Search This Blog

Friday, August 31, 2012

MISSION: Chinese bishop urges Rosary, and Faith study to promote Missionary work

Chinese bishop urges Rosary, Scripture, & Catechism study during 'Year of Faith'

CWN - August 30, 2012

A 90-year-old Chinese bishop has directed that each parish in his diocese offer a public daily Rosary and a program of study devoted to the Catechism of the Catholic Church during the upcoming 'Year of Faith' [to help promote missionary activity], which begins October 11.

Bishop Luke Li Jingfeng of Fengxiang, which is located in central China, also urged priests to organize study sessions for Sacred Scripture and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

Consecrated a bishop in 1980, Bishop Li ministers openly but has not joined the government-run Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

SOCIETY: Vietnamese woman has buried 4,000 discarded babies

Vietnamese woman has buried 4,000 aborted, abandoned babies found in the trash

by John Jalsevac

August 30, 2012, ( – One day, Pham Thi Cuong, now 74, was going to the local market when she saw a black plastic bag covered in flies on the sidewalk. Unexpectedly, the bag moved when she walked past.
At first Cuong assumed that a local family must have discarded some animals, and walked past. But something made her turn back.
Pham Thi Cuong, 74, holds a jar with the body of an aborted baby that she intends to bury.
What she found made her sick. In the bag was a still-living newborn baby.  "Its body was black and blue and there were ants all over it. Such a painful sight," she told VnExpress this week.
Cuong attempted to save the baby's life, searching desperately around for a breastfeeding mother to feed the baby, but she failed, and the baby died. The experience, however, gave her a new mission in life.
The elderly woman now bicycles around, up to ten kilometers a day, looking for the bodies of abandoned or aborted babies. She then cleans them up and gives them a proper burial in a local cemetery, "so that their souls may find peace."
Sadly, she is often successful in her search. So far, she has reportedly buried more than 4,000 babies.
Cuong says that she often finds the bodies of the babies in plastic bags, thrown on the sidewalk like common rubbish. Often, she says, they are being consumed by animals.

"It gives me the chills," she said. "But then I thought about their really short life of being abandoned, not even having a place to rest when they died, I still tried to bring them home."
Because Pham is poor, some have told her she is wasting her time and should work on improving her own situation. But VnExpress reports that others have come to look on her as an "angel," and one local man has even begun to join Pham in her searches.
Cuong's story is eerily similar to that of Lou Xiaoying, an impoverished Chinese woman who made her living recycling trash. The Daily Mail reported last month that Xiaoying has discovered 30 living babies abandoned in dumpsters. In each case she has rescued the infants, and cared for them as her own children.
"I realized if we had strength enough to collect garbage, how could we not recycle something as important as human lives," she said.
"These children need love and care," she said. "They are all precious human lives. I do not understand how people can leave such a vulnerable baby on the streets."

ASIA / Church: Japanese Jesus - Virgin Mary disguised as Kannon


Japanese Jesus

Nagasaki - The Virgin Mary disguised as Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, used for a Christian secret worship in Japan. Christianity was prohibited in Japan for 259 years, from 1614 to 1873. Those who were found to be Christian were tortured for information on other Christians and then executed. Nowadays remains some rare Christians with a strong tradition of secrecy, the kakure kirishitans.

MALI / Africa: Islamic terror driving Christians out

Islamic terror driving Christians out of Mali

CWN - August 29, 2012

The Vatican newspaper has called attention to the flight of Christians escaping Islamic persecution in Mali.

As many as 200,000 Christians from Mali have found their way to refugee camps in Algeria and Mauritania, L'Osservatore Romano reports. Christian families are seeking a safe haven as Islamic terrorists, with links to Al Qaida, become increasingly active in the northern regions of Mali.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FAITH: "Never compromise on the truth" - BXVI

Never compromise on the truth, Pope insists 

CWN - August 29, 2012


"The truth is the truth and there is no compromise," Pope Benedict XVI told his weekly public audience on August 29, the feast of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.

St. John the Baptist died because he spoke the truth plainly, the Pope remarked. "For the love of truth, he did not stoop to compromises with the powerful and was not afraid to use strong words with those who had lost the path of God."

After asking how the Baptist found the courage to speak so boldly, the Pope said: "The answer is simple: from his relationship with God—from prayer."

The Pontiff went on to observe that the public life of John the Baptist testified to his relationship with God in prayer. He gained attention by summoning people to repentance. But his call went beyond that summons. "He had the deep humility to reveal in Jesus the true Messenger of God, stepping aside so that Christ can grow."

