Friday, May 21, 2010
CATHOLIC WORLD NEWS: FRI. MAY 21, 2010: HEADLINES:
VATICAN: POPE: MODERN CULTURE RISKS FORGETTING CHRISTIAN HERITAGE/OTHER-
AFRICA: MADAGASCAR: SHOOTOUT AMONG MILITARY AND POLICE-
AUSTRALIA: CHURCHES NOW HOUSE ASYLUM SEEKERS-
AMERICA: USA: STUDENTS NOW LEARN MORE OF BIBLICAL VALUES-
EUROPE: SWITZERLAND: CHURCH DESECRATED BY VANDALS-
ASIA: THAILAND: BISHOP CALLS FOR COUNTRY´S HEALING-
POPE: MODERN CULTURE RISKS FORGETTING CHRISTIAN HERITAGE
VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Yesterday evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI attended a concert in honour of his birthday and the anniversary of his election as Pope, offered by Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. The concert, which included pieces by nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers, was played by the National Orchestra of Russia conducted by Carlo Ponti, with the Synodal Choir of Moscow and the Horn Capella of St. Petersburg.
At the end of the concert, which was part of the initiative "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican", the Holy Father listened to a message sent by Patriarch Kirill and was greeted by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow and composer of one of the pieces played during the concert. The Pope then pronounced a brief address.
"Deep in these works", he said, "is the soul of the Russian people, and therewith the Christian faith, both of which find extraordinary expression in divine liturgy and in the liturgical chants with which it is always accompanied. There is, in fact, a close and fundamental bond between Russian music and liturgical chant. It is in the liturgy and from the liturgy that a large part of the artistic creativity of Russian musicians is released and expressed, giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West".
Such nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian composers as Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov "treasured the rich musical-liturgical heritage of Russian tradition, re-modelling it and harmonising it with musical themes and experiences of the West. ... Music, then, anticipates and in some way creates encounter, dialogue and synergy between East and West, between tradition and modernity.
"It was of just such a unified and harmonious vision of Europe that the Venerable John Paul II was thinking when, referring to the image of the 'two lungs' suggested by Vjaceslav Ivanovic Ivanov, he expressed his hope in a renewed awareness of the continent's profound and shared cultural and religious roots, without which today's Europe would be deprived of a soul or, at least, victim of a reduced and partial vision".
"Modern culture, particularly in Europe, runs the risk of amnesia, of forgetting and thus abandoning the extraordinary heritage aroused and inspired by Christian faith, which is the essential framework of the culture of Europe, and not only of Europe. The Christian roots of the continent are, in fact, made up not only of religious life and the witness of so many generation of believers, but also of the priceless cultural and artistic heritage which is the pride and precious resource of the peoples and countries in which Christian faith, in its various expressions, has entered into dialogue with culture and the arts".
"Today too these roots are alive and fruitful in East and West, and can in fact inspire a new humanism, a new season of authentic human progress in order to respond effectively to the numerous and sometimes crucial challenges that our Christian communities and societies have to face: first among them that of secularism, which not only impels us to ignore God and His designs, but ends up by denying the very dignity of human beings, in view of a society regulated only by selfish interests".
The Holy Father concluded: "Let us again let Europe breathe with both lungs, restore a soul not only to believers, but to all peoples of the continent, promote trust and hope, rooting them in the millennial experience of the Christian faith. The coherent, generous and courageous witness of believers must not now be lacking, so that together we may look to our shared future, a future in which the freedom and dignity of all men and women are recognised as a fundamental value, in which openness to the Transcendent, the experience of faith, is recognised as an essential element of the human being".
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PRESIDENT OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC RECEIVED BY BENEDICT XVI
VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:
"This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna, president of the Dominican Republic. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.
"During the cordial discussions appreciation was expressed for the great contribution the Church makes to the development of the country, especially in the fields of education and healthcare where she particularly concerns herself with the most needy. Emphasis was then given to the importance of continuing to promote human life, from conception until natural death.
