29 giugno 2009

Gay 'Rights' Hinder UK Adoption Agency

What a shame... all because of a militant small percentage of the population...

Westminster Diocese Will No Longer Place Children

LONDON, JUNE 26, 2009 (Zenit.org).- New gay rights legislation in Great Britain has forced one of the oldest adoption agencies in the nation to cease providing key services.

The Catholic Children's Society of the Archdiocese of Westminster announced last week it will cease placing children with adoptive and foster parents due to the enactment of the Sexual Orientation Regulations -- part of the 2006 Equality Act -- that stipulates that same-sex couples should be given equal consideration as prospective parents.

The agency, founded in 1859, said complying with the new regulations would go against Church teaching on marriage and the family, reports the Catholic Herald today.

The same regulations also caused the closing of the Catholic Children's Rescue Society of the Diocese of Salford last year.

A spokesman of the agency's trustees said the agency was "forced into this position as a result of the Government's Sexual Orientation Regulations."

The news laws contradict the agency's current "criterion that couples coming forward must be married as man and wife," the spokesman said.

"In the unanimous view of the trustees it would be totally unacceptable for our Catholic agency to act in a way that is at odds with the teaching of the Church," he added.

The agency will continue to support adoptions it has facilitated with counseling and other services.

26 giugno 2009

25 giugno 2009

Talula does the Hula from Hawaii


Tula From Hawaii has now changed her name
Friday July 25,2008
By Stephanie Burns for express.co.uk

Nine-year-old Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii has won the right to a name-change.

A judge in Wellington, New Zealand has made the girl a ward of the court so her "embarrassing" name can be altered.

Family Court Judge Rob Murfitt expressed dismay about a New Zealand trend of giving children bizarre names and in a ruling made public on Thursday, cited a list of unfortunate names that he said were embarrassing for children.

Names blocked by registration officials included: Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit.

Surprisingly, names such as Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay and even Violence were allowed.

Colleen MacLeod, lawyer for the nine-year-old said: “She never told her close friends her real name for fear of being mocked and teased. She told people her name was ‘K’.”

Brian Clarke, registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages said New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offence to a reasonable person, that are 100 characters or more long, that include titles or military rank or that include punctuation marks or numerals.

And another article of hysterical name changes and name change attempts....

Cell Phone Stalkers Harass Washington Family - ABC News

This is scary!!!

Cell Phone Stalkers Harass Washington Family - ABC News

Shared via AddThis

Mark Sanford's Love Letters

These are revolting. Quite fine if he was single, but a married man with four boys... whether he be a governor or not... what a %$@$@#%.


Who’s funding the Obamacare Astroturf campaign?

by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

If you believe the White House, there are 30 million Americans who support a government health care takeover. But if you look at the funding behind the Obamacare Astroturf campaign, it’s the same few Leftist billionaires, union bosses, and partisan community organizers pushing the socialized medicine agenda. Let’s connect the dots.

On Thursday, a national “grass-roots” coalition called “Health Care for America Now (HCAN)” will march on Capitol Hill to demand universal health care. The ground troops won’t have to march very far. HCAN, you see, is no heartland network. It is headquartered at 1825 K Street in Washington, D.C. – smack dab in the middle of Beltway lobby land.

In fact, 1825 K Street is Ground Zero for a plethora of “progressive” groups subsidized by anti-war, anti-Republican, Big Nanny special interests. Around Washington, the office complex is known as “The Other K Street.” The Washington Post noted in 2007 that “[i]ts most prominent tenants form an abbreviated who’s who of well-funded allies of the Democratic Party… Big money from unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, as well as the Internet-fueled MoveOn, has provided groups like those at 1825 K Street the wherewithal to mount huge campaigns.”

MoveOn, of course, is the recreational political vehicle of radical liberal sugar daddy George Soros. The magnate’s financial fingerprints are all over the HCAN coalition, which includes MoveOn; the action fund of the Center for American Progress (a Soros think tank); and the Campaign for America’s Future (a pro-welfare state lobbying outfit).

HCAN has a $40 million budget, with $10 million pitched in by Atlantic Philanthropies – a Bermuda-based organization fronted by Soros acolyte Gara LaMarche. Also in the money mix: Notorious Democrat donors Herb and Marion Sandler, the left-wing moguls who made billions selling shady subprime mortgages and helped Soros fund his vast network of left-wing activist satellites. By their side is billionaire Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance, whose “Progressive Future” youth group has dispatched clueless volunteers armed with clipboards and literature bashing Rush Limbaugh and Fox News to scare up support for Obamcare.

And two more left-wing heavyweights joining the HCAN parade: the corruption-riddled SEIU (which has battled numerous embezzlement scandals among its chapters across the country while crusading for consumer and patients’ rights) and Obama’s old chums at fraud-riddled ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

ACORN and HCAN are linked by left-wing philanthropist Drummond Pike, who heads the non-profit Tides Foundation/Tides Center. As the tax disclaimer for HCAN discloses, “HCAN is related to Health Care for America Education Fund, a project of The Tides Center, a section 501(c)(3) public charity.” For decades, the Tides Center and its parent organization, the Tides Foundation, have seeded some of the country’s most radical activist groups of the Left, including the communist-friendly United for Peace and Justice, the jihadist-friendly National Lawyers Guild; and the grievance-mongering Council for American-Islamic Relations.

Pike is the same philanthropist who assisted ACORN founder Wade Rathke after his brother, Dale, was caught embezzling nearly $1 million from the community organizing group. Rathke sits on the Tides Foundation board of directors. In a conspiracy to cover up Dale Rathke’s massive theft of funds, Pike volunteered to buy a promissory note worth $800,000 to cover the debt. These are the populist do-gooders supposedly looking out for you and your health.

Why do they want Obamacare? An internal ACORN memo I obtained from August 2008 makes the motives clear. “Over our 38 years, health care organizing has never been a major focus either nationally or locally for ACORN,” wrote ACORN Philadelphia region director Craig Robbins. “But increasingly, ACORN offices around the country are doing work on health care.” The goal: “Building ACORN Power.” The memo outlines the ACORN/HCAN partnership and strategy of opposing any programs that rely on “unregulated private insurance” – and then parlaying political victory on government-run health care “to move our ACORN agenda (or at least part of it) with key electeds that we might otherwise not be able to pull off.”

The objective, in other words, is to piggyback and exploit Obamacare to improve and protect their political health. The “grass-roots” movement is not about representing Main Street. It’s about peddling influence and power on 1825 K Street.

Malkin is author of the forthcoming “Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

24 giugno 2009

Smiling girls in background really disturbed me

So today I happened to put on the news right when Mark Sanford, the SC governor, was announcing his whereabouts for the past week, extramarital affair, and a whole host of other problems. It was sad. All I felt for the man was pity, and especially for his family, who has been betrayed and humiliated. But I do admire Sanford's stand-up approach, total humility, and honesty. He knows he screwed up, BIG TIME, and he did seem genuinely sorry. He admitted all of his foibles and sins for the world to see and judge, rather than hide or deny it.

Anyway, throughout the press conference, there were three women/girls (they were really young) who seriously disturbed me. They were grinning all throughout, not the kind of grin you have when you are expecting some thing great, but the sort of evil grin flashed at someone else's demise. Someone else who you do not like. Were these girls super libs? Most likely. Were they extremely unprofessional? Yes. And more than annoy, they disturbed me. Because to be on camera, when someone is baring his soul, listening to him announce how horrible he is and how ashamed he is, basically watching a man's family life and political career go down in flames - and GRIN about it.... what kind of sick women are these? Very sick. Disturbing.

Below is a link to the video. There is a tall, attractive white girl on the left, and right below her is a short dark skinned girl - the worst of the offenders. On the right, at times you will see a chubby black girl. All of them are smiling like they just won the lottery. Disturbing, really. I can't stop thinking about how twisted their minds must be. My only hope is that it is a manifestation of some hebephrenic neurosis... but for all 3 of them to have that? Unlikely. Also, you can tell that the girls on the left eventually figured out they were on camera... the tall white one leaned down to whisper something to the short one, and they tried to be stoic after that. The girl on the right had some cameraman push in front of her.

The Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uSNwjJaPAo

And do try to ignore the YouTube comments... I can't imagine that the conversations of the damned are much different.

Rush Limbaugh's thoughts on the matter, which I pretty much agree with: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C40CFAqjLdc

Another triumph for liberalism....

TV Network Limits Shut-In Masses

ARLINGTON, Virginia, JUNE 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. Public Broadcasting Service, consisting of 354 member television stations, is banning all new religious programming, though it will allow current shows to continue.

After meeting last week at the service's east coast headquarters in Arlington, the board decided to enforce a ban on its member stations, with the threat of losing taking away their network affiliation in the case of non-compliance.

These stations receive much of their content from independent producers and sources outside the broadcasting service.

In some cases, these sources include Catholic dioceses that rely on the stations to broadcast Sunday Mass on television for shut-ins in Washington D.C., New Orleans and Denver.

