Daily Archives:January 30th, 2018

Fr Bingham dies at 86

SIBU – Catholics in the central region of Sarawak are mourning the loss of one of their longest-serving priests, Father David Bingham, who passed away peacefully on 27 Jan 2018 in England. He was 86.

News of his passing was conveyed by Mill Hill Missionaries to the Catholic Church here.

The late Fr Bingham had served as priest in the region for over 40 years.

A parishioner, Clement Chieng, gave thanks for Fr Bingham’s work in Sarawak.

Augustine Siaw said the late Fr Bingham had been an outstanding missionary for many years in the Sibu Diocese.

According to a statement from Mill Hill Missionaries, Fr David Bingham was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 7 April 1931 to Francis Dennis and Mary Bingham.

Fr David’s father served as an engineer in the Royal Navy and the family settled in Kenya where they took up farming.

Fr David received his secondary education with the Benedictines at Ampleforth from 1944 to 1949.

After performing compulsory military service, he studied in Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in History in 1956.

He then got a job with a shipping line in Singapore where he first made contact with people from Malaysia.

In his memoirs, Fr David wrote that through his contacts with the Church in Singapore, his Catholic faith had been strengthened and the first stirrings of a vocation to the priesthood made themselves felt.

Eventually, he applied for admittance to the formation programme of the Mill Hill Missionaries.

After a bridge-year in Osterley, he entered the Mill Hill formation programme in Roosendaal for studies in Philosophy.

In 1961, he entered St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill, to study Theology.

On 1 May 1964, he took the Perpetual Oath and the following year, on July 10, he was ordained a priest in Westminster Cathedral.

He received an appointment to Malaysia, where he taught for two years in Sarikei followed by two years of mission work in Kanowit.

He was transferred to Simangang in 1971 and served there for some five years.

Subsequently, Fr David worked in the missions of Bintangor, Julau, Sibu, and Song.

Altogether, Fr David spent 46 years working in Sarawak.

He learnt the Iban language, reportedly with a pronounced English accent, as well as a little Hokkien.

In May 2005, Fr David started working in the British region and in October 2014, he took up residence in the Mill Hill Missionaries retirement home in Freshfield. Liverpool.

On the occasion of his golden jubilee as a priest in 2015, it was noted that Fr Bingham had “great energy, an enquiring mind and a good sense of humour. “

In July 2001, he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his mission work.- thestar.com.my

Highlights of Veritatis gaudium

Cover for Veritatis Gaudium. Credit: Vatican Media

VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis begins his new Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium,  with this thought:  “The joy of truth expresses the restlessness of the human heart until it encounters and dwells within God’s Light, and shares that Light with all people.”

The Holy Father emphasises that “truth is not an abstract idea, but is Jesus himself, the Word of God in whom is the Life that is the Light of man”; and this, he says, “is the joy that the Church is impelled by Jesus to bear witness to and to proclaim in her mission, unceasingly and with ever renewed vigour.”

A courageous renewal of ecclesiastical studies
In “the changed social-cultural context worldwide,” characterised by “a wide-ranging ‘anthropological’ and ‘environmental crisis’,” Pope Francis says there is need of a “wise and courageous renewal” of ecclesiastical studies “for a more effective mission in this moment of history,” as laid out in his programmatic Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium.

Catholic universities for a missionary Church
Starting from the “primary need today” for a “missionary transformation of a Church that ‘goes forth’,” and which involves the whole People of God, Pope Francis says that ecclesiastical studies are called not only “to offer opportunities and processes for the suitable formation of priests, consecrated men and women, and committed lay people” but constitute “a sort of providential cultural laboratory in which the Church carries out the performative interpretation of the reality brought about by the Christ event and nourished by the gifts of wisdom and knowledge by which the Holy Spirit enriches the People of God in manifold ways – from the sensus fidei fidelium to the magisterium of the bishops, and from the charism of the prophets to that of the doctors and theologians.”

A cultural revolution in the light of tradition
This, the Pope said, requires “a radical paradigm shift, or rather… ‘a bold cultural revolution’” in which “the worldwide network of ecclesiastical universities and faculties is called to offer the decisive contribution of leaven, salt and light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the living Tradition of the Church, which is ever open to new situations and ideas.”

Today, he continued, it is becoming increasingly evident that ‘there is need of a true evangelical hermeneutic for better understanding life, the world and humanity, not of a synthesis but of a spiritual atmosphere of research and certainty based on the truths of reason and of faith. Philosophy and theology permit one to acquire the convictions that structure and strengthen the intelligence and illuminate the will… but this is fruitful only if it is done with an open mind and on one’s knees. The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre. The good theologian and philosopher has an open, that is, an incomplete, thought, always open to the maius of God and of the truth, always in development.’

Discovering God in every human person
Pope Francis points out four “fundamental criteria” for the renewal and revival of the contribution ecclesiastical studies can make for a missionary Church: “First, the most urgent and enduring criterion is that of contemplation and the presentation of a spiritual, intellectual and existential introduction to the heart of the kerygma, namely the ever fresh and attractive good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which continues to take flesh in the life of the Church and of humanity.” From this arises that universal fraternity “which is ‘capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbour, of finding God in every human being, of tolerating the nuisances of life in common by clinging to the love of God, of opening the heart to divine love and seeking the happiness of others just as their heavenly Father does’.” This leads to “the imperative to allow our hearts and minds to heed the cry of the earth’s poor and to give concrete expression to the social dimension of evangelisation, which is an integral part of the Church’s mission. For ‘God, in Christ, redeems not only the individual person but also the social relations existing between men’.”

