Monday, March 31, 2008
Cardinals Lead - Time fro Us to Follow
March 30, 2008
Over the course of the last few weeks, several events have taken place which one could rightly interpret as significant steps leading towards a potential definition of a fifth Marian Dogma of the Spiritual Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On January 11, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI released his 2008 World Day of the Sick Address for February 11, in which he presented his strongest teaching to date on Our Lady's coredemptive role with Jesus at Calvary. The Holy Father states:
For this reason, Mary is a model of total self-abandonment to God's will: she received in her heart the eternal Word and she conceived it in her virginal womb; she trusted in God and, with her soul pierced by a sword (cf. Lk 2:35), she did not hesitate to share the Passion of her Son, renewing on Calvary at the foot of the Cross her "yes" of the Annunciation. ... Associated with the Sacrifice of Christ, Mary, Mater Dolorosa, who at the foot of the Cross suffers with her divine Son, is felt to be especially near by the Christian community, which gathers around its suffering members who bear the signs of the passion of the Lord. Mary suffers with those who are in affliction, with them she hopes, and she is their comfort, supporting them with her maternal help. And is it not perhaps true that the spiritual experience of very many sick people leads us to understand increasingly that "the Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed"? (John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, n. 26)
On February 8, 2008, five cardinals release a press statement regarding their January 1, 2008 letter to every cardinal and bishop of the world, in which they invite the world's prelates to join them in their petition to Pope Benedict XVI to solemnly define as dogma the role of the blessed Virgin Mary as the Spiritual Mother of humanity under its three essential roles as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. These five cardinals — their Eminences Telesphore Cardinal Toppo, Luis Cardinal Aponte Martínez, Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and Ernesto Cardinal Corripio Ahumada — enclosed the following votum (or petition) and invited each cardinal and bishop to sign and to forward to the Holy Father:
Your Holiness, Benedict XVI, ... MORE...
Pope B16 Urges Youth to Form Friendship With Christ
Benedict XVI greeted university students gathered for an annual conference sponsored by Opus Dei, and encouraged them to foster a personal relationship with Christ so as to be able to respond to the great questions of our time.
The Pope greeted in three languages the 3,000 participants of the international UNIV congress, gathered today in St. Peter's Basilica. He then gave the traditional catechesis during his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall.
"I offer a cordial welcome to all of you who have come to Rome from various countries and universities to celebrate Holy Week together, and to take part in the International UNIV Congress," the Holy Father told the youth. "In this way, you will be able to benefit from moments of common prayer, cultural enrichment and a helpful exchange of the experiences gained from your association with the centers and activities of Christian formation sponsored by the Prelature of Opus Dei in your respective cities and nations."
The conference this year, which ends Easter Sunday, is focused on the theme "Being, Appearing, and Communicating: Entertainment and Happiness in a Multi-Medial Society."
The Pontiff reminded the youth that with a "serious personal commitment, inspired by the Gospel values, it is possible to respond adequately to the great questions of our time.'
"The Christian knows that there is an inseparable link between the truth, ethics and responsibility," he said. "Every authentic cultural expression contributes to form the conscience and encourage the person to better himself with the end of bettering society. In this way one feels responsible before the truth, at the service of which, one must put one's own personal liberty."
Benedict XVI said this implies "a mission requiring commitment." And to fulfill this commitment, he affirmed, "the Christian is called to follow Jesus, cultivating an intense friendship with him through prayer and contemplation."
"To be friends of Christ, and to give testimony of him wherever we are, demands, furthermore, the strength to go against the grain, remembering the words of the Lord: You are in the world but not of the world," he added.
The Pope encouraged the youth: "Do not be afraid, then, to be nonconformists when it is necessary; at your university, school and in all places."
"Dear young people of UNIV, be leaven of hope in the world that desires to meet Jesus, often without knowing it," he urged. "To better the world, make an effort above all to change yourselves through an intense sacramental life, especially through approaching the sacrament of penance, and participating assiduously in the celebration of the Eucharist."
The UNIV conferences began in 1968, inspired and encouraged by Opus Dei's founder, Monsignor Josemaría Escrivá, who was canonized in 2002.
