Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

  • ..the devil's in the details..
  • ... John 5 25-29 ...
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    Sunday, October 29, 2006

    How polite

    How nice of the news not to mention the ethnic background of the lost

    God help the burned woman. Most burn victims wish they had not been saved.


    Three or four young people burst onto the bus and tossed in a bottle of flammable liquid before fleeing, police said, citing witnesses' accounts. A fire started, seriously injuring a 26-year-old woman who suffered second- and third-degree burns on her arms, legs and face.

    The woman was breathing Sunday with help from a respirator, the Marseille hospital system said. Doctors were deeply worried about lung damage from smoke. Three other people also were treated for smoke inhalation, police said. The bus was destroyed, and bus service was suspended in Marseille.

    French police have braced for a surge of violence this weekend, as Friday was the first anniversary of the start of riots in poor neighborhoods where many immigrants and their French-born children live.

    At least 50 years out of whack

    This guy's in trouble, and it's not quite the same but...

    It was only 50 years ago that it was common sense that women who dressed and
    acted provocatively were "asking for it".

    This all changed in the 70's when we learned that men are expected to control
    their impulses no matter what. Hey, that's about the same time that porn broke
    out into the common population. Also about the time that men and women largely
    lost their way in marriage.

    Now most do not control their impulses at all, although we are taught to look
    for that legal "yes".


    Sydney - Comments about women and rape by Australia's top Islamic cleric could do lasting damage to the Muslim community's relations with the rest of the nation, Prime Minister John Howard warned Sunday.

    "If this matter is not properly handled by the Islamic community I am concerned that their failure to do so will do lasting damage to the perceptions of that community within the Australian community," Howard said.

    Muslim leaders were due to meet soon at Hilali's Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's western suburbs to decide on the cleric's future, a spokesman for the Lebanese Muslim Association said.

    Hilali has said that if the Muslim leaders could prove his comments were intended to degrade women, he would quit as mufti."

    I will stand down and leave all work related to the Muslim community if they can prove what I said was meant to be offensive," he told the Sun-Herald newspaper.

    Hilali sparked controversy last week when it was revealed that he had likened immodestly-dressed women without an Islamic headscarf to "uncovered meat" inviting sexual attack.

    Saturday, October 28, 2006

    Hiding places getting scarce

    Despite indications that the retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, has shifted position on the issue of denying communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, the diocesan spokesperson says this is not the case."[McCarrick's stance has] been consistent, and it will remain consistent," Susan Gibbs told Cybercast News Service.


    The emphasis should be placed on the individual who goes to receive communion rather than on the priest who is administering communion, according to Gibbs."[Catholic pro-abortion] politicians should not approach for communion, period. And he would explain that to a politician," she said.

    "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law..." the document reads.

    Donahue said "the consensus is growing" among bishops on the issue of denying communion to Catholic candidates supportive of abortion rights. The change raises a question, he added.

    "What happens to a pro-choice Catholic? This should make those pro-choice Catholics somewhat nervous, because it's not going to wash."

    We have all these fine folks who are divorced and remarried and through
    personal integrity refrain from communion.

    And we have sneaky politicians who are used to finding loopholes to support
    their cause. They operate from who they are, not who they claim to be.

    Looks like the loopholes are shrinking.

    Thursday, October 26, 2006


    Who hasn’t seen these some folks chugging down the remaining consecrated wine
    after distribution? I have.

    Worse, I have seen lots of leftover
    wine simply set on the side to be taken care of later. By whom and how is
    anyone’s guess.

    I have even seen Sunday bulletins with “credits”
    naming the “Minister of the Cup” and “Minister of the Loaf”.

    It’s a mess even worse than the “Kiss of Peace” party. Although, as lately directed by the Bishops, at least half the Priests I see are refraining from glad-handing
    throughout the entire congregation for 5 minutes by staying in the proximity of
    the altar.

    Being the star attraction is a hard habit to break.


    The Vatican has instructed the Catholic bishops of the US to discontinue the practice of allowing extraordinary Eucharistic ministers to assist with the purification of chalices after Communion.

    In an October 12 letter to Bishop William Skylstad, the president of the US bishops' conference, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship reported that Pope Benedict XVI ordered an end to the American practice. Cardinal Francis Arinze was responding to a request from the US bishops' conference, asking for approval to continue the policy.

    Bishop Skylstad, in turn, wrote to all American bishops on October 23, informing them that "it will be necessary to inform all pastors that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may no longer assist with the purification of sacred vessels at Mass."

    Although the General Instruction of the Roman Missal specifies that sacred vessels may be purified only by a priest or deacon, the American bishops had obtained an indult, or permission, to allow extraordinary ministers to assist in that role. This indult was intended to encourage more people to receive Communion under both kinds.

    Bishop Skylstad, in conveying news of the Vatican decision to the American hierarchy, attached a list of questions and answers about the distribution of Communion, prepared by Bishop Donald Trautman, the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee. Bishop Trautman reminded his fellow bishops that the use of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist is intended "exclusively for those instances where there are not enough ordinary ministers to distribute Holy Communion."

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    CSI: contempory and ignorant

    On Thursday, October 19, CBS aired an episode of the drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, titled “Double-Cross.” The episode revolves around a woman found strangled by rosary beads and crucified in a church, and the priest suspected of her murder.


    Commenting on the show is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
    “CSI has offered viewers a big helping of messed-up Catholics in ‘Double-Cross.’ Suspected priest, Fr. Frank, may not have murdered the dead woman, but he did have sex with her. In addition, he was transferred from another church after the suicide of a female parishioner. He also resists helping the police with their investigation. A spacey-looking nun named Sr. Bridget is so intensely protective of Father Frank that, fearing he did commit the murder, she lies and accuses herself. When confronted with the fact that she lacks the physical strength to carry out the grisly killing, she claims ‘it was a miracle.’ Another nun, bitter and old, gripes about Fr. Frank helping the homeless. She even mocks the prayers of the less fortunate, muttering, ‘Dear Jesus, please keep me from blowing the laundry money on the nickel slots at the gas and go.’ Not only is she nasty, she’s overzealous in declaring divine intervention: seeing blood on the hand of a statue of Jesus, she proclaims, ‘right here on the eve of the apocalypse, a miracle.’“

    Viewers are presented with only one seemingly-normal Catholic. The lead investigator, Gil Grissom, is a level-headed man. However, as he explains, he doesn’t take his faith very seriously: ‘I suppose I practice a kind of secular Catholicism that involves ritualizing certain aspects of everyday life and imbuing them with a spiritual intensity they might not otherwise possess, but I don’t want to put too fine a point on it.’ He is able, however, to put a fine point on the emotions of practicing Catholics. According to Grissom, ‘they’re full of guilt.’ “

    So here we have it: As portrayed by CSI, those who have devoted their lives to the Church are a sorry lot. It’s nice to know what they think of faithful Catholic servants.”

