Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

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    Saturday, April 29, 2006

    Pot & Cocaine

    Mexico must have other plans for their jails than filling them with pot


    Owning marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Congress.

    Police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine, under a bill passed by senators late on Thursday and earlier approved by the lower house.

    People caught with larger quantities of drugs will be treated as narcotics dealers and face increased jail terms under the plan.

    The government says the measure allows police to focus on major drug dealers, and President Fox is expected to sign it into law.

    "This law provides more judicial tools for authorities to fight crime,"

    Well, maybe heroin is a bit over the line.. but still, I never saw it as a
    jail offense.

    The price of a Nun

    Amair Feijoli da Cunha, aka "Tato," a landowner in the Anapu region of the state of Pará, who was accused of being the middleman who paid the killers of an American missionary, Dorothy Stang, confessed at his trial yesterday that he did in fact pay 50,000 reais (around US$ 24,000) to two gunmen who were to murder the American missionary.


    Dorothy Stang had worked in the region for 30 years as an activist protecting the land rights of the poor and the environment.

    According to Tato, Taradão and Bida wanted Stang killed because she had denounced them for illegal deforestation. Taradão and Bida have still not been tried.

    Prosecution was hoping for a 30 year sentence, but as Feijooli cooperated with the investigation, he was given an 18 year term.

    The Stang family is satisfied with the conviction, but will not rest until the two ranchers are also behind bars. "We do not want revenge, but only justice, and it will come when those guilty are imprisoned," said David Stang, brother of Dorothy.

    Thursday, April 27, 2006

    Looking out from Muslim Indonesia

    I've had plenty of posts about the weirdness of muslims in Indonesia.

    It is so interesting to analyze the local thinking with an eye on judging the
    feasibility of every being able to successfully communicate.

    Here we
    find that Islam is a main pillar of democracy, and that the United States and
    allies should not hurt the feelings of Islamic communities… because hurt
    feelings promote radicalism.

    And the radicals? They are mainly the
    consequence of the radical’s efforts to battle for morality.. the morality
    opposed to pornography and gambling.

    So are these the things on Western
    minds? Is this how we see Islamic radicals? No.

    Can the two
    civilization’s view of the world hope to communicate? Only by a miracle wrought
    by God.


    "Islam has been functioning as the main pillar of democracy in Indonesia," the chairman of Indonesia`s second largest Islamic organization, Muhammadiyah, Dr Din Syamsuddin, said in a lecture at Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, earlier this week.

    Din who is also a professor of political sciences at the Jakarta state Islamic Univeristy, said the values of democracy were inherent with Islamic teachings which put emphasis on consensus.

    Between Islam and democracy, there was a compatibility in which Islam was able to give more contribution to the development of democracy with ethics and moral values.

    In a question and answer session, many questions were more focussed on the future of democracy in Indonesia in light of the existence of radical groups which fail to respect pluralism and multiculturism.

    Din in his ansers did not deny that the radical groups were there. But he said their radicalism was more defined in the context of enhancing morality. They emerged as a consequence of poor law enforcement against various forms of immorality such as gambling and pornography.

    The most important thing , Din further said, was that the United State as the superpower and its allies should not carry out an approach that may hurt the feelings of the Islamic community, thus prompting radicalism.

    Right... can't we all just learn to "get along"?

    Wednesday, April 26, 2006

    The Apostles and the Paraclete

    So nicely said, which is usual for the Pope.


    "Thanks to the Paraclete," he continued, " the early apostolic community was able to experience the Risen Lord. Successive generations do the same, as the faith is transmitted and lived through faith, worship and the communion of the People of God. ... This transmission of the 'things' of salvation is what constitutes the apostolic tradition of the Church." The Holy Spirit "actualizes the salvific presence of the Lord Jesus, through the ministry of the apostles ... and through the entire life of the people of the new covenant."

    This ongoing actuality of the active presence of the Lord Jesus in His people - worked by the Holy Spirit and expressed in the Church through the apostolic ministry and fraternal communion - is the theological meaning of the term Tradition. It is not just a material transmission of what was originally given to the Apostles, but the effective presence of the Lord Jesus ... Who, in the Spirit, accompanies and guides the community He gathered."

    "Tradition," Pope Benedict concluded, "is the communion of the faithful around legitimate pastors over the course of history, a community nourished by the Holy Spirit. ... It is the organic continuity of the Church, ... the permanent presence of the Savior Who comes out to meet, redeem and sanctify us in the Spirit."

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Catholics to ease condom band? I don't believe it

    I just don't believe it will be OK for married folks to use condoms if one or the other has AIDS.

    To me if there is not preocretaion possible, sex is out. The Church also allows older, seemingly infertile couples to have sex as long as they are open to procreation, along Sarah's route of miricle.

    We shall see. I can not see a way to reconstruct the basis to move sex simply to it's unitive power when procreation is still possible although deadly. If this unravels, all sex between loving couples will be sanctioned eventually. It will not unravel.

    One year after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican, in a reversal of church doctrine, is prepared to allow the use of condoms to combat AIDS.


    In a victory for reform-minded critics of the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI has now reversed the Catholic Church's long-standing position with regard to the use of condoms to combat the spread of the HIV virus.

    Only last week Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the highly influential former Archbishop of Milan, set a precedent by making a public appeal to at least permit condom use to prevent the transmission of deadly viruses.

    "We need to do everything possible to combat AIDS. Under certain conditions, the use of condoms is necessary. Those who are afflicted have an obligation to protect the other partner," he told the Italian weekly newsmagazine L'Espresso. At the same time, he emphasized that this was not a green light for the church to actively start distributing condoms.

