Wednesday, September 22, 2010



BENEDICT XVI RECALLS HIS APOSTOLIC TRIP TO UNITED KINGDOM VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS REPORT) - During this Wednesday's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention on his recent apostolic trip to the United Kingdom, which took place from 16 to 19 September and which he described as "a historic event marking a new important phase in the long and complex history of relations between that people and the Holy See". Referring to the first event of the trip, his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh, the Holy Father recalled how "it was a highly cordial meeting, characterised by a deep and mutual concern for the wellbeing of the peoples of the world and for the role of Christian values in society". In Glasgow, where he celebrated the first Mass of his trip on the feast of St. Ninian, the first evangeliser of Scotland, "I recalled the importance of the evangelisation of culture, especially in our own time in which an insidious relativism threatens to darken the unchanging truth about the nature of man". The second day of the visit began with a meeting in London with the world of Catholic education, at which Benedict XVI dwelt on "the importance of the faith in forming mature and responsible citizens. I encouraged the many adolescents and young people who welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm", he said, "not to follow limited goals, or to satisfy themselves with comfortable choices but to aim at something greater: the search for true happiness which is to be found only in God. "In my subsequent meeting with the leaders of other religions present in the United Kingdom", he added, "I pointed out the ineluctable need for sincere dialogue, which in order to be fruitful requires respect for the principle of reciprocity. At the same time, I identified the search for the sacred as a ground common to all religions, upon which to build up friendship, trust and collaboration". The Pope went on: "The fraternal visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury was an opportunity to underline the shared commitment to bear witness to the Christian message which unites Catholics and Anglicans. This was followed by one of the most significant moments of my apostolic trip: the meeting in the Great Hall of the British parliament" where, he explained, "I underlined the fact that religion, for lawmakers, must nor represent a problem to be resolved, but a factor that makes a vital contribution to the nation's historical progress and public debate, especially by recalling the essential importance of ensuring an ethical foundation for choices made in the various areas of social life". The praying of Vespers with the Christian communities of the United Kingdom in Westminster Abbey, the first visit made there by a Successor of Peter, "marked an important moment in relations between the Catholic community and the Anglican Communion", Pope Benedict said. He then recalled how, on Saturday morning, a Eucharistic celebration was held at Westminster Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord. "I as overjoyed to meet large numbers of young people", he remarked. "With their enthusiastic presence, ... they showed that they wanted to be protagonists of a new period of courageous witness, effective solidarity and generous commitment to serving the Gospel". Later in the apostolic nunciature, "I met with some victims of abuses committed by members of the clergy and religious. It was a moment of intense emotion and prayer", said the Holy Father. At his meeting with people responsible for protecting children and young people in Church environments "I thanked them and encouraged them to continue their work, which is part of the Church's long tradition of concern for the respect, education and formation of new generations". The old people's home he visited on Saturday afternoon testifies, he said, "to the great concern the Church has always had for the elderly, and expresses the commitment of British Catholics to respecting life irrespective of age or condition". "The culmination of my visit to the United Kingdom was the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, illustrious son of that land. By way of preparation, it was preceded by a special prayer vigil which took place on Saturday evening at Hyde Park in London. ... To the multitude of faithful, especially young people, I presented the shining example of Cardinal Newman, intellectual and believer, whose spiritual message can be summed up in his the witness that the way of knowledge does not mean closing in on oneself; rather it means openness, conversion and obedience to He Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life". Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by highlighting how "this apostolic trip confirmed my profound conviction that the old nations of Europe possess a Christian soul which merges with the 'genius' and history of their respective peoples, and the Church never ceases to work to keep this spiritual and cultural tradition alive".AG/ VIS 20100922 (830)

