Vol. 15 No. 24
November 21 - December 4, 2011
Unemployment can lead to identity crisis, says Pope
Since work brings man to experience his role as a partici-
pant in God’s creative plan, a lack of work ― or precariousemployment situations ― can lead to identity crises, said
Benedict XVI to Ecuador’s 2nd National Conference on theFamily Nov. 11. In his message, the pope spoke of work,
through which, “man experiences himself as subject, a
participant in the creative plan of God.” “This explains,”he said, “why the lack of work or precarious work un-dermines man’s dignity, creating not only situations of
injustice and poverty, which frequently degenerate into
despair, criminality and violence, but also into an identitycrisis in persons.”
Polish academic prize goes to Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI was selected to receive a Polish honor rec-
ognizing his contribution in the elds of theology and
culture. The Pope expressed his gratitude for the “Laurel”academic prize during a Polish-language greeting at theend of Wednesday’s general audience. He thanked theuniversity rectors of the athenaeums of Wroclaw, Opole,Czestochowa and Zielona Gora. The award was grantedto Benedict XVI in the context of the bicentenary of the
University of Wroclaw. Pope John Paul II was the rst
recipient of the prize in 2003.
Vatican publishes book on Latin America’s zeal forGospel
The Vatican Publishing House released a book by the Pon-
tical Commission for Latin America on religious fervor
in the continent and how it has contributed to the spreadof the Gospel. “Blessed John Paul II learned to appreciateand encourage this popular piety of Latin America verypositively, especially during all of his untiring pilgrimagesto the Marian shrines of all the countries of Latin America,which are the true spiritual capitals of those nations,”Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the commission, saidon Nov. 17. The new book is titled “Popular Piety in theEvangelization Process of Latin America,” and containsinformation from the commission’s recent plenary meetingat the Vatican in April of this year.
Pope will use iPad to light up world’s largestChristmas tree
Pope Benedict XVI will light up the largest Christmas treein the world on Dec. 7 located in the Italian city of Gub-bio in the region of Umbria. Vatican Radio reported thatthe Pope will use an iPad to turn on the tree’s lights fromhis residence in the Papal Apartments. Built in 1981, theChristmas tree stretches more than 2,000 feet up the faceof Mount Igino outside Gubbio. It contains hundreds oflights and more than 25,000 feet of electrical cables and isconsidered the largest electric tree in the world accordingto the Guinness Book of World Records. Before turning thelights on using a special iPad application, Pope Benedictwill deliver a video message to the residents of Gubbioand the surrounding towns.
Pope asks African Catholics to be ‘apostles of reconciliation’
In a wide-ranging document on the church’s future inAfrica, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to become
“apostles of reconciliation, justice and peace” across
the troubled continent. The key to the church’s missionin Africa, the pope said, is for all Catholics to know thefaith and the church’s social doctrine well, then witnessit in daily life. The pope signed the apostolic exhortationtitled “Africae Munus” on Nov. 19 during a ceremony inOuidah, Benin, a slave trade city on the Atlantic coast. Hewas making a three-day visit to Benin, where he met withbishops from the African continent.
French-based Catholic movement says founder wassex abuser
A Catholic movement based in France has acknowledgedwith “humility and repentance” that acts of sexual abusewere committed by its founder and other important mem-bers of the organization. The Community of the Beatitudes,in a statement posted on its French website Nov. 16, saidthat under the oversight of a commissioner appointedlast year by the Vatican, it was undergoing a process of
“purication, restructuring and re-founding.” The de
-tailed statement came two weeks ahead of the scheduledstart of a criminal trial of Brother Pierre-Etienne Albert,a top member of the community, who has been accusedof dozens of acts of sexual abuse of minors over a periodof 15 years.
