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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MISSION / N. Africa: Pressure from Islamic radicals driving Catholic religious out of eastern Libya

Pressure from Islamic radicals driving Catholic religious out of eastern Libya

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CWN - January 31, 2013

Two Catholic religious communities have been forced to abandon their residences in Libya, and others are planning to leave, because of mounting pressure from Islamic militants.

"The situation is critical" in eastern Libya, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar in Tripoli, told the Fides news service. The Congregation of the Holy Family, which had been established in Derna for almost 100 years, is one of the religious communities that has left the region. The apostolic vicar in Benghazi has been warned to leave his church before the mass demonstrations that are scheduled for mid-February.

A few Catholic religious institutions remain in eastern Libya, Bishop Martinelli reports. He says: "As a Church we will take our precautions, but we cannot abandon the Christians who remain there."

"Here in Tripoli so far the situation is relatively calm," the apostolic vicar says. But in the east of the country Christians are "very tense."

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LOVE: God's love is the ultimate form of fatherly strength, Pope tells audience

God's love is the ultimate form of fatherly strength, Pope tells audience

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CWN - January 30, 2013

At his weekly public audience on January 30, Pope Benedict XVI continued a series of meditations on the Creed, with a focus on the description of God as the "almighty Father."

The Pope acknowledged that "not having adequate role models," many people find it difficult to grasp the image of God as a father. It is particularly difficult, he said, for those who have "an overly authoritarian and inflexible father, or an indifferent, uncaring, or even absent one." Yet there is a profound truth in the phrase, he reminded the audience in the Paul VI auditorium, since God "has truly made us his children in Jesus."

With a healthy understanding of fatherhood, the Pope continued, the faithful should gain a better understanding of the Almighty. He has chosen us as his children, and we can, "without fear and in complete faith, entrust ourselves to his forgiveness as Father when we choose the wrong path."

The claim that God is "almighty" poses a different sort of problem, for those who wonder why God allows evil in the world, the Pope continued. He said that there is a challenge involved in "learning to understand that God's thoughts and God's paths are different from ours and that even his omnipotence is different."

God does not exercise his power by "mechanical or arbitrary force," the Pope explained, because he is interested in "creating free creatures," whose decisions bring about their own results. Instead God shows his power through "love, mercy, and forgiveness."

This is the greater form of power, Pope Benedict said. "Only the truly powerful can endure evil and show compassion," the Pope told his audience. "Only the truly powerful can fully exercise the power of love."

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SOCIETY / Canada: Christian university defends itself amidst media frenzy over morality pledge

Christian university defends itself amidst media frenzy over morality pledge

by Peter Baklinski


LANGLEY, British Columbia, January 30, 2013 ( – Trinity Western University (TWU) will stand firm in its plan to open the country's first Christian-run law school, despite efforts by the Canadian Council of Law Deans  (CCLD) to kibosh the proposal, all because the university requires students to pledge to adhere to Christian morality, including in sexual matters.


"We believe that the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2001 settled the issue that TWU's policies are not a barrier to accreditation," TWU wrote in a media statement to LifeSiteNews.
In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the BC College of Teachers could not refuse to approve TWU's application for accreditation of its teacher education program based on its disagreement with the university's "Community Standards" pledge. 
TWU stated in its media release that a code of conduct is "normative" for every institution.
"They act as a framework for participation and for ensuring an optimal learning environment. Every major organization has a code of conduct. Every university has one, and students who wish to go to a particular university voluntarily agree to it."
The CCLD has said that TWU's "community covenant" is "fundamentally incompatible" with the core values of Canadian law schools and the social values of diversity since it allegedly discriminates against gay, lesbian and bisexual students.
TWU's "community covenant" is a solemn pledge made by all university members to, among other things, "voluntarily abstain" from "sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman." The pledge also asks that university members abstain from gossip, slander, lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, and drunkenness.
TWU's pledge does not at any point mention the words 'homosexual' or 'gay.'
Critics have pointed out that the TWU's "community covenant" applies to all staff and all students, regardless of sexual orientation and that any student, whether gay or straight, who does not wish to abide by TWU's code of conduct is free to attend another university.
John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms called the CCLD's characterization of TWU's rules "misleading".
"Nobody is required to abide by these rules, unless a person voluntarily submits to them," he wrote in an editorial.
Carpay slammed the CCLD's views on "free society," arguing that they "should know that a free society tolerates a wide range of opinion on all topics, including sexual morality. No law compels anyone to agree with [their] opinions about sex and sexuality, nor [are they] compelled to agree with Christian teaching about sex and sexuality."
"For [the law deans] to suggest that all Canadian law schools must comply with one, single government-enforced ideology about sexual behaviour is the opposite of a free society. The imposition of one world view on all institutions is the hallmark of totalitarianism," he wrote.
Establishing a law school has been part of TWU's "strategic plan" for many years, the university's website states. School officials say the plan "fits well with the University's mission to develop Godly leaders for the marketplaces of life."
The School of Law at TWU, to open in September 2015, will train students to "see the profession of law as a high calling in the life of service." The program will aim to develop "servant leaders who believe in and demonstrate a different concept of professionalism than the current marketplace promotes."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CHURCH: String of attacks against Armenian Christians in Istanbul