POPE CALLS FOR PRAYER FOR CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX UNITY VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his catechesis during this morning's general audience, and before greeting those present in various languages, the Holy Father invited people to pray for the success of the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which is currently meeting in plenary session in the Austrian capital, Vienna. "The theme of the current phase", he said, "is the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Universal Church, with particular reference to the first millennium of Christian history. Obedience to the will of the Lord Jesus and consideration for the great challenges facing Christianity today, oblige us to commit ourselves seriously to the cause of re-establishing full communion among the Churches. I exhort everyone to intense prayer for the work of the commission and for the ongoing development and consolidation of peace and harmony among the baptised, that we may show the world an increasingly authentic evangelical witness".AG/ VIS 20100922 (180)

SECRETARIAT OF STATE COMMUNIQUE ON IOR INVESTIGATION VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy See Press Office published the following communique issued by the Secretariat of State concerning investigations by Roman tax authorities into the president and the director general of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR). The investigations concern the suspected violation of European norms on money laundering and have involved a freeze on twenty-three million euros held by the institution. "As is well known, the authorities of the Holy See have repeatedly expressed their desire for complete transparency regarding the financial activities of the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR). This requires the implementation of all procedures aimed at preventing terrorism and money laundering. For this reason the authorities of the IOR have, for some time, been seeking the necessary contacts and meetings - both with the Bank of Italy and with relevant international bodies (the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (GAFI)) - for the inclusion of the Holy See in the so-called White List. "The Holy See thus expresses its perplexity and amazement at this initiative by the Procurator's Office in Rome, bearing in mind the fact that the necessary information is already available at the competent office of the Bank of Italy, and that similar operations regularly take place with other Italian credit institutions. "As for the sums mentioned, it should be noted that they are cash transactions with non-Italian credit institutions, the beneficiary of which is the IOR itself. "The Holy See thus wishes to express its complete confidence in the president and the director general of the IOR".SS/ VIS 20100922 (290)

CARDINAL CORDES AT CENTENARY OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" today issued a communique concerning the forthcoming visit to the USA of Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the council. At the invitation of Catholic Charities USA, he is due to deliver the keynote address at a gathering being held in Washington DC from 25-29 September to mark the centenary of its founding. "The cardinal", says the English-language communique, "will reflect on the faith roots of the Church's charitable commitment and the need to nurture the specific identity of ecclesial organisations, as reaffirmed by the first Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Deus caritas est'. "Catholic Charities USA", the note adds, "with more than 1700 agencies and institutions operating in local dioceses, provides vital outreach to some nine million people a year of all religious, social and economic backgrounds. Pope Benedict 'prays that the present anniversary will be an occasion for gratitude to Almighty God for the abundant harvest of generosity, solidarity and good works reaped.' His Holiness encourages charity personnel to 'see their work as a tangible witness of their faith in Christ'. "As part of the visit, Cardinal Cordes will have meetings and deliver lectures on charity, social doctrine and the priesthood in the archdioceses of New York and Newark and dioceses of the Province of Connecticut".CON-CU/ VIS 20100922 (230)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 22 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Giovanni d'Aniello, apostolic nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as apostolic to Thailand and Cambodia, and apostolic delegate to Myanmar and Laos.
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Independent Catholic news report: On Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI blessed the statue of Our Lady of the Taper from the National Shrine of Wales in Cardigan and, just 24 hours later the statue has been re-located to a side chapel in the main Church.The move has come about as a result of consultations between Bishop Thomas Burns of Menevia and the Shrine Rector, Father Jason Jones and will remain in the new location for a 12 month trial period. This move has enabled the tabernacle at Cardigan to be moved from its location on the right hand side of the Church to a central, back of sanctuary, traditional position.In time it is hoped to turn the original shrine building into a repository for the relics and historical documents relating to the medieval shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Taper in Cardigan.
