"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
"We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your Holy Cross,
You have redeemed the world."|
– St. Francis of Assisi
Every year, the Church observes World Mission Sunday in October, focusing the Church's attention and prayers on missionary action. This year Mission Sunday is October 21.
Pope Benedict XVI's message for the 81st World Mission Sunday was issued on May 27, Pentecost Sunday. The message follows: "On the occasion of the World Mission Day, I would like to invite the entire People of God – Pastors, priests, men and women religious, and lay people – to reflect together on the urgent need and importance of the Church's missionary action, also in our time.
"Indeed, the words with which the Crucified and Risen Jesus entrusted the missionary mandate to the Apostles before ascending to Heaven do not cease to ring out as a universal call and a heartfelt appeal: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.' And He added, 'Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age' (Mt 28:19-20).
"In the demanding work of evangelization we are sustained and accompanied by the certainty that He, the Lord of the harvest, is with us and continues to guide his people. Christ is the inexhaustible source of the Church's mission. This year, moreover, a further reason impels us to renew our missionary commitment: the 50th anniversary of the Encyclical of the Servant of God Pius XII, Fidei Donum, which promoted and encouraged cooperation between the Churches for the mission ad gentes.
"'All the Churches for all the world': this is the theme chosen for the next World Mission Day. It invites the local Churches of every continent to a shared awareness of the urgent need to relaunch missionary action in the face of the many serious challenges of our time.
"The conditions in which humanity lives have of course changed and in recent decades, especially since the Second Vatican Council, a great effort has been made to spread the Gospel.
"However, much still remains to be done in order to respond to the missionary call which the Lord never tires of addressing to every one of the baptized. In the first place, He continues to call the Churches of so-called 'ancient tradition,' which in the past provided the missions with a consistent number of priests, men and women religious, and lay people as well as material means, giving life to an effective cooperation between Christian communities.
"This cooperation has yielded abundant apostolic fruit both for the young Churches in mission lands as well as in the ecclesial situations from which the missionaries came. In the face of the secularized culture, which sometimes seems to be penetrating ever more deeply into Western societies, considering in addition the crisis of the family, the dwindling number of vocations and the progressive aging of the clergy, these Churches risk withdrawing into themselves to view the future with ever less hope and weakening their missionary effort.
"Yet, this is the very time for opening oneself with trust to the Providence of God, Who never abandons His People and Who, with the power of the Holy Spirit, guides them toward the fulfillment of His eternal design of salvation.
"The Good Shepherd also invites the recently evangelized Churches to dedicate themselves generously to the missio ad gentes. Despite the many difficulties and obstacles they encounter in their development, these communities are constantly growing. Fortunately, some of them have a large number of priests and consecrated persons, many of whom, although there are so many needs in loco, are nevertheless sent to carry out their pastoral ministry and apostolic service elsewhere, even in lands evangelized long ago.
"Thus, we are witnessing a providential 'exchange of gifts' which redounds to the benefit of the entire Mystical Body of Christ.
"I warmly hope that missionary cooperation will be intensified and that the most will be made of the potential and charisms of each one. I also hope that World Mission Day will contribute to making all the Christian communities and every baptized person ever more aware that Christ's call to spread His Kingdom to the very ends of the earth is universal.
"'The Church is missionary by her very nature,' John Paul II wrote in his Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, 'for Christ's mandate is not something contingent or external, but reaches the very heart of the Church. It follows that the universal Church and each individual Church is sent forth to the nations. . .It is highly appropriate that young Churches "should share as soon as possible in the universal missionary work of the Church. They should themselves send missionaries to proclaim the Gospel all over the world, even though they are suffering from a shortage of clergy"' (n. 62).
"Fifty years after the historical appeal for cooperation between the Churches at the service of the mission of my Predecessor, Pius XII, with his Encyclical Fidei Donum, I would like to reaffirm that the Gospel proclamation continues to be timely and urgent.
"In the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio cited above, Pope John Paul II, for his part, recognized that 'the Church's mission is wider than the "communion among the Churches"; it ought to be directed not only to aiding re-evangelization but also and primarily to missionary activity as such' (n. 64).
"Therefore, as has often been said, missionary commitment remains the first service that the Church owes to humanity today to guide and evangelize the cultural, social, and ethical transformations; to offer Christ's salvation to the people of our time in so many parts of the world who are humiliated and oppressed by endemic poverty, violence, and the systematic denial of human rights.
