Monthly Archives: August 2013

Commentary for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

The Sunday Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Here is a lectio divina (commentary) from the Carmelite Order.

News Briefs

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here is their News Briefs for Friday, August 30.

“Vaticanistas” saying new Vatican Secretary of State about to be named

The appointment of a new Vatican Secretary of State is imminent, according to multiple Italian media reports. Archbishop Pietro Parolin is regarded as the Pope’s most likely choice for the key spot.

The appointment of a new Secretary of State, replacing the outgoing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, would be the most important step in Pope Francis’ plan to bring change to the Vatican. The Secretariat of State exercises enormous power, supervising other offices of the Roman Curia as well as handling foreign-policy issues.

Before the March conclave that elected Pope Francis, many cardinals spoke openly about the need for change at the Secretariat of State. The tenure of Cardinal Bertone has been marred by infighting, gaffes, and scandal. Appointed as Secretary of State in 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI—who remained steadfastly loyal to him despite rising criticism—Cardinal Bertone is now 78 years old, and is expected to step down as the Vatican resumes normal operations after the summer lull.

According to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, the resignation of Cardinal Bertone and the appointment of Archbishop Parolin as his successor could come as soon as Saturday, August 31.

Archbishop Parolin, who has been active in Vatican diplomacy since 1986, is currently the apostolic nuncio in Venezuela. He was undersecretary of State—in effect, the Vatican’s deputy foreign minister—from 2002 to 2009. During that time he was involved in sensitive negotiations with China, Israel, and Vietnam, among other countries. His appointment to Venezuela in 2009 was an indication of confidence in his diplomatic abilities, since the Venezuelan bishops were engaged in heated disputes with the country’s strongman, the late Hugo Chavez.

A relatively young (58) prelate who is fluent in several languages, Archbishop Parolin could reassure some denizens of the Secretary of State. Unlike Cardinal Bertone, who had no previous diplomatic experience, Archbishop Parolin is well acquainted with the workings of the Secretariat of State. At the same time, because he left Rome for Caracas in 2009, he was not caught up in the internal disputes that have rocked the Vatican’s most powerful offices.

The appointment of a new Secretary of State could be only the first major sign of change in the workings of the Vatican. Pope Francis may also take steps to re-define the role of the Secretariat, curtailing its broad powers.

Week of Prayer for Peace in Syria

Paris – A week of prayer for peace in Syria begins today, August 30, and will last until September 6 in the 17 countries where the work of pontifical right “Aid to the Church in Need” is present. As explained in a note sent to Fides by the French office of ACS, the week was scheduled for October, but recent events have anticipated the week: “We cannot wait. The time to pray for peace for Syrian people is now. Our brothers and sisters in Syria need it more than ever”, explains the note. The campaign, which includes a specific Daily intention, joins the incessant prayer for peace and to avoid a military intervention on behalf of Western countries, that continues in all the Christian communities in Syria, as amply documented by Fides Agency .
The prayer released by ACS and destined to the faithful around the world, invokes God for “a peaceful future for Syria, based on justice for all” and reads: “God of mercy, hear the cry of the Syrian people, comfort those who are suffering because of the violence, console those who mourn their dead, convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms, protect those who are committed to peace. God of hope, inspire leaders to choose peace instead of violence and to seek reconciliation with their enemies”.

News Briefs, August 29

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their News Briefs for today.

Pope meets with Jordanian king

Pope Francis met on August 29 with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and the two agreed that negotiation is “the only option” that will resolve the continuing conflict in Syria.

In a joint statement, the Pope and the Jordanian ruler said that “the path of dialogue and negotiation between all components of Syrian society, with the support of the international community, is the only option to put an end to the conflict and to the violence that every day causes the loss of so many human lives, especially amongst the helpless civilian population.”

Pope Francis and King Abdullah also spoke about the need to resume negotiations between Israel and Palestine, with a particular focus on resolving the status of Jerusalem. The Pope praised Abdullah for his efforts to promote inter-religious dialogue, especially through a conference that will be held in Amman in September, on the difficulties facing the Christian minorities in the nations of the Middle East.

News Briefs, August 28

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for today.

Pope Francis to meet King Abdullah of Jordan

Pope Francis will meet on Thursday, August 29, with King Abdullah of Jordan to discuss the escalating crisis in Syria and the Middle East.

The Pope and the Jordanian leader are also expected to speak more broadly about the prospects for cooperation between Christians and Muslims. This will be their first meeting.

Vatican Press Office

Thursday, August 29 – Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist

Gospel Mk 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers,
his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.
Herodias’ own daughter came in
and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
“Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”
He even swore many things to her,
“I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother,
“What shall I ask for?”
She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request,
“I want you to give me at once
on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders
to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Saint Augustine

St. Augustine was born in 354 in northern Africa to a Christian mother and a pagan father. He received a Christian education, but spent his teen years in worldly pursuits. He graduated with degrees in grammar and rhetoric and became a professor. He resisted the Church, choosing to practice the Manichaean faith of Persia and later, Neo-platonism. Eventually, through the tireless efforts of his mother, St. Monica; and St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan; St. Augustine reasoned himself into the Christian faith, becoming baptized at age 33. Content to ponder the mysteries of God and live a hermetic lifestyle, St. Augustine initially resisted the priesthood. Upon a trip to Hippo, the townspeople – knowing of St. Augustine’s holiness, begged the aging bishop, Valerius, to ordain him. St. Augustine accepted Holy Orders and took it on with his characteristic ardor. Four years later, he became Bishop of Hippo, blending a monastic lifestyle with clerical duties. St. Augustine is most beloved for his fount of doctrinal truths. He preached and wrote extensively on God, leaving a treasury of wisdom dear to all the faithful. Some of his most famous works include; Confessions, City of God, On Christian Doctrin, and Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love. He is the patron saint of theologians and was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1298 by Boniface VIII.

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