Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Chisholm, Australia's next saint?

A second Australian saint could be on the cards as supporters of Catholic pioneer Caroline Chisholm push for her beatification.

Chisholm, who died in 1877, was known as “the emigrants’ friend” for her work in helping single women and families settle in Australia and for rescuing homeless girls in colonial Sydney.

The Friends of Mrs Chisholm are preparing historical data to petition the Vatican for her eventual rise to Sainthood, The Age reported.

To be considered for sainthood, supporters will need to establish signs of two miracles — intercessions in response to prayer from beyond the grave.

A public campaign, including the printing of prayer cards and a new website, will be launched next year to coincide with the 200th anniversary of her birth.

Chisholm has always been held in high regard and was the first woman other than a monarch to feature on Australian currency, gracing the $5 note until 1992.

But the path to canonisation could be problematic as Chisholm died in England and the process of seeking sainthood needs to be triggered by the local bishop there.

Friends of Mrs Chisholm spokesperson Clara Geoghegan spokeswoman said what makes Chisholm special was her conviction and faith.

“I don't think what she did was possible by mere human effort,” Ms Geoghegan said.

"She was responding to the call of the Holy Spirit to deal with the contemporary issues of her day.

“At the very least she is as deserving as Mary MacKillop (of sainthood), but what she didn't do was to work in the name of the church.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Likeness of Pope John Paul II in the flames

A photograph taken of a bonfire in Poland bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Pope John Paul II.

The bonfire, which was lit at a ceremony in Poland on April 2 to mark the second anniversary of the late pontifs death, appears to be an image of the Holy Father with his right hand raised in blessing, Daily Mail reported.

Details of the "apparition" appeared on the Vatican TV's News Service.

Fr Jarek Cielecki, a close friend of John Paul II said he was convinced the picture showed the former pontiff.

"You can see the image of a person in the flames and I think it is the servant of God, Pope John Paul II," Fr Cielecki said.

The pictures were broadcast on Italian TV and also posted on religious websites, some of which crashed as thousands logged on to see the image.

Gregorz Lukasik, the Polish man who took the photographs, said it was only afterwards when he got home and looked at the pictures that he knew he had something.

"I showed them to my brother and sister and they, like me, were convinced the flames had formed the image of Pope John Paul II.

"I was so happy with the picture that I showed it to our local bishop who said that Pope John Paul had made many pilgrimages during his life and he was still making them in death."

Pope Benedict to issue second encyclical

Pope Benedict XVI has completed his second encyclical, a meditation on Christian hope, Vatican sources have said.

The text, tentatively titled "Spe Salvi" ("Saved by Hope") comes from St. Paul's letter to the Romans, in which he wrote: "For in hope we have been saved.”

The encyclical is said to explore the Christian understanding of hope, with reference to modern philosophy and the challenges of disbelief, Catholic News Service reported.

The Pope published his first encyclical in late 2006. Titled "Deus Caritas Est" ("God Is Love"), it called for a deeper understanding of love as a gift from God to be shared in a self-sacrificial way.

"Confronted by today's changing and complex panorama, the virtue of hope is subject to harsh trials in the community of believers,” Pope Benedict said.

“For this very reason, we must be apostles who are filled with hope and joyful trust in God's promises.

“God never abandons his people and is alive and active in the world.”

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Knights Templar secrets revealed

The Vatican is reproducing copies of the investigations of the trial of the Knights Templar, almost 700 years after they were suppressed by papal edict.

The trial into the alleged misdeeds of the Knights Templar took place in Rome between 1307 and 1312.

Now the Vatican has decided to shed some new light on this often obscure period of late medieval history.

The document, known as the Chinon parchment, shows that Pope Clement V found the Templars not guilty of heresy, but guilty of other lesser infractions of Church law. Nonetheless he ordered the disbandment of the order.

The Vatican's Secret Archives, one of the world's great repositories of historical documents, is selling a limited edition of 800 numbered copies of the Chinon parchment, the BBC reported.

It is printed on synthetic parchment, comes complete with a reproduction of the original papal wax seal, and is packaged in a soft leather case together with a scholarly commentary.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

188 Japanese martyrs to be beatified

The beatification ceremony for 188 Japanese martyrs killed for their faith will take place next year on November 24 in Nagasaki.

The public announcement was made by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan (CBCJ) spokesman Fr. Manyo Maeda, who read a letter sent by the Vatican to Conference president Msgr. Takeo Okada, bishop of Tokyo.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints will represent Pope Benedict XVI at the ceremony, the first beatification to be conducted in Japan,Asia Newsreported

According to Fr. Isao Hashimoto, Nagasaki Diocesan chancellor, over 20 faithful have already declared their intent to participate in the mass.

In a letter to Japan’s Catholics Msgr. Okada announced the Vatican’s decision with “great joy” and added: “I hope we take to heart the meaning of the treasure our predecessors in the faith left us”.

Among the 188 Japanese martyrs killed were priests, nuns and lay.

The cause has become known as “the beatification of Fr. Kibe and his 187 companions”.

Jesuit Father Pietro Kassui Kibe, a convert to Christianity, had fled persecution from the government to Rome where he entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained priest. He returned to Japan to carry out his ministry among the oppressed faithful and in 1639 was captured tortured and killed in Tokyo.