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CMAA REPORT: Chant Practicum: Gregorian Chant at the Houston CathedralPresenting the CMAA Fall Practicum: Gregorian Chant at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston, Texas. REGISTER NOWPreliminary ScheduleMap and DirectionsThis educational and liturgical event coincides with the installation of the new Martin Pasi Opus XIX Pipe Organ, which will be used to accompany the liturgies during this event. The dates are October 21-23, 2010.The Practicum features chant instruction by chant legend Scott Turkington, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston, SC (Beginning Chant for Men); renowned scholar William Mahrt, Stanford University and president of the CMAA (Advanced Chant for Men and Women); Arlene Oost-Zinner, CMAA and St. Cecilia Schola (Beginning Chant for Women); Rev. Robert Pasley, Pastor, Mater Ecclesia (Training for Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians); Jeffrey Tucker, Managing Editor, Sacred Music; Author Sing Like a Catholic (Lecture).Solemn Vespers will be celebrated Friday evening, and a final Sunday Vigil Mass in the Ordinary Form, with Latin Chant Ordinary and Propers, will be celebrated in the main sanctuary of the Co-Cathedral, on Saturday, October 23 at 5 PM. The Organist will be Dr. Crista Miller, Principal Organist of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and choral motets will be sung by a Choir of the Co-Cathedral. Vespers will be directed by Dr. Kevin Clarke, Music Director and Principal Organist at St. Theresa Catholic Church – Sugar Land, led by the St. Theresa Schola.Tuition is $165 for all sessions and materials, including a copy of the Parish Book of Chant, compiled and edited by Richard Rice, as well as lunch on Friday and Saturday, an opening dinner and lecture on Thursday evening, and a reception after Vespers on Friday. You will receive all materials upon arrival. All class session, lectures, and meals will be in the Cathedral Centre.The conference is for beginning chanters, advanced chanters, or anyone in between, and includes a session by Fr. Pasley designed to teach priests, deacons and seminarians the parts of the Mass proper to them; this session is also intended for music directors and others who will train priests, deacons and seminarians to chant their parts of the Mass. This is intended for all who love and appreciate the central role that chant plays as the prayerful song of the Roman Rite – not only at cathedrals and Basilicas but also in every parish. The conference will both train and inspire toward the goal of continuing the renaissance of sacred music in our time, both in the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Mass.Suggested HotelsHoliday Inn Express – Convention Center, 1810 Bell Ave, Houston, TX 77003, 713-652-9400Limited number of rooms for $99/nt, reserve by Sept 30; Call hotel, ask for in-house reservations, identify “Chant Practicum” Marriott Courtyard – Downtown/Convention Ctr, 916 Dallas St., Houston TX 77004, 832-366-1600Club Quarters in Houston – 720 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77002, 713-224-6400 Registration deadline is Monday, October 11, 2010. Your registration will be considered complete after following the two-step process: 1) registration (Separate registration for each person, please. Done when you click on “send email”) and 2) payment:Pay by mail: Please submit online registration, indicating in the notes section that you will be paying by mail. Make checks payable to “CMAA-Houston Fall Practicum” and mail to: CMAAHouston c/o St. Theresa Church, 705 St. Theresa Blvd., Sugar Land, TX 77478.
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ALL AFRICA REPORT: John Cardinal Njue on Saturday urged newly ordained priests to take religious life seriously.And he warned that those who were not ready for the serious ministry ahead of them should not try it."For those who have not yet decided, the door is open," he said.Cardinal Njue spoke in Nairobi a day after Pope Benedict XVI said in England that the Catholic Church had dropped its guard on paedophilia and had failed to deal with the issue quickly enough. The Pope spoke as he began a historic state visit to Britain.During the flight to Edinburgh, the Pope told journalists on board his plane that the Catholic Church "has not been vigilant enough" on the issue of priests who abused children.The revelations of child abuse that have shaken the church "were a shock to me", he said, shortly before landing in Edinburgh, adding that it was "difficult" to understand how such actions could be "possible".The Pope admitted that the church authorities "did not act quickly or firmly enough to take the necessary action" to deal with the problem.Cardinal Njue was presiding over a mass at Nairobi's Holy Family Minor Basilica, where he ordained five priests and elevated 12 to deacons.He warned them against disrespecting the vow of celibacy.He said the Church takes this vow seriously and expected those entering the religious ministry to follow it to the letter."The Church has not changed its strong stance on the issue, and this you must adhere to," the Cardinal told the newly ordained priests and deacons.He said the church was currently witnessing a