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NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT

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03/04/2009 14.28
 
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OREMUS PRO PONTEFICE NOSTRO


The Holy Father requests the prayers of all the faithful so that the Lord may illumine the road for the Church. May the commitment of Pastors and the faithful grow, in support of the delicate and weighty mission of the Successor of the Apostle Peter as 'the guardian of unity' in the Church.
- Vatican Note, Feb. 4, 2009


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See preceding page for items posted earlier today (4/3/09).

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The latest official European declaration of stupidity, ignorance and blind prejudice - not to mention shameless 'lese majeste' of a head of state - comes from Belgium. At least, the Belgian bishops reacted promptly, if not quite forcefully.


Belgian bishops, Vatican
decry Belgian Parliament's
resolution against the Pope

Translated from
the Italian service of

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The bishops of Belgium have expressed their 'regret' for the resolution approved yesterday by the Belgian Chamber of Deputies who said that Pope Benedict XVI's recent statements about the fight against AIDS were 'unacceptable'.

In a note issued today, the Belgian bishops' conference affirmed their respect for the 'democratic character' of the decision, but underscored that "it does not take account of what Pope Benedict XI was really saying", namely, that "without education in sexual responsibility, other means of preventing AIDS would be insufficient".

"We hope," said the note, "that with the approach of Easter, the emotional polemics may calm down. What our nation and Africa need is calm reflection about all the means that must be employed to stop the AIDS epidemic."

Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican Press Office (and of Vatican Radio and CTV), had this to say:

The resolution approved by the Belgian Chamber of Deputies is astonishing, since in every democratic nation, the Holy Father and the Catholic Church have obvious freedom to express their positions and lines of action on matters that have to do with the concept of the human being and his moral responsibility, with a view to educational and formative commitment, as well as caring for the sick and the suffering.

The great tradition and experience of the Church in the educative field as well as in health care, particularly in the poorest countries, are so evident that they do not require demonstration or comment.

We must also ask whether the Holy Father's statements have been considered with appropriate attention and seriousness, or simply through the non-objective and unbalanced filter of the echo chambers in the Western media.




Cardinal Cordes expresses outrage
over Belgian anti-Pope resolution

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ROME, April 3 (Translated from Apcom) - "I am outraged", says Cardinal Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, about the Belgian Parliament's resolution denouncing the Pope's statements on condoms and AIDS.

"Scientists from Harvard and elsewhere have evidence supporting what the Pope said, and governments should at least take note of this," said Cordes. "IIdo not understand how everyone in the Belgian Parliament should have taken a unilateral position without considering scientific evidence".

What then has changed in Europe lately? Why is the Pope now under attacby governments of some European nations?

"I remember that John Paul II, too, was much attacked for various positions, but never by goverenments [or government ministers]. This seems to be a first," he noted.

It began with German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself [who, it must be pointed out, made her belated criticism of the FSSPX excom recall in unusually sharp terms without being aware, apparently, that the Pope himself had already issued the clarification and statements she demanded two days before she spoke out.]

German and French cabinet ministers went on the attack after the Pope commented on the fight against AIDS en route to Africa last March 17.

"Perhaps," Cordes speculated, "government representatives were less ready to attack John Paul II because he came from a land that had been among those that suffered the worst in the Second World War."

[Whereas Merkel - and the many German bishops who turned against the Pope almost instantaneously on the FSSPX issue - were bending over backwards to prove to the German Jews that they could not condemn strongly enough the fact that a Holocaust-denying bishop was among the four whose excommunication was lifted, even if their condemnation implied casting doubt - senselessly - on Benedict XVI's friendship for the Jews!]

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03/04/2009 15.30
 
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As usual, Fr. Schall is probably the only one thus far to give the proper attention to the Holy Father's lectio divina at the Major Seminary of Rome last February, one of his off-the-cuff 'coups de maitre' about which I 'rhapsodized' in my limited way after listening to it live on that occasion,
freeforumzone.leonardo.it/discussione.aspx?idd=354494&p=254
as I am always carried away whenever he delivers these brilliant spontaneous reflections, and particularly when he is speaking to an audience of priests and/or seminarians. [The translation of the full transcript is, of course, posted on the cited page.]

The lectio became even more significant, after he revealed in his March 10 letter to the bishops that he decided on writing the letter while he was reflecting on the phrase from St. Paul admonishing the Galatians against 'biting and devouring each other'.



"And this journey of coming to know God, of loving relationship with God is the extraordinary adventure of our Christian life; for in Christ we know the face of God, the face of God that loves us even unto the Cross, unto the gift of himself." -- Benedict XVI, "True Freedom," Discourse at St. John at the Lateran, February 20, 2009.


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I.

The Feast of Our Lady of Trust is February 20. Our Lady, under this title, is the Patroness of the Roman Major Seminary. Somehow, I do not recall having heard of this feast before.

It seems that Carlo Maratta, the court painter of Louis XIV, gave a painting with that title to a noble woman, Clair Isabel Fornari. She was the Abbess of the Poor Claire Convent in the Umbrian city of Todi. The painting was carried about Italy. Eventually a copy of it was made and given to the Major Seminary.

When Italian seminarians were inducted into the Army in World War I, Our Lady of Trust, or Confidence, became their patroness. Evidently both paintings still exist. This painting at the Lateran is but another of the worthy things that Schall missed seeing in his Roman days. I was also in Todi and did not see the original there either. Life is full of things we never saw when they were right there before us. A glimpse of eternity may be found in this fact.

The Holy Father was invited to the Seminary on this occasion. There, he delivered a short but profound discourse based on Galatians 5:13-16. It is probably best for us to begin by citing this Pauline text. As this is the Year of St. Paul, the Pope loves to cite and comment on him. [Fr. Schall omits to say that this discourse was completely extemporaneous, which makes it all the more amazing.]

This passage contains another of those profound short glimpses in Paul that illuminates everything else by explaining the most basic concepts, in this occasion "freedom."

Freedom, in its meaning, is perhaps the most perplexing enigma to the modern mind, the one principle, when abused, that causes more hurt to others than any other single idea once its essence is misunderstood.

The passage in St. Paul reads: "For you were called to freedom, brethren, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh."

II.

As I read that passage in the Pope's citation of it, I kept thinking that these words about "biting and devouring one another" reminded me of something. As I thought of it, I said: "This is Hobbes!" This is implicitly his famous phrase, "Homo homini lupus est," from the Leviathan.

On investigation, the phrase might also have come from a play of the Roman writer Plautus, in his Asinaria. "Man is a wolf to man" is Hobbes' description of the condition of human nature in its original form. Paul himself juxtaposes this "biting one another" over against the law that is fulfilled in one word.

The Pope begins with a brief history of the idea of freedom. "Since the beginning and throughout all time — but especially in the modern age—freedom has been the great dream of humanity."

The question, however, is: "Freedom from or for what?" Freedom for freedom's own sake hardly seems coherent., since my freedom can mean its opposite tomorrow if there is only freedom. By itself it seems to be vague and limitless. The freedom of yesterday is denied today. Nothing is stable. There is no place of rest, only constant change.

Benedict mentions that Luther was inspired by this passage in Galatians. He concluded that "the monastic Rule, the hierarchy, the Magisterium seemed to him as a yoke of slavery from which it was necessary to liberate oneself."

One cannot but be amused with the twinkle Benedict must have had in his eyes as he, the current holder of these very offices, cited these reasonings of the monk Luther to modern seminarians.

They probably all know that Luther himself had lived in an Augustinian house over by Piazza del Popolo when he was in Rome, before deciding these momentous things about what caused his "yoke of slavery." (This convent was one place Schall did see.)

Liberty next shows up in the Enlightenment, which considered that it had finally reached real freedom. At this point, Benedict comes to his main point.

"We ask ourselves this evening: What is freedom? How can we be free?" These are classic questions without the asking of which we cannot really be rational beings.

Paul is a help in putting this idea into an "anthropological and theological" context. Freedom is not, Paul says, to be used for an excuse for "self-indulgence." Its proper meaning is that we should choose to serve others in love.

The usage of the word "flesh" in Scripture always has to be clarified. Rejecting the "flesh" does not mean that "I am really sorry I have a body." The whole greatness of Christianity is only understood when we see the glory of "the Word made flesh." We are intended to be and are enfleshed beings. This is what we are. All being is good, including what we are.

