VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for July is: "That Christ may ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who are sick with AIDS, especially in the poorest countries". (image source: Radio Vaticana)
His mission intention is: "That religious women in mission territories may be witnesses of the joy of the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ".
FAITH CONDUCTS REASON TO OPEN ITSELF TO THE DIVINE
VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI conferred the first "Ratzinger Prize", an award established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI". The prize winners were: Manlio Simonetti, an Italian layman and scholar of ancient Christian literature and Patrology; Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal, a Spanish priest and professor of systematic theology, and Maximilian Heim, a German Cistercian, abbot of the monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria and professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology.
Following some words of greeting from Msgr. Giuseppe Antonio Scotti, president of the foundation, the Holy Father pronounced his address.
"According to tradition, theology is the science of the faith", said the Pope. "However, if the foundation of theology - i.e., faith - does not at the same time become a focus of thought, if the practice of theology refers only to itself or if it lives exclusively off borrowings from the humanities, then it becomes empty and baseless".
"Theology calls into question the matter of truth; this is its ultimate and essential foundation. Here an expression used by Tertullian may help us to take a step forward: Christ did not say: I am custom, but: I am the truth". The pagan religions, said the Holy Father "were customary by nature. ... They observed the traditional cultural forms, hoping in that way to maintain the right relationship with the mysterious world of the divine. The revolutionary aspect of Christianity in antiquity was precisely its break with 'custom' out of love for truth". The Gospel of St. John "contains the other fundamental interpretation of the Christian faith: the definition of Christ as Logos. If Christ is the Logos, the truth, then man must correspond to Him with his own logos; that is, with his reason".
"From this we can understand that, by its very nature, the Christian faith had to generate theology. It had to ask itself about the rationality of the faith. ... Thus, although the fundamental bond between Logos, truth and faith, has always been clear in Christianity, the concrete form of that bond has produced and continues to produce new questions. ... St. Bonaventure ... spoke of a dual use of reason: a use irreconcilable with the nature of the faith, and another which belongs to the nature of the faith".
For St. Bonaventure there was a "despotism of reason, when it becomes supreme judge of all things. This use of reason is certainly impossible in the context of the faith" because it seeks to submit God "to a process of experimental trial", said the Pope. In our own time, he went on, "empirical reason appears as the only declaredly scientific form of rationality. ... It has led to great achievements, and no-one would seriously wish to deny that it is just and necessary as a way to understand nature and the laws of nature. Nonetheless there is a limit to such a use of reason. God is not an object of human experimentation. He is Subject and shows Himself only in the relationship between one person and another".
"In this context, St. Bonaventure refers to another use of reason: in the 'personal' sphere, in the great questions raised by the fact of being human. Love wants a better knowledge of the beloved. Love, true love, does not make us blind but causes us to see and part of this is thirst for knowledge, thirst for a true knowledge of the other. For this reason the Fathers of the Church found the precursors of Christianity (apart from in the world of the revelation to Israel) not in the area of customary religion, ... but in the 'philosophers', in people who thirsted for truth and who were thus on the path towards God. When this use of reason is lacking, then the great questions of humanity fall outside the field of reason and are abandoned to irrationality. This is why authentic theology is so important. Correct faith conducts reason to open itself to the divine so that, guided by love for truth, it can gain a closer knowledge of God".
VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received the forty metropolitan archbishops upon whom he imposed the pallium yesterday, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. The archbishops were accompanied by members of their families.
The Holy Father addressed the archbishops (who come from twenty-five different countries) in various languages, highlighting how, "the pallium reminds you of your specific responsibility towards your suffragan Churches and your special bond of unity with the See of Peter".
VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was a Message from the Holy Father addressed to Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, marking that publication's 150th anniversary. Its first edition appeared on 1 July 1861.
After reviewing the most significant moments in the history of the daily, traditionally known as "the Pope's newspaper", Benedict XVI writes that "over this century and a half the 'Osservatore Roman' has, above all, testified to the service of truth and Catholic communion by the See of Peter's Successor".