shortage of priests.He told parents to encourage their children to join religious life as priests and religious men and women.The Cardinal thanked the parents of the new priests and deacons, describing this as a great contribution to the church."As we congratulate the newly ordained priests and deacons, we urge more parents to see the need to have some of their children join religious life," he told the congregation who had turned up to witness the occasion.The Cardinal said religious life called for serious commitment."This is why not everybody is dedicated to this ministry," he said.The Cardinal was assisted during the mass by Auxiliary Bishop David Kamau of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Nairobi.More than 200 priests and nuns attended the occasion.The newly ordained priests and deacons were presented to the Cardinal by the Rev Fr Stephen Karin's wa Mutonga
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Asia News report: Relics arrived in the city-state yesterday and went on display overnight in Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Hundreds of people came to see them, bringing along loved ones who are ill.Singapore (AsiaNews) – As soon as Padre Pio relics went on display last night, they drew hundreds of people to Singapore’s Holy Spirit Catholic Church. With ‘Towards holiness with St Pio’ as the guiding theme, they will remain in the church for the triduum planned to honour the saint between 21 and 23 September.The relics brought to the city-state are a gold-plated cross containing the saint’s dried blood from the palm on which he received his stigmata. The second is a dark cloth framed up for protection—his bloodstained mitten.Fr Ermelindo Di Capua, OFM Cap, an Italian priest from Our Lady of Grace friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, brought the precious items to Singapore.Fr Di Capua was by St. Pio’s side for the last three years of his life, and is now travelling the world to promote the spirituality, life and teachings of the saint of Pietrelcina.Padre Pio is very popular in the small Asian nation. Every month, the local Catholic community organises monthly prayer devotions at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Church of the Holy Spirit and the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.News of the relics’ arrival brought out many of the faithful who came to the church to pay tribute to the saint and ask him to intercede on behalf of loved ones who are ill.Therese Lee, from Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Church, brought her husband Peter on a wheelchair.“He was quite sick, and someone told him to pray to Padre Pio,” she said. “He recovered quite fast—it’s sort of a miracle. He had a brain stroke but now can walk for short distances.”Margaret Lourdusany, 56, has been a devotee of Saint Pio for the past three years. “I’m drawn to him because of his humble and simple way of life,” she said. “Being blessed by the relic means that Padre Pio is touching us and praying for us to Jesus, so we can get closer to Him.”
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Cath News report: A 24-year-old man who robbed a NSW priest of the congregation's weekend offerings has been sentenced to jail by a the Wagga District Court.Daniel Little, who was given two three-year good behaviour bonds in Wagga Local Court in 2008 for assault, breached his bonds by stealing about $3000 from the priest at the presbytery of the local Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, said the Bendigo Advertiser.He was arrested in July 2009 and charged with robbery in company.In Wagga District Court last month he was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail from when he went into custody, with a non-parole period of two years and three months.In Wagga Local Court on Monday, Little admitted the two bonds and the breaches.He was sentenced to concurrent two-month fixed terms.
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St. Thomas of VillanovaBISHOPFeast: September 22Information:Feast Day:September 22Born:1488, SpainDied:1555, in Valencia, SpainCanonized:November 1, 1658 by Pope Alexander VIIEducator, philanthropist, born at Fuentellana, Spain, 1488; died at Valencia, 8 September, 1555. Son of Aloazo Tomas Garcia and Lucia Martinez Castellanos, the saint was brought up in the practices of religion and charity. Every Friday his father was wont to give in alms all the meal he earned at the mill, besides his usual daily dole of bread. On great feast-days he added wood, wine, and money; while to poor farmers he loaned money and seed. On the death of her husband, Lucia continued the usual alms, and supplied indigent maidens in the neighbourhood with clothing and money. When sixteen tears old, Thomas entered the University of Alcala, where, after proceeding master of arts and licentiate in theology, he filled the chair (1514) of arts, logic, and philosophy. Among his auditors were the famed scholars Ferdinand de Encina and Dominic Soto. With Alcala, however, ended his university associations, he having declined the chair of natural philosophy at Salamanca, where he joined the Augustinians in 1516, his vows following a year later, and his ordination to priesthood the year after; his first Mass was