Cardinal Trujillo, President of Pontifical Council for the Family, passes away

Rome,Italy, Apr,20, 2008 ( Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, died Saturday of complications from diabetes.  The cardinal had been in a hospital fighting different health complications for nearly four weeks before he passed away.  Cardinal Trujillo, Archbishop emeritus of Medellin, Colombia, was 72.

Born on November 8, 1935 in the Colombian city of Villahermosa, he moved to the capital Bogotá when he was a young boy.

After entering seminary, he studied in Rome and obtained his doctorate in philosophy from the Angelicum, taking courses in theology and sociology and also studying Marxism.  Ordained a priest on November 13, 1960, he continued his studies in Rome for another two years

Returning to Bogotá, he taught philosophy for four years at the local major seminary. In 1968, he was put in charge of a special course on Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Populorum Progressio” that was to be presented in all the principal cities in Colombia.

In February of 1971, Pope Paul VI appointed Trujillo as Auxiliary Bishop of Bogotá.  He was ordained to the episcopate one month later.  In 1972 Bishop Trujillo was elected General Secretary of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM).  In May 1978, he was named Coadjutor Bishop of Medellín, becoming Archbishop in June 1979.

Trujillo was president of CELAM betwee 1979 and 1983.  He was president of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference from 1987 to 1990, and a participant in numerous assemblies of the Synod of Bishops held in the Vatican.  He became Archbishop emeritus of Medellín in January of 1991.

Pope John Paul II elevated Archbishop Trujillo to the cardinalate in the February 1983 consistory, after which the new cardinal was appointed Cardinal -Priest of St. Prisca.  In 2001 Cardinal Trujillo was appointed Cardinal -Bishop of the Suburbicarian Church of Frascati.

Cardinal Trujillo was named president of the Pontifical Council for the Family in November 1990.  He held the office for the rest of his life.

Cardinal Trujillo had also been a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Congregation for Bishops, and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.  He was also a member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

Source: CNA

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone's preview of Pope's US trip

Vatican City, Apr. 10, 2008 ( - Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone , the Vatican Secretary of State, has offered a preview of next week's trip by Pope Benedict XVI to the US, in a pair of interviews with American news outlets.

Speaking to an Associated Press reporter, Cardinal Bertone said that the Holy Father will address the effects of the sex-abuse scandal when he speaks to the clergy in New York. The Pontiff "will try to open the path of healing and reconciliation," the cardinal said. He added that the Pope is keenly aware of the suffering endured by victims of priestly abuse, and the damage done to the Church as a whole, "because it was a contradiction with the great educational mission of the Church."

In a separate interview with the Fox News network-- which was taped for a future telecast-- the Secretary of State added the observation that the sex-abuse scandal has left an "open wound."

Some American observers have questioned whether Pope Benedict avoided a visit to Boston because of the acute fallout from the scandal there. But Cardinal Bertone said that the Pope was limiting his trip to two cities, Washington and New York, in order to conserve his energy. He added, however, in his remarks to AP, that the Pope's health is fine. Even as he maintains a busy works schedule, the cardinal said, "all those who are near to him see his freshness."

The Pope's chief deputy confirmed that when he speaks at the UN, Pope Benedict will focus on human rights and the crucial importance of recognizing natural law. In his remarks to the Fox News network, he said that the Vatican feels some kinship with Americans on the issue of natural law and "the value of religion-- not only in private life but also in public life." The US and the Vatican have frequently been allies, he added, in defense of human life and marriage.

Cardinal Bertone conceded that the Holy See has not always agreed with US policy-- an indirect allusion to Vatican criticisms of the war in Iraq. He spoke to Fox News about a "difference of opinion" on the justification for the use of military force.

In his discussion with AP, the Secretary of State acknowledged that security will be tight during the papal trip, particularly in light of threats issued by Al Qaida that named the Pope as an enemy of Islam. But the Pope will not be deterred by threats, he said. "He entrusts himself to God."

Cardinal Jose Saraiva: Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman "imminent"

Vatican City, Dec.09,2008 ( - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Cause of the Saints, has announced that the beatification of the great British convert and scholar, Cardinal John Henry Newman, is "imminent."

In an interview to be published on Wednesday in the daily Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Saraiva said that among the most important personalities to be beatified "soon" is "the case of Cardinal Newman, a relevant intellectual, and an emblematic figure of conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism."

"Personally, I wish his beatification to happen very soon because it would be very important at this moment for the path of ecumenical dialogue,” Cardinal Martins said.

