100,000 views for my blog! Thanks to all the visitors and Praise be to God!

As of last Sunday, 7 July 2014, my blog has reached its 100,000th view by visitors from different parts of the world. I thank all those who had spent their time to come and read what I had published in this blog.

May God be with us all, bless us and guide us always. And may He guide me and bless me so that I can continue to write, to publish and to work for His greater glory.

 

Blog world map - 13 July 2014

 

Blog statistics (as of Sunday, 13 July 2014) :

Total views : 106,903

Total visitors : 64,237
Statistics by countries (views) – 104,780 views tabulated

1. United States of America (USA) : 30,179

2. Philippines : 19,667

3. Singapore : 17,364

4. United Kingdom (UK) : 6,318

5. Canada : 3,583

6. India : 2,801

7. Australia : 2,675

8. Italy : 1,850

9. Ireland : 1,385

10. Germany : 1,233

11. Malaysia : 1,059

12. Indonesia : 1,028

13. Hong Kong (SAR of China) : 871

14. France : 861

15. South Africa : 798

16. Poland : 688

17. Nigeria : 654

18. Kenya : 530

19. New Zealand : 520

20. Japan : 493

21. Netherlands : 464

22. United Arab Emirates : 400

23. Brazil : 378

24. Belgium : 338

25. Spain : 312

26. Thailand : 289

27. Malta : 275

28. Trinidad and Tobago : 272

29. Ghana : 260

30. Switzerland : 249

31. Saudi Arabia : 245

32. Uganda : 238

33. Vietnam : 233

34. Sri Lanka : 223

35. Austria : 211

36. Portugal : 210

37. Sweden : 208

38. Hungary : 205

39. Mexico : 195

40. Pakistan : 193

41. Republic of Korea (South Korea) : 184

42. Croatia : 177

43. Tanzania : 163

44. Republic of China (Taiwan) : 153

45. Israel : 141

46. Greece : 136

47. Finland : 134

48. Norway : 132

49. Argentina : 130

50. Romania : 128

51. Cameroon : 123

52. Czech Republic : 122

53. Russian Federation (Russia) : 116

54. Colombia : 114

55. Slovakia : 112

56. Lithuania : 99

57. Guam (USA) : 93

58. Jamaica : 87

59. Zimbabwe : 84

60. Barbados : 80

61. Qatar : 77

62. Vatican City (Holy See) : 76

63. Slovenia : 76

64. Turkey : 74

65. Zambia : 69

66. Botswana : 67

67. Puerto Rico (USA) : 61

68. Lebanon : 53

69. Bulgaria : 49

70. Panama : 48

71. Denmark : 48

72. Peru : 46

73. Kuwait : 45

74. Namibia : 44

75. Chile : 42

76. Macau (SAR of China) : 42

77. St. Vincent and the Grenadines : 40

78. Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) : 39

79. Fiji : 37

80. Papua New Guinea : 35

81. Mauritius : 34

82. Ukraine : 34

83. Grenada : 34

84. Cyprus : 34

85. Bangladesh : 33

86. Malawi : 33

87. Egypt : 32

88. Albania : 31

89. Bahamas : 31

90. Bahrain : 29

91. Senegal : 26

92. Cambodia : 26

93. Bosnia and Herzegovina : 26

94. Paraguay : 24

95. Serbia : 24

96. Costa Rica : 24

97. Brunei Darussalam : 23

98. Dominica : 22

99. Venezuela : 22

100. Saint Lucia : 22

101. El Salvador : 21

102. Antigua and Barbuda : 21

103. Latvia : 20

104. Dominican Republic : 20

105. Jordan : 20

106. American Samoa (USA) : 20

107. Belize : 20

108. Guatemala : 19

109. Rwanda : 18

110. Tonga : 17

111. Ethiopia : 17

112. Oman : 17

113. Aruba (Netherlands) : 17

114. Myanmar (Burma) : 17

115. Federated States of Micronesia : 16

116. Morocco : 15

117. Bermuda (UK) : 14

118. Honduras : 13

119. Guyana : 13

120. Luxembourg : 13

121. Northern Mariana Islands (USA) : 12

122. Gibraltar (UK) : 12

123. British Virgin Islands (UK) : 11

124. Estonia : 11

125. Yemen : 11

126. Bolivia : 10

127. Belarus : 10

128. Seychelles : 10

129. Marshall Islands : 9

130. Nicaragua : 9

131. Mozambique : 9

132. Virgin Islands (USA) : 9

133. Nepal : 9

134. Jersey (UK) : 8

135. Iraq : 8

136. Armenia : 8

137. Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) : 7

138. Djibouti : 7

139. Uruguay : 7

140. Haiti : 7

141. Burundi : 7

142. Madagascar : 7

143. Ecuador : 7

144. Moldova : 6

145. Samoa : 6

146. Maldives : 6

147. Liberia : 6

148. Sierra Leone : 5