String of attacks against Armenian Christians in Istanbul

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CWN - January 30, 2013

Five Armenian Christians have been attacked recently in an Istanbul neighborhood. One 85-year-old murder victim was stabbed repeatedly and had a cross carved on her corpse.
"Opinion remains divided as to whether these are organized hate crimes targeting non-Muslims or just random theft," The Economist reports. "Istanbul's governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, insists that it was the latter."
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Mennonite pastor jailed for refusing to testify in case involving lesbian visitation

Mennonite pastor jailed for refusing to testify in case involving lesbian visitation

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CWN - January 29, 2013

A Mennonite pastor in Vermont has been jailed for contempt of court after he refused to testify in a case involving a woman who fled with her daughter to avoid a court order requiring the daughter to visit her former lesbian partner.
Kenneth Miller told the court that testifying would violate his religious beliefs. He was sentenced to a 10-day prison stay.
Miller was called to testify in the case of Lisa Miller (not a relative), a woman who joined his Mennonite community after abandoning a lesbian relationship. When a Vermont court ruled that Miller must allow her daughter to visit with her former lesbian partner, Miller took the child and left the country.
Kenneth Miller also faces charged for helping Lisa Miller to leave the US with her daughter.
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Monday, January 28, 2013

Pro-Life Youth Protest and mourn Morgentaler Anniversary

Anti-Abortion Youth Activists Across Canada Mourn Morgentaler Anniversary
Submitted by jvanmaren on January 28, 2013 - 6:35am


January 28, 2013: For Immediate Release
25 Years of Bloodshed: Anti-Abortion Youth Activists Across Canada Mourn Morgentaler Anniversary
Toronto, ON. On this the 25 anniversary of the Supreme Court's Morgentaler decision which threw out Canada's abortion law, young people from the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform are taking to the streets today—with bloody, gruesome abortion imagery. Starting at 6:30pm in Toronto, CCBR educators will protest with hand-held abortion signs outside the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics' celebration of the Morgentaler decision at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave, Toronto). Other activists will demonstrate in Windsor and London, as well as out west in Calgary and Prince George.
"January 28 is a solemn day that impacts every Canadian, whether they realize it or not. Due to R. v. Morgentaler, our streets are emptier, our pre-born brothers and sisters live tenuously in a state of constant danger, and a generation of girls has been sold the insidious lie that their sons and daughters are disposable for any arbitrary reason at all," said Stephanie Gray, executive director of CCBR who was just 7 years old when the Morgentaler decision passed.
"A new generation of young people are rising up to say stop killing our generation," she continued. "Canada has failed miserably to live up to the standards of our Constitution and our Charter. When we say 'everyone' has a right to life, we need to mean everyone, including the youngest of our kind."
Gray said that her group uses graphic abortion imagery because "pre-born childrens' silent screams cannot be heard but their broken bodies can be seen—which cry out for justice."
Demonstration locations and times:
Toronto: 6:30pm @ 2 Sussex Avenue
Windsor: 12pm @ Oulette Ave and Wyandotte St
London: 5pm @ Sarnia Rd and Western Rd
Calgary: 8pm @ 1133 Kensington Rd
Prince George: TBA
For interviews and comments, please contact Stephanie Gray at 647-472-7770 (cell).

