Underground bishop Jia arrested yesterday

China, April 01, 2009 - Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, the underground bishop of Zhengding (Hebei), was arrested yesterday by police and taken away to an undisclosed location. The arrest took place in conjunction with the meeting at the Vatican of the Plenary Commission on the Church in China.Yesterday afternoon at four o'clock (local time), 5 police officers and two vehicles appeared outside the bishop's home and took him to an undisclosed location. Bishop Jia, 74, suffers from various disturbances because of past imprisonments and his age, and the faithful of the diocese are concerned that this new arrest could endanger his life.For years, Jia has endured arrest and isolation by the police, who have kept him away from his community for months. During these periods, the police have tried to indoctrinate him on the religious policies of the Party, and to force him to join the Patriotic Association (PA).This time, the motives are even more serious, and strike at the h ...Read More

Follow the footprints of Cardinal Kim

Seoul, March 29, 2009 - "An incredible number of people have knocked at the door of the Church after the death of Cardinal Kim." The bishops of South Korea have used the occasion of the traditional spring assembly of the bishops' conference (CBCK) to thank the Catholics and non-Catholics who have demonstrated their great affection for Cardinal Stephen Kim, who died last February 16 at the age of 86.The Korean bishops call the deceased archbishop a "pillar of the Catholic Church in Korea," a man "with an open mind," whose episcopal motto, "pro vobis et pro multis (for you and for many)," has been reflected in the thousands of people, believers and nonbelievers, who have paid homage to his body in the cathedral of Seoul, "all over the country as well as overseas Korean Catholic communities."The people have been won over by the testimony of love for the poor offered by the archbishop of Seoul, by "the light of humility and self-abasement" with which he treated everyone he ...Read More

Vatican released the programme of Holy Fathers trip to Holy Land

Vatican City, March 27, 2009 – Benedict XVI’s often-expressed desire to visit the Holy Land is now becoming reality. The Vatican released today the programme of the Holy Father’s trip set for 8-15 May, in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. In each country he will meet the head of state, Jordanian King Abdullah, Israeli President Peres and Palestinian President Abbas. This is the third papal visit in modern times to the land where Jesus lived. Pope Paul VI came in 1964 and John Paul II, in 2000.In Jordan on 9 May Benedict XVI will visit the Memorial of Moses on Mount Nebo, the Mosque of al-Hussein bin Talal in Amman, and bless the cornerstone of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem's Madaba University. On the following day he will travel to Bethany Beyond the Jordan, site of the Lord's Baptism.The Holy Father will arrive in Israel on Monday 11 May. After the welcome ceremony he will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem and hold a meeting with organisations d ...Read More

92000 inactive Catholics came back to Church in Phoenix Diocese

Phoenix, March 27, 2009 - Maybe TV isn't so bad after all.An estimated 92,000 inactive Catholics in the Phoenix Diocese have come back to the church in the last year thanks in large part to a groundbreaking television advertising campaign called Catholics Come Home.The promotional spots featured people and locations from around the Phoenix Diocese to promote the church during prime-time television. The cornerstone of the campaign, the Catholics Come Home Web site, addresses often misunderstood aspects of the faith."For those who had fallen away from the practice of their faith, it let them know that we want them to come home," Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said.The commercials, which ran during Lent in 2008, detail the good works of the Catholic Church throughout history. They also offer real-life testimonials of local fallen-away Catholics explaining what turned them away and what drew them back."Phoenix was supposed to be this quiet little tes ...Read More

North Dakota seminary partially affected by flood

Wasgington, March 26, 2009 - Msgr. Gregory Schlesselmann, rector of Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo, N.D., was doing all he could during a heavy snowstorm March 26 to prepare for the expected rise in two days of floodwaters of the adjacent Red River.An existing, half-mile-long clay dike, about 45 feet high in his estimation, was expanded in an effort to keep an expected 41-foot crest of water not only from the seminary property but also from the north side of Fargo.He told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview March 26 that he couldn't see the river, because the dike, significantly raised the previous day by the Army Corps of Engineers, blocked the view.Several days of unrelenting rain had caused the waters of the Red River to rise as much as 5 feet in one day, according to news reports. The city had closed a number of bridges over the river. A heavy blizzard March 25 knocked out power and dumped wet snow and freezing rain on the already rain-soaked r ...Read More

