NOVEMBER 07, 2010, Vol 60, No 22

The news that a soon-to-be-saint had once been excommunicated for her order’s part in urging the church to act against an accused sex offender is a reminder of the virulence and long history of crimes of abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. The saga of Mother Mary MacKillop, who was to be canonized on Oct. 17, says much about sanctity, about sin, about women and about hope.

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Babol, Iran ( – Researchers in Iran have published the results of a new study showing women who have an abortion face a 193 percent increased risk of breast cancer. On the other hand, women who carry a pregnancy to term find a lowered breast cancer risk compared with women who have never been pregnant.

The study folllows on the heels of new reports indicating Komen for the Cure gave US$7.5 million to the Planned Parenthood abortion business in 2009.

The findings were reported in the April 3, 2010 issue of Medical Oncology but are coming to the public’s attention only now.

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IF JESUS WERE to walk among us today, where would He be when the floods strike, when the earth quakes and the land slides? Would He be watching the devastating effects of climate change on television news? Would he, with a click on the remote, switch channels to watch Money Market instead?

Perhaps, more important than the obvious answers to these questions are the questions Jesus might be asking us:

What have you done to My Father’s creation? Why are you destroying the gifts of the earth? Have you forgotten that you are responsible for the planet, your home? Have you forgotten that you were formed of the same origin, that you are part of the one, whole creation?

St Francis of Assisi did not forget. He recognised God’s presence in the beauty of creation. He honoured and blessed every creature that lived and celebrated the interdependence of all creation. When we sing the beautiful Canticle of the Sun we are reminded of Francis’ profound love for God in creation.
NEW DELHI – With two hit films in Malayalam and several upcoming projects in Tamil, Archana Kavi (photo) has become a well-known face in the south Indian film industry.

The vivacious young Catholic star says her progress in the industry has been helped by her feeling that she is “God’s favourite child.”

The 22-year-old, who grew up in Delhi, says her faith-based life and the courage it provides, has helped her achieve success.

Schooled in Jesuit-run St Xavier’s, she says she never wanted to be an actress. Her father is a journalist and her mother a paramedic and she had planned for a job in media.

Archana shares with how life has offered her surprises and challenges.
VATICAN CITY – “It is clear, in fact, that prayer has to be an expression of faith, otherwise it is not real prayer. If one does not believe in the goodness of God, one cannot pray in a truly appropriate manner. Faith is essential as the basis for prayerful behaviour. And this is what the six new saints who today are being proposed for veneration by the Universal Church did.”

These were the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI on Sunday, Oct 17, during the Mass for the canonisation of six Blesseds, which he presided over in St Peter’s Square.

Saint Stanislaw Soltys, (1433-1489), a priest of the Canons Regular of the Lateran, “was attached to the Eucharist through his ardent love for Christ present under the form of bread and wine; living the mystery of the death and resurrection, which take place in a bloodless way during Holy Mass; through the practice of loving one’s neighbour, whose source and sign is Communion”.
Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus, Syria, holds a crucifix as he prays during the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct 24. CNS photo

VATICAN CITY – Closing the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, Pope Benedict XVI said, “We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace.”

“Peace is possible. Peace is urgent,” the pope said Oct 24 during his homily at the Mass closing the two-week synod. Peace is what will stop Christians from emigrating, he said.

Pope Benedict also urged Christians to promote respect for freedom of religion and conscience, “one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect”.

Synod members released a message Oct 23 to their own faithful, their government leaders, Catholics around the world, the international community and to all people of goodwill. The Vatican also released the 44 propositions adopted by synod members as recommendations for Pope Benedict to consider in writing his post-synodal apostolic exhortation.
POPE BENEDICT ANNOUNCED he will hold a Consistory on Saturday, Nov 20 to create 24 new cardinals

Here is the list in the order that he read out on Oct 20:
ARCHBISHOP MALCOLM RANJITH has been named the second Sri Lankan cardinal in the country’s history.

The Colombo prelate was among 24 new cardinals announced by Pope Benedict XVI Oct 20. He is the only one of the group to come from Asia and will formally be appointed at a conference in the Vatican Nov 20-21.

“This is a very historic moment for us,” said Fr Cyril Gamini, Episcopal Vicar for southern region in the archdiocese of Colombo. “Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith was made cardinal because of his great service to the Church in Sri Lanka and also to the international Church.”

“It is a grace for our country because he is the only Asian,” said Fr Nihal Nanayakkara, vicar general of the southern diocese of Galle.
BANGKOK – Modern youngsters spend a lot of time accessing new media like the Internet, smart phones, 3G and computer-based devices, as well as social networks such as Facebook.

Thai Facebook accounts number 3,057,000 – ranking 23rd globally. According to the Young Asians Survey 2010 conducted by Synovate, Thai youths spend 1.7 hours a day talking on their mobile phones – the longest in Asia.

While new media technologies are excellent gateways to exploring knowledge, many youngsters are influenced by consumerism, sex, violence and appalling role models of certain public figures.

These issues now challenge Thai religious institutions. It is no exaggeration that the Thai Catholic Church in particular is expected by people of all faiths to be a counselor in ethics.

