Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

  • ..the devil's in the details..
  • ... John 5 25-29 ...
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    Saturday, September 30, 2006

    Albania and the EU

    In a short ceremony at Castel Gandolfo, the Holy Father accepted the diplomatic credentials of Rrok Logu, the new Albanian envoy. The Pontiff said that Albania "could offer a particular contribution" to the unification of Europe.


    The Pope paid tribute to the people of Albania, whose striving "toward truth and freedom was never cancelled, not even by the long and weighty Communist dictatorship." That same spirit, he said, should help Albania today to support efforts to create a European culture that reflects the truth about human nature.

    Speaking about the role of the Church in Albanian society, the Pope mentioned the example set by Blessed Mother Teresa, an Albanian who "proclaimed to all that God is love and loves all men, especially the poor and the abandoned." The Church, Pope Benedict said, "wishes to testify to that love with her educational and social work," which served not only Catholics but the entire society.

    Albania is tied to the European Union by a pact arranged in 2000, providing for EU assistance to the country to help ensure stability in the Balkans. However, the question of Albania's membership in the European Union has not yet been settled.

    Pope prayers

    The Pope's general intention for October is: "That all those who are baptized may mature in their faith and manifest it through clear, coherent and courageous choices in life."

    The Pope's missionary prayer intention for the month is: "That the celebration of World Mission Day may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation."

    The 80th World Mission Sunday will be celebrated Oct. 22.

    Friday, September 29, 2006

    We just can't get better. Damn fallen nature.

    A “new barbarism” based upon an ideology of power is being bred, threatening world peace and fracturing the international community, the Vatican said at the United Nations, pointing to religion as a catalyst to lead the world to unity through dialogue.


    In a Sept. 27 speech on the closing day of the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly's ministerial meeting, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing the Vatican City State, told the 192-member U.N. General Assembly that terrorists as well as “superpowers, regional powers, aspiring powers and oppressed peoples” have all come at times to mistakenly yield to the belief that force bring about a just order.

    Among fundamental human rights, I would like to draw attention to three primary rights:

    a) Te right to life: the increasing recognition of the sacredness of life, witnessed also by the growing rejection of the death penalty, needs to be matched by a thorough protection of human life precisely when it is at its weakest, that is, at its very beginning and at its natural end;

    b) The right to religious freedom: the respect for religious freedom is the respect for the intimate relationship of the believing person with God – both in its individual and social aspects – of which there is nothing more sacred;

    c) The right to freedom of thought and expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to exchange ideas and information and the consequent freedom of the press: the observance of this right is necessary for the fulfillment of each person, for the respect of cultures and for the progress of science.

    We must acknowledge, however, that not all fundamental rights – and in particular the three which I have mentioned – are adequately protected in every nation, and, in not a few, they are openly denied, even among States sitting on the Human Rights Council.

    Like the old League of Nations, we probably need a new place, a new
    building, and new people. That last segment will be the hardest.

    Wolf in sheep's clothing, including braziere

    John Paul II did not like women and spent the entirety of his 26 years as pope working to put them in their “place” according to the new editor of the newspaper for the Catholic diocese of Anchorage, Alaska. On her personal weblog, Maia Nolan published a feminist diatribe replete with accusations that the late Pope was “an unbelievable misogynist.”


    Maia Nolan began work on the paper September 8th replacing John Roscoe, the founding editor of the Anchorage Catholic Anchor. The comments have since been removed from the 'blog, but have been cached by the Google search engine and are making the rounds of the internet, to the embarrassment of the Archdiocese.

    At the time of John Paul’s death in April 2005, Nolan wrote, “This pope, this benevolent, everyone’s-best-friend, Karol-from-Poland pope, was an unbelievable misogynist. News flash, kids: JP2 did not like women.”

    Writing under the pseudonym, “Myster,” and apparently referring to the late Pope’s reiteration of the Catholic teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests, Nolan wrote that the late Pope “spent the last 26 years working overtime to keep us in our place.”

    The nickname Myster. Ha, says a lot. Well, on 2nd thought, it's probably
    no worse than Ms.

    China bad even when it tries to be good

    China's Catholic church announced the opening of the country's largest seminary in Beijing on Thursday to train Chinese priests.


    "Under the joint leadership of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese Catholic Bishops' Conference, the National Seminary of the Catholic Church in China aims to train priests with sound Catholic theology to commit wholly to the Holy Catholic Church and dedicate themselves to their ministry," said Liu Bainian, vice president of the association.

    The Chinese government has provided 73.71 million yuan (US$9.214 million) to help with the construction of the seminary.

    Thursday, September 28, 2006

    Calling the bluff

    Social experiments are hard to control. I am surprised it took this long to blow up.


    As two Winnipeg sisters find out Tuesday if they've made the boys' hockey team at their high school, their recent human-rights victory has spurred boys to try out for girls' sports teams.

    Morris Glimcher, executive director of the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association, said Tuesday that several requests from boys wanting to play on girls' teams started coming shortly after the ruling was handed down on Friday.