    Though many German Catholics take pride that the pope is a fellow countryman, the reaction towards the pontiff has been mixed from progressive Catholics. However the easing of the church's absolutist position on the use of artificial means of birth control suggests Pope Benedict XVI could bring the church more in line with social realities and reformist views.

    Sunday, April 23, 2006

    Some movement on AIDS and Condoms specifically within marriage?

    Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, the head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, declined to reveal the contents of the document in an interview published in Sunday's la Repubblica newspaper, but said Pope Benedict had asked his department to study the issue.


    The former archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who was standard bearer for a moderate minority in the conclave that elected the Pope last year, called for a reform in an interview published in Italy on Friday.

    The Vatican opposes condoms as a form of contraception, but several cardinals have said in recent years that using them is a lesser evil if the alternative is infection with AIDS.

    "This is a very difficult and delicate subject that requires prudence," said Mexican-born Barragan.

    "My department is studying this closely with scientists and theologians expressly assigned to draft a document that will be issued soon," he said.

    Sneeky condoms

    Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini of Milan has expressed his support for the limited use of condoms, contrary to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. In certain situations condom use is the lesser evil he told news magazine L'espresso.


    "There is the particular situation of married couples in which one of the spouses is affected by AIDS. This person has an obligation to protect the other partner and the other partner also has to protect themselves, he said.

    This is probably just hype. It could very well be a lesser evil. So what? Evil is not something to assist our Salvation. That doesn't mean he supports condoms. Although he has a strange way of showing his fidelity to the Church.

    But let's give a Cardinal the benefit of the doubt.... then watch him carefully. He was considered a contender in the Papal election. Probably stating his case for the next opportunity.

    Good.. there should be no misunderstanding among the other Cardinals as they cast their vote guilded by the Holy Spirit.

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Without borders is to be without Country. I hope we find a solution quickly

    Who's assimilating whom?


    Mexican pop diva Gloria Trevi, Puerto Rican reggaeton star Don Omar and other Latino artists have recorded a bilingual version of the U.S. national anthem in a show of support for migrants in the United States.

    "We decided to re-record 'The Star-Spangled Banner' to show our solidarity with the undocumented migrants," said UBO President Adam Kidron.

    "Today we are Americans and 'The-Star Spangled Banner' represents everything to us."

    The recording, dubbed "Nuestro Himno" or "Our Anthem," is set to "urban Latino rhythms" but respects the song's traditional structure.

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Good kids in Arlington

    Nearly 150 teens traveled to the Diocese of Arlington last week for the 'Youth for the Third Millennium Mega Mission'--an outreach of Regnum Christi--for a week of door-to-door evangelization.


    The participants went door-to-door several times during Holy Week, from Wednesday to Saturday. They explained that they were Catholic missionaries and invited people to attend Holy Week activities at the parish, including a Living Stations of the Cross, performed by young people from St. Mary of Sorrows. Some attended.

    The teens returned with stories. Some people had welcomed them into their homes and listened to what they had to say. They met people who didn't know how to return to the Church or didn't realize they were welcome back. Others were less positive, slamming the door in the young people's faces or expressing their anger toward the Church.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    How the Pope looks Catholic to the rest of the world

    A year ago today, white smoke wafted from the Sistine Chapel's chimney... commentators internationally indulged in an inordinate amount of speculation on the damage Ratzinger's appointment might do to Catholic-Muslim relations.

    ... that had been a central theme in John Paul's pontificate. No other pope in history has done so much to build harmonious bridges to the Muslim world. This was a man who apologised officially for the Crusades and the transgressions of colonialism.

    But Joseph Ratzinger, as Pope Benedict XVI, was widely fancied to bring much of this work undone. Partly this was because, as a cardinal, he had not demonstrated the same passion for outreach to Muslims as other mooted candidates such as Venice's Angelo Scola, Milan's Dionigi Tettamanzi or Nigeria's Francis Arinze.

    Partly, too, it stemmed from Ratzinger's opposition to Turkey's inclusion in what he called the "Christian-rooted EU".

    Precisely why anyone thought this should pose a fatal problem is unclear. It is emphatically unremarkable that a cardinal would make an exclusive claim to truth on behalf of Christianity, which by definition implies deficiencies in other theologies. Indeed, as much is claimed by proponents of most great religious traditions.

    Yet for the predominantly secular international commentariat, this made conflict inevitable. Such conventional pessimism simply served to demonstrate a comprehensive misunderstanding of the basis for interfaith dialogue. It assumes that fruitful and harmonious interfaith relationships can exist only in a world of postmodern relativism. This presents a false dichotomy: that people either agree or live in hostility.

    But even John Paul was never a relativist. His acknowledgement of theological similarities never led him to deny differences or surrender his conviction of the exclusive truth of Christianity. If anything, this only made his interfaith engagement more meaningful.

    If any of this needed demonstration, Benedict's first year has provided it. The very day after his installation Mass, in one of his first official acts as Pope, he made history by inviting Muslim leaders to the Vatican, pledging to build "bridges of friendship" between Catholics and Muslims. He even condemned the publication of now infamous cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in European newspapers.

    Few would expect Pope Benedict to match his predecessor's phenomenal efforts in interfaith relations. Even so, with no sign of relativism on the horizon, he has made an impressive start. Perhaps now we can feel comfortable with the fact that the Pope is Catholic.

    It's nice to see a non-religious based article like the fact that Catholic
    is Catholic, or it's not.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    It's not the National I.D. Number that's the problem.. it's Human Nature

    Only God should know everything about us. In Human Nature I (do not) trust.


