Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, Apr 9, 2012 (CNA) - The Cuban Commission on Human Rights reported that 43 dissidents have been detained by the Communist government in a new wave of repression launched on April 2 in the city of Santiago.
Former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer and his wife, Belkis Cantillo, a member of the Women in White, were among those arrested.
“We have been able to confirm that 43 dissidents have been detained – 10 women and 33 men – during the wave of repression on Monday in Santiago de Cuba, and all remain under arrest,” Elizardo Sanchez of the Cuban Commission on Human Right said on April 4.
He said that most of them belong to the Patriotic Union of Cuba, a dissident movement that supports a peaceful transition to democracy.
In a statement sent to CNA on April 4, the Patriotic Union of Cuba said the repression began on Monday morning, when ten activists in the town of El Caney “gathered at the home of coordinator Guillermo Cobas to peacefully protest” the incarceration of Andres Carrion Alvares, Rogelio Tabio Lopez and Bismark Mustelier Galan.
Alvares shouted “down with Communism” before Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in Santiago during the pontiff's March 25-28 visit to the country, Lopez was detained last month in Guantanamo, and Galan was arrested in Palma Soriano.
The Union said similar protests held in other parts of the province of Santiago were also squashed by state police, who ransacked the home of Jose Daniel Ferrer and arrested him, his wife and five other dissidents.
Twenty-six other dissidents were arrested at the home of Raumel Vinajera, the coordinator for the Patriotic Union in Palma Soriano. Ten more were detained in the town of Vista Hermosa.
Jose Daniel Ferrer was one of the 75 dissidents arrested during what's known as the Black Spring of 2003. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison but was released in 2011 thanks to the intervention of the Church in Cuba.
Lyon, France, Apr 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Christians should integrate their faith with their work in the private sector, the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace told business leaders as he launched a new teaching document.
“Humanity is to make creation serve its needs through the transformative power of work,” Cardinal Peter K. Turkson told 2,000 Christian businesspeople in Lyon, France. “In its exercise of business, therefore, humanity would become a 'rock' that sustains creation through the practice of love and justice.”
“And this appears to be really the vocation of the Christian business leader: to practice love and justice and to teach the business household for which he or she is responsible to do likewise, for the sustenance of all creation, beginning with our brothers and sisters.”
Cardinal Turkson addressed the 24th International Christian Union of Business Executives (UNIAPAC) World Congress on March 30, taking up themes of the pontifical council's new document “Vocation of the Business Leader: A Reflection.”
He described the 30-page text – which grew out of a February 2011 seminar on Pope Benedict XVI's social encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” – as “a helpful guide to business leaders seeking to grow in the virtue of charity as befits their vocation.”
A major problem for Christians in the modern world, according to the document, is the temptation of a “divided life” – involving a “split between the faith which many profess, and their daily lives.”
This separation of faith from professional life “is a fundamental error which contributes to much of the damage done by businesses in our world today” – including the neglect of family life, an “unhealthy attachment to power,” and the “abuse of economic power” that disregards the common good.
The pontifical council's critique of the “divided life” is rooted in the words of Christ himself, who taught that “no one can be the slave of two masters … You cannot love both God and money.”
“Business leaders who do not see themselves serving others and God in their working lives will fill the void of purpose with a less worthy substitute,” the text notes. “The divided life is not unified or integrated: it is fundamentally disordered, and thus fails to live up to God’s call.”
The suggested remedy involves a greater awareness of the Church's social teaching, and an embrace of the “universal call to holiness” in the professional sphere.
“A devout spiritual life is absolutely indispensable,” Cardinal Turkson told business leaders in his Lyon address. “One should be receiving the sacraments and praying frequently. When the spiritual gifts are sought, they will give one the grace to live an integrated life, and keep one from living a divided life.”
The justice and peace council's new document notes that these are “not optional actions for a Christian,” nor are they “mere private acts separated and disconnected from business.”
Rather, by approaching work through the eyes of faith, lay people can continue Christ's mission within their field of employment.
As Cardinal Turkson notes in the preface to “Vocation of the Business Leader,” the Church “does not relinquish the hope that Christian business leaders will, despite the present darkness, restore trust, inspire hope, and keep burning the light of faith that fuels their daily pursuit of the good.”