Rather in St. Paul, "flesh" can be a technical word that means "the absolutization of self, of the self that wants to be all and to take all for its own."

In its own way, this very absolutization was what the Fall in Genesis was about, the desire to have no other law but one's own will, to be oneself the cause of the distinction between good and evil, as the name of the Tree in the Garden indicated.

Benedict, in further explanation of what this "self" means, lapses, as it were, into German philosophy. "The absolute 'I' who depends on nothing and on no one seems to possess freedom truly and definitively. I am free if I depend on no one, if I can do anything I want." Obviously, as in the case of Luther, Benedict knows what theories are out there being propagated as "freedom."

But is this latter sort of freedom that attractive? "This absolutization of the 'I' is 'flesh,' that is, a degradation of man. It is not the conquest of freedom: libertinism is not freedom, but rather freedom's failure."

Such blunt passages remind us that we have a Pope who knows exactly what we are talking about and where we got the ideas we think so radical or new.

If everything serves me, if everything centers on me, on my "I", and if everyone else does the same, how can this possibly be anything but a radical isolation of everyone from everyone else?
[Wonderful 'rebuttal' - and an absolute one, especially as it turns the 'accusation' on them - to those who see Benedcit as 'isolated', although they mean it literally!]


III.

So what is the alternative? What is a better understanding of freedom?

Following Paul, Benedict says that freedom is "achieved in service. We are free if we become servants of one another." That is, we do not sit around waiting for everyone else to acknowledge his respective "I". Rather we see what we can do for someone else. We soften things.

At this point, Benedict brings in the question of truth to be the context of this love and service. If we really think our own "I" is absolute, we make ourselves almost divine. "I alone am the man."

Again, if everyone says this of himself, but not of others, we have a world full of "I alones." That is a terrible thought, for sure, "a deception." We principally deceive ourselves about ourselves, the worst kind of deception. We "lie" to ourselves about ourselves, as Plato put it.

"Man is not an absolute, as if the 'I' can isolate itself and behave only according to his own will." Benedict almost seems to tell us, "Try it and see."

But we can see others who have tried it. The sight is not pretty. We do not really need to try it out just to see if absolute selfishness is really that bad. It is.

To think that "I" am an absolute determiner of everything about me is "contrary to the truth of our being."

What then is this "truth of our being?" This is a great question. The response is: "Our truth is that above all we are creatures, creatures of God, and we live in relationship with the Creator. We are relational beings."

It is worthwhile noting that in the Trinity, the existence of the three Persons is "relational." The one being in three divine persons has its reflection here. We are intended to be friends together.

Since it is true that we are in principle "relational beings," it follows that only "by accepting our responsibility can we enter into the truth."

The truth is that the kind of beings we are is not solitary, even if we try to make it so. Self-deception means that we convince ourselves that we are autonomous, that we need only ourselves.

Since we are "created" that "being created" defines what we are. We really do not establish what we are by ourselves. We find it already existing in us.

But God is not a tyrant. He is essentially a "good Being." The only reason why we exist is not because God "needed" us to complete himself, since he didn't. He made us out of the generosity of his love. This love caused to be what was not God. It did so out of the abundance of his being, not out of his need.

From these premises three points follow:

The first is, "To be a creature means to be loved by a Creator." We are created to love.

The second is to know God is to enter first into His "truth." That is, we must know our grounding in being as not creating ourselves.

The "extraordinary adventure of our Christian life" begins here. This is a remarkable sentence. The adventure is rooted in the love and service of another, not ourselves. How far does such love potentially go to? To the Cross, this is based in the "gift of oneself."

Love of God also implies that we are made in his image. Loving him means also loving what he has created. "There is no freedom in opposing the other."

When I become the sole interest of my deeds, I am not free to love another. "We can no longer live together and the whole of life becomes cruelty ..."

The final point is that "only in the acceptance of the other, accepting also the apparent limitations on my freedom that derive from respect for that of the other ... am I on the path to communal freedom."

We understand that "We see that man needs order, laws so that he can realize his freedom which is a freedom lived in common." This "freedom lived in common" is by no means an "absolute" freedom of the self to do whatever it wants.

"If there is no common truth of man as it appears in the vision of God, only positivism remains." The only remaining reality is what we "posit" ourselves. Any truth in this context of our making our own laws will seem as something imposed from the outside. Freedom can now appear as rebellion against existing laws.

The order of our nature, however, already exists within us. With order and law, we can resist selfishness. "To serve one another becomes the instrument of freedom and hence we could add a whole philosophy of politics ... which helps us to find this common order that gives each one his place in the common life of humanity."

Politics is the locus, the place of law and order where freedom to serve others and hence to be ourselves related to others is possible. This is what Aristotle's man is "by nature a political animal" ultimately means.


IV.

"The first reality meriting respect, therefore, is the truth: freedom opposed to truth is not freedom."

The Pope adds something here that is not often considered. Authority is presented in the New Testament as not "being served" but as "serving," serving others. This understanding leads him to say that "to serve one another creates the common space of freedom."

Benedict does not say just "serve another," but "serve one another." It is this reciprocity that provides the space, the relationship. This realization is why the "whole law" is contained in this one principle, "to love thy neighbor as thyself."

Behind this affirmation appears the mystery of God Incarnate. Here is the mystery of Christ who in his life, in his death, in his Resurrection becomes the living law. This is the "law" to which we are called "in freedom." The freedom refers to what Christ has stood for and taught us.

If baptism means, as it does, the participation in "the death and Resurrection" of Christ, it teaches us that our freedom is, in principle, "sacrificial." It is not just for ourselves but for the laying down our lives for our friends, even for our enemies.

Benedict cites the famous Latin saying of Augustine that reads, "Love God, and do what you will"—"Ama, et fac quod vis." He adds that Augustine speaks the truth if we know the extent of what this "love" means.

The "divine law" that guides our will is precisely this law of love. It means serving one another. This is the truth of our being.

The famous French writer and wit, Rabelais, once put on the door of his famous monastery of unruly monks the following motto: "Fac quod vis." This motto, of course, was intended as a parody of Augustine's "Ama, et fac quod vis."

One can say that Rabelais's dropping of the "ama," the love, so that we do whatever we will, whatever it is, brings out precisely the Pope's point.

The doing what we want, whatever it is, absolutizes ourselves. The "love" and "do what we wish" means rather that we serve one another, that the reciprocity of love that gives its space of freedom and limits it to what it is for.

We wish to let God's will be done. And thus what God is becomes incarnate. It dwells amongst us in the "flesh," as John said.

This is why Mary is central, for without her "Fiat," this incarnation as we know it could not have happened. To be ourselves, we must let ourselves be more than ourselves.


V.

Benedict then returns to the Pauline phrase that reminds us of Hobbes, about the "biting and devouring one another." Beware of being "consumed" by one another. Homo homini lupus.

"You have become wild beasts to one another." The Pope in this context warns us of a spirit in which everyone wants to be "better than everyone else." This attitude leads to a community with exactly the opposite of the spirit to that which should suffuse the Church.

"The great space of truth and freedom in love" opens before us when we see that the love we are to live is the sacrificial love that Christ showed us in his death and resurrection.

Often in modern philosophy we see references to the importance of the human face. We want to see one another "face to face." Paul even says that we want to see God "face to face."

Love seeks the face of the beloved. Everyone knows that. But sometimes we wonder, "Why?"

It is because we do not want to live in the terrible loneliness of ourselves alone. One of the classic definitions of hell is precisely this understanding of man who is totally autonomous, totally absolute, totally himself such that nothing else matters to him.

At first sight it seems absurd to talk of seeking the face of God. Yet, as Benedict puts it, God has "shown us his face in Christ." We see this face in our Scriptures. It is not an abstraction any longer. "This is eternal life: to know you, the one true god, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent," as John put it.

Basil the Great wrote, in one of his homilies, "Here is man's greatness, here is man's glory and majesty: to know in truth what is great, to hold fast to it, and to seek glory from the Lord of glory."

"And this journey of coming to know God, of loving relationship with God is the extraordinary adventure of our Christian life, for in Christ we know the face of God, that loves us even unto the Cross, unto the gift of himself."

The extraordinary adventure does not begin when we place ourselves at the center. It begins when we serve others. And we serve them best, as Basil said, when we "know in truth what is great."