That humility and dedication testifies to an intense life of prayer, which gave the Baptist the strength he needed, the Pope said. He told the crowd that had gathered in the courtyard of his summer residence:

Prayer is not a waste of time, it does not rob much space from our activities, not even apostolic activities, it does the exact opposite: only if we are able to have a life of faithful, constant, confident prayer will God Himself give us the strength and capacity to live in a happy and peaceful way, to overcome difficulties and to bear witness with courage.

Pope Benedict exhorted his audience to imitate St. John the Baptist by "the daily 'martyrdom' of fidelity to the Gospel, that is, the courage to let Christ grow in us and direct our thinking and our actions.'


Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

HUMAN RIGHTS: South Korea high court recognizes unborn’s ‘right to life’

South Korea high court recognizes unborn's 'right to life'

by Ben Johnson

  • Mon Aug 27, 2012 17:13 EST
  • Comments (6)
  • Tags: midwives, south korea
SEOUL, August 27, 2012, ( – The highest court in South Korea has issued a ruling recognizing the right to life of the unborn.
The eight members of the Republic of Korea's court of last appeal upheld a law allowing jail time for doctors and midwives who perform illegal abortions, on the grounds that they were tasked with preserving life.
Since 1953, South Korea has made abortion illegal except in cases or rape, incest, severe maternal health risks, or profound birth defects. However, in practice, that ban has rarely been enforced in recent decades, and the country has an extremely high abortion rate.
The court's August 23 ruling acknowledged that, while pregnancy is a life-altering event for the mother, "the right to life is also acknowledged for the fetus." 
Jailing those who perform illegal abortions is not excessive, because doing so expresses "censure against people like midwives, who are charged with protecting the fetus's life, performing a procedure that takes away the fetus's life."
"The fetus is itself a separate living being, and will very probably grow into a human being barring any special circumstances," the ruling stated.
The legal challenge was filed by a midwife identified as "Song."
Although the court issued a four-four split decision, overturning the law would have required six votes.
The four dissenters would have allowed elective abortion during the first trimester, based on a gestational view of the developing child. "A country's legislative measures to protect life may vary in the degree and means of protection according to the stage of development in human life," they wrote.
The most recent data available show that 95 percent of the estimated more than 340,000 abortions that took place in 2005 were illegal.   
The nation's demographic crisis – South Korea has sometimes had the world's lowest birthrate – has convinced the government to start enforcing the law on abortion.

ST. AUGUSTINE ! Blessed Feast !!!

CHURCH: Ancient catacomb discovered in Italy

Ancient catacomb discovered in Italy

CWN - August 28, 2012

Safety measures taken in the wake of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake have led to the discovery of a fourth-century catacomb in the village of San Lorenzo di Beffi.

The catacomb's main tunnel is 100 feet long and approximately five feet wide.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mary Is Queen -- Our Sister Who Helps Us, Loves Us: Benedict XVI

Pope: Mary Is Queen -- Our Sister Who Helps Us, Loves Us

Today's Feast Is Theme at General Audience

By Kathleen Naab
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 22, 2012 ( Benedict XVI dedicated the Wednesday audience to a reflection on today's feast of the Queenship of Mary, considering what her queenship means and what it means for us.
After noting some of the history of the feast, the Pope explained how Mary's queenship is due to her "unique association to her Son, both during her earthly journey as well as in heavenly glory."
But is this queenship just a title, the Holy Father asked. "[I]t is a consequence of her being united with her Son, of her being in heaven, i.e. in communion with God. She participates in God's responsibilities over the world and in God's love for the world," he explained.
Power and riches is not the type of royalty belonging to Jesus and Mary, the Pontiff added.
Just as Jesus is king on the cross, so Mary is queen in service to humanity, he said.
"The kingship of Jesus has nothing to do with that which belongs to the powerful of the earth," the Pope reflected. "He is a king who serves his servants; he showed this throughout his life. And the same is true for Mary. She is queen in God's service to humanity. She is the queen of love, who lives out her gift of self to God in order to enter into His plan of salvation for man."
Mary is a queen who helps us, Benedict affirmed. "She is queen precisely by loving us, by helping us in every one of our needs; she is our sister, a humble handmaid."
--- --- ---
On ZENIT's Web page:
Full text:

Papa Stronsay Monks (FSSR) Canonically Erected in SCOTLAND !

Our Public Religious Profession

The Public Profession of Vows
of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

The long awaited day arrived on the
Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
22 August, 2012,
the day of
our individual incorporation into the
canonically erected
Clerical Institute of Diocesan Right
under the title of the
Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer.

We were canonically erected by the Right Reverend
Dom Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B.
Here he is photographed in
Our Lady's Chapel, Stronsay,
during last night's public profession ceremony.
For this solemn occasion of
our union with the diocese and the Church
the episcopal throne was erected in the sanctuary.