Due to its non-profit status and reception of federal funding, the service has traditionally adhered to a standard of only accepting programming that is "noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian."

However, until now, this definition was not understood to exclude religious shows.

After a review of the policies, the board decided to uphold the ban on religious programs, but compromised by allowing shows with a previous history on the station to continue.

Sudan Faces Permanent Humanitarian Crisis

ROME, JUNE 23, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Caritas is affirming that the poverty and warring in the region of Darfur and the south of Sudan have reached a level that qualifies as a permanent humanitarian crisis.

Catholic leaders from Sudan and Caritas members held a two-day meeting that ended today at the agency's Vatican headquarters, in order to discuss how to respond to this crisis in the most effective way.

Bishop Edward Kussala of Tombura-Yambio, Sudan, affirmed that the country is facing a lot of challenges.

"There is an ongoing humanitarian crisis," he said. "People don't have access to health care, education, water and protection from high levels of violence."

The agency reported that 16% of the population is south Sudan is malnourished, and nine out of ten people live on less than $1 a day.

It noted that in 2007, the region had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, with some 203 women dying for every 10,000 births.

The bishop affirmed that the Church and Caritas "are the only sources of education, health and social services."

The agency reported that only half of the 4 million refugees who fled during conflicts in the south have returned home.

In Darfur in the west, some 2.7 million people are displaced from their homes due to ongoing fighting.

from a chain email.... "Who am I?"

Try and Guess WHO I AM?

I was born in one country, raised in another. My father was born in another country. I was not his only child. He fathered several children with numerous women.

I became very close to my mother, as my father showed no interest in me. My mother died at an early age from cancer.

Later in life, questions arose over my real name.

My birth records were sketchy and no one was able to produce a legitimate, reliable birth certificate.

I grew up practicing one faith but converted to Christianity, as it was widely accepted in my country, but I practiced non-traditional beliefs & didn't follow Christianity, except in the public eye under scrutiny.

I worked and lived among lower-class people as a young adult, disguising myself as someone who really cared about them..

That was before I decided it was time to get serious about my life and I embarked on a new career.

I wrote a book about my struggles growing up. It was clear to those who read my memoirs that I had difficulties accepting that my father abandoned me as a child.

I became active in local politics in my 30's then with help behind the scenes, I literally burst onto the scene as a candidate for national office in my 40s. They said I had a golden tongue and could talk anyone into anything. That reinforced my conceit.

I had a virtually non-existent resume, little work history, and no experience in leading a single organization. Yet I was a powerful speaker and citizens were drawn to me as though I were a magnet and they were small roofing tacks.

I drew incredibly large crowds during my public appearances. This bolstered my ego.

At first, my political campaign focused on my country's foreign policy. I was very critical of my country in the last war and seized every opportunity to bash my country.

But what launched my rise to national prominence were my views on the country's economy. I pretended to have a really good plan on how we could do better and every poor person would be fed & housed for free.

I knew which group was responsible for getting us into this mess. It was the free market, banks & corporations. I decided to start making citizens hate them and if they were envious of others who did well, the plan was clinched tight.

I called mine "A People's Campaign" and that sounded good to all people.

I was the surprise candidate because I emerged from outside the traditional path of politics & was able to gain widespread popular support.

I knew that, if I merely offered the people 'hope' , together we could change our country and the world.

So, I started to make my speeches sound like they were on behalf of the downtrodden, poor, ignorant to include "persecuted minorities" like the Jews. My true views were not widely known & I needed to keep them unknown, until after I became my nation's leader.

I had to carefully guard reality, as anybody could have easily found out what I really believed, if they had simply read my writings and examined those people I associated with.

I'm glad they didn't. Then I became the most powerful man in the world. And the world learned the truth.

Who am I?

Fooled you, I am ADOLF HITLER


22 giugno 2009

Someone got published in Zenit :-)

Check it out: http://www.zenit.org/article-26229?l=english

More Confession Times, Please

Article: Pope: There's an Answer to Empty Confessionals

I am not sure how things are around the world, but where I live in the United States, the Sacrament of Penance is only available for one hour per week. If for some reason I cannot go that hour, I am out of luck.

Considering the importance of this sacrament, I hope and pray that many priests will listen to the words of the Holy Father and follow the example of St. John Mary Vianney and make confession more readily available.

William Bliss

19 giugno 2009

In Tunnel, 'Mole People' Fight to Save Home

In Tunnel, 'Mole People' Fight to Save Home
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 1990
New York Times

The occasional shaft of light descends from a grate 25 feet overhead, and rats scurry across the dirt floor, but otherwise the wide railroad tunnel beneath Riverside Park is a dark and peaceful place. It suits the needs of its inhabitants, who number perhaps 100 and sometimes call themselves the Mole People.

These men and women may be the most stable homeless settlement in New York City, although some of the old-timers would not describe it that way. After 15 years in the tunnel, they do not consider themselves homeless. They have plywood shanties and cinder-block bunkers with rugs, beds, night stands, kerosene lamps, wood and gas stoves, paintings on the walls, pets in the yard.

But the quiet life along the Hudson River is becoming problematic, both for the Mole People and for a neighboring group of squatters called the Rotunda Gang because of their home beneath the park's traffic circle at 79th Street. Change is coming to the Lower Upper West Side.

During the last two weeks the Parks Department has rousted the Rotunda Gang from the round arcade it inhabited for years. Down in the two-and-a-half-mile-long tunnel, Amtrak crews are laying track to bring trains through for the first time in 10 years, and the Mole People are wondering how their life style will coexist with locomotives.

And then there is the worrisome news from downtown: the evictions of the homeless from train stations and subway platforms. The Riverside squatters are sympathetic to the dispossessed, but they don't necessarily want those people in their neighborhood.

''We'd like to keep out the riffraff,'' said Joseph Milan, 44 years old, who built a shanty on the railroad land last summer. ''Around here we show responsibility. We go to work in the morning. We don't steal. We don't do drugs. We don't need those crackheads and addicts and alcoholics from the stations branching out here.''

'You Should Do Something'

The several dozen members of the Rotunda Gang, who have moved their cots and stoves to other parts of Riverside Park, blame newcomers for some of the problems that contributed to their eviction: drunken knife fights, muggings, crack dealing, and hookups of lights and television sets to the park's electrical system.

''We tried to keep this a nice area for the public,'' said Michael McDowell, 35, who moved into the rotunda three years ago. ''But the people from downtown came, and they have no pride. They sit around and curse and spit and play loud music. A lot of them are pandhandlers - that's the lowest. God gave you two hands, you should do something. With pandhandling you lose all self-respect, and we know what they do with that money - drugs.''

The Rotunda Gang elicited mixed reactions from neighbors at the 79th Street marina. A few yacht dwellers befriended them, bringing them meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but others objected. So did many Upper West Siders, said Charles McKinney, the director of Riverside Park.

''It was one of the chief complaints we heard from the public,'' Mr. McKinney said. ''Parents were afraid to take their children there.''

Mostly Middle-Aged

The Rotunda Gang and the Mole People are generally middle-aged men -white, black, Hispanic - who keep to themselves, although some live with girlfriends or share meals with neighbors. They spoke of past bouts with drugs or alcohol and mental illness, but most of those interviewed seemed sober and lucid.

Some work at outside jobs, go to school or survive on government checks mailed to churches or friends living nearby. Probably most are self-employed. They go off with shopping carts collecting scrap metal, cans, bottles, books and magazines to sell on nearby streets or redeem at recycling centers.

They go to public showers, take their clothes to self-service laundries and clip coupons to shop in the supermarket. Some of the couples cling to traditional domesticity: he goes to work, she stays home to clean and cook. In the evening they stroll along the river, read, listen to music, and gossip with neighbors. They keep in shape by playing basketball in the park and using old railroad ties for weight lifting.

In one sense they are historical restorationists. The mud flats along the Hudson were home to squatters when the railroad came in the mid-1800's, and there was a full-fledged shantytown until Robert Moses decided to put a park and a highway up the West Side in the 1930's.

Mr. Moses, the City Parks Commissioner and master builder, covered the New York Central railroad tracks, much to the relief of Riverside Drive residents who had endured smoky, noisy and smelly trains carrying cattle and pigs to downtown slaughterhouses. He built the park's promenades on top of the 75-foot-wide tunnel from 123d Street down to 72d Street, where the tracks emerge into the former railroad yard now owned by Donald J. Trump.

'You Learn to Adapt'

The tunnel was uninhabited in 1974, when a 27-year-old man named Joe moved in. He still lives there, which is why he asked that his Irish surname not be published.

''I don't want my kids to know I'm here,'' he said. ''They think I live on Madison Avenue. I've got a mailing address there, and when they come to town I borrow a guy's apartment, put my name on the door - it works out all right. You live down here, you learn to adapt.''

At first, Joe slept near the tunnel's southern entrance, below ground inside a huge scale used by the railroad. Then he and another pioneer, who is now 48 and gives his name as John J., moved into a cluster of cinder-block buildings once used by railroad workers inside the tunnel. John J. got the biggest home - bigger than most Manhattan studio apartments - and he has been decorating it ever since.