"The Church cannot shirk this universal mission; for her it has a binding force. Since Christ first entrusted the missionary mandate to Peter and to the Apostles, today it is primarily the responsibility of the Successor of Peter whom divine Providence has chosen as a visible foundation of the Church's unity, and of the Bishops directly responsible for evangelization, both as members of the Episcopal College and as Pastors of the particular Churches (cf. Redemptoris Missio, n. 63).
"I am thus addressing the Pastors of all the Churches chosen by the Lord to guide His one flock so that they may share in the pressing concern to proclaim and spread the Gospel.
"It was precisely this concern that 50 years ago impelled the Servant of God Pius XII to bring missionary cooperation more up to date with the times.
"With particular concern for the future of evangelization, he asked the 'long established' Churches to send priests to support the recently founded Churches.
"Thus, he gave life to a new 'subject of mission' which took the name of 'Fidei Donum' precisely from the first words of the Encyclical.
"Of it he wrote: 'As we direct our thoughts, on the one hand, to the countless multitudes of our sons who have a share in the blessings of divine faith, especially in countries that have a long Christian tradition, and on the other hand, as we consider the far more numerous throngs of those who are still waiting for the day of salvation to be proclaimed to them, we are filled with a great desire to exhort you again and again, Venerable Brethren, to support with zealous interest the most holy cause of bringing the Church to all the world.' He added: 'Please God, may it come to pass that our admonitions will arouse a keener interest in the missionary apostolate among Your priests and through them set the hearts of the faithful on fire!' (cf. Fidei Donum, n. 4).
"Let us give thanks to the Lord for the abundant fruits obtained by this missionary cooperation in Africa and in other regions of the earth.
"Throngs of priests, after leaving their native communities, have devoted their apostolic energy to the service of communities which have sometimes only recently come into being in poor and developing areas. Among these priests are many martyrs who have combined with the witness of their words and apostolic dedication the sacrifice of their lives.
"Nor can we forget the many men and women religious and lay volunteers who, together with the priests, spared no effort to spread the Gospel to the very ends of the earth. May World Mission Day be an opportunity to remember in prayer these brothers and sisters of ours in the faith and all who continue to work in the vast field of the mission.
"Let us ask God that their example may everywhere inspire new vocations and a renewed mission awareness in the Christian people. Indeed, every Christian community is born missionary, and it is precisely on the basis of the courage to evangelize that the love of believers for their Lord is measured.
"Consequently, we could say that for the individual members of the faithful it is no longer merely a matter of collaborating in evangelizing work but of feeling that they themselves are protagonists and corresponsible. This corresponsibility entails the growth of communion between the communities and increases reciprocal help with regard to the personnel (priests, men and women religious, and lay volunteers) and the use of the means necessary for evangelization today.
"Dear brothers and sisters, the missionary mandate entrusted by Christ to the Apostles truly involves us all. May World Mission Day therefore be a favorable opportunity to acquire a deeper awareness and to work out together appropriate spiritual and formative itineraries which encourage inter-Church cooperation and the training of new missionaries to spread the Gospel in our time.
"However, let it not be forgotten that the first and priority contribution that we are called to offer to the missionary action of the Church is prayer. 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few,' the Lord said; 'pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest' (Lk 10:2).
"'First of all, therefore,' Pope Pius XII of venerable memory wrote 50 years ago, 'Venerable Brethren, we trust that more continuous and fervent prayers will be raised to God for this cause' (Fidei Donum, n. 49). Remember the immense spiritual needs of the numerous populations who are far from the true faith or who stand in such great need of the means of perseverance (cf. n. 55). And he urged the faithful to increase the number of Masses offered for the missions, saying that 'this is in accordance with the prayers of Our Lord Who loves His Church and wishes her to flourish and enlarge her borders throughout the whole world' (ibid., n. 52).
"Dear brothers and sisters, I also renew this invitation, which is more timely than ever. May the unanimous invocation of the 'Our Father who art in Heaven' be extended in every community, so that his Kingdom will come on earth.
"I appeal in particular to children and young people, who are always ready and generous in their missionary outreach. I address the sick and the suffering, recalling the value of their mysterious and indispensable collaboration in the work of salvation. I ask consecrated people, especially those in cloistered monasteries, to intensify their prayers for the missions.