    "We've had five requests already from boys saying: 'In the past, we haven't been eligible. But my school doesn't have a boys' team and we have a girls' team and we'd like to play,' " Glimcher said Tuesday.

    "Now that the rule has come down, I guess what they're saying [is] if it's gender equity, then let's make it gender equity. And that's the general theme of the calls that I've been getting."
    Glimcher said the five requests came from boys who want to play on girls' volleyball, basketball, curling and fastball teams. He said all of the requests so far have been serious requests from boys or their coaches.

    At the beginning of their journey

    Cardinal George Pell will warn the National Catholic Education Commission's annual conference today that young members of the church seem to regard life as a "smorgasbord of options from which they choose items that best suit their passing fancies".


    They are in danger of becoming muddled about their faith, he will warn the Sydney conference. And although inadequacies of family life and religious education are factors, they are not the only ones.

    Parents, parents, parents.

    "Too many young Catholics have been led by the pressures of contemporary propaganda ... so their religious confusion is worse than that of all other young Australians," he says.

    Cardinal Pell cautions that churches may be experiencing an acceleration in Christian "slippage, with Catholics slipping faster, although they have bigger numbers on the slope".

    Catholic education is experiencing a "complex and turbulent process of change" with "only limited capacity to transmit our tradition and preserve our identity", he says, citing the findings of the recent Spirit of Generation Y survey produced by the Australian Catholic University, Monash University and the Christian Research Association. He was surprised to find a mere 10 per cent of Catholics between the ages of 13 and 29 believed "only one religion is true". This compared with a survey average of 11 per cent, and 34 per cent among "other Christians". For Anglicans, the figure was 14 per cent.

    "The pressures on young Catholics beyond tolerance and ecumenism and towards muddle are evident here, channelled sometimes through the ill-effects of courses in comparative religion," says Cardinal Pell, also Archbishop of Sydney.

    Worse than the low numbers identifying Catholicism as the one true faith, and "particularly disturbing" for Catholic educators, is that 75 per cent of young Catholics believe it is acceptable to "pick and choose beliefs".

    Cardinal Pell says this indicates "a malaise and confusion in the general approach to life rather than just a few isolated points of heresy or unbelief".

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    You must be afraid of this head

    The tyranny of public health, political correctness, and the prophet's


    A leading opera house in Berlin, Germany canceled a 3-year-old production of Mozart's "Idomeneo" that included a scene showing the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, unleashing a furious debate over free speech.

    In a statement late Monday, the Deutsche Oper said it decided "with great regret" to cancel the production of the 225-year-old opera after Berlin security officials warned of an "incalculable risk" stemming from the scene.

    After its premiere in 2003, the production by Hans Neuenfels drew widespread criticism over the scene in which King Idomeneo presents the severed heads not only of the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, but also of Muhammad, Jesus and Buddha.

    "We know the consequences of the conflict over the (Muhammad) caricatures," the statement said. "We believe that needs to be taken very seriously and hope for your support."

    Kirsten Harms, director of the Deutsche Oper, told the Berliner Morgenpost on Tuesday that Berlin state police had warned of a possible - but not certain - threat, and she decided it would be in the best interest of the safety of the opera house, its employees and patrons to cancel the production.

    The devil.. oops the Catholics.. made me do it

    Oh what fun.

    Three Canadian Members of Parliament who identify themselves as Catholic have cited what they are calling their “religious faith” as the reason they supported the change in law identifying homosexual unions as “marriage” in Canada.


    “It was said that I voted for same-sex marriage in spite of my faith,” Tony Martin told Maclean’s. “In fact, that vote flowed out of my faith.” Bethune writes that Martin cited the “themes” of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960’s for inspiration, saying it was “all about tolerance, openness to the world and social justice.”

    Canadian Catholics have been especially known for promulgating a secularized, leftist concept of Catholic “social justice” teaching and the teaching on primacy of conscience. Authentic Church teaching is that neither can possibly allow for the acceptance of same-sex ‘marriage’. The Church teaches that Catholics have a duty to form their conscience according to the moral precepts laid out by the Church.

    Bethune quotes Charlie Angus who said that it was specifically Catholic teaching that inspired him to defend “minority rights” in supporting the homosexual “marriage” law. Angus said, “To be the champion of majority rules,” he says, “opens the door for other protected rights to be taken.”

    Joe Comartin concurred saying his decision was based on “the very underpinnings of Christian tradition. “You ask yourself that age-old question, what would Christ do?” he told Maclean’s. “What my faith taught me was his Christ’s love for humanity was an absolute fundamental, in many respects overriding all other considerations.”

    Minority rights. There are lots of minorities out there. Acting homosexual is
    not one of those. Race is one of those.

    God is all love. And also in a mysterious way he is also all Justice and all
    Truth and all Good. It's a little difficult to ask yourself "what would Jesus
    do?". Better to consult the Church guided by the Holy Spirit for that answer.
    Else, you may find yourself a but conflicted.