In Lyon, the cardinal told business leaders that an economic paradigm “centered on capital gains” has been shown to be obsolete.
Instead, he urged entrepreneurs to focus on doing God's will in the private sector – meeting “the needs of the world with goods that are truly good and truly beneficial,” and organizing work “in a manner that is respectful of human dignity.”
Rome, Italy, Apr 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud, the former patriarch of the Syrian Catholic Church, died in Rome on April 7, the morning of Holy Saturday.
Pope Benedict XVI remembered the 81-year-old cardinal in prayer and praised him in a telegram to the current Syrian patriarch, Ignace Youssif II Younan.
“I wish to express to you my union in prayer with your Patriarchal Church, with the family of the deceased cardinal and with all those who are affected by this bereavement,” the Pope said.
The Pope prayed that God will welcome “this faithful pastor” into his joy and peace. He said the cardinal “dedicated himself with faith and generosity to the service of the People of God.”
In 2007, Cardinal Daoud retired as prefect emeritus of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
There are about 132,000 faithful in the Syrian Catholic Church, according to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association. The largest populations of Syrian Catholics are in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Arlington, Va., Apr 9, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Catholics should follow the example of St. Thomas More in their current conflict with the Obama administration, said Fr. Paul D. Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
More's faithful witness and willingness to sacrifice his life rather than violate his conscience “are instructive for us in this present crisis,” said Fr. Scalia, who serves as pastor of St. John the Beloved Parish in McLean, Va.
In an April 4 article for the Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper of Arlington, Fr. Scalia reflected on the life of St. Thomas More, the well-known 16th-century lawyer, author and martyr who served as the chancellor of England under King Henry VIII.
He observed that More was faced with a moral dilemma when the Catholic Church would not allow King Henry to divorce his wife, and the king responded by simply redefining the Church.
More could not support the king’s decision in good conscience and therefore resigned from public life. He did not voice his opposition to the king, but merely attempted to live as a private citizen in silence.
“But King Henry’s rebellion against the Church inevitably trampled on the conscience of individuals as well,” said Fr. Scalia, explaining that even though he had resigned from his position, More was commanded to take an oath affirming the king’s divorce.
When he refused to violate his conscience by taking the oath, he was imprisoned and then beheaded.
The years that followed were filled with persecution of Catholics, who were fined and imprisoned for their religious beliefs.
Fr. Scalia compared More’s struggle with the king to that of Catholics against a new U.S. mandate that will require private health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, regardless of whether those providing the plans object to such coverage.
He said that the similarities between King Henry’s decree and the contraception mandate issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “are striking and instructive.”
Just as King Henry redefined the Church in England, the Obama administration “seeks to do likewise in the United States” with its recent mandate, he said.
The administration and some Congressmen have even “lectured the bishops about what the Church should do or think.” In doing so, he explained, they have violated the Church’s right to self-governance of internal affairs.
Fr. Scalia also noted that just as King Henry’s actions affected both the Church as an institution and private individuals such as More, the contraception mandate threatens not only the rights of Church organizations but those of individual Catholic citizens, who will also be penalized if they do not obey the mandate.
Fr. Scalia advised that if history is repeating itself in the current persecution of the Church, the faithful must “deliberately choose to imitate” St. Thomas More’s witness.
Catholic should reflect More’s “integrity and holiness of life,” he said, observing that the saint’s silence on the issue of the king’s divorce spoke volumes because he was known to be a man of integrity.
Although we currently “do not have the luxury of remaining silent,” we must still follow in More’s path of integrity, uniting our words and actions to present the truths of our faith, he said.
Fr. Scalia emphasized that Catholics should imitate More’s joy, which he maintained even in the midst of oppression. This joy may not always be externally visible, but should remain steadfast inside of us, because we know “that no suffering or persecution in this world can separate us from the love of Christ.”
Catholics should also imitate More’s patriotism, said Fr. Scalia, recalling More’s famous statement before his death, “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”
In the same way, he said, we will be good Americans by defending the First Amendment’s promises and “being devout Catholics first.”