Vol. 13 No. 8
April 13 - 26, 2009
VATICAN CITY, April 12, 2009—Thou-sands gathered in St. Peter’s Square to-day to hear Pope Benedict XVI’s Eastermessage and Urbi et Orbi (to the cityand to the world) blessing. During hisaddress, the Holy Father reminded thefaithful that Jesus’ death and resurrec-tion gives hope to the world.The Pope began his reflection byquoting St. Augustine saying, “‘Resur-rectio Domini spes nostra—the Lord’sresurrection is our hope.’ With thesewords, the great Bishop explained tothe faithful that Jesus rose again so thatwe, though destined to die, should notdespair, worrying that with death life
is completely nished; Christ is risen
to give us hope.”Answering the question about what
follows death, the Pope afrmed “that
death is not the last word, because Lifewill be victorious at the end. This certain-ty of ours is based not on simple humanreasoning, but on a historical fact of faith:
Jesus Christ, crucied and buried, is risenwith his gloried body. Jesus is risen so
that we too, believing in him, may haveeternal life. This proclamation is at theheart of the Gospel message.”He also emphasized that “since thedawn of Easter a new Spring of hope has
Christ’s death and resurrectiongives the world hope, proclaimsBenedict XVI
his ‘Passover’, his ‘passage’, that hasopened a ‘new way’ between heavenand earth. It is neither a myth nor adream, it is not a vision or a utopia, it isnot a fairy tale, but it is a singular andunrepeatable event: Jesus of Nazareth,son of Mary, who at dusk on Friday wastaken down from the Cross and buried,has victoriously left the tomb.”The Holy Father also spoke of thedark realities that threaten our society:“I am referring particularly to materi-alism and nihilism, to a vision of theworld that is unable to move beyondwhat is scientifically verifiable, andretreats cheerlessly into a sense ofemptiness which is thought to be the
denitive destiny of human life.”
If Jesus had not risen these realitiesand “emptiness” would prevail, he con-tinued. “If we take away Christ and hisresurrection, there is no escape for man,and every one of his hopes remains anillusion. Yet today is the day when theproclamation of the Lord’s resurrectionvigorously bursts forth, and it is theanswer to the recurring question of the
skeptics, that we also nd in the book of
Ecclesiastes: “Is there a thing of which itis said, ‘See, this is new’?” We answer,yes: on Easter morning, everything wasrenewed. “
The Pope went on to reect on the evil
in the world and the need for humancooperation in spreading the Gospelmessage. “Even if through Easter, Christhas destroyed the root of evil, he stillwants the assistance of men and womenin every time and place who help him to
afrm his victory using his own weap
-ons: the weapons of justice and truth,mercy, forgiveness and love.”“The resurrection of Christ is ourhope!” exclaimed Pope Benedict. “Thisthe Church proclaims today with joy.She announces the hope that is now
rm and invincible because God has
raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Shecommunicates the hope that she carriesin her heart and wishes to share with allpeople in every place, especially whereChristians suffer persecution becauseof their faith and their commitmentto justice and peace. She invokes thehope that can call forth the courage todo good, even when it costs, especiallywhen it costs,” he concluded.
lled the world; from that day forward
our resurrection has begun, becauseEaster does not simply signal a momentin history, but the beginning of a newcondition: Jesus is risen not because hismemory remains alive in the hearts ofhis disciples, but because he himselflives in us, and in him we can alreadysavor the joy of eternal life.”Christ’s resurrection is not a theory,but a true “historical reality revealedby the man Jesus Christ by means ofVATICAN CITY, April 12, 2009—Just as Jewsremove unleavened bread from their householdsat Passover to signify a new beginning, Christiansshould remove from their hearts the “yeast of oldsin,” says Benedict XVI.The Pope said this in his homily for Easter Mass
at St. Peter’s Basilica, in which he reected on a pas
-sage of 1 Corinthians: “Christ, our Paschal lamb,
has been sacriced.” He said the passage “contains,
in an impressive synthesis, a full awareness of thenewness of life in Christ.”“The central symbol of salvation history—the
Paschal lamb—is here identied with Jesus, who
is called ‘our Paschal lamb,’” the Pontiff explained.
