Vol. 18 No. 5
March 3 - 16, 2014
Walk with those who suffer failed marriages, Pope exhorts
In his daily homily Pope Francis reected on the beauty of
marriage, emphasizing that when it fails, we should not con-demn the couple, but accompany them on a path of healing in the Church. “When this love fails—because many times it fails—we have to feel the pain of the failure, (we must) ac-company those people who have had this failure in their love. Do not condemn. Walk with them,” the Pope encouraged in his Feb. 28 daily Mass. Directing his homily to those present in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the pontiff began by referring to the attitude of the Pharisees in the day’s Gospel, taken from Mark, in which they question Jesus on divorce, trying to make him fall into a trap with the law. Although the question is important, the Pope warned against falling into the temptation of “special pleading” regarding questions of marriage, and noted that the Pharisees’ method is always “casuistry—is this licit or not?” “It is always the small case. And this is the trap, behind casuistry, behind casuistic thought, there is always a trap: against people, against us, and against God, always,” he explained.
Belgium’s child euthanasia move lamented as ‘unbelievable’
In the wake of Belgium’s recent decision to legalize euthana-
sia for children, several members of the Vatican’s Pontical
Academy for Life voiced their dismay at the new practice. John Haas, president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pa. and governing member of the academy, called the development “dreadful.” “They are appealing to ‘rights of children’ to make these determinations, but children aren’t capable of making those types of self-determinations,” Haas told CNA in Rome Feb. 21. “So what is really going to happen is that, under the rules of children making these decisions for themselves, parents and physicians are going to be making those decisions, for children, to eliminate them because they’ve be-come excessive burdens on them and on the rest of society.” “It’s a terrible situation. Unbelievable, if I may say so.”
Pope: Inconsistency in our actions causes Church scandal
In his daily homily Pope Francis spoke of the harm done when Christians don’t practice what they preach, noting that this incoherence leads others away from the Church and often brings scandal. “When there is no Christian coherency, and you live with this incoherence, you’re giving scandal. And the Christians that are not coherent are giving scandal,” the Pope said in his Feb. 27 Mass. Speaking to those gathered in the chapel of the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse, the pontiff
began his reections by drawing attention to a person to whom he administered the Sacrament of Conrmation during the
Mass, observing that they had “manifested the desire to be a Christian.” “To be Christian means to bear witness to Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that to a Christian person “thinks like a Christian, feels like a Christian and acts like a Christian. And this is coherency in the life of a Christian.”
Cardinal Pell to head new Vatican office for economic oversight
Today Pope Francis announced the establishment of a new entity for oversight of Vatican economic and administrative affairs, headed by Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia. According to Feb. 24 statement issued by the Holy See’s press
ofce, the new Secretariat for the Economy “will have author
-ity over all economic and administrative activities within the Holy See and the Vatican City State.” Cardinal Pell has been appointed Prefect of the new Secretariat. His role includes the implementation of policies decided upon by a new 15-member Council for the Economy, made up of 8 Cardinals or Bishops
“reecting different parts of the world” and 7 “lay experts of different nationalities with strong professional nancial experi
ence.” According to the Holy See Press Ofce, the Council for
the Economy will replace the now obsolete “Council of 15,” composed only of cardinals.
Pope Benedict says it’s absurd to question validity of his resignation
In a letter to an Italian journalist, retired Pope Benedict XVI said questions about the validity of his resignation are “ab-surd.” “There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my renunciation of the Petrine ministry,” the retired pope wrote in a letter to Andrea Tornielli, a Vatican correspondent for the newspaper La Stampa and the website Vatican Insider. Tornielli said he wrote to the retired pope Feb. 14 after reading articles questioning the canonical validity of his announcement Feb. 11, 2013, that he was stepping down. In the letter, Pope Benedict described as “simply absurd” doubts about how he had formulated his announcement to cardinals gathered for a meeting about canonization causes.
Pope: Anointing the sick doesn’t bring bad luck, it brings Jesus
Never hesitate to call a priest to bless and anoint sick or el-derly family members, Pope Francis said. Some people worry receiving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick “brings bad luck” and “the hearse will come next,” the pope said. “This is not true!” The sacrament brings Jesus closer to those in need, strengthening their faith and hope, he said Feb. 26 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The pope thanked the estimated 50,000 people who attended the outdoor audience despite weather forecasts of rain. “You came anyway; you’re courageous. Way to go!” he said, as the wind blew big gray storm clouds overhead.
Ukrainian archbishop sees lingering threat of war, but signs of hope
VATICAN City, Feb. 25, 2014—The three months of protests in Ukraine that ended with government snipers killing dozens of people strengthened the commitment to democracy of many Ukrainians, but also left the country vulnerable to further violence and division, said the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.“The danger that our neighbor (Russia) will provoke a civil war has not passed,” Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych told report-ers in Rome Feb. 25, adding that the
protests have solidied the Ukrainian
people’s commitment to indepen-dence, freedom and democracy.Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in England, told Catholic News Service, “Our church stayed with the people as the struggle widened from a political one over inte-gration with Europe into a larger one for basic human rights and dignity. “We hope the Russians won’t try to meddle, since this would create a situ-ation even worse than before. Having once seemed immutable, conditions have suddenly changed—and although dangers still lurk ahead, solutions must be worked out by Ukrainians.”