We know what is great when we see the face of him who died on the Cross, when we realize that in this act he was defining our freedom, our truth, and our glory.

We only become ourselves when we do not absolutize ourselves. When there is only ourselves, we can have no adventure.

A life with no adventure, no adventure in loving others, serving them, is, to use a famous phrase of Socrates, "not worth living." Indeed, when we try it, it is not living at all. We soon find that we can indeed, with Rabelais' monks, "do what we will."

But, in the same act, we also find that we love nothing but ourselves, the most boring kind of love that anyone can imagine.

The patroness of the Major Seminary of St. John's at the Lateran is "Our Lady of Trust." All real love is based on trust, on promise, on the gift of ourselves to one another. This is the "extraordinary adventure."

It we do not actually experience it in trust and love, we really are not human in the kind of being that is given to us, the kind that constitutes what we are.

*********************************************************************

I think Fr. Schall may not have been completely aware of the circumstances for the Pope's discourse or he would have mentioned that it was given as a lectio divina, and of course, that it was completely off the cuff - two details that someone like him would not have missed.

Perhaps it is because he based his commentary on the official translation of the text printed in the English weekly edition of L'Osservatore Romano', where the texts are reprinted simply as texts, without the 'context', since the circumstances of the occasion are not always reported.





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04/04/2009 01.37
 
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WITH THE NEW
DOMINICAN AMBASSADOR

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VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2009 (VIS) - the Holy Father today received the Letters of Credence of Victor Manuel Grimaldi Cespedes, the new ambassador of the Dominican Republic.

In his address to the diplomat, the Holy Father noted that for more than five centuries, "thanks to generous and selfless efforts of evangelisation, faith in Jesus Christ became ever more vigorous and effective. ... From the first seed grew a flourishing tree, the Church in Latin America, which with the passing of the years has given abundant fruits of sanctity, culture, and prosperity for all members of society".

Benedict XVI went on: "It is right to recognise the contribution made by the Church, through her institutions, for the benefit and progress of your country, especially in the field of education, with various universities, technical training centres, institutes and parish schools; and in the field of assistance, with the concern she shows towards immigrants, refugees, disabled, sick, elderly, orphans and the poor".

In this context the Pope also underlined "the collaboration that exists between local Catholic bodies and the organs of State in the development of programmes which, while always seeking the common good of society, favour those most in need and encourage authentic moral and spiritual values".

He highlighted how, "in the significant political and social changes that the Dominican Republic has been traversing over recent times", it is important to "implant and prolong the noble principles that distinguish the rich history of the country since its foundation. I am referring primarily to the defence and dissemination of such basic human values as the recognition and protection of the dignity of the person, respect for human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and the safeguarding of the institution of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, because these elements are indispensable to the social fabric".

despite recent achievements "in social and economic plans, which open hopes for a brighter and more peaceful future", he said "there is still a long way to go to ensure Dominicans enjoy a dignified life and to eradicate the blights of poverty, drug trafficking, marginalisation, and violence".

"Everything that tends towards strengthening the institutions is fundamental to the wellbeing of society, a wellbeing which rests upon such pillars as cultivating honesty and transparency, juridical independence, care and respect for the environment and the reinforcement of social services, healthcare and education for the entire population. These steps must be accompanied by a strong determination to definitively eradicate corruption, which brings such suffering especially for the poorest and most defenceless members of society".

The Pope concluded by giving assurances that "in establishing a climate of true harmony, and in searching for effective and stable answers to their most pressing problems, the Dominican authorities will always find the Church's hand outstretched for the building of a freer, more peaceful, just and fraternal civilisation".



POPE GIVES THANKS FOR
ANNUAL PETER'S PENCE DONATION

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VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2009 (VIS) - The Pope today received members of the Circle of St. Peter, in a traditional annual meeting in which they present him with "Peter's Pence", the proceeds of collections made every year in the parishes and institutes of the diocese of Rome.

"I thank you", the Pope told them, "because in some way, with this initiative of human and evangelical solidarity, you give concrete expression to the concern of Peter's Successor for those in conditions of particular need".

"We know that the authenticity of our faithfulness to the Gospel may also be measured in terms of the real attention and concern we strive to show towards others, especially the weakest and the marginalised", he added. "Thus charitable service, which can take many forms, becomes a privileged method of evangelisation, in the light of Jesus' own teaching".

The Pope concluded: "From the Cross spring the joy and peace of heart which make us witnesses of hope, of which there is such need in these times of widespread economic crisis".


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I have now posted a translation of the Holy Father's homily at the commemorative Mass for John Paul II Wednesday night, in the post on the preceding page with the photos and initial CNA story about the Mass, as well as in the cross-post of the same in the JOHN PAUL II thread (and of course in the HOMILIES thread).

The Vatican was once again belated in posting the text, and what they posted was a text that was missing most of the last vowels of the Italian words which end with an accented vowel (which is most of them!) - I had to try and figure out what was meant by the overall context of the phrase or sentence.

Now, late translation is one thing, but to post something that is typologically 'mis-set' is just plain sloppiness. Someone in that department does not care enough about what he/she does to pay proper attention to small things that should be taken for granted. It is very disturbing to keep seeing new signs of a lack of professionalism in the output of the Vatican Press Office.


Especially because Benedict's homily yesterday was another masterful, beautiful and powerful text. One can almost speak of a specific literary genre created by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI - the John Paul II eulogies. Just amazing!



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04/04/2009 02.01
 
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Royal couple to meet Pope

The Press Association
April 4, 2009

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will travel to Rome for their first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, Clarence House has said.

Charles and Camilla will have a private audience will the head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican later this month.

The royal couple will spend two days in Italy during their official trip then travel onto Germany for a further two days.

The visit to the Vatican takes on added significance following last week's announcement by Prime Minister Gordon Brown that he has been in talks with Buckingham Palace about reversing a ban on heirs to the throne marrying Catholics.

Mr Brown is expected to raise the issue of ending centuries of discrimination against Catholics at a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in November.

Clarence House would not comment on whether Mr Brown's proposals would form part of the Prince's discussions with the Pope.

A spokesman said: "Their royal highnesses' visit to the Holy See (the Pontiff's Episcopal jurisdiction in Rome) will include an audience with Pope Benedict XVI as well as a meeting with the Cardinal secretary of state to discuss, among other things, climate change and inter-faith understanding."

Under Vatican protocol the Prince will meet the Pontiff alone then they will be joined by the Duchess and finally members of the Royal Household. Camilla will be required to dress in black with a matching veil.

The royal couple were both divorcees before they married in a civil ceremony in 2005 - but this is something that is not thought to be an issue for the Vatican. Their wedding had to be delayed for Charles to attend the funeral of the previous Pontiff, Pope John Paul II.

Charles had held a private audience with Pope John Paul II when he visited the Vatican in April 1985 with Diana, Princess of Wales. Commenting on the rest of the Italian visit a Clarence House spokesman said it would focus on the key issue of climate change.

04/04/2009 03.09
 
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NEW DECREES ON
POSSIBLE FUTURE SAINTS

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VATICAN CITY, 3 APR 2009 (VIS) - At the private audience today between the Holy Father and Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:

MIRACLES

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Pierina de Micheli, Italian sister of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception of Buenos Aires (1890-1945).

HEROIC VIRTUES

- Servant of God Franz Joseph Rudigier, Austrian Bishop of Linz (1811-1884).

- Servant of God Johannes Evangelist Wagner, German diocesan priest (1807- 1886).

- Servant of God Innocenzo da Caltagirone Marcinno (ne Giuseppe), Italian Minister General of the Order of the Capuchin Friars Minor (1589-1655).

- Servant of God Teresa de la Cruz Candamo Alvarez Calderon, Peruvian foundress of the Congregation of Canonesses of the Cross (1875-1953).

- Servant of God Maria Ines-Teresa del Santisimo Sacramento Arias Espinosa (nee Manuela de Jesus), Mexican foundress of the Poor Clare Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the Missionaries of Christ for the Universal Church (1904-1981).

- Servant of God Marie de la Ferre, French co-foundress of the Daughters of St. Joseph of La Fleche (now the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph) (1589/1590-1652).

- Servant of God Teresita del Nino Jesus Perez de Iriarte Casado (nee Felisa), Spanish professed religious of the Dominican Nuns (1904-1954).

