CONFERENCE IN THE VATICAN IN NOVEMBER ON ADULT STEM CELLS
VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office a forthcoming international conference on the theme "Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture" was presented. The conference, organised by the Science and Faith Department of the Pontifical Council for Culture, is due to be held in the Vatican from 9 to 11 November.
Participating in today's presentation were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Fr. Tomasz Trafny, director of the Science and Faith Department of the same pontifical council, and Robin L. Smith, chairwoman and CEO of NeoStem Inc., U.S.A. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
Fr. Trafny explained why his dicastery is participating in an initiative on adult stem cells, why it is collaborating with the biopharmaceutical company NeoStem and what projects have emerged from such collaboration.
"For some time", he said, "the Pontifical Council for Culture has been working to promote serious dialogue between the natural sciences and the humanities, especially philosophy and theology. One example of this is the STOQ Project (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest)".
"However", he went on, "our interest in this field of research is circumscribed. It aims to explore the cultural impact of adult stem cell research and of regenerative medicine in the medium and long term".
The pontifical council's collaboration with NeoStem arises from "the fact that we share the same sensitivity towards those ethical values that are centred on the protection of human life at all stages of its existence", said Fr. Trafny, noting that the two institutions also share "an interest in studying the possible cultural impact of scientific discoveries arising from research on adult stem cells, and their application in the field of regenerative medicine".
"As concerns possible future projects", he concluded, "we wish to help students of Pontifical Universities and other Catholic educational institutions to investigate issues linked to the relationships between the natural sciences and the humanities, in a possible framework for interdisciplinary research".
The conference - which will also bring together people who do not have a background in the life sciences or in medicine - is being organised in association with the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care and the Pontifical Academy for Life.
For her part, Robin Smith explained that her company is "pioneering new medical research with adult stem cells. This research has the potential to alleviate human suffering by unlocking the healing power of the human body", she said. "Most importantly, we are able to do all this without destroying another human life".
"No embryos are destroyed to collect adult stem cells. ... We believe that human life is unique and needs to be protected at every stage of its existence. Adult Stem Cell research allows us to advance scientific knowledge while protecting this ethical position. ... These cells are called very small embryonic-like stem cells or VSELs, ... and have many of the beneficial characteristics of an embryonic stem cell, but without the moral and ethical obstacles because these cells are taken from adults, not embryos or foetuses".
"Our partnership with the Vatican is focused on four things", Dr. Smith concluded: "advancing science, eliminating human suffering, educating today's society as well as future generations, and encouraging collaboration in the furtherance of these goals".
VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:
- Seven prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, on their "ad limina" visit:
- Bishop Arockiasamy Jude Gerald Paulraj of Palayamkottai
- Bishop Jebamalai Susaimanickam of Sivagangai.
- Bishop Antony Devotta of Tiruchirapalli.
- Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin.
- Bishop Joseph Anthony Irudayaraj S.D.B. of Dharmapuri.
- Bishop Antonisamy Francis of Kumbakonam.
- Bishop Singaroyan Sebastianappan of Salem.
- Fr. Cornelius Petrus Mayer O.S.A.
VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. James Thoppil of the clergy of the diocese of Khoima, India, rector of the Oriens Theological College at Shillong, as bishop of Khoima (area 16,579, population 2,154,000, Catholics 57,549, priests 156, religious 331). The bishop-elect was born inKottayam, India in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1986.
Implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Anglicanorum coetibus, an Apostolic Constitution which provides for groups of Anglicans to enter into corporate union with the Catholic Church, was issued by our Holy Father in November 2009. Specifically, Anglicanorum coetibus allows for the erection of Personal Ordinariates, juridically similar to dioceses, in which elements of the Anglican heritage may be maintained.
In early 2010, Cardinal Francis George, then President of our Conference, established the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for the Implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States. Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester, Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and myself are members of this Committee which I Chair.