Although the Thai Catholic Church comprises less than one percent of the country’s 65 million people, it cannot operate in a safe mode when confronted with complex social issues. It should be a proactive communicator standing for justice and truth in the digital era.
Photo: Dominican Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh, head of the new Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace.

CATHOLIC BISHOPS IN Vietnam have established a new Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace to protect Church interests and promote holistic development among people.

Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City from Oct 4-8 for their triennial congress, the bishops also elected a new secretary general and other officers for the period 2010-2013, reports.

The bishops appointed Dominican Bishop Paul Nguyen Thai Hop of Vinh as head of the new commission for justice and peace, said Bishop Joseph Nguyen Chi Linh of Thanh Hoa.

Bishop Linh, 61, who is also vice president of the bishops’ conference , said that “in the past the local Church lacked personnel” for such a commission. The new commission aims to meet increasing pastoral needs, he added.
INDONESIAN ISLAMIC ORGANISATIONS have mounted a campaign against the planned construction of a Catholic church in West Java.

Muslim leaders said plans for the Mother Teresa church in the Lippo Cikarang property project in the Cikarang area will make it the largest church building in Bekasi City, according to reports.

Adang Permana, general chairman of the Bekasi Islamic Youth Movement, said Bekasi area Muslims oppose the church building because they fear it will become “a centre of Christianisation,” according to the Islamic website

“This church will become the centre of apostasy and clearly disturb the faith of Bekasi citizens, who are mostly Muslims,” Permana said, according to the website. “In addition to rejecting this parish church, we also call for the disbanding of all unauthorised churches in Bekasi Regency [City],” he stated. A church leader, however, said area residents had approved the presence of the church.
Archbishop Charles Bo delivered this message in his recent homilies and also to Radio Veritas Asia Listeners in four languages: Myanmar, Sakaw Kayin, Kachin and English

Dear RVA listeners, dear friends who love Myanmar, I wish you the Grace of Peace in your hearts! I believe that everyone is eagerly awaiting the November 7th of this year. We should! We ought to look forward to that! Everyone who wants to promote justice, liberty and development of the country is interested in that.

It is the responsibility of every citizen to choose and to have authentic leaders for the country. Likewise, every citizen has an immense responsibility to promote peace and development of the country. We, who are advancing to a systematic democracy without partiality of race or religion, can obtain any position of the government. We have to serve our country in any position for peace and development of the country.
THE OSV EDITORIAL Manufacturing Babies” (CN, Oct 24) is confusing. It starts off by saying “the Catholic Church is out of step” with the world by vigorously opposing the Nobel Prize award to Robert Edwards, the father of the In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique, and then goes on to correctly list the Catholic objections to IVF by Fr Tad Pacholzcyk.

Let’s assume that the editorial’s opening statements are made for ironical impact.

Though it seems that the IVF “procedure has been perfected...and more than four million children have started life in a petri dish”, this artificial IVF fertilization comes with a very GREAT cost.
MAY I EXPRESS my great surprise when I found CatholicNews Sunday April 25, 2010 which featured the Message of the Holy Father for the World day of Prayer for Vocations!

I came to Singapore to participate in the Asian Convention of Serra International and I was residing in the parish house of the Church of St. Teresa.
IN THE ARTICLE, The Printed Word: Challenges for Catholic Press” (CN, Oct 24), Pope Benedict states, “The job of a Catholic journalist is to help readers evaluate events in light of church teaching.”

But I ask myself, is this request only for professional journalists? Does not every human being have the responsibility to spread the Good News? I would like to share one incident of Our Lord answering a prayer in my life.

Representatives from the Japanese and Indonesian communities, Ms Naoko Tamura and Madam Juanita Dorothy Pantow, bring up the wine and bread.
Photos by Vincent Kwa

SINGAPORE – Mission is not just a suggestion or choice, but a command from the Lord. It is the responsibility of every believer to spread the Good News to all.

This was the exhortation of Archbishop Nicholas Chia when he celebrated the World Mission Sunday Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on Oct 24. He was assisted by the chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission for Missionary Activity (ACMA) Fr Kenson Koh and parish priest Fr Gregoire van Giang. Also concelebrating were Fr Paul Staes, CICM, Fr William Langenhuisen, SSCC, representing the Indonesian community, and Fr Antonio Gonzalez, representing the Spanish-speaking community.

Catholics at the Mass (above) held to veneraten the late pope’s relic (left).
Photos ptovided by St. Patrick’s School

SINGAPORE – A crowd of more than 120 people turned up on Oct 15 to view and venerate a relic of Pope John Paul II at St Patrick’s School chapel.

The event was organized by the school’s Catholic societies – the Legion of Mary and the St Vincent de Paul Society – under the direction of the De La Salle Brothers of St Patrick’s School. The Mass was organized in response to Father Ignatius Yeo’s request to have a relic of Pope John Paul II exposed for public view and veneration.

The relic is a chasuble worn by the late Servant of God when he celebrated Mass in Singapore at the National Stadium in 1986.