''I'm always rearranging things, cleaning up, bringing stuff from the trash,'' John J. said, pointing out some of his acquisitions - a sofa, coffee table, desk, floor lamp with burning candles in the socket, framed paintings, a ceramic statue of a lion, and several stuffed animals, including a four-foot bear propped up for display. A dozen kittens and a dog played on the rug.

'It's Not Too Bad'

''The only things we don't have are running water and electricity,'' said Joe. ''The other bad part is watching out for the jerks that come down the outside, the people who try to be smart and they're stupid. I've been in a few fights. Kids come in to steal things and start fires. There's a guy who wears a dress and cowboy boots who comes in a lot, and another guy who goes around offering people 20 bucks to beat him up.

''But mostly it's peaceful. It's all how you play it in your mind. If you don't make it today, you can make it tomorrow. I'd like to move out of here if I could get the money together, but I'm not homeless. A cardboard box, that's homeless. A park bench, that's homeless. Down here, it's not too bad.''

Joe estimated that 100 people now live in the tunnel. They arrived gradually over the years and are scattered along its sides for more than a mile. Some live in another cluster of buildings abandoned by the railroad. Others are up on catwalks, inside niches in the wall, on ledges and in various alcoves. Some built shanties in the middle of the tunnel, but they had to make way for the new track.

The track will be used by the Amtrak passenger trains that now go from upstate New York into Grand Central Terminal. The new route, bringing passengers directly into Amtrak's hub at Pennsylvania Station, is to have 20 trains a day, starting next spring.

''The people in the tunnel haven't caused us any problems so far,'' said Clifford Black, a spokesman for Amtrak, ''but they will be endangered by the trains, and we will do everything in our power to evict them. That's difficult to do in that cavernous expanse with all those dark recesses, but we have been trying to get the word out to them.''

A Universal Aspiration

Some of the Mole People are worried about the new railroad line; others are confident they will survive in their nooks. For now, they are more concerned with what seems to be a universal aspiration in the tunnel: getting enough money to move into an apartment. Despite their years in the tunnel, they still see it as a temporary address, a safer alternative to the city's shelters or the streets or the other shantytowns.

''I was planning to move out three days after I got here,'' said Douglas, 45, another man who did not want his children to read his last name. He moved into an alcove last summer, where he and a man named Shorty keep their beds neatly made and share their meals. Because Shorty has trouble working, Douglas has been supporting both of them by selling magazines on the Broadway sidewalk.

''It's been an adventure for me - I'll word it that way,'' Douglas said. ''You have to have a sense a humor. Look, we've got a river view. It's like going on an extended camping trip, except that instead of being able to go home when you're done, you are home. There are two things that I miss: a shower in the morning, and watching ''Eastenders'' at night. Everything else I can survive.''

After a year, even the rats did not bother him so much. When he heard a rustling against the tunnel wall, he explained that it must be a rat named Hippity-Hop.

''I call him that because he's missing his two front legs,'' Douglas said. ''I see him all the time. I've got a rattrap, but I can't bring myself to use it on him. I never thought I'd see the day when a rat would go by and I'd say go ahead, but that's the way it is down here. Live and let live.''

A version of this article appeared in print on Wednesday, June 13, 1990, on section A page 1 of the New York edition.

Defending Pius XII

"Fighting Nun" Publishes New Book on Wartime Pontiff

By Edward Pentin

ROME, JUNE 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).- She may be 87, but Sister Margherita Marchione isn't even close to retiring.

The indomitable sister of the Religious Teachers Filippini, and ardent defender of Pius XII, has just published a new book on the wartime Pontiff which she launched in Rome last month. Called "Pope Pius XII -- An Anthology on the 70th Anniversary of Coronation," the work is just one of over 60 she has written. Most of them are passionate defenses of Pius against accusations he did too little to save Jews in World War II.

Meeting Sr. Margherita is always a pleasure. A loveable, tiny nun whose broad New Jersey accent matches her tough resilience in clearing Pius's name, she ardently defends Pope Pacelli's holiness and innocence at every opportunity. And her historical research is supported by a growing number of prominent figures, including the highly reputed Jewish historian Sir Martin Gilbert and -- increasingly -- rabbis and ordinary Jews.

She began campaigning to clear Pius XII's name after hearing of the many Jews who were saved through hiding in the convent of her Order in Rome. She also has especially fond memories of meeting the wartime Pope in 1957. "Just that one time I met him, I can still visualize him," she recalls. "Just thinking about him, I can hear his voice -- there was something about him that was so saintly."

But this isn't mere sentiment: She backs up these claims with hard facts. He was not silent, she says, as his condemnations of Nazism were regularly reported in L'Osservatore Romano and on Vatican Radio; she stresses that whatever the bishops or apostolic delegations did in Europe to save Jews was on the Pope's instructions; moreover, she argues that all the convents, monasteries and the Vatican itself opened their doors to hide Jews because Pius XII had asked them to. "What more could he have done?" she asks.

What Sr. Margherita and many others have been trying to counter is the so-called black legend – a smear campaign masterminded by communists in the Soviet Union after the War to discredit the ardently anti-Communist wartime Pope. He was not silent during the war, says Sr. Margherita and others in his defense, but kept a low profile in order to avoid aggravating the situation of the victims.

Sr. Margherita also is quick to brush away one criticism which often comes up: that other Catholics who lost their lives to save Jews, and who have not yet been beatified, should be elevated to the altars before Pius XII who survived the war. She insists Pius XII did lay down his life -- he risked his own self and was prepared to die (a recent testimony has given credence to rumors that the Nazis secretly planned to kill or kidnap Pius in 1943). "Can you picture the kind of fear he experienced day in and day out?" she says. "What would happen to him and the Catholic Church, the Vatican? He had a terrible responsibility."

But according to the Congregation for Saints' Causes, no convincing miracle attributed to Pius XII (necessary for beatification) has yet to been found, which is why Sr. Margherita is keen to press Catholics to pray for one. She gave me a 1958 prayer card in the hope that ZENIT readers will do their part. It reads:

"O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, you deigned to elevate to the supreme dignity your Vicar here on earth, your faithful servant Pius XII and to him you gave the grace of being an intrepid defender of the faith and a courageous asserter of justice and of peace, a devoted glorifier of your Holy Mother and a luminous model of charity and of all the virtues. Deem worthy now, in view of his merits, to grant us the grace that we ask of you. We are certain of his efficacious intercession and we hope to see him one day glorified on your altars Amen."

Sr. Margherita -- nicknamed the "Fighting Nun" -- remains ever hopeful that she will see Pius XII beatified in her lifetime. And it's a hope coupled with characteristic good humor. In a recent telephone call to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state, she told him: "I'll be back in the fall for the beatification."

"Pope Pius XII -- An Anthology on the 70th Anniversary of Coronation" is published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana as a bilingual edition in Italian and English. For more information, visit www.sistermargherita.com/articles.htm.

* * *

Edward Pentin is a freelance writer living in Rome. He can be reached at: epentin@zenit.org.

Newman Society: Catholic Colleges Are Lost

Says Schools Need Direction, Guidelines

MANASSAS, Virginia, JUNE 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Many Catholic universities are lost and are in need of specific policies to help them go in the right direction, says the Cardinal Newman Society.

The society said this Wednesday in response to the expressed desire of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to eliminate the U.S. bishops' policy against honoring public figures who are at odds with fundamental Catholic beliefs.

The association's summer newsletter reported this week that the board of directors concluded during its most recent meeting that "it would be desirable for the [U.S. bishops] to withdraw" their guidelines.

The 2004 bishops' guidelines state: "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

The association, which represents over 200 institutions, added that "juridical expressions of bishops' or universities' responsibilities should be kept to a minimum" in order to maintain good relations between the prelates and educators.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, said is was evident "that the many secularized Catholic colleges and universities are more concerned with doing away with the rules than ending the scandals."

"Lobbying the bishops to back off a perfectly reasonable policy would be a shameful action by the Catholic higher education establishment," he added.

The Cardinal Newman Society noted that the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities is not the only group of university leaders looking to either put an end to or amend the current policy.

After protests erupted around the University of Notre Dame's decision to honor President Barack Obama at its graduation ceremony, Jesuit Father Charles Currie, president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, affirmed that his association had already begun to lobby the conference for a policy change.

Reilly countered that "our leading Catholic universities have lost their way, and they need precisely the sort of clear direction from the bishops that the 2004 policy on Catholic honors and platforms represents."

He added, "Catholic colleges and universities would like all of the privileges of being Catholic, but none of the responsibilities of being high-profile witnesses for the fullness of the Catholic faith."

Source: Zenit

Pope: There's an Answer to Empty Confessionals

I am not sure how things are around the world, but where I live in the United States, the Sacrament of Penance is only available for one hour per week. If for some reason I cannot go that hour, I am out of luck. Considering the importance of this sacrament, I hope and pray that many priests will listen to the words of the Holy Father and follow the example of St. John Mary Vianney and make confession more readily available.