"Over this period - often marked by a lack of points of reference, by the removal of God from the horizon of many societies, even traditionally Christian societies - the Holy See's daily newspaper has stood out as a 'newspaper of ideas', as a source not just of information but of formation. Now it must remain faithful to the role it has played over this century and a half", the Pope writes, "attentive also the Christian East, to the irreversible ecumenical commitment of the various Churches and ecclesial communities, to the constant search for friendship and collaboration with Judaism and other religions, to the cultural debate, to the voice of women, and to bioethical questions which are so decisively important for everyone".
VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk-Mohilev, Belarus, also as apostolic administrator "ad nutum Sanctae Sedis" of the diocese of Pinsk (area 72,700, population 3,146,000, Catholics 50,620, priests 47, religious 228), Belarus.
- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Santa Rosa,U.S.A., presented by Bishop Daniel F. Walsh, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Robert F. Vasa.
- Appointed Fr. John Sherrington of the clergy of the diocese of Nottingham, England, pastor of the parish of the Good Shepherd at Arnold, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Westminster (area 3,634, population 4,726,206, Catholics 476,647, priests 629, permanent deacons 10, religious 1,465), England. The bishop-elect was born in Leicester, England in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1989.
Statistics show that the MMP has over 7 million members. Group members hold prayer Cenacles, where prayers are recited and a passage from Fr. Gobbi's book is read.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – More than 100 Catholics, led by Card Joseph Zen, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, staged a protest last night (feast day of Saints Peter and Paul) outside the Liaison Office, China’s central government office in Hong Kong, to condemn China’s inhuman treatment of the clergy and demand the release of detained Church people.
Catholic representative Patrick Poon, who spoke at the rally outside, said Hong Kong Catholics were “forced to take to the street” because “human rights, particularly religious freedom,” of Chinese Catholics “have been seriously violated to an intolerable situation”.
Dozens of local police officers were stationed outside the office and along the way.
Poon also spoke about the “sad and regrettable illicit ordination” that took place in Leshan (Sichuan) yesterday. He mentioned also the legitimate ordination that was prevented from taking place in Handan (Hebei) where bishop-designate was kept away and his personal freedom endangered.
“The Chinese government’s obstinate move to continue the illicit ordinations is a serious show of disrespect for the Church and creates division and pain within the Churchn which we strongly protest,” he said.
Catholics demonstrated after attending a Mass presided by Cardinal Zen at a nearby chapel. The liturgy celebrated the feast day with prayers for the persecuted and suffering in China. The event was organised by the Hong Kong diocese’s Justice and Peace Commission.
Holding placards, banners and a big cross, the protesters sang hymns. Yellow ribbons were tied onto the barricade outside the gate of China’s Liaison Office, each with the name of a missing or detained member of the clergy onto. As usual, no one from the Office would receive the protesters’ letter, which was placed at the gate.
Protesters urged the government to investigate the cases of tortured priests. They also demanded apologies and compensations.
Poon said that priests in Zhangjiakou (Hebei) have been forced to accept so-called “priest-permit” and to follow the government-imposed principle of “independent, autonomous and self-organised Church”.
He cited the cases of Father Zhang Guangjun of Xuanhua (Hebei), who was badly beaten, and Father Chen Hailong, also of Xuanhua, who was taken away by officials on 9 April and whose whereabouts is still unknown.
Catholics are “concerned about the personal safety of all the clergymen who have disappeared or who have been detained for merely being loyal to their faith and for exercising their freedom of religion as enshrined in the Chinese Constitution,” Poon added.
Tomorrow is the 79th birthday of Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding (Hebei), who has been missing for 14 years after he disappeared in 1997. He has spent one third of his life in detention.
“The Chinese authorities’ cruel and inhumane treatment against Bishop Su is outrageous,” Poon said.
Protesters also demanded to know the whereabouts of other clergymen, including Fr Lu Genjun of Baoding and Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian.