Father Ignatius Yeo, in collaboration with Br Jeffrey Chan, had the second-class relic of Pope John Paul II preserved, and entrusted to the care of the La Salle Brothers. The chasuble and two ciboria were then kept safely in the Brothers’ Quarters. They have been seen by very few people.

Archbishop Nicholas Chia giving a blessing to the catechumens.
Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – Some 70 catechumens from the Church of the Holy Family and the Church of Divine Mercy visited the Sree Narayana Mission Home for the Aged Sick in Yishun over three Sundays Sept 12-26.

The visit was part of the parishes’ RCIA curriculum, whereby the catechumens learn about the social doctrine of the Church in the month of September.

At the home, the catechumens carried out what they termed “works of mercy”, by bringing food for the residents, feeding them, providing entertainment and chatting with them.

Tan Yiqiang, a catechumen from Holy Family, said the activity opened his eyes to the less fortunate such as the elderly and the handicapped, and taught him to be more proactive in social mission. He said he also learnt that the Church’s mission is to help the needy regardless of the person’s race or religion.

He added that working alongside other catechumens from Divine Mercy reinforced the idea that the Catholic Church is one big community.

The congregation singing to celebrate Chiara Badano’s beatification.
Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – Chiara “Luce” Badano was just an ordinary teenager, but she achieved sanctity by the time she died of cancer at the age of 19.

She was only 17 when she was struck by the disease. When she learnt about it, she just fell silent for about 25 minutes before saying her “yes” and accepting God’s will for her in her life.

She would often repeat the words: “If you want it Jesus, so do I.”

And it is her sanctity that has become a source of inspiration and made her a role model for youths, say young people who attended a celebration organised by the Focolare Movement in Singapore on Oct 24.

The event, held at the Catholic Archdiocesan Education Centre, was to mark Chiara Badano’s beatification. About 100 people, comprising members of the Focolare community as well as non-members, attended the celebration.
Father Kamelus Kamus, CICM

CatholicNews meets Father Kamelus Kamus, CICM, from Indonesia, and Carmelite Friar Paul Anuphong Srisuk from Thailand

SINGAPORE – Scheut Missions Father Kamelus Kamus (photo) has a simple prayer – to be a blessing to people around him and for these people to also become channels of God’s grace.

“I’m open to ... what God really calls me for, to spend my life in a meaningful way,” says the 46-year-old priest.

And with the above prayer and openness, Indonesian-born Father Kamelus or “Father Kamil”, began his ministry as assistant parish priest at Church of the Risen Christ a few weeks ago. The priest, who was ordained 15 years ago, takes over the position vacated by Father Stanislaus Pang when the latter was transferred to Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Some of the groups that Father Kamelus will oversee as spiritual director include the lectors, the parish vocation team, altar servers, youth groups, Small Christian Communities, media team, Charismatic prayer group, choirs and Filipino group among others.

Catholic Business Network members praying before a meal.
Photo by Darren Boon

SINGAPORE – The Catholic Business Network (CBN) aims to increase its membership by 20 percent by the end of the year.

This was revealed by CBN’s new executive director Vincent Pong on the sidelines of a CBN social-networking evening on Oct 21.

The event took place at Tomo Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant at Esplanade Mall. About 25 people, including some new to the group, attended the event.

Mr Pong told CatholicNews there is a need to expand CBN to increase networking opportunities.
SINGAPORE – The Secular Franciscan Order (Regional Fraternity of St. Michael of Singapore and Sabah) is organising a choral performance to raise funds for, and to highlight the work and projects of, Franciscans International.

The performance with the theme “A Choral Repertoire” will be held on Sat Nov 6 at 8pm at the Catholic Junior College Performing Arts Centre.

It will feature St. Cecilia Chinese Choral Group from the Catholic Church, as well as non-religious affiliated groups such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic Orchestra and Spring Choral Group.

A repertoire of songs ranging from sacred and pop to folk music in English, Latin, Hokkien, Mandarin and Taiwanese tribal language will be performed.
Mr Peter Ng, the current World Community for Christian Meditation Singapore president, in a meditation session.

SINGAPORE – Stockbroker Raymond Wee leads a stressful and frenetic life trying to juggle both job and family demands.

It is no surprise that he felt that he needed some serenity in his life.

While Mr Wee had been a practitioner of Ignatian meditation – he would be using his imagination to visualise and have a conversation with a character in a story in which he meditated upon – his interest in Christian meditation was piqued when he heard that this requires stillness in body, mind and spirit and an attentiveness to God through the simple chanting of a mantra.

He attended a session organised by the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) Singapore in 2009.
IF JESUS WERE to walk among us today, where would He be when the floods strike, when the earth quakes and the land slides? Would He be watching the devastating effects of climate change on television news? Would he, with a click on the remote, switch channels to watch Money Market instead?

Perhaps, more important than the obvious answers to these questions are the questions Jesus might be asking us:

What have you done to My Father’s creation? Why are you destroying the gifts of the earth? Have you forgotten that you are responsible for the planet, your home? Have you forgotten that you were formed of the same origin, that you are part of the one, whole creation?