    You can provide CBS with your feedback here... link

    There still won't be

    Gravel, who is a Catholic priest in the suburban Montreal hamlet of La Plaine, Que., requires the official sanction of his boss, the Bishop of Joliette, who in turn will have to consult with the ecclesiastical authorities at the Holy See before making a decision.


    It's more than just a formality, as Gravel isn't a run-of-the-mill priest.

    The openly gay Gravel, 54, is a former male prostitute who decided to enrol in a Catholic seminary after suffering a beating that left him near death.

    He also supports legalized abortion and the ordination of homosexuals (in 2005 he told a Montreal magazine that 50 per cent of priests in Quebec are gay and that priests in general don't take their vow of celibacy seriously).

    There are clergymen from other denominations in the Commons, but no Catholic priests.

    Even if this guy wins the election, there still wont be any Catholic
    Priests in Commons. Just some pro-abortion, pro-same-sex-marriage mixed up
    fellow who mistakenly became a priest.

    Although, if he is right, and that in Quebec half are of his ilk, he will
    still have lots of friends.

    Pope snippets

    Benedict XVI highlighted "the primary importance of spiritual life," and of concern for "cultural development, balanced human maturity and a profound ascetic and religious formation." He also stressed the need for "silence and contemplation," because we must be able "to listen with the heart to God Who speaks."


    He went on: "Thought always needs purification in order to be able to enter the dimension in which God pronounces His creating and redeeming Word. ... Only if they arise from the silence of contemplation can our words have some measure of value and utility, and not subside into ... worldly discourse which seeks the consensus of public opinion.

    How many times have I had something to say without the benefit of
    purification? Too many.

    It's hard to remember, because in the end, I really had nothing to say, but
    spoke anyway.

    I hope someday someone publishes a book of snippets of Pope Benedict

    Monday, October 23, 2006

    There is no way to tell, so why need a group?

    Here's what I don't understand...

    We have chaste homosexual Catholic students, who need to be accepted and get
    out of the closet.

    Well, just how is one to know they are dealing with a homosexual individual
    if he/she is not acting on it and flouting it?

    There's no way.

    Seems like good old-fashioned Catholic chastity will solve all the problems, and that there's just not really a need for these organizations after all. How can there be discrimination if no one can tell who to discriminate against?


    Martin Trevino is openly gay. He knows that is unacceptable to many of his fellow students at Our Lady of the Lake University, a private Catholic school on the West Side.

    In spite of that — or perhaps because of it — Trevino wants to create a university-sanctioned gay/straight alliance to educate students and faculty about gay issues and to give gays and lesbians a voice on campus. The issue has sparked discussion about whether universities with Catholic moorings should support gay groups, given that the church teaches homosexual sex is wrong.

    Medina has helped organize on-campus events to discuss gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex issues, and in August she put on a training session for student mentors. In her classes, she tackles minority relations and has compiled a resource manual on those issues.

    It's awkward for students to confront their feelings about homosexuality, Medina said, but they leave her class and training sessions with more compassion for gays and lesbians. She thinks the campus is ripe for a gay/straight alliance.

    "I think the students are interested and the university is ready," Medina said.
    Jane Grovijahn, chairwoman of the religious studies department, agreed.

    "People here are quietly out," Grovijahn said. "There is no great visibility. We are at exactly the right place to begin looking at these issues."

    Both professors expect some resistance from faculty and students.

    Oh yeah.. and "intersex"???

    Look it up yourself.

    Sprituality is so nicely vague, and money making

    I was speaking with a psychology student recently who has it all figured out.
    Which it seems to me is the danger of psychology.

    Her latest find
    is a book of “secrets” regarding controlling the subconscious to fix up the
    little flaws we all have. When I suggested that this was nothing new, and for
    more than the last 100 years one could always find a “new” book on these matters
    always saying about the same things, that didn’t seem to impress her much, since
    this book seemed very good.

    How interesting the market is for
    spirituality. Always fresh, always stale, always juvenile, always about finding
    the god inside yourself, usually in a forest.


    And so I asked myself again, leaning against a heavenly radiant, seemingly pulsating, red wall of rock with my face to the sun, why is any of this important? Isn't playing my djembe drum a spiritual experience? When I share a reading with someone, and we lock hearts, just for an instant, is that) religion?

    Who cares if you go to a formal church — or find your sanctuary in the desert? Jesus said, "wherever two or more are gathered, there am I." My heart tells me that "religion, piety, reverence, compassion" happen wherever I am gathered in communion with my own God, by myself or with other companions, in a canyon or on a mountain.

    We have divine opportunities, always — everywhere — to devote our being to the godliness that resides in each of us, regardless of where our physical body is situated. It is in these moments of heavenly consciousness that the true knowing comes forth. And I know that Kashi, in some mysterious way, is but one of the importantother beings that has come into my life to "gather" with me on my sacred journeys.

    — — —

    Sharon Hooper is a popular life and spiritual coach, author and speaker who is passionate about helping others succeed in life and business. Visit her websites VisionJourneys and Sanctuary Publications, or drop her an email at {email}}{/email}. © copyright 2006 by Sharon Hooper

    Something new and exciting always. And mostly to make money. Spritual

    Desire to help outweighs desire to be Catholic

    Jesus did not heal everyone he met, and with few exceptions not the people he
    did not meet.

    He said "go and sin no more", not go and sin again because you are poor and
    have a dangerous profession.


    Fr Klein-Hitpass founded Stand Together in 1995. Supported by donations from parishes in Germany, he has provided sex workers with "food, shelter and hope". He said: "I try through bible studies to get them off the streets, but everything nowadays centres on money. You help them today, and tomorrow they are back on the streets." He said he also provides them with condoms.

    A 2001 attempt in Parliament by former health minister Libertina Amathila for prostitution to be legalised as a means of stemming the spread of HIV came to nothing. But Hubbard's centre has taken up the campaign. "Decriminalisation does not necessarily represent approval of the trade by Namibian society," she said.

    Recent health ministry figures put HIV prevalence in Namibia's population at slightly more than 21 per cent.

    No statistics exist about the number of sex workers in Namibia, but the day-care centre has a membership of 1275, Klein-Hitpass said, 75 per cent of whom are HIV positive.

    "I try through bible studies to get them off the streets, but everything nowadays centres on money."

    Everything always has centered on money. Shame on this priest and his good
    intentions. The world is paved with them.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    Forced to move on

    ALBANY, N.Y. — Catholic and other religious social-service groups must provide contraceptive coverage through their workplace-sponsored medical insurance programs even if they consider contraception a sin, according to yesterday's ruling by New York state's highest court.