This article introduces a new book on the subject:
Evangelizing Youth in a Secularized World
ROME, MARCH 30, 2008 (Zenit.org).- With the July date for World Youth Day approaching, the event brings to the fore again the question of how best the Church can convey the Gospel message to young men and women.
Speaking to the bishops of Japan last Dec. 17 during their five-yearly visit to Rome, Benedict XVI warned how young people risk being deceived by modern secular culture.
"If their youthful energy and enthusiasm can be directed toward the things of God, which alone are sufficient to satisfy their deepest longings, more young people will be inspired to commit their lives to Christ," the Pope commented.
Achieving this, of course, is far from easy. A useful analysis of the prevailing culture and mentality among young people came in the recently published book, "After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings are Shaping the Future of American Religion" (Princeton University Press).
Authored by Robert Wuthnow, professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University, the book starts by noting that younger adults number more than 100 million in the United States.
Pope Urges Youth to Form Friendship With Christ
Here's the article
Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.
Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 percent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 percent.
"For the first time in history we are no longer at the top: the Muslims have overtaken us," Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano in an interview, saying the data referred to 2006.
He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 percent of the world's population -- or about 2 billion people.
The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.MORE...
Sunday, March 30, 2008
For those of you living in southern California, I want to invite you the free Bible study I'm leading at John Paul the Great Catholic University on Wednesday nights at 7pm.
This is a very detailed study--we're going through about a chapter or a half of a chapter a session. Each night participants get a packet of handouts that contains outlines, summaries, and a ton of footnotes with bibliographic information for further study. We're looking at all kinds of elements and issues attached with the Gospel--historical, apologetic, theological, pastoral, etc. The effort is made to appeal to both a popular and more academically inclined audiences. We're going through everything from Catholic magisterial teaching to the Dead Sea Scrolls, the early fathers, contemporary scholarship, Pope Benedict's new book on Jesus, etc.
After we are through with Luke we will take up Acts of the Apostles.
Some of the issues we are discussing include:
--Whether the Gospel of Luke is historically reliable
--Why Jesus called himself "the Son of Man
--How the Dead Sea Scrolls relate to our understanding of Jesus and the Judaism of his day
--Why Mary is likely a source for Luke's knowledge of Jesus
--Why there are differences in the Gospel accounts of episodes and teachings of Jesus
--How Luke's Gospel is related to Paul's Epistles
--How Old Testament hopes are fulfilled in Jesus and his ministry
--Why the Apostles are described by Luke as priests of the messianic age
--How Daniel's prophecy of 490 years (cf. Dan 9) is related to Jesus' ministry
--How Jesus is presented as a new Adam, Isaac, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, etc.
--What contemporary scholarship is saying about the various Gospel episodes and the historical Jesus
--How the early Church interpreted Jesus' teachings
--and much, much more...
Next week: As we move into Luke 7, we will discuss:
--Jesus' role as the new Elisha
--miracles and historical research
--Why John the Baptist, who had leaped in his mother's womb at the Visitation and had baptized Jesus, sent messengers to Jesus with the question, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (cf. Lk 7:19).
--and much more...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The Tibetian peoples have been battling for their independance for years and it's not going to get any easier for them.
Even with the Olympics in August, it doesn't seem the Chinese government is aiming to take care of this protest the same zeal as Tiananmen Square.
My prayers are with the Tibetians...
Paramilitary police opened fire on hundreds of monks, nuns and Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in western China yesterday to demand the return of the Dalai Lama.
Residents of Luhuo said that a monk and a farmer appeared to have been killed and about a dozen people wounded in the latest violence in Tibetan areas of China. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, said that one officer was killed when police confronted a “lawless mob” in Luhuo.
The demonstration began at 4pm when about 200 nuns from Woge nunnery and a similar number of monks from Jueri monastery marched towards the Luhuo Third District government office. They were joined by several hundred farmers and nomads, witnesses said.
Shouting “Long Live the Dalai Lama” and “Tibet belongs to Tibetans”, they approached the office. The paramilitary People’s Armed Police appeared and ordered the crowd to turn back. Witnesses said that shots were fired and two people appeared to have died. They identified one as Congun Dengzhu, a farmer, and the second as an unknown monk.