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    Another "sanctuary" episode

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame's Esmeralda and her living in "sanctuary" in
    the cathedral tower.

    I had to locate the dim organic memory banks to find just where this notion
    of Sanctuary had first impressed me so. The Church taking a stand against
    government for the sake of the poor and oppressed. I think there were also
    references to it in the original Zorro TV series.

    So that's what impressed the little boy in me so many years ago. I still
    think it is impressive.


    A Scottish prelate, who has supported the extension of Catholic church sanctuary to a Pakistani Christian couple who fears torture if the deportation order is carried out, has called on the British government to halt the move to return them.

    Christine and Masih Raymond, who have lived in Scotland since early 2004, were ordered to be returned to Pakistan on the evening of Sept. 20, but received sanctuary in the parish house of St. Patrick Church here.

    "As Christians we have no choice but to take sanctuary in St Patrick's Church,” the couple said in a statement. “Going back to be persecuted, tortured or even murdered in Pakistan is not an option."

    "It is morally unjustifiable to return people to a country where they have already been persecuted and are very likely to face further persecution,” said Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow.

    Father Gerry Nugent, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, offered the Raymonds his own quarters and assured them that he and the parish community will offer them shelter and support until the threat of extradition is lifted.

    Sunday, September 24, 2006


    Hello from another planet. Let's talk.

    The Revolutionary Leader said that the motivation of the inner soul and continued adoption of a sound approach are two keys to setting up a monotheistic community and to administer justice.


    Ayatollah Khamenei described the Foundation's major duties as the promotion of prayer by publicly propagating the significance of the divine and mandatory practice of prayer with a heartfelt presence.

    Ayatollah Khamenei urged other agencies to assist the foundation in this regard, adding that materializing these goals would consolidate a great global movement, the main pillar of which is the Iranian Islamic System.

    Thanks ayatollah, now on to the Pope and satan.

    In other remarks, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution expressed deep sorrow over the Pope's recent remarks on Islam and praised the Islamic world's reasonable response.

    "To Charge that Islam ignores rationality is like denying the sun, because no other Divine book puts the emphasis on wisdom and prudence as does the Quran. Moreover, the Islamic Umma's [community's] shining civilization of science took shape based on Islamic recommendations about wisdom, science and prudence," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

    "Islamic Jihad is not a tool for imposing one's opinions on others, but rather a movement of liberation against those powers that shackle humans with slavery," Ayatollah Khamenei added.

    "More significant than the Pope's unfortunate remarks is that behind the scenes, imperialist policies are sparking a religious crisis, causing the followers of different religions to confront one another and halt their cooperation."

    The Leader of the World's Muslims cautioned Islamic practitioners that the policies of the Great Satan (the American Government) are behind the Pope's remarks, adding that protests must be directed at those who benefited from and pursue their imperialist policies through the Pope's unfair remarks.

    There's also a link to a video that sounds really informative. I didn't


    Thursday, September 21, 2006

    Perpetual outrage

    I didn't intend to pay any more attention to this silly stuff, but I heard
    someone refer to islam as the religion of "perpetual outrage", and thought that
    was worth repeating.


    Benedict "should be removed from his position immediately for encouraging war and fanning hostility between various faiths" and "making insulting remarks" against Islam, said a joint statement issued by the clerics and scholars at the end of their one-day convention.

    The "pope, and all infidels, should know that no Muslim, under any circumstances, can tolerate an insult to the Prophet (Muhammad). ... If the West does not change its stance regarding Islam, it will face severe consequences," it said.

    About 1,000 Muslim clerics and religious scholars meeting Thursday in eastern Pakistan demanded the removal of the Pope for making what they called "insulting remarks" against Islam.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Pope think

    Both before and since his elevation to the papacy, Benedict has taken a consistent approach to controversial issues: he locates the assumptions and fundamental principles underlying the controversy, analyzes their "inner" structure or dynamism, and lays out the consequences of the principles.


    For example, in Deus Caritas Est, Benedict does not address directly the controversial issues of homosexual partners, promiscuity, or divorce. Instead he examines the "inner logic" of the love of eros, which is "love between man and woman, where body and soul are inseparably joined . . ." He shows that it has been understood historically to have a relationship with the divine ("love promises infinity, eternity") and to require "purification and growth in maturity ... through the path of renunciation". In love's "growth towards higher levels and inward purification ... it seeks to become definitive ... both in the sense of exclusivity (this particular person alone) and in the sense of being 'for ever'."

    So starting from the "inner logic" of the fundamental reality of love, Benedict concludes to an exclusive and permanent relationship between a man and a woman. That is a fair description of the Catholic idea of marriage, and it excludes homosexual partners, promiscuity, and divorce.Incidentally, in the very first paragraph of this encyclical, Benedict states: "

    In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence, this message [that God is love] is both timely and significant." Clearly the religious justification of violence is an aberration that's on his mind.