Snipers opened re on protesters in
Kiev’s Independence Square Feb. 19, killing at least 70 people. President Viktor Yanukovich, who sparked the protests by deciding not to sign an agreement with the European Union but forge closer ties with Russia, left Ukraine’s capital Feb. 21, and the country’s parliament voted to remove
him from ofce the same day.
“Yanukovich saw his support melt-ing away like the snow when the sun comes out,” Archbishop Shevchuk told reporters at the Vatican. “The security forces disappeared and so did the president.”The archbishop described himself “as an eyewitness” to the protests and insisted it was untrue that the pro-testers were “extreme nationalists.”
At rst, he said, they were students
who dreamed of living in a “free, democratic and European” Ukraine.When the government tried to use force to end the protest in December, he said, people from all walks of life started joining the students to say, “No to corruption, no to dictatorship, no to the denial of human dignity,” and yes to citizens’ right to decide the future of their country.Throughout the protest, the arch-bishop said, the All-Ukrainian Coun-cil of Churches and Religious Orga-nizations supported the protesters’ objectives, pleaded for them to remain peaceful and tried to mediate between them and the government. The coun-cil, he said, includes Catholic, Ortho-dox, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim representatives.Ukraine is diverse, he said. Regions in the East tend to have more people who are Russian speakers or ethnic Russians and belong to the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church afliated with the
Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Ukrainian speak-ers are concentrated in the West, as are the members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and the independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church.The diversity, he said, is natural for any large country. Each region has its own history, “but all of the people saw themselves as Ukrainians.”Those seeking power, however, see the diversity as something to exploit for their own purposes, he said, which is why the council of churches issued an appeal for unity and has clearly
dened as “morally unacceptable” and
“a crime” the attempt to use religious or cultural differences for political gain.Archbishop Shevchuk said there is “no desire within Ukraine” to split the country, “but maybe someone from outside, seeing that he can’t eat the whole pie, would want at least part of it.”The evening before he met the press, Archbishop Shevchuk and Ukrainians working in Rome joined the Sant’Egidio Community for a prayer service for peace. In a packed Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere,
tears owed as the archbishop led
the singing of the Lord’s Prayer in Ukrainian.
Ukrainian Catholic archbishop prays for Crimea
KYIV, Ukraine, Mar. 1, 2014—The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catho-lic Church issued a state-ment Feb. 28 praying for the people of Crimea and appealing for the unity of Ukraine, as Russia has reportedly deployed troops in the peninsula.“The entire family of the UGCC faithful pleads to the compassionate Lord for his protection and assistance to peacefully overcome the deteriorat-ing situation in Crimea, and that the unity of our country might be pre-served,” Major Archbish-op Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halyc said.Earlier that day, armed men in unmarked mili-tary uniforms took con-trol of airports in Crimea, as well as the autono-mous republic’s parlia-ment building and state telecommunications and television centers. Flights from Crimean airports have been grounded.
suggest that Russia has
own hundreds, or even
thousands, of troops into Crimea.Russia’s U.N. ambas-sador, Vitaly Churkin, said any of his country’s military movements in Crimea are “within the framework” of long-stand-ing agreements between Moscow and Kyiv—also known as Kiev; Russia’s
Black See eet has a base
at the Crimean city of Sev-astopol.Oleksander Turchyn-ov, Ukraine’s acting pres-ident, accused Russia of deploying its troops in Crimea, trying to pro-
voke armed conict.
“The UGCC faith-ful pray for the Krym exarchate and for the preservation of the unity of Ukraine,” said a state-ment from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.“In these days, we pray for peace and se-curity for all residents of the Crimean peninsula, especially the clergy and laity of our Krym ex-archate.”The Krym exarchate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church was established only two weeks ago, on Feb. 13. It was split from the exarchate of Odesa, and serves the Ukrainian Catholics in Crimea.These developments in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church come among profound political transition in the nation.Protests in Kyiv began in November, when the government announced it would not sign a major economic partnership agreement with the Eu-ropean Union, in favor of a $15 billion bailout agreement with Rus-sia. Tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Kyiv, at times occupying government buildings.Protests continued through February, until more than 80 people were killed —some of them by snipers—during protests at Maidan in Kyiv.On Feb. 21, Viktor Yanukovych, then the president of Ukraine,
ed Kyiv; the next day,
parliament voted to re-move him from power. Turchynov was appoint-ed acting president Feb. 23 by parliament.Turchyov has already announced his desire to strengthen ties with the European Union, and formed a government Feb. 27, with Arseniy Yatsenyuk appointed as prime minister. Elec-tions have been sched-uled for May 25.Ukraine’s acting pres-ident quickly warned against the dangers of separatism, a risk from the majority-Russian areas of eastern Ukraine, particularly Crimea.Crimea is a southern peninsula of Ukraine where nearly 60 percent of the population are ethnic Russians, and more than 50 percent of the popula-tion speak Russian as their
The territory was transferred from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 under the Soviet Union.
