Saturday, March 15, 2008
LET'S CLEAR THE AIR A BIT
Antelman writes from the perspective of an Orthodox Jewish Rabbi. As in Catholicism, the Orthodox Jews are rather far removed in belief from the liberal or progressive Jews of the Reform and Conservative movements. But unlike in Catholicism, no one single person speaks for Judaism. When there is excommunication, it is a group of rabbis who excommunicate through a Beth Din or Bet Din or Beis Din (a Hebrew house of judgment or Jewish court, roughly equivalent to Catholic Tribunals) convoked by that group of rabbis, not a central and universal authority. Here, for example, is the website of the American Beth Din
Wikipedia describes the forms of capital punishment administered by a Beth Din. The entry also states that at present these are not being used.
Several articles linked here also discuss corporal punishment in Judaism.
Antelman discusses the attempt to revive corporal punishment in the last section of his book. I was planning to address this when I came to that chapter, but challenges posted in the comments prompt me to do it now.
Antelman is a member of a Beth Din.
I have posted blogs in the past that cover my concern that the Noahide Law on Idolatry could be applied to Christians who worship Christ. The penalty for Idolatry is death.
I have no illusions that Rabbi Antelman is a defender of Christianity. He is not. His interest is wrapped up in defending Orthodox Judaism, and only Orthodox Judaism. The bias comes out clearly in the book. That bias is particularly revealed in this passage from Antelman's book:
The entire American movement today is based on the myth of [Solomon] Schechter's scholarship and their chain of Hebrew day schools is named for Schechter. So today"Sheker's" Sefer HaMitzvot edition stands out as the misrepresentation it is of a fraudulent anti-Judaic religion masquerading as a "branch" of Judaism. (p. 150)
Antelman identifies Schechter as a "Marxist Frankist boy-wonder disciple of Jellinek, Weiss and company, upon whom America's so-called "Jewish Conservative movement" was built. His admirers stated he was its 'chief architect'." (p. 143)
Be that as it may, sources that discuss Sabbatian Frankism are too numerous to dismiss. Scholem has written 1000 pages on his influence on Judaism. The so-called Donmeh are on the web. I think it would be an error to dismiss this strain of heretical Judaism as unimportant, and I am certainly not ready to believe that it has been manufactured as a kind of disinformation campaign.
"TO ELIMINATE THE OPIATE" - Vol. 2
by Rabbi Marvin S. Antelman, 2002 - "Gnostic Communist Theology"
Antinomianism and nihilism in revolutionary messianic groups such as the Sabbatian Frankists is an integral part of the groups' putrid theology. The ultimate question is whether Communism,per se as a philosophy, has a theological commitment. (p. 73)
[Ernst] Block rehashed [Karl] Kautsky in propaganda form and advocated a synthesis of Chiliastic Gnostic religion with politcal Communism.
The significance of this is that the Communist has not just been saying that "religion is the opiate of the people," but is saying "my Gnostic religion is a superior theology, which is above all religions; and that it is more than a political philosophy; it is a religion with a commitment.
Close scrutiny of Communist philosophy reveals that it is an embodiment of special Gnostic principles.
Communist theology, of course, entails a study of Gnostic theology or any of its particular sects and, in fact, we have already inspected certain ones; for the Illuminati, Sabbatians and Frankists are all Gnostic. The messiahs, prophets, priests and other assorted hierarchies of these groups have been recognized in certain persistent Gnostic groups, the most outstanding members becoming canonized as Gnostic Saints. Adam Weishaupt (1748-1822), founder of the Illuminati, for example, was canonized as a saint into the "gnostic Mass". The canonization was presided over by Aleister Crowley of the Gnostic sect, the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn incorporated features of Satanism into its Gnostic system similar to devil worshipping cults.
The entire spectrum of Communist-Socialist Gnosticism was and still is reflected in Gnostic cults. Indeed, Communist Gnostic philosophies go back to ancient Greece and earlier. Gerald Meister, Professor of Theology at Maryknoll Seminary, maintains that Stalin's behavior was theologically motivated by his Gnostic convictions when he was a monk. Adolph Hitler was known to be heavily involved in Holy Grail Gnosticism and devil worship, and was active in the mysterious Gnostic satanic Thule Society.
