02 dicembre 2011

Vatican Cardinal Burke: ‘We’re well on the way’ to Christian persecution in the U.S.

Mon Nov 28, 2011

VATICAN, November 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the highest ranking cardinals in the Vatican has said that the United States is “well on the way” to the persecution of Christians.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, former Archbishop of St. Louis and now the head of the Vatican’s highest court, told Catholic News Agency that he could envision a time when the Catholic Church in the U.S., “even by announcing her own teaching,” is accused of “engaging in illegal activity, for instance, in its teaching on human sexuality.”

Asked if the cardinal could even see American Catholics being arrested for their faith he replied, “I can see it happening, yes.”

In his remarks to several U.S. Bishops meeting with him Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI made similarly emphatic warnings about the U.S. The pope told the bishops that “the seriousness of the challenges which the Church in America, under your leadership, is called to confront in the near future cannot be underestimated.”

He added: “The obstacles to Christian faith and practice raised by a secularized culture also affect the lives of believers.”

In the interview published today, Cardinal Burke declared that “it is a war” and “critical at this time that Christians stand up for the natural moral law.” Should they not, he warned, “secularization will in fact predominate and it will destroy us.”

Pope Benedict too urged the bishops of the United States to speak out in defense of morality. “The present moment can thus be seen, in positive terms, as a summons to exercise the prophetic dimension of your episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free,” he said.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue told LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Burke’s remarks were accurate and not exaggerations. “Secularism has become militant,” he said. “Many elites are taking an aggressive secular approach. They have lined up against the Catholic Church and other Christian churches particularly for their stand on moral values.”

Donohue pointed to New York where gay ‘marriage’ was passed without debate or exemptions for clerks who objected to having to grant such licenses. He also noted the closing of Catholic adoption and foster care agencies since they were unable to comply with laws forcing homosexual adoptions.

“The real big one,” he added, “is the HHS of the Obama Administration.” The forcing of abortifacient and contraceptive coverage in private health care plans under penalty of fines was described by the Catholic League President as the Obama Administration “on a full court press to shove its values down the throats of the Catholic Church.”

See the full interview with Cardinal Burke with Catholic News Agency

Link to story: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-cardinal-burke-were-well-on-the-way-to-christian-persecution-in-the

01 settembre 2011


Art "Is Like a Door Opened to the Infinite"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the Italian-language catechesis Benedict XVI gave today during the general audience.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,
On several occasions in recent months, I have recalled the need for every Christian to find time for God, for prayer, amidst our many daily activities.The Lord himself offers us many opportunities to remember Him. Today, I would like to consider briefly one of these channels that can lead us to God and also be helpful in our encounter with Him: It is the way of artistic expression, part of that "via pulchritudinis" -- "way of beauty" -- which I have spoken about on many occasions, and which modern man should recover in its most profound meaning.

Perhaps it has happened to you at one time or another -- before a sculpture, a painting, a few verses of poetry or a piece of music -- to have experienced deep emotion, a sense of joy, to have perceived clearly, that is, that before you there stood not only matter -- a piece of marble or bronze, a painted canvas, an ensemble of letters or a combination of sounds -- but something far greater, something that "speaks," something capable of touching the heart, of communicating a message, of elevating the soul.

A work of art is the fruit of the creative capacity of the human person who stands in wonder before the visible reality, who seeks to discover the depths of its meaning and to communicate it through the language of forms, colors and sounds. Art is capable of expressing, and of making visible, man's need to go beyond what he sees; it reveals his thirst and his search for the infinite. Indeed, it is like a door opened to the infinite, [opened] to a beauty and a truth beyond the every day. And a work of art can open the eyes of the mind and heart, urging us upward.