    The 6-0 decision by the state Court of Appeals hinged on defining Catholic Charities and the other nine religious groups suing the state to be social-service agencies, rather than only operating as churches.

    The organizations "believe contraception to be sinful," the decision in Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany v. Serio states. "We must weigh against (their) interests in adhering to the tenets of their faith the state's substantial interest in fostering equality between the sexes, and in providing women with better health care."

    "This is the sixth court that ruled in this — three in California and three in New York — and all came to the same conclusion," Smith said.

    "Today's ruling shows that no one is above the law, including the Catholic bishops," said Kelli Conlin, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, part of the national abortion rights organization. "No employer should be able to force their beliefs upon their employees, especially given that 97 percent of Catholics report using birth control."

    Logic is just a tool. It depends upon which parameters are fed into the logic
    engine. How about these winners???...

    the state's substantial
    interest in fostering equality between the sexes

    providing women
    with better health care

    What are these parameters doing being fed into the logic of contraception? They
    are fed based upon the beliefs of the judiciary in New York and California.

    Catholics take an opposite position that contraception is not health
    care, and ruins the complimentary between the sexes.

    Catholic charities
    got their start long before the government had any effective stake in those
    areas. Now the Church operating as a business is getting pummeled by the ever
    building irreligious socialist state.

    Perhaps it is time for the Church
    to move on into new areas where the government again has no effective stake.
    Mother Teresa went where no one else would go. The poorest of the poor, the
    nearest to dying, the peacemakers.

    Settled and comfortable bureaucratic
    bodies can sap a lot of the energy from the original mission. When we get
    tangled up with paychecks and insurance and competition with entrenched
    irreligious bodies, moving to a place with more breathing room and light may be
    in order.

    Friday, October 20, 2006


    As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God.


    Vatican City, 20 Oct. (AKI) - The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue on Friday issued its annual goodwill message to all Muslims to mark the end of the month-long holy fasting month of Ramadan in the coming days. The message is expected to have special resonance this year after Pope Benedict XVI angered many Muslims by remarks he made during a speech on 12 September at Regensburg University in Germany that linked Islam to violence and unreason. The full text of the message (below) has been published on the Vatican's website and is available in Italian, English, Arabic and French.

    Thursday, October 19, 2006

    Homosexual communications

    Here is an interesting article that exposes some far separate views of the


    Starting with the title..

    "Proposal would condemn `hatred' but reject unions"

    That 'but' should be an 'and'. As a 'but', it puts the rejection of unions as
    a flavor of hatred, or somehow implicates a connection between hatred and the
    rejection of unions. The Bishops are simply saying both no hatred and no
    unions... 2 separtate things.

    What lies beneath the surface here, and is seldom voiced, is that normal men
    have an automatic aversion to homosexual men. Hatred is always too strong a word
    that muddles the communication. It is plainly an aversion, not a hatred. And it mainly a man thing, which women see a little less automatically.

    Also, men also look away from overt homosexual displays because of the shame
    they see, and this is for the benefit of the actors. This is a cultural aversion
    to conduct suited to privacy because of the shame.

    Add to this, the deep common sense that homosexual men should not be around
    boys, and we have another aversion particular to a man's somewhat automatic outlook upon homosexuals they meet in church.

    So when the article says..

    The proposed guidelines for ministering to gays and lesbians declare that ``more than a few persons with a homosexual inclination feel themselves to be unwelcome and rejected" in the Catholic Church and says that ``full and active participation is encouraged," as is ``an ongoing personal conversion."

    .. it is easy to understand their feelings of unwelcome and rejection. I, and
    other men need to work on these aversions which is not an easy thing. All of us
    dealing with that 'ongoing personal conversion'.

    It would be an easier thing if we could be clearer about the social tensions,
    so as to address the resulting atmosphere of aversion that is no doubt felt by
    all, although unsaid.

    None of this is hatred, so when hatred is prohibited, it never seems to be a
    personal directive to the one supposedly doing the hating. A clean up of terms
    and language would be useful here.

    But gay rights advocates nationally were more critical. Harry Knox , the director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights advocacy organization, said, ``it's dangerous and immoral for the church to make the kinds of statements that they are thinking about making."

    And Sam Sinnett , the president of Dignity USA, an organization of gay Catholics, said the document ``will be discussed entirely by celibate males, and their viewpoint is more concerned with keeping their jobs than being pastoral leaders."

    And the view from homosexual advocates? Far separate indeed.

    Mr. Knox sees the Church as dangerous and immoral. He's not immoral.. the
    Church is. It would be hard to imagine how the conversation could start from two
    more distanced points.

    And Mr. Sinnet brings up the old debate tactic of claiming that you have to
    be 'one' to understand 'one'. You have to be a woman to understand abortion. You
    have to be married to understand marriage. You have to be un-celibate to
    understand. This is nothing more than insisting on autonomy in defining morals
    which is the opposite of the Church defining morals.

    Mr. Sinnet also throws in something about the clergy keeping their jobs.
    Again, quite apart from the point.

    Judas, into the heart

    The Pope, Judas, and Satan.

    In fact, the Gospel texts insist on another aspect: John says expressly that "the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him" (John 13:2); in the same way, Luke writes: "Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve" (Luke 22:3).


    In this way, one goes beyond historical motivations, explaining what occurred by basing it on Judas' personal responsibility, who yielded miserably to a temptation of the evil one. In any case, Judas' betrayal continues to be a mystery. Jesus treated him as a friend (cf. Matthew 26:50), but in his invitations to follow him on the path of the beatitudes he did not force his will or prevent him from falling into Satan's temptations, respecting human freedom.

    In fact, the possibilities of perversion of the human heart are truly many. The only way to prevent them consists in not cultivating a view of life that is only individualistic, autonomous, but in always placing oneself on the side of Jesus, assuming his point of view.

    We must try, day after day, to be in full communion with him. Let us recall that even Peter wanted to oppose him and what awaited him in Jerusalem, but he received a very strong rebuke: "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men" (Mark 8:32-33).

    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    The gift

    The Apostles handed down the Gift of Faith. We received and accepted the

    Care to hear what it sounds like with people who are without?

    It does not make for pleasant reading.


    I feel that faith is a personal issue. My husband and I did not attend church, having been forced to as children. We both hated the Christian fundamentalism that had been forced down our throats, and decided that our kids could choose if they wished to attend church or not. They opted to go, one is now an Anglican Priest.


    I don't like the idea of lying to children about something as important as religion. Religion isn't just a fairy tale to the majority of the world, it's a serious attempt at understanding the nature of the universe. It's as much a search for truth as a means of obtaining comfort. Telling someone that there is only one way to God when you don't believe it yourself is rather irresponsible. I also don't see how anyone can be qualified to truthfully answer questions about faith and religion if they don't believe themselves.

