CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: SAT. MAR. 5, 2011: HEADLINES-
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Muhammad Imran, a man charged with blasphemy in April 2009 and later released for lack of evidence, was gunned down in the Danada, a village near Rawalpindi. He had been accused of making insulting remarks about Prophet Mohammed during a discussion in a village cafe. However, he and another defendant were eventually set free by a court order after prosecution failed to produce evidence.
Imran was in a shop when two attackers came in and shot him dead. A third accomplice stayed outside. According to the victim’s brother Muhammad Akramm, Imran was killed by the same man from a nearby village who had originally accused him of blasphemy.
The murder comes two days after Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti was killed by militants for opposing the controversial blasphemy law. The Minority Affairs minister was laid to rest yesterday next to his father’s grave in the village of Khushpur in a ceremony attended by more than 15,000 people.
“We will continue Shahbaz Bhattit`s struggle for minority rights,” said Pervaiz Rafique, a leader of the All Pakistan Minority Assembly (APMA).
“Extremists can kill a person, not his thoughts. Shahbaz Bhatti wanted Pakistan to become Quaid-e-Azam`s Pakistan, we will carry on his mission," he added. Quaid-e-Azam or Father of Nation refers to Ali Jinnah, founder of modern Pakistan.
Police have arrested 15 people in connection with Bhatti’s murder. Police also said that it would interrogate Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.
Every aspect of the case is under investigation. Eyewitness accounts and the testimony of Bhatti’s driver present different aspects, said IG Islamabad Police Wajid Durrani.
The Russian Orthodox Church has joined the chorus of condolences sent to Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination.
“Many Christian Churches” were “encouraged by the appointment of Mr. Bhatti” to the “cabinet [. . .]. As a politician, he managed to do a lot” to reduce “religious tension in Pakistani society and courageously spoke out against initiatives of religious extremists,” said Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations.
This crime “is not the only act of violence against Christians in Pakistan. Neither simple believers, nor high-ranking officials are [. . .] protected today from aggression on the part of people who disguise their evil deeds under religious convictions.” (J.K. and N.A.)
Bishop Martinelli describes the situation of the Catholic community: “Every Friday we celebrate Mass in three or four different languages: English, Tagalog and Korean. Yesterday, as a precaution, we celebrated just one, with a hundred of the faithful, mostly Africans and Filipinos. We celebrated Mass to instil hope in these people who are forced to remain, especially for Filipino women who work in hospitals and are really very courageous. From the Mass they gain new energy to continue doing their duty, just like the Africans, working in manual labour, and who are very faithful to the Church.”
“Every day we celebrate Mass at one of the centres where the sisters of one of the four religious communities operating in Tripoli work. We celebrate Mass in a health clinic where the Filipinos are working, because it is difficult for them to leave the centres due to the amount of work,” continues the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli.
“Father Sandro, who has long been responsible for monitoring the Eritrean refugees, was able to return to Tripoli fortunately, by an airliner from Malta. So we are continuing with the registration of these people, in order to have verifiable documents to be presented to the competent bodies. We hope that some countries will take responsibility for the fate of these people,” concluded Bishop Martinelli.
ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA REPORT:
The Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission’s recent music workshop inspired 200 singers and musicians with the new Mass settings approved for use from January this year.
Participants gathered at St Peter Chanel’s Church Yarralumla, travelling from as far as Adelong/Batlow to Young, Eden and Jindabyne to Goulburn, Charnwood to South Tuggeranong, and all places in between.
Commission member Dr Bill Griffiths introduced a sample of the five new Mass settings to give participants a flavour of the compositions, so that they might have more confidence both in choosing appropriate music for their parishes and in introducing it to parishioners.
“Bill worked very hard – singing, conducting and playing the keyboard – providing a great musical synopsis of the new Mass settings,” Mr Mike Strudwick of Queanbeyan said.
Sr Bernadette Mary Walsh said the day had inspired her to get involved with the new Mass and encourage more people in her Taralga parish to sing.
There was a lot of positive feedback from the day, and plans made to incorporate what was learned into weekly Mass.
“We can only hope that the musicians have been empowered to lead their parish congregations with confidence,” Mrs Janet Moyle of Page said.