    Dan O'Connell Society has a new name: Defenders of Church Society

    Well, I only know what I read. I guess I don't know enough about this group
    to say one way or the other.. except

    It's up there that that crazy St. Joan of Arc Church is.


    David Pence believes that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is broken and that he and his followers have been called to fix it.

    On Tuesday night, the leader of a group of orthodox laymen called the Defenders of Church Society told about 150 people at a meeting in St. Paul that the archdiocese is violating canon law by tolerating sexual activity by gay and straight priests and covering up a gay subculture that Pence blames for the priest sex abuse scandal.

    During his impassioned two-hour speech, Pence asserted that "a fraternity of Catholic men" must confront church leaders about "a culture of deceit" that does not respect priestly celibacy and other church laws.

    2 hour speech.. that's always a questionable sign.

    McDonough called Pence's charges "dead wrong."

    "I am very versed in church law, and our approach to discipline is respected around the nation," he said. "The archdiocese expects every one of our priests to live his vows with integrity, and that includes vows of celibacy."

    "It is hardly a new insight to suggest that there are sinners in the clergy," he said. "When it happens, we address it."

    McDonough accused Pence of "skewering people's reputations and spreading the wildest of rumors on the Internet."

    "That, to me, is inexcusable," he said.

    Until recently, Pence's group called itself the Dan O'Connell Society.

    Here's a previous post that sounded a lot better.


    He said that he met with Pence and that the cases Pence raised had already been investigated and addressed. "I have a lot of real work to do, so rehashing old, already investigated matters is not worth a lot of my time," McDonough said.

    and a link re St Joan's up there...


    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Happy Birthday Pope.. how many candles again???

    It was a dramatic entrance. A single white candle carried by the Pope cast the only light in St Peter's Basilica. Benedict then shared its flame with others, the church finally awash with the twinkle of candles held by thousands of worshippers.

    Easter Sunday also coincided with Benedict's 79th birthday.


    Sunday, April 16, 2006

    Yet another cartoon offense

    " Muslims outraged by new cartoon of Prophet in Hell"


    The drawing appears in Studi Cattolici, a monthly magazine with links to the ultra-conservative Roman Catholic group, Opus Dei. It shows the poets Virgil and Dante on the edge of a circle of flame looking down on Mohammed.

    "Isn't that man there, split in two from head to navel, Mohammed?" Dante asks Virgil.

    "Yes and he is cut in two because he has divided society," Virgil replies. "While that woman there, with the burning coals, represents the politics of Italy towards Islam."

    "Why all the fuss over a cartoon which only represents that which has already been written centuries ago by Dante Alighieri?"

    Dante placed Mohammed in Hell in Canto 28 of The Divine Comedy. His work inspired a painting by William Blake, depicting Mohammed with his entrails hanging out, and a fresco in Bologna Cathedral showing him being tortured by a devil.

    A spokesman for the Union of Italian Muslim Communities called it "odious and racist". He said: "The rage was just calmed and here, with an absurd and criminal logic, they go and stir things up."

    Funny, I don't think I use absurd and criminal logic. But just like them, I
    would be the last to realize it.

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Chicago not happy.. both liberals and conservatives

    By midweek, two conservative Catholic groups, the Ad Hoc Committee for the Prevention of Clergy Sex Abuse and the Roman Catholic Faithful, also were asking for the cardinal to resign. Can't the archdiocese see how hard it is for the Catholic faithful to be involved in such a request? Or are they just waiting for us to get back in our pews and pray, pay and obey? I'm sorry, but this scandal isn't just going to go away.

    Despite what Dolan thinks, this scandal isn't about only one priest. It's about how one cardinal and his archdiocesan leadership has handled this entire situation involving innocent children, our church's future.


    The Image of the Cross

    “I grew up in a Christian tradition that rarely if ever displayed the crucifix. In fact, I can remember a time when I had been given a crucifix and later I was asked why would I want such a thing since ‘Jesus didn’t stay on the cross.’“

    Twenty years later, I’ve gotten past that comment and am able to say that I love the crucifix,” Strom said. “For the Evangelical Covenant Church and ‘The Well,’ it is a both/and proposition and it is with great anticipation that we walk through this holy week with both the crucifix and the cross as symbols of God’s great love for the world.”


    For about a month each year, the beautiful tapestry of the resurrected Christ that usually hangs behind the altar at St. Mary’s Catholic Church temporarily disappears so church members can reflect instead on a painting of Jesus nailed to the cross, a crown of thorns pressed into his forehead.

    The stark display of Jesus’ agony mounted high above the platform reminds people of the price of salvation, the Rev. John Henderson said of the Lenten tradition at St. Mary’s, where he serves as pastor.“

    We need to realize what Easter’s all about,” he said. “It’s too easy to focus on the glory of the Resurrection and to say he rose from the dead, without seeing the pain and agony of Jesus dying for our sins.”

    Henderson explained that the Roman Catholic Church’s commitment to the crucifix flows out of the desire to experience, at least emotionally, the ordeal Jesus went through.

    “We see the body of Christ that suffered and died for us,” he said.

    He thinks a lot of people simply don’t understand Catholic traditions. They may see an emphasis on what Jesus went through on the cross and think that Catholics still see Jesus there, he said. “But that’s not true.”

    Catholics appreciate the traditional crucifix as a symbol of God’s sacrificial love for mankind. Orthodox Christians prefer a cross upon which Jesus has already died and is no longer suffering, and most mainline and evangelical churches emphasize the empty cross as a symbol of Jesus’ power over death.