- Servant of God Dulce Lopes Pontes (nee Maria Rita), Brazilian sister of the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (1914-1992).

- Servant of God Giacomo Gaglione, Italian lay man (1896-1962).

- Servant of God Benoite Rencurel, French lay woman of the Third Order of St. Dominic (1647-1718).

[The mriacle attributed to Sr. Maria Pierina presumably qualifies her for beatification, whereas the proclamation of heroic virtues for the other Servants of God paves the way for their respective processes for beatification.]



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04/04/2009 05.15
 
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This a deceptive article that starts out positive but soon ends up blaming the Pope for the way media reports about him. John Allen puts all the responsibility on the Pope and the Vatican - and none on the media - in the matter of how the media report the news! It is quite an outrageously subversive position to take....


Vatican speaking for voiceless global poor
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April 3, 2009



Let’s begin with a pop quiz: Which of the following headlines about Pope Benedict XVI does not belong in a list of recent events which became a cause célèbre?

A. Pope lifts excommunication of Holocaust-denying bishop
B. Pope says condoms make AIDS worse
C. Pope increasingly ‘isolated,’ insiders claim
D. Pope emerges as voice of the poor in economic crisis

The correct answer is, of course, “D,” in that it’s the lone entry that has not triggered a global avalanche of punditry. The image of Benedict XVI as a tribune for the world’s poor, therefore, would probably not naturally spring to mind for the average person if asked what the pope has been up to lately.

That’s too bad, because while most world leaders these days fret over the middle class, the financial sector, ailing auto companies, and so on -- all, of course, utterly legitimate concerns for elected officials -- the Pope has been striking a different, and badly needed, note.

During his recent trip to Angola, Benedict XVI insisted that the poor “must not become one of the casualties” of the economic crisis, and pledged that the Catholic church “will always be found standing alongside the poorest of this continent.”

Nor did Benedict restrict himself to pious exhortations. He got down to brass tacks, demanding that developed nations live up to their “oft-repeated promise” to devote 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product to assistance for impoverished nations.

Senior Vatican officials have taken the Pope’s lead. This week, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, released a message to the G-8 “Social Summit,” which brought together labor ministers from the G-8 nations as well as China, Brazil, Mexico, India, South Africa and Egypt in Rome March 29-31.

Bertone argued that fine-tuning economic structures is not enough; the economy must be given a “human face,” the cardinal insisted, including guarantees of a “basic level of income and security” for the millions of persons who have recently lost jobs because of economic contraction.

The Pope took up the fate of the poor again in a hard-hitting letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in conjunction with this week’s G-20 meeting in London. Benedict wrote that his Africa trip had allowed him to “see first-hand the reality of severe poverty and marginalization, which the crisis risks aggravating dramatically.”

Benedict expressed concern that the poor may not be sufficiently visible in the G-20, since “sub-Saharan Africa is represented by just one state and some regional organizations.”

That imbalance, Benedict wrote, “must prompt a profound reflection among the summit participants, since those whose voice has least force in the political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of a crisis for which they do not bear responsibility.”

The Pope closed by insisting that the elimination of extreme poverty by 2015, as called for by the United Nations Millennium Goals, “remains one of the most important tasks of our time.”

These papal interventions are timely, as the world’s poorest nations and people desperately need someone to take a stand on their behalf -- doing something more articulate, and effective, than smashing a few bank windows in downtown London.

Development experts say the crisis has placed poor countries in a “triple whammy,” formed by a withdrawal of lending by risk-averse banks, a flight of foreign investment, and skyrocketing interest rates. Impoverished nations likewise face falling prices for agricultural and mining commodities, growing unemployment, and the threat of protectionist trade policies that could further exclude their products from global markets.

As a result, aid agencies have warned that millions of people in developing nations could backslide into extreme poverty in 2009. As many as half a million infants could die from a combination of malnutrition and inadequate sanitation and health care.

In response, the World Bank has proposed a new “vulnerability fund,” asking developed countries to devote 0.7 percent of their fiscal stimulus packages to provide a basic safety net in poor nations and to support at-risk areas such as infrastructure and agriculture.

If such investments are to gain political traction, the world’s premier spiritual leaders and voices of conscience need to mobilize public opinion.

That’s precisely what Benedict XVI and his lieutenants have been trying to do, but so far it’s been hard to break through the noise generated by the melees over condoms and Holocaust-denying bishops.

That reality encapsulates the hidden cost of the Vatican’s PR woes: It’s not just the negative reaction generated by the episode itself, but the way in which it becomes more difficult for the Church to exercise moral leadership on any other subject.

Perversely, all the negative media attention of late probably means that Benedict XVI’s Holy Week messages this year will be more closely scrutinized than normal. In the spirit of taking lemons and making lemonade, it’s a chance for the Pope to put an exclamation point on his recent teaching … and, in the crass language of public relations, to get back into the “win column.”

* * * * *

Apropos of the great condom debate, the tendency these days in much Catholic discussion is to insist that Benedict XVI had a point when he said on March 17 that condoms “actually increase the problem” of AIDS.

Even secular experts have come to his defense; writing in the Washington Post March 29, Edward Green of Harvard’s School of Public Health observed that “condom orthodoxy” in the West runs afoul of empirical data suggesting that African nations which have had success in combating AIDS are those which have emphasized behavioral changes, meaning abstinence outside marriage, rather than relying primarily on condoms.

That tracks with what many AIDS experts in Africa, including several not affiliated with the Catholic church, told me last week. The problem, they said, is not with a condom’s physical capacity to prevent transmission of the virus.

The problem instead is its psychological and cultural impact; too often, they said, it creates a false sense of invulnerability, encouraging risky behavior.

Nonetheless, focusing on what Benedict said risks neglecting an equally urgent discussion of how and when he said it.

Whatever one makes of “condom orthodoxy,” it’s obviously a fact of life in elite Western circles of opinion. (Witness Maureen Dowd’s gratuitous remark in the March 29 New York Times that the Pope’s line amounted to “international lunacy.”)

Any challenge to it is destined to be explosive, and therefore it’s not something you can simply drop in as a fleeting aside during a session with reporters aboard the papal plane. If the Vatican wanted to take it on, some preparation was in order. Vatican officials could have been standing by with copies of Green’s study to distribute to the press. African AIDS experts could have been on hand to offer their own testimony.

It won’t do to suggest that the Pope was caught off guard, since the Vatican spokesperson collects these questions from reporters in advance. If Benedict wanted to wade into the condom debate, there was time to do it right.

[But you are projecting yourself - or ordinary secular persons like your readers - into the Pope's mind. He obviously does not think like us. He presumes good faith in his listeners.

He obviously wanted to say something about the AIDS problem - but his main point was to contradict the questioner's premise - that the Church position on condoms is unrealistic - by pointing out that the situation was just the opposite. And his answer made it clear he wanted to highlight the work of the Church in fighting AIDS, which does not depend on distributing condoms, and how Church workers are very much in the front-lines of this fight.

Why should the Vatican do the journalists' homework for them? They all jumped on the Vatican for not using Google on Williamson - even though I stoutly maintain from Google evidence, with dates, that there was nothing to be found online about Williamson's Holocaust statements earlier than January 19.

Well, why couldn't anyone have bothered to Google all the available reports about the relative failure of condoms to contain AIDS in Africa?????? Just as they could all have googled the Catholic Encyclopedia to get the basics about excommunication if they were really interested in informing their readers, rather than creating headlines by fabricating controversies!


Bsides, I bet none of those newsmen on board even thought of the fact that the Pope gets regular reports about what the Church is doing around the world, and that he was not going to Africa unaware or unsure - much less ignorant - of his facts!

If this is Allen's way of trying to show he is objective, nitpicking and finding fault with the Pope gratuitously is certainly the wrong way. It just looks as if Allen is trying to cover his ass with his fellow journalists - and his editors at NCR - so no one will say he 'in the tank' with the Vatican.

He has been increasingly like this - taking away with the left hadn what he gives with the right, when reporting on Benedict XVI. It's unprincipled and downright dishonest.]


Moreover, there’s also the question of when to raise the subject. By going to Africa, Benedict wanted to throw a spotlight on the growth and vitality of the faith there, as well as to engage burning social issues such as poverty, war, corruption, and human rights.