celebrated at Christmas, 1518. At Salamanca Convent Thomas was given the class of scholastic theology because of his attachment for books, chiefly the Lombard and St. Thomas, and his exemplary life. Preaching in the pulpits of Spain was soon added to his duties, among other places at Valencia, the field of his later trials, and Valladolid, seat of the imperial Court and residence of the Emperor Charles V when on his visits to the Low Countries. In this last-named city St. Thomas was named by the emperor his court preacher, and one of his councillors of state. Rarely, however, did the saint pay visits of ceremony to the then master of Europe, though his written correspondence with Charles, who held his opinions in high esteem, was voluminous. Towards the close of his life, while at Valencia, he had all the emperor's letters destroyed; his own letters to the emperor, however, are now stored at Simancas.Apart from these burdens Thomas held many offices of trust in his order, e.g. as convent prior in various cities, among others at Valladolid in 1544, the very year he was called to the See of Valencia. Moreover, he was twice provincial-prior, first of Andalusia and Castile in 1527, then six years later of Castile alone, whence the first mission band of his brethren was sent across the Atlantic in 1533 to establish houses of their order in Mexico. On 5 Aug., 1544, he received his nomination to the Archbishopric of Valencia, a post that for well-nigh a hundred years had witnessed no bishop in residence, an appointment that was confirmed by Paul III. Previously St. Thomas had declined the See of Granada, offered him by the emperor, while that of Valencia he accepted only through obedience to his superiors. He was consecrated in the church of his order at Valladolid by Juan, Cardinal Tavera de Pardo, Archbishop of Toledo. On his entrance to his see on 1 Jan., 1545, of which he was thirty-second bishop and eighth archbishop, St. Thomas opened his career as legislator and philanthropist, which won for him the titles of "Almsgiver", "Father of the Poor", and "Model of Bishops", given him at his beatification in 1618 by Paul V. During his eleven years of episcopal rule his most noteworthy deeds were as follows: a visitation of his diocese, opened a few weeks after entrance into his see. Among other amendments he inhibited his visitators from accepting any gifts whatever. He then held a synod, the first at Valencia for many years, whereby he sought to do away with a number of abuses, as bloodshed, divorce, concubinage, and many excessive privileges or unreasonable exemptions; he abolished the underground prisons; rebuilt the general hospital at Valencia which had just been destroyed by fire; founded two colleges, one for young ecclesiastics, the other for poor students; laboured for the conversion of the , whose profession of Christianity was largely mere outward show; established a creche near his palace for foundlings and the offspring of indigent parents; had Mass said at early hours for the working-classes; and in brief, by statutes, by preaching, and by example, strove to reform the morals of churchman and layman.Towards the poor especially his heart was ever alive with pity; to them his palace gate was always open; daily he had a repast for every poor person that applied for help, as many even as four to five hundred thus getting their meals at his hands. In every district of the city he had almoners appointed with orders especially to search out the respectable persons who shrank from asking alms; these he had supplied with money, food, clothing, while as to indigent workmen, poor farmers, and mechanics, he replenished their stock and brought them tools, thus putting them in the way of making a living. His whole life as replete with acts of practical kindness. He spent his spare time chiefly in prayer and study; his table was one of simple fare, with no luxuries. His dress was inexpensive; he mended with his own hands whatever needed repairs. Numberless are the instances of St. Thomas' supernatural gifts, of his power of healing the sick, of multiplication of food, of redressing grievances, of his ecstasies, of his conversions of sinners. He was taken ill in August, 1555, of angina pectoris, of which he died at the age of 67, at the termination of Mass in his bedroom. His last words were the versicles: "In manus tuas, Domine", etc.; his remains were entombed at the convent Church of Our Lady of Help of his order outside the city walls, whence later they were brought to the cathedral. The saint was of well-knit frame, of medium height, with dark complexion, brilliant eyes, ruddy cheeks, and Roman nose. He was beatified by Paul V (7 Oct., 1618), who set his feast-day for 18 Sept., and canonized by Alexander VII on 1 Nov., 1658.Various reasons are given to account for St. Thomas' non-appearance at the Council of Trent, among them that he was ill, unable to stand the fatigue of travel; that his people would not brook his absence; and that the emperor was unable to do without his aid at home. The writings of St. Thomas, mainly sermons, are replete with practical norms of mystic theology. Some twenty editions have been published, the best and most complete being probably that of Manila, 1882-1884, in 5 tomes.