    Father James Baglien, the priest at St. Martin’s Orthodox Church, explained the differences between the Orthodox view of the cross and other groups is consistent with their approach to religious imagery in general.

    Catholics focus on the suffering of Jesus, but Orthodox iconography is traditionally dispassionate by intent, he said. Protestants’ tendency is to avoid imagery, especially when it could become the subject of veneration, he continued. “To them the cross is more of a symbol than reality depicted.”

    The primary difference between an Orthodox crucifix and traditional ones is that Jesus is already dead, Baglien said.“

    It is a sober depiction but at the same time it’s not tragic — it shows a serenity Christ has in having completed his redemptive work.”

    The emphasis of the Orthodox tradition is not on the passion of Jesus suffering but on the finished sacrifice, he added. “In Orthodox thinking, this is the ultimate act of love.”

    Friday, April 14, 2006

    How to break the Church

    Nothing we don't already know. It just seemed to me like a good Good Friday

    ...the Crusades, which were a series of military pilgrimages (1075-1271). Their main purpose was to recapture the Holy Land from Muslim cultural imperialism. Unlike Jesus, Muhammad was a warrior whose religion used violence to advance its religious teachings. Enlightened historians, who despise the religious nature of Western Civilization, have egregiously inverted history to portray the Muslims as the innocent victims of an imperial West, motivated by the greed and religious bigotry of the Catholic Church. What they have failed to teach is the fact that the Crusades were a defensive reaction to the Muslim invasion of Europe, taking nearly seven hundred years to repel.


    The Inquisition is also another favorite of the Church's enemies.

    The Galileo affair.

    ...the clerical sexual abuse scandal that is arguably the worst affliction to hit the Church in 500 years. While no one should attempt to defend the indefensible, much can be said to put the situation in its proper context. There is serious doubt that this scandal, unsurprising in a sexually charged culture, had anything to do with pedophilia or was related to the Church's celibacy discipline. About 90% of the verifiable cases involved male adolescents. The mainstream media and the American hierarchy seem to have used pedophilia as a code word to mask the reality of homosexuality in the priesthood.

    After Vatican II, Church teachings on Heaven, Hell and judgment started to fade to the back of the Church. Notions of universal salvation spewed from the pulpits. Over 100 years ago the Church identified this heresy as religious indifferentism.

    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, an absolute indifference to religion is common to all atheistic and materialistic societies. What has emerged in the West is what the Catholic Encyclopedia calls restricted indifference, another of the pernicious outgrowths of the French Enlightenment. These advocates, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, hold that since all religions were essentially the same, God looked only into the sincerity of one's heart. To say that the contradictions, errors, half-truths and falsehoods, protected under the mantle of religion, please God, is an egregious thought that is dangerous in practice.

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    Bush and the Bishop

    Only in its third year, the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast has become one of the premier events for Catholics in the nation. Close to 2,000 people attended this year’s breakfast.


    "In some of the most advanced parts of our world, some people no longer believe that the desire for liberty is universal," Bush said. "Some people believe you cannot distinguish between right and wrong. The Catholic Church rejects such a pessimistic view of human nature, and offers a vision of human freedom and dignity rooted in the same self-evident truths of America's Founding. ... Freedom is a gift from the Almighty, and because it is universal, our Creator has written it into all nature. To maintain this freedom, societies need high moral standards. And the Catholic Church and its institutions play a vital role in helping our citizens acquire the character we need to live as free people."

    The President cited the Pope on what sort of character our society should have. "Like his predecessor, Pope Benedict understands that the measure of a free society is how it treats the weakest and most vulnerable among us," Bush said. "In his Christmas homily, the Pope noted that the Savior came to earth as a 'defenseless child,' and said that the splendor of that Christmas shines upon every child, born and unborn.

    Bishop Morlino gave a forceful speech exploring the impetus behind and techniques of that dictatorship of relativism that Bush implicitly condemned.

    He noted that glaring inconsistencies in American life and law are not aberrations, but are part and parcel of relativism. After all, there is no imperative for a relativist to be consistent. "This inconsistency is especially neuralgic because the civil law is our teacher," he said. "We have the very same individuals protesting against warrantless surveillance of possible terrorists' activities, and then in the northwest, affirming warrantless surveillance of people's garbage containers to ensure that no recyclables are to be found. On the one hand, warrantless surveillance with regard to possible terrorism is politically incorrect while warrantless surveillance of personal garbage is politically correct.... A second example of this inconsistency has to do with killing of a mother who is carrying a child. In certain instances, the murderer is charged with the death of two human beings, both mother and child. However, if a woman exercises her alleged reproductive rights and has an abortion, the law clearly determines that no crime of murder has been committed. Thus, a human life is precious when someone thinks it is, be it a parent or be it a civil court, and when that life is deemed not to be human or otherwise be without value, then it is expendable."

    "Choice" has long been a term of great power, appealing to many Americans, but curiously, it is consistently applied to only one issue. "I've never heard anyone defend a pro-choice position with regard to bank robbery," Morlino noted. "The only time this expression is used without reference to what we're pro-choice about is when the most innocent and helpless human being is at stake. Pro-choice is synonymous with pro-abortion because no one speaks of pro-choice in any other context. Pro-choice is a euphemism that causes us to forget the baby."

    Even the very word "truth," said the Bishop of Madison, seems to be giving way to the word "transparency" as a goal of public discourse.

