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Rose Marcus
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 29, 2013, 10:02 AM »

Greetings all,
The pope's special destiny lifetime is also underscored by the fact that the pope was born just four days after a solar eclipse. (21 Sag). Most of his chart positions are the same, the faster planets have moved just a bit. Eclipse signatures can be found when the sun is conjunct a node with moon nearby in close aspect (solar eclipse), or when the sun and moon are in opposition close to the nodes (lunar eclipse). It is important to check the ephemeris.  

Happy Easter to all..
Blessings
Rose
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 30, 2013, 06:47 AM »

Originally published March 29, 2013 at 1:44 PM | Page modified March 29, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Pope's foot-wash a final straw for some traditionalists

By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY —

Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world's poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis' decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls - a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic - during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict's papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church.

One of the most-read traditionalist blogs, "Rorate Caeli," reacted to the foot-washing ceremony by declaring the death of Benedict's eight-year project to correct what he considered the botched interpretations of the Second Vatican Council's modernizing reforms.

"The official end of the reform of the reform - by example," "Rorate Caeli" lamented in its report on Francis' Holy Thursday ritual.

A like-minded commentator in Francis' native Argentina, Marcelo Gonzalez at International Catholic Panorama, reacted to Francis' election with this phrase: "The Horror." Gonzalez's beef? While serving as the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio's efforts to revive the old Latin Mass so dear to Benedict and traditionalists were "non-existent."

Virtually everything he has done since being elected pope, every gesture, every decision, has rankled traditionalists in one way or another.

The night he was chosen pope, March 13, Francis emerged from the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica without the ermine-rimmed red velvet cape, or mozzetta, used by popes past for official duties, wearing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy. The cape has since come to symbolize his rejection of the trappings of the papacy and to some degree the pontificate of Benedict XVI, since the German pontiff relished in resurrecting many of the liturgical vestments of his predecessors.

Francis also received the cardinals' pledges of obedience after his election not from a chair on a pedestal as popes normally do but rather standing, on their same level. For traditionalists who fondly recall the days when popes were carried on a sedan chair, that may have stung. In the days since, he has called for "intensified" dialogue with Islam - a gesture that rubs traditionalists the wrong way because they view such a heavy focus on interfaith dialogue as a sign of religious relativism.

Francis may have rubbed salt into the wounds with his comments at the Good Friday procession at Rome's Colosseum, which re-enacts Jesus Christ's crucifixion, praising "the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters" during a prayer ceremony that recalled the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.

Francis also raised traditional eyebrows when he refused the golden pectoral cross offered to him right after his election by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Vatican's liturgy guru who under Benedict became the symbol of Benedict's effort to restore the Gregorian chant and heavy silk brocaded vestments of the pre-Vatican II liturgy to papal Masses.

Marini has gamely stayed by Francis' side as the new pope puts his own stamp on Vatican Masses with no-nonsense vestments and easy off-the-cuff homilies. But there is widespread expectation that Francis will soon name a new master of liturgical ceremonies more in line with his priorities of bringing the church and its message of love and service to ordinary people without the "high church" trappings of his predecessor.

There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus' washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.

The church's liturgical law holds that only men can participate in the rite, given that Jesus' apostles were all male. Priests and bishops have routinely petitioned for exemptions to include women, but the law is clear.

Francis, however, is the church's chief lawmaker, so in theory he can do whatever he wants.

"The pope does not need anybody's permission to make exceptions to how ecclesiastical law relates to him," noted conservative columnist Jimmy Akin in the National Catholic Register. But Akin echoed concerns raised by canon lawyer Edward Peters, an adviser to the Vatican's high court, that Francis was setting a "questionable example" by simply ignoring the church's own rules.

"People naturally imitate their leader. That's the whole point behind Jesus washing the disciples' feet. He was explicitly and intentionally setting an example for them," he said. "Pope Francis knows that he is setting an example."

The inclusion of women in the rite is problematic for some because it could be seen as an opening of sorts to women's ordination. The Catholic Church restricts the priesthood to men, arguing that Jesus and his 12 apostles were male.

Francis is clearly opposed to women's ordination. But by washing the feet of women, he jolted traditionalists who for years have been unbending in insisting that the ritual is for men only and proudly holding up as evidence documentation from the Vatican's liturgy office saying so.