"Thanks to the commitment of every believer, the spiritual network of prayer and support for evangelization is being extended throughout the Church. May the Virgin Mary who accompanied with motherly solicitude the development of the newborn Church, also guide our footsteps in our time and obtain for us a new Pentecost of love. May she especially make us all aware of being missionaries, that is, those who have been sent out by the Lord to be His witnesses at every moment of our life.
"I assure my daily remembrance in prayer to the fidei donum priests, to the men and women religious, and lay volunteers working on the frontiers of evangelization as well as to all who in their various capacities are dedicated to Gospel proclamation, as with affection I impart my Apostolic Blessing to all."
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican representative, addressed the 39th session of the permanent committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 25.
Archbishop Tomasi pointed out that: ". . .The global refugee population has begun to increase again and the population of concern to the UNHCR Office is now well over 32 million. People forcibly displaced are a stark reminder of persisting conflicts and violations of human rights. The Delegation of the Holy See greatly appreciates the UNHCR's courageous service and openness to creative responses to the plight of all forcibly uprooted persons. In the present spiraling crisis of people obliged to move from their homes, while factual information is available, the complexity of the issues and perhaps some deficit of political will slow down the possibility of solutions.
"Grey areas of concern seem to increase where existing protection instruments cannot apply or lack clarity of mandate. Reference is made to a phenomenon that now continues for some years, the terrible loss of life in the attempt to reach a safe haven on the part of thousands of people forced by desperate circumstances to look for survival outside their own country. The phenomenon is not just regional. It is present in the Mediterranean where people try to cross from Africa to Europe; in the Atlantic where they cross from West Africa to the Canary Islands. Other people lose their lives moving from East Africa to the Arabian Peninsula; from Caribbean islands to the American continent; from Mexico across the desert to the United States; in some areas of Asia. The questions arise of how the obligation to protect of the international community can be exercised in such a situation; if a normative vacuum exists for the protection of these victims who meet death in trying to escape some other forms of physical or psychological death. The UNHCR could raise the issue of a coordination of policies at the United Nations level that could focus on this trans-regional problem taking into account new developments, initiate a systematic study of how protection can be provided, and even develop a specific protection cluster. Of course, in the long run a positive and preventive approach would require the transformation of conditions in the places of origin through greater security, respect of human rights, effective political participation, the creation of jobs, and an environment of peace. But this local transformation cannot happen without the involvement of the international community for better organized and wider legal channels for the movement of people and without fair agricultural, financial, and trade policies that would not impact in a negative way the poor countries thus triggering forced displacement.
"A second point my Delegation wants to return to is that of the Middle East refugees and the worsening situation of ethnic and religious minorities cleansing. It seems that there is no way forward because of the inadequate acceptance of needy cases for resettlement and no way backward because of the impossibility of return due to persisting insecurity and refusal of coexistence among different religious communities. Christians in particular are confronted with a renewed era of martyrdom. Besides, the necessary funding for an adequate response to the suffering of Iraqi refugees is not yet sufficiently available. Adding his voice to the recent celebration of World Refugee Day the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI stated: 'Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is a duty of human solidarity so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and lack of concern.' He appealed that asylum and the rights of refugees be guaranteed and that the leaders of Nations should offer protection to all in need of it. Burden sharing, both in terms of funds and provision of resettlement, remains a major challenge, as it is protection in the region. . .
"Critical refugee and internally displaced people situations around the world call for a renewed commitment and an active engagement on the part of the international community. It is an obvious form of solidarity within the human family. Today's developments in the vast world of forced displacements and tomorrow's consequences of climate change forcing people to move call for intellectual creativity and pragmatic programs of action that may give an answer to the new demands for protection. . ."