From this theological perspective, National Socialism or Nazism and Communism were allies "to eliminate the opiate" of monotheistic religions and create a pagan-Gnostic civilization. An alliance of pagan Japan with pagan Nazi Germany, thus, becomes plausible. So does Hitler's pact with Stalin. The breaking of the pact can be considered as the start of a pagan holy war in which two Gnostic systems battle for supremacy, and the Nazi belief that it could overthrow another Gnostic order together with the world's monotheistic religions. (p. 74-76)
In Judaism, the Midrashic literature encompassing much legendary material on the Bible as well as minor randomly interspersed legendary sections of the Talmud between its major legalistic sections, initially became the repository of the tamed Gnosticism. Out of these basic writings grew a unique literature that resulted in the development of some of the finest ethical and morally influential systems on Jewish life, which even anti-Gnostic purists acknowledged had spiritual edification despite their opposition to what they considered the basic superstitious premises upon which these ethical systems were built. The Zohar is exemplary of this literature. (p. 78)
If we would attempt to catalog the most prominent conceptual aberrations of Gnosticism, our list would certainly include the following elements:
1. Satanism 2. Dualism 3. Antinomianism 4. Millennialism 5. Orgiastic sex rites 6. Witchcraft 7. Esotericism 8. Violence 9. Self-Immolation 10. Reincarnation 11. Astrology 12. Demonology 13. Necromancy 14. Double life existence 15 Secrecy 16. Asceticism 17. Anthropomorphistic Deistic Conceptions 18. Use of Hallucinogens 19. Renunciation of Property Ownership 20 Self Deification 21. Determinism 22. New Ageism
Among many Gnostic societies, most or all the above would be incorporated or accepted. (p. 80-81)
...it was not uncommon for some members of the same Gnostic sect to indulge in promiscuous sexual behavior even to the point of actual incest while others would lead ascetic lives. (p. 81)
In the United States, the Puritans, Quakers, Amish and Mennonites are messianic ascetic, while the Zoarites, Oneida cology, Latter Day Saints and the Free Love Society are typical orgiastic Gnostic Messianist sects. (p. 81)
One can, therefore, conclude that the "final solution", even though conceived in satanic paganism, could not have been carried out in practice by Catholic and Protestant Christians unless they had accepted the genocidal Chiliastic Gnostic notions together with their Christianity side by side, hand in hand. (p. 83)
Friday, March 14, 2008
Time for an update, I guess.
I think the cancer has come back, and so I have scans scheduled for next week, which means that posting will be erratic. I met with my oncologist today and we discussed the next round of chemotherapy when and if...
I told her how much it bothers me to lose my hair, so she proposed a round of chemo that will not cause that to happen. Yup, sounds good to me. The downside is that it causes numbness and tingling in arms and hands. Well, I have that sometimes anyway from the cancer drugs I take now. The other problem is muscle aches which will be a nuisance since I can't take otc pain killers because of the medication I take for the blood clot. She has a nerve drug that she thinks might work to ease the pain. I didn't ask what the side effects for this one are.
Another problem is fluctuating blood pressure. One day it's 124 over 78. Eighteen days later it's 173 over 111. It's been fluctuating like this since last September. Oncologist says I should be on bp medication. GP says I have to get off a medication I've been taking for years for allergies. When I stop the allergy medication I start coughing as soon as I lay down, which means I can't do any of the scans which require me to lay absolutely still for as long as an hour. I also develop a sinus infection that can't be controlled unless I take the allergy medication. I had no problems with bp until I started taking cancer medication, and it is listed as one of the side affects for the class of drugs I'm currently taking.
My oncologist says that if I stop taking the cancer drug, the cancer will return. My gp says the drug I'm taking for cancer doesn't prevent its return and I should stop taking it to get my bp under control. I guess I'll flip a coin.