They also demanded the release of all detained Church people, including Fr Ma Wuyong and Fr Liu Honggeng of Baoding, and Fr Li Huisheng of Xiwanzi.
Catholics hope that Chinese authorities will “respect citizens’ freedom of religion and clergymen’s freedom of conscience as well as stop all unlawful ordinations of bishops,” Poon said.
ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE: With blue skies, warmth from the sun and not a cloud in sight, Sydneysiders turned out in force on Sunday, 26 June to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi by taking part in the city's annual Walk with Christ.
Now in its seventh year, the Corpus Christi Walk With Christ set off from the historic St Patrick's Church on Church Hill in the Rocks and then wound its way through the CBD before heading east to St Mary's Cathedral.
Led by Bishop Julian Porteous, the Archdiocese of Sydney's Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Renewal, and the Archdiocese's Auxiliary Bishops, the Most Rev Terence Brady and newly-ordained Bishop Peter A. Comensoli, the annual procession on Corpus Christi has become an important and much loved tradition for Sydney's Catholics and this year, the numbers who took part surpassed all previous years.
But even in last year's cold and rain, thousands were still keen to take part and despite 2010's wintry conditions, more than 4000 joined the procession.
This year however with no wind and lots of sunshine the numbers who participated exceeded all expectations with between 8,000 and 10,000 estimated to have taken part.
"It's hard to be precise about numbers but whichever way I looked all I could see were people filling the streets and stretching back as far as I could see," said one participant.
From 2.30 pm when the procession set off on Sunday, there were prayers, hymns of praise and a feeling of joy as thousands of the faithful followed the three Prelates and Blessed Sacrament on their journey from the Rocks to the Cathedral.
The Procession of the Blessed Sacrament marks the Feast of Corpus Christi each year and has its beginnings back in Medieval times, having been created in the 13th Century as a way for Catholics to express their appreciation of the precious gifts of the Eurcharist.
After eight centuries, the Walk With Christ is embedded in Catholic culture and spiritual tradition, and according to Bishop Julian is now also an integral part of Sydney life and the Australian Church calendar.
"The procession is a way of giving thanks to God for the great gift of the Eucharist and is an expression of our own devotion to the Eucharist as well as being a public witness to our faith," he explains.
Accompanied by Bishop Brady and Bishop Comensoli, Bishop Julian carried the Blessed Sacrament as he led the procession on its journey through the city to the Cathedral, and said he was delighted not only with the large turnout but with the number of primary school children who were representing schools from throughout the Archdiocese as well as the large number of families who brought along their young children, toddlers and babies in prams or push chairs.
Another feature of this year's Walk With Christ were the many choirs who took part, including the highly-regarded choir from the Seminary of the Good Shepherd who led those taking part in the march in hymns and songs of praise.
Hundreds lined the streets and footpaths to watching this year's Walk With Christ, intrigued with what was happening and wanting to know more. For this reason, a number of participants wore blue T-shirts with the words "Ask me" emblazoned across the front, so they could any questions from spectators or those taking part about the Feast of Corpus Christi and the march itself.
Once the procession reached the Cathedral forecourt at around 4.30 pm on Sunday, there was Adoration and Benediction followed by a chance to learn more about the Church and the Archdiocese of Sydney agencies with stalls run by the Catholic Adult Education, the Vocations Centre, the Life, Family and Marriage Centre and Harvest Pilgrimages offering resources, help and information. This was also a time for participants in the Procession to mingle, talk about what the Walk With Christ had meant to them and meet old as well as make new friends.
Protomartyrs of Rome
Feast: June 30
Read more: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/protomartyrsofrome.asp#ixzz1Qn0kdpYN
|Matthew 9: 1 - 8|
|1||And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.|
|2||And behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven."|
|3||And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming."|
|4||But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts?|
|5||For which is easier, to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Rise and walk'?|
|6||But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins" -- he then said to the paralytic -- "Rise, take up your bed and go home."|
|7||And he rose and went home.|
|8||When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men|