On March 23, 2010, I gave a report to the USCCB Administrative Committee. In the context of that report, I attempted to answer questions and also solicited the observations of the bishops on establishing an Ordinariate in the United States. Subsequent to the meeting, the bishops’ responses were compiled in a report, which also included observations by USCCB Senior Staff. This report was most helpful in conveying the mind of the USCCB at meetings in Rome on Anglicanorum coetibus, directed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from April 26 through April 28, 2010.
The Ad Hoc Committee met in Florida during the USCCB’s June meeting. We were joined by Father Scott Hurd, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington who was ordained through the Pastoral Provision. At this meeting, it was decided that the responsibilities of the Committee are two-fold: 1) assess the level of interest in such an Ordinariate in the United States and thus provide appropriate information for both our Conference and the Holy See; and 2) facilitate the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States.
On August 22, 2010, Father Hurd was appointed as liaison with the USCCB for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus. In this capacity, he serves as staff to the Ad Hoc Committee.
The USCCB made a public announcement in September 2010 of my appointment as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States. In the official press release, Anglicans wishing to be received into the Catholic Church were invited to express their intentions to me in writing by December 31, 2010.
Since that time, every Anglican group and individual who has written has received an acknowledgement of their statement of intention. Anglican groups were sent a “Community Profile” questionnaire, based upon established criteria for assessing Anglican communities. Anglican clergy not associated with a larger group were sent a “Clergy Profile” questionnaire. Finally, Anglican laity not associated with a larger group were sent an acknowledgement to their letter, instructing them to await further instructions, should an Ordinariate be established.
Personal contacts were also made with interested Anglicans during this time, both by members of the Ad Hoc Committee and by Father Hurd, who is in frequent contact with interested Anglicans by telephone, e-mail, and Facebook.
In January 2011, an overview and summary of the responses received from interested Anglicans was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A modified version of this report was submitted to the USCCB President, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who in turn shared it with all members of the Conference. Both reports concluded with the assessment that it appears feasible to establish an Ordinariate in the United States at this time.
Shortly thereafter, an extensive assessment of those Anglican communities intending to enter an Ordinariate was compiled and sent to the CDF. This assessment was referenced in my report on Anglicanorum coetibus to the USCCB Administrative Committee on March 22, 2011. In this report, I explained that all bishops with an Anglican group in their jurisdiction requesting to be received into an Ordinariate would be invited to submit by May 1 any information they wished to share with the Ad Hoc Committee. Many bishops accepted this invitation and provided helpful information.
An analysis of the academic and ministerial formation history of all petitioning Anglican clergy was submitted to the CDF at the beginning of April. This was done to evaluate their formation needs for Catholic ordination. This analysis proposed that petitioning Anglican clergy be placed into one of three categories: those eligible for an intense period of formation; those eligible for the intense period plus an additional period of mandated continuing formation after ordination; and those whose formation histories would not recommend them for either of these options.
In planning for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus, a program of priestly formation was developed that would allow for a concentration of study in the areas of historic theological divergence in anticipation of ordination to the priesthood. The CDF approved the modified program of priestly formation and authorized its use.
With the encouragement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the leadership of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Major Seminary, Saint Mary’s, agreed to implement the priestly formation program. A Saint Mary’s faculty member, Father Jeffrey Steenson, has been instrumental in designing the specific elements of this program, in collaboration with Cardinal DiNardo and myself. Father Steenson is the former Episcopal Bishop of the Rio Grande, who was received into the Church in 2007. The formation program will be available on site at the seminary and also through distance learning facilities.
In mid-April, Anglican clergy seeking ordination in an Ordinariate were directed as part of the process to submit dossiers to me by May 16 for eventual review by the CDF. Since that time, completed dossiers have been sent to Rome for evaluation.