But there are artistic expressions that are true roads to God, the supreme Beauty -- indeed, they are a help [to us] in growing in our relationship with Him in prayer. We are referring to works of art that are born of faith, and that express the faith. We see an example of this whenever we visit a Gothic cathedral: We are ravished by the vertical lines that reach heavenward and draw our gaze and our spirit upward, while at the same time, we feel small and yet yearn to be filled. … Or when we enter a Romanesque church: We are invited quite naturally to recollection and prayer. We perceive that hidden within these splendid edifices is the faith of generations. Or again, when we listen to a piece of sacred music that makes the chords of our heart resound, our soul expands and is helped in turning to God. I remember a concert performance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach -- in Munich in Bavaria -- conducted by Leonard Bernstein. At the conclusion of the final selection, one of the Cantate, I felt -- not through reasoning, but in the depths of my heart -- that what I had just heard had spoken truth to me, truth about the supreme composer, and it moved me to give thanks to God. Seated next to me was the Lutheran bishop of Munich. I spontaneously said to him: "Whoever has listened to this understands that faith is true" -- and the beauty that irresistibly expresses the presence of God's truth.
But how many times, paintings or frescos also, which are the fruit of the artist's faith -- in their forms, in their colors, and in their light -- move us to turn our thoughts to God, and increase our desire to draw from the Fount of all beauty. The words of the great artist, Marc Chagall, remain profoundly true -- that for centuries, painters dipped their brushes in that colored alphabet, which is the Bible.

How many times, then, can artistic expression be for us an occasion that reminds us of God, that assists us in our prayer or even in the conversion of our heart! In 1886, the famous French poet, playwright and diplomat Paul Claudel entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Paris and there felt the presence of God precisely in listening to the singing of the Magnificat during the Christmas Mass. He had not entered the church for reasons of faith; indeed, he entered looking for arguments against Christianity, but instead the grace of God changed his heart.

Dear friends, I invite you to rediscover the importance of this way for prayer, for our living relationship with God. Cities and countries throughout the world house treasures of art that express the faith and call us to a relationship with God. Therefore, may our visits to places of art be not only an occasion for cultural enrichment -- also this -- but may they become, above all, a moment of grace that moves us to strengthen our bond and our conversation with the Lord, [that moves us] to stop and contemplate -- in passing from the simple external reality to the deeper reality expressed -- the ray of beauty that strikes us, that "wounds" us in the intimate recesses of our heart and invites us to ascend to God.

I will end with a prayer from one of the Psalms, Psalm 27: "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple" (Verse 4). Let us hope that the Lord will help us to contemplate His beauty, both in nature as well as in works of art, so that we might be touched by the light of His face, and so also be light for our neighbor. Thank you.

[Translation by Diane Montagna]
[The Holy Father then greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]
I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today, especially those from Scotland and Malta. Today we reflect on the need to draw near to God through the experience and appreciation of artistic beauty. Art is capable of making visible our need to go beyond what we see and it reveals our thirst for infinite beauty, for God. Dear friends, I invite you to be open to beauty and to allow it to move you to prayer and praise of the Lord. May Almighty God bless all of you!

© Copyright 2011 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
[In Italian, he said:]

Lastly, I address a word of cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the bishops who are friends of the Community of Sant'Edigio, the faithful of the various parishes, who are accompanied by their parish priests, and newlyweds. I hope that this meeting strengthens each of you in a renewed adherence to God, fount of light, of hope and of peace.
[After the prayer:]

Thank you, a good day to you all. Thank you!

[Translation by Diane Montagna]

Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-33326?l=english

21 giugno 2011


ZE11062008 - 2011-06-20
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-32900?l=english

New Government Proposal Could Ease Restrictions

ASSIUT, Egypt, JUNE 20, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Coptic bishop of Assiut, Egypt, is optimistic about a new government proposal that, if passed, would make building a Church in Egypt a little easier.

Bishop Kyrillos Kamal William Samaan told Aid to the Church in Need that a new proposal to ease restrictions on church-building mark a crucial step forward for the 10 million Christians in Egypt, where tight restrictions on Church-building are frequently cited as one of the most serious forms of anti-Christian oppression.

Currently, the law states that permission to build a Church must be given by the president himself, and decisions over applications for new churches can take years, even decades.

According to the new law, put forward by the interim military regime that replaced President Hosni Mubarak’s government in February 2011, proposals would go before the regional governor for a decision within three months.

"If these proposals come into law," Bishop Samaan said, "it could mean that building churches will be almost on the same level as constructing mosques. It is a major step forward for the citizenship of Christians."