St. John of God; Part of the 'Discalced Carmelite reform cluster of saints' ;)

St. John of God

Born at Montemoro Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents; died at Granada, 8 March, 1550. The wonders attending the saints birth heralded a life many-sided in its interests, but dominated throughout by implicit fidelity to the grace of God. A Spanish priest whom he followed to Oropeza, Spain, in his ninth year left him in charge of the chief shepherd of the place, to whom he gradually endeared himself through his punctuality and fidelity to duty, as well as his earnest piety. When he had reached manhood, to escape his mastery well-meant, but persistent, offer of his daughter's hand in marriage, John took service for a time in the army of Charles V, and on the renewal of the proposal he enlisted in a regiment on its way to Austria to do battle with the Turks. Succeeding years found him first at his birthplace, saddened by the news of his mother's premature death, which had followed close upon his mysterious disappearance; then a shepherd at Seville and still later at Gibraltar, on the way to Africa, to ransom with his liberty Christians held captive by the Moors. He accompanied to Africa a Portuguese family just expelled from the country, to whom charity impelled him to offer his services. On the advice of his confessor he soon returned to Gilbratar, where, brief as had been the time since the invention of the printing-press, he inaugurated the Apostolate of the printed page, by making the circuit of the towns and villages about Gilbratar, selling religious books and pictures, with practically no margin of profit, in order to place them within the reach of all.
It was during this period of his life that he is said to have been granted the vision of the Infant Jesus, Who bestowed on him the name by which he was later known, John of God, also bidding him to go to Granada. There he was so deeply impressed by the preaching of Blessed John of Avila that he distributed his worldly goods and went through the streets of the city, beating his breast and calling on God for mercy. For some time his sanity was doubted by the people and he was dealt with as a madman, until the zealous preacher obliged him to desist from his lamentations and take some other method of atoning for his past life. He then made a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, where the nature of his vocation was revealed to him by the Blessed Virgin. Returning to Granada, he gave himself up to the service of the sick and poor, renting a house in which to care for them and after furnishing it with what was necessary, he searched the city for those afflicted with all manner of disease, bearing on his shoulders any who were unable to walk.

For some time he was alone in his charitable work soliciting by night the needful supplies, and by day attending scrupulously to the needs of his patients and the rare of the hospital; but he soon received the co-operation of charitable priests and physicians. Many beautiful stories are related of the heavenly guests who visited him during the early days of herculean tasks, which were lightened at times by St.Raphael in person. To put a stop to the saint's habit of exchanging his cloak with any beggar he chanced to meet, Don Sebastian Ramirez, Bishop of Tuy, had made for him a habit, which was later adopted in all its essentials as the religious garb of his followers, and he imposed on him for all time the name given him by the Infant Jesus, John of God. The saint's first two companions, Antonio Martin and Pedro Velasco, once bitter enemies who had scandalised all Granada with their quarrels and dissipations, were converted through his prayers and formed the nucleus of a flourishing congregation. The former advanced so far on the way of perfection that the saint on his death-bed commended him to his followers as his successor in the government of the order. The latter, Peter the Sinner, as he called himself, became a model of humility and charity.

Among the many miracles which are related of the saint the most famous is the one commemorated in the Office of his feast, his rescue of all the inmates during a fire in the Grand Hospital at Granada, he himself passing through the flames unscathed. His boundless charity extended to widows and orphans, those out of employment, poor students, and fallen women. After thirteen years of severe mortification, unceasing prayer, and devotion to his patients, he died amid the lamentations of all the inhabitants of Granada. His last illness had resulted from an heroic but futile effort to save a young man from drowning. The magistrates and nobility of the city crowded about his death-bed to express their gratitude for his services to the poor, and he was buried with the pomp usually reserved for princes. He was beatified by Urban VIII, 21 September, 1638, and canonized by Alexander VIII, 16 October, 1690. Pope Leo XIII made St. John of God patron of hospitals and the dying. (See also BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF ST. JOHN OF GOD.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

CHURCH: In letter to SSPX, Vatican archbishop appeals for unity

In letter to SSPX, Vatican archbishop appeals for unity
.- Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, one of the Roman officials involved in discussions with the Society of St. Pius X, wrote a letter to the society's priests, seeking "reconciliation and healing."

"Some new considerations of a more spiritual and theological nature are needed...considerations that focus rather on our duty to preserve and cherish the divinely willed unity and peace of the Church," wrote the Dominican prelate in an Advent letter to the priests of the traditionalist society.

The Society of St. Pius X was founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970 to form priests, as a response to what he described as errors that had crept into the Church following the Second Vatican Council. Its relations with the Holy See became strained in 1988 when Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated four bishops without the permission of Pope John Paul II.

The Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", of which Archbishop Di Noia is the vice president, was set up shortly after the episcopal consecrations to be responsible for relations with the Society. For the last three years, it has undertaken doctrinal discussions with the Society.

The letter was a "personal appeal" from Archbishop Di Noia, and not an "official document" of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told La Croix Jan. 19.

Archbishop Di Noia wrote that thus far, relations between the Vatican and the Society have remained "open and hopeful." At the same time, he said that "recent assertions" by members of the Society "cause concern" about the prospects for reconciliation.

He noted that "the terms of our disagreement concerning Vatican Council II have remained, in effect, unchanged," and that the recently-concluded three years of doctrinal discussions between the bodies has failed to alter the situation.

The Holy See maintains that the documents of Vatican II must, and can, be interpreted "in the light of Tradition and the Magisterium." The Society, on the other hand, insists that certain teachings of Vatican II are "erroneous" and cannot be interpreted "in line with the Tradition and the Magisterium."

In light of this circumstance, Archbishop Di Noia said that "something new must be injected into our conversations," so that discussions between Rome and Menzingen can be more than a "well-meaning but unending and fruitless exchange."

While unity is a gift of the Spirit, the archbishop said that human acts may cooperate or not with the Spirit's promptings.

He pointed to St. Thomas' sets of four virtues which contribute to Church unity, and their opposite vices which tear it down. Pride, anger, impatience, and inordinate zeal are the vices which get in the way of unity.

"In the past forty years, has there at times been a lack of humility, mildness, patience, and charity in our mutual relations," asked Archbishop Di Noia.

He asked the priests of the Society to cultivate those virtues, because interactions marked by their corresponding vices "will lead to nothing but bitterness."

The archbishop went on to refer at length to St. Augustine, who placed great emphasis on the unity of the Church. He said the Church Father believed Church unity is necessary to remain in communion with God, and that therefore "we must preserve this unity with great determination, even if it involves suffering and patient endurance."

Archbishop Di Noia then addressed the place of the Society in the Church, acknowledging that it has an "authentic charism."

He reassured the Society's priests that they are not being asked to abandon the zeal of their founder, but to "renew the flame of his ardent zeal to form men in the priesthood of Jesus Christ."

That charism, said the archbishop, must be "recaptured...the authentic charism of the Fraternity is to form priests for the service of the people of God."

He exhorted the Society's members not to "focus" their preaching and formation on difficult to reconcile passages of the Magisterium, and to remember the example of St. Pius X.

That Pope, he noted, had a continual concern for sacred music, but wrote documents about it only as fitted his station, first as a bishop, then as Patriarch of Venice, and finally as the Roman Pontiff.

This example, Archbishop Di Noia suggested, illustrates proper proposals and influence, without disrespecting or acting against "legitimate local authorities." He offered that theological difficulties should be handled more discreetly and always with respect for the responsible authority, never becoming "a sort of 'parallel magisterium' of theologians."

"We must see each doctrine and article of faith as supporting the others, and learn to understand the inner connections between each element of our faith," he reminded the priests to whom he wrote.

In his conclusion, Archbishop Di Noia acknowledged that "full ecclesial reconciliation" may not bring about "an immediate end" to "suspicion and bad feeling."

Despite this, he said "we are seeking reconciliation and healing by God's grace under the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit...our souls need first to be healed, to be cleansed of the bitterness and resentment that comes from thirty years of suspicion and anguish on both sides."

He pleaded that his readers pray that God heal any "desire for an autonomy that is in fact outside the traditional forms of governance of the Church."

Archbishop Di Noia reminded them that "the only imaginable future for the Priestly Fraternity lies along the path of full communion with the Holy See, with the acceptance of an unqualified profession of the faith in its fullness, and thus with a properly ordered ecclesial, sacramental and pastoral life."

The archbishop concluded his letter by appropriating Saint Paul's words, urging all "to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Tags: Society of St. Pius X

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

LIFE: Archbishop Aquila recalls aftermath of 2 abortions

Archbishop Aquila recalls aftermath of 2 abortions

CWN - January 23, 2013

In a pastoral letter marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Archbishop Aquila of Denver recounted his personal experience in dealing with the aftermath of abortion in his work as a hospital orderly.
"I didn't practice my faith much in the first three years of college and I certainly never imagined that the Lord would one day make me a bishop," he recounted. "I spent my first three years of college working as a hospital orderly and assisting in the emergency room, at a university student health center and in a hospital in California during summer break."
The prelate added:

At that time, some states had approved abortion laws that I wasn't even aware of. Because of those laws, when I was in college I witnessed the results of two abortions.