Those Anglican clergy whose dossiers are granted a Nulla Osta by the CDF, indicating that they are eligible to proceed with the approved priestly formation process, will be directed to provide additional information to the CDF. This information will include the results of criminal background checks, a psychological evaluation, a letter of resignation from their Anglican entity, a Votum from the Delegate or Ordinary, and a Votum from the Catholic bishop where the candidate resides, who will have been invited to interview him, either personally or through a delegate. If possible, a Votum from the candidate’s former Anglican authority will also be included.
During this time, those candidates responsible for a congregation will be guiding the catechetical formation of their people, utilizing the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, as has been approved by the CDF. Candidates will be encouraged to invite speakers from the local Catholic community.
Once the second set of documentation has been sent to the CDF, a candidate will cease celebrating the Anglican Eucharist. When a rescript has been issued and received, he may be ordained to the diaconate immediately, with the intention that his subsequent priestly ordination would coincide with the reception of his parish group into full communion.
Since the Holy See has indicated its wish to establish an Ordinariate in the United States this Fall, I am grateful for this opportunity to conduct this consultation with the members of our Conference, to receive any additional observations you might have and to indicate a few areas where we as bishops can be of assistance to a newly-appointed ordinary as he attempts to implement an Ordinariate in the United States.
Before inviting your observations and, I hope, support for this effort, I would like to touch on a number of areas where individually we as bishops can be of assistance to a newly formed Ordinariate and its efforts to review possible candidates for priestly ordination.
Since each candidate will be required to have a criminal background check and a psychological evaluation, I would hope that each of us would be able to provide these services for a candidate for the Ordinariate just as we do for those who are seeking admission in our priestly formation programs or to minister in a diocesan program.
A second area where we can perhaps be of some assistance is to offer worship space to a small community that would be a part of the new Ordinariate. Most of them will not have property such as a church and meeting facilities. Our hospitality in providing them worship space would be a sign of generosity on our part and, I am sure, greatly welcomed by them.
An additional way we can facilitate the work of the Ordinariate would be to assign priests who would function as a bishop’s delegate. These delegates would meet and interview candidates for priesthood ordination and, perhaps, serve as a mentor to assist with any issues that arise in the formation process.
Fourth, I suggest that we make available the resources of our Tribunals to those Anglicans, both clergy and lay, who will need to secure an annulment before being received into an Ordinariate.
Another area where collaboration at the local level could be helpful is in the catechetical preparation of the lay faithful of the former Anglican congregation. While this is the responsibility of the Ordinariate, and specifically the head of the congregation seeking membership in the Ordinariate, perhaps someone involved in catechesis in the neighboring Catholic parish (Director of Religious Education, Coordinator of Religious Education or a senior catechist) might be willing to assist in the catechetical process for those lay faithful coming into the Ordinariate and making their profession of faith as a Catholic.
It might also be helpful to note that the establishment of an Ordinariate and the process for the Pastoral Provision are two distinct responses. The Ordinariate deals with those seeking to come into the Catholic Church as a group. The Pastoral Provision is intended for an individual seeking ordination as a Catholic priest.
Finally, as this consultation unfolds, I welcome your input, observations and comments.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - In the midst of the chaos of war and economic crisis, "the Lord touches our lives." And once again, "confirms that true joy and peace are not found in favorable circumstances, but simply by standing before Him in worship and celebration" affirms Brother Lalith Perera of the community of the Risen Lord. His community is organizing one of the many inter-confessional events associated with Pentecost, which will be held throughout the month of June, in all languages Sinhala, Tamil and English, to mark the unity between Christians of different Churches.
On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Trinity, on 19th June, the Catholic Church will hold a prayer vigil on the night of Saturday June, 18. The vigil will be held in St. Anne’s Maha Viddayalaya (School) in Colombo 13, to coincide with the Pentecost celebrations of the 30th year of Tamil Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Card. Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo, has sent a message to the group: "That the solemn feast of Pentecost may awaken in the participants a true devotion to the Holy Spirit, and a commitment to be faithful witnesses of the Word of God and his Church." The archbishop will preside over the blessing along with Fr Emmanuel Fernando, Episcopal vicar for the Tamil apostolate.
