|The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception|
|The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace|
|The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception|
|The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace|
Have you not a moist eye, a dry hand, a yellow cheek, a white beard, a decreasing leg, an increasing belly? Is not your voice broken, your mind short, your chin double, your wit single, and every part about you blasted with antiquity?Some days it certainly does feel that every part about me is indeed blasted with antiquity, but not today (probably because I slept for more than 10 hours last night, which was nice). I'm not quite there yet, but it won't be long until I am..
I know, "'vengeance is mine,' says the Lord." I just want to be about the Lord's business.How many times in our own lives do we, too, just want to be about the Lord's business? How often do we say with Jeremiah, in one way or another, "Let me witness the vengeance you take on them [my enemies], for to you [O Lord] I have entrusted my cause" (Jeremiah 20:12).
When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,After several stanzas wondering how he shall mourn his fallen friend, Whitman says, "Yet the lilac with mastering odor holds me." The mastering odor of the lilac holds me, too, though with much more pleasant memories.
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night,
I mourn'd, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
lilac blossoming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.
In our family, though, it was not only Christmas that was marked by the deep faith of our parents and the religious customs of our homeland. From our parents we learned what it means to have a firm grasp of faith in God. Every day we prayed together, and in fact before and after each meal (we ate our breakfast, dinner, and supper together). The main prayer time was after the midday dinner, when the particular concerns of the family were expressed. Part of it was the prayer to Saint Dismas, the "good theif", a former criminal who was crucified together with Jesus on Mount Calvary, repented on the cross, and begged the Lord for mercy. We prayed to him, the patron of repentant thieves, to protect Father [a policeman] from professional troubles.If we think Monsignor Ratzinger is a bit harsh in his assessment or old fashioned, we simply deceive ourselves. Now, then, to Steve's excellent question. I don't quite know the best way to go about it, so I'll simply make a list of suggestions, in no particular order:
....When we were children, our parents also put us to bed and prayed our evening prayers with us. They used a special form of blessing and repeated it three times....
This piety, which was lived and put into practice, defined our whole life... [I]t was imparted to us children in the cradle, so to speak, and we remained faithful to it throughout our lives.
I am convinced that the lack of this traditional piety in many families is the reason why there are too few priestly vocations today. Many people in our time practice a form of atheism rather than the Christian faith. In some respects, they may maintain a vestigial religiosity; perhaps they still go to Mass on the major feast days, but this rudimentary faith long ago ceased to permeate their lives, and it has no bearing on their everyday routine. It starts with sitting down at table and beginning a meal without even thinking about prayer, and it ends with no longer coming to church regularly on Sundays. Thus, an almost pagan way of life has taken root. If there are no religious practies even in family life, then this has an effect on all the rest of human life (45-47).
It is inimical to democratic principles that revolve around values, tolerance, mutual respect and preservation of freedom to demolish any mosque, church or other places of worship.If this is true, why are Christians not already to freely and publicly practice their faith in Kuwait and in other Muslim countries? Why are they only allowed to practice their faith - in his own words - according to the permissions provided in the Constitution?
The Grand Mufti and all who think like him need to be challenged. Religious freedom is something we claim of right, not of privilege. The freedom of Christians to pray, to meet, to organise, to own buildings – these are non-negotiable.His Eminence Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, in speaking of common misunderstandings of Christians about Muslims and of Muslims about Christians, recently said of Christians in the Middle East, "You cannot deny that they are the target of a kind of opposition. I have been in the Middle East for many years and what I felt was that Christians feel they are second-class citizens in countries where Muslims are the majority."
The Prophet Muhammad told us that Islam would spread. He told us about the Islamic conquest of Constantinople - Turkey of today - and indeed, it was conquered. He also told us about the conquest of Rome, which is Italy. People find this strange. "How can we conquer Italy?" they say. "We are too weak." You should consider the number of Muslims in that great Christian center - another person converts to Islam every day. Check on the Internet how many people want to convert to Islam in the very heart of that papal center of Christianity, on their own turf.
Brothers and sisters, Islam spread by means of the power of Allah, because it is the religion of Truth. When a Westerner whose heart is not filled with the hatred of Islam, someone who has not been raised on the hatred of Islam, begins to contemplate all the religions, he finds no other religion that respects human rights, and is in keeping with equality, justice, freedom, and democracy.How he can claim that Islam respects human rights (despite the numerous restrictions placed on women in Muslim countries) and is in keeing with equality and justice (while treating Christians, at best, as second class citizens and refusing to allow them the free practice of their faith) is beyond me.