"Subsequently, opinions were exchanged on the Dominican authorities' commitment to combating the social problems that afflict the country.
"As the conversation continued, attention turned to the international and regional situation, in which context the Dominican Republic's role in organising humanitarian aid to Haiti was highlighted".
WE NEED AUTHENTICALLY CHRISTIAN POLITICIANS
VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - The Holy Father today received participants in the twenty-fourth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity who are currently meeting to examine the theme: "Witnesses to Christ in the political community".
The Pope told them that, although the "technical formation of politicians" is not part of the Church's mission, she reserves the right to "pass moral judgment in those matters which regard public order when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of souls require it".
"It is up to the lay faithful to show - in their personal and family life, in social cultural and political life - that the faith enables them to read reality in a new and profound way, and to transform it", he said.
"It is also the duty of the laity to participate actively in political life, in a manner coherent with the teaching of the Church, bringing their well-founded reasoning and great ideals into the democratic debate, and into the search for a broad consensus among everyone who cares about the defence of life and freedom, the protection of truth and the good of the family, solidarity with the needy, and the vital search for the common good".
The Holy Father went on: "There is a need for authentically Christian politicians but, even more so, for lay faithful who bear witness to Christ and the Gospel in the civil and political community. This need must be reflected in the educational prospectus of the ecclesial community and requires new forms of presence and support from pastors. Christian membership of associations, ecclesial movements and new communities can be a good school for such disciples and witnesses, supported by the charismatic, community, educational and missionary resources of those groups".
The Pope explained how "the spread of a confused cultural relativism, and of a utilitarian and hedonistic individualism weakens democracy and favours the dominance of strong powers. We must recover and reinvigorate authentic political wisdom; be demanding in what concerns our own sphere of competency; make discriminating use of scientific research; face reality in all its aspects, going beyond any kind of ideological reductionism or utopian dream; show we are open to true dialogue and collaboration, bearing in mind that politics is also a complex art of equilibrium between ideals and interests, but never forgetting that the contribution of Christians can be decisive only if knowledge of faith becomes knowledge of reality, the key to judgement and transformation. What is needed is a true 'revolution of love'".
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POPE MEETS WITH MEMBERS OF PONTIFICAL MISSIONARY WORKS
VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS REPORT) - This morning in the Vatican the Holy Father received participants in the ordinary assembly of the superior council of the Pontifical Missionary Works, a body which depends on the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
Evangelisation "is an immense mission", the Pope told them, "especially in our own time in which humankind is suffering from a certain lack of reflection and wisdom, and we are seeing the spread of a humanism that excludes God. For this reason, it is urgently necessary to illuminate emerging problems with the unchanging light of the Gospel".
Preaching the Gospel "is a priceless service the Church can offer humankind on its journey through history", the Holy Father told the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works, whom he described as "an eloquent and living sign of the catholicity of the Church, which takes concrete form in the universal scope of the apostolic mission 'to the ends of the earth', and 'to the end of the age', so that no people or environment may be without the light and grace of Christ. This is the meaning, the historical trajectory, the mission and the hope of the Church", he said.
"The mission to announce the Gospel to all peoples" involves making "critical judgement on the global transformations that are bringing substantial changes to the culture of humankind. The Church, present and at work on geographical and anthropological frontiers, carries a message which enters into history as she proclaims the inalienable values of the person, announcing God's plan of salvation made visible and operational in Christ. The preaching of the Gospel is the call to freedom of the children of God, for a more just and united society".
Those who participate in Christ's mission must inevitably "face trials, contrasts and suffering because they clash with the powers of this world", said Benedict XVI. Like the Apostle Paul "we have no arms other than the Word of Christ and His Cross". Thus the "ad gentes" mission requires the Church and missionaries "to accept the consequences of their ministry: evangelical poverty, which gives them the freedom to preach the Gospel courageously and frankly; non-violence, by which they respond to evil with good; and willingness to give their life for the name of Christ and the love of mankind".
