In Caritate Non Ficta

Philip Johnson is a seminarian suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. He blogs here, documenting his life and faith.

You can read a background here.

And then watch this:

Seminarian Philip Johnson from Deacon Watkins on Vimeo.

Please join us in praying for him. 

HT:   Fr Z


Ethiopian Saints

Rich briefly mentioned that most of the saints from Roman Egypt and Roman North Africa were about as black as your average Romans, Greeks, and Lebanese, and thus not super-useful for sermons related to Black History Month. (African History Month, sure. And here’s a good start at a list of African Catholic saints regardless of race.) Contrariwise, there may have been plenty of saintly folks in Rome or Alexandria or points east who were of African race, without them having been regarded as anything beside normal inhabitants of the city, if their family’d been there for a few generations. The Greco-Roman world didn’t have the same priorities as those of America in 1860, after all.

Anyway, somebody mentioned that they didn’t know who the relevant early Christian Ethiopian saints were, so I think I’ll post about that. The area known as Ethiopia in those days is pretty much what is called the Sudan and Darfur today. Nubia was also the modern Sudan. The area known as Abyssinia in those days is Ethiopia and Eritrea today. (Or something like that. Borders go back and forth a lot.) Abyssinia took over Ethiopia back in the 300′s, so for this purpose it doesn’t much matter which name you search under.

Back in Roman times, Ethiopia and Abyssinia were mostly pagan but had a fairly good-sized population of Jews and Jewish converts. Obviously, the first big Ethiopian saint guy was the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts, who was visiting Jerusalem, was converted by Philip’s teaching, and went back to the Candace’s court rejoicing. However, his teaching apparently didn’t take deep root, or was more popular in coastal areas. Christianity seems to have moved along the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf with the merchants, especially since there was a large Jewish presence in the area (especially connected with Sheba and Saba’s frankincense trade) and many Jews converted to Christianity early on.

Ethiopia’s apostles of Christianity were a couple of very young philosophy-loving kids from Tyre…

Aliens in This World has more.


Number of Priests Growing Worldwide

The Vatican reports:

Vatican City, Feb 11, 2011 / 05:35 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- There are more than 5,000 more Catholic priests globally in 2009 than there were in 1999, according to official Church statistics.

The Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper anticipated the news from the soon-to-be released 2009 almanac prepared by the Vatican’s Central Office of Church Statistics.

The statistics reveal that there were 410,593 priests in the world in 2009 compared to 405,009 in 1999. The number of diocesan priests among these increased by over 10,000 while the number of those belonging to religious orders fell by nearly 5,000.

In North America, as well as Europe and Oceania, the numbers decreased for both diocesan and religious priests. Africa and Asia, however, brought up the overall figures with a more than 30 percent increase on both continents.

Europe still has nearly half of the world’s priests, but the “old continent” is gradually losing weight on the world stage.

More seminarians studying for the priesthood from Africa and Asia and fewer from Europe. But, there is also the issue of the number of deaths of priests in the different areas.

In Europe, the average age of priests is higher than in Africa and Asia. The number of European priests is falling as new ordinations do not surpass the numbers of those who die.

But in Asia and Africa the number of deaths was only one-third of the total new ordinations.

North and South America’s numbers combined show a positive trend over the decade since 1999, according to L’Osservatore Romano. In Oceania, the death-to-ordination ratio was equal.

The Vatican’s publishing house prints the volume of Church statistics annually. It includes names and biographies of major Catholic figures and offers a variety statistics on all those who work in apostolates and evangelization efforts the world over.

It also offer shorter term statistics. They report, for example, that between 2008 and 2009 the number of priests in the world increased by 809. According the Vatican newspaper, this is the highest jump since 1999 and a reason “to look to the future with renewed hope.”