By making condoms the dominant story line on day one [HE MADE CONDOMS THE STORY???? HE WAS ASKED FIVE OTHER QUESTIONS! THE NEWSMEN CHOSE TO REPORT ONLY HIS ANSWER TO CONDOMS!], he all but dared the global press to ignore everything else. Had he waited a couple of days, other storylines could have emerged.

In other words, even when the Pope has a legitimate point to make, it’s still incumbent upon him and his advisors to be smart about how it’s delivered. That’s not a matter of letting the media dictate to the pope, or the church; it’s a matter of making sure that what’s pitched is also what’s caught.

NO, NO AND NO!!!! How dare anyone suggest that the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth, should have to bear media considerations - mainly media faults - in mind when he has to say something about the faith or about the activities of the Church!!!!! His only obligation is to speak the truth - it used to be that of media as well

Allen is, in effect, putting all the responsibility and blame for how the news is reported on the Pope. Where is the media's responsibility in all this?

Even if they were spoonfed with the facts - a detailed briefing paper such as the President of the United States gets, for every single issue that the Pope ever talks about - they will still choose to ignore everything in it, if it does not jibe with their prejudices or what the media herd mentality has agreed upon to be the storyline or angle for reporting any particular story!

THIS IS JUST UNBELIEVABLY OUTRAGEOUS!!!


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The rest of the column is about reactions to Allen's column last week about the Church in Africa.


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04/04/2009 14.36
 
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April 4
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St. Isidore of Seville (560-636)
Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church
'Patron Saint of the Internet'




OR today.
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Benedict XVI celebrates Mass on the fourth anniversary of John Paul II's death:
'Hope is not a slogan or an ideology but living with Christ'
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Other Page 1 stories: the Holy Father receives the new Dominican ambassador, and has his annual meeting with the Circolo
San Pietro which raises funds for the Pope's charities; an editorial commentary on the outcome of the G20 summit in London
earlier this week; and 250,000 refugees wandering in the Congo's North Kivu after apparent accord ends active conflict.




THE POPE'S DAY

The Holy Father met today with

- Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments
- Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
- Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and its Governatorate
- Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Arch Priest of the Papal Basilica of St, Paul outside the Walls
- Mons. Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (weekly meeting)


The Vatican announced among today's list of nominations that the Holy Father has named Rev. Manlio Sodi, OSB,
as president of the Pontifical Theological Commission. [A most puzzling nomination since Sodi has written
some spiteful articles criticizing Summorum Pontificum
!]



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04/04/2009 21.29
 
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Navarro-Valls criticizes
constant comparison
between JPII and Benedict

Translated from
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VATICAN CITY - "It is wrong to to compare, as people are doing more these days, the Pontificate of Benedict XVI to that of John Paul II. Also, the attacks that Papa Ratzinger is experiencing now were basically the same attacks that were made against Papa Wojtyla."

The statements were made by Joaquin Navarro-Valls, John Paul II's spokesman for 22 years and Benedict XVI's for another 18 months, in an interview with Sky TG- 21, an Italian satellite TV newscast.

"I remember how, at the start of John Paul's Pontificate," Navarro said, "a certain part of the media looked down on him as the Polish Pope who did not know modern culture, or Western culture, for that matter".

He also recalled that "For all of his long Pontificate, since 1981, John Paul II's primary collaborator was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - who helped him with all his intellectual and conceptual richness, that which we now see on full display in his own Pontificate."

"The fact that there has been misunderstanding directed at Benedict XVI, provoked by specific but isolated instances, confirms the incisiveness of his Pontificate", he added.

"Thus, any contra-position of the two Popes does not make sense. Of course, these are two persons who are very different personalities, but their message is identical".

About John Paul II, Navarro said: "We are all waiting for the Church to proclaim his beatification. Even today, four years after his death, I still keep within me what I felt upon his death. With time, one thinks back on facts, on words, and this only serves to enrich those memories and make them actual. I always feel John Paul II near."


[Too bad the report did not say if Navarro commented on the attacks made against John Paul I because of Catholic teaching, not because of who he was.]



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05/04/2009 13.09
 
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April 5
PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION
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St. Vincent Ferrer
(1350-1419)
Dominican theologian, Confessor(Spain)



OR today.
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Illustration: Palm Sunday, Stained-glass window, Church of Reconiliation, Taize.
'At the spring of hope'
Brother Alois of Taize's editorial commenting on the Holy Father's choice of theme
for this year's World Youth Day.

Other Page 1 stories: NATO countries promise limited aid to US effort in Afghanistan;
US unemployment figures reflect what's happening in other countries; North Korea
postpones missile launch due to weather [NB: It was launched finally, but apparently
its third stage failed].




THE POPE'S DAY
Palm Sunday: Blessing of the palms, Mass and Angelus at St. Peter's Square - with the consignment of
the World Youth Day Cross and Icon from the youth of Sydney to the youth of Madrid who are hosting
international WYD 2011. Today is the 24th WYD, celebrated on a diocesan level.


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05/04/2009 13.57
 
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PALM SUNDAY
AT ST. PETER'S SQUARE



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THE POPE'S PALM SUNDAY MESSAGE:
'Leave selfishness behind
and live for others'

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VATICAN CITY, April 5 (Translated from Apcom) - On Palm Sunday which opens Holy Week, Pope Benedict XVI called on the faithful to step out of themselves to be open to others because "he who loves his own life loses it".

During Mass celebrated before a crowd of over 100,000 at St. Peter's Square, the Pope said "No one can consider himself, his culture, and his world as absolute. We must all care for each other, giving up something of ourselves. Universality implies the mystery of the Cross, which means overcoming onself."

The Pope recalled Jesus's words: "Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life," meaning, he said, "only in abandoning oneself, only in the disinterested giving of 'I' in favor of 'you', only in saying Yes to the greater life".

He called it the principle of love "which means leaving oneself, giving oneself, not wanting to possess oneself, but to be free of oneself: not to fold in on oneself but to look ahead, towards the other".

Thus, he invites the Christian to make a greater and higher choice: "It is important to dare to make the great fundamental decision, to dare to make the great YES that the Lord asks us at a certain moment in our life."

He said this Yes once given "should be reconquered daily in the situations of day to day when, ever anew, we must abandon the I, place ourselves at the disposal of others, even when we want to hold on to ourselves".

He added: "If I look back on my own personal life, I must say that it was precisely those moments when I said Yes to a renunciation that were the greatest and most important ones in my life."

He concluded; "Whoever wants to keep his life for himself, loses it. Whoever gives his life daily in small gestures that are part of the great decision, will find life."


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And thanks to Caterina:
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Pope recalls drowned migrants,
urges global landmine ban

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Vatican City, April 5 (dpa) - Pope Benedict XVI in his Palm Sunday address recalled the deaths of scores of mostly African would-be immigrants in the Mediterranean and also urged all nations to outlaw landmines and cluster bombs.

Speaking to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square, the pontiff said it was with "great pain" that he remembered the over 230 migrants feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized off Libya a week ago.

"We cannot just accept such tragedies," said Benedict, stressing how the migrants died while "trying to reach Europe".

The scale of the problem involving migrants fleeing their often violence and poverty-stricken countries requires "urgent coordinated strategies between the European Union and African states," the pontiff said.

"Also measures are needed to prevent migrants from relying on unscrupulous human traffickers," Benedict said.

The current global economic crisis is exacerbating the migration problem the pontiff said and can only be solved when "the African people, with the help of the international community, free themselves from poverty and wars."

Benedict also referred to international treaties to ban anti- personnel mines and cluster bombs, saying that countries who have yet to adhere to these should do so "without delay".

Over 155 countries have ratified the treaty on land-mines with the notable exceptions including the US, China, India and Russia.

Before his noon Angelus address, Benedict celebrated Palm Sunday Mass which ushered in a week set to culminate with the Roman Catholic Church's Easter feast next Sunday.

Tens of thousands of faithful held aloft palm leaves as the 81-year-old Pontiff [who will be 82 eleven days from now!] led a procession into St Peter's Square commemorating when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to triumphant acclaim.

Benedict in his Mass homily, cited St John's Gospel, contrasting Jesus' enthusiastic welcome into Jerusalem with his death on the cross just a few days later.

"No life can be fulfilled without sacrifice," Benedict said, referring to the Christian belief that Jesus' sacrificed his life to save mankind.