To the editors:
I've been receiving My People for sometime now, and I've enjoyed every issue, and I've noticed that in many issues you've asked for readers to respond and I have twice. But I never mailed them. The first one didn't get mailed until I sent it to Joe Brisson, who is my instructor with Guadalupe Bible College, as one of my assignments, who in turn sent me your name and address. And so, as another assignment ("Write a Bold Letter"), I'm sending this one, which I wrote in reply to the article in last July's issue, "The Pope Appeals For Reconciliation And Peace During Auschwitz Visit." In The Pope Appeals For Reconciliation And Peace During Auschwitz Visit, Pope Benedict appealed to God, "Why, Lord, did You remain silent? How could You tolerate all this?" And so I answer, it was not God Who was silent. God spoke through the cries of every Jewish man, woman, and child of Poland, Germany, and every other country that was eventually overrun by the Nazis as they cried out to England, "PLEASE open the gates! Let us into Jerusalem! Give us our own nation!" For a "nation" with no place of their own has no place to go. Yet the gates remained closed – trying to appease the Arabs, while they sold arms to the Arabs which would be used to kill defenseless Jews in Jerusalem, who, since they were not officially a nation yet, could not legally buy arms to defend themselves. And so they turned their pleas to us, and every other – "civilized" nation, begging for asylum. For at the beginning they could leave. They just couldn't take their assets. And who wanted a bunch of penniless Jews to drag on their economy? Besides, things can't possibly be as bad as they're claiming. No. They'll be all right. They're just being over-dramatic. No, your Eminence, it was not God Who was silent. It was us. His – people. How did we remain silent? How did we tolerate all this?
Robert E. Chase
P.S. History repeats itself. Now it's the unborn crying out from the womb. Have we learned nothing?!
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
Shortly after World War II, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Dr. Israel Zolli, converted to Catholicism. He took the baptismal name of Eugenio, after Eugenio Pacelli, whom the world knows as Pope Pius XII.
Recently, Pope Pius XII has been severely criticized in the news media, especially by those claiming to be "Catholic," for his alleged failure to speak out against the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews and for his alleged failure to do something to save as many Jews as possible.
After the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Golda Meir, later to become the Prime Minister of Israel, stated, "When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims."
"Only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty," wrote Albert Einstein.
If what the news media states is correct, why would such prominent Jews admire such a man?
A review of history tells a different story about Pope Pius XII.
By 1929, Eugenio Pacelli, as the Vatican's Nuncio in Germany, had criticized the Nazis forty times. In 1934, Pacelli, now the Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI, had lodged sixty protests of Jewish cases.
After being elected Pope in 1939, Pius XII issued the Encyclical Summi Pontificatus (Darkness Over the Earth) which was a repudiation of Nazism, Fascism, and Communism. Eighty-eight thousand copies were air dropped by the Allies over Germany.
Pope Pius XII is a model for today's pro-lifer, for he "stood up for life." He protested and spoke out against the slaughtering of innocent people by the Nazi Regime. As a master diplomat, the Holy Father understood well that he not only placed his life, but the lives of the Catholic hierarchy, clergy, religious, and laity, before the Nazi terror when he rescued Jews.
If anyone is uncertain what would happen to a Christian harboring a fugitive Jew, one only needs to read The Hiding Place, by the Dutch Protestant, Corrie Ten Boom.
The historian Anne W. Carroll, in her book Christ the King: Lord of History, explains:
"Pius XII instructed churches, monasteries, and convents in Rome to take in Jews. These were the extra-territorial property of the Vatican which the Italian police could not enter. Altogether, 55 monasteries and 100 convents in Rome were hiding Jews. Many Jews found refuge in the Vatican itself, including Dr. Zolli, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, who became a Catholic after the war. The Pope sent letters by hand to Italian bishops calling upon them to hide rescued Jews."
Was this man's "army," one without weapons, tanks, aircraft, ships, etc., successful?
"The Catholic Church saved more Jewish lives during the war than all the other churches, religious institutions, and rescue organizations put together. Its record stands in startling contrast to the achievements of the International Red Cross and the Western Democracies," stated Pinchas E. Lapids, Israeli Consul in Italy. "…The Holy See, the Nuncios, and the entire Catholic Church saved some 400,000 Jews from certain death."
Pius XII showed that in the face of terror, brutal persecution, hideous tortures, slave labor, and death camps, one must find the courage that Christ promises to His believers, to stand up and boldly proclaim the sanctity of all innocent human life, not only in words, but also in actions.
Christians who desire to respond to John Paul II's command, "Stand Up for Life!," and to be involved in the pro-life movement, can find needed encouragement by studying the life of Pius XII. He was a man whom pro-lifers can admire, for he was truly a great defender of innocent human life.
Probably the reason why today Pius XII is under such unfounded criticism is that he is a role model of someone who was willing to speak out when innocent people were declared to be "non-persons," making their lives subject to the whims of others.
