Saturday, March 31, 2007
FROM THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA
WAGENSEIL, JOHANN CHRISTOPH:
By : Crawford Howell Toy Eduard Neumann
German Christian Hebraist; born at Nuremberg Nov. 26, 1633; died at Altdorf Oct. 9, 1705. In 1667 he was made professor of history at Altdorf, and was professor of Oriental languages at the same university from 1674 to 1697, after which he occupied the chair of ecclesiastical law until his death. For his knowledge of Hebrew he was chiefly indebted to Enoch Levi, who had come from Vienna to Fürth about 1670. Wagenseil devoted his learning to publishing anti-Christian works of Jewish authors, and undertook long journeys to gather his material. The fruit of this work is the collection entitled "Tela Ignea Satanæ, sive Arcani et Horribiles Judæorum Adversus Christum, Deum, et Christianam Religionem Libri" (Altdorf, 1681), which includes the apologetic "Ḥizzuḳ Emunah" of the Karaite Isaac b. Abraham of Troki. Becoming convinced by the "Toledot Yeshu" that the Jews were guilty of blaspheming Jesus, Wagenseil addressed to all high potentates his "Denunciatio Christiana de Blasphemiis Judæorum in Jesum Christum" (Altdorf, 1703), in which he implored them to restrain the Jews from mocking at Jesus, Mary, the cross, the mass, and Christian teachings. Although he would have been pleased to see the Protestant princes show greater zeal in the conversion of the Jews, Wagenseil was opposed to forcible baptism and similar measures, and devoted a special treatise to the refutation of the charge of ritual murder.
THE BALAAM ENTRY IN THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA
also makes a reference to the name being used as a euphemism for Jesus:
Henceforth he became the type of false prophets seducing men to lewdness and obscene idolatrous practises (Rev. ii. 14; II Peter ii. 15; Jude 11; Abot v.19). The name "Nicolaitanes," given to the Christian heretics "holding the doctrine of Balaam" (Rev. ii. 6, 15), is probably derived from the Grecized form of Balaam, = Nικο-γάος, and hence also the pseudonym "Balaam," given to Jesus in Sanh. 106b and Giṭ. 57a. See Geiger, "Bileam and Jesus," in "Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift für Jüdische Theologie," vi. 31-37).
The life of this sorcerer was further detailed in the "Sefer ha-Yashar" legends and by the later cabalists (Yalḳ., Reubeni to Balak). Balaam's ass formed an especial object of haggadic interpretation and embellishment. "The speaking mouth of the ass" was declared to be one of the ten miraculous things that God had created in the twilight of the sixth day (Abot v. 6). Targ. Yer. to Num. xxii. 30 gives a long monition which the ass offers to her foolish master.
That passage appears at the bottom of the entry.
FROM THE MAILBOX
Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 61 | Friday, March 30, 2007
Fr. Euteneuer's Mini-Catechesis on Contraception
As you know, the response to the Sean Hannity interview of March 9th was overwhelmingly positive in defense of the Church's teaching and the right/duty of a priest to defend it in public. To address the misconceptions of the cultural mindset of easy acceptance of contraception, I have created a mini-series on contraception to inject some basic common sense insight into the subject and create a modern tool for evangelization. There will be several more mini-catecheses after Easter so stay tuned!
Please click on the video icon, and then forward it on to someone else who may be in need of catechesis on the subject. Know of our prayers for you and your families.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International
RETURNING TO THE DISCUSSION OF TALMUD IN BEN DOUGLASS' ARTICLE
which also appeared in the March 2007 "Culture Wars". (Incidentally, Google will not bring up either source today when I type in the title.)
What matters most to me is what the Talmud has to say about Jesus Christ, since He is the source of my hope and the confirmation of my belief that God is good.
Lastly, in Sanhedrin 107B, we are again treated to filthy blasphemies against Our Lord Jesus Christ: He supposedly leers at a married innkeeper; His master banishes Him and refuses to accept His repentance; the day the rabbi decides to take Him back, He misinterprets a hand gesture as meaning that he is rejecting Him again, so He worships a brick just to spite him; this time Jesus refuses to repent, and engages in sorcery and leads the people of Israel astray.
I was unable to locate the passage in The Babylonian Talmud, but the Sacred Text Archive website offers this in a text titled "The Gnostic John the Baptiser", a Mandean Text. The reference for Sanhedrin 107B is contained in footnote 2 for page 49:
Who told Yeshu (Eshu)? Who told Yeshu Messiah, son of Miryam, who told Yeshu, so that he went to the shore of the Jordan and said [unto Yahyā]: "Yahyā, baptize me with thy baptizing and utter o'er me also the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee then in my writing; p. 49 I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page,"
Thereon Yahyā answered Yeshu Messiah in Jerusalem: "Thou hast lied to the Jews and deceived the priests. Thou hast cut off their seed from the men and from the women bearing and being pregnant. The sabbath, which Moses made binding, hast thou relaxed1 in Jerusalem. Thou hast lied unto them with horns2 and spread abroad disgrace with the shofar."
Thereon Yeshu Messiah answered Yahyā in Jerusalem: "If I have lied to the Jews, may the blazing fire consume me. If I have deceived the priests, a double death will I die. If I have cut off their seed from the men, may I not cross o'er the End-Sea. If I have cut off from the women birth and being pregnant, then is in sooth a judge raised up before me. If I have relaxed the sabbath, may the blazing fire consume me. If I have lied to the Jews, I will tread on thorns and thistles. If I have spread disgrace abroad with horn-blowing, may my eyes then not light on Abathur.3 So baptize me then with thy baptizing, and utter o'er me the Name thy wont is to utter. If I show myself as thy pupil, I will remember thee then in my writing; if I attest not myself as thy pupil, then wipe out my name from thy page."
This is the footnote:
2 Cp. the Joshua ben Perachiah Jesus story in the Talmūd (B. Sanhedrin 107b, Sota 47a): Joshua replied [to Jeshu]: "Thou godless one, dost thou occupy thyself with such things?—directed that 400 horns should be brought and put him under strict excommunication." (Mead, D.J.L. 100 B.C.? pp. 137 and 146f.).
The come-and-hear website talks about censoring the Talmud.
There is no doubt that Jesus of Nazareth and the Pharisees had a violent dislike for each other. This point has been a delicate one between Jews and Christians ever since. The tension, however, provides a good object lesson on the use of euphemisms and code words used in the Talmud to censor or obscure the meaning of the text.
Let us look at this short excerpt from Tractate Sanhedrin. Speaking of a character called "Balaam," a Sage states:
GEMARA. … He practised enchantment by means of his membrum.
The link is provided to Tractate Sanhedrin 105a but the passage is too long to paste here. If you read it, you will find the passage quoted.