Above the bishop is the Coat of Arms of the
Diocese of Aberdeen
which can be seen in more detail in the first image above.
May the monastic and missionary saints of our diocese
intercede for us.

In all, three Lessons from the Holy Scripture were chanted
followed by Tracts,
then the Alleluia and Gospel of the Mass for
the feast of the Most Holy Redeemer.

Brother Jean Marie chants the Second Lesson.
Following the chant of the Gospel the Bishop preached.
Following the sermon the Litany of Loreto
completed the preparation for the public religious professions.

First Fr Michael Mary made public profession
into the hands of the Bishop.
This act was one of Ecclesial Communion through the Bishop
to the Universal Church.

The vows are made to God
but the superior makes them through the Bishop to God.

Fr. Anthony Mary, F.SS.R.
makes his public perpetual profession
into the hands of the appointed superior.

The superior of the new religious order
having made his public profession into the hands of the Bishop
is then empowered to receive the public religious professions
of the members of the Congregation.

Br. Yousef Marie, F.SS.R.
makes his public perpetual profession
into the hands of the Rector Major.

Br. Jean Marie, F.SS.R.
makes his public perpetual profession of the
vows of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience and Perseverance.

Br. Magdala Maria, F.SS.R.
makes public profession of the vows of religion.
The vow of Perseverance is attested with an oath.

Having made the oath of Perseverance
Br. Martin Mary, F.SS.R.
kisses the Gospel.
Having kissed the Gospel
Br. Nicodemus Mary, F.SS.R.
is received into the Congregation
bound by his vows and oath
according to the
Rules of St. Alphonsus
(which were approved by
Pope Benedict XIV in 1749)
and the
Constitutions of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
(which were approved by
the Holy See in 2011).

Br. Gerardo Maria, F.SS.R.
makes temporary public profession for three years.

The public professions were followed by
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
The opening prayer of St. Alphonsus
in his Visits to the Blessed Sacrament,
the antiphon to Our Lady
and the
Prayer for the Pope
all followed.
The Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
wass given by
Dom Hugh,
our Bishop of Aberdeen.

With full hearts and voices
the Divine Praises
were chanted.
Blessed be God!
Blessed be His Holy Name!
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man!

Michael Coren receives a serious death threat

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:57

I'm playing in the big leagues now

Written by Michael Coren
So, I've made it. I'm in the big league, I'm a player. It's like being awarded the Order of Canada, but important. I've got a major death threat. I've had a few in the past, but this one is serious. Here it is: "Islam doesn't allow honour killings, but yeah, people like Pamela Gellar and Coren, oh yeah, totally allowed, aren't there any Muslims in the U.S. and Canada who can kill these pigs? Any Muslim? Please for the sake of Allah, can someone plz kill these pigs." And then, "Guns can be bought in sports shops in the U.S. and Canada, people get mugged and even killed in the cities, can't any Muslim kill these pigs? Ayan Hirsi, Pamela Gellar and Coren?"
So, there it is. A member of the religion of peace calls for me and some much braver and bolder people to be killed. Why? Because I allow Islam to speak for itself, expose itself, explain itself. The police have been informed, the FBI alerted, but I'm not losing any sleep about it. Frankly, I've been threatened by better people than this. But it speaks of far more than its mere words. It's self-evident, and almost redundant, that venomous and vile things are said about Christians, and in particular Roman Catholics, on a daily basis. In the past months alone, arsonists set fires at two Canadian Catholic churches and a convent was vandalized. These criminal acts were given hardly any publicity at all.
Which is not to say that I think non-violent criticism, and even abuse, should be silenced. All I ask for is a level playing field, where we are given room to defend ourselves. As for anti-Muslim comments, they are similarly repugnant; but an informed criticism of Islam is something entirely different, and this is seldom heard or even allowed in mainstream media.
I write and say things about the history and teaching of Islam because I appear on Sun News, a station that refuses to be intimidated. But I am part of a small group, and I could not speak and write this way in any Muslim country, and probably couldn't say much or most of it even in Europe. In France, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Norway, Belgium and many other countries I'd probably be physically attacked and likely have my career terminated.
But it's not about me, but about free speech. Free speech not as some woolly, philosophical concept but as one of the bricks in the wall that provide the defence of our values and dignity against the barbarism that is beyond it. We have long taken it for granted because it seemed so obvious. We refrain from abuse and insult because we're civilized; we speak truth, even if it offends, also because we're civilized.
But today we've reversed the equation. We insult and abuse and think it adult and sophisticated, but flee from bold, authentic speech because we're frightened of being accused of political incorrectness, racism, homophobia or Islamophobia.
Let's speak briefly about the separation of church and state. We don't have it officially in Canada, but most of us assume that the relationship between the secular and the religious is a tenuous one, one that we know has to be handled with mutual respect. Neither state not church should dominate. But this is a Christian or a Jewish idea, even a Hindu or Buddhist idea, not an Islamic one. It is intrinsic to genuine Islam that there is no, and can be no, separation; the state is Islamic, just as every aspect of one's life is Islamic. In some ways this is admirable, but it does suggest that Western, Christian-based pluralism and democracy is incompatible with Islam.
You may hear gentle, compromising talk from some Muslim leaders about this, but look to those countries with an Islamic majority, or even a substantial Muslim minority, and see that Islamic actions speak louder than liberal words. As the left folds and atheism surrenders, the Roman Catholic Church is left as the sole institution that can provide a wise, firm and compassionate opposition to Islamic aspirations. Death threats against me are mere symptoms. The cause is much deeper, and the remedy Christian, papal and with roots deep in Christendom, Rome and the Church.