    Certainly, it may sound provocative to make the claim the Emperor did. But why (since Christians believe that God's full and definitive revelation has come with Christ, who brings all prophecy to an end) isn't it just as provocative for a Muslim to proclaim that Mohammed is a new prophet, bringing new revelation that corrects and supplements that of Christ?

    Is it really offensive to say that Christians and Muslims disagree profoundly about this? Is not this the necessary starting point that must be recognized before any religious dialogue can even begin?

    And if the response from Islam is violence, then must we not ask precisely the question raised by Benedict: Is this violence an aberration that is inconsistent with genuine Islam (as similar violence by Christians would be an aberration inconsistent with genuine Christianity)? Or is it justifiable on the basis of Islam's image of God as absolutely transcending all human categories, even that of rationality? And if the response to this question is violence, then the question has been answered existentially, and rational dialogue has been repudiated.

    The Pope's theological speech does not lend itself to the tabloid headings
    that are making the anger around the world.

    He is not an easy read that can be explained in modern sound bites.

    That he is sorry that he upset the rioting crowds is true, but he can not
    retract to the point of silencing disscussion. That is, if discussion is

    Monday, September 18, 2006

    Fall on your knees to the children of hate

    ``The pope should fall on his knees before a senior Muslim cleric and try to understand Islam," said Ahmad Khatami, an influential cleric in the Iranian holy city of Qom, according to television and wire service reports.


    Without a true apology, Khatami warned, ``Muslim outcries will continue until he fully regrets his remarks."

    Sporadic violence and protests against the pope continued in Islamic lands, with a Catholic nun shot dead in Somalia, churches set ablaze in the Palestinian West Bank, and hard-line Muslim clerics denouncing Benedict as an enemy of Islam.

    Two more churches were set ablaze yesterday in the Palestinian West Bank by Muslims protesting the pope's comments about Islam.
    In Qom, Muslim theological schools were officially closed so that students could protest against the pope.

    In the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Muslim gunmen killed an Italian nun at a children's hospital, although it was not immediately clear whether the killing was linked to the furor over the pope's remarks. Sister Leonella Sgorbati, a nun from the Missionaries of Consolation, died on a surgical table after being shot in the chest, stomach, and back. Her bodyguard was also killed.

    A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told Italy's ANSA news agency that he hoped the killing of the nun might be an isolated event.

    ``But we are worried about the consequences of this wave of hatred," he said. ``We hope it doesn't have grave consequences for churches around the world."

    And from the statement from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state:

    On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative message for the 20th anniversary of the Interreligious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: " ... demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. ... In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions."


    I don't think the mohotmets will like the "cultural limitations with which it is
    lived and develops in time" part.

    What are we seeing here? Give a child guns and bombs, an adult body, and a shriveled
    capacity to cope and you would perhaps get this type of response.

    Are these the folks you would care to be friends with? Enjoy discussions
    with? Find a common ground for praising God with?

    It has been said before and is being daily proved. This is not a clash of
    civilizations, but a defense of civilization. It is likely to be very painful,
    and all in God's good time.

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Iran thinking... can't you guys be rational?

    Now that the awakening movement of the Muslim world and Muslim unity is getting stronger, after the military invasion of Muslim countries by the United States, and after the glorious victory of Hezbollah over the Zionist occupying regime, it is not clear what reason were behind the Pope’s decision to hurt the feelings of the world Muslims and thus create grounds for conflicts that may hide western politicians’ failures.


    Why oh why, did the Pope hurt muslim feelings? By starting a controversy
    about the peacefulness of jihad their point of view is that the Pope has

    created grounds for conflicts and

    is hiding western political failures.

    The Pope’s unreasonable and illogical accusations against Islam signify his unawareness and lack of knowledge about Islam.

    Here we go again. People who are not muslim are unreasonable and illogical
    lacking knowledge.

    Pope Benedict XVI talks of Islam having spread via swords and violence, he forgets about his predecessors’ launching of the bloody Crusades against Muslim on irrational religious grounds.

    I would hate to even peek at the muslim understanding of the crusades. But
    it is interesting always to find that current muslim violence is seen as somehow
    a corrective to that ancient conflict. And whatever the muslim crusade view,
    they must be employing their particular rules of logic.

    To sum up their theme, the rest of the world is lacking knowledge and
    irrational. It sounds like high time to let the disscussions begin.

    The Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization called on all Muslims especially the Muslim scholars and thinkers to maintain vigilance against such premeditated attacks on Islam.

    I suspect the Pope's actions are indeed premeditated. His attempt to lance
    the boil to begin the healing.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    No one understands the prophet

    Again, they claim that nobody understands them. And that may be true.
    Non-muslims are not about to become muslims to foster understanding. Especially
    since to leave their club carries the death penalty.

    It is enough to quote the koran and monitor the fruits of this 'peaceful
    religion' as whispered to mahotmet by some angel.

    As I have always said, I doubt that angel was Gabriel as they claim, but some
    other angel all of us know too well.