The website then continues by defining a "Membrum" and citing Tractate Shabbath 118b:
"Membrum" is not an English word. It is the Latin root of the English word "member." However, "membrum" is used in so many contexts by the Soncino translation team, perhaps we can puzzle out the meaning by examining the contexts:
R. Jose, while boasting of his modesty to the other Sages, remarks:
GEMARA. … R. Jose said: I have never looked at my circumcised membrum.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbath 118b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 583
Several more passages are provided which confirm that the "membrum" is male anatomy, then moves on to a discussion of "Who Is Balaam?"
Now, who was Balaam who "practised enchantment by means of his membrum"? Originally, the Old Testament Balaam was a prophet from the heathen tribes who was hired to curse the Israelites on their journey from Egypt (Numbers 22-24). Balaam refused that commission, blessing the Israelites instead. Later, he earned the wrath of the Israelites and was slain by them (Numbers 31:8). Mention of Balaam occurs thereafter in the Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Nehemiah, and Micah, sometimes as a wicked man, sometimes as good.
In the opinion of many modern rabbinical scholars, "Balaam" was often used by the Sages as an alias or code word for Jesus of Nazareth. For example, consider this statement about Balaam from the prestigious Jewish Encyclopedia:
Henceforth he became the type of false prophets seducing men to lewdness and obscene idolatrous practices (Rev. ii. 14; II Peter ii. 15; Jude 11; Abot. v. 19). The name 'Nicolaitanes,' given to the Christian heretics 'holding the doctrine of Balaam' (Rev. ii. 6, 15), is probably derived from the Grecized form of Balaam, [Hebr. char.] = [Greek char.], and hence also the pseudonym given to Jesus in Sanh. 106b and Git. 57a.
— The Jewish Encyclopedia (1) (emphasis added)
The Jewish Encyclopedia's article on Jesus contains much information about various pseudonyms used for Jesus in the Talmud, including "Balaam," "son of Pandera," and "Ben Stada."
Why would the Sages use a code word for Jesus of Nazareth? Perhaps to avoid confrontations with the Christian establishment. By disguising unflattering remarks about Jesus, only those inside the circle of Talmud believers would understand; Christians, if they ever saw the material, would miss the significance. An example is given by Rabbi Rodkinson in his book, The History of the Talmud. In 1239 A.D., Jewish apostates brought charges in Rome that the Talmud contained sacrilegious sayings about Jesus and His mother. Rabbi Jechial answered the charges (in part) by denying that the Talmud contained any mention of Jesus of Nazareth:
To the other accusations of Donin, that the Talmud terms the followers of Jesus Christ "Minim" (infidels), that it condemns Jesus, that it allows ill-usage of people of other nationalities, etc., he [Rabbi Jechial] replied: "In the Talmud there is no mention of Jesus (Jesu) Christ, but only of another Jesus (Jeshua) who was a disciple of R. Joshua b. Prachia, who lived two hundred years before Christ."
— Rabbi Rodkinson (2)
Then there is the ADL refutation of the charges which also appears at the website and which are not convincing:
Balaam's Mother a Harlot, Sanh. 106a, 106b
In Tractate Sanhedrin 106a and 106b, the Sages discuss Balaam and his mother. We get another clue about Balaam's identity with the hint that Balaam's mother "played the harlot with carpenters."
GEMARA. … Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, [did the children of Israel slay with the sword]. A soothsayer? But he was a prophet! — R. Johanan said: At first he was a prophet, but subsequently a soothsayer. R. Papa observed: This is what men say, 'She who was the descendant of princes and governors, played the harlot with carpenters.' (5) [106b] Did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them. Rab said: They subjected him to four deaths, stoning, burning, decapitation and strangulation.
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 106a - 106b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 725
In a footnote, Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman promotes scholar Rev. Dr. Herford's view that the "harlot" is a reference to Mary, mother of Jesus.
5. Herford, Christianity in the Talmud, p. 48, suggests that Balaam is frequently used in the Talmud as a type for Jesus … Though no name is mentioned to shew which woman is meant, the mother of Jesus may be alluded to, which theory is strengthened by the statement that she mated with a carpenter.
— Rabbi Dr. Freedman
It is of course, impossible for any man to undergo "four deaths" as told in Sanhedrin 106b, above. This detail does not aid in the identification. It may, however, express the fate that the Sages thought "Balaam" deserved. (Rabbi Michael Rodkinson omits that passage in Sanhedrin 106a without footnote or comment. See Do Not Censor the Talmud, Please "Appendix B: Rabbi Rodkinson's Censored Talmud," for discussion and cites.)
"Balaam Being Used As an Alias for Jesus"
Sanhedrin 106b continues. A Sage is asked a question about Balaam by a min. According to the Soncino Talmud Glossary, min is the Talmud word for Christian. That a min is asking after the details of Balaam's life is a further clue to the identity of that character. In the Soncino Talmud, this paragraph follows immediately on the paragraph quoted above.
GEMARA. … A certain min said to R. Hanina: Hast thou heard how old Balaam was? — He replied: It is not actually stated, but since it is written, Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days, [it follows that] he was thirty-three or thirty-four years old. He rejoined: Thou hast said correctly; I personally have seen Balaam's Chronicle, in which it is stated, 'Balaam the lame was thirty years old when Phinehas the Robber killed him.' (11)
— Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 106b
Soncino 1961 Edition, page 725
Rabbi Dr. H. Freedman, translator, does not explain why a Christian would ask the Pharisee about Jesus, but he interprets this passage as follows:
1. According to the view that all the Balaam passages are anti-Christian in tendency, Balaam being used as an alias for Jesus, Phinehas the Robber is thus taken to represent Pontius Pilatus, and the Chronicle of Balaam probably to denote a Gospel (v. Herford op. cit. 72ff.).
— Rabbi Dr. Freedman
The interpretation that "Balaam" is Jesus is persistent, but the denial is also persistent. In February 2003, the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith issued a position paper entitled The Talmud in Anti-Semitic Polemics. (17) Naming the Soncino as a preferred translation (on page 13), the ADL states (on page 12):
Jesus and Balaam
To agitate Christian readers, anti-Talmud writers often attempt to portray the Talmud as demeaning the figure of Jesus. In the opinion of most scholars, the Talmud only refers to Jesus in a handful of places, and though these references may not reflect the courteous ecumenicism of the modern world, neither are they particularly inflammatory. But the Talmud bears much harsher animus towards the biblical figure of Balaam, the pagan magician who sought to curse the Jews as they traveled through the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Rabbinic tradition ascribes other crimes to Balaam as well, and in various places describes some of the punishments he may have suffered after his death. In the nineteenth century, when the field of academic Jewish studies was in its infancy, a small group of Jewish scholars suggested that in some cases the term Balaam in the Talmud may be a codeword for Jesus. Though later scholars showed that this suggestion could not be true (for reasons pertaining to the context of the Balaam references and the lack of manuscript variants substituting Jesus for Balaam), anti-Semites have ever since claimed that the true hatred that Judaism possesses for Christianity is expressed in these coded expressions against Balaam found in the Talmud.
