Saturday, 7 January 2012

News briefs for Saturday 7 January

Tim Fischer and family with the Pope
Source: Osservatore Romano/The Australian
 Feasts: Saturday of Our Lady (EF); St Raymond of Penafort (OF); once was, Octave of the Epiphany.

Vatican news
  • Pope Benedict XVI has appointed 22 new Cardinals, bringing up the number of potential papal electors to 125 - no Australians or Africans but two Americans and a Canadian (ABs Dolan, O'Brien and Collins).  Notable absences from the list include the Archbishops of Dublin and Westminster, and AB Fisichella of the New Evangelization Council.  John Allen has a useful analysis of the appointments.
  • At the ordination of two bishops, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on the qualities and task of a bishop.  Here are some key extracts:
"...The bishop too must be a man of restless heart, not satisfied with the ordinary things of this world, but inwardly driven by his heart’s unrest to draw ever closer to God, to seek his face, to recognize him more and more, to be able to love him more and more. The bishop too must be a man of watchful heart, who recognizes the gentle language of God and understands how to distinguish truth from mere appearance. The bishop too must be filled with the courage of humility, not asking what prevailing opinion says about him, but following the criterion of God’s truth and taking his stand accordingly – “opportune – importune”. He must be able to go ahead and mark out the path....

...The bishops’ task is praedicare Evangelium Christi, it is custodire et dirigere, it is pauperibus se misericordes praebere, it is indesinenter orare. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, going ahead and leading, guarding the sacred heritage of our faith, showing mercy and charity to the needy and the poor, thus mirroring God’s merciful love for us, and finally, praying without ceasing: these are the fundamental features of the episcopal ministry. Praying without ceasing means: never losing contact with God, letting ourselves be constantly touched by him in the depths of our hearts and, in this way, being penetrated by his light. Only someone who actually knows God can lead others to God. Only someone who leads people to God leads them along the path of life."

  • Australia's Ambassador to the Vatican, former National Party leader Tim Fischer, has wrapped up his term with an papal audience (to access the full article, google the Australian), leaving the Pope with a book on food security (!).
  • A study reported on by the Sydney Morning Herald suggests that a significant minority of church goers/attendees at religious events are agnostics or atheists, attending for the sense of belonging and similar reasons;
Culture and science
  • Jennifer Byre of the ABC's Book Club reviews a new book in the SMH on Copernicus, with some observations on why his theories did not incur the controversy later generated for the same ideas by Galileo;
  • There has been another attack on a Church in Nigeria, with gunmen killing

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