Explains St. John Vianney's "Virtuous Circle" Secret

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is urging priests to not become resigned to empty confessionals, but to help people rediscover the beauty of the sacrament by deepening their understanding of the Eucharist.

The Pope stated this in a letter to the priests of the world, on the occasion of the Year for Priests, which begins Friday in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars.

The saint "taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life," the Pontiff affirmed. "It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

He taught them about the Eucharist, but it was "most effective when they saw him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," the Holy Father said.

He added that the saint "was convinced that the fervor of a priest's life depended entirely upon the Mass" and "was accustomed, when celebrating, also to offer his own life in sacrifice."

This identification with the sacrifice of the Cross led him from the altar to the confessional, Benedict XVI affirmed.

He continued: "Priests ought never to be resigned to empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the faithful to this sacrament. In France, at the time of the Cure of Ars, confession was no more easy or frequent than in our own day, since the upheaval caused by the revolution had long inhibited the practice of religion.

"Yet he sought in every way, by his preaching and his powers of persuasion, to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the Sacrament of Penance, presenting it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence.

"He thus created a 'virtuous' circle."

Hospital for souls

The Pope explained that St. John Mary spent long hours in church before the tabernacle, inspiring the faithful "to imitate him by coming to visit Jesus with the knowledge that their parish priest would be there, ready to listen and offer forgiveness."

Over time, he said, penitents started coming from all over the country, and the priest would be in the confessional for up to 16 hours a day.

Thus, the Pontiff said, his parish became known as "a great hospital of souls."

He quoted the saint who said: "It is not the sinner who returns to God to beg his forgiveness, but God himself who runs after the sinner and makes him return to him."

The Holy Father urged priests to learn from St. John Mary Vianney to "put our unfailing trust in the Sacrament of Penance, to set it once more at the center of our pastoral concerns, and to take up the 'dialogue of salvation,' which it entails."

He noted that "those who came to his confessional drawn by a deep and humble longing for God's forgiveness found in him the encouragement to plunge into the 'flood of divine mercy' which sweeps everything away by its vehemence."

"He awakened repentance in the hearts of the lukewarm by forcing them to see God's own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor," Benedict XVI stated.

He continued, "To those who, on the other hand, came to him already desirous of and suited to a deeper spiritual life, he flung open the abyss of God's love, explaining the untold beauty of living in union with him and dwelling in his presence."

The Pope affirmed: "In his time the Cure of Ars was able to transform the hearts and the lives of so many people because he enabled them to experience the Lord's merciful love.

"Our own time urgently needs a similar proclamation and witness to the truth of love."

He affirmed that the saint "sought to remain completely faithful to his own vocation and mission," lamenting that "a pastor can grow dangerously inured to the state of sin or of indifference in which so many of his flock are living."

The Pontiff noted the priest's sacrifices on behalf of the souls who came to him in confession, quoting his words to another confrere: "I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place."

"Souls have been won at the price of Jesus' own blood," the Holy Father stated, "and a priest cannot devote himself to their salvation if he refuses to share personally in the 'precious cost' of redemption."

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On ZENIT's Web page: http://www.zenit.org/article-26211?l=english

18 giugno 2009

AP History Answers

These were sent to me by a grader for the AP test. Enjoy. :-)

DBQ: From 1775 to 1830, many African Americans gained freedom from slavery, yet during the same period the institution of slavery expanded. Explain why BOTH of those changes took place. Analyze the ways that BOTH free African Americans and enslaved African Americans responded to the challenges confronting them. (All test-takers were required to answer this question.)

I really don’t want to analyze or explain anything.

May 8, 2009 = the Third Great Awakening

Freed Blacks like Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Tubman’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabinet”

Slavery was not allowed above the Winn-Dixie line.

To deal with their lives in slavery, the African Americans used music and dance, such as the Ghost Dance.

Sometimes slaves got laid off.

Slavery was established in America in 1819.

In 1790 a Dutch merchant ship brought the first slaves to America.

A rebellion by Pat Turner where a group of escaped slaves killed 60 white people who owned gas stations along the east coast.

3/5 Compromise was when 3/5 of the population of Africa would be brought to the U.S. as slaves.

Concepts on how to handle the concept of slavery varied, including the widely publicized “cast down your bucket” from W.E.B. DuBois, championing assimilation in the South.

They fought slavery by slowing down production and having sit down strikes on plantations.

To the South, the slaves of the 18th century were the oil of the 20th.
If the South was a human body, Slavery was the blood….
Slavery has long been America’s Achilles Heel…

Many believed that bringing African Americans to the U.S. was a good thing. They called it the “White Man’s Burden.”

A few slaves became advocates of abolition of slavery, such as Frederick Jackson Turner.

White American society continued to inferiorize blacks…..

Some slaves won their freedom when they won the lottery

Big leaders such as MLK, Malcolm X and Edgar Allen Poe were important at this time.

As seen in documents A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J, slavery was prominent in America.

Gnat Turner’s rebellion

Black Crow laws

Jane Seymour’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Life from the late 18th to the mid 19th century for African Americans, both free and slave, wash much like walking down an up escalator.

Black men met at Stono River where they plotted to rob liquor stores.

…while the North freed their slaves and became anti-semitism…

When slaves escaped, they found work on plantations

The slave trade began to grow with the selling of Africans in the Black Market

During LBJ’s administration, slavery was spread to D.C. after his viewing of a pro Ku Klux Klan video.

The Mason-Nixon line

Little did the slaves know – help would soon be coming from people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

Harriet Truman set up the Underground Railroad.

In the words of President Abraham Lincoln who advocated the freeing of slaves, “Give them liberty or give them death.”

In dey-to-dey life

Document D (a picture of a crowd of African Americans outside a church) shows….. that slaves didn’t know what to do with themselves ….. a black man who is angry about not being able to be given the same rights as witty men …. people are excited about publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

In 1780 Paul Cuffe stated that blacks could enter the field of battle. The U.S. needed troops for the upcoming conflicts of WWI.

Many Northerners held fun-raisers to help raise money to buy blacks’ freedom.

Slavery by enlarge was a horrible experience

Frederick Douglass fought for popular sovereignty in the Jefferson-Douglass debates.

Frederick Turner was an escaped slave who endorsed the abolition movement.

In the mist of a nationwide spirit of nationalism, …..

In the book To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck and his servant Jim have an unusual relationship. This book accurately describes African American scenarios and their inability to respond or change it.

John Deere’s tractor in the mid 1800s served to lessen the need for slaves.

Frederick Turner helped the abolitionist cause by going around and giving lectures.

The McCormick reaper caused the expansion of slavery.

When the four fathers were establishing our country

Marcus Garvey and Langston Hughes conspired to send slaves back to Africa.

People like Ida Tarbell and Harvey Graves would come to the slaves’ rescue.

Many slaves bought their own freedom, moved north and became motivational speakers.

Gabriel Prosser bought his freedom with his lottery winnings.

FRQ: Analyze the ways in which British imperial policies between 1763 and 1776 intensified colonials’ resistance to British rule and their commitment to republican values. (90% of test-takers answered this question.)

Out of anger, the colonists had dumped all the British tea into Pearl Harbor.

Other members sought to form an alliance between the colonies such as the Anaconda Plan which supported the motto “Join or Die.”

Meanwhile, Francis Scott Key had created the “Star Spangled Banner” which is our theme song today.

The colonists tarred and feathered themselves.

To this day, bits of tea can be found in Boston Harbor.

The U.S. became a new fresh nation when the Puritans moved to the West coast.

The colonists had a huge dude with wooden teeth commanding their army and there was no way they could go wrong.

Colonists bought tea because water was not purified to drink.

Luxemburg and Concord

The Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians and poured gallons of coffee over the side of an English ship.

Turner’s Frontier Thesis and other angry colonists coined the phrase “no taxation without representation.”

Britain and the colonies shared a relationship similar to that of parents and teenagers, where the less contact is made, the less there is to argue about.

The Teapot Dome Scandal is one example of rebellion against Great Britain for outrageous taxes.

The third amendment to the Declaration of Independence prohibits the quartering of troops.

Parliament passed the Sedition and Alienation Acts.

The Quarantine Act …

If a soldier needed a place to sleep, a colonist must house them, feed them, and give them a quarter.

(British soldiers) took the two things that mattered most – their women and their alcohol.

They also demanded that the colonists worship a certain religion – not Christianity.

Shays Rebellion and Bacon’s Rebellion showed the British we weren’t afraid of them.

The Intolerable Acts allowed British soldiers to knock on the door of any house and be allowed entrance for a quarter.

During this time, Puritans were free of procreation.

The British claimed that the colonists had “virtual representation” because members of Parliament and the colonists had similar interests – tea, powdered wigs, and fish and chips.

The British decision to rule from afar finally tipped the iceburg.

Within the American colonial period, the colonists endured a great amount of suffrage.

