Archive for the ‘Vatican’ Category

Christians worldwide marks Palm Sunday

April 6, 2009

There is always grief as the Christian world enters the Holy Week to observe the passion and death of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, April 5, 2009, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem in a donkey — a prelude to the observance of his way to Calvary and the crucifixion, 2,000 years ago.

With branches of olives and palms, Catholics remember the crowd that welcomed Jesus during the Jewish passover. Catholics retraces the path of the cross till His death on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI led the celebration attended by thousands of pilgrims in the Square of St. Peter’s Basilica. In a clear day abundant sun, the pontiff and the people solemnly prayed for the African migrants who where lost at sea crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to a better place in Europe. The day is also offered to the youth who will celebrate the next youth day in Spain. (Photo Credit: KregSteppe; Newsbreaker) =0=

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Christians worldwide marks Palm Sunday

April 6, 2009

There is always grief as the Christian world enters the Holy Week to observe the passion and death of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, April 5, 2009, commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem in a donkey — a prelude to the observance of his way to Calvary and the crucifixion, 2,000 years ago.

With branches of olives and palms, Catholics remember the crowd that welcomed Jesus during the Jewish passover. Catholics retraces the path of the cross till His death on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

In Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI led the celebration attended by thousands of pilgrims in the Square of St. Peter’s Basilica. In a clear day abundant sun, the pontiff and the people solemnly prayed for the African migrants who where lost at sea crossing the Mediterranean Sea on their way to a better place in Europe. The day is also offered to the youth who will celebrate the next youth day in Spain. (Photo Credit: KregSteppe; Newsbreaker) =0=

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Pope Benedict XVI’s lenten visit to Africa

March 18, 2009

In his first visit to Cameroon, Africa, Pope Benedict VI renewed his calls to all believers of the Roman Catholic Church to help the impoverished people of the world.

He underscores the need to protect and defend the poor African family from the snares of secularization that is fraying traditional values, causing a lot of misunderstanding and suffering in many nations. Cameroon is listed as among the poorest countries of the world where hunger is prevalent.

Amidst criticism versus the Vatican for preaching against artificial contraception, the German-born pontiff stresses his opposition against the use of condom. He says condoms distract people from personal discipline and proper sexual behavior. His long-standing religious perspective upheld by Catholics is contrary to the United Nation’s (UN) belief that condoms are necessary tools to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Catholic Opposition to the UN Declaration of gay rights

In another vein, the Catholic Church along with the Islamic faith opposes UN’s position on gay rights—-the decriminalization of homosexuality. It is expected that under Barack Obama’s secular leadership, USA will a signatory to the declaration.

This is a complete reversal from the conservative position espoused by former Pres. George W. Bush, a perspective supported by many of America’s 76% Christians who are against abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and stem cell research. In December last year, 66 of U.N.’s 192 members signed the decriminalization of homosexual acts, but 70 countries continue to outlaw the practice which they believe lead to deplorable sexual acts in society. (Photo Credit: DMalantic) =0=

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Recalling Fr. Damien of Molokai, Hawaii

February 25, 2009

Vatican announced that Fr. Damien de Veuster (1840-1889), the late 19th century Belgian priest who selflessly ministered to leprosy-stricken people in a settlement in Kalaupapa, Hawaii will be declared saint on October 11, 2009. Considered a “martyr of charity,” Fr. Damien served the quarantined patients in Molokai, Hawaii where he contracted Hansen’s disease (leprosy) until he died at the age of 49.

“Damien’s life was suffused with horror, yet he refused to be broken by it and refused to permit his little flock to be swept into despair. He ran foot races for the sports-loving lepers, even though some of them had no feet. He formed a band, even though some had few fingers to play the instruments. One witness reported two organists who played at the same time, managing ten fingers between them.”—Damien, the leper (www.ewtn.com/library/)

A protector of those shunned by society because of disease affliction, the Roman Catholic priest and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious group, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 4, 1995. He had been identified as a champion of the outcasts—those with HIV-AIDS, leprosy, and other contagious diseases.

The remembrance of Fr. Damien is timely as the Catholic Church observes Ash Wednesday on February 25, 2009, the onset of lent, the days of fasting, penance, and reconciliation. (Photo Credit: Hawaii State Archives x 2 PD) =0=

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Israeli air strikes leave 200+ dead in Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008

As Pope Benedict XVI calls for renunciation of violence during the holy season of Christmas, Israelis and Palestinians are on a bloody confrontation again in the Gaza Strip leaving at least 200 dead and injuring about 400 more. This is the result of heavy air strikes conducted by Israeli troops against militant Palestinian targets in Hamas-dominated territory a week after a 6-month ceasefire truce expired.

The resumption of bombings and killings on Saturday, December 27, 2008, is supposed to be Israel’s retaliation to months of Hamas’ mortar fires and indiscriminate rocket launches which terrorize about ¼ million Israelis who live in the area.

Hamas infrastructures and installations had been destroyed and many security officers were killed or hurt. Gaza residents had been on the state of panic as the death toll rose and the wounded victims flooded hospitals and clinics.

“The offensive sparked angry protests throughout the Arab world, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Vatican, the U.N. secretary-general and special Mideast envoy Tony Blair all called for an immediate restoration of calm. The Arab League scheduled an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the situation.”— YahooNews.com; AP (12/28/08 Barzak, Brahim)

Hamas, the radical group considered by Israel as a terrorist organization, called for revenge, but Isreali military authorities had been firm in their stance. In spite of the call for calm, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak vowed to widen the military offensive if needed. Israel did not set a time-line on when the air strikes would end.

The long-standing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians has taxed peace-makers for decades, but a solution has been consistently elusive. Extremist Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East who support the Palestinians call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. (Photo Credits: AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AP/ Mohammed Zastari; AFP; AP/ Mohammed Zastari) =0=

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Godless world puts Christian identity in peril

October 5, 2008

In a three-week gathering of 250 bishops from America, Europe, Asia, Pacific, and Africa, Pope Benedict XVI in his Sunday October 5, 2008 mass celebration in the Roman Basilica of St. Paul sounded again the perils faith is facing in the increasing secular society.

The 81-year old pope in his homily said, there are those who say that “God is dead and declare themselves to be the only creator of their own fate, the absolute owner of the world.”

He asked, “”When men proclaim themselves absolute owners of themselves and the only masters of creation, are they really going to be able to construct a society where freedom, justice and peace reign? Is it not more likely — as demonstrated by news headlines every day — that the arbitrary rule of power, selfish interests, injustice and exploitation, and violence in all its forms, will extend their grip?” AFP (10/06/08)

“The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church,” is the theme of the meeting, the second after Pope Benedict XVI was elected in 2005 into the papacy. The gathering makes the consultations among bishops all over the globe possible. It is attended by Greek Orthodox Church head Bartholomew I, Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen and Protestant and Anglican prelates. The bishops from China who represent 8 to 12 million Christian believers are unable to attend because of restrictions imposed by the communist state.

The pope’s comment against loss of the Christian identity is an expression of the urgent need for moral values to return to the world, in particular, in Europe’s secular affairs where Christianity has been barren for years. The weakened religious faith may be part of the increasing secularism, relativism, selfishness, and injustice that trouble many nations worldwide. (Photo Credits: Totie Mesia)=0=