Olallo Project helps migrants find work

London, Mar. 26, 2009 - George Tatar has slept on the streets in five different countries since he left Romania two years ago. For the last eight months he has been living out of a sleeping bag in central London. From shop doorways, underpasses and subways he has learned to love the city. Now he wants to stay.He also wants a job and roof over his head. He is among the first of a dozen "rough sleepers," as the British call them, handpicked to be the first clients of the Olallo Project, an initiative of the Catholic Church to help shift the European homeless off the streets of London and into legal employment.To Tatar, 30, the project not only means a place to stay and a short-term base from which to apply for work, but it will ensure that he has the right documentation to find a job.For up to eight weeks it will give him the opportunity to improve his English and learn basic skills in such fields as catering and construction to improve his chances of finding paid ...Read More

Mocking Pope in public discussions is not acceptable

Vatican City, Mar. 26, 2009 - Mockery is not acceptable in public discussions, especially when the subject is the pope, said the president of the Italian Catholic bishops' conference.At the same time, India's bishops defended Pope Benedict XVI's leadership of the Catholic Church."We will not accept that the pope, in the media or anywhere else, is mocked or offended," said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, opening the spring meeting of the permanent council of the Italian bishops' conference.Cardinal Bagnasco told other members of the council March 23 there has been "a heavy activity of criticism -- from Italy and, especially, from abroad -- regarding our beloved pope."He said the public criticism began in January when the pope lifted the excommunications of four traditionalist bishops belonging to the Society of St. Pius X, including a bishop who denied the extent of the Holocaust, and continued into March when Pope Benedict said the distribution of cond ...Read More

Sister Mary Prema bacame the superior general of Missionaries of Charity

German-born Sister Mary Prema is the new superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, the congregation founded by Blessed Teresa of Kolkata. She is replacing Sister Nirmala Joshi who has led the congregation since 1997, after taking over from its founder.Sister Christie, spokeswoman for the congregation, made the announcement a day before its general chapter was scheduled to end. It began on 1 February at a place some 30 kilometres from Kolkata, headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity.The nuns wanted to re-elect Sister Nirmala to a third term but she requested to be relieved of her duties, citing ill health and a desire to live a contemplative life in the congregation.At the general chapter 163 nuns cast their ballot, 74 from India and the rest from countries where the Missionaries of Charity are present.Along with the new superior general, Sister Joseph was elected as assistant superior general and first councillor. Other councillors include Sist ...Read More

Benedict XVI speaks of prayer for reconciliation and peace

Luanda, March 22, 2009 - Only the light of God can overcome the great "darkness" present in "many parts of our world," the evil represented by wars and tribal violence, but also by the egoism of men who exploit other men, leading to that hedonism which is at the source of escape into drugs, "sexual irresponsibility," destruction of families and innocent human lives through abortion. Benedict XVI today addressed an invitation to reconciliation and hope to all of Africa, from the esplanade of Cimangola, in Luanda, Angola, where a million people gathered to participate in the great celebration that in a certain way concludes the first trip of Benedict XVI to Africa, from where he will depart again tomorrow."Our prayer," he said at the Angelus, "rises today from Angola, from Africa, and embraces the whole world. May the men and women from throughout the world who join us in our prayer, turn their eyes to Africa, to this great Continent so filled with hope, yet so thirsty for just ...Read More

Pope Benedict urged Bishops of Angola to fight relativism

Luanda, Angola, Mar 21, 2009 - Pope Benedict gathered the bishops of Angola and Sao Tome at the apostolic nunciature on Friday night to speak about the state of the Church in their country, warning them to fight the spread of relativism by promoting an "adult and mature faith.""God will reward you," he told the prelates, "for all the apostolic work which you have accomplished in difficult conditions, both during the war and at the present time, in spite of so many limitations, thus helping to give the Church in Angola and in Sao Tome and Principe that dynamism which everyone acknowledges."However, the Church still faces other challenges such as "widespread relativism which acknowledges nothing as definitive and, even more, tends to make its ultimate measure the individual and his personal caprice," the Pope cautioned.In the face of relativism, he said, "we hold out another measure: the Son of God, Who is also true man. Christ is the measure of true humanism. The ...Read More