CHURCH / Canada: Election of First openly gay leader of major denomination

United Church elects Canada's first openly gay leader of a major Christian denomination

by Thaddeus Baklinski

OTTAWA, August 23, 2012 ( - An openly homosexual United Church minister from Vancouver was elected as the 41st moderator of the United Church of Canada at the Protestant denomination's General Council meeting held at Ottawa's Carleton University last week.
Rev. Gary Paterson of St Andrew's-Wesley United Church in downtown Vancouver was elected from a field of 15 nominees on August 16 to become the first openly homosexual leader of a major Christian denomination in Canada.
Paterson was one of three openly homosexual candidates for the moderator's job, which according to the Ottawa Citizen carries a salary of between $119,000 and $135,000 a year.
Paterson succeeds the current moderator, Mardi Tindal.
At a news conference following his election, Paterson acknowledged that his open homosexuality and same-sex "marriage" to Rev Tim Stevenson, another United Church minister, as well as the fact that he has three daughters from his first marriage, would be seen by many to be "problematic," but added that his sexual orientation was a non-issue to the voting members at the United Church General Council.
Paterson said that for some denominations, his election "will be problematic. I'm particularly aware that some denominations in what you would call the developing world will have very serious questions.
"What some denominations or some parts of the world see as a huge dilemma or problem has not, within our immediate community here, been seen that way at all," Paterson said.
The United Church was formed in 1926 with the amalgamation of the Congregationalist, Methodist and Presbyterian denominations and had at that time more than 600,000 members. By 1964 membership rose to a peak of 1.1 million then began to dwindle to the current 500,000, with membership continuing to fall off dramatically, with the consequence of an accelerating financial crisis.
Paterson recognized this in his nomination speech when he told the commissioners, "Our church is in trouble, and we know it. . . . We are already living in Babylon."
In a bid to boost its diminishing and aging membership, the United Church embarked on what Charles Lewis of the National Post identified as "a great experiment to redefine itself through an intense engagement with the surrounding secular world; whether it be through advocating for the environment, fighting for the rights of homosexuals to marry or taking on the cause of the Palestinians, the church has attempted to blur the boundaries between religion and the broader society."
The United Church appears to revel in its liberalism while agonizing over falling membership. The United Church Observer last month published a poll showing that United Church members are significantly more liberal than the Canadian public on the issues of abortion, euthanasia and same-sex "marriage."
In an attempt to bolster numbers the United Church has embarked on popularity projects such as advertising campaigns featuring a bobble-head Jesus doll with references to gay "marriage," and a website where readers are invited to discuss "controversial" issues such as homosexuality.
The site features a video ad called "E-Z Answer Squirrel" ridiculing the doctrinal clarity of traditional Christianity, in which a squirrel answers religious questions. "Easy answer squirrel, does God hate me because I'm gay?" The squirrel pulls an acorn lighting the answer, "no."
Brian Rushfeldt, president of the Canadian Family Action Coalition, considers the election of a homosexual United Church moderator an indication that the denomination has "lost its way."
"It is difficult to understand a 'Christian claiming' denomination selecting a practicing homosexual as the moderator," Rushfeldt told LifeSiteNews.
"The election of this moderator is indicative of a group that has lost its way and is under the control of a very liberal non-Christian element, more interested in their own 'teaching' than God's teaching."
Noting that many United Church members disagree with the direction the denomination's leaders are taking, and are voting with their feet, Rushfeldt said, "The harm done to the denomination from such a choice will be irreparable, so it seems that concern for most members and the church has been ignored for the sake of liberalization and human agenda. This also indicates to me that truth and word of God is no longer and cannot any longer be the cornerstone of the United Church.
"This will hasten the decline of attendance and of influence of the United Church."

HUMAN RIGHTS: “Which of these two human beings was conceived in rape?”