Pope to African leaders: have the courageto do what is right
COTONOU, Benin, Nov. 19, 2011—PopeBenedict XVI has called upon the politicalleadership of Africa to govern with wisdomand integrity.“Adopt a courageous ethical approach toyour responsibilities and, if you are believ-ers, ask God to grant you wisdom! Thiswisdom will help you to understand that, aspromoters of your peoples’ future, you mustbecome true servants of hope,” the Pope tolda gathering of political and religious leadersin Benin’s Presidential Palace in the city ofCotonou, Nov. 19.Alluding to the continent’s history of cor-ruption and cronyism amongst its elites, thePope recognized that it is “not easy to livethe life of a servant, to remain consistentamid the currents of opinion and powerfulinterests.” Power, he warned, “easily blinds,”especially when private, family, ethnic orreligious interests are at stake.The event was the Pope’s first publicengagement on the second day of his visitto Benin.His audience included Benin presidentThomas Boni Yayi along with members ofthe country’s government and diplomaticcorps. The presidential palace in Cotonouwas constructed in 1960 to mark Benin’sindependence from France.Despite its troubled past, the Pope con-tended that Africa is “a continent of hope.”He added that he was not “indulging inmere rhetoric,” but was “simply expressinga personal conviction which is also that ofthe Church.”This hope is to be found both in the con-tinent’s economic life and in interreligiousdialogue.The Pope reflected upon recent eventsacross Africa. He said many of its people haveshown their desire for liberty, their need formaterial security, and their wish to “live inharmony according to their different ethnicgroups and religions.”In the north of the continent many dic-tatorial regimes have recently been sweptaway as part of the “Arab Spring,” whilethe people of South Sudan have gained theirindependence.In charting a new socio-economic way for-ward for Africa, the Pope said, “the Churchdoes not pro-pose any tech-nical solutionand does notimpose anypolitical solu-tion,” giventhat “we knowthat no politicalregime is idealand that no eco-nomic choice isneutral.”What theChurch canprovide, how-ever, is “a mes-sage of hope,”which “gener-ates energy,which stimu-lates the intel-lect and gives the will all its dynamism.” Forwhile despair is individualistic, he said, hopeis communion.He quoted Cardinal Jules-Géraud Saliège,the mid-twentieth century Archbishop ofToulouse in France, who said that “to hopeis never to abandon; it is to redouble one’sactivity.”“The Church accompanies the State and itsmission; she wishes to be like the soul of ourbody untiringly pointing to what is essential:God and man,” explained the Pope.So while Catholicism takes on great worksin education and care across Africa “aboveall,” he said, the Church is “she” who “prayswithout ceasing, who points to God and towhere the authentic man is to be found.”Turning to the issue of interreligious
dialogue, the Pope rejected intolerance and
violence between religions.“Aggression is an outmoded relational
form which appeals to supercial and ignoble
instincts.”The starting point of dialogue, he sug-gested, is a greater knowledge and practiceof one’s own faith. Someone cannot love un-less he loves himself, and this love “can onlybegin by sincere personal prayer on the partof the one who desires to dialogue.”In this prayer the believer should ask God“for the gift to see in the other a brother to be
loved and, within his tradition, a reection of
the truth which illumines all people.”
The Pope rejected “muddled thinking” and
“syncretism,” saying these can result from“interreligious dialogue when badly under-stood.” He charted practical ways in whichreligions can work together, such as coopera-tion in social or cultural areas. This collabora-tion can advance mutual understanding andhelp people “live together serenely.”In ordinary life in Africa, he said, manyfamilies have members who profess differentbeliefs, and yet remain united.He concluded by using the image of a hand
to explain himself. “There are ve ngers on
it and each one is quite different,” yet “eachone is also essential and their unity makesa hand.”There is a “vital duty,” he said, to havegood understanding between cultures,consideration for each other that is notcondescending, and respect for the rights ofeach person.“This is my wish for the whole of Africa,
which is so dear to me! Africa, be condent
and rise up! The Lord is calling you.”After his address, Pope Benedict held abrief private meeting with President YayiBoni where he met the president’s family andexchanged gifts.
6 nations beneft
from Papal planepassing over
EN ROUTE TO BENIN, Nov. 18, 2011—Though they only
had Benedict XVI visiting for brief moments ― and then,only from the air ― six African countries received the as
surance of papal prayers as the Holy Father ew over them
on his way to Benin today.As is customary, the Pope sent his best wishes to theleaders of the countries the papal plane passed over as heheaded for his three-day trip to Benin, his second apostolic
journey to Africa.The ight, stretching more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500
miles) gave the Pontiff an opportunity to express his wishesfor peace and stability in Tunisia.He sent his best wishes to Algeria and invoked upon the
whole country “the benets of the Almighty.”
“May the Most High bless Mali and grant to all its in-habitants prosperity and happiness,” stated the telegramfor this country.To Niger, the Holy Father expressed the hope that it will“live in prosperity and progress unceasingly in concordand peace.”For Burkina Faso the Pope voiced his hope that it would“live always in peace and fraternity” and that God wouldgrant it prosperity and happiness.For Ghana he prayed for “God’s blessings of peace andsocial harmony.”
Spanish diocese petitions for 2015 to be year of St. Teresa
AVILA, Spain, Nov. 18,2011—The Diocese of Avilain Spain has begun collect-ing signatures for a petitiondeclaring 2015, the 500thanniversary of St. Teresa of Jesus’ birth, as a “Year ofPrayer.”St. Teresa was a “masterof prayer” who “left thetestimony of her personalexperience of prayer in herwritings,” said campaignorganizers.Local Church leaders ex-pressed hope that Pope Bene-dict will declare 2015 as a“Year of Prayer” and make St.Teresa the patroness for thecelebration.The campaign is beingorganized by the CarmeliteFathers, with the support ofBishop Jesus Garcia Burilloof Avila, who has writtento all the pastors of thediocese inviting them toparticipate.Signatures are being col-lected at parishes, religiouscommunities and at the di-ocesan chancery. They willbe sent along with a specialletter to Vatican Secretaryof State, Cardinal TarcisioBertone.“In time, St. Teresa becamea master of prayer, not onlyfor her spiritual sons anddaughters, but for the entireChurch,” organizers said.
