During a press conference at the Cardinal Cooray Educational Centre in Negombo, Sri Lanka, Cardinal MALCOLM RANJITH, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, called on the government to review its tax policies, slamming choices that favor multinationals at the expense of people and nature, especially in Negombo Lagoon (Central Province), the area most affected by the rush towards development, known as “Little Rome” because its inhabitants are predominantly Catholic fishermen.

Sri Lanka “needs development” but must focus on “its people’s welfare, and respect everyone’s dignity, rights and liberty. By contrast, making decisions on people’s backs will not turn it into the ‘Marvel of Asia,’” said the prelate.

In 2011, President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched a series of development projects, especially in the area of tourism, in order to turn Sri Lanka into the “Marvel of Asia” with resorts and luxury hotels. The goal is to attract 2.6 million tourists and billions of rupees by 2016.

However, the projects were given to multinational corporations without any input from local residents. The latter at best can hope to find jobs in the new resorts, after having their property seized and their rights violated. (AsiaNews)


The Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, established to promote studies in theology and philosophy, will award, this year, to U.S. Jesuit Father BRIAN E. DALEY, a patristics expert and professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, and REMI BRAGUE, a French professor of the philosophy of European religions at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich. The two received their prizes from Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on October 20.

Father Daley is the author of The Hope of the Early Church, On The Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies, and Gregory of Nazian­zus, a volume in the series “The Early Church Fathers.” He was also the English translator of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Cosmic Liturgy: the Universe According to Maximus the Confessor.

Remi Brague, the other prize winner, is a married father of four children who taught at the Sorbonne in Paris for 20 years and moved to Munich in 2002. He has been a visiting professor at Pennsylvania State University, Boston College and Boston University.

His books include: Eccentric Culture, The Wisdom of the World, The Law of God, The Legend of the Middle Ages and On the God of the Christians.

The Vatican foundation funding the prize, as well as scholarships for promising doctoral students, was established in 2010 with Pope Benedict’s approval and his designation of a little more than $3 million from royalties earned on his books for the prizes (the rest of his book royalties are given to charity).

The prize winners were chosen by the foundation’s scientific committee: Cardinal Ruini; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state; Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes; Archbishop Luis Ladaria, secretary of the doctrinal congregation; and Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, archivist of the Vatican Secret Archives.



Arabic will be added to Wednesday’s general audience, to explain Pope Benedict’s words to those Arabic speakers present in St. Peter’s Square as well as those connected through the media.

A commentator will summarize in Arabic the contents of the Pope’s catechesis and will translate his greetings to the different language groups.

The initiative is the Holy Father’s own “in continuity with his trip last September to Lebanon, and with the publication of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Middle East,” explained Fr. Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office.

Fr. Lombardi also stated that “in this way the Holy Father wishes to show his continued interest in and encouragement to Christians of the Middle East, and also to remind all of the duty to pray for peace in the Middle East.” (ZENIT)

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