Writing in the Columbia, published by the Knights of Columbus, Rabbi David G. Dalin observed, "Curiously, nearly every writer critical of Pius' actions is a lapsed or publicly angry Catholic…the Holocaust [is] simply the biggest club available for liberal Catholics to use against those who remain faithful to the magisterium." Dalin continues:
"No other pope had been so widely praised by Jews – and they were not mistaken. Their gratitude, as well as that of the entire generation of Holocaust survivors, testifies that Pope Pius XII was, genuinely and profoundly, a righteous Gentile."
As a tribute to a man he obviously greatly admired, Dr. Eugenio Zolli, in his book Before The Dawn, expresses his deep admiration for this saintly man, "No hero in history has commanded such an army; none is more militant, more fought against, none more heroic than that conducted by Pius XII in the name of Christian charity."
Pius XII, for us pro-lifers who persevere, pray for us.
Pope Benedict XVI pointed out some of the positive effects the scouting movement can have on human and spiritual growth in a letter, dated 6/22/07. The letter was addressed to Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, president of the Bishops' Conference of France.
The Pope said: "The first of August 2007 will mark the 100th anniversary of the opening on Brownsea Island, England, of the first Scout camp organized by Lord Baden-Powell.
"On this occasion, all those in the world, young people and adults who once made their Scout promise individually or as a group, will be invited to renew it and to make a gesture for peace, thereby stressing how close the vocation of a 'peacemaker' is to the Scout ideal.
"For a century, through games, action, adventure, contact with nature, a team spirit and service to others, an integral formation of the human person is offered to everyone who becomes a Scout.
"Made fruitful by the Gospel, scouting is not only a place for true human growth but also for a forceful presentation of Christianity and real spiritual and moral development, as well as being an authentic path of holiness.
"It would be appropriate to recall the words of Fr. Jacques Sevin, S.J., the founder of Catholic Scouts: 'Holiness does not belong to any specific period and has no specific uniform.' The sense of responsibility inspired by the scouting pedagogy leads to a life in charity and the desire to serve one's neighbor in the image of Christ the servant, relying on the grace that He bestows especially in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.
"With all those in your Country who have benefited from belonging to a Scouts' association – the Scouts and Guides of France, the Scouts and Guides of Europe, or the United Scouts and Guides of France – I rejoice that since the appeal for greater communion among Catholic Scouts launched by my Predecessor in 1997, there have been outstanding instances of collaboration, which have respected the sensibilities of each movement with a view to greater unity in the heart of the Church.
"Indeed, Scout leaders will remember that their priority task is to awaken and form the personalities of the young people entrusted to them by their families, teaching them to encounter Christ and making them familiar with Church life.
"It is also important that 'Scout fellowship' is manifested and develops among Scouts and between the different movements, which was part of their initial ideal.
"Furthermore, especially for the young generations, this 'membership' demonstrates what the Body of Christ is, or, to use St. Paul's image, all are called to carry out a mission in their own province, to rejoice in the progress of others, and to help their brothers and sisters in their trials (cf. I Cor 12:12-26).
"I thank the Lord for all the fruits which scouting has yielded in the past century. With the entire Church, I trust that the different movements, Scouts of France, Scouts and Guides of Europe, United Scouts and Guides of France, may pursue the route with ever greater interaction, and offer to today's boys and girls a pedagogy that forms in them a strong personality based on Christ, with the aspiration to live the high ideals of the faith and human solidarity.
"From this viewpoint, the Scout promise and prayer form a basis and an ideal to develop throughout life. Lord Baden-Powell used to say this: 'Always be faithful to your Scout Promise, even when you are no longer a child – and may God help you to succeed!' When a person does his utmost to keep his promises, the Lord Himself strengthens him on his way. . ."
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Vatican representative, indicated the need to emphasize efforts to fight poverty and promote development in a speech at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECosoc) July 4 in Geneva, Switzerland.
His address follows: "The continued effort to address the plight of people trapped in poverty and to search for new ways and means to free them from its destructive consequences remains essential if the international community wants to achieve truly integral human development. The Delegation of the Holy See believes that the question of poverty 'should be given the highest attention and priority, for the sake of poor and rich countries alike.' The process of globalization has brought us to a new historical moment in the evolution of the economy. The world-wide impact of communication technology and the instant dissemination of information pre-socialize the poor, the young in particular, to expectations of a more decent and humane life-style, to which they are entitled. When such anticipations are frustrated, society faces a risk of violent reactions and peace is endangered for all.