"It is from the Holy Spirit that the Church's announcement and apostolic ministry receive authority", the Pope explained. "Evangelisation needs Christians with their arms raised to God in prayer, Christians aware that conversion to the world of Christ is not something we produce, but something given to us".
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by thanking the members of the Pontifical Missionary Works for "stimulating the missionary conscience of the particular Churches, encouraging them to... form and send out missionaries and help the young Churches".
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
MADAGASCAR: SHOOTOUT AMONG MILITARY AND POLICE
Agenzia Fides report – "There are several injured, but the news is still fragmented," Fides has learned from an editor of Radio Don Bosco from Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar where today, May 20, gunfire erupted in front of Fort Duchesnetra, headquarters of the “Force d'Intervention” Police (FIGN), a special police corps.
"The shooting started this morning around 9:30 am local time, when a group of soldiers visited the barracks of the special corps, to remove the barricades that the rebel police had erected around their base several days ago. The decision to remove the barricades was made yesterday at a meeting attended by military leaders, the special police corps, and the regular police," says the source of Fides.
"The FIGN have two claims. First, they want to know what happened to a large sum of money that former President Marc Ravalomanana had assigned to them during the political crisis of March 2009, which ended with his resignation. It is unclear as to whom the former Head of State transferred this amount (something like two billion of the local currency) or what has happened to it. The FIGN accuse military leaders of embezzling the money. Secondly, the men of the special police unit say they seek to defend the constitutional order, a formulation reminiscent of the claims of Ravalomanana, who claims to be still the legitimate president as he resigned under force," states our source.
"The rebel policemen, according to some sources, are a group of only twenty who are backed by some civilian demonstrators who were mobilized by a radio station belonging to a Lutheran movement that supposedly has close ties to former President Ravalomanana," said Fides sources.
CHURCHES NOW HOUSE ASYLUM SEEKERS
Cath News report: Ballarat's Anglican and Catholic churches have embraced the idea of housing asylum seekers, as detention centres near capacity, the Ballarat Courier said.
Bishop Michael Hough of the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat said it was an "excellent proposal", according to the news report.
"This is the kind of ministry that should be undertaken by the church and if any of our buildings were suitable for use then we would do what we could to support the initiative," Bishop Hough said.
"The plight of all refugees should be a matter that occupies the hearts, prayers and resources of all Christians."
The Bishop said although the diocese had limited resources, the idea would be seriously considered.
According to The Age newspaper, the federal government has made a plea to convents, boarding houses and monasteries to house as many as 100 people.
Sisters of Mercy Ballarat East congregation currently provides temporary accommodation for those seeking solace.
Congregational leader Sister Veronica Lawson said the church would be happy to house the asylum seekers but not "detain" them.
"I would not be in favour of a detention centre ... but living in Ballarat, definitely," she said.
"I think it's important for asylum seekers to be treated with the dignity that they deserve as human beings."
USA: STUDENTS NOW LEARN MORE OF BIBLICAL VALUES
London telegraph report: American students will learn more about the virtues of free enterprise, Biblical values and the Confederacy's cause, and less about slavery and civil rights in a controversial new curriculum being pushed through by the Texas school board.
Members of the state's board of education put the finishing touches on Friday to a new history and social studies curriculum for the state's 4.8 million state school students.
The proposed programme, which will affect other parts of the US due to Texas's large share of the school textbook market, has prompted months of fierce argument and protests outside the board's headquarters in Austin.
Threats to Pakistan are threats to the worldConservatives, who constitute a two-thirds majority on the 15-strong board, which is composed of non-education specialists, say the new curriculum will be more positive about America, particularly the South, and its history.
Once every 10 years, the board edits hundreds of pages of educational guidelines known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Conservative members claim that a liberal bias had crept into the curriculum under previous Democrat-controlled boards.
Yesterday, the board approved a proposal to make students consider the political views of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, alongside those of Abraham Lincoln. Board members said it should be made clear the American Civil War was fought principally over states' rights rather than slavery - though the group did drop a plan to refer to the slave trade as the "Atlantic triangular trade".