Maybe if Britain had played its cards differently, Americans would now be running around the country with British accents, calling diapers “nappies.”

The opposition grew in the ideological hotbeds known as taverns.

Anyone who crossed the Mississippi River would be shot on sight.

Britain was involved in the Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The first American killed in the Boston Massacre – Frederick Douglass.

The Homestead Act required all Boston citizens to house at least one British soldier.

The Stamp Act and the Sugar Act caused an uproar and led to the assimilation of the Sons of Labor.

Britain had the colonies on too short of a leach and when they kept shortening and yanking the leash, the dog is liable to pull away harder.

The British taxed oil.

What the British really needed to do was to have garage sales and flea markets to make money.

This led to the Boston Tea Party in which agitator Henry Clay revolted against Great Britain.

The colonists did not look good in the Battle of Bull run because we ran out of ammunition.

Tea was dumped into the Boston Harbor. Riots broke out, and the Emancipation Proclamation was written to the King of England.

Henry Clay, the author of Common Sense

The Stamp Act took advantage of the postal system and greatly caused unrest.

A British ship full of tea bags was sitting in Boston Harbor.

They had to have British soldiers in their homes who were often nude.

It’s practically a small wonder that the King didn’t just send a letter to the colonists saying, “Welcome to Oppression, enjoy your day.”

During 1763 to 1776 the British Imperial Forces used the legendary Death Star to maintain and keep the colonies down. How could the colonists go against the Imperial Guard? Phaton blasters?

If the British are committed to Republican virtues, why are they suddenly placing high taxes on goods like the Democrats?

Thomas Paine’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

France’s Bacon

The Unspeakable Acts were so terrible that we still don’t like to discuss them.

In Virginia, if they practiced Christianity, they would be hanged.

The Republican values of laissez-faire mercantilism.

Taxing tea would be equivalent to Obama taxing Mountain Dew.

The British wanted to rule the colonies from across the Pacific Ocean.

Colonists realized they were tired of republican values and wanted to be a democracy.

The Boston Tea Massacre

Martial law was the ability of the army to physically beat the colonists. This was the opposite of Salutary Neglect.

The Bermuda Triangle was an active producer of labor and rum.

Samuel Adams and the Greenback Mt. Boys publicly resisted this act of Parliament with the Boston Tea Party.

The Quartering Act required colonists to: hose the Redcoats…bed the troops…

Not long after the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre occurred. Referred to as “the shot heard ‘round the world,” this event was the 1st time colonists decided to have a revolution for their independence.

Instead of allowing natural recovery to take its course, Britain crushed the process and taxed colonists like offensive linemen at a buffet.

The Stamp act was created to find people jobs.

As a result, colonists boycotted all of the necessities, such as sugar, tea and sometimes margarine.

Slaves were not allowed on buses.

The Boston Port was closed due to the filling of the bay and as punishment for colonists’ infidelity.

The Sons of Liberty would sometimes place the tax collectors in barrels of tar and filled up with chicken feathers. But sometimes they did something special.

Taxes on goods led colonists to Republican values of lower taxes.

The Bermuda Triangle was an active producer of labor and rum.

The British taxed the colonies to fund the Crusades.

The Proclamation of 1763 stated that the colonists could not expand past the Alps.

The Townsend Acts were used to put taxes on glass, tea, plastic, and paper.

Sam Adams represented Texas and Aaron Burr represented the West during the Great Compromise.

The Stamp Act was enacted to pay off the debt from the War of 1812.

A heated tavern discussion combined with plenty of alcohol gave way to an event known today as the Boston Tea Party – and then things got nasty.

In an amazing display of bravery, Abigail Adams fired the cannons of Fort Sumter on the British.

Massachusetts and Virginia were the Simon and Garfunkel of colonial America.

The Quartering Act was only instituted when the hotels were filled.

FRQ: Analyze the social, political and economic forces of the 1840s and early 1850s that led to the emergence of the Republican Party. (Only 10% of test-takers answered this question.)

The Republican Party was formed to save the elderly.

The Seneca Falls Convention was inspired by Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique, but Betty later separated herself from the movement.

The Republican Party was full of Republicans.

Whigs had little success electing Presidents and when they did, they died in office.

The Transcendentalists wanted to control the “intracontinental” RR industry

The Republican Party knew how to make the Africans and the Irish dance together.

New technology – radios, computers, satellites, etc brought about the emergence of the Republican Party.

The economy of the 1840s and 1850s was bad off from the auto industry.

The Republican Party was created to solve all the problems created by the Gold Rush.

There was a need for Republicans so we would not become Fascists.

FRQ: Choose TWO of the following organizations and explain their strategies for advancing the interests of workers. To what extent were these organizations successful in achieving their objectives? Confine your answer to the period from 1875 to 1925. (Knights of Labor, American Federation of Labor, Socialist Party of America, Industrial Workers of the World) (14% of test-takers answered this question.)

The Knights of Labor were ordinary businessmen during the day, ravenous, blood thirsty Knights by night; they would ride their noble steeds into the mists of Avalon and joust their opponents, leaving them bloody and injured.

The Knights of Labor, disguised as Indians, boarded the tea ships.

The Knights of Labor were not successful because their rallies turned into massacres.

The Knights of Labor only discriminated against bankers, lawyers, and other parasites.

FRQ: Analyze the home-front experiences of TWO of the following groups during the Second World War: African Americans, Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans, Mexican Americans. (86% of test-takers answered this question.)

Japanese and Jewish Americans especially experienced much hardship and anti-sentimentalism.

Executive order 90210

Title IX put all Japanese Americans into internment camps.

The U.S. feared getting attacked again by the Japanese and their emperor Toto.

After Pearl Harbor, hysteria spread across American like peanut butter over a slice of bread.

Betty the Riveter

During World War II everything started to calm down.

Mark Twain was a Jewish writer.

Desegregation proved difficult because many cases revolved around the head of the Supreme Court, John Marshall.

The war caused a growing need for cotton for uniforms and explosiveness.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor during the Vietnam War, they destroyed the battleship Maine.

The Kentucky and Nebraska Act, the Compromise of 1776 and the Dred Scott issue were revealed during WWII.

There were electrified fences in the camps, and the experience was so difficult that the Japanese began touching the fence purposedly electrocuting themselves to death.

The Japanese were sent to ….. consecration camps…. intertainment camps…internet camps…. recreation camps…containment camps….Camp David …Constitution camps … retainment camps… endearment camps …. insurgent camps … impressment camps

The bombing of People Harbor

Thesis statement: During WWII there were so many different people living in all different countries.

After the fall of Africa, Germany surrendered.

In the relocation camps, the Japanese were not allowed to watch TV or do anything fun.

The Hawaiian fort of Pearl Harbor

Frederick Douglass and WEB DuBois fought for civil rights in WWII.

African Americans watched in horror as bombs were dropped on their family members in Africa.

The Black Leopards worked for desegregation.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott, sit-ins, and the Martin Luther King movement inspired African Americans to fight in WWII.

Jewish Americans spoke little to no English.

Mexican Americans who took jobs in the U.S. during WWII raised food for the Marshall Plan.

After the internment of Japanese Americans, Chinatown in New York City was empty.

Life in the containment camps was like an AP test. They were confined in an area for a long time and they didn’t enjoy themselves.

When the Japanese were put into concentration camps, students at Kent State began a riot.

The Knazis …

Eleanor Roosevelt organized the Tuskegee Airmen.

After the Japanese launched an atomic bomb on Pearl Harbor …

The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover dismissed Japanese communism as war hysteria.

The fear of the spread of communism led to the Japanese being put in internment camps.

Robert E. Korematsu …

The Great Migration, also known as the Harlem Renaissance,

The two largest camps were Isei and Nisei. Isei was built for Japanese Americans who were born in the U.S. and Nisei was built for Japanese American migrants.

The Red Scare of communism created a mindset of distrust for Japanese Americans.

African Americans migrated to northern cities where they established their own communities in slum areas.

Franklin Delanor Roosevelt

After the bombing of Hiroshima by Thomas Edison

Ronald Reagan formally apologized (to Japanese Americans) by giving $20,000,000 to each Japanese family still alive.

Convicted of being communist spies, all Japanese Americans were put into camps.

Dates given for the bombing of Pearl Harbor: Dec 7 1944, June 6 1941, Dec 7 1929, July 1951

Most of the Japanese Americans were of Japanese descent.

African Americans who weren’t fighting usually had simple jobs like cleaning, teaching or telemarketing.

Roosevelt called segregation off because of the war.

Mexican Americans wanted to help in the war. Their uniforms were Zoot suits.

It was hard for blacks when WWII stared at Fort Sumter.

Jews were ridiculed for their new religion.

Germany hosted the Holocaust.

Mexican Americans fought at the Alamo which was their home-front.

Black sports figures like Jackie Robinson and Babe Ruth

Racial tension and the hippie movement made America the best place to live during WWII.

Most Japanese Americans lived through WWII in a cage.