"What we are seeing here is one of the first fruits of the demonstrations back in January," he added. "When the Christians demonstrated, they asked for their rights and the first right they demanded was the construction of churches.
"Everybody knows that this has been a big problem for the Christians. Many moderate people have recognized it. In fact more than 50% of the problems Christians face will be resolved if we can make progress on this issue."

The bishop reported that permission to build two churches in his diocese in Upper Egypt came through before the January Revolution that ended with Mubarak’s departure from office. Applications for another three churches have been approved in the last few weeks, he added, leaving just one outstanding, with a decision expected soon.

19 aprile 2011

Duke lacrosse accuser charged with murder

And a few years after the reputations and lives of some college kids were ruined....

By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Mike Baker, Associated Press – Tue Apr 19, 7:24 am ET
RALEIGH, N.C. – A murder charge against the woman who falsely accused three Duke lacrosse players of raping her is but the latest problem for a woman friends say is still haunted by the stigma of the lacrosse case.

Crystal Mangum, 32, was indicted Monday on a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of larceny. She has been in jail since April 3, when police charged her with assault in the stabbing of her boyfriend Reginald Daye, 46. He died after nearly two weeks at a hospital.

An attorney for Mangum did not return a call seeking comment. The district attorney's office declined to discuss the case.

Friends said Mangum has never recovered from the stigma brought by the lacrosse case and has been involved in a string of questionable relationships in an attempt to provide stability for her children.

Mangum, who is black, falsely accused the white lacrosse players of raping her at a 2006 party for which she was hired to perform as a stripper. The case heightened long-standing tensions in Durham about race, class and the privileged status of college athletes.

The district attorney who championed Mangum's claims was later disbarred. North Carolina's attorney general eventually declared the players innocent of a "tragic rush to accuse."

Prosecutors declined to press charges for the false accusations, but Mangum's bizarre legal troubles continued.

Last year, she was convicted on misdemeanor charges after setting a fire that nearly torched her home with her three children inside. In a videotaped police interrogation, she told officers she got into a confrontation with her boyfriend at the time — not Daye — and burned his clothes, smashed his car windshield and threatened to stab him.

A federal judge recently ruled the three players accused of rape — Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and Dave Evans — can pursue a lawsuit against former District Attorney Mike Nifong and the police investigators who handled their case. The players have not sued Mangum.

Vincent Clark, a friend who co-authored Mangum's self-published memoir, said he hopes people don't rush to judgment — echoing one of the oft-cited lessons of the lacrosse case itself.

Clark said Mangum realizes she has mental health problems.

"I'm sad for her. I hope people realize how difficult it is being her," Clark said.

Even when Daye's nephew talked to a 911 dispatcher after the stabbing, he referenced the notoriety Mangum still carries.

"It's Crystal Mangum. THE Crystal Mangum," said the nephew, whose name was removed from a publicly-released version of the emergency call. "I told him she was trouble from the damn beginning."

25 febbraio 2011

Italy arrests six suspected Moroccan militants

Justice and Charity movement activists arrested for planning to "punish" Pope Benedict XVI for converting a Muslim journalist to Catholicism.

Middle East Online - http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=44602

ROME - Italian police said Friday they had arrested six suspected Moroccan militants, with one report saying they wanted to "punish" Pope Benedict XVI for converting a Muslim journalist to Catholicism in 2008.

They "are accused of setting up a group that aimed to incite discrimination, racial and religious hatred, violence and jihad against Christians and Jews," police in the northern city of Brescia said in a statement.

Five of the Moroccans have been put under house arrest, while the sixth is in jail. The six are all suspected of belonging to an Islamist fundamentalist movement called Adl Wal Ihsane (Justice and Charity), the statement said.

ANSA news agency reported that a note had been found on one of the Moroccans that called for revenge against the pope for converting Egyptian-born Magdi Allam, a former columnist for Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Allam, who condemned Islam for being a "violent" and "conflictual" religion was baptised by the pope in March 2008. The comment against the pope was found in a notebook hidden inside a jacket, the report said.

24 febbraio 2011

The Truth about genocide by NY Senator Ruben Diaz

by New York State Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz

February 23, 2011

This weekend I read an article online “Caution should be used when using the word 'genocide” which gives short shrift to blatant examples of genocide. The author left out reference to the history of abortion and the fact that Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger was a proud racist and advocate of genocide by abortion.