June 25th instead the Holy Trinity community, an interfaith association composed of members of seven churches, will host the first meeting of the National Ecumenical Pentecost. Under the message "unity in diversity", Louis Benedict, of Holy Trinity, said: "We are all called to collaborate in this mission. Today the divisions are so deep and complex that it appears impossible to achieve unity. But the Bible tells us that nothing is impossible with God if we cooperate with Him in doing His will. " The meeting will be held in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, in Colombo.
Finally, commemorating Pentecost the community of the Risen Lord, will organize a day of rebirth, on 9 July, at the College St. Joseph Colombo. The community, of which Brother Lalith Perera is part, organizes every year the "Four steps retreat," during which "thousands of people have had encounters that have transformed their lives: the sick are healed, addictions have been defeated, marriages in crisis reconciled."
CATH NEWS REPORT:
Screenshot from The Australian
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout last night raised more than $3.4 million, with more than 1,000 chief executives and leaders participating last night across the country, reports the Australian.
The effort raised about half a million dollars more for the charity than last year.Chief executives armed themselves with sleeping bags, beanies, thick woollen socks and thermal clothes to sleep rough - and had to sustain themselves with a cup of hot soup and bread roll to keep warm as they huddled in their sleeping bags to fight off the chill and rain.
The three top fundraisers were Commonwealth Bank's Ralph Norris ($113,034), News Limited's John Hartigan ($96,530) and Virgin Australia's John Borghetti ($54,163). In Darwin, the managing director of Latitude Travel, Xana Kamitsis raised $21,620.
The chief executive of Merlo Coffee, Dean Merlo, ($28,428) was Brisbane's highest.
In Adelaide, Great Southern Rail chief Tony Braxton-Smith raised $21,905. In Melbourne, Mirvac chief of development John Carfi raised $42,019 and in Perth, Burswood Entertainment boss Barry Felstead raised $45,571.
McDonald's chief executive Catriona Noble, who raised more than $11,250, said her two young children were very proud of her but were concerned about what she would be eating.
"People tend to make assumptions why people sleep rough, but anyone of us could be one or two steps away from being homeless," Ms Noble said. "The experience will make me understand and relate better to people. After all, as the Rotarians say, 'we should do less for self and more to serve'."
Nudie's James Ajaka, who raised $2045, said he was mustering up as much courage as possible to fight the bitter cold and wet weather.
"I'm doing this because there are more than 100,000 homeless people and 40 per cent of them are women and children," he said. "This cause needs as much awareness as possible."
"During the day the population flee to the hills surrounding the villages, and then in the evening they return home. At night there are no bombings, because the planes in Khartoum do not have night-sighting systems", said Sister Carmen, who has personally witnessed a bombing carried out by aircraft from Khartoum. "Two days ago while I was accompanying some people in the Kauda area- Sister Carmen said - I personally witnessed an air raid. I saw the fighter jet approaching fast and, after a reconnaissance, returned to low altitude to drop bombs and fire weapons. We threw ourselves on the floor while the bombs exploded, it was terrible".
Sister Carmen concludes by recalling that the question most frequently asked by the local people is: "But where is the international community?". According to a statement sent to Fides by Caritas Internationalis, more than 60,000 people have been forced to escape from the fighting in southern Kordofan, while the humanitarian situation is serious because of lack of food, water and medicine. (L.M.)