    I think it would be preferable to be truthful with children. The most important thing is encouraging children to be tolerant of all religions, and I believe this can best be achieved by exposing them to a variety of different beliefs and encouraging them to make their own choices.


    We did not take our children to any church services, but allowed my mother to send them to church camp in her denomination. My husband is Christian and I was raised Christian but became Pagan/Wiccan as an adult. They seem to have learned well and now that they are adults, I am very impressed with their characters.


    One of the most difficult tasks a non-believing parent has is encouraging a child to ask questions and explore and ultimately decide for himself. Keeping my agenda to myself was essential.Just because I have come to a certain conclusion (humanism) after being raised Episcopalian does not mean that is the only path and I have no more right to indoctrinate my child in that belief than a fundamentalist Christian has in promoting that faith exclusively.I do, however, believe that faith exploration (especially with children through mid-teens) needs to be experienced with a parent--to question, seek clarifications, explore differences, etc. Keeping an open mind and open heart is critical --it is ultimately a very personal decision we all must reach and a child needs to know that the parent supports and encourages the journey to find a faith that works for the child.

    Their path may veer off and change or reach a dead end. Support and encouragement along the way are part of the parent's job.


    "Some people walked away from organized religion and followed their own path...from what ground can their children do the same?" How about through individuation and the natural rebellion and questioning that young adults experience when they are raised to be independent freethinkers? How about through personal soul-searching, something we all do naturally?My parents were raised "church of God" and "southern baptist." One became an atheist, the other a very spiritual agnostic. All children learn/know what their parents and extended family believe.

    My parents turned away from the idea that God was who their religions taught them, an egotistical, insecure entity that needs us to worship him in order to be happy and not wipe us out and condemn us to eternal hellfire. They gave me a wonderful platform in which to find spirit.


    A "very spirtual agnostic". God help them.

    Those gay men and gay boys

    I have said perhaps too many times, that the Catholic scandal was mainly gay
    men, now hopefully gone, and gay teens, now looking for excuses to their enjoyed
    behavior a lifetime ago.

    Here we go again.

    He liked what he did then, but was caught now. Another "victim" who has found
    a way to claim it wasn't his fault.

    At least he has not started weeping for the cameras. Well. not that I am
    aware of anyway. That's still probably coming.


    Disgraced former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley will identify the Roman Catholic priest who he says abused him sexually as a young boy, his lawyer said on Tuesday, calling it part of the ex-lawmaker's "healing process."

    I think this psychobabble healing process is a close cousin to the "closure"
    people hunger for when a death sentence is carried out against someone they have
    been fighting in court. It is a modern term for earthly revenge.

    Attorney Gerald Richman said Foley, who is gay and resigned from Congress on September 29 amid revelations he sent sexually explicit messages to young male congressional aides, would identify his suspected abuser to the Archdiocese of Miami so the church "can then deal appropriately with the issue."

    Right. I think Foley should sue for a big settlement while he's at it. The
    Church coffers are still the biggest lottery in town for these now old gay boys.

    Sort of "live it up", while you try to live it down.

    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    World Harmony Run

    Here's a "run" worthy of participation. No money, no ribbons, no generationof
    runner's "pride" in doing something good.

    Unfortunately the buddhists beat us to it.


    The World Harmony Run is a unique event that does not seek to raise money or highlight any political cause, but simply strives to create goodwill among peoples of all nations and strengthen a sense of international brotherhood and oneness. People of all nationalities, faiths and traditions have been drawn to participate in this event created by Sri Chinmoy in 1987, an Indian national, who believes that sport is a powerful instrument for promoting global harmony.

    The Run has been held 8 times since 1987 and has involved more than 5 million people. It has been endorsed by many of the nation's Mayors, Governors and Members of the Congress, as well as by Pope John Paul II, President Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among others.

    A team of international runners carrying a flaming torch to celebrate the completion of their seven months and 27,000 kilometres journey through Europe was held at the British Museum in London on 10th October. Dr Andrew Burnett, Deputy Director of the British Museum welcomed the dedicated runners and said, "We promote cultural diversity at this museum through our collections of arts and other materials from around the world whilst you (the runners) have done it through the Harmony Run". The Museum attracts five million visitors from the four corners of the globe every year.

    During the year, simultaneous runs have been taking place in Africa, Asia, America and Australasia as part of the World Harmony Run, visiting communities, schools, government and non- governmental organisations in more than 100 countries.

    Here in the States we run for cancer, assorted other diseases, social
    justice, and mainly just plain runner's pride at being good people and doing
    "something". Usually money is involved, as if charity first required completion
    of a race route.

    Let's get ready for this

    School Voucher programs, exemption from property tax, charitable tax

    The drive to eliminate these is heating up. And it will be painful.

    Many Voucher schools now exist upon the good pleasure of the state. They can
    disappear at the same good pleasure.

    More than one Priest has mentioned that the homilies are crafted with
    unofficial censorship so as not to offend or jeopardize the parish's tax exempt

    After giving millions to the hungry victims of the sex scandals, there may be
    another financial blow coming.

    Perhaps a poor and chaste Church, made so by circumstance, is coming closer.
    And if so, we will endure and be stronger for it.


    RELIGIOUS organizations throughout the country are accorded countless exemptions from taxes and federal regulations. A New York Times article this month claimed that since 1989, more than 200 such special arrangements, protections and exemptions have been included in congressional legislation and endorsed by politicians of both major parties. The practice of regulatory exemptions and tax breaks for churches and religious groups gained momentum under President Clinton and has greatly accelerated under President Bush, who has tried through his faith-based initiative to create new legal precedents for such advantages and to make religious groups eligible for numerous state and federal grants and contracts.

    The people who really did build this nation most definitely did not define "religious freedom" as the right of churches or other religious groups to benefit from taxpayer dollars. In fact, James Madison, the thinker who probably contributed more than any other to the legal foundations of our nation and who is frequently referred to as the father of the Constitution, was unambiguous on the subject.

    First of all, he thought the idea of a church — any church — acquiring property and wealth to be directly contradictory to the principles of the Constitution. In his "Detached Memoranda," a collection of private reflections, Madison warned against "the danger of a direct mixture of Religion & civil Government" as well as "an evil which ought to be guarded ag[ain]st in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations…. Are the U.S. duly awake to the tendency of the precedents they are establishing, in the multiplied incorporations of Religious Congregations with the faculty of acquiring & holding property real as well as personal?"

    He did not approve, in other words, of churches and religious societies being given a "legal agency" (including taxpayer funds) to carry into effect "a public and civil duty." The public weal is the responsibility of the government itself, funded through taxation. Any charitable work churches might undertake is "pious charity," and as such a voluntary act on the part of church members.