"Wealth has increased in recent decades lifting millions of persons out of extreme poverty as a result of the opening of markets, of scientific and technological progress, and the circulation of capital. Life expectancy has improved on every continent, literacy rate has increased, and also democracy is now more widespread than it was thirty years ago. Regrettably evidence shows the persistence of areas of poverty in different geographical regions and among segments of population within countries. In the fight against poverty the fact cannot be ignored that, instead of declining, the number of people living on less than 2 dollars a day grew to 1.37 billion and an estimated 854 million people world-wide are undernourished. In several regions of Africa and Asia, life expectancy is almost half of that in rich countries and illiteracy reaches high levels. Thus attainment of the Millennium Development Goals remains an urgent task. Based on current trends, it appears that most developing countries will fail to meet the majority of these goals by 2015. The reaffirmed partnership in the search for and in the action to achieve greater equity requires the political will to reexamine in depth the reasons why developing countries are facing such difficulties with meeting these goals.
"Poverty elimination demands an integration between the mechanisms that produce wealth and the mechanisms for the distribution of its benefits at the international, regional, and national levels. Exclusion from technological and economic progress, even within the same national community, leads to entrenchment, not elimination, of poverty. An approach to economic growth based on absolute liberalization proves to be socially and, in the long run, economically non-sustainable. In a context of globally increasing wealth and availability of goods, a more systematic and comprehensive analysis is needed to understand how existing methods of trade and mechanisms of production should be modified in order to lift people out of poverty.
"The 'big push' that generous donors had envisioned with carefully thought out plans has not yielded all the concrete results expected. Nor has the advantage provided by the cancellation of external debt always resulted in greater access to education, health, and social services. The question to be posed is not whether but how additional aid should be given. The projects of multilateral institutions and developed countries aimed at reducing poverty and improving growth in poor regions, like the Millennium Development Goals, the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, have made some limited progress. More recently Decent Work Country Programs proposed by the International Labor Organiza-tion and supported by the ECOSOC 2006 Ministerial Declaration aim at generating employment opportunities and decent work. In fact, with employment opportunities a community can be taken out of poverty in a stable and sustainable way. Work is the only possibility for a community to generate its own value added that pays the way out of poverty. Then, empirical evidence shows that foreign aid, while improving living conditions for some individuals, has not been enough to end national-level poverty. Perhaps it is necessary to direct aid to more targeted and less generic projects that can bring about tangible, measurable, and empowering change in the daily life-experience of individuals and families and in the social fabric of the community. Directing aid to the creation of jobs would fall within this approach. Such effective aid requires multiple channels of distribution and should reach the basic infrastructure of communities that is assured not only by governments but also by community-based organizations and institutions, including those sponsored by faith-groups, such as schools, hospitals and clinics, community centers, and youth training and recreation programs. In particular, education is a long-term economic investment for everyone, and health provides a durable character to that investment. An educated person can be fully aware of his/her worth and dignity and that of every human being and can act accordingly. The value of education goes beyond its relationship with health. Consider the most important feature of the person: being relational with others. Educated people can establish among themselves social relations not based on force and abuse but on respect and friendship. In such an environment, it is easier to reduce corruption, one of the plagues of poor countries, and to improve respect for law and property rights, crucial for the positive functioning of an economic system. This form of public-private partnership not only delivers services but it helps change mentality and disposition toward development without losing respect for local culture and tradition. Changing mentality at the local level becomes a winning strategy in the fight against poverty.