"If someone is washing the feet of any females ... he is in violation of the Holy Thursday rubrics," Peters wrote in a 2006 article that he reposted earlier this month on his blog.

In the face of the pope doing that very thing, Peters and many conservative and traditionalist commentators have found themselves trying to put the best face on a situation they clearly don't like yet can't do much about lest they be openly voicing dissent with the pope.

By Thursday evening, Peters was saying that Francis had merely "disregarded" the law - not violated it.

The Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a traditionalist blogger who has never shied from picking fights with priests, bishops or cardinals when liturgical abuses are concerned, had to measure his comments when the purported abuser was the pope himself.

"Before liberals and traditionalists both have a spittle-flecked nutty, each for their own reasons, try to figure out what he is trying to do," Zuhlsdorf wrote in a conciliatory piece.

But, in characteristic form, he added: "What liberals forget in their present crowing is that even as Francis makes himself - and the church - more popular by projecting (a) compassionate image, he will simultaneously make it harder for them to criticize him when he reaffirms the doctrinal points they want him to overturn."

One of the key barometers of how traditionalists view Francis concerns his take on the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass. The Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church into the modern world, allowed the celebration of the Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin. In the decades that followed, the so-called Tridentine Rite fell out of use almost entirely.

Traditionalist Catholics who were attached to the old rite blame many of the ills afflicting the Catholic Church today - a drop in priestly vocations, empty pews in Europe and beyond - on the liturgical abuses that they say have proliferated with the celebration of the new form of Mass.

In a bid to reach out to them, Benedict in 2007 relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass. The move was aimed also at reconciling with a group of schismatic traditionalists, the Society of St. Pius X, who split from Rome precisely over the Vatican II reforms, in particular its call for Mass in the vernacular and outreach to other religions, especially Judaism and Islam.

Benedict took extraordinary measures to bring the society back under Rome's wing during his pontificate, but negotiations stalled.

The society has understandably reacted coolly to Francis' election, reminding the pope that his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, was told by Christ to go and "rebuild my church." For the society, that means rebuilding it in its own, pre-Vatican II vision.

The head of the society for South America, the Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, was less than generous in his assessment of Francis.

"He cultivates a militant humility, but can prove humiliating for the church," Bouchacourt said in a recent article, criticizing the "dilapidated" state of the clergy in Buenos Aires and the "disaster" of its seminary. "With him, we risk to see once again the Masses of Paul VI's pontificate, a far cry from Benedict XVI's efforts to restore to their honor the worthy liturgical ceremonies."

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« Reply #17 on: Mar 31, 2013, 07:35 AM »


Pope Francis uses Easter address to denounce 'greed looking for easy gain'

Pope appears to put uncaring capitalism on a par with the armed conflicts traditionally deplored in the annual Urbi et Orbi address

John Hooper in Rome
The Guardian, Sunday 31 March 2013 13.56 BST   

Pope Francis gave an unexpected twist to the annual pontifical appeal for peace on Sunday when he used it to denounce "greed looking for easy gain".

In his Urbi et Orbi address, which translates as "to the city [of Rome] and to the world", the pope - who has sought to make himself the tribune of the poor, disabled and disadvantaged - appeared to put uncaring capitalism in the same category as the armed conflicts his predecessors have traditionally, and forlornly, deplored on Easter Sunday.

Since being elected pope on 13 March, Francis has repeatedly stressed concern for the poor and others on the margins of society, and he returned to what is clearly emerging as the central theme of his papacy on Sunday. He said he wanted his Easter message of hope and resurrection "to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals [and] in prisons."

Last week, the pope visited a youth detention centre in Rome where he washed the feet of 12 inmates as part of the traditional rite representing Jesus's final act of humility to his disciples.

Francis's denunciation of greed came after he had made a tour of the crowd in St Peter's Square in which he kissed several babies and children, held a severely disabled young man in his arms and accepted the gift of a football shirt of his favourite team, Argentina's Saints of San Lorenzo. His longest stop was reserved for a disabled child who was lifted up into the popemobile and whom he hugged and kissed repeatedly.