Meanwhile, another of the side affects of the cancer drug--a very sore heel--has turned up, making it nearly impossible to walk by the end of the day if I have been on my feet for any reason. This, too, turns up on several breast cancer message boards as a rather common side affect. My podiatrist wanted me to double up on an arthritis drug that I've been taking for years to address the heel problem. My gp wants me to stop taking the arthritis drug entirely because it poses the risk of internal bleeding when combined with my blood clot medication. A cortisone shot in my heel has helped. So have special shoe inserts. It still hurts, but not as badly as it did. The inserts will work in only two pair of shoes--one of them a ratty pair of walking shoes I've had forever. The other, a pair of blue and white athletic shoes. I'm gonna look really cute Easter Sunday in my good pants and athletic shoes that don't match them.
Meanwhile another side effect of the cancer drug, dry mouth, had my tongue glued to the roof of my mouth early this morning, making talking nearly impossible until I got some water.
My mother used to say you can even get used to hanging if you hang long enough. Well, Mom, I'm working on it!
I made what my husband thinks was a mistake last night after posting this blog. I went looking for the side effects of the two new chemo drugs my doctor is proposing to use--Avastin and Xeloda--and found that the FDA has issued a "Black Box" warning of drug interaction between Xeloda and Warfarin. Since I'm already on Warfarin and will have to remain on it in the forseeable future, this is unsettling. My oncologist talked about side affects, but she didn't mention this one. I wonder why.
She did hint at one of the side effects of Avastin--the fact that you need health insurance to take it. I found out why:
Doctors are excited about the prospect of Avastin, a drug already widely used for colon cancer, as a crucial new treatment for breast and lung cancer, too. But doctors are cringing at the price the maker, Genentech, plans to charge for it: about $100,000 a year.
Considering that we have a credit card bill of over $5,000 this month because my husband paid off all of the outstanding medical bills from last year early in the month, that is an eye-opening number.
SINCE HE CAN'T DO THE JOB, FIRE HIM
Fr. Euteneuer has called for the firing of Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C. for his approval of the presentation of the play The Vagina Monologues on campus. Father Euteneuer is a Notre Dame alumnus, Class of '84.
Archbishop Burke's formal document of Excommunication of womenpriests Patricia Fresen, Rose Marie Hudson, and Elsie Mae McGrath is online here.
"HORTON HEARS A WHO"
The USCCB film reviewer applauds it. In fact he makes it sound like something I'd like to see. Now where can I borrow a kid...
YES, VIRGINIA, THERE REALLY IS A SANTA CLAUS
UK Spectator blogger Stephen Pollard didn't care for Bishop Joseph Divine's conspiracy theory.
Astonishing. I mean, really, really astonishing...This cretin is a bishop?
CHIARA LUBICH DIED LAST FRIDAY
ROME (Reuters) - Chiara Lubich, founder of the international Focolare movement of the Roman Catholic Church and one of the most influential women in modern Catholicism, died on Friday, her movement said.
Lubich, who was 88, died at her home south of Rome after being discharged from hospital on Thursday night, in line with her wishes. She had been in frail health for years.
The Focolare Movement has more than 140,000 core members and 2.1 million adherents in 182 countries worldwide.
The movement, which means hearth or fireside, attempts to spread Christian values by strengthening traditional families and promoting ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.
Here's the article.
POPE EXPECTED TO ISSUE STERN MESSAGE
After years of Vatican frustration over what it views as the failure of many U.S. Catholic colleges to adhere to church teachings, school leaders are intently watching for a rebuke from Pope Benedict XVI during his Washington visit next month.
The pope requested the meeting with more than 200 top Catholic school officials from across the country. The gathering will come amid debate over teachings and campus activities that bishops have slammed as violating Catholic doctrine: a rally by pro-abortion rights Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton at St. Mary's University in San Antonio; a Georgetown University theologian's questioning whether Jesus offers the only road to salvation; and a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" at the University of Notre Dame.
This will be the first papal address in the United States on Catholic education in more than 20 years, and some Vatican watchers predict that it will be the most enduring part of Benedict's visit. Before becoming pope, Benedict was known as "the enforcer" of church orthodoxy, and since taking office, he has said Catholic education must bow to Catholic "truth" and the "rule of life." Such comments have some educators keyed up.