    In a country where a popular President remained popular despite his perjurious redefinitions of "sexual relations" and "alone," not to mention his questioning of the definition of the word "is," can we hope to succeed in resolidifying the definitions of "human," "child," and "marriage"?

    Said Bishop Morlino, "The law of reason within us when given unrestricted range cannot arrive at any other truth in the end than the truth of Jesus Christ. He is Risen, His victory is ours. The challenges are difficult but we have every reason, the reason who is Christ Himself, never to give in to discouragement. Our faith in which alone our reason finds total fulfillment, that faith is our sure victory."

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Guilt and shame are two of the most difficult things

    "Guilt and shame are two of the most difficult things to deal with after an abortion," the woman said. "I don't know if they have talked with any woman who has had an abortion - about what they actually need and if the statue will provide solace."

    The statue portrays Mary kneeling and huddled in a fetal position, cradling baby Jesus. It measures 3 feet high, more than 3 feet wide and nearly 2 feet deep.


    A SCULPTURE OF the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, proposed as a "memorial for the victims of abortion" at Villanova University, has upset some students, including some who oppose abortion.

    Villanovans for Life, which spearheaded the monument effort, says the statue "will memorialize those who have died as a result of legalized abortion and all those who suffer physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually due to abortion," according to the group's Web site.

    Pro-life freshman Clint Gilliam agrees with the concept of the statue, but thinks its high-profile placement is a bad idea.

    "It's just a little in your face," he said. "It sort of makes people who don't believe in those things uncomfortable."

    "I feel that putting up a statue like that completely counters the diversity we're trying to advocate or uphold," said Costello, 19, who thinks the memorial could alienate non-Catholics.

    University spokeswoman Barbara K. Clement said that while Villanova does seek racial and economic diversity, it is a Roman Catholic, Augustinian university.

    "The statue would be within the precepts of faith," Clement said.

    The anti-abortion monument might be the first on the East Coast.

    At least two schools in the Midwest have such memorials, the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    What Saudi's whispering angel has wrought

    The practice of any religion other than Islam is forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Meetings held privately in people’s homes, among friends, are also banned.


    A Catholic Indian priest was yesterday forced to leave Saudi Arabia. He was discovered by the religious police as he organized a prayer meeting in the lead-up to Easter. Arrested on 5 April, he remained in police custody for four days and on Saturday 8th April he left for India.

    On 5 April, Fr George had just celebrated mass in a private house when seven religious policemen (muttawa) broke into the house together with two ordinary policemen. The police arrested the priest and another person.

    The Saudi religious police are well known for their ruthlessness; they often torture believers of other religions who are arrested.

    AsiaNews sources said there were around 400,000 Indian Catholics in Saudi Arabia who were denied pastoral care. Catholic foreigners in the country number at least one million: none of them can participate in mass while they are in Saudi Arabia. Catechism for their children – nearly 100,000 – is banned.

    Built into this odd muslim religion are the seeds of conflict and
    isolation. Very clever trick by whoever that whispering angel was. This around
    the year 616 or 666.

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    Savage doesn't care anymore

    On the drive home from work, it is fun to hear Mike Savage on the radio
    ripping differnt topics in modern culture and government.

    He has a "way out there" view on a lot of things. I didn't hear this diatribe
    on the Church, but I have heard him say more and more often that "I just don't
    care anymore".

    It's not so funny if he is having a real mental breakldown.


    It is a pig story! It’s animal farm all over again. And also make no bones about it, it’s the greedy Catholic Church that was behind it because the people of America walked away from the molesters’ dens and they need to bring in people from the Third World who are still gullible enough to sit there and listen to the molesters…the Roman Catholic Church was behind this, the Roman Catholic Church started this a year ago. The Roman Catholic Church flooded the streets because they cannot get parishioners anymore amongst educated white people who have caught onto the racket and instead they need to import dummies to sit in the church pews. That’s the story and it is not difficult for you to understand—I’m telling you the truth. It’s all about greed. It’s greed at the top of the Catholic Church.

    Make no mistake about why this is happening. This has nothing to do with compassion for Mexican workers. This has nothing to do with fairness for Mexican workers—it has to do with the greed…. That’s all there is to it. And that includes the Catholic Church pigs. And if you don’t like it, don’t listen to the show—I really don’t care anymore. I’m not going to be duped by this sanctimonious garbage that all churches are good and that the institution itself is good. Bah humbug. The institution is rotten from the top to the bottom.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Islam, religion of pieces

    Here's a video you really should not let into your memory. But this is life in the hard world.

    All I can say is that this is what can happen when you go beyond the Old Testament and beyond Jesus into something dark, without Light.

    Do not enter with out removing any rose colored glasses you may have accumulated .


    God help us.

    Turkey in the EU? Maybe in 200 years

    The Pope has made several comments about Turkey, and the EU.. none of them

    “In the course of history, Turkey has always represented a different continent, in permanent contrast to Europe. Making the two continents identical would be a mistake. It would mean a loss of richness, the disappearance of the culture to the benefit of economics.”

    He openly based his opposition to Turkey’s admission to the European Union on the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country. “Europe has a culture which gives it a common identity. The roots which formed ... this continent are those of Christianity,” he declared.




    The controversy over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad was at a full roar on the Sunday morning that a bullet pierced the Rev. Andrea Santoro's heart, so the 61-year-old Catholic priest was initially counted as a casualty of a moment, an especially volatile one between two faiths talking loudly past each other.


    But among residents of this small city overlooking the Black Sea, another explanation took firm hold in the weeks that followed the Feb. 5 killing near the altar of the only church within a hundred miles. The priest was a missionary, residents whispered to one another, and his death resulted from a dispute over the money Turks have long believed missionaries pay to Muslims they are trying to convert.