Fred Nagasaki took his case all the way to the Supreme Court

World War II was caused by the assassination of the Archduke Francis-Ferdinand, but the U.S. was not involved until we received the Zimmerman Note.

African Americans were forced to fight in WWII until Abe Lincoln stated they were free.

After Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were confined to laundry-related careers.

Japanese Americans joined their fellow Americans in marching at Selma, Alabama.

As war tensions increased, Japanese Americans were taken to safe houses.

Hitler murdered approximately six billion Jews.

African Americans are the gold standard of American discrimination.

President Reagan sent all Japanese to camp.

After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. and Japan got into a big nuclear arms race. The U.S. came up with Sputnik I.

Women such as the Molly Maguires worked in factories during WWII.

Black leaders like Malcolm X and Lyndon B. Johnson …

Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Kamanskees.

African Americans in WWII went looking for jobs. They became cowboys and drove cattle from Texas to Chicago to be placed on trains for meat production. They were paid a dollar a day.

After Pearl Harbor, the government began looking for Japanese Americans and began impersonating them.

Ethiopia was invaded by Hitler. African Americans were then willing to help the people of their country.

Harlem was another big migration place, right outside of Buffalo, NY.

African Americans served in World War II. But not many because slavery was still going on in most states.

Jewish Americans were worried about their European families facing Hitler’s Final Solution, attempting to create an Agrarian Race.

During the war, the Japanese were forced to live in gated communities.

It was hard for blacks when WWII started at Ft. Sumter.

Eventually groups like the Black Leopards demanded only Black businesses.

At home, FDR’s lubricated Congress passed through many helpful institutions such as the NAACP and the Congress for Racial Equality

Women such as Molly Maguires worked in factories during WWII

During the beginning of the War, thousands of Jewish immigrants arrived at Paris Island.

Some of the Japanese who helped the U.S. government became Navaho translators.

The Communist Japanese were part of major events that happened during WWII such as the atomic bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1945.

A unit of black soldiers called the Brooklyn Bombers were great fighter pilots.

“A date which will live in intimacy…”

Freddy Roosevelt

Final thoughts:

Thank you for reading this essay. I’m sorry I’m an idiot!

I know I’m getting a 1 on this test, so don’t read my essay. I Christmas-treed the multiple choice.

Syriac Leader Renews Communion With Rome

Patriarch Notes Hopes for Peace in Mideast

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians expressed today to Benedict XVI his wishes for just peace in Iraq, reconciliation in Lebanon and the Holy Land, and the end of the Christian exodus from the Middle East.

His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan was at the Vatican today to renew his union with the Successor of Peter. He has served as patriarch of that Church only since February, when he was enthroned a month after his election.

The patriarch was accompanied during his visit to the Pope by some 250 pilgrims from various nations. The new patriarch was born in Syria in 1944, but from 1986 until his election as patriarch, served at the eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance in Newark, New Jersey.

"Our Church is small, but it dates back to apostolic times," he told L'Osservatore Romano, "and it guards a grand tradition, a precious liturgical and spiritual patrimony."

He added, "We are here to renew communion with the Successor of Peter and to afterward be able to better respond to the problems that oppress us and to continue giving witness to the Gospel in an afflicted situation, marked as well by violent fanaticism."

The Syriac Catholic Church separated from Rome after the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but returned to full communion more than a millennium later.

Its see is in Beirut, Lebanon, and in its liturgy, it still uses Aramaic, the language spoken by Christ.

In his greeting to the delegation, Benedict XVI thanked them for their visit, "which maintains a living link with the Eastern Christian tradition and the Bishop of Rome."

The Pope recalled that Thursday will be the official ceremony conceding ecclesial communion to the patriarch. It will be held in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, in the presence of the papal representative, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.

The Holy Father assured his prayer for the Syrian Catholic Church and renewed his appreciation "to all the Eastern Catholic Churches, encouraging them to continue their ecclesial mission, despite the thousands of difficulties, to build unity and peace everywhere."

There are some 150,000 Syrian Catholics in the world today. They live primarily in Iraq (42,000), in Syria (26,000), and in Turkey. About 55,000 Syrian Catholics live in other nations around the world.

17 giugno 2009

Iran accuses US of meddling after disputed vote

Iran... are you kidding me? Obama has basically said nothing about this, and other countries were waiting to comment until the US said something... = intolerable meddling? Wow..

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of "intolerable" meddling in its internal affairs, alleging for the first time that Washington has fueled a bitter postelection dispute. Opposition supporters marched in huge numbers through Tehran's streets for a third straight day to protest the outcome of the balloting.

The Iranian government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference, state-run Press TV reported.

The English-language channel said the government called Western interference "intolerable."

A State Department spokesman said the U.S. was withholding judgment about the election and not interfering in Iranian internal affairs.

President Barack Obama has reacted cautiously to opposition allegations that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole the election, saying he shared the world's "deep concerns" but it was "not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling."

The two countries broke off diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and Iranian hard-liners frequently accuse internal enemies of allying with the U.S. and other Western powers to overthrow the ruling system.

Iran summoned the Czech, France, German and British ambassadors Tuesday, state television said.

A crackdown on dissent continued, with more arrests of opposition figures reported, and the country's most powerful military force — the Revolutionary Guard — saying that Iranian Web sites and bloggers must remove any materials that "create tension" or face legal action.

But supporters were undeterred in their support of reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has called himself the winner of the June 12 election. Amateur video and state television footage showed thousands of people marching along an overpass in Tehran in support of pro-reform, a demonstration that swallowed several lanes of traffic and appeared to stretch for many blocks.

Marchers flashed the victory sign or carried placards, and some were dressed in green — the color of Mousavi's campaign.

It was the third day in a row that Mousavi supporters have taken to the streets, and he called for another demonstrations on Thursday — a direct challenge to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the cleric-led system.

Mousavi is calling for the election to be declared invalid and held again.

Khamenei has told Mousavi to pursue his demands through the electoral system and called for Iranians to unite behind their Islamic government, an extraordinary appeal in response to tensions over the vote. Mousavi still called for his followers to wear or carry black in mourning Thursday for the alleged election fraud and the deaths of protesters. Official media have reported seven deaths.

The street protests, paired with dissent from powerful clerical and political figures, have presented one of the gravest threats to Iran's complex blend of democracy and religious authority since the system emerged from the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Several Iranian soccer players wore green wrist bands Wednesday during a World Cup qualifying match in South Korea that was televised in Iran.

Mousavi's Web site said seven Iranian players wore the bands in the first half, although most were forced to take them off before the second. It said Mehdi Mehdavi-Kia kept his green band on throughout the game, which Iran and South Korea drew 1-1.

The game was televised in Iran but authorities have been trying to control information about dissent, blocked Web sites, jamming satellite signals and barring foreign media from leaving their offices to report on demonstrations on the streets of Tehran

Blogs and Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become vital conduits for Iranians to inform the world about protests and violence.

The BBC said the jamming of its broadcasts had become "progressively worse," with its BBC Arabic television and other language services knocked off the air at various points by interference traced to Iran.

A spokeswoman said traffic for both the Voice of America's Persian language service and Radio Farda sites had increased by 200 percent since before the election but radio and for television jamming persisted.

Videos and photos posted by people inside Iran show scenes of violence that have not been reported through official channels. The new media restrictions make it virtually impossible to independently verify much of the information, which includes dramatic images of street clashes and wounded demonstrators.

Much of the imagery has been posted anonymously. In other cases, those who have posted have declined to be identified due to fear of government retaliation, or cannot be reached due to government restrictions on the Internet and mobile phones. One such image, purportedly from the southern city of Shiraz, showed crowds walking in the street around a burning motorcycle that some say belonged to pro-government militia members who attacked protesters.

Mousavi and reformist former President Mohammad Khatami wrote a letter to the State Security Council, the country's highest authority on internal security, to complain about attacks on protesters by plainclothes "basiji," a paramilitary force under the Revolutionary Guard.

Mousavi said militiamen had been smashing windows, setting cars on fire and attacking people with batons, iron chains and bars and authorities had been blaming Mousavi supporters.

He also wrote to the head of the judiciary to complain about attacks on protesters and arrests of activists from their homes.

The Revolutionary Guard, an elite military force answering to Khamenei, said through the state news service that its investigators have taken action against "deviant news sites" that encouraged public disturbances. The Guard is a separate military with enormous domestic influence and control of Iran's most important defense programs. It is one of the key sources of power for the ruling establishment.

The statement alleged that dissident Web sites were backed by Canadian, U.S. and British interests.

"Legal action will be very strong," it said.

Unlike many dissidents, Mousavi has the ability to press his case with Iran's highest authorities and could gain powerful allies. Some influential clerics have expressed concern about possible election irregularities, and a fierce critic of Ahmadinejad, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, is part of the ruling establishment.

Iranian TV showed pictures of Faezeh Hashemi, Rafsanjani's daughter, speaking to hundreds of Mousavi supporters, carrying pictures of Khomeini and others.

Iran's most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, said widespread vote fraud had undermined the legitimacy of the ruling Islamic system and that "no sound mind" would accept the results.