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Luke 9: 1 - 61And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.3And he said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.4And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.5And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them."6And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.
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BENEDICT XVI'S PASTORAL VISIT TO PALERMO, ITALY VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS report) - Benedict XVI is due to make a pastoral visit to Palermo, Italy, on Sunday 3 October for the occasion of a regional ecclesial meeting of families and young people. At 10.30 a.m. the Pope will preside at a concelebration of the Eucharist in the Foro Italico Umberto I, then lead the praying of the Angelus. He is scheduled to meet priests, religious and seminarians at the cathedral of Palermo at 5 p.m. An hour later he will go on to address a gathering of young people in the city's Piazza Politeama, which takes its name from the Politeama Garibaldi Theatre, built between 1867 and 1874. At the end of his visit the Holy Father will go to Palermo's Punta Raisi airport for his return flight to Rome.OP/ VIS 20100921 (150)

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo, presented by Bishop Gabriel Kembo Mamputu, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Daniel Nlandu Mayi.RE/ VIS 20100921 (50)
IN MEMORIAM VATICAN CITY, 21 SEP 2010 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks: - Bishop Francis Gerard Brooks, emeritus of Dromore, Ireland, on 4 September at the age of 86. - Bishop Maixent Coly of Ziguinchor, Senegal, on 24 August at the age of 60. - Bishop Heriberto Correa Yepes M.X.Y., former apostolic vicar of Buenaventura, Colombia, on 9 September at the age of 94. - Bishop Pedro Marcos Ribeiro da Costa, emeritus of Saurimo, Angola, on 2 September at the age of 88. - Bishop Jean-Marie Keletigui, emeritus of Katiola, Ivory Coast, on 31 August at the age of 78. - Bishop Tomas Pedro Barbosa da Silva Nunes, auxiliary of Lisbon, Portugal, on 1 September at the age of 67.
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Cath News report: Queanbeyan parish priest Fr Mietek Markowicz was found dead in Sydney yesterday. The cause of his death is unclear as the results of an autopsy have not yet been released."We have extended our deepest sympathy to the family," Canberra and Goulburn Archbishop Mark Coleridge said in a report on the archdiocesan news site."You are asked to keep Fr Mietek, his family and his parishioners in your prayers."Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace."
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Bishop Murphy Urges Congress To Preserve, Improve Tax Credits That Benefit Working Poor Families And ChildrenWASHINGTON (September 21, 2010) —The chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, urged Congress to give priority attention to working poor families and their children as it debates tax policy. “Too often the weak and vulnerable are not heard in the tax debate,” wrote Bishop Murphy in a September 20 letter to Congress. He specifically asked them to preserve and improve the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). “Poverty is increasing in our nation. How you structure taxes can make this moral challenge better or worse,” wrote Bishop Murphy. “Recently the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2009 43.6 million people in the United States lived in poverty. It went on to point out that if ‘refundable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit were added to income, then almost three million children would move above the poverty line.’” Bishop Murphy added, “We believe these essential programs assist workers and families raising children to provide the necessities of life. Unless Congress acts, these vulnerable workers and their children will be left worse off than they are now. The ethical principles of all Americans lead us to recognize that we have a social and civic responsibility to stand with these families and children.” The full text of the letter is available online at: ---