To tell you the truth, I don't know all the ramifications of this merger are, good or bad. All I know is that I'm paying for both and I only want to pay for one.
I've been a Sirius sub for quite a few years already, and now with the purchase of my new Civic, which comes with XM only, I've been paying for both. They don't sell a conversion kit for my Navigation unit in my Civic. Not yet anyway.
I like Sirius because it has EWTN Catholic radio, while XM doesn't.
.... you can keep Howard Stern.
Anyway here's the news:
Sirius Satellite Radio's $4.59 billion purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio was given antitrust clearance on Monday as the Justice Department concluded consumers have many alternatives, including mobile phones and personal audio players.
Investors sent shares of both companies sharply higher even though the Federal Communications Commission must still approve the combination of the only two U.S. providers of satellite radio, a deal first announced in February 2007.
In a victory for Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, who lobbied hard for the deal, the Justice Department agreed the satellite radio companies face stiff competition from traditional AM/FM radio, high-definition radio, MP3 players and programming delivered by mobile phones.
Sounds like a wave of new products too.
Monday, March 24, 2008
It's a time of joy and celebration. The Mass is usually about 2 to 3 hours long. My wife entered the Church in this manner and I remember it well.
The Vatican held its Easter Vigil Mass as well and among the catechumens this year was a prominent Muslim journalist.
That would be cool to attend the Vigil Mass at the Vatican.
This morning on the way into work, the different news agencies were trying to make this joyous event into a political story. Stoking the fires between Islam and Christianity.
One reporter was describing the welcoming of the Muslim journalist into the faith as a “slap in the face of Islam”.
B16 has been working hard to further relations with Muslim leaders. He’s held meetings with them this past month.
Here’s the story…
The day Magdi Allam became a Catholic was a beautiful one, according to the Muslim journalist who was baptized by Benedict XVI at Saturday's Easter Vigil Mass.
Allam, who is originally from Egypt, was one of the seven people -- five women and two men -- the Pope baptized at St. Peter's Basilica.The Holy Father also administered the sacraments of the Eucharist and confirmation to the seven catechumens from five countries: Italy, Cameroon, China, the United States and Peru.Allam, deputy director of Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s largest and oldest newspapers, has lived in Italy for almost 35 years.
Explaining what led the Pope to administer baptism to the journalist, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, “For the Catholic Church, every person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a completely free choice and adequate preparation, has the right to receive it.” MORE...
Muslim baptized by pope says life in danger
Friday, March 21, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
… with each other! …I didn’t know this?!
Did massive Protestant mobs sack the Vatican?
Did Rome launch new Inquisition Trials?
OH …I get it. The MSM is at it again. Let’s make something out of nothing.
This article reminds me of the “7 deadly sins article” (see previous post). I mean, there’s some interesting points here, however calling it a war is a bit of a stretch.
Catholics celebrate Sunday’s as the day of worship because that’s when Jesus rose from the dead. Easter is always on a Friday….no….Saturday…no… one more guess.
Okay, that being said, read on.
'Deception': Christians war over worship dayCenturies-old clash continues over disputed commandment
Two thousand years after Jesus walked the Earth, Christians are at war with each other concerning – as strange as it may sound – a day of the week mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
The issue boils down to: "When is God's Sabbath?" In other words, what is His holy day of rest?
Most Christians today think it's Sunday, when the majority of churches hold services.
But others confidently say it's Saturday, calling Sunday worship "the most flagrant error of mainstream Christianity," believing Sunday-keepers are victims of clever deception. MORE
From Sabbath to Sunday
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Littering Not New "Deadly Sin," Bishops Clarify, Say Vatican Didn't Publish List of 7 Modern Misdeeds (Zenit.org)
LONDON, MARCH 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Reports that the Vatican has published a new list of the seven deadly sins of modern times that includes littering and economic inequality is simply not true, affirmed the episcopal conference of England and Wales.