    I would not be surprised if the Pope becomes a martyr over this. Something in his eyes tells me he is aware and unafraid and decided.


    A growing chorus of Muslim leaders have called on the Pope to apologize for the remarks he made in a speech in Germany on Tuesday when he used the terms "jihad" and "holy war." Pakistan's National Assembly, parliament's lower house, unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Pope's comments.

    "This statement has hurt sentiments of the Muslims," the resolution said.

    how little he understands Islam

    the Pope doesn't have a correct understanding of Islam

    could hurt "harmonious" relations

    the Pope misunderstood Islam and jihad

    Muslims can't eliminate jihad from the Islamic discourse, the same way Christians can't do away with the doctrine of Trinity

    We believe in respect for each other, freedom for Muslims to practice Islamic teachings

    Pope's statements might upset efforts to bring about a rapprochement

    Statements of this nature are very unhelpful

    No Pope has ever tried to attack the glory of Islam like this Pope

    Muslims must respond in a manner which forces the Pope to apologize

    In his speech at the University of Regensburg, Benedict quoted criticism of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who wrote that everything Mohammad brought was evil and inhuman, "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

    Benedict repeatedly quoted Manuel's argument that spreading the faith through violence is unreasonable, adding: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul."

    "Of course as we know the meaning of jihad can only be understood by Muslims," Budianto told the crowd. "Only Muslims can understand what jihad is. It is impossible that jihad can be linked with violence, we Muslims have no violent character." link

    Wouldn't it be clearer for these islam supporters to point out exactly how
    their beliefs foster peace prior to the whole world being converted to islam?
    They do not, because in their minds, this is the only way to achieve
    peace. One way or the other, everyone must get islamed.

    Unfortunatly for them, the rest of the world is not interested in that

    Her Kansas kinda faith

    In order to correct Catholics who may have been mislead by the Governor’s claim to be Catholic while advocating “safe, legal” abortion, the Bishop formally reiterated the Church teaching condemning abortion.


    “Therefore, by the authority which Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors, and in communion with the Bishops of the Catholic Church, I confirm that the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral . . . The deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of his life is always morally evil and can never be licit either as an end itself or as a means to a good end ”

    In conclusion Archbishop Naumann urged “all Kansas Catholics to pray for Gov. Sebelius that she might reconsider her long held position supporting legalized abortion.” He added: “Regarding the Catholic Church ’s teaching concerning abortion, let no one be confused. The church’s understanding, as reiterated by Pope John Paul II, has been clear and consistent for two thousand years.”

    After receiving letters and calls of concern from Catholics in his archdiocese, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has written a column criticizing Governor Kathleen Sebelius for publicly identify herself as a Catholic in the midst of her strident abortion support.

    On May 19, Sebelius vetoed Senate Bill 528, which would have curbed the practice of abortion clinics violating the law by allowing late term abortions for reasons not permitted by law. The bill required documentation of the reasons for such abortions.

    However, most Catholics who wrote their concerns to Archbishop Naumann were concerned about a line within Sebelius’ veto message in which she proclaimed herself Catholic. Gov. Sebelius in her veto message stated: “Abortion is an important moral concern to all Kansans. My Catholic faith teaches me that life is sacred. Personally, I believe abortion is wrong.”

    The archbishop points out in his September 8 column, however, that Sebelius has a near-perfect pro-abortion voting record. Or as Archbishop Naumann put it, “ it is difficult to find a single instance, either in a procedural or substantive vote, where she acted in a manner that would afford unborn children the maximum protection . . . Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest measures as parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent.”

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Pastor Janet

    “It was striking to me how emotional this has made me feel, to have the spiritual words of our marriage called into question by Nancy’s church and by Janet’s church,” Cole said. “It was extremely painful.”



    Nancy's church / Janet's church. Bubbling turmoil as the remains swirl around
    and down the drain.

    Not really news anymore outside the Catholic fence,
    just a sad and fallen warning.

    Sounds like good news

    The School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America has hired three new professors who are international leaders in their fields and have joined CUA as full, or “ordinary,” professors. The school also has hired two young faculty members as assistant professors.


    “It is a rare opportunity for a school to be able to recruit three world renowned theology scholars at the same time,” says Monsignor Kevin W. Irwin, S.T.D., dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies. “These prestigious new hires take the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America to a new level of excellence.”

    The first of those hired as full professors is an Australian, Rev. Brian V. Johnstone, C.SS.R., a widely-published moral theologian who has taught in Rome for 20 years, most recently at the Alphonsian Academy of the Pontifical Lateran University. Previously he taught at CUA from 1981 to 1987 (and in 2005) and at Yarra Theological Union in Melbourne from 1973 to 1981. He will hold the university’s endowed Warren Blanding Chair of Religion and Culture.

    A third new ordinary professor is Rev. John Paul Heil, the author of 11 books focused on New Testament theology. Father Heil is known as one of the best of the classically trained biblical scholars and brings a vast knowledge of biblical and modern languages to his study and teaching, Monsignor Irwin says. Father Heil has taught at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary’s School of Theology in St. Louis since 1979.

