Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Vatican and Good Samaritan Foundation talk on AIDS

Stats for those living with HIV-AIDS is somewhere around 33 million,  records the World Health Organization (WHO). Recently, the HIV-AIDS epidemic was studied at a Rome conference hosted by the Holy See and the Good Samaritan Foundation. The conference was titled “The Centrality of Care for the Person in the Prevention and Treatment of Illnesses caused by HIV and AIDS.”

Various experts and Vatican officials, including the Pope’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, where he said that our work ought to be centered on the patient in way that a holistic approach is followed: the whol person and not only the disease needs to competent assistance and friendship. Experts from 26 countries attended the conference.

It is estimated that there are some thing like 117,000 health centers across the globe that treat AIDS patients. With all the money wasted on frivolous things, the WHO said their research revealed that in 2009 about $16 million was used for AIDS research and treatments. Problems exist in medical care and safety because only 35 percent of patients in third world countries have access to treatment. Do the math: roughly 10 million people don’t have access to any type of medication and proper health care. 

Vatican seeks Guidelines in dealing with cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith delivered a circular letter to the world’s bishops asking for help in working for the common good of the faithful –protecting children from abusive priests. The CDF wants each of the bishops’ conferences around the globe to develop the appropriate processes assist the diocesan bishops in helping victim, educating the ecclesial community, forming priests, and being clear agents of charity and justice.

Cardinal Levada’s letter to bishops.
The Circular Letter can be read here.
The explanatory letter from the Press Office

Pope addresses the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences: true freedom of religion permits human fulfillment & the common good

The regular cycle of the Pope’s work is addressing those groups that advise him on a variety of subjects like theology, law, science, politics, life issues, etc. Benedict’s address to Professor Mary
Ann Glendon, President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, talks about the theme of “Universal
Rights in a World of Diversity: the Case of Religious Freedom.” He reminds not only the head of this academy about the deep roots of Western culture being Christian, but it was Christianity that gave humanity the awareness of the various freedoms we know and love, that contribute to human flourishing and many time even take for granted. It was the Christian gospel that upheld and promoted the dignity of the human person, protected women and children, that organized labor freedom of worship, and other social systems. Most notably, the Pope reminds us, that the freedoms spoken of in
the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human
Rights have their roots in our belief and life in Christ. However, we can’t become smug –too satisfied– with what we’ve been given, even freedom. The Pope’s talk is not long but here are some germaine points for us to consider:

Deeply inscribed
in our human nature are a yearning for truth and meaning and an openness to the
transcendent; we are prompted by our nature to pursue questions of the greatest
importance to our existence. Many centuries ago, Tertullian coined the term libertas
(cf. Apologeticum, 24:6). He emphasized that God must be worshipped
, and that it is in the nature of religion not to admit coercion, “nec
religionis est cogere religionem” (Ad Scapulam, 2:2). Since man enjoys the
capacity for a free personal choice in truth, and since God expects of man a
free response to his call, the right to religious freedom should be viewed as
innate to the fundamental dignity of every human person, in keeping with the
innate openness of the human heart to God. In fact, authentic freedom of
religion will permit
the human person to attain fulfilment and will thus
contribute to the common good of society

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Vatican Press Office Director speaks on bin Laden

The Vatican Press Office Director Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi’s
responded to journalists’ questions on yesterday’s killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. Father Lombardi stated:

Osama bin
Laden – as we all know – was gravely responsible for promoting division and
hatred between peoples, causing the death of countless innocent lives, and of
exploiting religions to this end.

Faced with the death of a man, a Christian
never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every
one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no
event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace.

Let us remember before the Throne of Grace all those who have died on 9/11 and those who continue to suffer from the effects of this attack.

Where Shahbaz Bhatti leading us now?

A few times in the last month I’ve mentioned the the tragic death of a brother in the Lord, Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic in Pakistan, a voice against oppression. His death should signal for us that religious freedom is not operative around the world as well as out-and-out persecution of Christians is a too frequent occurrence. Just read the end of the year stats on the deaths of people just because they are Christian published by the Vatican office of Evangelization of Peoples. We can’t under-estimate the our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world face just because they utter Jesus’ name as Lord and Savior: they face death and oppression daily.

In a recently published essay, “The Assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Jesuit Father Luciano Larivera, explores the details of a  Christian’s murder by Islamic extremists. He writes in his summary, “On March 2, a commando of an Islamic terrorist group assassinated Shahbaz Bhatti, 42, the minister of Religious Minorities in Pakistan. He was a Catholic, and is already considered a martyr for the faith and interreligious dialogue. Let us quote the spiritual testament. As with the governor of the province of the Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, who was killed Jan. 4, Bhatti had fought for the abolition, or at least for the reform, of the law against blasphemy and the liberation of Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to be hung for insulting Muhammad. Pakistan is torn apart by numerous tensions and an internal power struggle. Religious violence and intimidation have weakened the Government’s action. The country needs the restoration of an effective criminal justice system, which also prevents and sanctions crimes against religious minorities. La Civiltà Cattolica (3859, 2011, II, pp. 81-90) carries the essay.

The UK’s Guardian carried this obit for Shahbaz Bhatti.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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