Vatican City, Jul 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI believes that 16th-century Saint Teresa of Avila is a model for current efforts to launch the New Evangelization.
“The ultimate goal of Teresa’s reform and the creation of new monasteries in a world lacking spiritual values was to protect apostolic work with prayer,” the Pope said July 16.
“Today too, as in the sixteenth century, in the midst of rapid transformation, it is important that trusting prayer be the heart of the apostolate, so that the redeeming message of Jesus Christ may sound out clearly and dynamically,” he added.
Pope Benedict made his comments in a letter to Bishop Jesus Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain for the 450th anniversary of St. Teresa founding the Monastery of St. Joseph, which marked the beginning of her Carmelite reform.
In promoting a “radical return” to a more austere form of Carmelite life, St. Teresa sought “to create a form of life which favored a personal encounter with the Lord,” the Pope explained.
Rather than harking back to the past, however, St. Teresa presented “a new way of being Carmelite” to “a world which was also new,” Pope Benedict observed. He quoted the Spanish saint’s own writings to her religious sisters in which she summed up the “difficult times” in which they lived.
“The world is on fire,” wrote St. Teresa of post-Reformation Europe. “Men try to condemn Christ once again. They would raze His Church to the ground. No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance.”
“Does this luminous and engaging call, written more than four centuries ago by the mystic saint, not sound familiar in our own times?” asked Pope Benedict in response.
In the “exhilarating task” of the New Evangelization, he said, the example of St. Teresa should inspire all Christians because she “evangelized unhesitatingly, showing tireless ardor, employing methods free from inertia and using expressions bathed in light.”
“This remains important in the current time,” said the Pope, “when there is a pressing need for the baptized to renew their hearts through individual prayer in which, following the guidance of St. Teresa, they also focus on contemplation of Christ’s blessed humanity as the only way to reach the glory of God.”
Bogotá, Colombia, Jul 16, 2012 (CNA) -
The Bishops' Conference of Colombia has committed to work for comprehensive and sustainable development in Colombia together with “the State, the mining industry and the Colombian people.”
In a statement issued at the conclusion of their 93rd Plenary Assembly on July 13, the bishops said they would continue to work with the nation in seeking “truth and justice in service to life, and to support constructive dialogue and discourage violence.”
The bishops said they were aware of the concerns and the hopes of the communities where mining projects are currently under way and those where projects and proposals are still being studied.
They called for “a new model of development that has respect for the dignity of the human person and his fundamental rights at the center and that responds to present-day needs and ensures sustainability for future generations.”
This model should have “moral and ethical parameters” to ensure that Colombia is a country that “responds to the needs of the entire population and cares for the creation God has given us, so that we administer it with responsibility,” the bishops continued.
Colombia is “a country with great agricultural, ranching and mining richness,” they said, and therefore it demands “development that is sustainable and truly human.”
The bishops criticized illegal mining, which hurts the country and does damage to the rain forest, “which is the lung of our planet.”
The Colombian government should establish modern and fair mining laws that “ensure human development” and firmly address “the uncontrolled destruction of the environment,” they said.
At the same time, the bishops urged the government to “develop technologies and methods of mining that are friendly to the environment.”
Laws should also be enacted to ensure that the energy resources gained from mining are invested in national and regional development in a just and equitable way, the bishops said.
They reminded citizens of their duty to administer creation with responsibility and to be “actively committed to achieving development that is environmental friendly.”
Tel Aviv, Israel, Jul 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) -
Israeli archeologists have found more than one hundred gold coins from the time of the Crusades, when conflict arose between Muslims and Christians over control of the Holy Land.
“It is an unusual find. We don’t have much gold from the time of the Crusades,” said Oren Tal, a professor at the University of Tel Aviv who led the investigation.
The treasure was found in the ruins of a castle in Arsuf, a strategic bastion during the Crusades of the 12th and 13th centuries.
The 108 coins – one of the largest collections ever discovered in Israel – were found in a ceramic juglet buried underneath a tile floor in the ruins located some 15 kilometers from Tel Aviv.
Arsuf, which overlooks the Mediterranean, was the site of the famous victory of Richard the Lionheart against Saladin in the 12th century.
Eighty years later in 1265, the Muslim army returned with a different general and besieged the city for forty days. When the walls protecting the city fell, the Crusaders took refuge in the castle, which was eventually destroyed.
According to Tal, the coins belonged to the Christian order of the Knights Hospitaller, who had taken up residence at the castle. Historians and archeologists plan to study them this fall.
Edinburgh, Scotland, Jul 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Cardinal Keith P. O’Brien of St. Andrews and Edinburgh has challenged the Scottish government to hold a nationwide referendum on same-sex “marriage,” following its commitment to schedule a vote for independence.
“Clearly, if it is sensible to hold a referendum on independence, it is crucial that we have one on marriage. It is the only way the country can move forward on this issue,” Cardinal O’Brien said in a July 16 statement.
“Let all those who have a view on this subject place their trust in the Scottish people and let Scotland decide,” he said.
The cardinal has thrown down his challenge only 24 hours before the government is likely to announce its official view on same-sex “marriage.”
The country’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, has so far said he “tends towards” supporting the policy. However, he is also committed to taking on-board those views expressed during his administration’s public consultation on the issue.
That three-month process garnered over 77,000 submissions – the highest response rate to any consultation since the devolved Scottish Parliament was created in 1999. It is also three times the number of public responses received for the governing Scottish National Party’s recent consultation on its flagship policy of Scottish independence.
Cardinal O’Brien said this “clearly” demonstrated that “far more people are concerned about fundamental matters of morality at the present time.”
Last week an opinion poll found that 55 percent of Scots want the legal definition of marriage to remain a union between a man and a woman. The survey, commissioned by the campaign group Scotland for Marriage, also found that 50 percent were in favor of a referendum to settle the issue.
Despite assurances from the government that religious liberty will not be affected by any proposed legislation, Scotland for Marriage also published legal advice from a leading Scottish lawyer who said that such political promises are worthless under present European human rights legislation.
Attorney Aiden O’Neill predicted that a change in Scottish marriage law could see employees sacked for opposing same-sex “marriage,” ministers and priests sued for refusing to allow ceremonies to take place in their churches, school children forced to attend homosexual history lessons and couples rejected as foster parents if they oppose the new legislation.
In response, Cardinal O’Brien said Scotland’s 750,000 Catholics will raise £100,000 ($150,000) to support the Scotland for Marriage campaign if the government proceeds with changing the law.
“Marriage is under threat and politicians need to know the Catholic Church will bear any burden and meet any cost in its defense,” he said.
Vatican City, Jul 16, 2012 (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI will use his annual message for the 46th World Day of Peace this Jan. 1 to examine the “worrying crisis of democracy,” the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said July 16.
The pontiff will examine “fundamental rights” including freedom of conscience, expression and religion. He will also reflect upon the measures taken to contain contemporary financial and economic crises and “the crisis of the institutions and politics.”
The pontifical council said that this institutional crisis is in many cases a “crisis of democracy.”
The Pope has chosen the day’s theme as “Blessed are the peacemakers.” His message will encourage everyone to “take responsibility” for building peace, and will examine “the fullness and diversity of the concept of peace,” including “inner peace.”
The message will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical “Pacem in Terris.”
That encyclical looked at how to build an earthly city that will serve every person, a city that is directed to the common good based on justice and peace.