Which one was conceived in Rape?': the viral image that deflated pro-abortion rhetoric

by Peter Baklinski

27 August, 12 ( – The fuzzy grayscale ultrasound images of the two unborn babies are practically identical. But the jarring question above the images makes everyone take a second look: "Which of these two human beings was conceived in rape?"
The viewer is compelled to say: "I can't tell, they both look the same." And that's exactly the point.
Whether a baby is conceived in the terrible circumstance of rape or in the happy circumstance of a loving spousal embrace, the fact remains that both are human beings. Both, if given a chance, will flourish by being loved, and both will requite that love in due season.
But that is not the answer abortion advocates ever want anyone to give when discussing rape and abortion.
Since LifeSiteNews posted the image, created by Abolish Human Abortion, to its "We Can End Abortion" Facebook page last week, it has been shared 4774 times and received 4,344 likes and 526 comments. Many of those comments attack the very core of one of the commonest arguments used to justify abortion - namely that abortion is necessary in cases of rape.
Brittany recounted how her friend who was raped decided to keep the child, adding that her friend now has a "beautiful 16-year-old daughter named Hope."
Nora mentioned that her best friend was the "child of a rape" adding that she is the "neatest person I know, very caring and funny."
Yoana told about her friend who was raped at the age of 14. "She was heartbroken, scared, and pregnant. She never thought about abortion. She said, 'a baby had the right to live'. Even though it was hard, she had family and friend to support her. She took therapy classes. She became herself again after her child was born. Now her baby is 10 years of age. She has no hard feelings, nor does she wish that she had never had her daughter. She loves her."
Click 'like' if you want to END ABORTION!
These commenters hit upon the one truth that abortion advocates know they cannot argue against, namely that the baby conceived in rape is really no different from you or me.
A woman named Yas put it best: "To be honest my daughter is the result of rape, but to me I look at her as a gift from God."
Isn't that the truth? Every child is a gift, no matter how he or she came to be. Every child has something special that they can give to the world, no matter who the child's father was.
A woman named Nicole was glad that someone convinced her mother to think of her as a gift, not merely as a product of rape to be dealt with by abortion.
"I want to just take a minute and tell you my story," she wrote. "I was the result of a rape, and because someone talked my biological mom into not aborting, I am alive and I now have a little bundle of joy of my own. And just so you know, if my daughter ever got raped, I would tell her that that baby is a miracle…"
Men and women who were conceived in rape are the ones who see the huge flaw in the rape argument for abortion. They unflinchingly point out, 'Why should the innocent child conceived in rape receive the death penalty for the crime of the father?' Some even suggest that the rapist should be the one punished in this way, not the unborn baby.
No one understands the flaw in the rape-abortion argument better than Rebecca Kiessling, who at 18 learned ( that she was conceived in a brutal rape by a serial rapist who held her mother at knife-point.
"Please understand that whenever you identify yourself as being 'pro-choice,' or whenever you make that exception for rape," she writes in her testimony, "what that really translates into is you being able to stand before me, look me in the eye, and say to me, 'I think your mother should have been able to abort you.'"
"That's a pretty powerful statement," she says. "I would never say anything like that to someone. I would never say to someone, 'If I had my way, you'd be dead right now.'"
"No — this is the ruthless reality of that position, and I can tell you that it hurts and it's mean."
Research shows that in cases of sexual assault in which a child is conceived, the welfare of a mother and her child are never at odds. It turns out that what is good for the child is actually what is best for the mother. Numerous testimonies by raped women who have chosen life for their child, which have been collected by the Elliot Institute (, suggest that the raped woman's loving affirmation for her child is the one thing that really brings her healing and restores her sense of self-worth.
One woman named Anna, after comparing the ultrasound images of the two unborn babies, commented how her own child conceived in rape affected her life.
"I was raped when I was 13. The beautiful baby girl that God gave me from that has helped to heal me more than anything else on this planet could have. To that baby you are still a whole person. You are not broken or damaged. You are their everything! My baby girl is 17 now, and she is absolutely amazing! I cannot imagine life without her."
These commenters have hit upon a fundamental truth that transcends biological reality, namely that a baby in the womb, no matter how it got there, is a human being who deserves life. It matters not who the father is. Each unborn child, conceived in rape or not, is a unique and unrepeatable human life destined for greatness.
Julie Makimaa, who was conceived in rape and now works to defend the right to life of all children in the womb, said it best: "It doesn't matter how I began. What matters is who I will become."

CHURCH: Syrian archbishop takes refuge in Lebanon

Syrian archbishop takes refuge in Lebanon after offices sacked

CWN - August 27, 2012

Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, has sought refuge in Lebanon after his offies were ransacked by rebel troops.