St. John Francis Regis
JESUIT EVANGELIST AND PREACHER
Feast: June 16
Born 31 January, 1597, in the village of Fontcouverte (department of Aude); died at la Louvesc, 30 Dec., 1640. His father Jean, a rich merchant, had been recently ennobled in recognition of the prominent part he had taken in the Wars of the League; his mother, Marguerite de Cugunhan, belonged by birth to the landed nobility of that part of Languedoc. They watched with Christian solicitude over the early education of their son, whose sole fear was lest he should displease his parents or his tutors. The slightest harsh word rendered him inconsolable, and quite paralyzed his youthful faculties. When he reached the age of fourteen, he was sent to continue his studies in the Jesuit college at Béziers. His conduct was exemplary and he was much given to practices of devotion, while his good humour, frankness, and eagerness to oblige everybody soon won for him the good-will of his comrades. But Francis did not love the world, and even during the vacations lived in retirement, occupied in study and prayer. On one occasion only he allowed himself the diversions of the chase. At the end of his five years' study of the humanities, grace and his ascetic inclinations led him to embrace the religious life under the standard of St. Ignatius Loyola. He entered the Jesuit novitiate of Toulouse on 8 December, 1616, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Here he was distinguished for an extreme fervour, which never afterwards flagged, neither at Cahors, where he studied rhetoric for a year (Oct., 1618-Oct., 1619), nor during the six years in which he taught grammar at the colleges of Billom (1619-22), of Puy-en-Velay (1625-27), and of Auch (1627-28), nor during the three years in which he studied philosophy in the scholasticate at Tournon (Oct., 1622-Oct., 1625). During this time, although he was filling the laborious office of regent, he made his first attempts as a preacher. On feast-days he loved to visit the towns and villages of the neighbourhood, and there give an informal instruction, which never failed--as attested by those who heard him--to produce a profound impression on those present.
As he burned with the desire to devote himself entirely to the salvation of his neighbour, he aspired with all his heart to the priesthood. In this spirit he began in October, 1628, his theological studies. The four years he was supposed to devote to them seemed to him so very long that he finally begged his superiors to shorten the term. This request was granted, and in consequenceFrancis said his first Mass on Trinity Sunday, 15 June, 1631; but on the other hand, in conformity with the statutes of his order, which require the full course of study, he was not admitted to the solemn profession of the four vows. The plague was at that time raging in Toulouse. The new priest hastened to lavish on the unfortunate victims the first-fruits of his apostolate. In the beginning of 1632, after having reconciled family differences at Fontcouverte, his birthplace, and having resumed for some weeks a class in grammar at Pamiers, he was definitively set to work by his superiors at the hard labour of the missions. This became the work of the last ten years of his life. It is impossible to enumerate the cities and localities which were the scene of his zeal. On this subject the reader must consult his modern biographer, Father de Curley, who has succeeded best in reconstructing the itinerary of the holy man. We need only mention that from May, 1632, to Sept., 1634, his head-quarters were at the Jesuit college of Montpellier, and here he laboured for the conversion of the Huguenots, visiting the hospitals, assisting the needy, withdrawing from vice wayward girls and women, and preaching Catholic doctrine with tireless zeal to children and the poor. Later (1633-40) he evangelized more than fifty districts in le Vivarais, le Forez, and le Velay. He displayed everywhere the same spirit, the same intrepidity, which were rewarded by the most striking conversions. "Everybody", wrote the rector of Montpellier to the general of the Jesuits, "agrees that Father Regis has a marvellous talent for the Missions" (Daubenton, "La vie du B. Jean-François Régis", ed. 1716, p. 73). But not everyone appreciated the transports of his zeal. He was reproached in certain quarters with being impetuous and meddlesome, with troubling the peace of families by an indiscreet charity, with preaching not evangelical sermons, but satires and invectives which converted no one. Some priests, who felt their own manner of life rebuked, determined to ruin him, and therefore denounced him to the Bishop of Viviers. They had laid their plot with such perfidy and cunning that the bishop permitted himself to be prejudiced for a time. But it was only a passing cloud. The influence of the best people on the one hand, and on the other the patience and humility of the saint, soon succeeded in confounding the calumny and caused the discreet and enlightened ardour of Regis to shine forth with renewed splendour (Daubenton, loc. dit., 67- 73). Less moderate indeed was his love of mortification, which he practiced with extreme rigour on all