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Volume 5, Issue 45

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  • John N. Lupia
    Roman Catholic News Volume 5, Issue 45 TUESDAY 15 MARCH 2005 Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent Psalm Tuesday Psalm 102 Prayer in Time of Distress * * * WEAR
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 14, 2005
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume 5, Issue 45

      TUESDAY 15 MARCH 2005

      Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
      Psalm Tuesday
      Psalm 102
      Prayer in Time of Distress

      * * *


      * * *

      . "Pope Reads His Life With the Eyes of a Contemplative"
      . Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope
      . Holy See's Address on Africa's Problems
      . Don't Give Up, Mel Gibson Tells Schiavo's Parents
      . John Paul II Continues Convalescence in Vatican

      * * *

      "Pope Reads His Life With the Eyes of a Contemplative"
      Interview With Theologian Laurent Touze

      VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- For French theologian Laurent Touze, John Paul II is a teacher of prayer and contemplation.

      Father Touze addressed a congress, held last Thursday and Friday, on "Christian Contemplation: Experience and Doctrine," organized by the School of Theology of the University of the Holy Cross.

      ZENIT spoke with Father Touze, a lecturer in spiritual theology, on the Pope's contemplative dimension.

      Q: Many views expressed in the symposium presented John Paul II as a teacher of prayer and contemplation. What do you think are the main features of his teaching on prayer?

      Father Touze: Among the many features, I would mention only two, either because of their centrality or beauty, a beauty that encourages one to pray.

      The first is that Christ is the way to the Father. Therefore, our prayer must pass inevitably through Christ, whom we meet in his Word and in the Eucharist.

      The second is that the New Evangelization requires of all the baptized -- priests, laity, consecrated persons -- the propensity to be ever more prayerful souls.

      Q: Is this a doctrinal or predominantly experiential teaching?

      Father Touze: I would say that it is a magisterium that is also born from the Pope's personal experience of prayer.

      Not that I have met with John Paul II many times, but when I have had the good fortune to do so, I have always felt what many others have said: He is a man of prayer, who looks at others with the eyes of prayer.

      One can really see that his prayer helps him to see people, and large and small events, with the eyes of God.

      Q: What does a more "silent" Pope, such as the one at the Gemelli, and the one now convalescing at the Vatican, tell us about prayer?

      Father Touze: Much, without a doubt! Since the Holy Father has returned from the hospital, I am reminded constantly of what one of his aides told me, who lost a sister at the same time as an earlier illness of the Pope.

      When he was received shortly afterward by John Paul II, the latter said: "The Church needed your pain and suffering."

      Precisely because he loves Christ, because he loves the cross, the Pope reads his life with the eyes of a contemplative, and understands what we can intuit of the divine plans.

      Q: If Christian life consists essentially in contemplation of Christ's face, how is this possible in the midst of the daily noise in which most Christians live?

      Father Touze: Many contemporary mystics have asked themselves the same question, as the Church is more aware of the universal call to holiness.

      If all baptized people -- and in particular the laity, who are the majority -- must be apostles of Christ and saints, then they must be contemplatives, each one in his or her own family and social surroundings.

      There comes to mind the example of Raissa and Jacques Maritain. In this context, the figure of St. Josemaría Escrivá is especially close to me, who has led many souls living in the professional world on the paths of prayer.

      * * *

      Those in Mortal Sin Can't Go to Communion, Says Pope
      In a Message to Priests at Course on "Internal Forum"

      VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In keeping with Church teaching, John Paul II issued a reminder that no one who is aware of being in a state of mortal sin can go to Communion.

      The Pope confirmed the traditional teaching of the magisterium in a message published by the Holy See on Saturday. The message was addressed to young priests who attended a course last week on the "internal forum" -- questions of conscience -- organized by the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

      The Holy Father dedicated his letter, signed March 8 in the Gemelli Polyclinic where he was hospitalized, to the relationship that exists between the Eucharist and confession.

      "We live in a society that seems frequently to have lost the sense of God and of sin," writes John Paul II. "In this context, therefore, Christ's invitation to conversion is that much more urgent, which implies the conscious confession of one's sins and the relative request for forgiveness and salvation.

      "In the exercise of his ministry, the priest knows that he acts 'in the person of Christ and under the action of the Holy Spirit,' and for this reason he must nourish [Christ's] sentiments in his inner being, increase within himself the charity of Jesus, teacher and shepherd, physician of souls and bodies, spiritual guide, just and merciful judge."

      The Pope continues: "In the tradition of the Church, sacramental reconciliation has always been considered in profound relationship with the banquet of the sacrifice of the Eucharist, memorial of our redemption.