If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening.Get Religionist Mollie asks the same question:
Can you imagine the coverage if, say, the Pope or some other major religious leader called for similar destruction? Even if it were a minor Christian or Jewish figure using such rhetoric, one imagines it would receive tremendous coverage.Lest anyone think the Grand Mufti's words should not be troubling, it should be noted as The Washington Times goes on to say,
This is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world. It does not just create a religious obligation for those over whom the mufti has direct authority; it is also a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory.
I was very surprised in what the Pope said to me, in terms of how happy he was that the sacraments of initiation have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first Eucharist.
The stages in Mary’s journey -- from the home of Nazareth to that in Jerusalem, through the Cross where her Son entrusts to her the Apostle John -- are marked by her ability to maintain a persevering atmosphere of recollection, so that she might ponder each event in the silence of her heart before God (cf. Luke 2:19-51) and in meditation before God, also see the will of God therein and be able to accept it interiorly.
The presence of the Mother of God with the Eleven following the Ascension is not, then, a simple historical annotation regarding a thing of the past; rather, it assumes a meaning of great value, for she shares with them what is most precious: the living memory of Jesus, in prayer; and she shares this mission of Jesus: to preserve the memory of Jesus and thereby to preserve His presence.Noting that often times "prayer is dictated by difficult situations, by personal problems that lead us to turn to the Lord for light, comfort and help," Pope Benedict said venerating Mary within the Church "means learning from her to become a community that prays."
As Mother of God and Mother of the Church, Mary exercises her maternity until the end of history. Let us entrust every phase of our personal and ecclesial lives to her, not the least of which is our final passing. Mary teaches us the necessity of prayer, and she shows us that it is only through a constant, intimate, loving bond with her Son that we may courageously leave “our home,” ourselves, in order to reach the ends of the earth and everywhere announce the Lord Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Armed with brooms, mops and "unholy water," the atheists gathered Saturday to symbolically clean up holy oil that Polk Under Prayer put down on Highway 98 near the Pasco-Polk county line last year, Bay News 9 reported.
"We come in peace," Humanists of Florida director Mark Palmer announced before he and members of other atheist organizations launched their cleanup. "Now that's normally what aliens say when they visit a new planet, but we're not aliens, we're atheists" [more]!Be sure to read the entire article and you are bound to feel more intelligent than before, simply from the illogical of these atheists words and actions.
For a hundred years or more, most western countries have worked on the axiom that our common life together ought to be deliberately secular. Religion in a free society may be acceptable as a private activity, like knitting or going to the gym, but it has no proper place in the spheres of politics, economics or citizenship.This is a helpful book that offers short synopses of the most important activities of a few of the Popes. There is, though, one error in the book. Duffy, in his chapter on Saint Peter, says: "...the long line of bishops of Rome, the popes - all 262 of them - are Peter's successors" (30). Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Successor of Peter, making him the 266th Pope.
The rise of militant Islam, like the influence of the Christian Right on American foreign policy and, perhaps more encouragingly, the role of the Catholic Church in the overthrow of Polish communism, might suggest that in the real world things are not necessarily quite so simple.
That much at any rate was understood in the Middle Ages, where everyone accepted that religion - the fundamental understanding of life, death, the Universe and everything - was liable to have an impact on the way that society was organized (60).
Copies have survived of two writings of St Patrick. They tell us the kind of man Patrick was, of his faith and of his understanding of God. They tell us that Patrick was a man who knew how to turn adversity into opportunity. He successfully turned the adversity of six years of slavery on Slemish into an opportunity to grow in his knowledge and love of the God who, in Patrick’s words, “protected and comforted me as a father would his son.” That knowledge and love of the Triune God are the basis of Patrick’s greatness.
Adversity also taught him the folly of relying exclusively on himself and the necessity of relying on others and especially on the God who created him.
My hope on this St Patrick’s day is that more and more Irish people will come to know the kind of person St Patrick really was, that they will come to know the faith that inspired him and carried him through the adversities of his life [more].Let us not celebrate this day with drunken revelry, but with deep gratitude to Almighty God for the gift of so generous a man as Patrick, who dedicated his life to the spread of the Gospel in a foreign land.
I'm tired of Catholics telling other Catholics they're bad Catholics. The only exceptions: (a) you possess the miraculous gift of being able to see within someone else's soul or (b) you're Jesus. If you don't satisfy (a) or (b) please stop the judging, especially on this page.If one thinks this through logically, isn't Father Martin himself telling certain Catholics they are "bad Catholics"? Isn't he doing the very thing he condemns?
What has the government got against the Catholic Church? Has it forgotten the contributions the church has made to the poor and needy for centuries?Be sure to read her entire post.
Catholic elementary and secondary schools provide the only real alternative to public schools in many parts of the nation. Catholic colleges offer outstanding education, be it at the university or the community college. The contribution has a long history, back to 1789 when Georgetown University was founded by the Jesuits. Yet under the health care law, if these schools and colleges wish to remain faithful to their religious principles the government will fine them into submission. There’s a thank-you note.