    "Everybody says he was paying a lot of youngsters -- college students -- 100 euros per month to convert them,"

    "We have no money," said Bishop Luigi Padovese, vicar apostolic of Anatolia. "I gave Andrea 300 euros a month. If he gave 100 to each person. . . ."

    But if the local version of events appears to have scant grounding in fact, it is anchored in a deep-seated mistrust of Christianity in Turkey, a nominally secular republic that U.S. officials frequently cite as a democratic model for the Muslim world.

    With perhaps 100,000 Christians in a population of 70 million, Turkey officially tolerates and protects faiths other than Islam. Unlike Afghanistan, which last month threatened to execute a Christian convert, the country has no laws barring Muslims from leaving the faith or against attempts to lure them away.

    Yet Turkish police charged 293 people with "missionary activity" from 1998 to 2001, a state minister told parliament recently. People who place calls to Christian groups operating inside Turkey are warned against uttering the word "missionary" on an open phone line.

    "Lots of my friends say 'the M word,' " one receptionist said.
    The tension dates at least to the 13th century, when Christian Crusaders sacked what is today Istanbul.

    "Missionaries and the Crusades are related," Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs declared in a pamphlet published last June. The directorate, which exercises control over all Turkish mosques, distributed a sermon for Friday prayers nationwide a year ago. Imams warned worshipers that missionaries were involved in a plot to "steal the beliefs of our young people and children."

    Yes Turkey, everything is a Christian plot.

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Sweet Monks

    The monks also reserve a portion of the syrup for their own consumption.

    "We love it," said Brother John, who likes to see the finished product in jugs lined up and ready to go to the table or to the shop.

    Brother Augustine helps run the oil-fired evaporator in the sugar house attached to a large barn just up the road from the priory. What he likes best about working in the sugaring operation is the sweet smell from the sugar house as sap boils down to syrup and steam rolls up and out through a vent in the roof.

    But there's a special benefit to working in the operation, the two monks agreed with a smile: the taste test. "You have to be professional tasters in this business," said Brother John with a sparkle in his eye.


    The 13 monks at the priory bottle syrup in pint and half-pint plastic jugs with their own label. The syrup sells in their gift shop alongside their music: "Listen," "Wherever You Go," "Spirit Alive," "Go Up to the Mountain" and "So Full of Deep Joy."

    They own about 35 acres of sugar bush over three sites and alternate sugar bushes to allow the trees to rest for a few years between tappings.

    "We try to flow with nature rather than try to conquer it," said Benedictine Brother John Hammond. "It's not to squeeze as much out of it as we can but to encourage it to nourish us."

    Natural Law: You gota love it

    Catholics are almost alone in their grounding in Natural Law. It's another
    word for the common sense God gave us. Bishop Morlino from Madison, Wisconsin
    says good things about popular culture's wrestling match with God's law.


    He said the mass media and "those who pander to polls" keep society focused on relativism. They employ inconsistency between civil laws and practices and the use of language which hides the true meaning of certain activities to keep people from applying the moral standards of natural law to everyday life, he said.

    "Redefinitions, euphemisms and anomalies" are among the language games he said people use to make what under natural law would be morally unacceptable to everyone become an accepted part of the normal life, Bishop Morlino said. For example, he said, Supreme Court justices are urged to be "uniters not dividers" by upholding Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

    Yet it is the Roe decision itself that divides the country in the first place, he said.
    "Language games are very dangerous," Bishop Morlino said, citing the confusing use of the word "mother" in situations where a child is conceived by in-vitro fertilization, or an embryo is implanted in a woman with no biological connection to it, or a newborn baby is adopted by another woman.

    He encouraged the audience of about 1,600 people from around the country to try to encourage the acceptance of natural law as the prevailing moral principle of society and to come up with a "catchy sound bite" that would help get the philosophy into general public usage.
    Bishop Morlino described natural law as the innate understandings that humans of all backgrounds come to – that God exists, that human beings have unique dignity and that a union of one man and one woman for a lifetime is the way nature intended.

    From commonly used language to societal priorities, the "moral relativism" decried by Pope Benedict XVI often seems to be the only way to cope with modern times, said Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wis., urging participants at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast April 7 to work against that tide.

    Friday, April 07, 2006

    Nazis and the Pope

    Pope Benedict XVI said he became convinced he should become a priest to help confront what he called the “anti-human culture” of the Nazis in his native Germany.


    “There was the Nazi regime,” Benedict said. “We were told very loudly that in the new Germany ‘there will not be any more priests, there will be no more consecrated life, we don’t need this any more, find another profession’.”“But actually hearing these loud voices, I understood that in confronting the brutality of this system, this inhuman face, that there is a need for priests, precisely as a contrast to this anti-human culture,” he said.

    Asked by one student how he realised his own priestly vocation, Benedict said that during his youth in Germany it was more “normal” to accept faith and vocations than it was today.

    Courage and desire to confront the Nazi "anti-human culture". And "more
    'normal' to accept faith and vocations" than today.

    Today's young men certainly have the same anti-human culture to battle.
    Starting with my own youth experience, I would guess that what we lack is the
    courage to battle the new 'normal'.

    Pope Benedict : the Church of love is also the Church of truth

    Divisions among the faithful have been a sad experience of the Church since the earliest days, the Pope said, and the Church has been required to address those divisions, and admonish those who lose their faith, because "the Church of love is also the Church of truth."