The first was in a surgical unit. I walked into an outer room and in the sink, unattended, was the body of small unborn child who had been aborted. I remember being stunned. I remember thinking that I had to baptize that child.

The second abortion was more shocking. A young woman came into the emergency room screaming. She explained that she had had an abortion already. When the doctor sent her home, he told her she would pass the remains naturally. She was bleeding as the doctor, her boyfriend, the nurse and I placed her on a table.

I held a basin as the doctor retrieved a tiny arm, a tiny leg and then the rest of the broken body of a tiny unborn child. I was shocked. I was saddened for the mother and child, for the doctor and the nurse. None of us would have participated in such a thing were it not an emergency. I witnessed a tiny human being destroyed by violence.

The memory haunts me. I will never forget that I stood witness to acts of unspeakable brutality. In the abortions I witnessed, powerful people made decisions that ended the lives of small, powerless, children. Through lies and manipulation, children were seen as objects. Women and families were convinced that ending a life would be painless, and forgettable. Experts made seemingly convincing arguments that the unborn were not people at all, that they could not feel pain, and were better off dead.

I witnessed the death of two small people who never had the chance to take a breath. I can never forget that. And I have never been the same. My faith was weak at the time. But I knew by reason, and by what I saw, that a human life was destroyed. My conscience awakened to the truth of the dignity of the human being from the moment of conception. I became pro-life and eventually returned to my faith.

CHURCH: Vatican official reviews ecumenical relations with Anglicans, Methodists

Vatican official reviews ecumenical relations with Anglicans, Methodists

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CWN - January 23, 2013

Msgr. Mark Langham, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has reviewed recent events that have affected ecumenical relations with Anglicans and Methodists. His article, published during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, is the second in a L'Osservatore Romano series devoted to the Catholic Church's relations with non-Catholic ecclesial communities.
"This year has witnessed a continuing climate of dissent within the Anglican Communion, with ethical questions concerning the episcopal ordination of active homosexuals creating serious tensions between different Anglican provinces, and presenting a major problem for ecumenical relations with the Catholic Church," he begins.

Turkey: 15-year sentence for bishop's killer

Turkey: 15-year sentence for bishop's killer

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CWN - January 22, 2013

A Turkish court has issued a 15-year prison sentence to the man who admitted to the June 2010 murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese.
Murat Altun had claimed that "I was not in control of myself" at the time of the killing, and his lawyers had entered an insanity plea. But a medical commission found Altun competent to stand trial.
During the trial, Altun, who had been the bishop's chaffeur, gave several conflicting explanations for his sudden decision to slash Bishop Padovese's throat. Catholic Church leaders in Turkey have pressed the government for a more thorough investigation of the crime.
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Lutheran leader unhappy with proposal for Lutheran ordinariate

Lutheran leader unhappy with proposal for Lutheran ordinariate

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CWN - January 22, 2013

The General Secretary of the World Lutheran Federation has expressed serious misgivings about the prospect that the Vatican could establish an ordinariate for Lutherans entering the Catholic Church.
Rev. Martin Junge said that the creation of a Lutheran ordinariate—similar to the Anglican ordinariates that are already in place—would have "serious ecumenical repercussions" insofar as it would signal the Vatican's encouragement for Lutherans to leave their Protestant communities. Such a move, Rev. Junge said, "would send the wrong signal to Lutheran churches."
Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had raised the possibility of a Lutheran ordinariate in a talk delivered in Rome last week. The archbishop said that some Lutherans would be anxious to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, while retaining "the legitimate traditions they have developed."
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Salvation and non-Christian peoples - From 'LUMEN GENTIUM' VATICAN II

From the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II)