According to the Vatican's estimate, some 250,000 people crammed into the square and the broad avenue that stretches away from the Vatican to the river Tiber for the pope's first Easter Sunday mass. By the time Francis, wearing cream-coloured vestments, climbed aboard the open and unprotected Mercedes pontiff-carrier, the square in front of Michelangelo's basilica was a sea of colour.

In addition to the spring flowers on either side of the shallow steps down which the popemobile bumped into the square, there were the flags of countries from Albania to Zambia. The light blue, white and gold of Argentina's flag was well represented and the pope's face lit up in recognition every time he identified a group of his compatriots in the jubilant crowd of tourists, pilgrims and Romans.

In the final event in the gruelling timetable that Easter sets for the leaders of the Roman Catholic church, the 76-year-old Francis's voice occasionally sounded weak. He was, however, visibly energised by his tour of the square and his delivery of the Urbi et Orbi address was forceful and at times impassioned.

He appealed for peace in the Middle East, saying that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians had "lasted all too long" and called for an end to violence in Iraq and "dear Syria", the birthplace of Gregory III, the last pope from a non-European country. Francis also urged peace in Africa, specifically citing Mali, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Nigeria. He also made a special call for an end to the standoff on the Korean peninsula.

He ended his address by calling, with growing intensity, for "peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in human trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century. Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the iniquitous exploitation of natural resources".


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Sunyata
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« Reply #18 on: Mar 31, 2013, 03:08 PM »

This man is everything that the last pope was not..... and then some.... I am impressed with how he is using this platform so far.... washing and kissing the feet of a female muslim prisoner was a truly an incredibly profound and deeply moving gesture to me.... beyond words...
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Rad
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« Reply #19 on: Apr 03, 2013, 07:40 AM »

Pope: Women have a ‘special role’ in the Church

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 9:05 EDT

Pope Francis on Wednesday underlined the role played by women in the Roman Catholic Church, saying they had been more willing to believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection than his own disciples.

“Women play a primary, fundamental role in the Bible,” the pope told thousands of pilgrims at an audience in St Peter’s Square, basing himself on a Biblical passage when a group of women noticed Christ’s tomb was empty.

“The disciples had a harder time believing but not the women,” he said.

“Women in the Church have had and have a special role in opening the doors to the Lord, in following him, in communicating his message,” he added.

Francis broke with tradition last week when he included two young women in a traditional foot-washing ritual to mark Holy Thursday when Christ is believed to have done the same to his 12 male apostles before the Last Supper.

The Catholic Church has been criticised for relegating women to secondary roles and only very few women have positions of responsibility at the Vatican.

Campaigners have called for women to be ordained into the priesthood, saying this could be a solution to the plunge in vocations seen in recent years.

The Vatican last year upbraided the main group of nuns in the United States, accusing them of “corporate dissent” and pursuing “radical feminist themes”.

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« Reply #20 on: Apr 06, 2013, 05:59 AM »

Pope wants to act ‘with determination’ on Catholic Church sex abuse scandal

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, April 5, 2013 9:52 EDT

Pope Francis on Friday urged Vatican disciplinarians to act “with determination” against sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic clergy, the Holy See said in a statement, the pope’s first public pronouncement on the issue.

“The Holy Father in particular asked that the congregation … act with determination in cases of sexual abuse,” the Vatican said, referring to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles such cases, after the pope met with its director.
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cat777
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« Reply #21 on: Apr 06, 2013, 10:07 AM »

If anyone is interested, the biographies are starting to become available:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/religion/article/56657-pope-francis-books-proliferate.html

This blog is good for current events:

http://www.johnthavis.com/blog

cat
« Last Edit: Apr 06, 2013, 10:15 AM by cat777 » Logged
cat777
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« Reply #22 on: Apr 06, 2013, 10:27 AM »

Rose:


The evolutionary intent in this signature is for the native to expand knowledge and experience outside the confines of a monastic life and church walls (Saturn in Pisces), to allow room for an exploration of that which he is intuiting, to allow room for growth of the impressions he is receiving, to allow himself to veer away from convention/tradition, from what was and is considered appropriate devotional service.


Pope Francis:



Today’s theme was the name of Jesus. The pope related a story from his days as archbishop in Buenos Aires:

"A humble man works in the curia of Buenos Aires. He has worked there for 30 years, he is the father of eight children. Before he goes out, before going out to do the things that he must do, he always says, 'Jesus!' And I once asked him, 'Why do you always say' Jesus '?' 'When I say' Jesus '- this humble man told me - I feel strong, I feel I can work, and I know that He is with me, that He keeps me safe.'”