    Supporters of the faith-based initiative point out, with justice, the many wonderful charitable programs religious groups have provided, and some of them accuse separationists of waging a war against religion. This distorts the argument severely.

    Separationists are not attacking religion. They are merely reminding us that religion and church membership, under our Constitution, are defined as voluntary — the general population cannot be compelled to underwrite any particular church. That is what freedom of religion means.

    Monday, October 16, 2006

    New York & Washington.. FYI

    Another Pakistani journalist is reporting receiving another threat – this one from a senior Taliban leader – warning all Muslims to leave the U.S. in anticipation of a major terrorist attack before the end of Ramadan.


    Jamal Ismail is the journalist who received the message. He formerly worked for al-Jazeera. He told the News of Pakistan that he received a phone call Oct. 5 from Afghani.

    Ismail said it was the first time Afghani, who is head of the pro-Taliban cleric's consultative council and former ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, had ever sent such a message.

    "Afghanis didn't say that it was a dream," recalled Ismail. "It appeared that he strongly believed that America was going to face punishment at the hands of Allah."

    Last month, WND reported the new al-Qaida field commander in Afghanistan called for Muslims to leave the U.S. – particularly Washington and New York – in anticipation of a major terror attack to rival Sept. 11, according to an interview by another Pakistani journalist.

    As WND has previously reported, el-Shukrijumah is a trained nuclear technician and accomplished pilot who has been singled out by bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri to serve as the field commander for the next terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

    "I am saying that Muslims must leave America, but we can attack America anytime," he said. "Our cycle of warnings has been completed, now we have fresh edicts from some prominent Muslim scholars to destroy our enemy, this is our defending of Jihad; the enemy has entered in our homes and we have the right to enter in their homes, they are killing us, we will kill them."

    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    Russia struggles with equality again and again

    Cardinal Erdo said that the participants focused on the deep crisis of the institution of family in Europe and the tendency to marginalize the right to freedom of religion by giving an ungrounded and therefore distorted interpretation of the notion of equality.

    He stressed that attempts to secure in law the principle of equality in all areas of life leads to an equality of norm and deviation, virtue and sin, the sacred and the profane. As a result, he said, fundamental human rights, including religious rights, are violated.


    God the butler

    I shouldn't pick on actors. They live in an isolated dream world.

    But David Hasselhoff does nicely portray all of us when we are so sure that
    God is there to help us over life's rough spots. A very handy butler ready to

    The only problem is that it inverts the relationship from servant to

    Oh, and I could also point out the tendency of these folks to realize that in
    such an arrangement, they don't need any 'church' to make the friendly relationship


    I was brought up Catholic, but that really turned me away from the Church. I do have a great relationship with God, though. He helped me when I had a drinking problem. He helped me through my divorce. He helped me through big decisions about the Knight Rider TV series."

    Friday, October 13, 2006

    We're talking again. Good.

    During an Oct. 2 meeting with Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia at St. Daniel’s Monastery here, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, expressed regret that intensified activity of some Western missionaries “does not always appear proper from ecumenical viewpoint” and may have been insulting to the Russian Orthodox Church.


    He noted that since the 1990s, religious and missionary activity in Eastern Europe intensified through the individual initiative of various persons from the West.

    “It gives us anguish to realize that some Western Christians, including Catholics, failed to discern and recognize the incomparable spiritual richness of holy Russia and to appreciate and respect the religious and cultural heritage of the great Orthodox tradition,” Cardinal Tettamanzi said.

    The Russian Orthodox Church “had historically and continues to have the gift of proclaim the gospel in this land and the mission to bear witness in it,” he said. Such aggressive proselytism today, he added, “is condemned by many among, not only the Orthodox but also Catholics.”
    According to the cardinal, in the process of Christianization, “there must be no room for confessional competition in the name of the gospel.”

    "never without a seminary"

    In an Oct. 15 papal ceremony at the Vatican, Blessed Rafael Guizar Valencia is scheduled to become the first bishop born in the Americas to be declared a saint.


    Blessed Rafael was born to a wealthy family in Cotija de la Paz in the Mexican state of Michoacan April 16, 1878. In 1894 he entered the seminary of the Diocese of Zamora and was ordained a priest for the diocese in 1901.

    When the Mexican Revolution started, the Catholic Church was a target of rebel forces because it was considered one of the privileged institutions that dominated society under Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz. The then-Father Guizar became a target because of his defense of the church.

    After the successful revolution, the new government ordered Father Guizar shot on sight and in 1915 he fled the country, entering the United States. He then moved to Guatemala, Colombia and Cuba.

    Blessed Rafael returned to Mexico in 1920 as bishop of Veracruz and in 1923 joined the local Knights of Columbus council.

    As church persecution continued, he founded a clandestine seminary.

    "A bishop can do without a miter, a crosier and even a cathedral, but never without a seminary, because the future of his diocese depends on the seminary," he said.

    Like the Pope in Poland.

    I often wonder how Mexico can remain such a mess, and so dirt poor. I bet
    the fact they endured a revolution only 100 years ago means they are still
    living through the corruption and mismanagement that landed revolutionaries

    The fact that the winners were anti-religious sealed their fate.

    Thursday, October 12, 2006

    St. Jude Thaddaeus' and the Pope's controversial language

    St. Jude compares them to "fallen angels, and with strong words says 'they followed the path of Cain,'" the Holy Father said.


    Benedict XVI continued: "Today we are no longer in the habit of using such controversial language, which nevertheless tells us something important: That in all the existing temptations, with all the currents of modern life, we must preserve the identity of our faith."

    It is true, that "the path of indulgence and dialogue, must be continued with firm constancy," but "this path of dialogue, so necessary, must not make us forget the duty to rethink and to witness always with as much force the guidelines of our Christian identity that cannot be given up," said the Holy Father.


    Today we're not in the "habit" of such language, and "indulgence and
    dialogue" must be continued. That's pretty controversial language in

    The path of dialogue with other confessions must not make us forget our Catholic identity, says Benedict XVI. The Holy Father said this during the general audience today, attended by 35,000 people, held in St. Peter's Square.

    In his catechesis, Benedict XVI continued to meditate on the Twelve Apostles. On this occasion, he chose the figures of Simon the Cananaean and Jude called Thaddaeus, and prayed that they might "help us to rediscover always anew and to live tirelessly the beauty of the Christian faith, knowing how to give both strong and serene witness."

    Regarding Jude Thaddaeus -- not Judas Iscariot -- the Bishop of Rome said that the apostle is attributed the authorship of one of the letters of the New Testament called "'catholic,' inasmuch as they were addressed to a very large circle of recipients."