The new Mass settings can be introduced to parishioners at any time now. Changes emerging from the new translation will be introduced gradually.
Administration’s decision to abandon DOMA was ‘lapse in judgment’
House must join litigation fully to ‘defend true meaning of marriage’
WASHINGTON (March 4, 2011)—Leaders of Catholic, Protestant and Sikh communities of faith—together representing tens of millions of adherents—joined together to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to fight for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal courts, in a March 3 letter to Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Signers included Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, California, chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Defense of Marriage; Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals; Dr. Glenn C. Burris, Jr., president, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel; Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America; Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and Dr. Tarunjit Singh (Butalia), secretary general, World Sikh Council-America Region.
These religious leaders agreed they were “very troubled” by the decisions of the Obama Administration and U.S. Justice Department to “no longer protect the traditional definition of marriage and defend existing law.”
They specifically asked that “the House intervene as a party in all cases where DOMA is challenged, not merely to file amicus curiae briefs,” noting that, although intervention “would be unusual, it would be both lawful and warranted under our current legal system and political context.”
The letter explained that “By choosing to no longer defend DOMA in federal court because it believes the law to be unconstitutional, the Obama Administration has undermined the rule of law and the separation of powers. The House has the authority to rectify this lapse in judgment.” It concluded by imploring the Speaker “to lead the House to take the important, necessary step to protect American law, American families, and American values by defending DOMA and protecting the true meaning of marriage.”
The full letter follows.
Dear Speaker Boehner:
We write to express our grave concern over the Department of Justice’s decision to no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against legal challenges. We are very troubled by the Obama Administration’s decision to no longer protect the traditional definition of marriage and defend existing law. Because DOMA is so crucial to our society, by protecting its cornerstone institution, we urge the House of Representatives to take leadership in defending DOMA in the federal courts. Specifically, we ask that the House intervene as a party in all cases where DOMA is challenged, not merely to file amicus curiae briefs. Though such action would be unusual, it would be both lawful and warranted under our current legal system and political context.
As you are surely aware, DOMA was passed in 1996 by strong, bipartisan majorities. The law is crucial because it gives states the authority to make their own decisions regarding the recognition of marriages, and defines marriage at the federal level as “a legal union between one man and one woman,” preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex “marriages.” While the traditional definition of marriage has faced legal and popular challenges of late, a clear majority of Americans oppose same-sex “marriage” and have expressed their support of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in all 31 state referenda and initiatives where the issue has been raised. The definition of marriage is one of the central questions facing our society today. The American people do not want their wishes being overruled by the judiciary—or the executive.
By choosing to no longer defend DOMA in federal court because it believes the law to be unconstitutional, the Obama Administration has undermined the rule of law and the separation of powers. The House has the authority to rectify this lapse in judgment. We implore you to lead the House to take the important, necessary step to protect American law, American families, and American values by defending DOMA and protecting the true meaning of marriage.
St. John Joseph of the Cross
Feast: March 5
Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years he was given to prayer and virtue. So great was his love of poverty that he would always wear the dress of the poor, though he was of noble birth. At the age of sixteen years he entered the Order of St. Francis at naples, amongst the Friars of the Alcantarine Reform, being the first Italian to join this reform which had been instituted in Spain by St. Peter of Alcantara. Throughout his life he was given to the greatest austerity: he fasted constantly, never drank wine, and slept but three hours each night. In 1674 he was sent to found a friary at Afila, in Piedmont; and he assisted with his own hands in the building. Much against his will, he was raised to the priesthood. As superior, he always insisted upon performing the lowliest offices in the community. In 1702 he was appointed Vicar Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy. He was favoured in a high degree with the gift of miracles, people of every condition being brought to him in sickness. His zeal for souls was such that even in sickness he would not spare any labour for them. His great devotion was to our Blessed Lady, and he was urgent with his penitents that they also should cultivate this. He was beatified in 1789, and canonized in 1839.
|Mark 11: 27 - 33|
|27||And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,|
|28||and they said to him, "By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?"|
|29||Jesus said to them, "I will ask you a question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.|
|30||Was the baptism of John from heaven or from men? Answer me."|
|31||And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say, `Why then did you not believe him?'|
|32||But shall we say, `From men'?" -- they were afraid of the people, for all held that John was a real prophet.|
|33||So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."|