"What is required is for all of us to accept one another, and in doing so, renounce something of ourselves," Benedict said.

"If I glance back at my own life, I have to say that the most important moments were those when I gave up something," Benedict said.

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05/04/2009 19.31
 
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It was wonderful!
What a superb way to begin Holy Week! The sky was blue - a few white cotton wool clouds appeared towards the end of Mass, but that was all. It was a long liturgy in weather that's already bordering on the hot. We must pray for Papa, as he has a gruelling week ahead of him. But he's holy and I'm sure, since he knows the Holy Spirit called him to do this, he takes it in his stride.
He's
MAGNIFICENT!
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06/04/2009 05.27
 
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???Mary... are you in Rome??? It sounds like you could be [SM=g27832] [SM=g27832] [SM=g27832] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=g27828] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799] [SM=x40799]
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06/04/2009 05.51
 
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[IMG]http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt96/MARITER_7/2009-PALMSUNDAY.jpg[/IMG]

PALM SUNDAY WITH
THE HOLY FATHER - II


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More from Caterina's videocap montages:
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Here is a translation of the Holy Father's homily:


HOMILY FOR PALM SUNDAY
AND The XXIV WORLD YOUTH DAY




Dear brothers and sisters,
dear young people!

Together with growing ranks of pilgrims, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the Passover.

In the last stage of the journey, near Jericho, he healed the blind man Bartimaeus who had invoked him as Son of David, asking for help. And now, able to see, he joined the crowd of pilgrims in gratitude.

When, at the gates of Jerusalem, Jesus mounted a donkey - the animal symbolic of David's kingship - the pilgrims spontaneously broke out with the joyous certainty: "It is him, the Son of David!"

And so they hailed Jesus with the Messianic acclamation: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!", adding, "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mk 11,9f).

We don't know exactly what the enthusiastic pilgrims thought the coming Kingdom of David would be. And we, have we truly understood the message of Jesus, Son of David? Have we understood what the Kingdom is that he spoke of when he was questioned by Pilate? Do we understand what it means that this Kingdom is not of this world? Or do we perhaps wish that it should be of this world?

St. John, in his Gospel, after the account of the entry into Jerusalem, reports a series of statements by Jesus in which he explains the essentials of this new kind of Kingdom.

At a first reading of these texts, we can distinguish three different images of the Kingdom \in which the same mystery is reflected in different ways.

John recounts first of all that among the pilgrims who, during the feast, 'wished to adore God", there were also some Greeks (cfr 12,20). Let us take note that the true objective of these pilgrims was to adore God. This corresponds perfectly to what Jesus said on the occasion of the purification of the temple: "'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" OMk 11,17).

The true objective of pilgrimage should be to encounter God, to adore him, and thereby place the basic relationship in our life in its correct order.

The Greeks were in search of God - with their lives, they were on a journey toward God. Now, through two Greek-speaking apostles, Philip and Andrew, they sent on their message to the Lord, "We would like to see Jesus" (Jn 12,21). A great statement.

Dear friends, that is why we are gathered here: We want to see Jesus. For this reason, last year, thousands of young people went to Sydney. Certainly, they must have had multiple expectations for that pilgrimage. But the essential objective was this - "We want to see Jesus".

About the request, what did Jesus say and do at that time? It is not clear from the Gospel whether the Greeks did get to meet Jesus. Jesus's regard goes far beyond.

The nucleus of his response to the request was: "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (Jn 12,24).

This means: it is not important now to have a conversation that's more or less brief with a few persons who will then return home. Like a grain of wheat that dies and rises again, I will return, in a totally different way and beyond the limits of this moment. I will meet the world and the Greeks.

Through the Resurrection, Jesus goes beyond the limits of space and time. As the Risen One, he is on the way towards the vastness of the world and of history. And yes, as the Risen One, he will go to the Greeks and speak with them, he will show them himself so that they, who were remote, become near, and his Word will come to them in a new way, in their own language, their culture, and will be understood in a new way - his Kingdom will come.

Thus we can recognize two essential characteristics of this Kingdom. The first is that this Kingdom comes by way of the Cross. Since Jesus gives himself totally, as the Risen One, he can belong to everyone and make himself present to everyone.

In the Holy Eucharist, we receive the fruit of the dead grain of wheat, the multiplication of loaves which will continue to the end of teh world and for all time.

The second characteristic is that the Kingdom is universal. Israel's ancient hope is fulfilled: this kingship of David no longer has boundaries. It extends 'from sea to sea' - as the prophet Zachariah says (9,10) - that is, it embraces the whole world.

However, this is only possible because it is not the kingship of a political power, but is based only on the free adherence to love - a love which responds to the love of Jesus who gave himself for everyone.

I think we must always learn both things anew - above all, the universality, the catholicity of the Kingdom of God. It means that no one can set himself as the absolute, not his culture, his time and his world. This requires that we must all accommodate each other, renouncing something of ourselves.

Universality includes the mystery of the Cross - overcoming oneself, obedience to the common world of Jesus Christ in our common Church. Universality is always overcoming the self, renouncing something personal. Universality and the cross go together. Only thus is peace created.

The statement about the grain or dead wheat is part of Jesus's answer to the Greeks - it is his response. But immediately afterwards, he formulates once more the fundamental law of human existence: "Whoever loves his life 16 loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life." (Jn 12,25).

Whoever wants to have his life for himself, live only for himself, holding everything to himself and availing of all possibilities - he loses his life. It becomes boring and empty. Only in abandoning the self, only in the disinterested giving of the "I" in favor of the 'you', only in the Yes to the greater life, that of God, then even our own life becomes ample and great.

Thus this fundamental principle which the Lord established, is in the last analysis, identical to the principle of love, Love, in fast, means leaving oneself, giving oneself, not wanting to possess oneself but to be free of it, not to fold in on oneself -'What is to become of me?" - but to look ahead, towards the other, toward God and towards the persons he sends me.

This principle of love, which defines man's journey, is once again identical to the mystery of the Cross, the mystery of death adn resurrection that we meet in Christ.

Dear friends, ti is perhaps relatively easy to accept this as a great fundamental vision of life. But in concrete reality, it is not enough to recognize a principle but to live its truth - the truth of the Cross and of the Resurrection.

Once again, this one great decision is not enough. It is certainly important to dare this great fundamental decision once, to dare the great Yes which the Lord asks us at a certain moment in our life.

But the great Yes of the decisive moment in our life - the Yes to the truth that the Lord sets before us - must then be reconquered daily in the situations of day to day, in which, ever anew, we must abandon our 'I', make ourselves available, even when at heart we really want to hold on to our 'I"\'.

But correct life also implies sacrifice, renunciation. Whoever promises a life without this ever renewed giving of oneself deceives others. There is no successful life without sacrifice. If I look back at my own personal life, I must say that the moments when i said Yes to a renunciation have been the great and important ones in my life.

Finally, St. John also caught, in his composition of the words of the Lord for Palm Sunday, a modified form of Jesus's prayer on the Mount of Olives, Above all, the statement: "I am troubled now" (12, 27). Here we see Jesus's fear, amply illustrated by the three other evangelists - his fear before the power of death, before the abyss of evil that he sees and into which he must descend. The Lord suffers our anguish with us, he accompanies us through the last agony into the light.

Then, John follows this with two questions from Jesus. The first, expressed only conditionally: "Yet what should I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?" (12,27). As a human being, even Jesus feels impelled to ask that he be spared the terror of the Passion.

Even we can pray this way. Even we can lament before the Lord like Job, and present to him all the questions which emerge from us in the face of the injustice in the world and the difficulties of that same 'I'.

Before him, we should not hide behind pious phrases, in a fictitious world. To pray also means to battle with God, and like Job we can say to him: "I will not let you go until you bless me" (Gen 27,32).

Then comes Jesus's second question: "Glorify your name!" (Jn 12,28). In the synoptic Gospels, the question is placed this way: "Not my will but yours be done" (Lk 22, 42). In the end, the glory of God, his lordship, his will, is always more important and more true than my thought and my will.

And that's what is fundamental in our prayer and in our life: to learn this correct order of reality and accept it intimately; to confide in God and to believe that He is doing the right thing: that his will is truth and love; that my life becomes good if I learn to adhere to this order.

The life, death andesurrection of Jesus are for us the guarantee that we can truly trust in God. And it is this way that his Kingdom is realized.