    "Central concern of this writing is to put Christians on guard from all those who give as pretext the grace of God to excuse their own licentiousness and to lead astray other brothers with unacceptable teachings, introducing divisions within the Church, 'under the influence of their dreams,'" the Pope added.

    "under the influence of their dreams"... I almost think the translator is
    making some mistakes here. Could the Pope really be talking so plainly and
    Politically Uncorrect? First the muslims, now the divided Christians.

    I love it.

    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Brussels fear migrating to center

    Europe appears to be crossing an invisible line regarding its Muslim minorities: more people in the political mainstream are arguing that Islam cannot be reconciled with European values.


    "You saw what happened with the pope," said Patrick Gonman, 43, the owner of Raga, a funky wine bar in downtown Antwerp, 25 miles from here. "He said Islam is an aggressive religion. And the next day they kill a nun somewhere and make his point.

    "Rationality is gone."

    Gonman is hardly an extremist. In fact, he organized a protest last week in which 20 bars and restaurants closed on the night when a far-right party with an anti-Muslim message held a rally nearby.

    His worry is shared by centrists across Europe angry at terror attacks in the name of religion on a continent that has largely abandoned it, and disturbed that any criticism of Islam or Muslim immigration provokes threats of violence.

    Many experts note that there is a deep and troubled history between Islam and Europe, with the Crusaders and the Ottoman Empire jostling each other for centuries and bloodily defining the boundaries of Christianity and Islam. A sense of guilt over Europe's colonial past and then World War II, when intolerance exploded into mass murder, allowed a large migration to occur without any uncomfortable debates over the real differences between migrant and host.

    Then the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, jolted Europe into new awareness and worry.

    The subsequent bombings in Madrid and London, and the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a Dutch-born Moroccan stand as examples of the extreme. But many Europeans - even those who generally support immigration - have begun talking more bluntly about cultural differences, specifically about Muslims' deep religious beliefs and social values, which are far more conservative than those of most Europeans on issues like women's rights and homosexuality.

    The Western European secular religion will be no match for the
    religion of islam. Deep religious beliefs produce martyrs, and the secular
    religion is no deeper than the grade school classroom where the Europeans were

    If this article can be believed, Europeans are still thinking that this is
    cultural issue. Even worse, them see it as islam being "far more conservative"
    then most Europeans. It's not conservative vs. liberal, it is religion vs.
    non-religion. Take a guess regarding who's more committed.

    I think
    this is why the Pope is trying to re-awaken the religious
    foundations of

    While Europeans are thinking "women's rights and homosexuality", islamics are
    thinking God. Which side do you think will win?

    Europeans had better
    find the address to their local abandoned church, and find out what they have
    been missing.

    Davenport, Portland, Spokane, Tuscon

    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday, the fourth diocese in the nation to seek financial protection to deal with priest sex abuse cases.


    In the fall 2004, the diocese agreed to pay $9 million to settle 37 claims against priests dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.

    Many of the most recent claims focus on Bishop Lawrence Soens, who has been accused of fondling as many as 15 students during his tenure as priest and principal at a Catholic high school in Iowa City during the 1960s.

    Soens, who served as Bishop in Sioux City, in western Iowa, from 1983-98, denies the allegations.

    His trial is scheduled to begin in Davenport Oct. 23.

    The filing comes less than two weeks before the diocese defends itself in court against accusations it failed to discipline a former bishop accused of sexually abusing a high school student.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    He's the man!

    "In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation," he said in one footnote.

    "I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Koran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion," he wrote.

    "I intended solely to draw out the essential relationship between faith and reason. On this point I am in agreement with Manuel II, but without endorsing his polemic," the Pope wrote.


    I love it. Controversy after the burst pimple.

    Perhaps we all have had
    the experience of talking to someone we had to deliver the truth to, even though
    they were unable to accept direct confrontation. What's the best method? It's to
    keep saying truth, but talk around the edges.

    "In the Muslim world, this quotation has unfortunately been taken as an expression of my personal position, thus arousing understandable indignation,"

    This could be understood as.. in the world of muslim viewpoint, there is an
    unfortunate inderstanding, unfortunate because it arouses indignation, undersood
    as a personal opinion, rather than a quote. In other words, too bad you're sad.

    "I intended solely to draw out the essential relationship between faith and reason. On this point I am in agreement with Manuel II, but without endorsing his polemic,"

    This could be understood as.. When it comes to faith and reason I agree with old
    Manuel II who was being besieged by muslim warriors with swords, although I
    would not have used Manuel's phrasing.

    "I hope that the reader of my text can see immediately that this sentence does not express my personal view of the Koran, for which I have the respect due to the holy book of a great religion,"

    Your religion which is great (notably large in size),
    has its holy book, and
    it deserves respect because it is important to you.

    Now let's get back to discussing how spreading a religion by violence has no
    part of the connection between faith and reason.

    Nicely said. Now I hope they don't chop off the Pope's head. Which is something
    I am sure the Pope has considered, and is prepared to suffer.

    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Lesbians with kids... how can that be?

    A lesbian couple from Rhode Island who won the right to marry in Massachusetts held their ceremony Sunday.


    Becker and Norton have been together for 18 years and have two children, 3-year-old Mickey and 6-year-old Hannah. Becker works at Rhode Island College, Norton at Brown Medical School.

    Well at least their careers are keeping them away from grade school

    I value pictures of homosexual men with little boys acting like
    they are married. They tell such a lurid story. The only caption I can think of
    in those cases is "are we out of our minds?". Did our parents never tell us that
    homosexual men must be kept away from boys for the sake of the boys? Maybe our
    parents never thought it would become such a shameless modern issue. But the
    constant headlines, including our shameless priests of the 60's and 70's should
    be making an impression deep impression that no one can

    Physically, lesbians acting like they are married are probably
    safer for young boys and girls; I don't know. But how safe are they for
    children's minds?

    Let's take a look at this idyllic scene.

    Smiles and warmth abound. The children are being held in place by
    whom I presume are their mothers. Who knows? Although I think we are still years away from stirring kids up in a petri dish, and growing them in a zip-lock baggie in a warming tray. Many years I hope.

    Pastor Sandra is
    wearing a white stole, mimicking high church vestments. It being blank white is
    either a sign or purity, or a sign of nothingness. Perhaps it means both since common sense is under-used here Nice fashion choice.

    They hold a chalice of what I hope is Welsh's grape juice. A mimic of
    Christ's blood perhaps. I know it's not the real thing. Or perhaps symbolic of their college days of passing the jug.

    And the poor little boy. What does he think of daddy? Will he want
    to become a daddy? How will he know what a daddy is like? Do men even exist for
    him? Not in this cherished wedding album picture they don't.