— Anti-Defamation League (17) (emphasis added)
Let us consider the following points. The ADL states:
* "In the nineteenth century, when the field of academic Jewish studies was in its infancy …" — Jewish studies has been out of its infancy for more than 2,000 years. Since the time of Ezra the Scribe in about 400 B.C., the study of Jewish Scriptures by Jews has not ceased. Hillel, Akiba, and Judah HaNasi (Judah the Prince) lived almost 2,000 years ago and are still considered the giants of Jewish studies.
* Not all those "nineteenth century" scholars were nineteenth century scholars — the Jewish Encyclopedia was published 1901-1906, Rev. Dr. Herford's Christianity in the Talmud and Midrash was published in 1903, and the Soncino Talmud was published between 1935 and 1948. Those of the Soncino would be more accurately described as twentieth century scholars.
* "… a small group of Jewish scholars …" — The scholars who suggest that Balaam refers to Jesus were not a "small group." They include:
o the Soncino editor Rabbi Dr. Epstein of Jews' College, London
o Rabbi Dr. Freedman and Jacob Shachter, the renowned Talmud scholars who translated Tractate Sanhedrin for Dr. Epstein and the Soncino Press
o the writers and editors of The Jewish Encyclopedia
o the Rev. Dr. Robert Travers Herford, author of Christianity in the Talmud and Midrash, a renowned Jewish studies scholar of his day
The Soncino translation of the Talmud and the scholarship behind it were endorsed by two Chief Rabbis of the British Empire and the Dayan of the London Beth Din. Ironically, ADL rejects the Soncino Balaam scholarship, at the same time in the same position paper it recommends the Soncino Talmud. (18)
* Not all the "Jewish scholars" were Jewish. The Rev. Dr. Robert Travers Herford, cited by Soncino translator Rabbi Dr. Freedman, was a unitarian Gentile, though well respected among Jewish scholars. Rev. Dr. Herford's endorsement of the Soncino Talmud is printed on the Soncino dust jacket.
Given that the ADL uses patently untrue premises in its argument, how reliable is the ADL's conclusion — that Balaam is not Jesus?
That the ADL accepts the Soncino Talmud, but selectively rejects the Soncino scholarship on the Balaam references is significant. It indicates that, to the ADL and the public they are addressing, those passages are politically sensitive. It is apparently important to the ADL to assert that the Talmud is not hostile to Christianity, so important that ordinary rules of scholarship may be bent in the assertion.
This, too, is a form of censorship. Given the legal clout of the ADL and the readiness with which it blackens reputations with the "anti-Semitic" label, scholars in these matters are not free to draw conclusions according to the rules of scholarship. Instead, with the constant threat that statements considered unfavorable to the Talmud will result in punishment of the scholar, scholars are driven by political concerns to draw the "correct" conclusions and censor their own work. See further discussion of the freedom of scholarship in Appendix: Deborah Lipstadt Finds Anti-Semitism in the New Testament
There is much more in the website that I will not paste here, but it is worth clicking over there to read it.
What to conclude...here are questions the website poses:
What will the Vatican do next? Will Cardinal Ratzinger declare that the Gospels were mistranslated, that Jesus was misquoted, or that Jesus mis-spoke, and has since issued a retraction and apology?
Consider how accommodating the Vatican has been on another issue: the virginity of Mary, mother of Jesus. It seems that scholars studying the Dead Sea Scrolls have decided that the Gospels were mistranslated: the word that was translated as "virgin" was really the Hebrew word for "young woman." On that basis, the Vatican will revise its doctrines.
Once again the Dead Sea Scrolls are a focal point for changing Catholic-Jewish relations. Do those scrolls have the potential to heal Catholic-Jewish relations? Will we have to refute the writings of Popes down through the centuries in order to endorse what has been written there? How will our adherence to Tradition hold up under such circumstances?
What lies ahead for this religion that defines who I am?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
CANCER JOURNAL - DRUGS
In addition to the chemo drugs, there are three drugs for nausea. One of them is very expensive--$400 for three pills--and must cause a lot of grief to those without insurance. The other two are old enough to be available as generics. By using all three I have been able to banish the nausea that chemo is known for. But it did take the third one that is used only as a back-up. For a while yesterday I was reminded of what it felt like to be pregnant, which is almost funny in a 59-year-old woman.
It reminded me of those nine months during which I had also to take three drugs to keep food down, Bendectin being one of them that was subsequently banned out of a fear of birth defects. In the 70s we were still too close to Thalidomide to tolerate much of anything being given to a pregnant woman.
I wonder today whether any of the nausea drugs being given for chemo would be safe during pregnancy. They are Dexamethasone (Decadron), Prochlorperazine (Compazine), and Aprepitant (Emend). Decadron is a steriod and is given as an IV just prior to the chemo drugs, and also as a tablet to use at home.
In any case, they are working. Today I feel fine, normal, actually, which is some kind of miracle in itself considering I have cancer.
Yesterday I was also given Nulasta, an injected drug that helps to rebuild white blood cells after a chemo treatment. It causes bone pain in the first couple of days after receiving it. So far, though, none here.
St. John Maximovich, pray for me!
John Paul II said we needed it. Many say John Paul II had it. I am still trying to define it. What does it mean to be holy? It has been a long time since we've seen much of it in our Masses. Mostly what we get is worldliness as we sing songs about us and pray for each other, but somehow seem to place God second to our earthly efforts to help the poor and downtrodden in the course of living our faith. At least so it seems to me. Holiness is not found in that.
I couldn't sleep last night so I finished the miracles section in the book MAN OF GOD: SAINT JOHN OF SHANGHAI & SAN FRANCISCO. The book is about Archbishop John Maximovich who built the Orthodox Cathedral of San Francisco.
The stories of the miracles that were gathered prior to his canonization have come from many sources, some of them non-Christian. It seems that St. John would help anyone who appealed to him, and help he did, over and over and over. There are so many miracles of healing, and the healing continued after his death through his continued prayer for all who sought his intercession. God hears the prayers of St. John Maximovich and answers them. There are healings of brain cancer, of chills, of a badly cut finger, of mental illness, of kidney disease, of hair loss in a young girl, of intractable pain, of family relationships. There are stories of protection of a military aircraft carrier on assignment, of helping in the discovery of faith, of warnings of disaster. There are so many stories in this book--all of them short and to the point.
I couldn't help but contrast the one single miracle that will lift John Paul II into the realm of sainthood with the outpouring of miracles from the intercession of this Orthodox Archbishop. I also could not help but contract the life of this Archbishop with the life of our Roman Catholic bishops. St. John was a man of faith. His entire life was bound up in God so much so that non-Orthodox who came in contact with him could discern his holiness even while he was living. Roman Catholic bishops by contrast are very worldly.