Other changes water down criticism of Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist witchhunt in the 1950s and portray the UN's funding for international humanitarian relief and environmental initiatives as threats to individual freedom and US sovereignty.
Students will be required to study conservative organisations and movements such as the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.
Ronald Reagan has been added to a list of "great Americans", while country music, but not hip hop, can be described as an important cultural movement.
The board's five Democrats put up little resistance to the changes before a main vote on Thursday night but drew the line at a Republican call for President Barack Obama to be included in the curriculum using his controversial second name of Hussein.
Last year, conservatives on the same board changed the science curriculum to downplay the teaching of evolution and the Big Bang theory of the creation of the Universe.
SWITZERLAND: CHURCH DESECRATED BY VANDALS
Kath.net report: Shock the community of Saint John in Genf brothers: Monstranzen were stolen, the tabernacle was destroyed.
At the high Festival, Ascension was desecrated a parish church in Genf is handled by brothers of community of Saint John as kath.net could learn. The Church of St. Francis of sales was hit on the 13th of May in the morning by vandals. They destroyed the Tabernacle, stole ciborium and Monstrance with the host; consecrated hosts were crush on the ground.
The Bishop of Lausanne, Geneva and Fribourg, Bernard Genoud regretted the incident. He called for a swift investigation and called to prayer and forgiveness for the perpetrators. The community of Saint John will have a service on Friday, 21. So, all believers pray for a time with Auxiliary Bishop Pierre Farine.
THAILAND: BISHOP CALLS FOR COUNTRY´S HEALING
UCAN report: As calm returns to Bangkok and other cities in Thailand, a bishop and several priests in the red shirt protesters’ strongholds have called for all sides to heal the country.
“There is no winner. Everyone has lost,” said Bishop Banchong Chaiyara of Ubon Ratchathani, president of the Episcopal Commission for Social Ministries.
“The healing process must begin immediately even though it is hard to imagine so amidst the anger and pain,” said the bishop of the northeastern diocese.
He then urged Catholics to pray for peace and all sides to work toward solving problems and heal the country.
Arsonists and rioters left many areas of Bangkok in ruins on May 19, after red shirt leaders announced an end to their occupation of a central commercial district.
Government buildings in several cities in northern and northeastern Thailand, which are red shirt strongholds, were also torched.
According to Thai media reports on May 21, 52 people have been killed in political violence since May 14, and more than 400 injured. The bloody crackdown inflamed unrest outside the capital as supporters in northeastern Thailand set fire to regional government offices.
“We should not hate each other because we have different political ideologies,” said Father Vithaya Ngamwong, vicar general of Ubon Ratchathani diocese and pastor of its Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which is 800 meters from the town hall razed by red shirts on a rampage on May 19.
“Black smoke around here, and chaos everywhere,” the priest recalled and added that “national reconciliation must start now.”
Violence also broke out in the northern Chiang Mai city, where people tried to burn buildings and throw homemade bombs after the Bangkok protests ended.
“We are praying for unity in the country everyday and hope that things return to normal,” Father Vuthilert Haelom, vicar general of Chiang Mai diocese, said.
The priest said that every church in his diocese is safe and not affected by the violence. However, “we pray for the people who were wounded and killed in the political conflict.”