149. Tunisia : 5

150. Guernsey (UK) : 5

151. French Guiana (France) : 4

152. Uzbekistan : 4

153. Gambia : 4

154. Saint Kitts and Nevis : 4

155. Libya : 4

156. Cayman Islands (UK) : 4

157. Benin : 4

158. Liechtenstein : 4

159. Cook Islands (UK) : 4

160. Swaziland : 4

161. Timor-Leste (East Timor) : 4

162. Azerbaijan : 3

163. Solomon Islands : 3

164. Macedonia : 3

165. Laos : 3

166. Burkina Faso : 3

167. Lesotho : 3

168. Sudan : 3

169. Monaco : 3

170. French Polynesia (France) : 3

171. Iceland : 2

172. Togo : 2

173. Palestine : 2

174. Martinique : 2

175. Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) : 2

176. Equatorial Guinea : 2

177. Isle of Man (UK) : 2

178. Georgia : 1

179. Faroe Islands (Denmark) : 1

180. Greenland (Denmark) : 1

181. Iran : 1

182. New Caledonia : 1

183. Afghanistan : 1

184. Mongolia : 1

185. Montenegro : 1

186. Kazakhstan : 1

187. Suriname : 1

188. People’s Republic of China (China) : 1

189. Kiribati : 1

Passing of Cardinal Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Bangalore (India) and Protodeacon Emeritus of the College of Cardinals at the age of 90

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Cardinal Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy, Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci fuori Porta Cavalleggeri has passed away on last Monday, 2 June 2014 at the age of 90. He was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bangalore, one of the large Archdioceses in India, from 1968 to 1971, and then was for a very long time, the member of the Roman Curia, as the Secretary of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith from 1973 to 1985, and then as Prefect for the Congregation for Oriental Churches from 1985 to 1991, and eventually as the Protodeacon of the College of Cardinals from 1993 to 1996.

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-3.htm#88%5B/embed%5D

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Cardinal Lourdusamy was created Cardinal in 1985 by Pope St. John Paul II in his third Cardinal creation consistory on 25 May 1985. His motto was Aedificare Domum Dei, which means “To build the house of God”. This means an emphasis on the evangelisation to the people of God, to establish His Church, which is growing rapidly in India, as millions grow to know about the Lord and wanting to join the faith in Jesus.

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We pray for Cardinal Lourdusamy, that he will rest in peace, and God will reward him for all his hard and great work as the long time servant of God as the shepherd of the faithful in Bangalore, as well as for all the ministries and good works he had done in Rome for the sake of God and His people in the entire Universal Church. May the Lord welcome him into His embrace in heaven and give him eternal rest and happiness that he deserved.

With the passing of Cardinal Lourdusamy, the College of Cardinals now stands at 214 members, with 118 Cardinal-electors and 96 Cardinal non-electors. The number of Cardinal-electors now is two below the specified maximum limit.

There are now 2 Cardinal-elector vacancy in the College of Cardinals, 0 vacant Cardinal Suburbicarian Sees (for Cardinal Bishops), 2 vacant Cardinal Title (for Cardinal Priests) and 7 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (for Cardinal Deacons).

Saturday, 24 August 2013 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast day of one of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Bartholomew, also known as Nathaniel or Nathanael. He was a righteous and upright man called by the Lord to be one of His disciples, and therefore made him His apostle. The Lord did call His disciples from various backgrounds, including even tax collectors and murderers, as well as the righteous ones. All of them called from their former lives, abandoning them to follow the Lord their God in Christ.