Genocide is an ugly term used to define the evil, deliberate and systemic approach to the eradication of an ethnically, racially or religiously identifiable group. The UN’s definition of genocide includes “measures intended to prevent births within the group”.

49 percent of New York City’s Hispanic pregnancies are aborted every year. 59 percent of New York City’s Black pregnancies are aborted every year. These statistics are staggering, and it is nothing less than responsible to use the term genocide to define what is happening to our children’s lives.

Perhaps some prefer to reserve the term genocide for circumstances like the systematic slaughter of ethnic groups as seen in Armenia, Rwanda and Cambodia’s killing fields. Nevertheless, the evil behind this term can also apply to the victims of the Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiments on Black men whose lives were eliminated without the use of bullets or machetes, but with the insidious use of medical practitioners. And it also applies to the institution of abortion in the US, fulfilling Margaret Sanger’s goal to reduce Blacks and other "unworthy" lives in this country.

As part of her “Negro Project” and other such programs, she hoped that “(S)uch a plan would ... reduce the birthrate among the diseased, the sickly, the poverty stricken and anti-social classes, elements unable to provide for themselves, and the burden of which we are all forced to carry.”

While pro-abortion advocates will fall back on the changing legal definitions of what is a person, Margaret Sanger had no problem heading off the problem before these unborn Black and unborn “socially undesirable” lives started being born, started going to schools and started living in our communities.

Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is on record stating: "I can remember the days when Jesse Jackson was pro-life, and he went across the country calling abortion genocide….I personally believe that any leader, especially African-American leaders -- and I can say this because I'm African-American -- should be compelled to remember the days of slavery and to remember their responsibility toward the children we call the unborn. They are real people too, and they actually have civil rights."

Like the growing number of pro-life Democrats, I will not be silent about genocide against Hispanic and Black children in New York City or anywhere in the US. I welcome all to join us in this effort.


(Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz represents the 32nd Senatorial District in New York State, which covers a large section of the South Bronx. He serves as Chair of the New York State Senate Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus. He also continues to serve as an Advisory Board Member of Democrats for Life-New York.)

26 gennaio 2011

Pope: Ecumenical Pessimism Is Lack of Trust in God

Says Holy Spirit's Power Shouldn't Be Underestimated

ROME, JAN. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Though Christians are still far from the unity that Jesus prayed for at the Last Supper, resignation and pessimism are a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit's power, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today as he closed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with a service at St. Paul's Outside the Walls. Today's feast of the Conversion of St. Paul brought the prayer week to a close.

The Holy Father called the faithful to gratitude, since the ecumenical movement over the last few decades has "taken significant steps forward," such that there is "encouraging convergence and consent on varied points," as well as "mutual esteem and respect" and "concrete collaboration."

"We are well aware, however, that we are still far from that unity for which Christ prayed and which we find reflected in the portrait of the first community of Jerusalem," the Pontiff acknowledged. His reference to Jerusalem alluded to the theme for this year's week of prayer, which was prepared by the Church of Jerusalem and pointed to the community of the first Christians.

Benedict XVI affirmed that the unity Christ desires is not only at the level of structures, but also in the confession of one faith and the common celebration of worship.

"The search for the re-establishment of unity among divided Christians cannot therefore be reduced to a recognition of the reciprocal differences and to the obtaining of a peaceful coexistence," he said. "What we long for is that unity for which Christ himself prayed and which by its nature is manifested in the communion of the faith, of the sacraments, of the ministry.

"The path toward this unity must be seen as a moral imperative, response to a precise call of the Lord."

In this light, the Pope asserted, "the temptation must be overcome to resignation and pessimism, which is lack of trust in the power of the Holy Spirit."

"Our duty," he said, "is to continue passionately on the path toward this goal with a serious and rigorous dialogue to deepen the common theological, liturgical and spiritual patrimony; with reciprocal knowledge, with the ecumenical formation of the new generations and, above all, with conversion of heart and prayer."

--- --- ---

On ZENIT's Web page:

Full text: www.zenit.org/article-31567?l=english