibetan people despite much suffering, does not use violence to support their cause. Despite the repressive measures and provocations, our people continue to protest in a non-violent way in Tibet and the world".
The Prime Minister believes the support of the international community is essential in this situation, especially regarding the success of the ongoing negotiations with China. They "know the sufferings of the Tibetan people, most of the world leaders sympathise with the Tibetan cause. Thanks to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spirituality and culture are known around the world. This is aso why I do not lose hope".
The culture of non-violence is so strong among the Tibetans that although many young Tibetans are critical of the negotiations with Beijing preached by the government in exile, however, "there were no violent actions. At most, the young Tibetans staged demonstrations in protest, but there were no incidents. For example, the group Tibetan Youth Congress uses non-violent means of protest, even if they disagree with the Dalai Lama's policy towards Beijing. "
The new problem is Beijing’s claim to choosing a new Dalai Lama. For the Tibetan religion, the Dalai Lama, as a reincarnation of Buddha, is recognised only through the observance of intricate religious rituals. But in recent days, the governor of the Autonomous Region of Tibet, Padma Choling, said that "there is no need to discuss the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama" thus showing that the new god-king of Tibet will be chosen by the political authorities.
Rinpoche has a cautious approach to the subject and says only that "we must not take a position on the simple Chinese propaganda. Let the Chinese Communist Party talk, we have Tibetan hearts".
Regarding relations with the Chinese people, Rinpoche stresses that "we express gratitude to the people of China, who have given great support to the Tibetan cause. Chinese intellectuals and writers are sympathetic to our cause".,-hundreds-of-monks-arrested-and-imprisoned-in-monasteries-17828.html



CISA report:

Burials are being held in Uganda for people killed in a mudslide which swept away three villages near the eastern town of Bududa. A massive landslide that swept the slopes of Mount Elgon in eastern Uganda on Monday night killed at least 90 people, with 350 missing and feared dead.The landslide wiped out three villages of Kubehwo, Namakansa and Nametsi located in Bukalasi sub-county in Bududa District.According to Fr. Gerald Magada, three parishes; Bududa, Buchunya, Bugitimwa and Nyondo parishes in Tororo diocese have been completely destroyed. In addition, a health centre in Bududa parishe went down with more fifty people, staff and a number of school children who had taken shelter after it started raining heavily.Recovery efforts have been hampered by the ragged and muddy terrain, and with use of machinery being ruled out. The army says the search operation will take months and that some of the bodies may never be found. "We're getting bodies six feet to eight feet underground, nearly 2.5m, making it very hard as the area is muddy and rocky," Lt Col Wilson Kabera, in charge of the recovery operation, told CISA on phone from the site"We cannot get heavy earth-moving equipment to this point so we're basically using hand-held tools," he said. Fr. Magada says continuing heavy rain is hampering the operation. Whenever a shower starts, people flee the excavation scene fearing further landslides, he says. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni visited the area on Wednesday and said the mudslide was partly due to the loss of tree cover. The region, about 275km (170 miles) north-east of the capital Kampala, often suffers from landslides but this is an unusually high death toll. Caritas Uganda is working with other aid agencies to support the survivors. The Red Cross has sent out appeals for more support for the survivors and to give decent burials to the bodies that have been recovered. The UN is supplying tents and plastic sheeting for up to 5,000 people left homeless by the mudslide. Mount Elgon is shared between Uganda and Kenya. Wider cooperation would facilitate the development of a shared data base of disaster related information between the two countries and even throughout the region. Within the East African Community, cooperation would promote a consistent approach to disaster management policies and techniques, leading to better disaster management practices.


St. John of God
Feast: March 8
Feast Day:
March 8
March 8, 1495, Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
March 8, 1550, Granada, Spain
October 16, 1690, Rome by Pope Alexander VIII
Patron of:
alcoholics; bookbinders; dying people; firefighters; heart patients; hospital workers; publishers; sick people

Born at Montemor o Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550. The wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in charge of the chief shepherd of the place, to whom he gradually endeared himself through his punctuality and fidelity to duty, as well as his earnest piety. When he had reached manhood, to escape his mastery well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter's hand in marriage, John took service for a time in the army of Charles V, and on the renewal of the proposal he enlisted in a regiment on its way to Austria to do battle with the Turks. Succeeding years found him first at his birthplace, saddened by the news of his mother's premature death, which had followed close upon his mysterious disappearance; then a shepherd at Seville and still later at Gibraltar, on the way to Africa, to ransom with his liberty Christians held captive by the Moors. He accompanied to Africa a Portuguese family just expelled from the country, to whom charity impelled him to offer his services. On the advice of his confessor he soon returned to Gilbratar, where, brief as had been the time since the invention of the printing-press, he inaugurated the Apostolate of the printed page, by making the circuit of the towns and villages about Gilbratar, selling religious books and pictures, with practically no margin of profit, in order to place them within the reach of all.
It was during this period of his life that he is said to have been granted the vision of the Infant Jesus, Who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also bidding him to go to Granada. There he was so deeply impressed by the preaching of Blessed John of Avila that he distributed his worldly goods and went through the streets of the city, beating his breast and calling on God for mercy. For some time his sanity was doubted by the people and he was dealt with as a madman, until the zealous preacher obliged him to desist from his lamentations and take some other method of atoning for his past life. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the nature of his vocation was revealed to him by the Blessed Virgin. Returning to Granada, he gave himself up to the service of the sick and poor, renting a house in which to care for them and after furnishing it with what was necessary, he searched the city for those afflicted with all manner of disease, bearing on his shoulders any who were unable to walk.
For some time he was alone in his charitable work soliciting by night the needful supplies, and by day attending scrupulously to the needs of his patients and the rare of the hospital; but he soon received the co-operation of charitable priests and physicians. Many beautiful stories are related of the heavenly guests who visited him during the early days of herculean tasks, which were lightened at times by St.Raphael in person. To put a stop to the saint's habit of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Don Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy, had made for him a habit, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and he imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God. The saint's first two companions, Antonio Martin and Pedro Velasco, once bitter enemies who had scandalised all Granada with their quarrels and dissipations, were converted through his prayers and formed the nucleus of a fourishing congregation. The former advanced so far on the way of perfection that the saint on his death-bed commended him to his followers as his successor in the government of the order. The latter, Peter the Sinner, as he called himself, became a model of humility and charity.
Among the many miracles which are related of the saint the most famous is the one commemorated in the Office of his feast, his rescue of all the inmates during a fire in the Grand Hospital at Granada, he himself passing through the flames unscathed. His boundless charity extended to widows and orphans, those out of employment, poor students, and fallen women. After thirteen years of severe mortification, unceasing prayer, and devotion to his patients, he died amid the lamentations of all the inhabitants of Granada. His last illness had resulted from an heroic but futile effort to save a young man from drowning. The magistrates and nobility of the city crowded about his death-bed to express their gratitude for his services to the poor, and he was buried with the pomp usually reserved for princes. He was beatified by Urban VIII, 21 September, 1638, and canonized by Alexander VIII, 16 October, 1690. Pope Leo XIII made St. John of God patron of hospitals and the dying.


Luke 4: 24 - 30
And he said, "Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own country.
But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli'jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;
and Eli'jah was sent to none of them but only to Zar'ephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Eli'sha; and none of them was cleansed, but only Na'aman the Syrian."
When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.
And they rose up and put him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong.
But passing through the midst of them he went away.