Each of the Apostles were called to be the followers of Christ, to help Him in His mission in this world, and ultimately, to continue the works He had done, after He ascended in glory to heaven. They were entrusted with the care of the faithful, as shepherds of the sheep of the Lord, that is all of us, to be the guiding beacons along our long and arduous path towards salvation in God. From them came many generations of shepherds of the people of God, including that of our priests and bishops today, who are their successors, the successor of the Apostles of Christ.

St. Bartholomew travelled wide after the events depicted in the New Testament, as one of the Apostles of Christ, spreading the Good News of salvation to many around the world, and according to records, St. Bartholomew had visited and evangelised in Ethiopia, Armenia, India, and some other places throughout his ministry, converting many to the cause of God, bringing God’s salvation to many those who had not yet heard about Christ or saw His marvellous works.

He converted many to the Lord and brought many into the Church. However, in the same way with all the other Apostles and disciples of Christ, St. Bartholomew met much opposition, persecution, and oppression just as he was accepted by some in the societies that he had visited. Nevertheless, he continued to labour for the sake of the Lord in distant, foreign lands, until he eventually met the end of his life in martyrdom, apparently in Armenia, by being flayed alive and crucified upside down, much like St. Peter in Rome.

Despite his death, and the death of the other Apostles of Christ, in the hands of their enemies and executioners, in the hands of the enemies of God and the godless ones, they had brought forth a growth and flowering of the faithful in the Church, such that the saying is really true that ‘the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians’. Their devotion, dedication, and martyrdom had inspired many to remain true to their faith and to remain faithful to their God, and many followed the Apostles like St. Bartholomew, into martyrdom themselves.

St. Bartholomew and the other Apostles of Christ, St. Peter, St. John the Evangelist and others, were not superhuman, brothers and sisters in Christ. They were same like us, mere man, with all their weaknesses, but also with their respective qualities and strengths. They experienced human emotions as we too experience our human emotions. They experienced doubt and fear when they followed Jesus, and especially when Jesus was captured, tried, and executed. They were scattered like sheep without a shepherd, and yet, when Christ came back in great triumph against evil and sin, He gathered them back upon Himself and sent them the Spirit as the Helper.

They were empowered with God’s love through that Spirit of love, and they were emboldened to take up the cause of the Lord and went forth courageously to spread the Gospels to all men. The Apostles went through hardships and suffering for the sake of God and also for the sake of His people, in the Church of God, and they faced death bravely when they were martyred for their faith and unshakeable devotion to the Lord. They shed their blood, and as I had mentioned, these formed the foundations of the Church of God, along with many other martyrs, that even though they are persecuted against, they remain vibrant and growing in both number and in their faith.

In the first reading, we see the Holy City of Jerusalem descending from heaven, to meet her Bride, that is the Lamb of God. That Holy City was great and precious, the heavenly Jerusalem, pure and clear like crystal. The City has twelve gates and twelve foundation stones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Those foundation stones also in fact represent the twelve apostles, brothers and sisters! Just as Christ Himself had said that the Apostles will sit on twelve thrones and judge the people of God. They are akin to the guardians of those gates, barring the entry into the city to anyone found not worthy.

That Holy City of God in fact represent both the presence of God, that all of us aspire to enter, and also the Church of God, built upon the support, the foundation stone of the Apostles. Their faith and dedication had been the strong foundation that held up the Church of God, and ensured its continuity throughout time, despite all the opposition, persecution, and evils it had faced all these while. That includes St. Bartholomew who gave up his life and laboured hard for the sake of the Lord.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today, as we recall the labours and the righteousness of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, resolve to follow his life examples, and resolve to devote ourselves more to the laws and commandments of our God that is love, by loving one another, giving our love especially to those who have little or none of it, and to love God with all our might. Pray for us St. Bartholomew, the Apostle of Christ and defender of the faith. Amen.

