CATHOLIC NEWS WORLD: TUE. MAR. 22, 2011: HEADLINES-
VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2011 (VIS report) - At 11.30 a.m. today in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the newly-published Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy. Participating in the event were Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; Bishop Jean-Louis Brugues O.P., secretary of the same dicastery, and Fr. Charles Morerod O.P., rector of Rome's Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). (image source: Radio Vaticana)
Cardinal Grocholewski explained how the normative documents concerning ecclesiastical studies - and hence also philosophy - currently comprehend John Paul II's 1979 Apostolic Constitution "Sapientia christiana" and its norms of application issued in the same year by the Congregation for Catholic Education. "Nonetheless", he said, "'Ecclesia semper est reformanda' in order to respond to the new demands of ecclesial life in changing historical-cultural circumstances and this also (perhaps especially) involves the academic world".
The reasons for the reform are, the cardinal explained, "on the one hand, the shortcomings in philosophical formation at many ecclesiastical institutions, where precise points of reference are lacking especially as regards the subjects to be taught and the quality of teachers. ... On the other hand there is the conviction - expressed in John Paul II's 1998 Encyclical 'Fides et ratio' - of the importance of the metaphysical component of philosophy, ... and the awareness that philosophy is indispensable for theological formation". For this reason today's decree of the congregation aims to re-evaluate philosophy, above all in the light of that Encyclical, ... restoring the 'original vocation' of philosophy; i.e., the search for truth and its sapiental and metaphysical dimension".
The preparation of the text dates back to 2004 when the congregation established a commission of specialists in philosophy. That commission, possessing both intellectual and institutional expertise and representative of the principal linguistic and geographical areas, was charged with presenting a reform project. The definitive version "was ratified in the Congregation for Catholic Education's ordinary meeting of 16 June 2010", while Benedict XVI "approved 'in specific form' the modifications made to the Apostolic Constitution 'Sapientia christiana' and confirmed the rest of the text 'in common form'. In fact", the cardinal explained, "only three articles of 'Sapientia christiana' have been reformed while the vast majority of the modifications concern the congregation's own applicative norms".
For his part Bishop Brugues focused on some of the details of the new reform in ecclesiastical theological faculties, including the length of the course which from now on will last three years. As regards the syllabus, "the document adds a subject: ... logic, and in particular highlights the role of metaphysics", he said. The reform will likewise affect academic staff who must be full-time and adequately qualified.
The reform also concerns the first cycle of studies in ecclesiastical faculties of theology and affiliated institutes, defining the duration of formation and explaining that "strictly philosophical disciplines must constitute at least sixty percent of the number of credits in the first two years". This condition also holds for affiliated major seminaries.
In his remarks the rector of the Angelicum affirmed that "the study of philosophy helps theologians to an awareness of their own philosophical criteria, to examine them critically and to avoid imposing a conceptual framework incompatible with the faith on their theology or preaching. In order to be correct, critical reflection on philosophical theories must seek the truth beyond appearances. A non-Christian philosopher cannot be useful to theology whereas a Christian philosopher who wishes to prove the existence of God can have the opposite effect".
VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Donald F. Hanchon of the clergy of the archdiocese of Detroit, U.S.A., episcopal vicar and pastor of the parish of the Holy Redeemer, and Fr. Michael J. Byrnes, also of the clergy of Detroit, vice rector and dean of formation at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Detroit (area 10,106, population 4,556,000, Catholics 1,515,000, priests 641, permanent deacons 191, religious 1,552). Bishop-elect Hanchon was born in Wayne, U.S.A. in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1974. Bishop-elect Byrnes was born in Detroit in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1996.
CNA REPORT: Some 40,000 Peruvians took part in a march commemorating the Day of the Unborn Child on March 19 in the northwestern province of Piura.
During a Mass at the event, Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura urged Catholics to “be committed to building a culture of life, which must begin with heeding the voice of every unborn child” in Peru.
“We are all responsible for what science has amazingly revealed to us to be a child from the first moment of his existence at conception,” the archbishop said. “The mother who bears him in her womb is responsible first and foremost. Then, those who are around her, the baby’s father and her family. And last but not least, civil authorities and society in general,” he said.
Authentic development demands that the “inalienable rights of the human person – especially the right to life from conception to natural death – be defended,” the archbishop continued.
Consequently, he added, the legalization of abortion in Peru “would always be an injustice and never a right. The right to kill does not exist. Only the right to life does. Abortion solves nothing. Let us pray to the Lord of Life that abortion is never allowed in Peru.”
Archbishop Eguren also expressed regret that the campaign season underway in the country has been characterized by “insults and attacks from one side to the other.
“Candidates are using language and expressions filled with double meanings to attack each other like never before.”
“Voters deserve more respect from those who seek to govern us, whether from the presidential palace or the congress,” the archbishop said. Voters also deserve to know the political agendas of each of the candidates, he continued. “An important part of this is that they clearly tell us what they think about the issues of abortion, the family and drugs,” he stated.
At the conclusion of his homily the archbishop prayed for the Japanese people impacted by the recent earthquake and tsunami. “May our prayer be a sign of our solidarity with our noble sister nation of Japan with whom we have historical and cultural ties. May the Lord help them to overcome the dramatic situation they are facing.”
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Police in Yangdang, Hubei province, raided a Christian legal centre, causing havoc for members who were studying the regulations of the Religious Affairs Bureau. A group of 180 police agents, led by the chiefs of the local police and Religious Affairs Bureau, stormed the site. They used tear gas, beat up those present, including two women, one elderly, and smashed the centre’s equipment. China Aid, an organisation that monitors religious freedom in China, made public the incident, which occurred on 23 February.