      "Already in the first Christian communities the need was felt to prepare oneself, with a worthy conduct of life, to celebrate the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, which is 'Communion' with the body and blood of the Lord and 'communion' ('koinonia') with believers who form only one body, as they are nourished with the same body of Christ."

      Because of this, the Pontiff recalls St. Paul's warning to the Corinthians when he said: "Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27).

      "In the rite of the Holy Mass," notes the Pope, "many elements underline this exigency of purification and conversion: from the initial penitential act to the prayers for forgiveness; from the gesture of peace to the prayers that the priests and faithful recite before Communion."

      "Only someone who is sincerely conscious of not having committed a mortal sin can receive the Body of Christ," states the papal message, recalling the doctrine of the Council of Trent. "And this continues to be the teaching of the Church also today."

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the difference between mortal and venial sin in Nos. 1854 to 1864.

      * * *

      Holy See's Address on Africa's Problems
      "Disaster Is Being Created"

      GENEVA, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- This is the text of the address that Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu gave last Thursday at the 32nd meeting of the Standing Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The text was released today.

      Monsignor Nwachukwu is nunciature counselor at the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the United Nations at Geneva.

      Mr. Chairperson, the refugee situation in Africa remains a deep scar on the human family everywhere. The precarious and tragic condition of these millions of persons forcibly uprooted from their villages and their lands calls for concrete and prompt decisions to alleviate their suffering and to protect their rights. The international community should no longer delay an already overdue response. Such a delay would imply acceptance of a double standard in solidarity at the expenses of the voiceless and most marginalized people.

      Some positive signs were given in the past year when voluntary and organized repatriation of refugees had started to normalize life for tens of thousand of them. But the whole process is clouded now by insufficient funding and by the worsening of violence and ill treatment of the displaced population of Darfur (Sudan) where the humanitarian situation is critical. Systematic attacks on the civil populations, the destruction of infrastructures and entire villages and the elimination of livestock and crops lead to a widespread displacement of the civilian population. The attacks are brutal and violent and human rights violations are a daily occurrence. Particularly vulnerable are women subjected to rape and other forms of degradation. An environmental disaster is being created that […] will take years to restore.

      The various U.N. reports are quite clear and forceful and describe many of the events as crimes against humanity and/or war crimes, "not less serious and heinous than genocide."1

      If a person is lucky, he or she becomes a refugee by crossing the border and ends up in a refugee camp in Chad, where protection and some relative safety may be provided. If individuals and families stay behind, they end up by joining one of the largest internally displaced populations in the world, often at high risk and where security cannot be guaranteed. The African Union military monitors are insufficient in number; they lack the necessary logistical support and can hardly let their presence be felt. The Sudanese authorities do not seem able or be in a position to protect the rights of their own people.

      One has to conclude that the protection needs for the people remaining in Darfur are hardly met, despite the courageous presence and assistance of the UNHCR, of other U.N. agencies, of so many NGOs. Still the total victimized and displaced population cannot be reached.

      Mr. Chairperson, confronted by such a complex situation, a strong U.N. leadership and an overall coordination by one agency of external assistance and protection to IDP camps and other places of their concentration appear urgent.

      Here lies an international responsibility which points directly to us, to the human family of nations. The broader question should again be raised: What institution will be structurally responsible for the protection of IDPs? As [an] international community we should develop a reliable system which effectively protects those staying in their own country, but displaced from their homes.

      The Holy See delegation encourages a further development of a clearer system of responsibility for IDPs, while realizing that this involvement in protection and human rights issues will require larger human and financial resources and, above all, the political will to act, to intervene and take the arms off the hands of aggressors. The longer the delay to act, the greater the risk of more uprooted and abused people and of undermining hard-achieved peace agreements.

      The way forward is to stop the flow of arms into the conflict, to hold individuals accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity, to take action now and give new hope to Africa and to all refugees.

      --- --- ---

      1 Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General. Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1564 of 18 September 2004. Geneva, 25 January 2005

      * * *

      Don't Give Up, Mel Gibson Tells Schiavo's Parents

      CLEARWATER, Florida, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Actor-director Mel Gibson, in a telephone conversation with Terri Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler, encouraged the Schindler family to "never give up and continue to pray."

      Shortly after the telephone conversation Friday, Gibson sent a fax to the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation with a statement to be read at a rally for the brain-damaged woman whose husband is battling to take her off life-support.

      According to the Christian Communication Network, Gibson's statement said: "I fully support the efforts of Mr. & Mrs. Schindler to save their daughter, Terri Schiavo, from a cruel starvation. Terri's husband should sign the care of his wife over to her parents so she can be properly cared for."

