Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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Saint of the Day
Activist's departure from NYU draws fear of Chinese pressure
6/19/2013 6:22:00 PM
Washington D.C., Jun 19, 2013 / 05:22 pm (
).- Amid reports that blind pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng is being asked to leave New York University, some human rights defenders are worried that the decision may have been influenced by the Chinese government.
“I have worked on other high-profile human rights cases just like this, and I’ve never known a case to bring such a high-profile, world-class human rights defender, and say ‘your time is up,’” Rep. Chris Smith (R- N.J.) told CNA, adding that the university’s actions bear “the hallmarks of pressure.”
While New York University officials say that the fellowship offered to Chen was always intended to be temporary, the pro-life activist said that the Chinese government exerted pressure on the university after he began speaking out on human rights abuses in his home country.
Blind since childhood, Chen became a self-taught human rights lawyer and drew the attention of Chinese officials for his work in opposing forced abortions and sterilizations under the government’s one-child policy.
Spending more than four years in prison for his activism, he and his family were placed under house arrest in September 2010 with no formal charges. He has said that he and his family members were treated harshly and denied medical treatment during this time.
Following his escape from house arrest to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in April 2012, Chen gained international attention. Voicing concerns about the wellbeing of his family, he was offered the fellowship at New York University’s law school in May 2012.
At the time, the university did not name a specific date for the fellowship’s end.
In a May 4, 2012 interview with PBS Newshour, Jerome Cohen, a professor of law at New York University, stated that visiting scholars typically have a “quite flexible” arrangement, and that the Chen family would “come for up to a year,” and then be able to move back to China to further participate in “in the law reform movement.”
A New York Times article two weeks later reported that New York University had “granted him visiting scholar status for an indefinite period.”
On June 13, it was announced that Chen was being told to leave the university. According to the New York Post, “NYU told Chen that if he and his wife and kids don’t find a place by July 15, they will have go to a hotel.”
Chen said in a June 17 statement that “as early as August and September, the Chinese Communists had already begun to apply great, unrelenting pressure on New York University, so much so that after we had been in the United States just three to four months, NYU was already starting to discuss our departure with us.”
Warning of threats to “independence and academic freedom in the United States,” the activist warned that the Chinese government intends “to use these means to disturb our normal life, and even want to make me so busy trying to earn a living that I don’t have time for human rights advocacy, but this is not going to happen.”
New York University spokesman John Beckman reacted to Chen’s claims, claiming in a June 17th statement that “Mr. Chen’s fellowship at NYU and its conclusion have had nothing to do with the Chinese government.”
“All fellowships come to an end,” he said, pointing to Prof. Cohen’s remarks that the position could last only one year.
However, Rep. Smith – who chairs a House subcommittee on global human rights – said that the university’s stance shifted after Chen attended an August 2012 meeting on Capitol Hill with Speaker of the House John Boehner, as well as other members of Congress and the media. Smith said that the university “told him not to come to the Capitol Hill meeting.”
“When he went back, they were very negative towards him,” Smith said. “Chen knew after August 1 that this was not going well.”
The lawmaker said that Chen was invited to speak before Congress at “another hearing on August 10, and on August 11, New York University notified Chen that it would only be a year-long position,” adding that the institution was “very upset” at the activist’s actions.
“He’s a world-class human rights defender who has something to say. Why would you want to gag that?” Smith asked.
Vatican theologians approve second miracle of John Paul II
6/19/2013 1:19:00 PM
Vatican City, Jun 19, 2013 / 12:19 pm (
).- Theologians at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints have approved a second miracle granted through the intercession of Blessed John Paul II, moving him closer to being declared a saint.
“The proclamation of his sainthood needs only the approval of the commission of cardinals and bishops and the final signature of Pope Francis,” Italian news agency ANSA reported June 18.
Before Blessed John Paul II can be canonized, the Congregation must formally approve the miracle and present it to Pope Francis. Pope Francis would then promulgate and celebrate the canonization.
The miracle was reportedly approved by two doctors in April as having been a cure that cannot be explained in natural terms.
On April 2, Monsignor Slawomir Oder, postulator of the late pontiff's cause for canonization, told CNA that as a second miracle was sought, “I chose a few cases and the Congregation for the Causes of Saints chose one of those, which they are currently evaluating.”