occasions, without ruffling in the least his evenness of temper. As he returned to the house one evening after a hard day's toil, one of his confrères laughingly asked: "Well, Father Regis, speaking candidly, are you not very tired?" "No", he replied, "I am as fresh as a rose." He then took only a bowl of milk and a little fruit, which usually constituted both his dinner and supper, and finally, after long hours of prayer, lay down on the floor of his room, the only bed he knew. He desired ardently to go to Canada, which at that time was one of the missions of the Society of Jesus where one ran the greatest risks. Having been refused, he finally sought and obtained from the general permission to spend six months of the year, and those the terrible months of winter, on the missions of the society. The remainder of the time he devoted to the most thankless labour in the cities, especially to the rescue of public women, whom he helped to persevere after their conversion by opening refuges for them, where they found honest means of livelihood. This most delicate of tasks absorbed a great part of his time and caused him many annoyances, but his strength of soul was above the dangers which he ran. Dissolute men often presented a pistol at him or held a dagger to his throat. He did not even change colour, and the brightness of his countenance, his fearlessness, and the power of his words caused them to drop the weapons from their hands. He was more sensitive to that opposition which occasionally proceeded from those who should have seconded his courage. His work among penitents urged his zeal to enormous undertakings. His superiors, as his first biographers candidly state, did not always share his optimism, or rather his unshaken faith in Providence, and it sometimes happened that they were alarmed at his charitable projects and manifested to him their disapproval. This was the cross which caused the saint the greatest suffering, but it was sufficient for him that obedience spoke: he silenced all the murmurs of human nature, and abandoned his most cherished designs. Seventy-two years after his death a French ecclesiastic, who believed he had a grievance against the Jesuits, circulated the legend that towards the end of his life St. John Francis Regis had been expelled from the Society of Jesus. Many different accounts were given, but finally the enemies of the Jesuits settled on the version that the letter of the general announcing to John his dismissal was sent from Rome, but that it was late in reaching its destination, only arriving some days after the death of the saint. This calumny will not stand the slightest examination. (For its refutation see de Curley, "St. Jean-François Régis", 336-51; more briefly and completely in "Analecta Bollandiana", XIII, 78-9.) It was in the depth of winter, at la Louvesc, a poor hamlet of the mountains of Ardèche, after having spent with heroic courage the little strength that he had left, and while he was contemplating the conversion of the Cévennes, that the saint's death occurred, on 30 December, 1640. There was no delay in ordering canonical investigations. On 18 May, 1716, the decree of beatification was issued by Clement XI. On 5 April, 1737, Clement XII promulgated the decree of canonization. Benedict XIV established the feast-day for 16 June. But immediately after his death Regis was venerated as a saint. Pilgrims came in crowds to his tomb, and since then the concourse has only grown. Mention must be made of the fact that a visit made in 1804 to the blessed remains of the Apostle of Vivarais was the beginning of the vocation of the Blessed Curé of Ars, Jean-Baptiste Vianney, whom the Church has raised in his turn to her altars. "Everything good that I have done", he said when dying, "I owe to him" (de Curley, op. cit., 371). The place where Regis died has been transformed into a mortuary chapel. Near by is a spring of fresh water to which those who are devoted to St. John Francis Regis attribute miraculous cures through his intercession. The old church of la Louvesc has received (1888) the title and privileges of a basilica. On this sacred site was founded in the beginning of the nineteenth century the Institute of the Sisters of St. Regis, or Sisters of Retreat, better known under the name of the Religious of the Cenacle; and it was the memory of his merciful zeal in behalf of so many unfortunate fallen women that gave rise to the now flourishing work of St. Francis Regis, which is to provide for the poor and working people who wish to marry, and which is chiefly concerned with bringing illegitimate unions into conformity with Divine and human laws.
|Matthew 6: 7 - 15|
|7||"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.|
|8||Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.|
|9||Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.|
|10||Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.|
|11||Give us this day our daily bread;|
|12||And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;|
|13||And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.|
|14||For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you;|
|15||but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.|