St. John Maximovich, pray for me!
Friday, March 30, 2007
JOHN PAUL II MIRACLE ?
AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (AP) - The long-mysterious nun whose claim that she was cured of Parkinson's disease could prompt the Roman Catholic Church to beatify Pope John Paul is expected to tell her story on Friday.
Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a French nun whose identity has been one of the Catholic Church's most closely guarded secrets, is to break her silence and speak to reporters at a news conference in the southeastern city of Aix-en-Provence.
She is expected to talk about how she inexplicably recovered from Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, after she and her community of nuns prayed to John Paul.
Read the rest...
CANCER JOURNAL - BREAST CANCER, SIDE EFFECTS AND BIRTH DEFECTS RESULTING FROM CHEMO
My chemo started yesterday. It left me feeling more tired than when it began, and headed for bed two hours earlier than normal last night; but I was wide awake at 4 this morning, and so that effect seems to have worn off. Other than that, there was surprisingly little impact from the drugs. I've been warned that the side-effects tend to kick in 72 hours after treatment, so Sunday may be unpleasant.
My chemo drugs are Adriamycin (doxorubicin HCL) and Cyclophosphamide. Both drug sheets given to me by my oncologist's office carry the "Special precaution" that "Contraceptive measures are recommended during therapy with this medication." "Missed menstrual periods" are listed as a side effect for both drugs.
The breastcancer.org website addresses the issue of pregnancy and chemo:
Depending on the stage of the cancer, some pregnant women with breast cancer may need chemotherapy. Doctors do not generally give women chemotherapy during the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy because it could harm the organs of the fetus that are developing during that time.
A women diagnosed with breast cancer during her first trimester may opt to delay starting chemotherapy until she starts her second trimester. But one small study suggested that a chemotherapy treatment delay of 3 to 6 months could increase the risk of the cancer spreading outside the breast by 5% to 10%. Whether or not you decide to delay treatment depends on the type of cancer you have, how urgently your doctor thinks you need to begin chemotherapy, and how important it is for you to continue your pregnancy.
Several studies have shown that FAC chemotherapy (fluorouracil, Adriamycin, and cyclophosphamide) given during the second or third trimesters of pregnancy is surprisingly safe. Rarely does such treatment appear to cause miscarriages, premature birth, stillborns, or birth defects. Remember, though, that this combination might have a negative effect on your future fertility—your ability to get pregnant again after treatment is over.
That impact on the mother's future ability to have children would necessarily have to be considered before starting chemo. Naturally if a baby has already been conceived, decisions would take that into account. But if the woman of child-bearing years is not yet pregnant at the time of diagnosis, the decisions about contraception are vitally important both for her potential baby conceived during chemotherapy and for her future potential babies.
The ninth month is critical for white blood cell count:
If possible, women should not get chemotherapy about a month before delivery to avoid it causing low levels of white blood cells for them or their babies at birth. A French study found that of 17 women who had chemotherapy for breast cancer within a month before delivery, one had a newborn with low white blood cell counts.
Tamoxifen, which I am not taking, is considered unsafe:
Tamoxifen is considered unsafe to take during pregnancy. So if you're trying to get pregnant, or you think you might be pregnant, you should not be taking tamoxifen. Work with your doctor to figure out how long you can be on tamoxifen to get the most critical benefit while not losing the opportunity to get pregnant.
In order to have a healthy baby while taking this drug, a woman must have good control over conception. The pro-life position here speaks for effective birth control.
I have read that some women are on Tamoxifen as a maintenance drug to prevent recurrence. The impact on childbirth could be devastating.
Will chemotherapy make you infertile is also covered by breastcancer.org. Since it would require pasting the entire text here to do it justice, I will simply suggest that you click the link and read it there.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
CONSERVATIVE JEWISH SEMINARY TO ACCEPT HOMOSEXUALS
New York, NY, March 26, 2007 — Following the completion of a thorough and deliberate review process, The Jewish Theological Seminary has decided, effective immediately, to accept qualified gay and lesbian students into its rabbinical and cantorial schools.
The decision comes three months after the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly approved a teshuva (responsum), permitting the ordination of gays and lesbians, thereby paving the way for JTS to consider the issue.
Immediately after these rulings were announced, JTS initiated a comprehensive process in which the views of a wide range of constituencies were solicited and seriously weighed, and likely consequences considered.
The process included faculty forums, student discussions with faculty and administration, meetings and/or lengthy discussions with the heads of the other Conservative Movement seminaries, consultation with the JTS Board of Trustees, and an international survey of Conservative rabbis, cantors, educators, lay leaders, and JTS students on the question. In addition, Chancellor-elect Arnold M. Eisen personally heard from hundreds of Conservative Jews on the matter during his travels around the country this year and through correspondence, email, and the JTS website.
"The immediate issue was the ordination of gay and lesbian students as rabbis and cantors for the Conservative Movement. But the larger issue has been how we can remain true to our tradition in general and to halakhah in particular while staying fully responsive to and immersed in our society and culture. How shall we learn Torah, live Torah, teach Torah in this time and place? Without these imperatives, the decision before us would have been far easier for many of those involved. That is certainly true for me," stated Chancellor-elect Eisen.
He continued, "I believe, along with the great majority of my colleagues on the JTS faculty, that the CJLS, by voting in equal numbers for two teshuvot, provided halakhic authorization for the ordination of gay and lesbian rabbinical and cantorial students. That permission having been given, I believe that the nature of our communities in contemporary America, the moral convictions we hold, and the mission of JTS, argue strongly for accepting gay and lesbian students for ordination.
WHAT'S IN THE TALMUD ?
That is a question many Catholics are asking, among them Dr. E. Michael Jones, Editor of "Culture Wars." Jones reported on the Mut zur Ethik conference in last December's issue. In that report he stated:
I was called to do the translating from English into German, and after performing my duties, decided to give a little speech of my own: "It is not a question of individual Jews," I said, but in German. "It is certainly not a question of hating anyone. The issue here is the ugly, brutal, racist ideology that is known as the Talmud. The Talmud is anti-Logos in just about every sense of the word, whether it involves an attack on the moral law or on the person of Jesus Christ. Talmud is anti-Logos, and our weapon against anti-Logos is the truth."
But how do we get the truth?
In the current issue of "Culture Wars" there is an article by Ben Douglass titled "A Catholic Talmud Talmud." In the article he repeatedly cites the Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Talmud, giving quotes and passage locations.