Dear friends, at the end of this liturgy, the young people of Australia will turn over the Cross of World Youth Day to their contemporaries from Spain. The Cross is on a journey from end of the world to the other, from sea to sea.

And we shall be accompanying it. Let is proceed with it along its road and this way, we will find our own road. When we touch the Cross, or better, when we carry it, we touch the mystery of God, the mystery of Jesus Christ. The mystery that God so loved the world - us - enough to give his only begotten Son for us (cfr Jn 3,16).

We touch the marvelous mystery of God's love, the only truth that is truly redemptive. But we also touch the fundamental law, the constitutive norm of our life, the fact that without the Yes to the Cross, without walking in communion with Christ day after day, life cannot succeed.

The more we can make a great renunciation for love of the great truth and the great love - for love of the truth and love of God - the greater and richer our life becomes. Whoever wants to keep life for himself will lose it. Whoever gives his life - daily, in small gestures, that make up part of the great decision, - finds it.

This is the truth - demanding but also beautiful and liberating - in which we want to enter step by step during the journey of the Cross through the continents.

May the Lord bless this journey. Amen!


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06/04/2009 06.14
 
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He looks great!

Wow! Papa is looking in great form. He always sparkles at these big liturgical events. I'm so glad that such a huge crowd turned out. He could use some positive feedback after all the rough times he has had the last few months. It was obviously a glorious day in Rome.

Mary, it does sound as if you are there but I looked through all those great photos Teresa posted and I don't see your smiling face. If you are there, you know we expect photos and a report.

[SM=g27823]








06/04/2009 14.47
 
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April 6
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St. Crescentia Hoess (1682-1744)
Franciscan nun (Bavaria)



No OR today, but tragic news in Italy:


Powerful earthquake in Italy
leaves at least 50 dead
and thousands homeless

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[IMG]http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt96/MARITER_7/090406-ITALYQUAKE-MAP.jpg[/IMG]
Map shows epicenter of quake in central Italy.

L'AQUILA, April 6 (AFP) - A powerful earthquake in mountainous central Italy knocked down whole blocks of buildings early Monday as residents slept, killing at least 50 people and trapping many more, officials said.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, arriving in L'Aquila hours after the quake, said the death toll was likely to rise as rescue crews clawed through the debris of fallen homes.

About 100,000 people were homeless, L'Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said. It was not clear if that estimate included surrounding towns. Some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, officials said.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency, freeing up federal funds to deal with the disaster, and canceled a visit to Russia so he could deal with the quake crisis.


THE HOLY FATHER'S CONDOLENCES
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The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to the bishop of the affected region. Here is a translation:



MONSIGNOR GIUSEPPE MOLINARI
ARCHBISHOP OF L’AQUILA

THE TRAGIC NEWS OF THE VIOLENT EARTHQUAKE WHICH STRUCK THE TERRITORY OF YOUR ARCHDIOCESE HAS FILLED THE HOLY FATHER WITH GREAT CONCERN AND JOINS IN THE SORROW OF THE BELOVED PEOPLE HIT BY THIS TRAGIC EVENT.

IN ASSURING HIS FERVENT PRAYERS FOR THE VICTIMS, PARTICULARLY FOR THE CHILDREN, HIS HOLINESS ASKS TEH LORD FOR COMFORT TO THEIR FAMILIES, AND AS HE ADDRESSES AFFECTIONATE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO THE AUTHORITIES AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE DOING ALL THEY CAN IN RESCUE ACTIVITIES, HE SENDS A SPECIAL APOSTOLIC BLESSING.

CARDINAL TARCISIO BERTONE
SECRETARY OF STATE





THE POPE'S DAY

The Holy Father had a special audience at Aula Paolo VI with young people from the Archdiocese of Madrid
who came to Rome for the turnover of the Cross and Icon from Australia, for World Youth Day 2011 which will
be hosted by them. They were led by Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela, Archbishop of Madrid. Address in Spanish.


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06/04/2009 17.44
 
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Pope to ride Aerial Odyssey in Jerusalem

Jerusalem's Time Elevator new attraction to officially open with Benedict XVI's visit to Israel in less than two months

Danny Sadeh
YNews.com
April 6, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI, who will be arriving in Israel for a short visit in a month-and-a-half, will also get to take a 40-minute trip through the country's skies, without even having to leave the holy city of Jerusalem.

The pope will be visiting Jerusalem's Time Elevator site, and get to inaugurate its new attraction – the Aerial Odyssey.

The new attraction is being prepared for the pope's visit. During a tourism fair in Rome some two months ago, the project was presented to Cardinal Vallini, who was reportedly moves to tears and told the pope all about the attraction.

A few days later a letter was sent to Israel from Vatican City asking those responsible for organizing the pope's visit to allow him to catch the show during his stay in Israel.

The Aerial Odyssey is an aerial adventure in which visitors get to fly over Israel and gain a unique new perspective as the past and present of this land are revealed.

During the journey, visitors are exposed to a variety of natural and human treasures, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else. The ride shows the people, the places and the religions that make up the holy land.

Aerial Odyssey includes a flight all over Israel, from its snow capped peaks to its dessert lands, from its rolling hills to its bare plateaus, to its crystalline seas.

The show takes place in the Time Elevator hall and includes 102 seats. Ninety of the seats are mobile for the complete experience, and 12 seats are stationary, to accommodate pregnant woman, and people with heart or other conditions.


**********************************************************************


What a brilliant idea this 'aerial odyssey' is! Israel lends itself perfectly for this sort of presentation because it is small enough to be covered comprehensively but with an incredible history and unique blend of cultures.

TERESA


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 06/04/2009 18.33]
06/04/2009 17.55
 
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Moscow Patriarchate backs Pope's
uncompromising position on ethics

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Moscow, April 6, Interfax - The refusal of Pope Benedict XVI to use politically correct language and offer compromise on traditional issues of Christian ethics has the support of the Russian Orthodox Church.

"The difference of this current Pope from his predecessor is that this Pope never watches for political correctness in his statements. This is the reason why his statements sometimes produce shocking effect on the Western society: people there are not used when the Church's Head voices a traditional standpoint of the Church," said Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the new head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, in a live broadcast of National Interest program shown Saturday on Rossiya TV Channel.

Hilarion was commenting on criticisms aimed at the Pope from many quaretrs including the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for his opposition to contraception.

He called it "a positive shift in the Catholic Church's position, because head of the Church, in particular, head of the largest Christian Church, should not adapt himself to any PC language, he should tell people what his Church teaches him to tell them."


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06/04/2009 18.25
 
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THE POPE'S SUMMER VACATION THIS YEAR:
BACK TO LES COMBES/INTROD

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AOSTA, April 6 (Translated from Apcom) - The Diocese of Aosta confirmed this morning that Benedict XVI will be coming back to Val D'Aosta (northwest Italy) for his summer vacation this year.

"The Holy Father, accepting the invitation extended to him last December," said a note from the diocese, "will spend his summer vacation this July (July 13-27) in the locality of Les Combes, commune of Introd."

The papal decision was welcomed by the regional president Augusto Rollandin, which hosted John Paul II on his summer vacations several times starting in 19866666. Rollandin also participated in the arrangements for Benedict's first summer holiday as Pope in July 2005 and his second one in 2006.

"Val D'Aosta will always welcome the Holy Father with affection and discretion, respecting above all that he is coming for a rest among our mountains," Rollandin said.

The same sentiment was expressed by the mayor of Introd, Osvaldo Naudin, who said, "We can only welcome the Holy Father's decision with great happiness, both in the Commune and among the people, and we hope that he will spend the time in rest, privacy and prayer, which is certainly what the Pope would appreciate."

It is also speculated the Pope may spend a few days of his holiday in the province of Canavese, probably in Ivrea.

As usual, the Sunday Angelus during his vacation will be the only public events, on July 19 and July 24, and one of them would be held in Ivrea.

[Ivrea, a town in the province of Turin in the Piedmont region, is found along the medieval Via Francigena as it leads to the Aosta Valley northward towards France.]




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07/04/2009 11.48
 
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POPE CALLS ON YOUNG PEOPLE
TO FOLLOW CHRIST'S FOOTSTEPS

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VATICAN CITY, 6 APR 2009 (VIS) - Seven thousand young people from the archdiocese of Madrid, Spain, who have come to Rome to receive the World Youth Day Cross and Icon for 2011, were received in audience this morning by the Pope at the Aula Paolo VI.