    How about the poor little girl? Will she grow up waiting for her Prince Charming, or someone more like mommie?

    Phew, enough ranting?

    Just one more thing... the mommies had the good taste to wear black. Which
    is a nice opposite to white. Kinda sets the mood for their future and portrays
    their past.

    Oh and one more thing... does anyone care to conjecture exactly how the
    mommies will consumate their forming one flesh tonight? Male and female He made
    them. I don't think the parts will fit.

    And again it occurs to me, where did these poor children come from? Who
    abandoned them to 2 women playing house?

    OK, enough already. Too many questions, and not enough answers. And I
    suspect the answers are worse then the questions.

    Did I mention that St. Bruno is my Confirmation Saint?

    Pope Benedict called the theologians' attention to the example set by St. Bruno, the founder of the Carthusian order, whose feast the Church was celebrating. While a theologian cannot imitate St. Bruno's commitment to silence, since the theologian's task is to speak about God to the contemporary world, still any scholar should recognize the value of "silence and contemplation," the Pope said, since those habits "enable us to enter into God's silence and thus reach the point where the Word is born."


    Pope Benedict XVI warned theologians against serving "the dictatorship of common opinion," as he celebrated Mass on October 6 with the members of the International Theological Commission.

    The International Theological Commission had been meeting in Rome this week to discuss the fate of children who die unbaptized, with widespread reports indicating that the group would recommend a move away from the concept of Limbo. Pope Benedict XVI did not mention that topic in his homily during the Mass that closed the Commission's week-long meeting.

    However the Pontiff did warn strongly against the temptation for theologians to "speak to elicit applause," and to be guided by "what men want to hear." That approach, he said, is "a kind of prostitution." The proper approach to theology, the Holy Father continued, is one of "harsh discipline in obedience to the truth."

    Tasteless humor and art unwelcome

    A London gallery has decided not to show some works of art because it fears they would upset Muslims, a curator said on Friday, a week after a German opera house canned a Mozart production for the same reason.


    The director of Britain's Whitechapel Art Gallery decided to remove works by surrealist artist Hans Bellmer from an exhibition the day before it was due to open, one of the museum's curators, Agnes de la Beaumelle, told Reuters.

    "The motive was simply to not shock the population of the Whitechapel neighborhood, which is partly Muslim," she said.

    Beaumelle said the exhibition had already been to Paris and Munich without provoking any protests and Bellmer, who died in 1975, is well known in the art world, which made the decision by gallery director Iwona Blazwick all the more surprising to her.


    Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday condemned members of an anti-immigrant party who appeared in Web videos mocking the Prophet Muhammad, prompting protests from Muslim leaders around the world.


    In the videos, posted online last week and reported by the Danish newspaper Nyhedsavisen on Friday, a group of young politicians was shown conducting a drawing contest. One woman presented a drawing of a camel with the head of Muhammad and beer cans for humps as the group laughed.

    Rasmussen denounced the youth wing of the Danish People's Party in a statement, saying: "Their tasteless behavior does in no way represent the way the Danish people or young Danish people view Muslims or Islam."

    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney

    As you know, he is a great guy.


    As the heart of a saint flew over the Atlantic Ocean Friday, the Rev. Charles Mangano hurriedly prepared his Merrick church for the relic's arrival.After a long day spent overseeing the cleaning of every inch of his 80-year-old church, Mangano was expected to meet late Friday night at an area airport with Guy Bagnard, the bishop of Belley, Ars-France, who carried with him the sacred relic that has only left France once before.

    Thousands are expected to flock to the Curé of Ars Church beginning Saturday to venerate the heart of St. Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney, a French priest who died in 1859 at age 73. When his body was exhumed 45 years later, Vianney's heart was still intact. Those on hand will also be able to view the chalice that he used during his services, which drew hundreds of worshipers.

    Church volunteers spent much of Friday washing windows and floors, preparing for the throng of Roman Catholics that are expected to come to the church during the next four days. The church, at 2323 Merrick Ave., is bracing for particularly long lines Saturday.

    Saturday, October 07, 2006


    Based on what has been given us to know, Limbo is a probable place.

    Based on what we don't know, we can hope that God in his mercy accepts these
    children to heaven.

    We call them innocent children, but they are not since they also are covered
    in Original Sin.

    Since true for unbaptised children that were born, what about the aborted
    children? True also.

    The Church say nothing new here, other than 'we can hope'.

    Even though I believe the Church when she tells me that there is no
    reincarnation, that is given man to die once, and then the Judgement, I still
    have a strong attraction to something like reincarnation when it suits God's
    will. Not to sound too much like Mr. Clinton, it all depends upon what can be
    meant by 'die once'.

    It is very apparent that God does not care too much exactly when we die,
    young or old, but does care how we live on earth. A long life is stated as a blessing,
    but so are so many other things.

    When children die, their immortal soul is certainly available to whatever
    purpose God decides. Would it be so out of character for God to join that soul
    to another beginning earthly life? I don't think it would be out of character at

    We really do need to shed this late and fashionable idea that we are all
    going to heaven when we die. Revelations too numerous to list tell us that is not so.

    At the last funeral I attended, the Priest told us how loving the woman was..
    how she took in so many stray cats.. how she offered anyone visiting something
    to eat as soon as the came in the door.. how she's looking down on us from
    heaven. I don't know for sure, but I think the Gospel tells us it's a little
    harder than that.. a little harder than just being nice.

    Have we lived our life closer and closer to the God who made us? Does living
    with God in heaven drive our every thought and action? Have we left this earthly
    journey behind by taking a small step to heaven? That last step aided by pure Mercy.

    If not, then stray cats and quickly feeding all visitors won't cut it. But
    what wonders could God's mercy do for us then?

    The Church tells us this mercy lovingly places us in Purgatory which we can
    appreciate, but little understand.

    This earthly journey feels like a type of purgatory.. the fleshy kind. And if
    we find out someday that this is the real Purgatory, that souls are given
    another flesh to find God better again, would we be so surprised? I don't think
    so. It would seem like a genuine, kind love.

    So firstly I believe with the Church that there is no reincarnation as we understand it. Certainly not as other religions depend upon it, being reincarnated throughout the animal kingdom staring with ants.

    Secondly, I wonder what God is doing that we are not privy to. Something that
    keeps Revelation right, and reveals what mysteriously mixes in God's perfect love and justice, His will that all be saved, and his clear statements that all are not saved.

    Perhaps we can discuss this later, when we arrive there, and behold.

    How long will that be? Why is the 2nd coming taking so long?

    "Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little
    longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be


    The document "in no way means to lessen the urgency with which the church invites parents to have their children baptized," Father McPartlan said Oct. 6. "What we are trying to do is to say, 'What does the church say when confronted with the situation of an infant who has died without being baptized?' That and that alone is what prompted our document.