Cardinal Saraiva Martins also revealed the beatification, latter this year, of the parents of St, Therese of Lisieux, Louis Martin and Azelia Guérin. The heroic virtues of the parents of St. Therese, who is now one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church and a Doctor of the Church, were proclaimed on March 26, 1944.

Cardinal Saraiva implied that the miracle needed to proclaim them Blessed has been approved by his congregation, and will be announced at the next Consistory.

Source: CNA

Cardinal Toppo: Get together to help and reconstruct lives in Orissa

New Delhi, Dec.07, 2008 ( -“What’s happened in Orissa is indeed tragic! It was a pre-planned destruction. However, the Catholic community should never be provoked. We need to put our act together and collectively help the victims to reconstruct their lives,” declared Cardinal Toppo on his return from a visit to Orissa.

Visibly moved by what he personally heard from the victims and eye witnesses of the “pre-planned and the systematic attacks” on Christians and their institutions in the Kandhamal district of Orissa, Cardinal Toppo was speaking to me at the CBCI Centre, New Delhi today.

Cardinal Toppo, as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, visited Bhubaneshwar from Jan. 2-4, 2008. When he went to visit the victims in the affected areas, he was denied access by the state government. However, he was able to meet some of the victims at the Archbishop’s House in Bubhaneshwar.

“The series of attacks perpetrated from Christmas Eve till date by communal forces has really marred the sacredness of Christmas celebration as well as destroyed the peace and harmony of poor villagers,” lamented the first Tribal Cardinal of India.

“I was moved when I heard them narrating the sordid stories. The words of St Paul who asked the early Christians to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice flashed my mind,” he added.

“I could see the faith of those victims – priests, religious sisters and Christian faithful strengthened. Undoubtedly, the Church has been strengthened by the harrowing experience. I have no doubt that the Church will grow. No power on earth can stop that growth. When the Church had to suffer, it has come out alive and vibrant,” affirmed the 67 year prelate.

“Archbishop of Cuttuck-Bhubaneshwar Raphael Cheenath, was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit in asking his people to move to safer places without retaliation,” added Cardinal Toppo.

“It was a real Christmas experience for the Christians of Kandhamal district. As at the time of Jesus’ birth, when Mary and Joseph had no shelter, the hapless Christians were forced to live in the jungles without shelter and food,” declared Cardinal Toppo with a deep sigh of faith.

“It was wrongly reported that the Christians assaulted a sadhu (Hindu monk). In fact, I learnt that when the people were travelling by a bus, it’s the personal security men of the sadhu forced their way that led to a scuffle. There is no truth in the allegation that Christians attacked the sadhu,” he added.

Cardinal Toppo said that he was deeply touched by the testimony given by a lay catechist who was ordered by the communal elements to meet them in their camp. When he went there, he saw over 300 persons. They ordered him to renounce the Christian faith and embrace Hinduism. They also ordered him to burn the Holy Bible he was holding in his hand. They threatened him that he would be humiliated by shaving his head. The bold catechist refused to renounce his faith and to burn the Bible. And if they dared to burn it forcefully, they would invite leprosy on them, he added. The Hindutwa extremists dared not do so and they let him go!

Source: CBCI

Cardinal Okogie:Poverty is Nigeria’s major problem

Lagos, Nigeria, Dec.06, 2007 ( - Anthony Cardinal Okogie, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, decried what he called ‘abject poverty’ ravaging Nigerians.

“People are suffering. Nigerian masses are still wallowing in abject poverty,” Okogie noted in his New Year message to Nigerians.

While urging the government to live up to its responsibility, the cleric called for the creation of more agencies in all the local government areas in the country to alleviate poverty in 2008.

Okogie said the Church could also be involved in poverty alleviation programmes for the masses.

The cardinal said the seven-point agenda of President Umaru Yar’Adua would go along way to relieve Nigerians and push their well being forward, if properly implemented.

He also said for the agenda to make a head way, “it must be forcefully and effectively executed to pave way for Nigeria to move forward.”

Okogie also called on the government to make agriculture another revenue earner.

“There are vast forests and fertile lands in the country which could be used for agriculture,” he added.

“Agriculture – like computer – can bring independent economic empowerment to people besides feeding the populace,” he said.

He also called on the Federal Government to let Nigerians know how much had been recovered from corrupt leaders.

The cleric canvassed for an attitudinal change by Nigerians is the New Year, saying “we believe that our situation is not the worst if we change our bad ways, bad characteristics and attitudes and our devil ish ways of doing things.”

The cardinal urged Nigerians to pray for the transformation of the country and its leaders to enhance a better tomorrow.

Source:The Tide Online

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