The conference released a statement today clarifying that an interview published Sunday by L'Osservatore Romano with Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, regent of the tribunal of he Apostolic Penitentiary, was misinterpreted in the media as an official Vatican update to the seven deadly sins, laid out by Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century.
"The Vatican has not published a new list of seven deadly sins; this is not a new Vatican edict," said the conference. "The story originated from an interview that Bishop Gianfranco Girotti gave to the L'Osservatore Romano in which he was questioned about new forms of social sins in this age of globalization."
The Vatican newspaper interviewed the bishop at the conclusion of a course that took place last week on the "internal forum" -- questions of conscience -- organized by the tribunal of the Apostolic Penitentiary to strengthen the training of priests in administering the sacrament of confession.
In the interview titled "Le Nuove Forme del Peccato Sociale" (The New Forms of Social Sin), journalist Nicola Gori asked the prelate what he thought are the new sins of the modern era.
Bishop Girotti responded: "There are various areas in which today we can see sinful attitudes in relation to individual and social rights.
"Above all in the area of bioethics, in which we cannot fail to denounce certain violations of the fundamental rights of human nature, by way of experiments, genetic manipulation, the effects of which are difficult to prevent and control."
"Another area, a social issue, is the issue of drug use, which debilitates the psyche and darkens the intelligence, leaving many youth outside the ecclesial circuit."
The bishop also mentioned social inequality, "by which the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer, feeding an unsustainable social injustice," and the "area of ecology."
Friday, March 14, 2008
Satan wonders the world, seeking the ruin of souls, as the saying goes and his usual motive operandi is to entice, to appear that what is Sin is anything but.
Then there are times when he rears his ugly head in a manner most obvious. One may think of Hollywood’s attempt to portray this in movies like ‘Poltergeist’ or even scarier ‘The Exorcist’.
Here’s an article out of ‘New Oxford Review – February’ that brings home a recent case in point.
Amid widespread confusion and skepticism about the subject, the chief goal of this article is to document a contemporary and clear-cut case of demonic possession. Even those who doubt such a phenomenon exists may find the following example rather persuasive. For clergy, or indeed anyone involved in the spiritual or psychological care of others, it is equally critical, however, to recognize the many and infinitely more common "counterfeits" (i.e., false assignations) of demonic influence or attack as well.
This need for caution and precision is especially important at a time when untrained laymen or, worse, public ministries may unfortunately mislead or even exploit the faithful in this area. One has only to turn on a television to witness obvious abuses -- for instance, televangelists' dunning their audience for cash as they conduct exhibitionist ceremonies before large assemblies of the overly credulous. Sharp distinctions -- long known to traditional theologians, but now often ignored -- need to be drawn.
Possession is only one and not the most common type of demonic attack. Possession is very rare, though not as exceedingly so as many imagine. So-called "oppression," or "infestation," is less rare, though hardly frequent either, and sometimes more difficult to discern accurately.1 For our purposes here, a truly "possessed" individual exhibits so massive and unequivocal an assault that we will use it as the paradigmatic example of a genuine demonic attack. This case will be contrasted not to the many lesser degrees of demonic assault, but rather to the varied kinds of purported demonic involvement -- often psychotic conditions -- that turn out to have a purely natural explanation.2 These states should be more widely recognized as such by religious practitioners. This need is especially great among the many laymen now in deliverance ministries, a rapidly growing worldwide phenomenon.3
The Case of a Modern-Day Demoniac
To show, first, that the devil, however rarely, may indeed "attack" by possessing an individual, I present here a detailed summary of a present-day demonic possession. It is truly an obvious example of a genuine attack, at least to an objective observer.
Each case of possession (as well as oppression) is, in one sense, unique. What makes this example especially singular -- but also particularly and powerfully convincing -- is that the woman involved not only exhibited, in a highly dramatic fashion, the classic signs of possession but, having been an avowed and prominent Satanist in her life, also seemed to display "special occult powers" even outside her trance states, not infrequently in a quite open manner to anyone who came in close contact with her.
All the facts presented here are true and verifiable by the multiple and highly credible individuals involved in her care. For reasons of confidentiality, we will identify our subject with a pseudonym (she agreed to have her story published if she were not identified), and little incidental material is included.