"A government that is based on intervening in (people's) vote has no political or religious legitimacy," said Montazeri, who had once been set to succeed Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as supreme leader until he was ousted because of criticisms of the revolution.

State media said Khamenei would deliver the sermon at Friday prayers, the most important religious address of the week. The supreme leader generally leads Friday prayers only two or three times a year.

The U.S.-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said several dozen noted figures associated with the reform movement have been arrested, among them politicians, intellectuals, activists and journalists.

Analyst Saeed Leilaz, who is often quoted by Western media, was arrested Wednesday by plainclothes security officers at his home, said his wife, Sepehrnaz Panahi. The group said Mohammad-Reza Jalaipour, another noted Iranian analyst, had also been arrested.

At least 10 Iranian journalists have been arrested since the election, Reporters Without Borders said, and a Web site run by former Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi said the reformist had been arrested.

Prominent reformer Saeed Hajjarian has also been detained, Hajjarian's wife, Vajiheh Masousi, told The Associated Press. Hajjarian is a close aide to former President Mohammad Khatami.

The main electoral authority has said it was prepared to conduct a limited recount of ballots at sites where candidates claim irregularities. The recount would be overseen by the Guardian Council, an unelected body of 12 clerics and Islamic law experts close to Khamenei.

But Mousavi alleges the Guardian Council is not neutral and has already indicated it supports Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad, who has dismissed the unrest as little more than "passions after a soccer match," attended a summit Tuesday in Russia that was delayed a day by the unrest. He returned to Iran and held a cabinet meeting, saying on state television Wednesday that people had voted for his "policies of justice."

Source: AP/Yahoo

Luglio ’43, Hitler voleva eliminare Pio XII

16 Giugno 2009
Sono ormai molte e spesso contraddittorie le voci di piani nazisti per 'allontanare' Papa Pacelli dalla Santa Sede nelle ultime fasi del secondo conflitto mondiale. Ne aveva parlato nel ´72 l’ex-generale delle Ss Karl Wolf, scomparso nell’84 riferendo il contenuto del suo incontro con il Santo Padre avvenuto il 10 maggio del ’44. Poco attendibile il suo racconto, privo di riscontri. Più concrete le voci di un piano organizzato dal Reichssicherheitsamt (Quartier generale per la sicurezza del Reich) di Berlino dopo il 25 luglio ’43. Avvenire ha raccolto dagli eredi dei protagonisti testimonianze e visionato documenti. Una fonte diretta ci è arrivata dal figlio di uno dei personaggi chiave, Niki Freytag von Loringhoven, oggi lucidissimo 72 enne, che abbiamo incontrato a Monaco dove risiede e con il quale ci siamo intrattenuti a lungo. La vicenda si è svolta a Venezia e ha avuto come teatro il mitico l’hotel Danieli ed il Lido.

L’autorizzazione a recarsi in volo a Venezia era stata firmata dal responsabile del Comando supremo della Wehrmacht, generale Wilhelm Keitel, impiccato a Norimberga il 16 ottobre ´46. A bordo dell’Heinkel He 111 della Luftwaffe atterrato nel pomeriggio del 29 luglio ´43 nella laguna si trovavano il capo dell’Ausland/ Abwehr (controspionaggio) ammiraglio Wilhelm Canaris e due colonnelli della sezione II (sabotaggio), Erwin von Lahousen e Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven. Canaris aveva avanzato un’ottima motivazione per la 'gita' nella città lagunare: saggiare la fedeltà degli italiani al Patto d’Acciaio dopo l’arresto di Mussolini avvenuto 4 giorni prima. Ma non solo. A Venezia Canaris e i suoi due accompagnatori avrebbero incontrato il capo del Sim (Servizio informazioni militari) generale Cesare Amé. Tra Amé e Canaris esisteva da tempo un rapporto di reciproca stima. S’erano già incontrati sempre a Venezia all’hotel Danieli. Canaris arrivava in volo da Berlino e Amé in auto da Roma.

Ambedue nutrivano ben poca simpatia per i rispettivi regimi anche se si vedevano costretti a collaborare. Nel diario di servizio del colonnello von Lahousen si legge: «29.07.43: partenza in volo per Venezia con il Capo del Servizio (Canaris) e il colonnello Freytag per un incontro con il gen. Amé, capo del controspionaggio italiano». Ed ancora: «31.07.43: Ritorno dal viaggio di servizio a Venezia». Sia Canaris che von Loringhoven e von Lahousen avevano raccolto presso il Reichssicherheitsamt, sede della Gestapo a Berlino, voci concrete sulla volontà del Führer di vendicarsi degli italiani che avevano arrestato Mussolini colpendo il Re e il Papa. Deportazione o morte erano le parole che i tre esponenti del controspionaggio avevano sentito pronunciare. In una deposizione al processo di Norimberga il 1° febbraio del ’46 Lahousen ha fornito anche dei particolari riportati a verbale sotto il titolo Warnreise. Testimony 1330­1430. Lahousen ha riferito sempre a Norimberga anche la reazione di Freytag von Loringhoven: «Èuna vera vigliaccheria! Bisognerebbe avvertire gli italiani!». Infatti, sempre secondo Lahousen, lo scopo prioritario del volo a Venezia consisteva soprattutto in questo. Far sapere agli italiani i progetti di Hitler verso il re e papa Pacelli. L’incontro avvenne come sempre in una sala riservata dell’hotel Danieli. I due parlarono a lungo ma nulla è trapelato dei loro scambi d’opinione. Nel pomeriggio del 30 luglio Amé e i due colonnelli passeggiarono a lungo al Lido e qui l’avvertimento dei progetti nazisti nei confronti di Pio XII fu l’argomento centrale dei colloqui.

Quello stesso giorno Mussolini era già prigioniero a Ventotene ma la sua eventuale liberazione, tanto anelata da Hitler, non sembrava interessare nessuno dei tre. E infatti Amé non ne parlò. Sarebbe rimasto in carica solo ancora per una paio di settimane (fino al 18 agosto ´43) per essere quindi sostituito dal generale Giacomo Carboni. Siamo nel mezzo dei famosi 45 giorni di incertezza e ambiguità (25 luglio - 8 sett. ´43). Amé rientrato a Roma fece spargere la voce sui nefasti progetti di Hitler verso il re e Pio XII. Voci che giunsero ben presto anche all’ambasciatore del Reich presso la Santa Sede Ernst von Weisäcker, che si precipitò a chiedere informazioni a 360 gradi. Come riferisce nel suo libro Erinnerungen (Ricordi) del 1950, iniziò con il feldmaresciallo Kesserling, quindi con Kappler a Roma, con Wolf a Milano, a Berlino presso l’ufficio di Martin Bormann, capo della segreteria di Hitler, ed infine chiese spiegazioni allo stesso Canaris. Probabilmente il capo del controspionaggio tedesco non poté non sorridere a tale richiesta. Tutti si dissero all’oscuro di tali piani ma ormai le voci erano pubbliche e i progetti segreti per colpire il re ed il Santo Padre ormai di dominio pubblico e quindi da abbandonare. Tutto finì lì. Dei tre passeggeri atterrati a Venezia il 29 luglio ´43, solo von Lahousen è sopravvissuto al terrore nazista.

Trasferito sul fronte orientale al rientro da Venezia, il 1° agosto del ’43, riuscì a sfuggire alle retate contro i congiurati del 20 luglio ´44 (attentato fallito di von Stauffenberg contro Hitler) e fu fatto prigioniero dagli americani. Il servizio segreto inglese lo interrogò per alcuni mesi e quindi fu liberato. Canaris fu arrestato 3 giorni dopo l’attentato di von Stauffenberg e impiccato nel campo di concentramento di Flossenburg il 9 aprile ´45. Il terzo passeggero, il barone Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, il 26 luglio ´44, avvertito che la Gestapo stava venendo ad arrestarlo e ben conoscendo i metodi di interrogatorio a cui sarebbe andato incontro, preferì suicidarsi con la pistola d’ordinanza. Aveva 45 anni a lasciava quattro figli in giovane età. A fianco, una foto dell’incontro di Venezia: Cesare Amé (a destra) assieme a Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven. Le foto furono scattate da Erwin von Lahousen (in alto al centro) con la sua Leica, ma sviluppate solo molti anni più tardi. In alto a destra in divisa ancora von Loringhoven all’epoca dei fatti di Venezia, sulla sinistra invece Wilhelm Canaris, capo del servizio di controspionaggio tedesco.

Da Monaco di Baviera Diego Vanzi

More Proof of Hitler's Plan to Kill Pius XII

Son of German Intelligence Officer Comes Forward

ROME, JUNE 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- New evidence published today by the newspaper of the Italian bishops gives more credence to the belief that Adolf Hitler had planned to either kidnap or kill Pope Pius XII.

It has long been conjectured that Hitler had ordered the SS commander in Italy, General Karl Wolf, to seize the Vatican and take the Pope.