Many Catholic hospitals were founded by religious orders of women, and today one out of six persons seeking hospital care in the United States goes to a Catholic hospital. Until now, religious background of the patient has not been an issue. “Where does it hurt?” is the first question, not “Where is your baptismal certificate?”
We humbly recognize that God may not tell his people the date when Christ will return, any more than he tells anyone the date they will die physically.
Even now if I have a presentation to prepare, or taxes to pay, or a memo to read or a meeting for which to prepare I seem to do it at the last possible minute. Well, that may be OK in the realm of temporalities but it shouldn't be that way with our spiritual lives.These days of Lent are not given to us to simply sit idly by as we mindlessly abstain from meat on Fridays and from chocolate or coffee or whatnot through Easter. These days are given to us, rather, to be strive for a deeper spirituality, to unite ourselves ever more closer with our Crucified Lord so that we might share more fully in the glorious joy of his Resurrection.
You know, it’s Lent. Are you carrying around a load? You know – you don’t have to. Dump your load at confession. Too many people spend too much of their time carrying their stuff around – trying to find the best way to carry it – but no matter how much you may shield yourself from it, you’re still carrying around a bag of stuff. The confessionals are ready. You will enjoy the rest of your journey so much more if you get rid of your load now. Soon, the confessional lines will get longer and longer the closer we get to Easter. Relieve yourself now. Enjoy the freedom.
He is, of course, a Christian. He is a liberal, mainline Protestant Christian who is a perfect fit in the United Church of Christ, the freewheeling, free-church, highly congregational denomination that — in its elite leadership class — defines the candid left edge of church life in America. We’re talking out there a notch to the left of the Episcopal Church hierarchy.The transcript of the interview have recently been upload to the web site of Sojourners.
I’m very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.
Now, that’s different form a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it’s perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.
Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? Did we not drive out demons in your name? Did we not do might deeds in your name?" Then I will declare to them solemnly, "I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers" (Matthew 7:21-23).What is more, in his parable of the king who separates his sheep from his goats, Jesus said, " He will answer them [the goats], "Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me." And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life" (Matthew 25:45-46).
For in fact there exists not only our silence, which disposes us to listening to God’s Word; often in our prayer, we find ourselves before the silence of God; we experience a sense of abandonment; it seems to us that God is not listening and that He does not respond. But this silence of God - as Jesus also experienced - is not a sign of His absence. The Christian knows well that the Lord is present and that he is listening, even in the darkness of suffering, rejection and solitude. Jesus reassures the disciples and each one of us that God knows well our needs at every moment of life. He teaches the disciples: “In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:7-8): an attentive, silent, open heart is more important than many words [more, via Zenit].These are powerful words for these Lenten days as we prepare for that day when the Word himself was silent.
Initial photos from the year 1898, moreover, made the shroud famous for the fact that in its photographic negative the positive image of a face looks at us. Naturally, that is puzzling. Nevertheless, any layman can see that the long linen cloth itself is neither a photo nor the film of a cosmic camera. If we take a cigar box and prick a tiny hole in the lid and fasten a piece of film inside to the bottom - thus constructing a primitive camera obscura - it would produce a more exact photo of any human being. Albrecht Dürer proved as early as 1516 that the cloth is not a painting either, when his attempt to produce a copy of it with brushstrokes failed. What we see has no contours, no drawing, no pigments - absolutely none whatsoever - and it rests only on the upper parts of the fibers. No one can say what it is exactly and how this image got onto the fabric. Nevertheless, a huge battle rages over the delicate mysterious image. Some kneel down before it. Others are fiercely intent on debunking it as a forgery, over and over again.Throughout the book Badde seeks to answer "not the question of whether the shroud is genuine but rather the question: What if it is [emphasis original] (16)? At the conclusion of such an inquiry, Badde suggests: "If we were in a court of law, the shroud would easily win any circumstantial case. It would be confirmed officially that it is identical with the 'clean linen' cloth that Joseph of Arimathea bought for Jesus" (17).
Just as fanciful, therefore, is the history of debunkings that accompanies the shroud. Obviously such exposés try to prove above all that it was supposed to deceive the faithful. Once the BBC reported that a fourteenth-century French bishop had already found that it was "cunningly and deceitfully painted". He himself had never seen the shroud. The first likeness of the shroud is found in a manuscript from the year 1192 in Budapest. Nevertheless, it is supposed to date to around 1320, as scientiests claim to have determine in 1988 by carbon dating techniques [which have since been proven false based solely on methodology]. Leonardo da Vinci too was "discovered" to have had a hand in producing the delicate image, and he was not born until 1452. The latest contributor to this series of discoveries was Luigi Garlaschelli from Pavia, a chemist (and self-taught specialist in astrology, as well as poltergeists and similar phenomena) who, at the behest and the expense of a group of Italian atheists and agnostics, had applied various sorts of paint to a student model, whose imprint on a sheet was supposed to serve this time as proof of the forgery of the Shroud of Turin. Yet genuine traces of blood (belonging to type AB+) can be found on the real shroud but not the slightest trace of pigments (11).