He noted the Jewish practice of sacricing a lamb
each year at Passover, “commemorating the libera-tion from slavery in Egypt.”“In his passion and death, Jesus reveals himself
as the Lamb of God, ‘sacriced’ on the Cross, to
take away the sins of the world,” said the Holy
Pope urges Christians to be ‘new dough’
Offers Pauline reection on Passover rituals
Prelate recallsunforgettable EasterSunday experience
DAVAO CITY, April 13, 2009—It was already 17years ago but Archbishop Fernando Capalla stillcannot forget what happened on April 19, 1992,around 3:45 early dawn of Easter Sunday.That fateful day, the ‘encuentro’ in Iligan Citywas bombed and Capalla, was then the bishop. Thebombing left many Churchgoers wounded whilekilling several children acting as angels duringthe ‘encuentro.’Capalla, in his weekly column, “The Shepherd’sCorner” in Davao Catholic Herald, recounted howthe incident took place. “The throng was thickeron the space between St. Michael’s Cathedral andSt. Michael’s College,” he started.“On this spot stood the high platform wherelittle angels dressed in white were ready to openthe veil covering the face of the image of theMother of Sorrows surrounded by many women.Right in front of her was the image of the RisenLord borne by husky men and surrounded by anall-male crowd,” continued Capalla.“There was a sepulchral silence as the entireassembly was waiting for me to arrive on thespot between the two images and in front of thechildren,” he narrated, adding:“As the priests, sisters, and people were cran-ing their necks as if wondering and inquiringif the Bishop was on the way, a grenade fell onthe spot where I supposed to stand. Theexplosion broke the silence and solemnity of thehallowed space, killing 15 children and woundingseveral others. Pandemonium and panic ensuedas the wounded screamed in pain and the othersscrambled away from the bloody scene.”Capalla, exhausted from the past days activitiesof Holy Week overslept and was awakened by thesuccessive phone ringings. On the phone was thethen Vicar General Msgr. Leo Labiste that informedhim of the incident.Shocked of the news, the bishop hurriedlydressed up and rushed to the Cathedral. As he
arrived, the scenes from the site conrmed him
of the tragedy.Now, after 17 years after that fateful day, he said,“it was so terrible and shocking that I shudder a bitevery time I remember that Easter Sunday.”However Capalla said that despite the violencethat happened, the people still have one goodreason to hope for goodness to come.“We must believe that death which is causedby sin and violence has been conquered by JesusChrist who suffered, died and rose again to life,”he concluded.
(Mark S. Ventura)
Father. “He was killed at the very hour when it
was customary to sacrice the lambs in the Temple
“The meaning of his sacrice he himself had
anticipated during the Last Supper, substitutinghimself—under the signs of bread and wine—forthe ritual food of the Hebrew Passover meal. Thus
we can truly say that Jesus brought to fulllment
the tradition of the ancient Passover, and trans-formed it into his Passover.”
Room for the new
Basing himself on this interpretation of the Pas-
chal feast, Benedict XVI then continued to reect
on St. Paul’s interpretation of the “leaven.”He explained that during Passover the Jewishcustom is to remove every scrap of leavened breadfrom the household, which serves as a reminderof when their forefathers left Egypt, taking withthem only unleavened bread.“At the same time, though,” the Pope added, “the
‘unleavened bread’ was a symbol of purication:
removing the old to make space for the new.”The Holy Father said that St. Paul explains thatthe ancient tradition acquires a new meaningwith Christ, “once more derived from the new‘Exodus,’ which is Jesus’ passage from death toeternal life.”
“Since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacriced him
-self for us, we too, his disciples -- thanks to him andthrough him -- can and must be the ‘new dough,’the ‘unleavened bread,’ liberated from every re-sidual element of the old yeast of sin: no more eviland wickedness in our heart,” he said.“Let us open our spirit to Christ, who has diedand is risen in order to renew us,” Benedict XVIurged,” in order to remove from our hearts thepoison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life.”