See, I will save my people

In his wisdom and goodness the eternal Father created the whole world according to his supremely free and mysterious purpose and decreed that men should be raised up to share in the divine life. When they fell in Adam, he did not abandon them but always kept providing them with aids to salvation, in consideration of Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Before the ages the Father already knew all the elect and predestined them to be made into the likeness of his Son, so that he should be the firstborn among many brothers.
God resolved to gather into holy Church all who believe in Christ. The Church, foreshadowed even from the beginning of the world, so marvelously prepared in the history of the people of Israel, established in these last times and revealed by the outpouring of the Holy spirit, will be made perfect in glory at the end of time. Then, as we read in the Fathers of the Church, all the righteous from Adam onward – from Abel, the righteous, to the last of the elect – will be gathered in the universal Church in the presence of the Father.
Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are in their different ways related to God's people.
In the first place, there is that people which was given the covenants and the promises and from which Christ was born by human descent: the people which is by God's choice most dear on account of the patriarchs. God never repents of his gifts or his call.
God's plan of salvation embraces those also who acknowledge the Creator. Among these are especially the Mohammedans; they profess their faith as the faith of Abraham, and with us they worship the one, merciful God who will judge men on the last day.
God himself is not far from those
others who seek the unknown God in darkness and shadows, for it is he who gives to all men life and inspiration and all things, and who as Savior desires all men to be saved.
Eternal salvation is open to those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church but seek God with a sincere heart, and under the inspiration of grace try in their lives to do his will, made known to them by the dictates of their conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the aids necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet reached an explicit belief in God, but strive to lead a good life, under the influence of God's grace.
Whatever goodness and truth is found among them is seen by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel, and as given by him who shines on all men, so that they may at last have life.



Vatican City, 22 January, 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received in audience the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong. Following the audience with the Pope, First Secretary Trong and his entourage then went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

This is the first time that a general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam has met with the Supreme Pontiff and other administrators of the Secretariat of State. During the course of cordial discussions, topics of interest to Vietnam and the Holy See were covered, expressing the hope that some pending situations may be resolved and that the existing fruitful cooperation may be strengthened.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CHURCH: 'Protestant - Catholic ecumenical progress' - Vatican

Vatican official reviews ecumenical progress with Protestant communities

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CWN - January 22, 2013

Writing for L'Osservatore Romano, Father Gregory Fairbanks, an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has reviewed the recent progress of ecumenical dialogue with several Protestant communities.

"The year 2012 initiated the Year of Faith, and an intensification of efforts [was] made with relations with Reformed, Baptists and Anabaptists, as well as other Christians," he said. "A new trilateral international dialogue was initiated with Lutherans and Mennonites. A new consensus document was finished by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches."

"It was a year mixed with the conclusion of some dialogues, the continuation of others, and the initiation of new rounds of dialogues, all with the goal of growing together in faith, in the search for the visible unity which is the goal of the ecumenical movement," he continued, before discussing in greater detail the status of dialogue with different communities.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

CHURCH: Divisions among Christians are serious sins, Pope tells audience

Divisions among Christians are serious sins, Pope tells audience

CWN - January 21, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI said that divisions within Christianity are among "the most serious sins that disfigure the face of the Church," during his public audience on Sunday, January 20.
Speaking on the day's Gospel, which recounted the story of the miracle at Cana, the Holy Father said that the wine at the wedding feast represented not only the joy of the feast but also "the blood that Jesus will shed in the end, to seal his nuptial pact with humanity." In that union, the Pope said, the bride of Christ—the Church, composed of fallen human members—"is always in need of purification."
In that context Pope Benedict lamented the lack of unity among Christians, and especially "the historical divisions that have separated Christians and that still have not been overcome." He called attention to the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, encouraging all the faithful to join in a effort "which awakens the desire for, and spiritual commitment to, achieving full communion."
As he concluded his Sunday audience, the Pope also offered a prayer "for peace so that in all the various ongoing conflicts, the slaughter of unarmed civilians might stop."
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VATICAN - SSPX: New Vatican move to rekindle dialogue with SSPX

New Vatican move to rekindle dialogue with SSPX

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CWN - January 21, 2013

Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, the vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, has written to the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), urging a resumption of talks aimed at reconciling the traditionalist group with the Holy See.
In his 8-page letter, Archbishop Di Noia outlines the current state of negotiations between the Vatican and the SSPX, and says that he remains "full of hope" that differences can be surmounted. The letter—which was sent before Christmas—was reportedly written with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI.
Archbishop Di Noia sent the letter to Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the SSPX, with a request that it be circulated among all the priests of the order. In the letter the archbishop emphasizes that Pope Benedict is anxious to resolve the differences that have separated the traditionalist group from the Church. He makes an urgent plea for reconciliation, saying: "The only conceivable future for the [SSPX] lies along the path of full communion with the Holy See."
Talks between the Vatican and the SSPX stalled last year, apparently because of an impasse over the traditionalist group's objections to the teachings of Vatican II.
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