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Asia News report: Two members of a house church were imprisoned after they refused to pay a “fine” following their arrest. Family and supporters are prevented from entering the courtroom during their appeal trial. Their lawyer says they should not be convicted for being members of an “evil cult”; doing so is an abuse of power.Xuchang (AsiaNews) – The appeal process for two members of an underground Protestant house church began in Xuchang (Henan) today, amid tight security. They had originally been sentenced to a forced labour camp for their beliefs. Relatives and supporters of Gao Jianli and Liu Yunhua complained they were not allowed to enter the courtroom.Rev Zhang Mingxuan, head of the China Association of House Churches, said he was detained by police outside the Intermediate People's Court in Xuchang city after he took photos of police with his mobile phone. “I was there watching with our brothers and sisters, and plainclothes police from Shangqiu and Xuchang threatened us and stopped us from taking photographs with our cell phones,” he said. One agent “told me that if I took a photo of him, he would call for me to be detained and I wouldn't be allowed inside to hear the trial.”Gao Jianli and Liu Yunhua were first detained in March for 15 days alongside other members of their congregation for refusing to pay "fines" to police officers who raided their group.They were handed a one-year sentence of "re-education through labour" on 25 March, but promptly appealed, forcing the process into open court.Beijing-based rights lawyer Yang Huiwen, who represents Gao and Liu, said that Zhang’s detention and the refusal to give passes to visitors was against the law.Yang noted that the key points of his appeal case were centred around the lack of due process, on the failure to uphold correct procedures, and on the lack of sufficient evidence to send Liu and Gao for a year's "re-education through labour."“Thirdly, we argued that it was inappropriate to style a Protestant church as an 'evil cult,'" he said, referring to a term usually reserved for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement, and based on secret guidelines that are internal to the police force and carry no academic or legal weight.“Such criteria cannot therefore be used as a basis for punishment,” Yang said. “In doing so, the authorities have exceeded the limits of [their] executive power.”
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Agenzia Fides REPORT– "Personal ambitions and rivalries for control of resources donated by the international community are behind the resignation of the Prime Minister," Fides has been told by Bishop Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia where yesterday, September 21, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke resigned.The resignation of the Premier comes after months of tensions among the highest-ranking officials in the country. The tension began in May, when President Ahmed announced that he would appoint a new premier after the National Transitional Government was defeated in Parliament on a vote of confidence. Sharmarke rejected that vote as "unconstitutional." The differences led to the Speaker of the House's divestiture of authority, bringing to light the weaknesses of Government and Parliament recognized by the international community."It is a system that is based solely on international aid, but that is not able to meet the real needs of Somalia," said Bishop Bertin. "In my opinion, if the international community were to abandon the leadership and the Somali people to their own devices, there might be a moment of clarification. There would no longer be an excuse for foreign interference and the Somalis would be forced to develop a serious policy to end the profound crisis in Somalia.""I realize that this is a gamble, because on the one hand, there is the risk of Islamic fundamentalism, which can spread to neighboring countries, and on the other, there is the risk of a war among everyone over control of the real or supposed 'booty'," emphasizes Bishop Bertin. “But at this point, I think that we cannot go on with the Transitional National Government which controls only part of Mogadishu, while the Shabab become increasingly more bold and civilians are caught in the crossfire. The only alternative would be serious international intervention, supported by appropriate means and with a clear strategy to restore order."We asked Bishop Bertin to paint a picture for us of how the situation would evolve once the National Transitional Government fell: "The Shabab would probably suffer internal divisions as a result of power struggles and scarce economic resources in the country. I would not be surprised if there were clashes between the Shabab and another fundamentalist group, the Hezbollah. The latter appears to be related to various Somali clans, while the Shabab movement seems to be an inter-clan group, a rare reality in Somalia. However, all may be overridden in the end by the people's desire for peace, making them willing to accept the limitations of freedom as long as they find serenity and a system capable of providing a minimum of security and order.""The situation would be far from ideal, but perhaps it would give the opportunity to start over and gradually improve the conditions of the Somalis, who have been suffering far too long," concludes the Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu.