    CUA’s School of Theology and Religious Studies also has hired two new assistant professors, William C. Mattison and Thomas Schärtl.

    Mattison, a moral theologian, was formerly an assistant professor at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. He is a co-chair of a national group of young Catholic moral theologians called New Wine, New Wineskins, and edited that group’s 2005 book, “New Wine, New Wineskins: A Next Generation Reflects on Key Issues in Catholic Moral Theology” (Rowan & Littlefield Publishers).

    Schärtl, a systematic theologian, comes to CUA with a doctorate in theology and an M.A. in philosophy earned in his homeland of Germany. A specialist in the nexus of theology and philosophy, he brings an important European voice to the faculty, according to Monsignor Irwin.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Pope talk

    In a speech at Regensburg University, Benedict made an unusual reference to jihad, or holy war — a concept used by Islamic extremists to justify suicide bombings and other attacks.


    Citing historic Christian commentary on holy war and forced conversion, the Pope quoted from a 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologos.

    "The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said. "He said, I quote, `Show me just what (Islamic Prophet) Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'"

    Clearly aware of the topic's sensitivity, he added, "I quote," twice before pronouncing the phrases on Islam, while neither explicitly agreeing with nor repudiating them. "The emperor goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable,'' he said.

    "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul," the Pope said.

    Cultural constuct

    Here is a man who has become a cultural construct.

    The dark side of religion comes from people that are sure that they know all
    truth, but they don't.

    The irrelevant side of religion comes from people who deal in cultural


    A priest with the Church of England who converted to Hinduism has been allowed to continue to officiate as a cleric.

    “I have neither explicitly nor implicitly renounced my Christian faith or priesthood,” he said. The renewal of his licence was sponsored by the Rural Dean of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

    Mr Hart believes that his change to Hinduism would be “read in the spirit of open exploration and dialogue, which is an essential feature of our shared modern spirituality”.

    He also said that he would continue to celebrate as an Anglican priest when he visited England, but he would also visit a Hindu temple while there. “My philosophical position is that all religions are cultural constructs,” he said. “I am acting out God’s story in local terms.”

    However, not everyone in the Church of England is impressed by Mr Hart’s passion for Hinduism. Pauline Scott, the team vicar of St James, in Stretham, said that she would oppose any attempts by Mr Hart to celebrate in the Ely Diocese.

    “We do tend to use Christian priests, surprisingly enough,” she said.
    The Bishop of Ely’s office said that it had not known of Mr Hart’s conversion to Hinduism until this week.

    Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    "looking for a good Catholic, pure girl who can cook well"

    Aren't we all?

    The German paper, Bild am Sonntag said 43-year-old Joseph Ratzinger senior placed an advertisement as a "low-level civil servant" seeking "a good Catholic girl ... to marry as soon as possible, preferably with a picture," in a Bavarian paper in March 1920.


    Four months later - by now a "mid-ranking civil servant" - he posted a similar notice in the same paper, and this time received a reply from Maria Peintner, 36, an illegitimate baker's daughter, the paper reported.

    The second advert in the Altoetting weekly Liebfrauenbote stressed policeman Ratzinger's "irreproachable past" and said that while it would be "desirable" if his bride had some money, it was "not a condition" for marriage.

    Both brothers were said yesterday to be taken aback by the discovery of the lonely hearts advertisement found in the Bavarian state archives by a researcher for the tabloid Bild.

    Monday, September 11, 2006

    Social myopia

    The deafness of which the Gospel speaks and which, the Pope said, cuts people off from social life, is not simply a physical deafness. “There is also,” he said, “a ‘hardness of hearing’ where God is concerned, and this is something from which we particularly suffer in our own time. Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God - there are too many different frequencies filling our ears.”


    “What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited to our age. Along with this hardness of hearing or outright deafness where God is concerned, we naturally lose our ability to speak with him and to him. And so we end up losing a decisive capacity for perception. We risk losing our inner senses.”

    “This weakening of our capacity for perception drastically and dangerously curtails the range of our relationship with reality. The horizon of our life is disturbingly foreshortened,” the Pope worried.

    However, the "Ephphatha" - "Be opened" which Jesus spoke to the deaf and mute man in the Gospel, Jesus speaks to men and women today, Benedict said. “What happened then was unique, but it does not belong to a distant past: Jesus continues to do the same thing anew, even today.” By means of our Baptism, he said, we all have been given the ability to hear God’s voice and speak to Him.

    And this openness to God is something Germans should renew and export to the world. Benedict said that Bishops from around the world have praised the social activities of German Catholics, but find a lack of concern for faith itself. The Pope recounted the words of an African Bishop, who recently told him, “If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations".

    “Clearly,” the Pontiff lamented, “some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser importance.”

    However, he said, for progress to be made in social issues, evangelization and conversion of hearts must be first. Work done in an area such as the AIDS epidemic can only be fruitful once the conversion of hearts is achieved, he said.