The offices of the Maronite Catholic archdiocese of Aleppo, and a Byzantine Christian museum, were also damaged by the marauding troops. A Church spokesman blamed the destruction on groups "who want to start a religious war and drag the Syrian people into a sectarian conflict."

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Desert Mother - Ethiopia

Ethiopian Desert Mother :)
Amma Theodora said that neither asceticism, nor vigils, nor any kind of suffering are able to save. Only true humility can do that. There was a hermit who was able to banish the demons. And he asked them: "What makes you go away? Is it fasting?" They replied: "We do not eat or drink." "Is it vigils?" They said: "We do not sleep." "Then what power sends you away?" They replied: "Nothing can overcome us except humility alone." Amma Theodora said: "Do you see how humility is victorious over the demons?"[14]


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MISSION / Church: Chinese authorities close Shanghai seminaries

Chinese authorities close Shanghai seminaries
CWN - August 22, 2012
Chinese authorities have closed down the seminaries of the Shanghai diocese, in another apparent retaliatory measure after the newly ordained Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin announced his resignation from the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association.

Shanghai's Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian has announced that the two seminaries—a regional and minor seminary—will not open for classes in September as scheduled. The institutions will remain closed "until further notice," he said. The bishop said that the measure was taken because of "the present situation"—without providing any further explanation.

Bishop Jin is recognized by the government, and the seminaries operate with government approval. However, Chinese authorities were clearly distressed when Bishop Ma, at his July ordination as an auxiliary for the Shanghai diocese, announced his departure from the Patriotic Association. Bishop Ma also conspicuously avoided sharing the Eucharist with a bishop who had been excommunicated after being consecrated without Vatican approval.

Shortly after his episcopal ordination, Bishop Ma was placed under house arrest at the Shanghai seminary, forbidden to wear his episcopal insignia, and prevented from public appearances. Chinese officials are evidently worried that his refusal to cooperate with the Patriotic Association could be contagious.

In a related move, Chinese officials removed Sister Agnes Liu Shujing from her post as superior of the Congregation of Our Lady of the Presentation. She too was accused of failure to cooperate with the Patriotic Association—a group whose existence has been condemned by the Vatican as incompatible with an authentic Catholic understanding of the Church.


Deutsch: Schutzmantelmadonna (Austria)

Jesus and Mary with FRANCISCAN Friars

CARTHUSIAN Lady of Mercy

[Zurbaran, 17th century Spanish, with a group of monks.]

Zurbaran - Christ on the Cross

The Crucifixion by Zurbaran

Our Lady of Mercy

B. Our Lady of Mercy

MARY / Ecclesiology: In Mary we contemplate that reality to which the church is called - Benedict XVI


Don't Forget Mary

Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI, Mary and the Saints, Our Lady, Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger ReportThe Marian devotion of our present Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, is beautifully manifest in his previously articulated "six reasons for not forgetting" Mary. In a 1984 interview with Vittorio Messori, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith identifies Our Lady as the "remedy" for the contemporary challenges and crises for the Church and the world today.

The following article was excerpted from The Ratzinger Report, Ignatius Press, 1985.

To the crisis in the understanding of the Church, to the crisis of morality, to the crisis of woman, the Prefect has a remedy, among others, to propose "that has concretely shown its effectiveness throughout the centuries." "A remedy whose reputation seems to be clouded today with some Catholics but one that is more than ever relevant." It is the remedy that he designates with a short name: Mary.

Ratzinger is very aware that it is precisely mariology which presents a facet of Christianity to which certain groups regain access only with difficulty, even though it was confirmed by the Second Vatican Council as the culmination of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. "By inserting the mystery of Mary into the mystery of the Church," he says, "Vatican II made an important decision which should have given a new impetus to theological research. Instead, in the early post-conciliar period, there has been a sudden decline in this respect—almost a collapse, even though there are now signs of a new vitality."

In 1968, eighteen years after the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in body and soul to heavenly glory, the then professor Ratzinger observed as he recalled the event: "The fundamental orientation which guides our lives in only a few years has so changed that today we find it difficult to understand the enthusiasm and the joy that then reigned in so many parts of the Catholic Church…. Since then much has changed, and today that dogma which at that time so uplifted us instead escapes us. We ask ourselves whether with it we may not be placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of a reunion with our evangelical fellow Christians, whether it would not be much easier if this stone did not lie on the road, this stone which we ourselves had placed there in the so recent past. We also ask ourselves whether with such a dogma we may not threaten the orientation of Christian piety. Will it not be misdirected, instead of looking toward God the Father and toward the sole mediator, Jesus Christ, who as man is our brother and at the same time is so one with God that he is himself God?"

Yet, during the interview he told me, "If the place occupied by Mary has been essential to the equilibrium of the Faith, today it is urgent, as in few other epochs of the Church, to rediscover that place."