Christians in Yangdang, Zaoyang Municipality, issued a statement slamming the attack. In it, they said, “We are a group of kind-hearted Christians from Yangdang Town (hometown of aerospace hero Nie Haisheng), Zaoyang City, Hubei Province, and we are legal and law-abiding citizens of the People’s Republic of China.”
“In our ordinary life, we sincerely abide by the laws and regulations of the state. We conduct ourselves with the teachings from the Bible and live by observing the rules.”
For this reason, “we did not expect that at about 6 p.m. on February 23, 2011, we would personally see and experience the law enforcement officers of the state—the so-called people’s police—arrest, beat and severely punish ordinary people. Even now, fear still lingers in us.”
They noted that over 20 of their friends and relatives were studying the relevant documents concerning the “Regulations on Religions Affairs” promulgated by the State Council, when “suddenly in burst Fu Dewu, head of Xiangyang Municipal Bureau for Ethnic and Religious Affairs and Li Guiming, director of Zaoyang Municipal Bureau of Religion, leading over 100 riot police officers and over 80 plainclothes ‘hired roughnecks’ with towels on their wrists as an identification mark headed by Chai Pujun, director of Zaoyang Municipal Public Security Bureau”. They “smashed the door open and broke into the house of our brother without presenting any legal documents or going through any legally required procedures.”
The agents fired tear gas at the unarmed Christians, beating up a number of them, including two women, one of whom was elderly.
Despite the pleas, no one was “taken to hospital to have their injuries treated.” A number of Christians were handcuffed by force, and beaten. The officials then proceeded to destroy the equipment, including video recorders taping the incident.
China does not allow religious activity outside of state-controlled organisations. The Yangdang incident illustrates how anti-Christian repression is increasing, even when Christians respect the law.
As regards the situation of African refugees in Tripoli, who are finding things difficult, the Apostolic Vicar said: “We are trying to organise the departure of Eritreans and refugees of other nationalities to Tunisia, the border of which is 150 km from Tripoli. On the part of the Libyan authorities and the Tunisians we have not come across any problems. In Tunisia there are people in international organisations who will take care of them. Meanwhile we continue to assist the refugees who are still in Tripoli.”
“The small Catholic community is restricted,” claims Bishop Martinelli. “Today a hundred people should depart, including Filipino nurses and workers of other nationalities who wish to leave the Country. But there are still many Filipino nurses who continue their work in hospitals. Those participating in our celebrations now are only African immigrants. And it is always a beautiful testimony of faith in this difficult time.”
CATH NEWS REPORT: Australia's major churches met at a national forum in Canberra yesterday to launch the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, urging for gambling reform, said a report on the Christian Today Australia website.
President of the Uniting Church and Forum Chair, the Reverend Alistair Macrae, said that Australians spent $12 billion on poker machines in 2008-09.Senior representatives from the Uniting, Catholic, Baptist and Anglican churches and The Salvation Army attended, along with senior representatives from the church-based social services peak bodies. Existing state Church gambling taskforces were also represented.
"Only 600,000 Australians play poker machines on a weekly basis. But 15 per cent of these regular
gamblers are problem gamblers, and account for 40 per cent of expenditure on the pokies. These gamblers are estimated by the Productivity Commission to lose on average $21,000 each year.
"Three quarters of people classified as severe problem gamblers play poker machines.
"The social costs are high – relationship breakdown, mental health issues, unemployment, debt and financial hardship, theft and social isolation. These costs are estimated at $4.7 billion a year.
"The rot has to stop. If a club or hotel can only exist on the back of problem gambling spending and it's huge human cost, it is not a viable business.
"Gambling is a product that causes a problem for 30 per cent of regular users. This is not a benign product. It is a dangerous product for many.
"The Australian Churches want to see measures which, if people choose to gamble, will help people to do more safely.
The churches support a national pre-commitment scheme mandatory in all gaming machine venues, because it "focuses regulation on machines and venues and requires gamblers to choose and stick to their own gambling limit".
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the president of Clubs Australia, Peter Newell, will today launch a broadside attack on ''nanny state'' poker machine reforms, warning of club closures and job losses if the scheme proceeds.
Blessed Clemens August von Galen
BISHOP OF MUNSTER, CARDINAL
Feast: March 22
Clemens August von Galen was born on 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Castle, Oldenburg, Germany, the 11th of 13 children born to Count Ferdinand Heribert and Elisabeth von Spee.
His father belonged to the noble family of Westphalia, who since 1660 governed the village of Dinklage. For over two centuries his ancestors carried out the inherited office of camerlengo of the Diocese of Münster.
Clemens August grew up in Dinklage Castle and in other family seats. Due to the struggle between Church and State, he and his brothers were sent to a school run by the Jesuits in Feldkirch, Austria.
He remained there until 1894, when he transferred to the Antonianum in Vechta. After graduation, he studied philosophy and theology in Frebur, Innsbruck and Münster, and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 for the Diocese of Munster by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.
|Matthew 23: 1 - 12|
|1||Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples,|
|2||"The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat;|
|3||so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.|
|4||They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.|
|5||They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,|
|6||and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues,|
|7||and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.|
|8||But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.|
|9||And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.|
|10||Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.|
|11||He who is greatest among you shall be your servant;|
|12||whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.|