The pope continued: “This man never studied theology, he only has the grace of baptism and the power of the Spirit. And this testimony did me a lot of good too, because it reminds us that in this world that offers us so many saviors, it is only the name of Jesus that saves.”

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Rose Marcus
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« Reply #23 on: Apr 09, 2013, 08:54 AM »

Greetings all,
I had hoped to have an article on pope's chart published but it was rejected. I have inserted this writing into my original post (the skipped step piece) for you.
Blessings
Rose
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Rad
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« Reply #24 on: Apr 14, 2013, 07:05 AM »

April 13, 2013

Pope Francis Names Advisory Panel at Vatican

By GAIA PIANIGIANI and RACHEL DONADIO
IHT

VATICAN CITY — In his first significant decision since becoming pontiff — and a radical step toward more democracy in the Roman Catholic Church — Pope Francis on Saturday named a group of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him in governing the church and overhauling the troubled Vatican hierarchy, which has been rocked by scandals.

Although the group will not have legislative power, Vatican experts said the move was a strong sign that Francis was eager to consult widely and promote greater dialogue between the Vatican hierarchy and churches worldwide. The eight cardinals named include the archbishop of Boston and prelates from Australia, Chile, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Germany, Honduras, India and Italy.

“It’s an epochal shift because it brings the Vatican closer to a more collegial governance,” said Paolo Rodari, a Vatican expert with the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. He was using a term meaning a greater sharing of power between Rome and local churches in governing the Catholic Church.

That concept was central to the liberalizing changes of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, but critics said both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI consolidated more control with the Vatican. Francis’ new advisory group reverses the trend.

“For years, cardinals and others said that the Second Vatican Council sought a more horizontal government, that the pope should listen to bishops to resolve scandals,” Mr. Rodari said. “The first big decision of this pope really is that, to convoke a governing board. It’s a revolution.”

Under Benedict, the Vatican faced a crisis over child sexual abuse by priests and the “VatiLeaks” scandal, in which documents from the pope’s own apartment were leaked to the news media; critics blamed poor governance at the top of the Catholic Church.

Benedict, who is in retirement in the papal summer residence outside Rome and is set to move to a convent in the Vatican this summer, gave Francis a dossier on the troubles in the Vatican produced by an investigative committee of cardinals.

In a statement on Saturday, the Vatican said that Francis had acted on a suggestion raised during the general congregations of cardinals before the conclave in which he was elected pope. It said he had chosen the eight cardinals “to advise him in governing the universal church” and to study a project to revise the laws governing the Roman Curia, or Vatican hierarchy.

Since taking office in March, Francis, the first Jesuit and the first Latin American to become pope, has already set a drastically different tone from his predecessor. While Benedict was a shy theologian who preferred to dine alone, Francis has continued to live in the residence where the cardinals who elected him stayed during the conclave, using the Apostolic Palace as an office.

The Vatican said the pope was already in contact with the eight advisers, whose first official meeting will be in October. The coordinator of the eight is Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and the head of Caritas International, the Catholic Church’s main charity.

The others are Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City; Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, the archbishop emeritus of Santiago, Chile, and president of the Conference of Latin American Bishops; Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, India; Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany; Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo; Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston; and Cardinal George Pell, the archbishop of Sydney, Australia.

Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, will be the group’s secretary.

Gaia Pianigiani reported from Vatican City, and Rachel Donadio from Athens.


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Rad
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« Reply #25 on: Apr 16, 2013, 07:50 AM »


Pope Francis maintains Vatican stance against US nuns' group

New pope echoes predecessor's radical feminist assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Reuters in Vatican City
The Guardian, Monday 15 April 2013 18.00 BST   

Pope Francis has reaffirmed criticism of a body representing US nuns that the Vatican said was tainted by radical feminism.

Francis's predecessor, Benedict, decreed that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group that represents more than 80% of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the US, must change its ways, in a ruling the Vatican said on Monday still applied.

Last year, a Vatican report said the LCWR had serious doctrinal problems and promoted radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith, criticising it for taking a soft line on issues such as birth control and homosexuality.