    Pope's house frenzy

    Vandals threw paint-filled balloons at the house where Pope Benedict XVI was born Sunday, a day before the pontiff planned to visit his hometown during his six-day trip to Bavaria.


    No serious damage was done to the house in the town of Marktl am Inn, said Bavarian state police spokesman Josef Bichlmeier said. He said the balloons were filled with blue paint.

    Earlier this year, the Roman Catholic Church took possession of the home in the south German village. A church foundation agreed in December 2005 to buy the house for an undisclosed sum, and said it would turn it into a museum.

    The church beat out scores of bidders, including a Saudi sheik...

    Thursday, September 07, 2006

    To fight terror with terror is to enter into the devil's game

    Although the Compendium does not say so, terrorism is demonic. Its total absence of redeeming value means that it comes from the abyss of evil. To fight terror with terror is to enter into the devil's game.


    Carried out by shadowy organizations or even isolated individuals, they can occur anywhere. While sometimes they have specific political goals, often they do not. They present themselves as acts of rage directed against particular governments or peoples or even something as amorphous as the Western world in general. These acts of terror have no likelihood of bringing about positive social change. They are purely destructive.

    The victims of terrorism are typically non-combatants. It is the attack on the innocent that gives terrorism its unique character - no one is safe.

    The Compendium notes that there is a right to defend oneself from terrorism. Of course! But while the terrorist recognizes no morality, those who defend themselves against it must respect human rights and the rule of law.

    This may seem like an unfair fight, with the terrorist having more means of violence at his disposal. Nevertheless, to fight terrorism is to defend human rights and the rule of law. To violate them would serve to spread the scope of terrorism.

    Quick muslim primer

    Muslims treat the Quran as their Bible, and they see Muhammad the way Christians view Jesus Christ, right? Wrong, Muslim leaders insist; in fact, it's just the opposite.

    Muslims see the Quran as God’s final revelation, roughly comparable to the way mainstream Christians see Jesus as the living word and God’s ultimate revelation, said Alif Rahman, who teaches an outreach class about Islam at the Dallas Central Mosque in Richardson, Texas.

    Muhammad is the last in a long line of prophets and the bearer of God’s message, but Muslims do not worship him, Rahman noted. In a sense, he roughly parallels the role many Christians believe the Bible fills, not as an object of worship but the instrument through which God makes his message known.

    And while Muslims see Muhammad’s life as exemplary, they do not consider him divine, Rahman emphasized.

    “There is no incarnation of God as a human being in Islam,” he said. Islam is built on five pillars of worship that are regulated rituals and five pillars of faith, which are essential beliefs for the faithful.

    “It is a religion that has rules and regulations for the individual, the family and society, day and night, every second,” Imam Yusef Kauakci of the Dallas Central Mosque said.

    The five pillars of worship are:

    -- Shahada. The Muslim confession of faith, repeated as a part of worship, states in Arabic that there is only one God, and Muhammad is his prophet.

    -- Salat. Five times daily, Muslims perform formal, ritualized prayer. Bodily positions such as prostration with one’s forehead touching the ground are prescribed at specific points during the ritual.

    -- Zakat. Muslims give alms, often understood to be 2.5 percent of their liquid assets and income-producing property, to support charitable causes and the propagation of Islam.

    -- Saum. Fasting from dusk until dawn daily during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, includes refraining from food, drink and sexual intercourse.

    -- Hajj. Every Muslim who is physically and financially able makes a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his lifetime.

    Muslims also hold to five basic beliefs.

    -- The oneness of Allah. Kauakci thinks this simple, clear-cut and inclusive view of God, in contrast to Christian teaching about a triune God who must be approached through Jesus Christ, accounts in part for the rapid growth of Islam worldwide.

    “Islam is belief in one God, one faith. Before the creation of Adam, Islam was there,” he said. “We accept all messengers as ours. There is one God for the whole universe.”

    -- Angels, such as Gabriel. “Rules and regulations are revealed to humans through Gabriel and to the messengers for people to live in, live by, live to and live for,” Kauakci said.

    -- The Quran. Muslims believe the Book of God is a heavenly book that was revealed in part through the Jewish and Christian Scriptures but later was corrupted. They believe Gabriel gave the pure word of God -- in Arabic -- to Muhammad as the final prophet in a series of messengers that began with Adam and also included Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.
    “Adam came, and Islam was given to him as a guide and to all the messengers who followed. We look at Jesus Christ as a prophet, as our messenger,” Kauakci said.

    -- A final day of judgment. “There is a strong accountability in our belief in the day of judgment,” Kauakci said. “We don’t know whether we will be accepted or not. We live between hope and hopelessness. There is no assurance. There is striving.”

    -- The sovereignty of God. God is responsible for everything that happens. Nothing can happen outside his will.


    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    I admit that I would be one to move

    One in six people in Britain's capital have admitted moving seats on public transport to avoid a passenger they think is Muslim, according to a survey published.