Passing of Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta of India, at the age of 93

Cardinal_Simon_Pimenta_US_Catholic_News_Credit_The_Examiner___Archdiocese_of_Bombay_CNA_7_22_13

Cardinal Simon Ignatius Pimenta, Cardinal Priest of S. Maria ‘Regina Mundi’ a Torre Spaccata has passed away last Friday, 19 July 2013 at the age of 93.

http://www.gcatholic.org/hierarchy/data/cardJP2-4.htm#122

Cardinal Pimenta was created Cardinal in 1988 by the late Blessed Pope John Paul II and he was the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bombay, India from 1978 to 1996 and was for quite a few years, the President of Conference of Catholic Bishops of India.

We pray for Cardinal Pimenta, that he will rest in peace, and God will reward him for all his hard work as the shepherd of the people of God in Bombay and his numerous other contributions to the Church and for the Lord’s sake. May the Lord welcome him into His embrace in heaven and give him eternal rest and happiness that he deserved.

With the passing of Cardinal Pimenta, the College of Cardinals now stands at 203 members, with 112 Cardinal-electors and 91 Cardinal non-electors.

There are now 8 vacancies in the College of Cardinals, 1o vacant Cardinal Titles (for Cardinal Priests) and 8 vacant Cardinal Deaconries (for Cardinal Deacons)

Appointment of Advisory Board for the Reform of the Roman Curia

Pope Francis had appointed an advisory board composed of eight Cardinals and some other prelates whose function is to help the Holy Father in his reform of the Roman Curia to increase its efficiency.

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-appoints-council-of-eight-cardinals-to-advise

 

Here are the members of the Advisory Board, picked from members of the College of Cardinals across the globe (set to meet from 1-3 October 2013 for first discussion) :

1. Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State

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2. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago del Cile (Chile)

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3. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bombay (India)

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4. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Metropolitan Archbishop of München und Freising (Germany)

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5. Cardinal Laurent Monswengo Pasinya, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)

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6. Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley. O.F.M. Cap., Metropolitan Archbishop of Boston (U.S.A.)

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7. Cardinal George Pell, Metropolitan Archbishop of Sydney (Australia)

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8. Cardinal Oscar Andrés Maradiaga Rodríguez S.D.B., Metropolitan Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras)

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As mentioned, the first meeting of the group would be from 1-3 October 2013, so I would not expect significant changes to the Roman Curia before the end of this year, or even early next year (2014).

Why did Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI relinquished the Papacy? (My personal opinion)

In my personal opinion, why our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, had decided to step down from his position and relinquish the Papacy, is because of three main factors and events that potentially play major roles in shaping his decision. All of these factors are tied to the first factor, that is his health.

 

Here are the three factors and events that in my opinion made our Pope Emeritus did what he had done :

 

1. Health : The Pope’s failing health due to his old age is likely the main reason why he had decided to relinquish the Papacy. Although indeed, he is now at 85 being much more vigorous as compared to Blessed Pope John Paul II’s last years, but as the Pope has great tasks to be done, for the sake of the Lord, and His people, Pope Benedict chose humility and step aside for someone else to take over the good works he had started.

He realised that his increasing difficulty in walking, most likely due to osteoarthritis and the problems with his vision will eventually impair him and preventing him from exercising his ministry as the Bishop of Rome. It has also been reported that Pope Benedict too suffers from Parkinson’s, although likely a mild one or one that is still at an early stage. This disease is well known for the one that debilitated Blessed Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict, being very close to the previous Pope, would really want to avoid another of many years of debilitation, where the Pope instead of leading directly the Church, had to delegate most of his works due to his disabilities. It is a matter of choice of course. Blessed John Paul II chose to persevere to show us how suffering for the sake of the Lord is like, and our beloved Benedict XVI stepped down to show us what humility and virtue is like.

 

2. WYD (World Youth Day) 2013 : The World Youth Day has been scheduled to occur in July 2013. It would have been in 2014, but because it will be held in Brazil, which will host the World Cup event in 2014, it was decided to hold the World Youth Day a year earlier. As the Pope’s health has made doctors to advise him strongly against transatlantic and difficult journeys, which would have limited him from visiting any countries outside of Europe, or even Italy in the coming years.