Read some more...
DOGS BURNED IN SATANIC CEREMONY
GRINDSTONE, Pa. -- Officials are issuing a warning to pet owners after humane officers said dogs were killed as part of a satanic ritual in Fayette County.
Fire crews responded to a fire in the woods in Grindstone, Pa., on Thursday morning. What they found at the scene left the fire chief shaken.
Read the rest...
"TO ELIMINATE THE OPIATE" Vol. 2
by Rabbi Marvin S. Antelman
It should be repeated that Marx was HIRED by theBund hierarchy to write the Manifesto. Furthermore, when one examines more of Karl Marx's writings and philosophy, he will find that they were not original. There were contemporaries of his, such as men in the Christian Socialist Movement in England, who made statements prior to Marx that are attributed to Marx as the original source, when he was only repeating what others had already said.
Marx's family is not only linked with the Rhodes-Milner-Rothschild nexus, but with the Rockefeller dynasty as well....
Karl Marx's father, Heinrich (1782-1838), was the son of Chief Rabbi of Trier (Treves) Germany, originally known as Rabbi Meir Levi. He changed his surname to Marx, which became the family name of the next generation. Rabbi Meir Levi's father-in-law was the previous Chief Rabbi of Trier, Rabbi Moses Lwow, son of a most celebrated and brilliant scholar-Talmudist and foe of the Sabbatian conspiracy, Rabbi Joshua Heschel Lwow (1692-1771). Rabbi Lwow was also very prominent in exposing the conspiracies of Jonathan Eibeschutz and was a close colleague of the champion heroic master exposer par excellence--Rabbi Jacob Emden (1697-1776). (p. 15-16)
The Russian Revolutions had their first beginnings through the Illuminati of DePasqually and St. Martin, which catalyzed, together with the Asiatic Brethren, a plethora of radical, secret societies that flourished especially in Southern Russia. (p. 28)
Shortly after Lenin came to power (1917), he established a Jewish Affairs section in the Communist Party, manned by self-identity hating Jews...They tried to bring the Bolshevik idea into action by abolishing the practices of Judaism and their goal was to impose the proletarian dictatorship among the Jewish masses. They used voodoo methods to strike out Judaism wherever it was possible. They had a reign of terror upon Jewish communities, synagogues, Rabbinical seminaries, and elementary and intermediate schools where the Torah was taught. Libraries were confiscated and holy books burned. They were willing to support a Yiddish press that would propagandize Communism among the Jews in Russia, but they would not allow any continuation of Torah observance, and would stop at nothing to prevent it. Religious education was prohibited... (p. 61)
Early on, Lenin laid the foundation for what is called today liberation theology among the Catholics, and Islamic Fundamentalism among the Arabs, a derivative of the Bolshevik Party's "Islamic Marxism". The success of this lay in infiltrating these religions with agents, often even clergy, who professed to be anti-Communist but, indeed, were pro. Accordingly, the KGB has operated a Yeshiva to train their own brand of so-called rabbis in Romania. One of their graduates was installed by them as Chief Rabbi of Kiev and informed the KGB about Jewish dissent there, even leading to the arrest of underground Rabbis who were involved in circumcising Jews clandestinely in the 60's and 70's, while it was against the law.
The roots of Islamic Marxism were laid down by the Bolshevik Party during the years 1910-1919, as has been documented by A. Taheri in his Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism. Islamic Marxism as an ideology is supported by the Communist Parties of Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
One by-product of this activity was the establishment of the Communist Hizbullah by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who built his power base with Islamic Communists of Iran, Syria and Libya....Abbas Zamani, a major Hizbullah organizer in Lebanon and Pakistan is a prominent KGB agent. (p. 63-64)
Lenin's liberation theology had its roots in Gnostic Communist theology... (p. 65)
The world's perception that Communism is dead is misleading. It is in a new phase. There is today an appearance of freedom of worship for Jews in Russia. However, this was forced on Russia under Gorbachev pursuant to world opinion against Jewish persecution, resulting in large numbers of Jews emigrating from Russia, mostly to Israel. However, today it is very difficult to emigrate, and the Gulags are still functioning with their annual toll of tortured and dead prisoners. (p. 71)
TOLEDO TRIAL WILL CONTINUE
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday allowed a Toledo woman's lawsuit against Gerald Robinson to continue in which she claims she repeatedly was raped and tortured by the Toledo Catholic priest in satanic rituals when she was a child.