"Julia" is a middle-aged, self-supporting Caucasian woman who lives in the U.S. She first approached her local clergy on her own, and was soon referred to an official priest-exorcist (who collaborated on this article) to explore getting help. She herself was quite convinced from the start that she was being "attacked" in some way by a demon or Satan. During the course of her lengthy and thorough evaluation, she was eventually seen by this writer, a board-certified academic psychiatrist, who was asked to provide a medical and psychiatric opinion.
Julia revealed a long, disturbing history of involvement with explicitly Satanic groups (an obvious, historical antecedent to her then-present condition and to her accompanying "psychic" abilities, as they might be characterized). Though raised a Catholic, she no longer practiced the Faith. But, with considerable ambivalence, she stated she might need the Catholic Rite of Exorcism.
Julia was not the typical type of individual who frequently importunes the Church for help but who is really in need of psychiatric or other medical intervention. She was in no way psychotic; in fact, she was consistently logical, highly intelligent, and even quite engaging at times, despite her obvious turmoil.
Periodically, in our presence, Julia would go into a trance state of a recurring nature. Mentally troubled individuals often "dissociate,"4 but Julia's trances were accompanied by an unusual phenomenon: Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts, and scatological language, phrases like "Leave her alone, you idiot," "She's ours," "Leave, you imbecile priest," or just "Leave." The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia's own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these "trances," or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred.
When Julia came out of these trances, she strongly professed no recollection of these remarks or of having said anything at all. An experienced psychiatrist might well conclude that we were probably, therefore, dealing with a dissociated personality or, more precisely, even Dissociative Identity Disorder (elaborated on later). What quickly made this understandable hypothesis implausible, however, were several other peculiar though obviously related phenomena, but a sampling of which is covered here.
Because of the complexity of this case, we assembled a team to assist. At varying points, this group comprised several qualified mental-health personnel, at least four Catholic priests, a deacon and his wife, two nuns (both nurses, one psychiatric), and several lay volunteers. We made a number of phone calls to arrange gathering together to help Julia. Julia herself was not in on these phone discussions; she was far from the area at the time. Astonishingly, Julia's "other" voice -- again sometimes deep, sometimes high pitched -- would actually interrupt the telephone conversations and somehow come in over the phone line! The voice(s) would espouse the same messages: "Leave her alone," "Leave, you idiots," "Get away from her," "She's ours." Julia, again, said later that she was unaware of any such conversation. And yet this speech was heard distinctly by several of the team on a number of occasions.
Sometimes it takes the 'obvious' to slap us back to reality. It could be something as simple as viewing those red lights in our rear view miror as we get pulled over for speeding, to make us realize we are driving stupidly, recklessly, dangerously. We seem to drive a little more cautiously, at least for a short time, before we proceed to revert back to our old deadly driving ways. Next time (God forebit) it may lead to a fender bender...or worse.
This is why I decided to post this. Not for the gratification of viewing a scary movie or for posting a bizzare read where once we're done we then go on to the next news article or post. I did it to hopefully snap one to attention, a cold shower reminder that Evil is out there in his subtle ways and not so subtle ways.
We see it in the news everyday. With stories of the New York Govenor, the ongoing war, the murder of our Bishops, even in our elections with Abortion, and all the social issues.
Our souls are eternal, and in this Lenten season it's good to be reminded of our need to care for them. The readings of the Temptation in the desert, the raising of Lazerus, as they lead to Holy Week and the Passion.
We have hope though. We know the outcome. We know who wins.
We have Christ and the Resurrection on Easter!
We can share in his glory, if we keep our wits about us... and fight the good fight.
The Death of Satan - First Things
Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?
...I'll add more later
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Mosul, Mar. 13, 2008 (CWNews.com) - Archbishop Bishop Paulos Faraj Raho of Mosul, the Iraqi prelate who was kidnapped by gunmen on February 29, is dead.
The kidnappers of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop, who had been demanding a heavy ransom, told Church officials that the archbishop was dead, AsiaNews reports. The kidnappers reportedly gave instructions on how Church officials could recover the archbishop's body.