"In order to promote development at the macroeconomic level it seems necessary to reinforce the productive capacity of the poorer countries by means of investment in technical formation; this allows for competition in today's knowledge-based economy and gives support to enterprises that create new jobs and decent work. In this regard, trans-national corporations carry a particular responsibility to facilitate the transfer of technology, sponsor capacity building in management, and enable local partners to provide more employment opportunities. Foreign investors need to contribute to the over-all development of the country in which they establish operations; this is particularly relevant for those engaged in the extraction industry and other short-term commercial enterprises. On their part, governments need to assure conditions that are favorable to ethical investment, including a well functioning juridical system, a stable system of taxation, protection of the right to property, and an infrastructure that allows access by local producers to regional and global markets. Corruption has a strong moral relationship with foreign aid. Although it is very difficult to condition foreign aid on such factors as corruption and democracy, nevertheless we have to consider that aid flows are based primarily on voluntary efforts by people in donor countries. Such trust could be destroyed by repeated misuse of aid flows by corrupt governments in receiving countries. Keeping the above observations in mind, it appears logical that the allocation of national resources should give priority to building social capital over military expenses. It is striking to note that worldwide military expenditures exceed 1,118 billion dollars each year, a sum far higher than the global investment for human development. Together with foreign aid, corporate transfer of resources, cancellation of external debt for the poorer countries, the increasing flows of migrations wisely managed can contribute to the elimination of poverty. . .
"'The Holy See has repeatedly insisted that, while the Governments of poorer countries have a responsibility with regard to good governance and the elimination of poverty, the active involvement of international partners is indispensable. . .It is a grave and unconditional moral responsibility, founded on the unity of the human race, and on the common dignity and shared destiny of rich and poor alike, who are being drawn ever closer by the process of globalization.' Working toward this goal in a coherent use of resources and strategies should allow all people to become 'the artisans of their destiny.' New international binding agreements to regulate the exploitation of natural resources, to report stolen public funds, to limit the arms trade, to eliminate distorting subsidies in agriculture, and similar initiatives, will go a long way to translate into concrete decisions, the often stated goal of solidarity. But concrete persons are the motor of development. Eradication of poverty is a moral engagement. The various religions and cultures see its achievement as a most important task that frees people from much suffering and marginalization, that helps them to live peacefully together, and that provides individuals and communities the freedom to protect their dignity and actively contribute to the common good. . ."
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. The first apparition was on May 13 and the last on October 13. This October 13 also marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Father Al Lauer, founder of Presentation Ministries and a faithful disciple of Jesus and Mary.
On May 13, Cardinal Angelo Sodano represented the Holy Father at a Eucharistic Celebration in Fatima.
L'Osservatore Romano English edition reported the Cardinal said in his homily: ". . . Ninety years have passed since that long ago May 13, 1917, when Mary Most Holy turned her gaze upon Cova da Iria in that beautiful corner of Portugal. She appeared to Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, and entrusted to them a message for the entire world.
"The three shepherd children were all intent on tending their folk when a bright flash of light took them by surprise: it was a most beautiful Lady who appeared to them above a cerris oak, asking for prayers and penance both for the end of the war which was then being fought as well as for the needs of the whole world.
"So it was that this Marian epic began. It was to last for five months until October 13 that same year, and was then to be presented to the world, as is typical of God's acts.
"The late Cardinal Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon, rightly said: 'It is not the Church which imposed Fatima upon the world, but Fatima which imposed itself upon the world.'
"It was not long before the Bishop of Leiria joined in the prayers of the faithful, guiding here the crowds of pilgrims who were attracted by Mary's message and by the extraordinary signs that accompanied it.
"At the end of the Second World War, Pius XII of venerable memory sent Cardinal Aloisi Masella here on his behalf to crown the statue of the Virgin. It was May 13, 1946, and, in the presence of 600,000 of the faithful, a golden crown was set upon Mary's head.
"At a tragic moment during the Second World War, on October 13, 1942, the same Pontiff had already consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
"Then, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the apparitions, May 13, 1967, Pope Paul VI of venerable memory desired to go on pilgrimage to the Shrine.
"Lastly, how can we forget the late John Paul II's deep devotion to Our Lady of Fatima?
"On May 13, 1982, Pope John Paul II had come to this beautiful Shrine to thank Our Lady for saving him from danger after the attack on his life. Here the Pope celebrated his well-known act of the entrustment and consecration of the world to Mary, which we all remember well.
"It was an act he was to renew in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican later, on March 25, 1984, in spiritual union with all the world's Bishops.
"With a strong and solemn voice and great concern for their earthly and eternal destinies, the Pastor of the universal Church placed in Mary's Heart the fate of individuals and nations.
"The Servant of God John Paul II returned here twice, in 1991 and in 2000.
"Consequently today, finally, Pope Benedict XVI, who desired to send me to represent him on this solemn occasion, is also present here. Today, he is in Brazil at the great Marian Shrine of Aparecida and joins us in singing Mary's praise.