    The Holy Father remarked that in the New Testament, the first epistle of St. John stands out for its emphasis on the love among Christians. Still, he observed, "the same voice addresses itself with drastic severity to those who were once members of the community, but are no longer."

    If necessary, to safeguard the faith the Church must break off ties with those who reject Catholic doctrine, the Pope said. The Church must always defend the true communion of believers, which "arises from the faith inspired by apostolic preaching." To do otherwise, the Pontiff said, would be to risk estrangement from the Holy Spirit.

    "Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God," Pope Benedict told a crowd of 30,000 people in a wind-swept St. Peter's Square. "And there the Spirit is, there is the Church and all grace."

    Remember the opposition Pope John Paul received when he stood by the
    statement that the Church alone held the full means of Salvation?

    I wonder who will hear this from Benedict, and begin the valuable
    argument again. The status quo for our separated brothers and sisters is not
    tolerable, not in service to Truth.

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Bishop Bruskewitz: National Review Board.. who are these people?

    One of the members of the Board is Leon Panetta, who as a politician—both in the executive and in the legislative branches of the federal government—was devoted to promoting and fostering and permitting the heinous practice of abortion.


    Another one of the members is Dr. Michael Bland, who, as I understand it, is an employee of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Dr. Bland is a former priest. I don’t think, as of this present conversation, that he has ever been canonically laicized. He claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by a religious superior in his religious order. But I don’t think that Michael Bland is in good standing in regard to the Church and in regard to his ordination.

    Why is Alice Bourke Hayes, the former president of the University of San Diego, on the Board? When she was at the University of San Diego, she put a known homosexual man in charge of religious studies; she also, as I understand it, had a Gay and Lesbian Club on her campus.

    Robert Bennett was known as a high-powered, very expensive Washington lawyer, who was the attorney for President Clinton through the time of the partial-birth abortion veto and through the episodes of sexual immorality in the Oval Office and through the whole drama of impeachment. What qualifies him to be on this Board? I don’t know.

    Adopt a Nun

    A Roman Catholic religious order in Connecticut, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, has raised $5 million dollars so far through its Adopt-a-Sister program.


    The sisters are a teaching order without the support of a bishop or a diocese, so they must raise money to care for the 45 nuns who live at their retirement home.

    The money has been used to help build a retirement home for aging nuns, some of whom are in their 90s.

    Donors to the program get an adoption certificate, the sister's picture and a promise of daily prayer. Some people correspond by e-mail with the nuns they've adopted.One donor in Connecticut has adopted the nun who was her second-grade teacher.

    Link to adopt...

    What a brilliant adaptation to engage today's culture.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    The Red Sea Parting: Fool me once

    I remember how easily I accepted the natural explaination for the parting of the
    Red Sea for Moses and the people. A dry wing, blowing over many days, over the
    shallow "reed sea" permitted the crossing.


    Here the good professor offers a new theory for when Jesus walked on the

    Nof, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University, said on Tuesday that his study found an unusual combination of water and atmospheric conditions in what is now northern Israel could have led to ice formation on the Sea of Galilee.

    The study found that a period of cooler temperatures in the area between 1,500 and 2,600 years ago could have included the decades in which Jesus lived.

    A drop in temperature below freezing could have caused ice -- thick enough to support a human -- to form on the surface of the freshwater lake near the western shore, Nof said. It might have been nearly impossible for distant observers to see a piece of floating ice surrounded by water.

    "If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don't," Nof said. "Maybe somebody walked on the ice, I don't know. I believe that something natural was there that explains it."

    Professor Doron Nof also theorized in the early 1990s that Moses's parting of the Red Sea had solid science behind it.

    When he offered his theory 14 years ago that wind and sea conditions could explain the parting of the Red Sea, Nof said he received some hate mail, even though he noted that the idea could support the biblical description of the event.

    So Peter would have also, I suppose, been walking on ice until his faith
    wavered. Then Jesus reached out his hand to lift Peter unto a better chunk of

    Funny how the bible forgot this little piece of the story. Not so funny how
    easily I believed the guy the 1st time around with the Red Sea theory.

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    The lost have to go somewhere.. sometimes they become mormons

    "The number of new members here is just utterly amazing," said Allan Barker, president of the Massachusetts temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the faith is formally known.


    It's also a step more people are taking in the heavily Roman Catholic U.S. Northeast, where Mormon numbers have jumped 37 percent in 10 years, nearly double the religion's national growth rate of 21 percent, church data show.

    The once-isolated sect based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is now one of the world's fastest-growing and affluent religions, with 12.3 million members globally. More than half live outside the United States, including a flourishing Latin American flock.

    Like Catholicism, Mormonism offers clear-cut answers to big theological questions. In contrast, she said, American Protestantism offers greater room for spiritual debate.

    Barker, 79 and a Utah native, recalls the suspicion he faced in Boston in the early 1950s. Once, when a furniture saleswoman found she was talking to a Mormon, she turned to Barker's wife and exclaimed: "How could you live with this man?"

    "Here we are 50 years later," he said. "It's remarkable how much things have changed."

    Yes remarkable.

    For other kind words about mormons, please see...

    Immigration Fast and Bush

    As legislators consider proposed immigration reforms this week, the head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese is calling for Catholics to fast and pray in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.


    "Let us fast in solidarity with those members of our community, especially the undocumented, who often endure lives of deprivation and hardship," Mahony said in a statement.

    On another immigration topic, I was finished listening to Bill Clinton when
    he shook his finger at me and said "I did not have sex with that woman".