The mere fact that the cloths are not decomposed is already unbelievable. Both of them have survived for two thousand years. They have withstood wars, sieges, conflagrations, thefts and pillaging - and also all the attempts to denounce them as forgeries. They were not consumed by moths; they have not fallen to pieces... The cloths are the work of man; the "images" on them, the work of God...I found this book a powerful read during these days of Lent and am confident you will, as well.
Only a radical faith in miracles, therefore, allows us to recognize - not understand - the nature of these pictorial miracles. Much, very much can be understood. But it would be demanding too much to try to understand everything. To be able to contemplate these images is already an infinite gain - to see that the cloths that lay together then in the tomb are together again today, in the light of worldwide publicity and therefore now also in this book. The true images are among us (158).
|In case you don't know the reference, it comes from the cult classic movie, The Princess Bride.|
If you haven't yet seen it, shame on you.
Medieval dating systems become even more complicated for international travellers. The day on which New Year's Day gifts are exchanged in England for the historical year 1367 falls in 1366 in Florence and Venice, but in 1367 in the Italian port of Pisa, where the year begins on the previous March 25. If you sail from England on January 1, 1366, and land at Pisa in mid-February, there it will be 1367 already. Travel on to Venice, and arrive before the end of February, and you will be back in 1366. Leave after March 1 and Anno Domini will be 1367. Ride into Florence and you will be back in 1366 again. Return to your boat at Pisa on or after March 25 and it will be 1368. Sail on to Provence and you will find yourself back in 1367. Stop in Portugal or Castile on the return journey - where the date is still reckoned from the advent of the Romans - and it will be 1405. The Spanish Era (as the dating system beginning in 38 BC is called) is still in use in Portugal (until 1422) and Castile (until 1384) [emphasis original] (82-83).Talk about jet lag (its Medieval equivalent)!
Supreme executive power derived from some farcical aquatic ceremony is far better than an anarcho-syndicalist commune in which everyone takes it in turns to act as sort of supreme executive officer for the week.That's the answer to the dilemna (nevermind the fact that the sword given King Arthur by the Lady of the Lake - Excalibur - is not the sword that made him King; that sword - Caliburn - he drew from the stone and anvil and was thereby manifested "rightwise King born of all England"). We simply need a strange sword to appear in some churchyard somewhere or a bizarra lady to reach her arm through the water. It can't be much worse than where we're headed now.
careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.If you have not yet read Humane Vitae, do so today. It is neither long nor difficult. If it has been some time since you read Humane Vitae, read it again today.
The school filed an appeal to change the time of the game with the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or Tapps, the group that organizes the tournament. On Monday morning, representatives of the school were notified that the association’s nine-member executive board had rejected the appeal.In response to the unfortunate - and, to me, unreasonable - decision, Rabbi Harry Sinoff said, "The sacred mission will trump excellence in the secular world."
The usual criticism we've heard is that it is absurd to suggest a causal link between birth-control advances and illegitimacy because, after all, birth control prevents pregnancy, and giving birth out of wedlock entails pregnancy. By that logic, though, illegitimacy rates should have remained low, or even declined further, after the inception of the pill. The Santorum argument may be counterintuitive, but the counterargument flies in the face of the facts.It is this reality that Taranto says is often thought of today as "downright unthinkable." Be sure to read his entire article.
There will be no martial law or military in the streets. That would appear to be so un-American! The officers who enforce the mandate will be lawyers in suits bearing legal documents. The battles will be in the courtroom. The penalties will seem just to the majority of people because we are in a democracy and those who disobey the law need to be punished, for it is the law of the land, and after all, if they had not done anything wrong they would not need to worry about anything!Be sure to read his entire post.
To disobey the Mandate will seem so obstinate and unreasonable, for the State will not seek to close down any churches. Instead it will support the churches. Clergy training will be paid by the state. The church buildings will be maintained by a church tax which will be called the "tithe". Clergy will remain in their posts. Their dignity will be respected. All they will need to do is sign certain documents which ensure their safety and their freedom of worship in return for acknowledging the authority of the State (in civil matters only of course) These documents will be worded in such a way that a conscience clause will be admitted. The State will control the church "insofar as the law of God allows."