The nuns received wide support among US Catholics as LCWR leaders travelled around the country in a bus to defend themselves against the accusations.

On Monday, the group's leaders met Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the new head of the Vatican's doctrinal department, and Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been assigned to correct the group's perceived failings.

"Archbishop Müller informed the [LCWR] presidency that he had recently discussed the doctrinal assessment with Pope Francis, who reaffirmed the findings of the assessment and the programme of reform," the Vatican's statement said.

The Vatican reminded the group that it would remain under the direction of the Holy See, the statement said.

The LCWR said the conversation had been open and frank, adding: "We pray that these conversations may bear fruit for the good of the church."

In 2012, the doctrinal department criticised the LCWR for being silent on the right to life, saying it had failed to make the biblical view of family life central to its agenda. The nuns backed Obama's healthcare reform, part of which makes insurance coverage of birth control mandatory.
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« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2013, 06:48 AM »

Bangladesh factory collapse: pope condemns 'slave labour' conditions

Pope Francis tells private mass in Vatican of his shock at the low wages of garment workers as thousands demonstrate in Dhaka
   
Staff and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 1 May 2013 14.07 BST   

Link to video: Bangladesh building collapse: relatives identify remains

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/may/02/bangladesh-building-collapse-relatives-video

The pope has condemned as "slave labour" the working conditions of the Bangladesh garment workers who died in last week's factory collapse.

As Bangladeshi workers took the streets to demand better working conditions and the official death toll rose to more than 400, Pope Francis said he was shocked by a headline from saying some of the workers were living on €38 (£32) a month.

"This was the payment of these people who have died … And this is called 'slave labour'," he said. Vatican Radio said the pope made the remarks during a private mass on Wednesday at the Vatican.

Thousands of workers marched through Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, on Wednesday demanding the death penalty for the owner of the garment factory. A procession of workers on foot, in pickup trucks and on motorcycles wound its way through the streets, waving the national flag and banners, beating drums and chanting "direct action" and "death penalty".

From a loudspeaker on the back of a truck, a participant spoke for the group: "My brother has died. My sister has died. Their blood will not be valueless."

May Day protests, customarily an opportunity for workers in Bangladesh to vent their grievances, have taken on a poignant significance this year following the 24 April disaster.

Five garment factories were housed in the illegally constructed, eight-storey Rana Plaza that collapsed in Savar, a Dhaka suburb. Five months after a fire killed 112 people at another clothing factory, the collapse again highlighted safety problems in the country's $20bn (£13bn)-a-year garment industry, which supplies retailers around the world.

The owner of the building, Mohammed Sohel Rana, is under arrest. He is expected to be charged with negligence, illegal construction and forcing people to work, which is punishable by a maximum of seven years in jail. Authorities have not said whether more serious crimes will be added.

Strong concern over labour conditions in Bangladesh were voiced on Tuesday by the European Union, which said it was considering action to encourage improvements, including the use of its trade preference system. The EU suggested it would look at Bangladesh's preferential trade access to the European market in considering taking action to encourage better safety standards and labour conditions.

In Dhaka on Wednesday, workers demanded capital punishment for Rana, 38, a small-time political operative with the ruling Awami League party.

"I want the death penalty for the owner of the building. We want regular salaries, raises and absolutely we want better safety in our factories," said Mongidul Islam Rana, an 18-year-old garment factory worker.

Bangladesh's high court has ordered the government to confiscate Rana's property and to freeze the assets of the owners of the factories in Rana Plaza so the money can be used to pay workers' salaries.

Rana had permission to build five storeys but added three more floors illegally. When huge cracks appeared in the building a day before its collapse, police ordered an evacuation, but Rana told tenants that it was safe and they should go back in. The next day, a bank and some shops in the building did not open but factory managers told their workers to go back in. A couple of hours later the building collapsed.

About 2,500 people escaped with injuries and rescue workers have recovered 395 bodies, but they believe many more are still buried on the ground level. There is confusion over how many people remain missing.

Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, a Dhaka district administrator, said 149 people had been listed as missing. A police official, Aminur Rahman, said officers had recorded up to 1,300 names of people believed to be missing, but he cautioned that there may be many duplications. "We will now have to screen the names by computer to find the actual number," he said.