Spiritual care a part of recovery at Catholic hospitals

Davenport, Iowa, Mar 21, 2009 - Late last year, Larry Dingman was suffering from a painful spinal infection that put him in “sheer misery.” Two operations later, the patient at Mercy Iowa City says he’s doing better — but not just thanks to the hospital’s doctors and nurses.“The chaplains have been fantastic,” says the Catholic truck driver from Iowa City. “The best thing is that they’d talk with me and say, ‘You’re in my prayers,’ which may not sound like a lot, but it meant a lot to me… I think that’s part of the healing process.”In the Davenport Diocese, the three Catholic hospitals — as do other hospitals — acknowledge spirituality’s potential by providing Masses and ecumenical services, in-house and home chaplains, and other offerings. The efforts not only comply with the U.S. bishops’ directive that Catholic health care institutions treat “the whole person,” but reflect research that has linked spiritual well-being to better immune function and quicker recovery. ...Read More

Mexico repealed the death penalty

SANTA FE, N.M. (CNS)— New Mexico repealed the death penalty March 18, after Gov. Bill Richardson had a change of heart about his long support for capital punishment.Richardson said at the press conference where he signed the bill into law that he only decided that afternoon to sign it. As he considered it that morning, Richardson, a Catholic, said he went to Mass and then to visit the state's high-security penitentiary where prisoners would serve out life-without-parole sentences in lieu of facing execution.He said he also had met with murder victims' family members who wanted the law to remain in place and weighed the fact that few nations in the world practice capital punishment, making the United States out of step with most Western democracies.Reports by New Mexico newspapers and television stations described an obviously unsettled Richardson relating his struggle over whether to sign the bill. Long a supporter of capital punishment, Richardson sai ...Read More

Pope Benedict XVI urged to reject the Tyranny of Materialism

YAOUNDE, Cameroon (CNS)—Celebrating Mass with more than 40,000 Catholics in Cameroon, Pope Benedict XVI urged African families to reject the "tyranny of materialism" and other social changes that risk eroding the continent's traditional values."Brothers and sisters in Cameroon and throughout Africa, you who have received from God so many human virtues, take care of your souls! Do not let yourselves be captivated by selfish illusions and false ideals!" the pope said in a homily March 19 at the Amadou Ahidjo soccer stadium in Yaounde.The Mass marked the publication of the working document for October's Synod of Bishops for Africa, and at the end of the liturgy the pope personally handed copies of the text to bishops from all over the continent.Wearing gold vestments, the 81-year-old pope celebrated Mass on a hut-shaped altar erected at one end of the playing field. The liturgy used eight languages, including Cameroon&# ...Read More

Condom-Promoters attack the Catholic Church

Two days after Pope Benedict XVI warned that more condoms would facilitate the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa, the world's condom-promoters and their political allies are leading an all-out attack on the pope and on the Catholic Church.However, at the same time, Catholic and other conservative leaders are defending the pope, pointing out that not only is science on his side, but also that in his remarks the pope was showing a welcome deference to the pro-family culture of Africa, which is opposed to the population control agenda promoted in the continent by many Western "aid" agencies.The day after the Pope made his comments, the heavily anti-Catholic government of Spain announced it would be sending over a million condoms to African countries. The Spanish health ministry said in a statement Wednesday, "Condoms have been demonstrated to be a necessary element in prevention policies and an efficient barrier against the virus." ...Read More

Benedict XVI: Recognise others as fellow men and women

God gave man “wings’, faith and reason, to enable him not to “yield to the law of the strongest” but to recognise others as brothers and sisters who have the same rights. Such is the basis of dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation, whose roots are found in Christianity, and of which Benedict XVI is the bearer in this, his first trip to Africa.The Holy Father focused on these themes today, especially after arriving in Angola, a country slowly recovering from a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 2002 and cost 500,000 dead, as well as countless maimed, orphans and refugees.On his departure from Cameroon this morning he touched upon an issue, albeit indirectly, that is a source of conflict and violence, and not only in Africa: Christian-Muslim relations.In his farewell address the Pontiff mentioned his stay in Cameroon, stressing the importance of his meetings with leaders of the local Muslim community.“As we continue on our journey towards greater mutual u ...Read More

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