Ratzinger's testimony is also humanly important, having been arrived at along a personal path of rediscovery, of gradual deepening, almost in the sense of a full "conversion," of the Marian mystery. In fact, he confides to me: "As a young theologian in the time before (and also during) the Council, I had, as many did then and still do today, some reservations in regard to certain ancient formulas, as, for example, that famous De Maria nunquam satis, 'concerning Mary one can never say enough.' It seemed exaggerated to me. So it was difficult for me later to understand the true meaning of another famous expression (current in the Church since the first centuries when—after a memorable dispute—the Council of Ephesus, in 431, had proclaimed Mary Theotokos, Mother of God). The declaration, namely, that designated the Virgin as 'the conqueror of all heresies.' Now—in this confused period where truly every type of heretical aberration seems to be pressing upon the doors of the authentic faith—now I understand that it was not a matter of pious exaggerations, but of truths that today are more valid than ever."

"Yes," he continues, "it is necessary to go back to Mary if we want to return to that 'truth about Jesus Christ,' truth about the Church' and the 'truth about man' that John Paul II proposed as a program to the whole of Christianity when, in 1979, he opened the Latin American episcopal conference in Puebla. The bishops responded to the Pope's proposal by including in the first documents (the very ones that have been read only incompletely by some) their unanimous wish and concern: 'Mary must be more than ever the pedagogy, in order to proclaim the Gospel to the men of today.' Precisely in that continent where the traditional Marian piety of the people is in decline, the resultant void is being filled by political ideologies. It is a phenomenon that can be noted almost everywhere to a certain degree, confirming the importance of that piety which is no mere piety."

Six Reasons For Not Forgetting

The Cardinal lists six points in which—albeit in a very concise and therefore necessarily incomplete way—he sees the importance of Mary with regard to the equilibrium and completeness of the Catholic Faith.

First point: "When one recognizes the place assigned to Mary by dogma and tradition, one is solidly rooted in authentic christology. (According to Vatican II: 'Devoutly meditating on her and contemplating her in the light of the Word made man, the Church reverently penetrates more deeply into the great mystery of the Incarnation and becomes more and more like her spouse,' Lumen Gentium, no. 65). It is, moreover in direct service to faith in Christ—not, therefore, primarily out of devotion to the Mother—that the Church has proclaimed her Marian dogmas: first that of her perpetual virginity and divine motherhood and then, after a long period of maturation and reflection, those of her Immaculate Conception and bodily Assumption into heavenly glory. These dogmas protect the original faith in Christ as true God and true man: two natures in a single Person. They also secure the indispensable eschatological tension by pointing to Mary's Assumption as the immortal destiny that awaits us all. And they also protect the faith—threatened today—in God the Creator, who (and this, among other things, is the meaning of the truth of the perpetual virginity of Mary, more than ever not understood today) can freely intervene also in matter. Finally, Mary, as the Council recalls: 'having entered deeply into the history of salvation, ... in a way unites in her person and reechoes the most important mysteries of the Faith'" (Lumen Gentium, no. 65).

This first point is followed by a second: "The mariology of the Church comprises the right relationship, the necessary integration between Scripture and tradition. The four Marian dogmas have their clear foundation in sacred Scripture. But it is there like a seed that grows and bears fruit in the life of tradition just as it finds expression in the liturgy, in the perception of the believing people and in the reflection of theology guided by the Magisterium."

Third point: "In her very person as a Jewish girl become the mother of the Messiah, Mary binds together, in a living and indissoluble way, the old and the new People of God, Israel and Christianity, synagogue and church. She is, as it were, the connecting link without which the Faith (as is happening today) runs the risk of losing its balance by either forsaking the New Testament for the Old or dispensing with the Old. In her, instead, we can live the unity of sacred Scripture in its entirety."

Fourth point: "The correct Marian devotion guarantees to faith the coexistence of indispensable 'reason' with the equally indispensable 'reasons of the heart,' as Pascal would say. For the Church, man is neither mere reason nor mere feeling, he is the unity of these two dimensions. The head must reflect with lucidity, but the heart must be able to feel warmth: devotion to Mary (which 'avoids every false exaggeration on the one hand, and excessive narrow-mindedness in the contemplation of the surpassing dignity of the Mother of God on the other,' as the Council urges) thus assures the faith its full human dimension."

Continuing his synthesis, Ratzinger lists a fifth point: "To use the very formulations of Vatican II, Mary is 'figure,' 'image' and 'model' of the Church. Beholding her the Church is shielded against the aforementioned masculinized model that views her as an instrument for a program of social-political action. In Mary, as figure and archetype, the Church again finds her own visage as Mother and cannot degenerate into the complexity of a party, an organization or a pressure group in the service of human interests, even the noblest. If Mary no longer finds a place in many theologies and ecclesiologies, the reason is obvious: they have reduced faith to an abstraction. And an abstraction does not need a Mother."