Rescuers estimate that the building turned into 600 tonnes of rubble, of which 350 tonnes has been removed.

Among the garment makers in the building were Phantom Apparels, Phantom Tac, Ether Tex, New Wave Style and New Wave Bottoms. Altogether, they produced several million shirts, trousers and other garments a year.

The New Wave companies, according to their website, make clothing for several major North American and European retailers. British retailer Primark has acknowledged it sold garments made in a factory in Rana Plaza and on Monday said it was providing emergency aid and would pay compensation to victims who worked for its supplier.
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« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2013, 06:53 AM »


Pope Francis welcomes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI back to the Vatican

Emeritus pope and Pope Francis begin unprecedented period of co-habitation in tiny city state

John Hooper in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 May 2013 19.40 BST   

The emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, was greeted by his successor on his return to the Vatican on Thursday to begin an unprecedented period of co-habitation in which two white-robed pontiffs will share the grounds of the tiny, walled city state.

Benedict, who retired at the end of February, arrived from the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo as his successor, Pope Francis, returned to an emerging theme of his papacy, using Twitter to attack a "self-centred mindset, bent on profit at any cost" as the cause of much unemployment.

Francis welcomed his predecessor to the former convent in the Vatican gardens that will be his home for the rest of his life and then accompanied 86-year-old Benedict in a brief prayer. The sparsely decorated Mater Ecclesiae is just a few hundred metres from the Vatican guesthouse where Francis has opted to live.

Benedict will share the refurbished building with his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, and the four women – members of the Catholic fellowship Communion and Liberation – who cook the pope's meals and look after his household. Another secretary, Birgit Wansing, will also work in the former convent.

It was the second meeting between the popes since Francis was elected on 13 March. Ten days later, the new pontiff travelled to Castel Gandolfo in the hills south of Rome to talk and pray with Benedict, the first pope to resign voluntarily since 1294. The two have since spoken several times by telephone.

The Vatican continues to say that the pope emeritus is in good health. The papal spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, described him as "an old man, weakened by age", but without any particular illness.

Francis's Twitter message to his six million followers came the day after many countries celebrated the workers' holiday of May Day and two days after Italy published figures to show unemployment was unchanged at near a 20-year high. The rate in March was 11.5%. May Day is also a Catholic festival – that of St Joseph the worker – and the pope took the opportunity to urge politicians to take a new approach to job creation. In a sermon, he said: "Work is something more than earning a living: work gives us dignity."

He said that a society "organised in such a way that not everyone has the chance to work is not right. It is not fair. It goes against God himself."

He added: "Not paying fairly; not giving work because you are just looking at the accounts of the company; looking at what profit [you] can make: that [too] goes against God."

At Easter, Pope Francis gave an unexpected slant to the annual pontifical appeal for peace when he used it to denounce "greed looking for easy gain". In his Urbi et Orbi address, the pope appeared to put uncaring capitalism in the same category as the armed conflicts his predecessors have routinely deplored on Easter Sunday.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio had an unusually simple lifestyle. Since his election as pope, he has chosen the name of a self-denying mystic, St Francis of Assisi, and shunned many of the rich trappings of the papacy.


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« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2013, 07:10 AM »


Pope Francis gives Catholic church hundreds of new saints

Two Latin American women canonised by Argentinian pontiff, as well as 813 'martyrs of Otranto' slain in 1480 by Turkish invaders

Associated Press in the Vatican City
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 12 May 2013 06.37 EDT   

Pope Francis has given the Catholic church a raft of new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonisation ceremony before tens of thousands of people in St Peter's Square.

The "martyrs of Otranto" were 813 Italians who were killed in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity.

The South American pope also canonised two Latin American women, including Colombia's first saint: a nun, Laura of St Catherine of Siena, who journeyed with five other women into the forests in 1914 to be a teacher and spiritual guide to indigenous people. Colombia's president, Juan Manuel Santos, was among VIPs attending the ceremony.

Also canonised was Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican who dedicated herself to nursing the sick and helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown on the faith in the 1920s. Also known as Mother Lupita, she hid the archbishop of Guadalajara in an eye clinic for more than a year after fearful local Catholic families refused to shelter him.