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St. MatthewAPOSTLEFeast: September 21Information:Feast Day:September 21Died:January 24, near Hierapolis or EthiopiaPatron of:accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, financial officers, guards, money managers, security forces, security guards, stock brokers, tax collectorsApostle and evangelist. The name Matthew is derived from the Hebrew Mattija, being shortened to Mattai in post-Biblical Hebrew. In Greek it is sometimes spelled Maththaios, B D, and sometimes Matthaios, CEKL, but grammarians do not agree as to which of the two spellings is the original. Matthew is spoken of five times in the New Testament; first in Matt., ix, 9, when called by Jesus to follow Him, and then four times in the list of the Apostles, where he is mentioned in the seventh (Luke, vi, 15, and Mark, iii, 18), and again in the eighth place (Matt., x, 3, and Acts, i, 13). The man designated in Matt., ix, 9, as "sitting in the custom house", and "named Matthew" is the same as Levi, recorded in Mark, ii, 14, and Luke, v, 27, as "sitting at the receipt of custom". The account in the three Synoptics is identical, the vocation of Matthew-Levi being alluded to in the same terms. Hence Levi was the original name of the man who was subsequently called Matthew; the Maththaios legomenos of Matt., ix, 9, would indicate this. The fact of one man having two names is of frequent occurrence among the Jews. It is true that the same person usually bears a Hebrew name such as "Shaoul" and a Greek name, Paulos. However, we have also examples of individuals with two Hebrew names as, for instance, Joseph-Caiaphas, Simon-Cephas, etc. It is probable that Mattija, "gift of Iaveh", was the name conferred upon the tax-gatherer by Jesus Christ when He called him to the Apostolate, and by it he was thenceforth known among his Christian brethren, Levi being his original name. Matthew, the son of Alpheus (Mark, ii, 14) was a Galilean, although Eusebius informs us that he was a Syrian. As tax-gatherer at Capharnaum, he collected custom duties for Herod Antipas, and, although a Jew, was despised by the Pharisees, who hated all publicans. When summoned by Jesus, Matthew arose and followed Him and tendered Him a feast in his house, where tax-gatherers and sinners sat at table with Christ and His disciples. This drew forth a protest from the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked in these consoling words: "I came not to call the just, but sinners". No further allusion is made to Matthew in the Gospels, except in the list of the Apostles. As a disciple and an Apostle he thenceforth followed Christ, accompanying Him up to the time of His Passion and, in Galilee, was one of the witnesses of His Resurrection. He was also amongst the Apostles who were present at the Ascension, and afterwards withdrew to an upper chamber, in Jerusalem, praying in union with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts, i, 10 and 14).Of Matthew's subsequent career we have only inaccurate or legendary data. St. Irenæus tells us that Matthew preached the Gospel among the Hebrews, St. Clement of Alexandria claiming that he did this for fifteen years, and Eusebius maintains that, before going into other countries, he gave them his Gospel in the mother tongue. Ancient writers are not as one as to the countries evangelized by Matthew, but almost all mention Ethiopia to the south of the Caspian Sea (not Ethiopia in Africa), and some Persia and the kingdom of the Parthians, Macedonia, and Syria. According to Heracleon, who is quoted by Clement of Alexandria, Matthew did not die a martyr, but this opinion conflicts with all other ancient testimony. Let us add, however, that the account of his martyrdom in the apocryphal Greek writings entitled "Martyrium S. Matthæi in Ponto" and published by Bonnet, "Acta apostolorum apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1898), is absolutely devoid of historic value. Lipsius holds that this "Martyrium S. Matthæi", which contains traces of Gnosticism, must have been published in the third century. There is a disagreement as to the place of St. Matthew's martyrdom and the kind of torture inflicted on him, therefore it is not known whether he was burned, stoned, or beheaded. The Roman Martyrology simply says: "S. Matthæi, qui in Æthiopia prædicans martyrium passus est". Various writings that are now considered apocryphal, have been attributed to St. Matthew. In the "Evangelia apocrypha" (Leipzig, 1876), Tischendorf reproduced a Latin document entitled: "De Ortu beatæ Mariæ et infantia Salvatoris", supposedly written in Hebrew by St. Matthew the Evangelist, and translated into Latin by Jerome, the priest. It is an abridged adaptation of the "Protoevangelium" of St. James, which was a Greek apocryphal of the second century. This pseudo-Matthew dates from the middle or the end of the sixth century. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthew on 21 September, and the Greek Church on 16 November. St. Matthew is represented under the symbol of a winged man, carrying in his hand a lance as a characteristic emblem.
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Matthew 9: 9 - 139As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.10And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.11And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"12But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.13Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
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