The Institute for Jewish Studies at the C.I.S. tells us that "Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz is internationally regarded as one of the leading scholars and rabbis of this century." Wikipedia tells us Rabbi Steinsaltz "is most commonly known for his popular commentary and translation of both Talmuds into Hebrew, French, Russian and Spanish. In 1988, he was awarded the Israel Prize, Israel's highest honor." Random House calls Rabbi Steinsaltz "One of the world's most famous and respected rabbis". The All Experts online encyclopedia says of Rabbi Steinsaltz:
a noted scholar, teacher, scientist, philosopher, mystic, social critic and prolific author who has been hailed by Time magazine as a "once-in-a-millennium scholar." And by Newsweek, "probably none living today can compare in genius and influence to Adin Steinsaltz, whose extraordinary gifts as scholar, teacher, scientist, writer, mystic and social critic have attracted disciples from all factions of Israeli society."
I trust we can agree that this is a leading Jewish scholar.
Ben Douglass' article is online, so anyone who wishes to can double check what I am quoting.
Douglass writes in answer to the question "What is the Talmud?":
The Jews regard it as the codification of the oral Torah, a massive body of oral revelation which was allegedly given to Moses on Mount Sinai alongside the written Torah, and handed down through the centuries through tradition. This tradition furnishes what the Jews, except for a small minority of Karaites, today regard as the authoritive, controlling interpretation of the Bible. The oral Torah was first written down around 200 A.D. by a rabbi named Judah ha-Nasi in a document called the Mishnah, and over the next four centuries various rabbis discussed, debated, and commented upon it, and these debates and commentaries were compiled and edited to create what is now known as the Gemara. The Mishnah and the Gemara together comprise the Talmud. Thus, in essence, the Talmud is a commentary on the Torah, with a commentary on the commentary....
The Jews divide the contents of the Talmud into two main categories: Halakhah [law] and Aggadah [homiletic material, folklore, anecdotes, moral exhortations, and the like].
A long quote from the article:
As a rabbi boldly declares in Sanhedrin 55a concerning a passage in Leviticus, "This verse is written for the sake of new interpretations." ...Often the Talmudic Midrash adapts the biblical text in a fairly innocuous manner. An apposite example comes to us from Sanhedrin 7B, which takes a verse about idolatry and changes it into a condemnation of simony. I will quote from Adin Steinsaltz's expanded translation and commentary:
The verse states (Exodus 20:23): 'You shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.' It may be added: The verse teaches that gods of silver and gold may not be made. But does this mean that gods of wood are permitted? Surely all idols are absolutely forbidden! Rather, Rav Ashi said: The verse means to condemn a judge--as we saw above (2b), the wordeloha can mean 'judge'--who came to his position because of the silver or gold that he paid the authorities in order to receive his appointment.
Of course, this is horrendous exegesis; God is not obliged to enumerate every potential material which could be used to make an idol every time He condemns idolatry, and this passage has nothing to do with simony. But at least the meaning which the Rabbis read into the text as this point is consistent with godly, biblical morality.
On the other hand, unfortunately, in other cases the Talmud can quite properly be described as twisting or perverting the text of Scripture. There are many places where the exegesis per se is just as bad, if not worse, and what is more, it is used to teach far less noble doctrines than that simony is wrong. I would go so far as to call some of the Talmud's contents awful, hideous, and blasphemous. ...
Continuing through our Tractate, in folio 37A we meet the first hint that the Talmud regards Jewish lives as worth more than Gentile lives: "Whoever destroys a single soul in Israel, Scripture regards him as if he had destroyed the entire world. And whoever saves a single soul in Israel, Scripture regards him as if he preserved the entire world." It is fairly clear that the Talmud applies this dictum only to Jews. Let us turn to folio 57A. There the Talmudic position towards saving Gentiles is stated in the euphemism: "A non-Jew and shepherds of small cattle--one does not raise up, or cast down." Once again, Steinsaltz informs us of how the Talmudic teaching has been integrated into normative Jewish praxis:
Regarding non-Jews with whom the Jews are not at war--and likewise Jews who shepherd sheep and goats in Eretz Israel and allow their animals to graze in other people's fields...the law is that one should not do anything to cause their death. However, if one sees that they have fallen into mortal danger of their own accord, one should not try to save them. Some authorities maintain that the correct interpretation is as follows: There is no mitzvah to kill them, but it is permissible to do so (Bet Yosef, Darkei Moshe, Shakh). Others maintain that killing them is definitely forbidden (Maharshal, Tza). But it is certainly forbidden to kill a non-Jew who observes the seven Noachide commandments (Meiri). (Shulkhan Arukh, Yoreh De'ah 158; Hoshen Mishpat 425:5).
Or as Maimonides stated the position:
Deaths of non-Jews with whom we are not at war and Jewish shepherds of sheep and goats and similar people should not be caused, although it is forbidden to save them if they are at the point of death. If, for example, one of them is seen falling into the sea, he should not be rescued. As it is written: "Neither shall you stand against the blood of your fellow" (Leviticus 19:16) but he [the non-Jew] is not your fellow.
At this point our tour of Tractate Sanhedrin will make a quick jump out of the frying pan and into the fire (folio 43A), where we will observe the worst of the Talmud's blasphemies against Our Lord Jesus Christ:
But surely it was taught: "On Passover Eve they hanged Jesus of Nazareth. And the herald went out before him for forty days: 'Jesus of Nazareth is going out to be stoned because he practiced sorcery, incited [to idol worship] and led Israel astray. Whoever knows an argument in his favor should come and argue on his behalf.' But they did not find an argument in his favor, and they hanged him on Passover Eve." Ulla said: can you think of this? Was Jesus of Nazareth deserving of a search for an argument in his favor? He was an inciter, and the Torah (lit., "the Merciful") says: "You shall not spare, nor shall you conceal him"! Rather, Jesus was different, because he was close to the government.
I have not yet located Rabbi Steinsaltz's Talmud online. It may not be there. In any case, the passage appears in the Babylonian Talmud as follows:
AND A HERALD PRECEDES HIM etc. This implies, only immediately before [the execution], but not previous thereto.33 [In contradiction to this] it was taught: On the eve of the Passover Yeshu34 was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!35 — Ulla retorted: 'Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defene could be made? Was he not a Mesith [enticer], concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him?36 With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].'
You can find the passage easily in Folio 43a by locating footnote 33.
There is much more in Douglass' article, but that's enough for today.
Those who wish to deny material such as this, and who can't find any way to refute it directly, reach for an ad hominem or guilt by association argument against the author. If they do, they will probably point out that he writes for this website, indicating that anything he says must be discredited because of this source. I will not entertain such an argument here. Either the Talmud contains the passages that Douglass cites, or it does not. That is the only basis for discussion.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
THE BIZARRE WORLD OF HOMOSEXUALITY
as reported by The Australian:
A MAN charged with deliberately spreading HIV allegedly tricked his lover - who had registered himself with the local council as a dog - into having unsafe sex on the basis he could not transmit the disease.
Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Michael Neal, 48, accepted a dog tag from his lover as a "sign of commitment" in their master-slave relationship.
Mr Neal, who is said to have set up a webcam to broadcast his sexual activities live on the internet, allegedly "deliberately contracted" HIV by having sex on the altar of a Catholic Church with two men he knew were HIV-positive.
The divorced father of three is charged with setting out to spread the virus.
Mr Neal faces 121 charges, including intentionally spreading HIV, attempting to cause serious injury, rape and possessing child pornography.
A man who claims he contracted HIV from Mr Neal gave evidence yesterday at Mr Neal's committal hearing and told the court he registered himself as a dog with Port Phillip Council in Melbourne.
"I registered myself as a dog ... as a sign of commitment to my master, Michael," the man said in a witness statement tendered to the court.
INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL PELL
The following comes from an interview with Pell by National Catholic Register reporter Edward Pentin:
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, in his recent Vatican Lenten meditations, said the Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. How much do you agree with this?
(Laughs.) There is a very worthy Christian pacifism. But there is a pacifism where people don’t support anything sufficiently to struggle for, perhaps to fight for. There’s no doubt, too, there can be an ecological enthusiasm that is not religious; it’s a very, very low form of religion. It’s a form of superstition, it’s a religious substitute. And the other one, what is ecumenism? Well a genuine ecumenism recognizes the importance of differences and ecumenism among Christians is the central figure of Christ. Any ecumenism must be not to avoid or escape from the teachings of Christ but to move more deeply into the secret heart of Christianity. Well, the heart of Christianity is not secret.
So all of these good things can be abused and the elusive figure or figures of the Antichrist is something in Christian literature and probably something in history. It’s a danger to try to identify it with any particular individual or movement, but I’ve been much taken by a marvelous contemporary novel by Canadian Catholic writer Michael O’Brien called Father Elijah. It’s an apocalyptic novel; it’s not meant to be an accurate, everyday sort of a book. It speaks about the possibility, the reality of the Antichrist within the Church and within Christianity. Now, he uses the paintings by [Luca] Signorelli in one of the side chapels of the beautiful cathedral of Orvieto. They’re paintings of the Last Judgment. They’re actually the ones Michelangelo went to study before he went to do the painting in the Sistine Chapel. The figure of the Antichrist there is standing behind Christ and puts out his hand from behind Christ and offers it to people as though it is the hand of Christ himself. So the figure of the Antichrist will have many elements that are attractive to humans as well as being deeply, deeply evil.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.
-- The use of Latin...enshrines the rituals, ceremonies, and carefully articulated prayers of the old rite of Mass. There are no "options" by which the celebrant of the Mass--or a "liturgy committee"--can make the mistake of thinking the Mass is his own creation. No matter what the popular modern song says, we aren't at Mass to "tell our story." We're at Mass to participate in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ offered on the cross to his Father for the forgiveness of our sins. Latin in the Mass ensures that what we're getting is the authentic liturgy of the Church without anyone's own opinions or personal agenda getting in the way. If someone wants to "tell his story," he should go to Confession.
-- The problem is, however, that in the new rite of Mass one has to actually STOP the action in order to be silent. In the Traditional Latin Mass, the silence is "built-in." The Low Mass is prized by numerous people who are attached to the traditional Mass precisely because it is so quiet--a real oasis of quiet in the midst of a hectic and noisy week for so many, many people. But even the High Mass, with its chant and polyphony and comings and goings of the celebrant and altar boys, provides silence for the faithful so that the "actual" participation so prized by Vatican II is available to all those who are willing to enter into interior silence and commune with the Lord.
And this is, perhaps, the crux of the issue about the problem of silence at Mass. It is difficult for modern man to endure silence because we are surrounded by noise that is ever louder and louder. We fear silence because it may force us in unguarded moments to introspection and self-examination. The noise with which we have surrounded ourselves hides us from ourselves. Silence in the Mass is perhaps the greatest need of modern man because we so desperately need to peer into our souls, to enter into our own hearts, and to see there what God himself sees. In the silence of the Traditional Latin Mass we can listen to God's voice within us.
-- The complaint is often made that Vatican II called for "active" participation in the sacred liturgy, but in truth, the Latin word used in the Council document (actuosa), calls for actual participation in Mass, and that's something that begins in the mind and heart through faith and understanding long before it gets to the lips.
-- It is my opinion that the practice of the celebrant facing the people has turned the appearance of the Mass in peoples' minds from being Christ's Sacrifice to merely our banquet....It is the difference between a God-centered and a man-centered liturgy.
The quotes are taken from "A new look at the old Mass" by Father Kenneth Myers, chaplain of the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community, the largest diocesan Latin Mass community in the United States. The article appears in the March 2007 issue of "Homiletic and Pastoral Review".
Are you tired of this yet? I'm really not trying to bore you.
This is such a crazy ride. One day--one hour--I'm up and positive, and the next plunged into the depths of despair. There doesn't seem to be much I can do to avoid the swings. The littlest things can trigger them, and the very same thing can send me in one direction today and the opposite direction tomorrow with no warning.
Take the crocuses blooming in the flower garden. On Sunday I looked at them closely, trying to memorize their details because I don't know if I'll ever see them again. Yesterday I just saw crocuses and noted they were pretty, seeing the same thing I have seen every other year when they bloom and expecting to see them again next year.
Then there are the birds. I recently discovered the blue heron that are nesting in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Another picture of them.
What the photos don't show is the road. It's located a few feet from these sycamore trees where the heron are nesting. There is a pull-off where a couple to many cars are usually parked, with people milling about with cameras and field glasses. Through it all the heron come and go, building their nests and guarding them. Some nests have two birds standing on them. Others are still under construction. One is located in a tree that is not a sycamore. This bird has the tree to itself as though it is the community outcast.
My husband and I stopped to watch for a short while on the way to pick up my wig yesterday. It was very quiet since few people were around. These birds are large and silent for the most part, issuing a low-pitched sound only rarely. There are a lot of them. They sit up in the trees almost like ghost birds watching the activity below and barely moving. The trees are growing in swampy ground. There are other sycamore trees around, some of them farther from the road, and all located in swampy areas. Still the heron choose to nest in these five or six trees, all congregated together. The scene is surreal, as though it comes from an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It can bring to mind God and Hell almost at the same time. It feels like a place out of time and space. It makes me wonder where I'm going, if I'm going.
The wig was a revelation. When I chose it, both the wig specialist and my husband insisted the swatch of hair from which the color was selected matched my own hair very closely. The wig is largely gray. But my mirror tells me I have brown hair, and my inner voice insists that I haven't celebrated my 30th birthday yet. I held the wig up next to my head and looked at it in the mirror. They do match. So why is my hair brown in the mirror? It remains a mystery--a trick of the eye and the mind that refuses to acknowledge growing old--that thinks this body will live forever.