Dialogue with believers and non-believers
A “second guiding criterion” is “that of wide-ranging dialogue” with believers and non-believers; “not as a mere tactical approach,” but rather as an authentic culture of dialogue “between all the authentic and vital cultures, thanks to a reciprocal exchange of the gifts of each in that luminous space opened up by God’s love for all his creatures.”

Unity of knowledge in the face of an uncertain and fragmented pluralism
The third fundamental criterion proposed by Pope Francis is “inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches carried out with wisdom and creativity in the light of Revelation,” according to “the vital intellectual principle of the unity in difference of knowledge”; and this also “in relation to the fragmented and often disintegrated panorama of contemporary university studies and to the pluralism – uncertain, conflicting and relativistic – of current beliefs and cultural options.” The Holy Father cites Benedict XVI, writing in Caritas in veritate: today “there is a lack of wisdom and reflection, a lack of thinking capable of formulating a guiding synthesis.” This, Pope Francis says, “is where the specific mission entrusted to the programme of ecclesiastical studies comes into play,” so that they might have “real cultural and humanising importance.”

Finally, the fourth fundamental criterion concerns “concerns the urgent need for ‘networking’ between those institutions worldwide that cultivate and promote ecclesiastical studies, in order to set up suitable channels of cooperation also with academic institutions in the different countries and with those inspired by different cultural and religious traditions. At the same time, specialised centres of research need to be established in order to study the epochal issues affecting humanity today and to offer appropriate and realistic paths for their resolution.”

Reviving research
Pope Francis says “the revival of ecclesiastical studies entails the pressing need to give new impulse to the scientific research conducted in our ecclesiastical universities and faculties.” Ecclesiastical studies, he says, “cannot be limited to passing on knowledge, professional competence and experience to the men and women of our time who desire to grow as Christians, but must also take up the urgent task of developing intellectual tools that can serve as paradigms for action and thought, useful for preaching in a world marked by ethical and religious pluralism.”

Theology lives on the frontiers
“Theology and Christian culture have lived up to their mission whenever they were ready to take risks and remain faithful on the borderline,” Pope Francis says. Today, he concluded, we face “a great cultural, spiritual and educational challenge, and it will demand that we set out on the long path of renewal” – a path of renewal that is also demanded of ecclesiastical universities and faculties. – Vatican News

New papal document seeks ‘paradigm shift’ at ecclesiastical universities

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has called for a “radical paradigm shift” and a “bold cultural revolution” at ecclesiastical universities, in a new apostolic constitution issued on 29 Jan 2018.

The new 87-page document, entitled Veritatis Gaudium (“The Joy of Truth”) replaces the apostolic constitution Sapientia Christiana, issued by St John Paul II in 1979. Pope Francis writes that the older document “urgently needs to be brought up to date” in light of changes in society and in academic life.

(The new papal document applies specifically to universities and other academic institutions that offer degrees and courses of study approved by the Holy See. It does not apply directly to most Catholic colleges and universities, which remain governed by the norms of the 1990 apostolic constitution, Ex Corde Ecclesiae.)

In Veritatis Gaudium the Pontiff stresses that ecclesiastical faculties serve the primary need of the Church today, which is “for the People of God to be ready to embark upon a new stage of ‘Spirit-filled’ evangelisation.” He writes that this challenge requires “a resolute process of discernment, purification, and reform.”

The need for a new approach is clear, the Pope writes, in light of “a true epochal shift” in society, made evident in “a wide-ranging anthropological and environmental crisis.” He continues:

Indeed, we daily see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation; these are evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises. In a word, this calls for changing the models of global development and redefining our notion of progress. Yet the problem is that we still lack the culture necessary to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths.

To guide the new approach to learning at ecclesiastical institutions, Pope Francis offers four criteria:

  1. the presentation of “the ever fresh and attractive good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”;
  2. a dedication to “wide-ranging dialogue” and the “culture of encounter”;
  3. a commitment to inter-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary approaches to study; and
  4. an emphasis on “networking” with other institutions to promote studies of mutual interest.

Veritatis Gaudium includes new norms for the direction of ecclesiastical faculties, which are to be implemented by national bishops’ conferences under the guidance of the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education. The norms call for a concentration on magisterial texts, with a special emphasis on the documents of Vatican II. Teachers, the Pope says, must be “conscious of their duty to carry out their work in full communion with the authentic Magisterium of the Church, above all, with that of the Roman Pontiff.”

The new norms will take effect with the opening of the academic year 2018-2019. Each pontifical faculty is required to bring its own statutes and curriculum into conformity with the new apostolic constitution, and submit the revised plans to the Congregation for Catholic Education before 8 December  2019. – CWN

The full text of the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis gaudium can be found on the Vatican website.

Copyright © 2019. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.