Archbishop Raho was seized outside the Holy Spirit cathedral in Mosul after conducting a Stations of the Cross service on Friday, February 29. His driver and two bodyguards were killed by the gunmen who abducted the archbishop.
In the days since the kidnapping, Church leaders had pleaded in vain for some clear evidence that Archbishop Raho was alive and well. The archbishop, who was 69, suffered from a serious heart condition and needed daily medication.
The identity of the kidnappers remains unknown. Although Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki had ordered an all-out effort to locate the archbishop and secure his release, troops were unsuccessful in their search around Mosul-- a city dominated by insurgents and terrorists.
While the kidnappers did ask for a large money ransom, they were evidently not motivated solely by the desire for financial gain. Church spokesmen said that their demands included political conditions-- an indication that the archbishop's abduction was arranged by a terrorist group rather than simply a criminal gang.
Prayers the Archbishop - - - RIP
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
...now nothing is for free. You have to view commercials, however you can view the show of your choice uninterrupted if you see the commercials in one sitting.
Great way to see your favorite Simpson episodes (Warning: R rated movies... always be aware of what you view)
This news from TiVo and Youtube
TiVo to put bring YouTube videos to TV screens
NEW YORK (Reuters) - TiVo Inc said on Wednesday that it would deliver videos from Google Inc's popular Web site YouTube directly to television screens via its digital video recorders.
TiVo said the service would be available later this year for high-speed Internet subscribers who have TiVo Series3 DVRs. It said that users would be able to log onto their YouTube accounts directly from their TiVo boxes.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Kind of a mini symposium of prominent Catholics who share there thoughts on this topic:
"Why Are They Leaving?"
Last week the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a study on the changing religious habits of Americans. Among many things, the researchers found that the Catholic Church has experienced the greatest net loss in membership.
We asked 32 prominent Catholics from various backgrounds to answer the question, "Why Are So Many Leaving the Catholic Church?"
Their responses follow. MORE
Frozen remains of WWII airman identified.
(CNN) -- The U.S. military has identified frozen remains found atop a California glacier as those of a World War II era airman who vanished more than half a century ago.
Ernest G. Munn had been missing since his training flight disappeared over the Sierra Nevada mountain range on November 18, 1942, the U.S. military said Monday. He was 23 at the time.
Last year, two hikers found the frozen remains of a man with blond, wavy hair in a remote area of Kings Canyon, east of Fresno, California. A tattered sweater still clung to the body, and an unopened parachute lay nearby, said Peter Sketel, one of the hikers who made the discovery.
DNA analysis confirmed that the remains were Munn's, the Department of Defense said Monday. The military has notified his family in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
"You don't often have an opportunity in life to provide people with the answers to questions that they have always wanted to know the answer to," Sketel told CNN Tuesday. "Having the ability to supply that information just makes me really happy." More...
Monday, March 10, 2008
That's good news..
B16 talks on the Confession:
Confession brings us the joy of God’s forgiveness, says the Holy Father
Vatican City, Mar 7, 2008 / 11:25 am (CNA).- In one of several audiences today, Pope Benedict XVI addressed members of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the state of Confession and lamented that today the world “is losing the notion of sin”.
The Pope made his remarks to a group of prelates that is participating in a week-long seminar on the “internal forum”, that is to say, questions of conscience.
“What is needed today is to ensure that people who confess experience that divine tenderness for penitent sinners which so many Gospel episodes express with intense emotion", he told the priests.
Actually, there are no new deadly sins. The are the same one's with only an emphasis on how to recognize them in today's terms.
Vatican lists "new sins," including pollution
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shall not pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation. Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight.
The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican's number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today's "new sins," he told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.
"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.
The Vatican opposes stem cell research that involves destruction of embryos and has warned against the prospect of human cloning.
So what are the 7 deadly sins?
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Obama's Non Sequitur
Barack Obama has some genuine strengths: He is good looking, he is unusually serene for a man so young, and he seems decent and straight-talking for a politician. Also he is a man comfortable in his own skin, which is refreshing coming after people like Bill Clinton and Al Gore who are still "growing up" in their fifties.