St. Godric of Finchale
Feast: May 21
Information: Feast Day: May 21
Born: 1069 at Walpole, Norfolk, England
Died: 1170 at Finchale, County Durham, England
He was born of very mean parents at Walpole, in Norfolk, and in his youth carried about little peddling wares which he sold in villages. Having by degrees improved his stock, he frequented cities and fairs, and made several voyages by sea to traffic in Scotland. In one of these he called at Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, where he was charmed and exceedingly edified with the retirement and religious deportment of the monks, and especially with the account which they gave him of the wonderful life of St. Cuthbert. He inquired of them every particular relating to him, visited every corner of that holy solitude and of the neighboring isle of Fame, and falling on his knees, prayed with many tears for grace to imitate the fervor of that saint in serving God, resolving for that purpose to give up all earthly pretensions. He entered upon a new course of life by a penitential devout pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and visited Compostella in his way home. After his return into Norfolk, he accepted the charge of house-steward in the family of a very rich man. The servants were not very regular, and for their private junketings often trespassed upon their neighbors. Godrick finding he was not able to prevent these injustices, and that the nobleman took no notice of his complaints about them, being easy so long as he was no sufferer himself, left his place for fear of being involved in the guilt of such an injustice.
After making a pilgrimage to St. Giles in France, and to Rome, he went to the north of England in order the better to carry into execution his design of devoting himself wholly to a retired life. A fervent servant of God, named Godwin, who had passed a considerable time in the monastery of Durham, and by conversing with the most holy monks and exercising himself in the interior and exterior practices of all virtues, was well qualified to be a director to an inexperienced novice, joined our saint, and they led together an austere anchoretical life in a wilderness situated on the north to Carlisle, serving one another, and spending both the days and nights in the praises of God. After two years God called Godwin to himself by a happy death after a short sickness. St. Godrick having lost his companion, made a second painful pilgrimage to Jerusalem. After his return he passed some time in the solitude of Streneshalch, now Whitby; but after a year and some months went to Durham to offer up his prayers before the shrine of St. Cuthbert, and from thence retired into the desert of Finchal, or Finkley, three miles from Durham, near the river Wear. St. John Baptist and St. Cuthbert he chose for his principal patrons and models. The austerities which he practiced are rather to be admired than imitated. He had his regular tasks of devotion, consisting of psalms and other prayers which he had learned by heart, and which he constantly recited at midnight, break of day, and the other canonical hours, besides a great number of other devotions. Though he was ignorant of the very elements of learning, he was too well experienced in the happy art of conversing with God and his own soul ever to be at a loss how to employ his time in solitude. Whole days and nights seemed too short for his rapturous contemplations, one of which he often wished with St. Bruno he could have continued without interruption for eternity, in inflamed acts of adoration, compunction, love, or praise. His patience under the sharpest pains of sicknesses or ulcers, and all manner of trials, was admirable; but his humility was vet more astonishing. His conversation was meek, humble, and simple. He concealed as much as possible from the sight and knowledge of all men whatever might procure their esteem, and he was even unwilling any one should see or speak with him. Yet this he saw himself obliged to allow on certain days every week to such as came with the leave of the prior of Durham, under whose care and obedience he died. A monk of that house was his confessor, said mass for him, and administered him the sacraments in a chapel adjoining to his cell, which the holy man had built in honor of St. John Baptist. He was most averse from all pride and vanity, and never spoke of himself but as of the most sinful of creatures, a counterfeit hermit, an empty phantom of a religious man: lazy, slothful, proud, and imperious, abusing the charity of good people who assisted him with their alms. But the more the saint humbled himself, the more did God exalt him by his grace, and by wonderful miraculous gifts. For several years before his death he was confined to his bed by sickness and old age. William of Newbridge, who visited him during that time, tells us that though his body appeared in a manner dead, his tongue was ever repeating the sacred names of the three divine Persons, and in his countenance there appeared a wonderful dignity, accompanied with an unusual grace and sweetness. Having remained in the desert sixty-three years, he was seized with his last illness, and happily departed to his Lord on the 21st of May, 1170, in the reign of Henry II. His body was buried in the chapel of St. John Baptist. Many miracles confirmed the opinion of his sanctity, and a little chapel was built in his memory by Richard, brother to Hugh Pidsey, bishop of Durham. See William of Newbridge, 1. 2, c. 20; Matthew Paris, Matthew of Westminster, his life written by Nicholas of Durham his confessarius, and abridged by Harpsfield, Saec. 12, c. 45.
John 21: 15 - 19
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
16 A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go."
19 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."