The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints studies each case rigorously, to determine that no scientific explanation for the miracle is possible and that there is a direct relation to the intercession of the possible saint in question.
Msgr. Oder had told Italian daily Avvenire that alleged miracles worked through Blessed John Paul II's intercession had taken place in Poland, Italy, Spain, the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil.
Benedict XVI beatified him on May 1, 2011, after a French nun, Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, was miraculously cured of Parkinson's disease through his intercession.
ANSA speculates that Pope Francis might canonize him on Oct. 20.
Blessed John Paul II died a little over eight years ago, on April 2, 2005. Since he was beatified, his memorial has been celebrated, in certain dioceses, on October 22, the anniversary of his installation as Bishop of Rome.
6/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
Saint Romuald, who founded the Camaldolese monastic order during the early eleventh century, has his liturgical memorial on June 19. Working within the Western Churchâ€™s Benedictine tradition, he revived the primitive monastic practice of hermit life, allowing for greater solitude in a communal setting. Born into an aristocratic family during the middle of the tenth century, Romuald grew up in a luxurious and worldly environment, where he learned little in the way of self-restraint or religious devotion. Yet he also felt an unusual attraction toward the simplicity of monastic life, prompted by the beauty of nature and the experience of solitude . It was not beauty or tranquility, but a shocking tragedy that spurred him to act on this desire. When Romuald was 20 years old, he saw his father Sergius kill one of his relatives in a dispute over some property. Disgusted by the crime he had witnessed, the young man went to the Monastery of St. Apollinaris to do 40 days of penance for his father. These 40 days confirmed Romualdâ€™s monastic calling, as they became the foundation for an entire life of penance. But this would not be lived out at St. Apollinaris, where Romualdâ€™s strict asceticism brought him into conflict with some of the other monks. He left the area near Ravenna and went to Venice, where he became the disciple of the hermit Marinus. Both men went on to encourage the monastic vocation of Peter Urseolus, a Venetian political leader who would later be canonized as a saint. When Peter joined a French Benedictine monastery, Romuald followed him and lived for five years in a nearby hermitage. In the meantime, Romualdâ€™s father Sergius had followed his sonâ€™s course, repenting of his sins and becoming a monk himself. Romuald returned to Italy to help his father, after learning that Sergius was struggling in his vocation. Through his sonâ€™s guidance, Sergius found the strength to persist in religious life. After guiding his penitent father in the way of salvation, Romuald traveled throughout Italy serving the Church. By 1012 he had helped to establish or reform almost 100 hermitages and monasteries, though these were not connected to one another in the manner of a distinct religious order. The foundations of the Camaldolese order were not laid until 1012 â€“ when a piece of land called the â€�Camaldoli,â€� located in the Diocese of Arezzo, was granted to Romuald. It became the site of five hermitsâ€™ quarters, and a full monastery soon after. This combination of hermitsâ€™ cells and community life, together with other distinctive features, gave this monastery and its later affiliates a distinct identity and charism. Romualdâ€™s approach to the contemplative life, reminiscent of the early Desert Fathers, can be seen in the short piece of writing known as his â€œBrief Rule.â€� It reads as follows: â€œSit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms â€“ never leave it.â€� â€œIf you have just come to the monastery, and in spite of your good will you cannot accomplish what you want, take every opportunity you can to sing the Psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind. And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up; hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more.â€� â€œRealize above all that you are in Godâ€™s presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor. Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like the chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother brings him.â€� St. Romuald of Ravenna died in his monastic cell on June 19, 1027. Pope Gregory XIII canonized him in 1582.
First Reading - 2 Cor 9:6-11
6/19/2013 12:00:00 AM
6 Now this I say: He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly: and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings. 7 Every one as he hath determined in his heart, not with sadness, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound in you; that ye always, having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work, 9 As it is written: He hath dispersed abroad, he hath given to the poor: his justice remaineth for ever. 10 And he that ministereth seed to the sower, will both give you bread to eat, and will multiply your seed, and increase the growth of the fruits of your justice:11 That being enriched in all things, you may abound unto all simplicity, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God.
Copyright by St. Francis Borgia
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