In 2012, his visits had been limited to Mexico, Cuba, and Lebanon, with only two major visits as opposed to the usual four or five visits per year, a clear sign that the Pope’s health is increasingly frail to travel far beyond Rome. As the World Youth Day 2013 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it is also possible that our beloved Benedict XVI chose to step aside that a more capable and vigorous new Pope can go instead to the event, that the new Pope can fully lead the event without the disabilities that increasingly had debilitated our beloved Benedict XVI.

 

3. Asia, the Church in Asia : Although Pope Benedict XVI had been known as someone who is particularly very attentive to the problems that the Church is facing in Europe and the West in general, which resulted in his numerous visits to the countries mostly in Europe, but he has also made several visits to countries in Latin America and Africa. Many would have criticised him for leaving out Asia, as although Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Israel had been visited rather often in his short pontificate, but he had yet to visit South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, where the Church, just as in Africa, had been growing very, very rapidly.

The Pope in fact, loved the Church in Asia, particularly the Church in China, which he had tirelessly worked at, in order that the believers in Christ there can be fully reintegrated into the One Body of the Universal Church, free from any form of external and governmental interventions.

Azerbaijan in Central Asia, was the last country in Central Asia visited by a Pope in 2002. But to truly look into Asia, we should go deeper into South Asia, that is India, and further east. The last time a Pope visited India and South Asia was in 1999 or 14 years ago, and the last time a Pope visited Southeast Asia was in 1995 (World Youth Day 1995, Manila, Philippines) or 18 years ago; and for East Asia, the last Papal visit was to Korea in 1989 or 24 years ago.

Several countries in Asia such as Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, and some other Asian countries had also been graced with Papal visits only once or twice in the entire history of the Church, also owing to the recent expansion of the Church to Asia and that only beginning with Pope Paul VI, that the Pope began to travel again outside Rome and Italy after quite some time. Therefore, due to Pope Benedict XVI’s love for the Church, both in the elder Europe and the younger Church in Asia, and already that his debilitation had made him difficult to make transatlantic visits, including the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil, but a travel plan to Asia would have made it much more difficult.

A younger and healthier Pope therefore will be able to visit Asia (South, Southeast, East Asia) perhaps as early as this year or next year, 2014. This is however not to say that an Asian Pope will be elected, just yet. The time has not come yet in this election for an Asian Pope. Only in the next election, which hopefully will be held in about a decade from now or more, that the first Asian Pope may be possibly elected.

 

In the end, it is Pope Benedict XVI’s love for God, and God’s people in the Church that made him to decide to step aside for the good of the Church and the good of God’s mission in this world. However, this is not at all interpreted that it will be permanently so or that such a stepping down will be customary for the Popes. The Papacy is not an office, and not an institution, which for example like the Archbishop of Canterbury of the Anglicans, which is rotated after every number of years in manner akin to the secular and the worldly prime ministers and presidents. No, the Bishop of Rome’s position, as Christ’s only Vicar on this world is far beyond that. Only the Pope himself can decide when and if he will resign at all, and only in extreme cases should this be done.

Let us all pray therefore for our beloved Pope Emeritus, His Holiness Benedict XVI, that God will continue to look after him in his retirement, that through his new life dedicated in prayer, he can lead the Church with the new Pope, his successor, whom we also pray for, to fight against the evils of this world. We also pray for those who attack the Pope, the institution of our Church, and those who attack the faithful in Christ, that first we forgive them, and ask the Lord to enlighten their hearts, that they will learn the truth about His Church and its teachings, that they too will believe and be saved through the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

May God bless all of us, bless His One and Universal Church, and bless the whole world. Amen!

New appointments for new Cardinals (Created in Consistory of 24 November 2012)

http://visnews-en.blogspot.sg/2013/01/other-pontifical-acts_31.html

To summarise, I will arrange the appointments by each Cardinals to make it easier to view.

1. Cardinal James Michael Harvey, Archpriest of Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls :

Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples

Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See

2. Cardinal Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites (Lebanon) :

Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant Peoples

Pontifical Council for Social Communications

3. Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars  (India):

Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

4. Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria) :

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Presidency Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family

5. Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, Metropolitan Archbishop of Bogota (Colombia) :

Pontifical Commission for Latin America

Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

6. Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila (Philippines) :

Presidency Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant Peoples

Pray for all the six Cardinals in their new ministry, that through their works, the world will be made a better place for all mankind.