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ROME, Italy, April 9, 2009—The Obama adminis-
tration has seen three possible candidates it oated
for the position of U.S. ambassador to the Holy Seesunk due to their views on abortion. Additionally, a
source at the Vatican conrmed to CNA that Profes
-sor Douglas Kmiec will not become the ambassadordue to his stance on life issues.With the President traveling to Rome in July,when he hopes to meet Pope Benedict XVI, not
lling the position would be a major gaffe.
The news that the Vatican has balked at Obama’s
rst three nominees was rst reported by the Italian
journalist Massimo Franco. According to Franco,a columnist for the Italian newspaper Corrieredella Sera, papal advisers told Mr. Obama’s aidesprivately that all three nominees failed to meet the
Vatican’s most basic qualication on the abortion
“The informal dismissal of the rst names whispered in the Obama inner
circle is a signal,” Mr. Franco told the Washington Times’ Embassy Row inemail.The well-connected Mr. Franco also explained that the rejection of theObama candidates “would suggest that, at least so far, none of the potential
Democratic diplomats were considered t to ‘improve relations’ with the
Holy See.”Neither the Vatican Embassy in Washington nor the White House wouldcomment Monday on the appointment of a new U.S. ambassador, accordingto the Washington Times.
Obama’s candidates for Vatican
ambassador failing ‘simple standard’
Mr. Franco, whose new book, “Parallel Empires:The Vatican and the U.S.,” explores U.S.-Vaticanrelations over the past 200 years, said Mr. Obama’spredicament underscores a deeper problem theVatican has with the Democratic Party and its anti-life positions on abortion.He also noted that the lack of a U.S. ambassador“could become embarrassing” for the White House,if the position remains vacant when Obama goes toItaly for the G8 meeting this July. The White Houseis trying to arrange a time before or after the summitfor Mr. Obama to meet the Pope.
CNA contacted a Vatican ofcial from the Ofce
of the Secretary of State who said that he could notelaborate on the names that have been proposed so
far by the Obama administration, but conrmed
that the name of Professor Douglas Kmiec “nevershowed up.”
The ofcial told CNA that “there have only been informal exchanges ofopinions, not direct, ofcial proposals,” from the Obama administration.“Obviously, the exchange has not been fruitful in nding a mutually
satisfying candidate, otherwise, at this point, there would have been an an-nouncement, and there isn’t one.”Asked if pro-abortion Catholic Caroline Kennedy was on the short-list
proposed by the administration, the ofcial said he had “no comment.”“Obviously she would not match the prole,” he said.
An April 2 article in Panorama, an Italian news magazine, journalist
MANILA, April 8, 2009─The world’s leading hu
-man rights organization is looking at the CatholicChurch to consistently make its moral voice heardagainst the series of human rights violations hap-pening in the country.Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth in
a press brieng yesterday morning said they need
the Church’s moral authority to stress that “these(targeted killings) are wrong and a different solu-tion has to be found.”Roth’s group is in the country to investigate thekillings perpetrated by the so-called death squadsin Davao.
The ofcial said he hopes the “Church when
they speak for the poor should also speak for thevictims of these despots.”“The Catholic Church rightfully prides itself onspeaking out for the poor and disenfranchised andthat should be,” Roth added.He said victims of targeted killings are those whobelong to the most disadvantaged segments of society,the street children and the “nobodies” of society.
HR ofcial asks Church’s lead in condemning human rights violations
Roth also called on the Philippine government toimmediately dismantle the so-called Davao Death
Squad and investigate the involvement of ofcials
in targeted killings.
The ofcial said he looks forward to the Philip
-pine government’s true leadership to put a stop tothe activities of the dreaded Davao Death Squadsby condemning the practice, dedicating resourcesto investigate and prosecuting those involved.He lauded the country’s Commission on Hu-man Rights for doing well even as he criticized theDepartment of Justice, the Ombudsman and thePhilippine National Police for doing “nothing.”He said the government has the duty to go afterand seek out evidence and provide security guar-antees for witnesses.Roth said they did their research in Davao andtalked to the victims’ relatives, some insiders andothers who knew of the Davao Death Squad’soperations in two weeks.“If we at the Human Rights Watch did it in two weeks,they can do much better,” Roth said.
President Barack Obama
Obama / A6
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth showsa copy of their report on the “Davao death squad” during a
press brieng last March 31.