When I look in that mirror I see a familiar image. I'm learning how much hair is a part of that image. Why fixated on hair? It doesn't define me. I will still be the same Carrie when it's no longer there. But no, not quite the same. The image will change and with the new image a new person will emerge. I will perceive myself differently and so I will be different. And in the months ahead new hair will replace what is there now which will likely be different once again. I look in the mirror and wonder who is going to emerge from this journey and whether I will like her or not...whether I will know her or not. I don't want to change. I like Carrie with brown hair in the mirror. It's difficult to say goodbye to her.
Praying is another problem. What to pray for? God seldom gives me what I ask for. What He gives me mostly turns out to be better than what I have asked for. Hence most often I would rather seek His will than my own; and so as many people pray for my healing, I seldom join them. I have made one concession. Justin sent me a bottle of oil from the vigil candle of St. John Maximovich. St. John's body lies incorrupt in the Orthodox Cathedral in San Francisco. His fingernails still grow. I had hoped to see him and his cathedral on a visit to S.F. Now that may never happen.
St. John is a healer. A book about his life is filled with his miracles. The oil is known to work miracles through his intercession. I have asked for his intercession, and believed mostly that there would be a miracle. There has not been one. Tomorrow I start chemo. If there is to be a miracle, it will be worked through science, not through extraordinary events.
St. John Maximovich, pray for me.
THE HIT COUNTER HAS RESET ITSELF ONCE AGAIN
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The Sadducees were the aristocratic high priests of the Temple and political rulers of the Jews at the time of Christ. The Jewish Encyclopedia entry indicates that during the influence of Hellenism they degenerated into worldly-minded Epicureans. The name was probably coined by the Hasidim. They opposed the Pharisees who promoted privation in this world.
The Encyclopedia entry indicates:
Representing the nobility, power, and wealth..., they had centered their interests in political life, of which they were the chief rulers. Instead of sharing the 'Messianic hopes of the Pharisees, who committed the future into the hend of God, they took the people's destiny into their own hands, fighting or negotiating with the heathen nations just as they thought best, while having as their aim their own temporary welfare and worldly success. This is the meaning of what Josephus chooses to term their disbelief in fate and divine providence...As the logical consequence of the preceding view, they would not accept the Pharisaic doctrine of the resurrection..., which was a national rather than an individual hope. As to the immortality of the soul, they seem to have denied this as well....they denied also the existence of angels and demons. This probably means that they did not believe in the Essene practice of incantation and conuuration in cases of disease, and were therefore not concerned with the Angelology and Demonology derived from Babylonia and Persia.
The Sadducees disappear from history with the destruction of the Temple, though the Samaritans echo their views and are frequently identified with them.
According to the Encyclopedia:
In the amoraic period the name "Ẓadduḳi" signifies simply "heretic," exactly like the term "min" = "gnostic"; in fact, copyists sometimes replaced, it may be intentionally, the word "min" by "Ẓadduḳi," especially when Christian gnostics were referred to. However, in many cases in which "Ẓadduḳim" stands for "minim" in the later Talmud editions the change was due to censorship laws, as is shown by the fact that the manuscripts and older editions actually have the word "minim." Thus the Ẓadduḳi who troubled R. Joshua b. Levi with Biblical arguments..., the one who bothered R. Ishmael with his dreams..., and the one who argued with R. Ḥanina concerning the Holy Land in the Messianic time...and regarding Jesus..., were Christian gnostics; so were also the two Ẓadduḳim in the company of R. Abbahu.... But the Ẓadduḳim who argue in favor of dualism...are gnostics or Jewish heretics, as are also those spoken of as "a vile people"...."Birkat ha-minim," the benediction against Christian informers and gnostics, is called also "Birkat ha-Ẓadduḳim"...."The writings of the Ẓadduḳim"...are gnostic writings, the same as "Sefarim Ḥiẓonim".... So it is said of Adam that he was a Ẓadduḳi, that is, a gnostic who did not believe in God as the Giver of the Law...."The Ẓadduḳim and informers"...are Christian gnostics. In Hor. 11a a Ẓadduḳi is declared to be a transgressor of the dietary and other Mosaic laws, nay, an idolater. On the other hand, the Ẓadduḳim who conversed with Rab Sheshet..., with..., and with R. Judah...seem to have been Manicheans.
Were all gnostics and manicheans descended from Judaism, or were these particular gnostics and manicheans just a portion of the heretical landscape of the early days of the Church?
The Encyclopedia entry for Zaddukim directs the researcher to "See Sadducees", indicating that the terms are interchangeable.
The "Tree of Light" website, a website devoted to the Hanukkah musical drama by the same name, indicates that "The Sadducees" is the English equivalent of "Tz'dukim (Zaddukim)". The same website also indicates that the "Sect Of The Essenes, Ultra-Orthodox" is the English equivalent of "Hasidim", adding to the confusion.
FIRE AND BRIMSTONE BACK IN VOGUE
POPE BENEDICT XVI has reiterated the existence of Hell and condemned society for not talking about eternal damnation enough.
A furious Pope Benedict unleashed a bitter attack during a sermon while on a visit to a parish church and said: "Hell exists and there is eternal punishment for those who sin and do not repent."
Sounding "more of a parish priest than a Pope" the leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics added: "The problem today is society does not talk about Hell. It's as if it did not exist, but it does."
Pope Benedict unleashed his fury during a visit to the tiny parish church of St Felicity and the Martyr Children at Fidene on the outskirts of Rome, in his capacity as bishop of the Italian capital.
One churchgoer said: "The Holy Father was really having a go. It was a typical fire-and-brimstone sermon that you would have expected from a parish priest years ago."
Continue with the story...
Monday, March 26, 2007
I'm bringing it up again because I think the topic is important enough to keep front and center. What is a married Catholic or Orthodox woman of child-bearing years supposed to do when her oncologist tells her that her cancer treatment requires that she practice contraception?
Suggesting that she and her husband refrain from sex during the period does violence to the marital bond which is already strained by a diagnosis of cancer. The emotional support that the woman seeks in the arms of her husband is an important factor in her recovery. That emotional support naturally leads to sexual relations between a husband and his wife, particularly because death looms over both of them.
NFP is not an option because the same drugs that necessitate contraception also disrupt the menstrual cycle.
Are there any priests here who could address this topic?