      Bob Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father, said: "We are very grateful that Mr. Gibson has come forward and issued such an encouraging statement on such a delicate matter. ... He said we should never give up and continue to pray, to hammer God with prayers and hammer him hard."

      * * *

      John Paul II Continues Convalescence in Vatican
      Still Has Tube to Ease His Breathing

      VATICAN CITY, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II spent a peaceful night in the Vatican, after leaving the hospital, and is preparing for Holy Week.

      The Pope's return home Sunday evening from the Gemelli Polyclinic was followed on television thanks to a cameraman of the Vatican Television Center, who accompanied him in a van.

      The Holy Father, who could be seen next to the driver, seemed stronger than in recent days, although he was visibly thinner and somewhat drawn after his tracheotomy Feb. 24.

      For now, John Paul II still has the tube inserted in his throat to facilitate his breathing. Doctors will decide how long it will remain in place. On Sunday, the Pope demonstrated that he could speak with sufficient clarity.

      For the next few days, the Pope "will continue his convalescence," said Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls on Sunday. The Vatican is equipped with an nurse in case of an emergency; the Pope's doctors and a number of Polish nuns are looking after him.

      Antonio Cicchetti, director general of the Gemelli hospital, explained that during the Holy Father's stay, "we had the impression of seeing a person who has enormous inner strength, and who transmits it also to others."

      "For us it was a great satisfaction to see him greet people from the window. We were impressed by his desire to communicate with people who came to the Gemelli to see him," Cicchetti told Vatican Radio today.

      The Pontiff is now preparing for Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, March 20. The extent of his participation and presence in the various liturgical celebrations is still not known. A number of cardinals already have been designated to preside over the rites.

      A calendar published March 8 by the Holy See announced that John Paul II will impart his traditional blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world) on Easter Sunday. But it did not specify who will preside at the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum on Good Friday.

      This Thursday, the Holy Father will follow on television a meeting with young people of Rome and surrounding dioceses, who will gather in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The event is in preparation for World Youth Day, Aug. 15-21, in Cologne, Germany.

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, MAR 15, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, is in Kiev, Ukraine, where he has delivered a series of talks in recent days.

      On March 10 and 11 he attended and spoke at the Seventh European Ministerial Conference on Mass Media Policy. Yesterday he spoke on "Communication as a Way of Life" at the Kievan Mohyla Academy and today he addressed a meeting for the presentation of the Ukrainian translation of Church documents on communication at the Institute of Journalists in the presence of Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, major archbishop of Lviv of the Ukrainians.

      On March 17, Archbishop Foley will speak on "Religion and Church in the Information Society" at the conference of religious and government leaders in the Round Hall of the President Hotel in Moscow, Russia.

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, MAR 15, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Lake Charles, U.S.A., as bishop of Belleville (area 30,224, population 845,906, Catholics 107,041, priests 155, permanent deacons 29, religious 270), U.S.A.

      * * *



      "The day when God is absent, when He is silent—that is the beginning
      of prayer.''

      "To meet God means to enter 'the cave of the tiger'— it is not a
      pussy cat you meet — it's a tiger." (Introduction, pages xv-xvi)

      Metropolitan Anthony Bloom has scored many points for us to think about concerning our perception of the absence of God. Who is the one that is actually absent, God or us? "We always blame God, we always accuse Him, either straight to His face or in front of people, of being absent, of never being there when He is needed, never answering when He is addressed." (page 7)

      There are times we become self-servingly melodramatic, and like stage actors recite our lines for all to fix their gaze on us satisfying our megalomanic urge to be like God, the center stage of everyone's focus. Human nature, which is fallen nature, is mania driven for grandiose or extravagant things or actions. The classical poets and tragedians of Greece and Rome understood this and express these powerful human emotions in their poems and plays. Are we surprised when we hear ourselves speak like foolish, shallow, spoiled children saying absurd things as: "God is testing my patience, my faith, my humility."[?] We find all sorts of ways of turning God's judgement on us into a new way of praising ourselves. We are so patient that we can put up even with God!" (Ibid.) Ah, what folly rules the fallen, broken human heart!

      Post Script

      Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of Sourozh (1914-2003), died on 4 August
      2003, aged 89, the senior Russian Orthodox archbishop in western
      Europe and among the best known Orthodox clerics in the world. he was
      responsible for parishes of the Patriarchate of Moscow throughout
      Great Britain.

      Archbisop Anthony Bloom, Beginning to Pray (New Tork/Paramus/Toronto:
      Paulist Press, 1970; originally published as: School For Prayer,
      London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970)

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      * * *


      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
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      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
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