    Bush has been coming close to that lately. Not an outright lie, but like
    Clinton, he shows little respect in this immigration debate for the intelligence
    of his listeners.

    Bush over and over says that the illegal aliens are simply taking jobs that
    Americans will not do or want. As if these job situations at slave wages were
    something normal. They are not.

    All jobs have a bottom level of pay at which economics says people will not
    be attracted to them. The prevailing wage then becomes something slightly above
    that bottom level.

    Americans will not work at the wages offered, but desperate illegal
    employees will. Certainly these jobs existed for a long time and were filled by
    Americans before the immigrants came. But the natural American greed for
    the cheapest price in these fields has driven us to use illegitimate

    If the immigrants were not here to accept the jobs, the jobs themselves
    would change somehow to be more productive, or the wages would rise to attract
    workers. None of this economic system works when the rules of the game are
    broken by using foreign slaves.

    In my view, Bush is not speaking plainly about some important things. Even
    worse, he thinks little of me when he gives me a "nobody wants the jobs"
    explanation. Although I am sure his speechwriters would hope all things are
    going smoothly.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Remember the 'Litany of Saints' ?

    A year ago this week, an ancient chant calmed and connected more than a billion souls mourning the death of Pope John Paul II.


    As a dozen white-gloved footmen carried the pope's body through the crowd in St. Peter's Square two days after he died, a lone, unseen voice called out the names of saints. Name after name, each with the same intonation. After each name, the mourners responded: "Pray for him."

    Four days later, on April 8, 2005, the Litany of the Saints would be recited again at the pope's funeral.

    "When the Christian soul in distress can no longer find new words to implore the mercy of God, it repeats the same invocation over and over again in a blind faith," wrote French composer Jehan Alain, in an introduction to his 1937 piece, "Litanies." "The limits of reason are reached. Faith alone continues its ascent."

    The word "litany" comes from the Greek "litanea" and means "supplication." According to the Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, a litany is "a form of prayer made up of a series of petitions or invocations to which the faithful respond."

    Litanies invoking names of saints may have been used in the eastern church as early as the third and fourth centuries. In the western church there is evidence of the Litany of the Saints being used in Rome in the seventh century.

    "Because a litany is simple it could involve a lot of people who couldn't read," Turner said. "In the middle ages, in an illiterate society, the litany was popular because you could involve hundreds of people at a time."

    "One doesn't so much call to mind all the categories of saints and their individual life histories during a litany, as simply become caught up in the ritual experience of invoking a `cloud of witnesses' who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith," said the Rev. Michael J. Joncas, a liturgical composer and professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

    The litany's participants are "connected with the community of saints," said Bishop Edward K. Braxton, leader of the Belleville, Ill., diocese and a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's Committee on the Liturgy. "Not just the people in St. Peter's, but those all over the world and those who have died. These holy men and women lived their Christian lives successfully and by seeking their help in prayer we are pulling them around us, wrapping ourselves in their holiness."

    The Litany of the Saints "was one of the great highlights of the funeral," said Levine, who sat in the front with other dignitaries. "I had a powerful sense he had joined that ancient series of people of goodness."

    In the seven minutes the Litany lasted the names of 71 saints were invoked. Two of them were Polish Catholics John Paul himself had declared saints.

    the litany...

    Nebraska Bishop Bruskewitz kicks butt

    Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, has responded sharply to criticism from the US bishops' National Review Board about his refusal to cooperate with the Board's "audit" of diocesan plans for implementing national guidelines on sex-abuse programs.

    from The Cafeteria is Closed...

    Bishop Bruskewitz released this statement on March 31:

    Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln." The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

    It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

    The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

    The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

    And oh yes...

    Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, is the bishop of the diocese with the highest number of vocations per capita.

    He said he'd deny Communion to Kerry.

    He is known for being orthodox and fond of tradition.

    He allowed the building of a (successful) seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (Tridentine Mass).

    His is the only diocese without altar girls.

    This last item should make lawyer Papist in D.C. happy. His diocese in
    Arlington just started altar girls.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Pope John Paul II the Great

    Saturday, April 01, 2006


    The stones in the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth have the same origin as those of an altar at the Holy House of Loreto, says an archaeological study.


    Their finding has reopened discussion of the historicity of the mysterious transfer of the Holy House of Nazareth to Loreto.

    According to tradition, the house was translated miraculously from Nazareth to Tersatto (in present-day Croatia) in 1291 and then to Loreto.

    Giorgio Nicolini, author of a book on the Holy House, told ZENIT that, regarding "the authenticity of the Holy House of Loreto as Mary's 'true Nazarene House,' there was never any doubt other than on the part of those who are not acquainted with the secular studies in this respect; so much so that, for seven centuries, all the Supreme Pontiffs confirmed the authenticity with solemn canonical acts of 'approval.'"

    However, the new study, regarding the Altar of the Apostles, "is important because, in addition to providing a further proof of the authenticity of the Holy House of Loreto as Mary's 'Nazarene House, it also provides an even more spectacular 'proof' in regard to the miraculousness of the translation of the Holy House of Nazareth," said Nicolini.

    In this connection, Pope Pius IX wrote in the 1852 bull "Inter Omnia": "Venerated in Loreto is that House of Nazareth, so loved by the Heart of God, and that, built in Galilee, was later separated from its foundations and, by divine power, translated beyond the sea, first to Dalmatia and then to Italy."

    link to background

    Pope's April prayer intentions

    "that the Church in China may engage in its mission to evangelize with serenity and full freedom."

    "That the individual, social and political rights of women may be respected in every nation."

    catholic interest.