Obama's weakness is that he is inexperienced. This shows in his numerous naive and inane statements which I will be blogging about in the months to come. But what intrigues me is Obama's insinuation that experience doesn't matter. Whever Hillary chides Obama with inexperience Obama basically replies, "Look where experience has gotten us."
There is some truth in this. Abraham Lincoln had no experience and yet he became America's greatest president. Nixon was experienced and yet his presidency ended in disgrace. Reagan had limited experience and yet his two terms were a triumph. Hillary's own experience is mainly in screwing up.
But this historical record cuts both ways. Eisenhower's experience in foreign policy contributed to American power and prosperity in the 1950s. Jimmy Carter's inexperience resulted in American abandonment of the Shah of Iran and brought us the Ayatollah Khomeini. George H. W. Bush's experience helped assemble an international coalition that won the Gulf War. His son's inexperience led to some serious mistakes in the early period of the Iraq war.
Back to work.
Trying to Fly with One Wing, Part 16: Arguing in Circles
I had just become Catholic and was intent on producing the grand television documentary that would reveal once and for all the great misunderstandings that had separated Protestants and Catholics for centuries.
To be fair, I figured we'd let both sides tell their stories, and so I set out to interview, on camera, some of the leading Protestant theologians in the area. One was Rev. P.Z., a theologian and apologist for the Reformed Presbyterian Church. If "Reformed Presbyterian" sounds redundant to you, it wasn't to them. Indeed, this denomination didn't believe contemporary Presbyterianism, which they claimed had drifted from the "ideal" of John Calvin's teachings, was sufficiently Protestant. So they "resurrected" a theology that Reformed the Presbyterians. I had no idea what I was in for.
In my interview, I wanted to allow my guest sufficient time and latitude to explain what I could never figure out — how the authority of the Bible could provide answers about life's vexing questions, when so many Christian leaders seemed to disagree about what the Bible said. In short, this is how the interview went:
Me: In your denomination, when members have a theological disagreement between them, how do you resolve the difference?
PZ: We go to the Bible. It's the final authority in everything, about everything, for all time.
Me: So, what do you do when these members are both looking at the same verse in the Bible, and they're disagreeing about its interpretation?
PZ: Well, like I said they look to the Bible for the answer. The Bible interprets itself.
Me: But, that's what these two guys just did. They're looking at verses in the Bible about baptism, and to one guy one passage says you have to do this and the other guy clings to a another passage that says you have to do that. Who decides what is right?
PZ: In that case the church elders get together and decide.
Me: Sorry, I forgot to tell you that these guys that are disagreeing, are the elders.
PZ: Ah. Well, again, we'd look to the Bible, our final authority.
Me: But that's where we started.
PZ: Actually, our pastor would be over the elders, and he would decide.
Me: So, what if the elders disagree with the pastor and want to start their own church?
PZ: They wouldn't likely do that.
Me: Yet, there are over 20,000 different denominations that have. Is that what the leaders of all of those have done, all gone to the Bible?
PZ: Well, ah... yes.
Do you see the problem?
I've got to read Parts 1-15...
Well, I skipped the gym today and cheated with a beans and cheese burrito from 'Baja Fresh'. I thought the 'Fresh' part would justify the gym break (you know, fresh, ...healthy... it seemed logical at the time).
Beautiful weather in L.A. (Manhatten Beach specifically)
Enjoy the read...
Now I've heard everything.
Moses and the Israelites were on drugs, says Benny Shanon, an Israeli professor of cognitive philosophy.
Writing in the British Journal Time and Mind, he claims Moses was probably on psychedelic drugs when he received the Ten Commandments from God.
The assertions give a whole new meaning to Moses being "high" on Mount Sinai.
According to Shanon, a professor at Hebrew University, two naturally existing plants in the Sinai Peninsula have the same psychoactive components as ones found in the Amazon jungle and are well-known for their mind-altering capabilities. The drugs are usually combined in a drink called ayahuasca.
This is scholarship? Some guy get high on some plant that he says was around in the time of Moses and he figures " That's why Moses saw the burning bush"
Explaining God away... and this professor is going to teach this stuff.