"An arc of prayers rises today from the shores of the Atlantic and unites us with our brothers and sisters in Brazil, in our common desire to entrust ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to have recourse to her motherly intercession.
"Dear pilgrims, today's Gospel opens our heart to hope, reminding us of the moving scene on Calvary when Jesus on the Cross said to the disciple whom He loved, 'Behold, your mother!' (Jn 19:27)
"From that moment, the Mother of God became the Mother of man. From that moment Mary's spiritual motherhood began, the mystery of her universal motherhood, if it is true that motherhood means love and caring for the life of every child.
"The 'White Lady,' as she was called by those simple children, between 7 and 10 years old, showed them special love. It was a sign of her preferential love for the lowly, for the poor, and for the suffering.
"Thus, the Mother of God showed that she was also truly the Mother of humankind.
"Today, 90 years have passed since the apparitions at Cova da Iria. We would like to ask Mary to continue to show all her motherly tenderness for the men and women of our time, who are sometimes tempted to forget God and set their hearts on the golden calf of earthly fatuity.
"Mary knows that the eternal salvation of her children is at stake, and for this reason repeats to us Jesus' call: 'Repent, and believe in the Gospel' (Mk 1:15)
"Jesus' message thus becomes Mary's. It is a strong and decisive call, such as a mother would address to her children at the important moments of their life.
"Mary received us in custody from her Son on the Cross, when He said in the torment of His agony: 'Woman, behold your Son!', and from that moment the Mother opened her heart to us, just as the Heart of the Son, pierced by the soldier's spear, had opened it for us. It was a heart opened by the same love for humanity and the world.
"Today, we feel the need to address her with the invocation of a well-known hymn of the liturgy: . . . 'show us, O Mary, that you are Mother!'
"Many people today seem to be drifting away from the Father's house, and we cluster around our Mother so that she may enlighten their consciences and bring prodigal sons back to the Father's house.
"It is particularly the children who live in Europe who are tempted to forget the faith that was their strength down the centuries. An insidious apostasy is taking place in our countries, which should give us cause for concern.
"Today, let us entrust to the Immaculate Heart of Mary the future of the people and peoples of our Continent, committing ourselves to restoring to the heart of our society that Gospel leaven which permeated history down the ages.
"Let us also promise Mary to work intensely for this noble end, seeking to be 'salt of the earth and light of the world.'
"With our prayers, our work, and our Christian testimony, we will thus respond to Mary's call and foster the dissemination of Christ's Gospel in today's world.
"Indeed, together with the Second Vatican Council (cf. Gaudium et Spes, n. 10), we believe that 'the key, the center, and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in her Lord and Master. . . 'Jesus Christ, (Who) is the same yesterday and today and forever' (Heb 13:8). Amen!"
CASTEL GANDOLFO, ITALY – During the Sunday Angelus on July 29, Pope Benedict XVI noted that the day was. . . "the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Charter of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, instituted with the mandate to 'accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health, and prosperity throughout the world' (art 2).
"The Holy See, fully approving the goals of this Organization, is a member of it since its founding and continues to support its activity.
"The epochal changes that have occurred in the last 50 years demonstrate how, in the difficult crossroads in which humanity finds itself, the commitment to encourage non-proliferation of nuclear arms, to promote a progressive and agreed upon nuclear disarmament, and to support the use of peaceful and safe nuclear technology for authentic development, respecting the environment and ever mindful of the most disadvantaged populations, is always more present and urgent.
"I therefore hope that the efforts of those who work with determination to bring about these three objectives may be achieved, with the goal that '[t]he resources which would be saved could then be employed in projects of development capable of benefiting all their people, especially the poor' (Message for the World Day of Peace 2006, L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, December 21/28, 2005, n. 51/52, p. 7).
"It is also good on this occasion to repeat how: 'In place of . . . the arms race, there must be substituted a common effort to mobilize resources toward objectives of moral, cultural, and economic development, "redefining the priorities and hierarchies of values"' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2438).
"Again we entrust to the intercession of Mary Most Holy our prayer for peace, in particular so that scientific knowledge and technology are always applied with a sense of responsibility and for the common good, in full respect for international rights.
"Let us pray so that men live in peace and that they may be as brothers, sons of one Father: God."
(Source: L'Osservatore Romano English edition)
Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.
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