Has made the pages of hard copy again. Tom Herron has an article in the current issue of "Culture Wars" that describes the politics of Catholic Blogdom, placing the players into their respective corners. He includes
* The split between Chris Ferrara and Thomas Woods over "Woods' libertarian dissent from Church moral teachings on economic questions as shown in THE CHURCH AND THE MARKET: A CATHOLIC DEFENSE OF THE FREE ECONOMY
* Sandra Miesel's Jewish roots and her family seders, on the subject of which Herron quotes
St. Thomas Aquinas, who would say Sandra Miesel is committing a mortal sin by observing the ritual of the Old Law, (SUMMA THEOLOGICA I, II, q. 103, Art. 4, "I answer that....just as it would be a mortal sin now for anyone, in making a profession of faith, to say that Christ is yet to be born, which the fathers of old said devoutly and truthfully; so too it would be a mortal sin now to observe those ceremonies which the fathers of old fulfilled with devotion and fidelity.")
* Bill Cork's authorship of a document titled "Anti-Semitism and the Catholic Right", of which Herron claims
It appears that for Dr. Cork the "sin against the Holy Ghost" for modern day Catholics is supercessionism, the belief that the Catholic Church replaces Judaism as the valid covenant between God and man.
He notes that Cardinal Kasper's public statements indicate
...that present-day Jews are, as a special case, exempted from the need to believe in Jesus Christ as this one mediator as the Jewish Covenant first made between Abraham and the Almighty is still in some way valid and effective of eternal salvation...
which seems to be adding to the confusion over dual covenant theory.
* The long-enduring saga of Stephen Hand's war with everybody in Catholic blogdom.
* The part played in all of this by the Southern Poverty Law Center which according to Herron states in its website:
...that they are partnered with the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which is a part of Michael Chertoff's Department of Homeland Security, in providing training in hate crimes and extremist groups to police at all levels of government. With the widespread knowledge that groups like SPLC and the Anti-Defamation League regularly provide the FBI and local law enforcement unverified information on "extremists" whose originator would be blacked-out in a Freedom of Information Act release due to "privacy rights" of the denouncers, there may be consequences for the individuals and groups identified as Catholic "radical traditionalists" in these articles. If SPLC plays its ever helpful role to the local police whom they train through a federal program what will the policeman see who pulls over one of the Catholics named in the January 2007 issue of THE INTELLIGENCE REPORT? What will be in the data base when he does a license plate check on his squad car's computer? Will it cause him to pull out his revolver on very pacific individuals because there is an unsubstantiated notation that they are prone to violence and hate crimes?
Prompting me to wonder if it is bordering on illegal to subscribe to traditional Catholicism?
In any case the state of chaos in the Roman Catholic Church, and perhaps the hand of non-Catholics in creating this state of chaos, is clearly visible in Tom Herron's article titled "Morris Dees and the Catholic Bloggers: An Anatomy of Thought Control in Cyberspace".
NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE DEAL
Admittedly I haven't been following the developing story. What do you think? Another false hope, or does this one have potential to be the real thing?
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The Roman Catholic commission for Catholic-Jewish relations cites the Noahide Laws:
3. God has created the human person as a social being which, by definition, places limits on individual human freedom. Moreover freedom of choice is derived from God and therefore is not absolute, but must reflect divine will and law. Accordingly human beings are called to freely obey the divine will as manifested in Creation and in his revealed word.
Jewish tradition emphasizes the Noachide Covenant (cf. Gen 9:9-12) as containing the universal moral code which is incumbent on all humanity. This idea is reflected in Christian scripture in the book of Acts 15:28-29.
The Zenit article from which this is taken appears here.
I've been reading through the material on coping with chemotherapy which my oncologist gave me at my last visit. It can be overwhelming. There are many side effects. It does look to me as though the human body is not meant to recover from cancer. These drugs are toxic, and we are playing with fire in taking them. Some of them can even cause cancer. Nice.
One caution in the literature has implications for a Catholic blog. Both of the drugs I will be taking have warnings that contraception is recommended. What is a married Catholic woman of child-bearing age supposed to do when faced with chemotherapy? What is an Orthodox woman supposed to do? To simply ignore the recommendation would be foolish in the extreme.
CLOSE THE CHURCHES - HELP BUILD THE MOSQUE
Attempting to get priorities in order among German Catholics, the Archdiocese of Cologne has distanced itself from the rector of St. Theodore Parish, Father Frank Muerer, who organized a collection in his parish for the mosque being built next door. Fr. Muerer believes "Catholics could 'learn much' from imams in Germany's Turkish Islamic Union" according to the article.
One of the things German Catholics could learn is how to build parishes. The article reports that while 700 Catholic churches are expected to be closed nationwide in the next ten years, more than 100 mosques are under construction.
Read the article here.
BIG, BAD, EVIL CHURCH
This is the question asked by David Ranan in his sensational new book, which is flying off the shelves in our on-line shop.Double Cross: the Code of the Catholic Church is a breathtaking and well-researched examination of the history of the Catholic Church and its present-day activities. Mr Ranan, after detailing the corruption, cruelty and manipulation that the Vatican has engaged in over the many centuries of its existence, wonders whether it is even possible to reform such a deeply rotten institution. Even today it is allying itself with the new fascist regime in Poland.
NO MORE MYSPACE
BLOOMFIELD HILLS -- Students at a suburban Catholic school are being ordered to take down their photos, snappy comments, or anything else they may have posted on MySpace.com.
Friday is the deadline for students at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic School to follow orders or risk suspension. School Principal Sister Margaret Van Velzen sent letters home to parents this week saying, in part, that if families allow children to continue their MySpace.com sites, they will not be allowed to return to school. The school plans to use its computer-savvy staff members to monitor the site for student activity.The principal declined comment, but St. Hugo office manager Judy Martinek said the principal just wants to keep the students safe.
3,000 ATTEND DETROIT MEN'S CONFERENCE
DETROIT -- Thousands of men packed Calihan Hall at the University of Detroit Mercy on Saturday, not for a basketball game but to get closer with God.
A key part of the fifth annual Catholic Men's Conference was for participants to dedicate themselves to religion and family the way they would to their favorite team or sport.
"Being a Christian in so many eyes of the world is not cool," said John Morales, a former Fox sportscaster who has made a movie about Catholic baseball players and was a speaker at the conference. "This fires them up. Sports have become a religion."
About 3,000 people were expected to have visited the conference by the time it ended with a 2:30 p.m. Mass. The event featured workshops and speakers.Continue reading...
NUNS AT THE BLACKJACK TABLE
MANILA, Philippines: A Catholic bishop known for his antigambling advocacy strongly criticized a fellow bishop and a group of nuns Sunday for attending a gaming exhibit, where the nuns were caught on TV cameras while trying out slot machines and blackjack.Read the rest of the story...
Filipino Archbishop Oscar Cruz said it was improper for Bishop Antonio Tobias and the nuns to attend last week's Manila exhibit which featured new gaming technology given the Philippine Catholic church's strong stand against all forms of gambling.
Tobias, who took along the nuns, was invited to say a prayer Thursday at the opening of the Manila gaming expo which was partly sponsored by the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gambling Corp., company spokesman Edward King said.