The new saints were approved for canonisation in a decree read by Pope Benedict XVI on 11 February, during the same ceremony in which he announced his resignation as pontiff. Benedict, the first pope to retire in 600 years, is now devoting himself to prayer and living in a monastery on the Vatican grounds.

Francis told the crowd that the martyrs were a source of inspiration, especially for "so many Christians, who, right in these times and in so many parts of the world, still suffer violence", and prayed that they would receive "the courage of loyalty and to respond to evil with good".

That was seen as a reference to Christian churches that have been attacked in Nigeria and Iraq, as well as Catholics in China loyal to the Vatican who have been subject to harassment and sometimes jail over past decades.

Francis, the first pope from the Jesuit order, praised the Colombian saint for "instilling hope" in indigenous people. He said she taught them in a way that "respected their culture". Many Catholic missionaries over the centuries have been criticised for demanding that natives renounce local traditions viewed as primitive.

He hailed the Mexican saint for renouncing a comfortable life to work with the sick and poor. Mother Lupita's example, said Francis, should encourage people not to "get wrapped up in themselves, their own problems, their own ideas, their own interests, but to go out and meet those who need attention, comprehension, and help".


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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2013, 06:14 AM »


Pope Francis completes contentious canonisation of Otranto martyrs

Pontiff avoids word Islam and nature of deaths as he makes saints of 800 killed by Ottoman Turks in 1480 for not converting

Lizzy Davies in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 12 May 2013 17.58 BST   

Pope Francis has canonised more than 800 15th-century martyrs who were killed after refusing to convert to Islam – a delicate and arguably unwelcome ecclesiastical move he inherited from his predecessor Benedict.

The "martyrs of Otranto", whose identities are largely unknown, were killed on a hill outside the south-east Italian town by Ottoman Turk invaders in 1480.

Along with two Latin American nuns, the they became the first saints to be proclaimed during Pope Francis's fledgling pontificate on Sunday, in a ceremony watched by tens of thousands in St Peter's Square in Vatican City.

"As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain the many Christians who, today and in many parts of the world, now, still suffer from violence, and to give them the courage to be devout and to respond to evil with good," said the pope in a homily that made no mention of Islam.

In an apparent attempt to avoid the move being interpreted as provocative, the Vatican said the martyrdom should be understood in "the historical context of the wars that determined relations between Europe and the Ottoman empire for a long period of time".

But that did not prevent Il Giornale, the Italian newspaper owned by Silvio Berlusconi's brother, to describe the martyrs as "victims of Islam" in a headline.

In a speech to diplomats at the Vatican days after his election as pontiff, Francis made clear his intention to smooth away the tensions that had marred some of Benedict's time as the head of the Roman Catholic church, speaking of the need for greater interfaith dialogue, particularly with Islam.

He raised conservative eyebrows by including a Muslim woman in a foot-washing ritual on Maundy Thursday.

As he spoke of the new saints on Sunday, the pope focused on the Otranto martyrs' commitment to Christianity rather than their rejection of Islam or the nature of their deaths.

Little is known of the individuals who were executed when they refused to convert, but they are believed to have all been men aged over 15. They are grouped together as the "companions" of Antonio Primaldo, thought to have been the first to die when, once the town had fallen to the Ottoman forces commanded by Gedik Ahmed Pasha after a 15-day siege, the men were given the choice of conversion or execution.

According to Pope John Paul II, who visited Otranto in 1980 for the 500th anniversary of the massacre, Primaldo declared: "We believe in Jesus Christ, son of God, and for Jesus Christ we are ready to die."

The date of these canonisations was announced by Pope Benedict at the same gathering with cardinals in February at which he announced his resignation, the first pontiff to do so in almost 600 years. One of his final wishes, therefore, was left to his successor to enact.

"Dear friends, let us keep the faith which we have received and which is our true treasure; let us renew our devotion to the Lord even in the midst of obstacles and misunderstandings," said Francis on Sunday.

In 2007, his predecessor had issued a decree recognising that the Otranto martyrs had been killed "out of hatred for their faith". Pope Benedict appeared determined to push through their canonisation, in December authorising the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree attributing a miracle to the intercession of the men – a crucial step towards sainthood.

His eight-year pontificate was not without interfaith frictions. In 2006 Benedict made a speech in Regensburg, Germany, that was interpreted by many as an attack on Islam. He said he had been misunderstood.


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