Catholic laity conducts mission in Indonesia’s far east
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov.18, 2011—The Kelompok BaktiKasih Kemanusiaan (KBKK), alay Catholic humanitarian group,carried out a two-week missionamong indigenous communi-ties in Agats, eastern Indonesia.Twenty-four lay people with amixed professional backgroundperformed pastoral and hu-manitarian work in one of thecountry’s remotest and most ne-glected dioceses, Agats-Timika,some nine hours by plane from Jakarta, plus an hour by smallboat.Ingrid Barata headed the mis-sion. Speaking to AsiaNews, shesaid the group included peoplefrom different provinces. The tripto Agats was a tense one. Timika,the town closest to Agats, and itsonly point of access, was recentlyracked by mass demonstrationsby miners working for the Free-port Company.Unknown gunmen fired onprotesters, killing a number ofthem. “We were held back at theairport for security reasons untilthings quieted down. They even-
tually ew us to our destination
on small planes,” said former Jesuit Abdi Susanto, who alsotook part in the mission.The situation was still tense be-cause of political unrest in Timikaand Jayapura. The group wasforced to split up, stopping at dif-ferent airports for security reasonsand because of fuel shortages.After 24 hours, they all made itto their destination, in the heart
of the Papuan jungle, a place
where people lead a simple life,
based on shing, hunting and
gathering. Because the land isswampy and has no drinkingwater, rainwater must be col-lected in big tanks for humanconsumption.The humanitarian missionfocused on four different areas,far from Agats. “At least three orfour hours of navigation on smallboats were needed to reach our
destination,” Suparman Surjadi,
from Bogor, told AsiaNews.In the two-week period, na-tives were provided with necessi-ties, as well as medical and healthcare, Msgr. Aloysius Murwito,OFM, said as he praised thegroup for its work. “I am grate-ful to God that in Indonesia theChurch has the KBKK, which iscommitted to serving others.”To date, the KBKK has carriedout missions in 24 Indonesiandioceses, offering aid to areasaffected by natural disasters.
Catholics take to the streets in Hanoi demanding justice
HANOI, Vietnam, Nov. 18, 2011―Thousands
of Catholics took to the streets this morning in
Hanoi (pictured), demanding justice for Thai
Ha Parish and the nearby Redemptorist mon-astery. They waved banners: one stated, “Donot trespass on religious land and property”,another called on the government to “returnwhat you borrow”, and a third said, “Weprotest Hanoi TV’s defamation and distortionof the truth about Thai Ha parish”.The protest was provoked by a decisiontaken by the Dong Da District People’s Com-mittee to seize the limited land that is leftto the local Catholic community in order tobuild a sewage treatment system for a nearbyhospital.Bought in 1928 by the Redemptorists, theoriginal property covered an area of 61.455 sqm. Now only some 2,700, sq m are left.
The conict reached its peak in 2008 and
2009 when days of protest by thousands ofCatholics ended in the trial and convictionof eight of them for disturbing the publicorder.The dispute’s latest round began on 8 Oc-tober when the local parish priest, Fr. JosephNguyen Van Phuong, was summoned toappear before the Dong Da District People’sCommittee to be informed that they haddecided on how todispose of the parish’sland.Men and womenreligious as well asparishioners reactedby staging protests.This was followedon 3 November byan assault carried outby hundreds of policeagents and soldiersusing dogs and trun-cheons, taped by aTV crew. Using loud-speakers, the attack-ers hurled insults andstones at the convent,breaking its main door. Only the quickintervention of faithful from neighbouringparishes brought in by tolling bells stoppedthe attack.On Wednesday, 500 riot police and secu-rity forces escorted dozens of bulldozers tostart building the hospital sewage treatment
system, just a few metres from the existing
church.At the same time, despite threats of retali-ation by the authorities, people began theirprotest in front of the People’s Committeeheadquarters, whilst plainclothes policeofficers take pictures and videotape theprotesters.“I’m not scared,” Peter Tuan Nguyen toldAsiaNews. “We need to lift the veil from the
injustices committed in Vietnam.”
“Why I came here? Well, to protest beforethe international community [against] theongoing persecutions we have suffered foralmost seven decades,” said Maria ThanhTran.
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