Speaking of the cross, the Holy Father encouraged the young people to discover therein "the infinite measure of Christ's love. ... You too must respond to the love of Christ", he told them, "offering your own lives to Him with love. In this way preparations for World Youth Day, which you have begun with great enthusiasm and dedication, will be repaid with the hoped-for fruits of those events: renewal and strengthening of the experience of meeting Christ, Who died and rose again for us".

"Follow Christ's footsteps! He is your goal, your path and your prize. In the theme I chose for WYD Madrid, St. Paul invites us to live 'rooted and built in Christ, established in the faith'", said the Pope.

He then invited the young people to "form yourselves in the faith which gives meaning to your lives, and strengthen your convictions in order to remain firm in the face of the difficulties of everyday life. I also exhort you, as you journey towards Christ, to draw in your young friends, companions of study or work, that they too may recognise and confess Him as the Lord of their lives. In order to do this, let the power of the Most High that is within you - the Holy Spirit - reveal Himself in all His beauty".

"Young people today", he went on, "need to discover the new life that comes from God, to quench themselves in the truth that has its source in Christ Who died and rose again, and that the Church received as a treasure for all mankind".

Referring to the World Youth Days, the Pope expressed the view that "they reveal the dynamism of the Church and her eternal youth". In this context he pointed out that "those who love Christ love the Church with the same passion, because she enables us to live close to the Lord".

"Cultivate, then, initiatives that enable young people to feel they are members of the Church, in full communion with her pastors and with Peter's Successor. Pray together, opening the doors of your parishes, associations and movements so that everyone may feel in the Church as in their own home, where they are loved with the love of God. Celebrate and live your faith with immense joy, which is the gift of the Spirit".

The Holy Father explained that on the cross "Christ defeated sin and death by the total giving of Himself. For this reason", he concluded, "we must embrace and adore the Lord's cross, make it our own, accept its weight as Simon of Cyrene did, in order to participate in the only thing that can redeem all of humanity. ... Become ever more worthy of the cross and you will never be ashamed of this supreme sign of love".

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The Spanish youth participation was prominent at the Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square.
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07/04/2009 12.35
 
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Some post-scripts seen belatedly:


Angolan Salesian describes success
of papal visit to Africa,
denounces poor coverage

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Luanda, Angola, Mar 30, 2009 (CNA) - Fr. Filiberto Rodríguez, Superior of the Salesian Vice-Province in Angola, wrote a letter this week sharing his impressions of the successful visit to Africa by Pope Benedict XVI, as well as some criticism of the media coverage.

“In my opinion the Pope’s Visit more than satisfied the expectations there were. Making great sacrifices (walking miles and miles on foot – there are no buses or underground or other means of transport) the people enjoyed it, moving from one place to another enthusiastically accompanying the Pope,” Father Rodriguez wrote.

“The Church,” he added, “will carry out a serious evaluation of the preparations, the events and the results and will take note of the points it needs to insist on: the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation, since it offers to the world the person of Jesus Christ. The Pope was a missionary of the Gospel and wanted to be nothing else. This ought to be the first thing to think about.”

Father Rodriguez went on to note that there was some criticism in the media “of the absence of the President from some of the large gatherings. There has been talk of looking more at and understanding better the great needs of the poor people. In the end things go well, because the people are good and know how to put up with things. Those on the inside considered some of the organization chaotic at times.

“For some of us,” he continued, “it would have been better if a large part of the international press had not come. They are only looking for things to sensationalize. They want to sell their own papers and they are not interested in the ordinary people (whom they manipulate considering them museum pieces or market fodder), nor the purpose of the Pope’s journey.”

“Many journalists tell you: ‘we want to report the other visit’. My dear friends the journalists: the Pope’s meeting with the People that is the visit! Come and see and report the other things during the year (you forget us most of the time).”

“In fact no government, no organization has ever in the course of history been so close to the poor and to those who are suffering as has and is the Church and its Institutions,” he stressed.

Concluding his reflections, Fr. Rodríguez rebuked some of the criticisms leveled against the Pope’s remarks. He reserved his harshest words for the Pope’s European critics.

“Is it the Spanish policies of sexual incitement and disorders that will set the world to rights? What about teenage pregnancies in Spain? Is it by having abortions that the consciences of young Spaniards are liberated? Is it by sending a container of condoms that you educate and control HIV in Africa?” he asked.


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Ugandan doctor links African AIDS
epidemic to Western sexual values

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Kampala, Uganda, Apr 1, 2009 (CNA) - Each day more scientists, researchers and doctors are voicing their support for Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that condoms are not decreasing the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Dr. Filippo Ciantia, a Ugandan doctor who specializes in tropical medicine, told CNA that, “In every African country where there has been HIV prevalence decline, this has been preceded by decline in casual and multi-partner sex.”

Ciantia worked in Northern Uganda from 1980-1989, the critical years where an unidentified virus, now known to be AIDS, began to spread. He described in a 2006 paper, “The Victory of Reason,” what he had documented.

“I began to notice some young adults … [who] were severely wasted, with chronic diarrhea, skin rashes and fever. Others were affected by disseminated tuberculosis. I still recall that I hardly believed the results of the biopsy…we were faced with a new disease.”

The name given to this disease in Uganda was “Slim Disease,” but after it was identified as HIV/AIDS, Dr. Ciantia related that “it was clear that there was no cure.”

The Ugandan Government eventually realized that this new deadly disease could quickly “wipe away our country,” he recalled. In order to prevent its spread early on, the government produced the booklet, “Guidelines on Control of AIDS,” which stressed the need for behavioral change instead of marketing condoms.

Regarding condoms, Ciantia clarified that he has found “limited or no direct evidence” that the societal promotion of condoms has contributed to “the reduction or slowing down of HIV in generalized epidemics.”

In 1991, Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni rejected “condom social marketing” and instead emphasized a behavioral change approach at an AIDS conference in Florence, Italy.

He said, “…I have been emphasizing a return to our time-tested cultural practices, which emphasized fidelity and condemnation of pre-marital or extra-marital sex. Young people must be taught the virtues of abstinence, self control and postponement of pleasure and sometimes sacrifice...”

Museveni and others in the medical and social work community in Uganda urged this approach, which “led to an impressive mobilization of the entire society, single persons, groups, the Church and other religious organizations and associations,” said Dr. Ciantia.

The “epic of the people of Uganda,” as Ciantia called it, awakened “people to discover the full dignity and value of human life and love.” Though difficult at times, it was through the virtue of hope and the support of friends and family that behavioral change was able to occur, he said.

The three behavioral changes encouraged by the Ugandan plan - known as the ABC behaviors - are: abstinence, faithfulness and lastly, condom use by casual partners.

Out of these three changes, Ciantia reported that the behavioral change that made the greatest impact appears to be “faithfulness or partner reduction behaviors by Ugandan men and women, whose reported casual sex encounters declined by well over 50 percent between 1989 and 1995.”

Overall, the result of this approach has been the dramatic reduction of HIV/AIDS in the adult population from about 18% in the late 1980s to 6.4 % in 2005.

Dr. Ciantia explained that there are three major lessons we can learn from Uganda. First of all, we see that development occurs when the people are the subject of change. It cannot be accomplished by just handing over “technical or scientific tools,” there needs to be a real involvement of the persons and communities.

We can also learn that fighting HIV/AIDS needs to be based on evidence and proper verification of facts. The evidence shows that the “Ugandan experience provides, in the time of the evidence-based medicine, an African lesson to the whole world,” the tropical medicine specialist said.

Finally, we see that the solution must focus on the human person and her/his responsibility and not just a general addressing the “masses” approach, Dr. Ciantia emphasized.

The opposition to these lessons “is really ideological,” he charged, pointing out that “we are facing smoking and alcoholism with strong primary behavior campaign and seriously limiting personal choices (for a public and personal health benefit). But sexual behavior cannot be touched! This is real Western taboo.”

He closed by noting that the Holy Father “has been realistic, reasonable and evidence-based. All criticize him, but actual empirical [data] support his position.”

Dr. Ciantia has also published a letter along with several African colleagues further detailing the evidence for their postion. It can be read at www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=810


[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 18/04/2009 03.58]
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