Here is the sixth and last point of this synthesis: "With her destiny, which is at one and the same time that of Virgin and of Mother, Mary continues to project a light upon that which the Creator intended for women in every age, ours included, or, better said, perhaps precisely in our time, in which—as we know—the very essence of femininity is threatened. Through her virginity and her motherhood, the mystery of woman receives a very lofty destiny from which she cannot be torn away. Mary undauntedly proclaims the Magnificat, but she is also the one who renders silence and seclusion fruitful. She is the one who does not fear to stand under the Cross, who is present at the birth of the Church. But she is also the one who, as the evangelist emphasizes more than once, 'keeps and ponders in her heart' that which transpires around her. As a creature of courage and of obedience she was and is still an example to which every Christian—man and woman—can and should look."
15 August 2012
On the Feast of the Assumption, pope says Mary is with God, listening to prayers

Catholic News Service

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Assumed into heaven, Mary is with God and is ready to listen and respond to cries for help, Pope Benedict XVI said.

Joining God in heaven, Mary "does not draw away from us, does not go to an unknown galaxy," but becomes "even closer to each one of us," the pope said Aug. 15 during his homily at Mass for the feast of the Assumption.

With his 88-year-old brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, seated in the front pew, the pope celebrated an early morning Mass in the Church of St. Thomas. Using a white-handled cane, the pope walked to the church across the square from the main entrance to the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.

Mary's assumption, he said, gives believers "a sure hope: God expects us, he awaits us. We are not moving toward a void."

"And going to that other world, we will find the goodness of the Mother (Mary), we will find our loved ones, we will find eternal love," the pope said.

Pope Benedict, who set aside his prepared text for much of his homily, said that Mary's closeness to God ensures her closeness to all God's creatures.

"Mary, totally united with God, has a heart that is so big that all creation can find a place there," a fact illustrated by the votive offerings people around the world leave at Marian shrines and statues when their prayers are answered, he said.

Mary's presence in heaven shows that "in God there is room for man," he said.

At the same time, he said, she demonstrates that "in man there is room for God," and when God is present within individuals and they allow God to influence the way they act in the world, the world becomes a better place.

Many people today speak of their hopes for a better world, he said.

"If and when this better world will come, we do not know. But one thing is certain: A world that moves away from God will not become better, but worse. Only the presence of God can guarantee a better world."

The Christian hope for a better world and for finding a place with God for eternity "is not just yearning for heaven," but allowing one's desire for God to "make us untiring pilgrims, increasing our courage and strength of faith, which is at the same time the courage and strength of love," he said.

Later Aug. 15, Pope Benedict recited the Angelus with visitors crowded into the courtyard of the papal summer villa.

Continuing his reflection on the meaning of the Assumption, he said that "it shows us, in a brilliant way, our destiny and that of humanity and of history. In Mary, in fact, we contemplate that reality of glory to which each one of us and the entire church is called."



Mary: The Church at the Source

View the full version of this book online

Mary: The Church at the Source

4.32 of 5 stars4.32 · rating details · 28 ratings · 5 reviews
Two great theologians endeavor to recover the centrality of Marian doctrine and devotion for the contemporary Church, offering a view of Mary as both the embodiment of the Church, and the mother who cooperates in giving birth to the Church in the souls of believers.

BOOK: The Mennonites

The Mennonites


4.69 of 5 stars4.69 · rating details · 13 ratings · 1 review
Magnum photographer Larry Towell has spent much of the last ten years photographing Mennonite communities in rural Ontario and Mexico. Starting with a friendship he made with a Mennonite family he met near his own home in Ontario, he has had a unique access to their lives, gradually being introduced to the wider community and making trips to visit the colonies in Mexico. Mennonite culture does not usually permit photography, so his comprehensive study represents a unique and most important photographic survey of the their way of life -- a way of life that may soon have changed beyond recognition.In addition to the photographs, Towell's own text tells in poignant and descriptive detail anecdotes of his experiences. With an artist's eye he paints a picture of the lives of these people: the harshness and poverty of their rural life, the disciplines and contradictions of their religion, their hunger for land, for work, and for the freedom to live the way they choose.
The photographic content is of the highest quality and would easily justify a book of images alone. The text in addition, very atmospheric in the tradition of Steinbeck, makes the book an unusually successful and complete portrait of a way of life, and more than just a photography book.
This definitive collection of Towell's most important work -- ten years in the making -- has been eagerly anticipated by his followers.
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published November 15th 2000 by Phaidon Press