    Some 35 percent of travellers in London said they had felt nervous or uncomfortable in the last year because someone of south Asian or north African appearance had got on their underground train or bus.

    Of that number, nearly half said they had moved seats or sat down away from them, the survey, by pollsters YouGov for London's Evening Standard newspaper, suggested on Tuesday.
    On July 7 last year, 56 people were killed when four Muslim suicide bombers -- three of them Britons of Pakistani origin -- detonated explosives on three underground trains and a double-decker bus.

    An alleged plot to replicate the attacks was foiled two weeks later and since then there have been a number of high-profile counter-terrorism operations.

    As usual, communication is the key

    The Syro-Malabar Church has decided to open an office in Rome to improve communication between the Oriental Catholic Church and Vatican offices.


    The Syro-Malabar Church and the smaller Syro-Malankara Church are two Oriental Catholic rites based in India. Both follow Syrian Church traditions and trace their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle. They and the Latin-rite, introduced later by European missioners, comprise the Catholic Church in India.

    Speaking to UCA News Sept. 3, Paul termed the move a "strategic decision," since many Syro-Malabar Church people are convinced the church is not getting "due recognition" from the Vatican. "Most of the Vatican officials are of the Latin rite, (and they) ignore or misinterpret our demands or sideline our cause, against the background of inter-rite conflict," he explained. "We need someone in the Vatican to present our views."

    Paul also alleged that several communications addressed to various Vatican officials "never reached" their destination, because they were "successfully" blocked by some "vested interest groups."

    The lay leader says the Syro-Malabar Church should have opened the office much earlier, "then many of our problems could have been solved by now."

    I don't know about those "vested interest groups", but when there is a lack
    of communication, people just make up the supposed missing facts. This should

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Veronica's Veil

    The fragile cloth depicts very clearly, in blood-red hues, a bearded man bearing a striking resemblance to a more famous relic, the Turin Shroud in northern Italy, which is revered by some Christians as the cloth used to wrap Christ's body.


    Pope Benedict became the first pontiff on Friday to visit "Veronica's Veil", which Christian tradition says was used to wipe the sweat from Jesus' brow on his way to crucifixion and miraculously recorded his features.

    Benedict knelt in prayer before the relic also known as the "Sacred Visage", which has been guarded by Capuchin friars in a remote monastery in Manoppello in the Apennine mountains for centuries.

    But the Pope stopped short of endorsing the veil, venerated since the Middle Ages, as the true face of Christ.

    I have never before seen this actual picture of the veil. It is so odd that
    is does resemble the Shroud's image.


    Saturday, September 02, 2006

    Former Catholic student leads Islamic Society

    She tells 570 News she fell from the Catholic faith while in high school

    and became interested in Islam during a job out west in the late 80's.


    The group was formed in 1963 The Islamic Society of North America is an umbrella group that represents Muslim associations for youth, college students, engineers and others, and also provides support to Muslim chaplains and North American mosques. Its annual meeting regularly draws more than 30,000 people.

    the point is that I don't care

    Of the Muslim leaders offended by his comments, Mr Howard said: "They are missing the point and the point is that I don't care, and the Australian people don't care, where people come from."


    A defiant Mr Howard writes today that some Muslims are not doing enough to adhere to Australian customs of equality for women and a "fair go" for all.
    "Ninety-nine per centy of the Islamic community of Australia has integrated and is part of the Australian community," he said.

    "But I've said before there is a small section, and that is self-evident, that is unwilling to integrate and it's up to all of us to try and overcome that resistance."

    Standing by his remarks yesterday, Mr Howard refused to apologise and warned those who are unwilling to fit in would be further marginalised.

    "You can't get anywhere unless you learn English. It's the language of the nation. It's the passport to your future," he said.

    "You can't get a job, you can't progress, you can't do anything without English and there can't be any compromising on that."

    "They are missing the point and the point is that I don't care, and the Australian people don't care, where people come from."

    Absolutely. For the last 20 or so years, people are generally on their own.
    Minorities are welcome to try as hard as they can, but to expect no more help
    that any other citizen would get.

    Although folks are naturally fond of the old country they left behind,
    that's over. And the majority does not care.

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    Diversity training

    "All nine will undergo a further intensive course of diversity training," the force said in a statement.


    The Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow said on Friday he had given his backing to nine firefighters who were disciplined for refusing to hand out leaflets during a gay pride rally.

    Here's Reuters calling the further intensive course "discipline". Like in
    punishment I think. Perhaps of the cruel and inhuman type.

    Doesn't the image of burly firefighters sitting at their small desks taking
    notes, while the nice teacher explains the subject matter seem very Monty Python
    to you?

    Archbishop Mario Conti said he was concerned about what had happened and expressed solidarity with their actions, adding neither the officers' competency and commitment had not been questioned.

    He said the officers had "legitimate concerns about being the subject of taunts and jokes, and in which, in come cases, their religious sensibilities were being grossly offended by people dressed as priests and nuns lampooning the church."

    catholic interest.