Dan Kurzman wrote about it in his 1997 book "A Special Mission: Hitler's Secret Plot to Seize the Vatican and Kidnap Pope Pius the XII," which is based on interviews with Wolf himself. Wolf's accounts, however, could never be verified.

New evidence published today by Avvenire now points to the role of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (the Third Reich's main security office) in devising a plot to take out the Pope.

The newspaper cited the testimony of Niki Freytag Loringhoven, 72, the son of Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, who during World War II was a colonel in the High Command of the German Armed Forces.

According to the son, days after Hitler's Italian ally, Benito Mussolini, had been arrested at the orders of King Victor Emmanuel III, Hitler ordered the Reichssicherheitshauptamt to devise a plot to punish the Italian people by kidnapping or murdering Pius XII and the king of Italy.

Hearing of the project, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the German counterintelligence service, informed his Italian counterpart, General Cesare Amè, during a secret meeting in Venice from July 29-30, 1943.

Also present at the meeting were colonels Erwin von Lahousen and Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, who both worked in Section II of German counterintelligence, which dealt primarily with sabotage.

Canaris, Von Lahousen and Freytag von Loringhoven had all been part of the German resistance against the Nazis.

Amè, upon returning to Rome, spread news of the plans against Hitler in order to block them, which proved successful. The plan was quickly dropped.

According to Avvenire, this testimony coincides with the deposition given by Von Lahousen during the Nuremberg war crimes trials on Feb. 1,1946 (Warnreise Testimony 1330-1430).

Canaris was later dismissed as the head of German intelligence in February 1944, put under house arrest, and then executed in 1945.

The two colonels participated with Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg in the failed July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

16 giugno 2009


Tue Jun 16 2009 08:45:10 ET

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.


Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:

Dear Mr. Westin:

As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009. Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.

Ken McKay
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff



15 giugno 2009

Old Tom Parr

This is unbelievable!


Medicine and Health Rhode Island, Oct 2004
by Aronson, Stanley M

The Court Calendar for October, 1635, listed many grave events imperiling Great Britain, but toward the end of the month there was the light-hearted presentation to King Charles I of Thomas Parr, a centenarian from Shropshire in western England.

Parr, known widely as Old Parr, was born in Winnington, Shropshire, allegedly in the year 1483 during the reign of King Edward IV. He was the son of a local farmer and at an early age entered domestic service in his home county. Following the death of his father in 1518, Parr returned to the family farm, now as owner. He remained a bachelor until age 80 when he married Jane Taylor. They had two children; both died in infancy.

In 1583, at age 100, Parr was required to do penance on the front steps of his parish church for the sin of unfaithfulness to his wife and, specifically, for his self-confessed carnal intimacy with Katherine Milton. This adulterous affair resulted in the birth of an illegitimate infant. Parr's first wife died in 1605 during the reign of James I, when Parr was said to be 122 years old. In time he married Jane Lloyd, but this second union produced no offspring.

Parr continued to work his small farm, although a progressive blindness hindered his labors. He ascribed his longevity to a diet of "green cheese, onions, coarse bread, buttermilk and mild ale with cider on special occasions." He opposed the use of either strong spirits or tobacco and urged temperance in both diet and behavior. Parr, the centenarian, was untutored and illiterate. And while it is doubtful whether he could distinguish between a centaurian, a centurion or a centenarian, he nonetheless appreciated his singular status and made certain that others knew of it.

Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, heard of Old Parr's unusual longevity and resolved to exhibit him in the court of the reigning monarch, King Charles I. Howard had previously been imprisoned in the Tower of London by the King, and Howard chose to display Old Parr before the King as a conciliatory and perhaps amusing gesture. These were times of great stress in Britain. The King had dissolved a belligerent Parliament in March of 1629 and now ruled the realm unilaterally. The island nation was increasingly torn by religious conflicts, the king's continuing difficulties in selecting a marriage partner, unsuccessful military ventures abroad and vexatious taxation of the emerging mercantile class. These were times when light-hearted nonsectarian diversions were encouraged in the troubled Court of King Charles.

Howard transported blind Old Parr in a special litter and sent his jester to entertain the old man during the lengthy journey to London. Parr was duly exhibited in October of 1635. He was stared at, prodded and questioned at length. All in attendance were duly convinced that this elderly man was 152 years in age. After his Court encounter, Old Parr made the rounds of other princely mansions, eating sumptuously and consuming rich wines as never before. Following two weeks of extravagant life, he died. The King ordered that an autopsy be performed by the great Dr. William Harvey, who found no internal disease nor even evidence of tissue senescence. Parr had lived all his life on Shropshire farms, and the cause of death was declared to be the air pollution of London. The King ordered that Parr be buried in the south transept of Westminster Abbey, where his tomb may be found to this day.

There have been numerous claims of extended human lifespans over the centuries; and certainly there is precedent in the prediluvian elders of the Hebrew Bible, some of whom were said to have lived for centuries. In recent decades, there have been assertions of seniors, particularly in the Caucasus mountains of Asian Georgia, living well beyond the Biblical limitation of 120 years.

Curiously, though, there are no authenticated instances of humans surviving beyond the age of 121 years in the more advanced, and presumably healthier, nations. The contention may be offered that the United States, as well as the other industrialized nations, are infiltrated with more damaging chemicals polluting their air and water than, for example, the Russian Caucasus mountains. Yet no one would doubt that Americans, on average, live substantially longer than the residents of Caucasian Georgia. Perhaps something in the rarefied attitudes of the Caucasus makes a few souls live beyond the usual limits of life. Perhaps, if not the absence of some as yet unidentified toxin in these mountains, it is something in their realm of spirituality - or their love of yogurt. And it may be, according to Oscar Wilde, that those whom the gods love grow young. Or, on the other hand, the skeptics of the world may conclude that these anecdotal instances are little more than a lack of proper birth certification wedded to a fertile imagination. Certainly the number of advanced centenarians in each community seems to be inversely proportional to the exactness of vital statistics.

In the United States, where we are constrained by fairly meticulous record-keeping, there has been a progressive lengthening of life since the onset of the 20th Century. For example, an average male in 1950 lived to 65.6 years, and an average female, 71.1 years. By 2000, the average American male lived to 74.1 years, and the average female, 79.5 years. On average, too, African-Americans lived about the five fewer years than their white counterparts. Nations such as Malavi, Botswana and Mozambique, burdened by poverty, inadequate medical resources and the scourge of AIDS, now record average life expectancies of less than 40 years.

Nature dispenses longevity in a seemingly random manner: for the adult mayfly, life is measured in hours, while for the metasequoia tree, in centuries. The metasequoia tree enjoys a stoical life, steady and measured in its growth, tempered only by the winds and lightning, and dying after more than a millennium of existence, of utter boredom; the mayfly, in contrast, lives its brief stay in a state of full and unfettered ecstasy, smiling each precious minute of its fragile existence.


Copyright Rhode Island Medical Society Oct 2004
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

Aronson, Stanley M "LONG AND INDECOROUS LIFE OF TOM PARR, THE". Medicine and Health Rhode Island. FindArticles.com. 15 Jun, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4100/is_200410/ai_n9464852/

12 giugno 2009

Vietnam Prelate Dies a Witness of Persecution

Communists Mark Life of 100-Year-Old Bishop

LONG XUYEN, Vietnam, JUNE 11, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Vietnamese Catholics are mourning the death of their oldest bishop, as they continue to witness the destruction of what the late prelate strove to build.

Bishop Michael Nguyen Khac Ngu died Wednesday, less than a month after celebrating his 100th birthday. He served as a priest for 75 years, having been ordained in France in 1934.

Among the buildings that the late bishop built, all except the cathedral have been seized by the Communist government. Vietnamese Catholics continue in an ongoing battle with the government over properties that have been confiscated and buildings that have been demolished.

The most recent to be taken was the monastery of the Congregation of the Brothers of The Holy Family of Banam in Long Xuyen, which was demolished last week.

Michael Nguyen Khac Ngu was born in northern Vietnam in 1909. He entered St. Therese Minor Seminary in Lang Son Diocese in 1922, and later traveled to France for further study and was ordained there as a priest in 1934.

In 1954, after the Communist takeover of the north and subsequent persecution of the Church, he led his parishioners southward and settled with them in Long Xuyen province, south of Saigon.

The region was established as a diocese in 1960 and he was named the first prelate. At that time, it had 20,000 Catholics; today it has 240,000 in 108 parishes and 45 sub-parishes, served by 240 priests.

Though Bishop Michael Nguyen ordained a coadjutor on the same day of the Communist takeover of the South -- April 30, 1975 -- he did not retire officially until 1997.

Talking about the late prelate, the diocese's current bishop, Joseph Tran Xuan Tieu, recalled how simply he had lived "in a 20-square-meter room with an old bed and without a television or personal computer."

Bishop Joseph Tran, 63, said the late bishop set a shining example to others by devoting much time each day to prayer, and never missing daily Mass even when ill: "He read books and newspapers daily, washed his own clothes and cleaned his own room, and made toothpicks for the people in the bishop's house."