$1.8 Million ransom demanded for release of Iraq archbishop
Madrid, Mar 3, 2008 / 02:29 pm (CNA).- The Mensajeros de la Paz (Messengers of Peace) foundation is reporting that the captors of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul are demanding $1.8 million in ransom money to free the Iraqi prelate who was kidnapped last Friday.
In comments to Italian Bishops’ news service Servizio Informazione Religiosa (SIR), Bishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk said that, "The kidnappers have called more than once asking for ransom."
Please keep him in your prayers...
Not that police will slap cuffs on you and haul your sorry, er, butt off to jail in light of the proclamation passed Wednesday by the City Council. But you could be shamed into better behavior by the unsettling glares of residents who take their reputation for civility seriously.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Interesting article over at InsightScoop on Tony Blair resent conversion to Catholicism.British Catholics continue to debate Tony Blair's entrance into the Church.
There is still considerable fall-out in the United Kingdom from the announcement of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s conversion to Catholicism.
His formal reception into the Church last December was not unexpected, given that his wife Cherie was brought up a Catholic, the family has long attended Mass together, and their two older boys have been educated at the London Oratory School, one of the best-known Catholic schools in the capital.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster, issued a statement welcoming Blair into the Church: ”My prayers are with him, his wife, and children at this joyful moment in their journey of faith together.”
But Mr. Blair’s long support for the homosexual-rights lobby, his compliance with successive government policies promoting abortion, and the passing by his government of a law legalizing a form of euthanasia all raised unavoidable questions about his commitment to the Church’s
Mosul, Mar. 4, 2008 (CWNews.com) - While Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki promised an all-out effort to secure the release of kidnapped Archbishop Paulos Faraj Raho, the prelate's abductors contacted Church officials in Iraq with new demands that "complicate the case," the AsiaNews service has reported.
"Any assault on Christians is an assault on all Iraqis," the Iraqi prime minister said in a message to Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly. Al Maliki ordered troops to hunt for the gunmen who kidnapped the archbishop last Friday, February 29-- killing three of the prelate's companions, a driver and two bodyguards-- in the assault. MORE
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Monday, March 03, 2008
Now we have Obama the preacher with his message of “Change!” as in ‘Change the meaning of Scripture.
Obama’s reinterpretation of Holy Scripture adds to his list of changes he would like to make as President of the United States.
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told a crowd at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sunday that he believes the Sermon on the Mount justifies his support for legal recognition of same-sex unions. He also told the crowd that his position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him "less Christian."
"I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." (See video here) St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.
Obama's mention of the Sermon on the Mount in justifying legal recognition of same-sex unions may have been a reference to the Golden Rule: "Do to others what you would have them do to you." Or it may have been a reference to another famous line: "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
So according to Mr. Obama the Sermon on the Mount justifies same-sex-unions. That according to Obama, was the message of ‘Change’ Jesus was talking about with the New Covenant.
Oh, and his [Obama] position in favor of legalized abortion does not make him “less Christian”
Mr. Obama seems to think that not all passages are true in the Bible and you can pick and choose which ones you like the best or at least ones that seem to fit well with getting you elected. And if you have to tweak them to whatever you want them to mean.
So Mr. Obama, if you don’t like Romans 1:27
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, (A)men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Or 1 Corinthians 6:9
9Or (A)do you not know that the unrighteous will not (B)inherit the kingdom of God? (C)Do not be deceived; (D)neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals,
Or from the Old Testament Leviticus 20:13
13'(A)If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.
The Sermon, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, includes the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, an endorsement of scriptural moral commandments ("anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven"), and condemnations of murder, divorce and adultery. It also includes a warning: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."
The passage from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, which Obama dismissed as "obscure," discusses people who knew God but turned against him.
"They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised," wrote St. Paul. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion."
If you think ‘Changing’ Holy Scripture is alright to do, what kind of ‘Changes do you really have in store for us if elected?
Does Mr. Obama have the Catholic vote?
I pray not...
I’ve provided some links for Mr. Obama to read up on.
"What's Your Authority?"
The Soul of Senator Barack Obama - Part 2