    "The answer is not a simplistic, 'Oh, don't worry; everything is fine,'" but rather that God's endless mercy, his love poured out in Jesus Christ and his desire to save all people gives a solid basis for hoping those children will be saved despite not having been baptized.

    Realizing some people could misinterpret the statement as saying that baptism is unnecessary for infants because they are incapable of sinning, the document reaffirms church teaching about the reality of original sin.

    The church believes that with the exception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus, every human being is born marked with the stain of original sin, which distances them from God.

    As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explained: "Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called."

    Friday, October 06, 2006

    Does anyone say 'Ms' anymore?

    I think that 'Ms' is so resonant with the embarrassing 70's, that it is avoided
    today. I have not heard it in a long time.

    Although I still hear 'Mr'.

    Let's see, what else have women lost?

    Not the "Ms" magazine it
    seems. They are still trying to avoid slipping back to 'back alley abortions'
    and “to save lives and to spare other women the pain of socially imposed guilt.” .

    But they have lost
    the babies. Perhaps now that the 70's women are getting up in age, they will
    soon meet those babies face to face. I doubt that God ever lost track of the
    babies or the very slim women who killed them.


    In its 1972 debut issue, Ms. magazine ran a bold petition in which 53 well-known U.S. women declared that they had undergone abortions—despite state laws rendering the procedure illegal. These women were following the example of a 1971 manifesto signed by 343 prominent French women, who also declared they had abortions.

    At the time of the original Ms. petition, illegal abortions were causing untold suffering in the United States, especially for poor women who had to resort to unsafe self-induced or back-alley abortions. Today, in the developing nations each year, approximately 70,000 women and girls die from botched and unsafe abortions and another 500,000 maternal deaths occur—most of this suffering and loss could be prevented. U.S. international family planning policies contribute to this death toll: first, by conditioning its aid on a global gag rule that prevents medical workers from giving even information on abortion; second, by withholding or providing inadequate funds; and finally, by funding abstinence-only education.

    We are now starting a new petition, beginning with the names of some of the original 1972 signers. They signed “to save lives and to spare other women the pain of socially imposed guilt.” Their purpose was “to repeal archaic and inhuman [anti-abortion] laws.”

    We recognize that, still, not every woman will be able to sign today—33 years after Roe—even though abortion is a very common, necessary and important procedure for millions of women in the U.S. But if a multitude of women would step forward publicly—and more and more would continue to join them—we would change the public debate.

    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Can islam develop doctrine?

    Christianity has been able to talk to modern people by developing existing
    doctrine over time. Never creating new doctrine, but loving doctrine, and
    studying it to find how it speaks to us today.

    This does not change
    doctrine, but unveils it more and more as a rich treasure that is more fully
    explained in answer to questions that arise over the centuries.

    cleric that is in trouble can not start from the position that their prophet was
    making mistakes. Rather, they must find that what he said was true, and is
    explained thusly in modern times.

    Of course, if they find that the
    prophet was making mistakes, that would be telling of a serious flaw from the
    beginning. All this controversy is very good if we hope to arrive at a place
    where finally we can talk to each other.


    Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly yesterday accused the chairman of John Howard's Islamic reference board, Ameer Ali, of selling out his religion to gain the support and financial backing of Muslim critics.

    Dr Ali said in The Australian yesterday that Mohammed had flaws, and criticised Muslims who blindly follow the faith and failed to question the veracity of the Koran.

    Sheik Hilaly, the head of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney's southwest, said Dr Ali's "defamatory" remarks were akin to those that in 1989 earned Rushdie a fatwa from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

    While Sheik Hilaly backed Dr Ali's call for a reinterpretation of the Koran to fit modern times, he condemned his "dangerous" and "ignorant" comments about the prophet.

    "We forbid such statements, from both Ameer Ali and anyone who has encouraged him to say what he said," Sheik Hilaly said in an interview conducted in Arabic.

    The fence "and" reform

    In a letter to Sept. 26 on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Gerald R. Barnes of San Bernardino, Calif., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, urged the U.S. Senate to oppose the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation by the end of the year.


    “We oppose H.R. 6061 because we believe it would not solve the problem of illegal immigration,” Bishop Barnes said. “Indeed, we believe it would create more problems than it would solve.

    All nations have the right “to control their borders and regulate entry into their countries,” he acknowledged, but noted that that right is conditional.

    “The U.S. Catholic bishops support efforts to ensure that U.S. authorities have the means to control U.S. borders effectively,” he said, “so long as enforcement strategies and mechanisms are applied humanely and protect human life.”

    This looks like a typical situation where both sides of the question are
    right. If the fence stops some border crossings, it will stop some deaths. And
    where the fence is not, better surveillance can be focused.

    The Bishops are right in that both the fence and reform should have been
    enacted before the end of this year. It will come.

    The fence at just over one billion dollars will cost every living American
    roughly $4. As usual, we will use our charge card to pay for it.

    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Islamic rule

    He stressed the importance of showing affection to people and added: The authorities must react to the possible stumbling of people by kindness and indulgence.


    The supreme leader differentiated indulgence toward people from overlooking the wrongdoing of those who want to abuse this quality and stated: Ignoring the misdemeanors of these gangs and cabals is in fact ignoring the rights of the majority of commoners, and thus, these people must be treated according to the law.

    A government than can differentiate between indulging the people, and
    overlooking their wrongdoing is a good thing. One hopes the government is in a
    good mood.

    Tuesday, October 03, 2006

    Intercultural, multicultural mess

    The problem is what to do when you don't like what you've learned about the
    other's fascinating culture.


    "This is why interculturality is obligatory in today's society, to keep the human dimension safe in an evermore globalized world" and "is the privileged educational form. (...) Civil coexistence demands that each individual may easily have access to the cultural system of others, in the practice of 'negotiation' which does not mean renouncing one's own culture, but the search for points of convergence and encounter with respect for the legitimacy of each one".

    Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, intervened today in Naples, Italy during the World Habitat Day, organized by the United Nations, its theme this year being "The City, Magnet of Hope". The Archbishop's speech was dedicated to the theme: "The City, Crossroads of Cultures and Multicultural Project".

    The Archbishop said: "The presence of persons from different cultures that live in the same territories is evermore frequent, due above all to the acceleration of the migratory phenomenon", as well as the industrial areas and the metropolis and "in general each nationality represents a culture so we find ourselves facing a cultural and religious pluralism never so fully experienced as today".


    Speaking at midday to the crowd gathered in the courtyard of the papal residence at Castel Gandolfo, the Pope reported that he had met the previous day with Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, who had "informed me of the tragic reality that the population of Iraq faces daily."


    catholic interest.