A Divine Liturgy of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church celebrated during protests in Kyiv earlier this month.
Jesuits start school in poor Cambodian province
BANTEAY MEANCHEY PROVINCE, Feb. 28 2014—The Jesuits have started a school in a poor areas of Cambodia, with a clear idea that Jesuits should serve poor children, an
ofcial has said.
The Jesuit education project will be in Siso-phon, Banteay Meanchey Province. “it was very clear that we Jesuits should serve poor
children rst,” said Jesuit Father Francisco
Oh In-don, delegate of the Korean provincial to the Cambodia Mission.Father Oh explained in a letter to members of the Cambodia mission and collaborators that he chose Sisophon over Battambang because it has many fewer educational opportunities. “The city itself is poorer. Battambang is already the location of two reputable schools, Salesian School and Borey School. In Sisophon there is nothing. This is the most important reason for my decision.”The school will be named “Xavier Jesuit School,” named after St. Francis Xavier the Patron Saint of Sisophon Parish. Also, “Xavier” is the name of many Jesuit schools and institutions across the world and, as Fr Oh said, “Anyone who hears this name
recognizes that it is afliated with the inter
-national Society of Jesus.”In November 2013, Jesuits met with Pro-vincial Director of Education, Mr. Chheuy Vanna, who welcomed the proposal to develop a primary school, secondary school and teacher resource centre. On January 21, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sport expressed its support for the project and on February 6, the Governor of Banteay Meanchey province, also approved and signed a letter of support for the project.The land is already being bought at the cost of half a million US dollars and was paid for entirely by the Korean Jesuit Province. The whole project is estimated to cost US$8 million dollars.
The rst educational activities will begin
in June 2014 using borrowed facilities. The team will run an enrichment course for 160 disadvantaged primary school students from four local primary schools.
Iraqi patriarch urges prayer, fasting that Christians remain
ROME, Italy, Feb. 27, 2014—Archbishop Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Pa-triarch of Babylon, has issued an urgent appeal to mark the begin-ning of Lent, calling for “prayer and fasting that Christians not leave Iraq.”“Our Christian identity has had profound roots in the his-tory and geography of Iraq for 2000 years,” Patriarch Sako said, according to the Fides news agency. “Our roots and our clear sources are found in our country, and if we leave, we would be separated from our roots.”Christians in Iraq need to “persevere and wait,” and avoid listening “to those who instill fear” and to those who “in different ways invite or encourage Iraqi Chris-tians to aban-don their country,” he said.“We are here because of God’s will and we are here with the help of his grace to build bridges and work with our Muslim brothers and sis-ters for the development of our country.”In his message, Patriarch Sako also called for prayers for Syria, Lebanon and the entire region for an end to the unrest.It is urgent that “the page be turned” in Iraq with the upcom-ing elections, he added, “so that the country can return to peace and security for the good of all citizens.”
Iraq Archbishop Louis Sako.
Korean Masses strengthen migrant community in Thailand
PATTAYA, Thailand, Feb. 27, 2014—This month’s introduction of Sunday Masses celebrated in Korean at a parish in the Thai city of Pattaya has united both emigrants and tourists from South Korea.“This regular Korean lan-guage Mass unites, strengthens, and revitalizes faith life in the parish,” Fr. Giovanni Lee Sung-hyun, chaplain at St. Nikolaus parish in Pattaya, about 80 miles southeast of Bangkok, told CNA Feb. 24.He added that the other sacra-ments are also offered in Korean,
in response to a growing inux
of Korean emigrant workers, as well as tourists, to the port city.“Understanding and interior-izing the Word of God is very important,” Fr. Lee commented, adding that the Thai language is a major impediment for Kore-ans’ participation in the liturgy, which hinders their spiritual growth.Celebration of Mass in Ko-rean makes for “a participatory church, and also connects to the nostalgia of Korean liturgy,” added Fr. Lee.St. Nikolaus has also estab-lished a volunteer center and a women’s league; Fr. Lee said, “we affirm our responsibility and role in the mission of the Church, and march forward for a new evangelization and inter-religious dialogue.” The community of Catholics from Korea is also active in Bangkok, where there are some 200 members.The need of the Church in Thailand to provide for immi-grant communities is likely to increase in the future, as the na-tion prepares to implement the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The economic commu-nity will produce a free-trade re-gion in east and Southeast Asia,
allowing more exible migration
of laborers.The Church in Thailand has to prepare for “new pastoral challenges and interreligious dialogue,” Msgr. Andrew Vis-sanu Thanya Anan, deputy secretary-general for the Thai bishops’ conference, told CNA.Thailand is also home to a community of Catholics from Vietnam, and hosts a large num-ber of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group from neighboring Burma.
J a k u b S z y m c z u k / G O S C N I E D Z I E L N Y w w w . u c a n e w s . c o m A i d t o t h e C h u r c h i n N e e d U K