In a 4-2 decision, the state's high court declined to hear an appeal filed by the priest's attorneys seeking to dismiss the suit.
Robinson, 69, was convicted in a separate, high-profile case in 2006 of murdering Sister Margaret Ann Pahl 26 years earlier. He is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in the Hocking Correctional Facility in southern Ohio.
Yesterday's Supreme Court action sends the Toledo woman's case back to Lucas County Common Pleas Court, where a pretrial hearing with Judge Ruth Ann Franks is set for March 27.
"It's huge in our favor. We can now proceed on the merits of the case, " said Mark Davis, attorney for the woman.
John Donahue, a Perrysburg attorney representing Robinson, expressed disappointment.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
IS THIS BISHOP DEVINE'S CONSPIRACY ?
If he is accurate, Rabbi Marvin S. Antelman's book TO ELIMINATE THE OPIATE, Vol. 2 should be at the top of the New York Times' Bestseller list 6 months running.
If he is not accurate, we should be hearing that he is on trial for libel.
We hear neither.
In fact the book is so obscure that one of the only places where I could buy it was Amazon, and you can see at the website how few copies are available. The other top booksellers apparently have not heard of it. I don't normally buy from Amazon, but this time I had no choice. My local library that can normally get anything I want to read through interlibrary loan was unable to find it, or so they said, though they didn't take very long to say it, so I guess they didn't try all that hard.
Antelman names names and cites dates. There is a jaw-drop at nearly every other page. He has material that simply blew my mind.
Antelman is a Chief Justice of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of America according to Rabbi Nachum Shifren's website. He has detractors as well. He gets no respect from Jerusalem Post columnist Jonathan Rosenblum who says of him:
When he is not busy designing bullets containing pork for use against Moslems, Antelman styles himself the Chief Justice of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of America. That august body is, according to Antelman, the first Sanhedrin in over 2,000 years with the authority to mete out death sentences. The group has promulgated death sentences against homosexuals and invited the public to watch it excommunicate Henry Kissinger.
Perhaps, though, Rosenblum is a Reform or Conservative Jew. Antelmen makes it abundantly clear that he believes Orthodox Judaism and Reform/Conservative Judaism are two separate religions. He believes the latter are Sabbatian-Frankists in their latest incarnation. Antelman is Orthodox.
I did some fact checking, choosing seven random facts from Antelman's book. One proved to be controversial. The other six appear to be true.
The book is a follow-up on Volume one published in 1974. He wrote volume two because more information is now available.
Quotes are coming, but not this afternoon since I do really have a life that demands I pay some attention to it. Stay tuned.
BISHOP SUMMONED BEFORE PARLIAMENT
London, Mar. 12, 2008 (CWNews.com) - An English bishop appeared today before a parliamentary committee, to answer questions about allegations of "fundamentalism" in Catholic schools.
Here's the story...
BISHOP DEVINE, YOU'VE GOT MY ATTENTION !
ONE of Scotland's most senior Catholics has launched an attack on the "gay lobby" in Scotland, claiming there is a "huge and well-orchestrated conspiracy" against Christian values.
The Rt Rev Joseph Devine, Bishop of Motherwell and president of the Catholic Education Commission, said gay rights organisations aligned themselves with minority groups, such as Holocaust survivors, to project an "image of a group of people under persecution".
He warned that the gay lobby – which he labelled "the opposition" – had mounted "a giant conspiracy" to shape public policy.
He singled out the actor Sir Ian McKellen, who was given a New Year honour for services to gay rights, pointing out that Oscar Wilde was locked up only a century ago for homosexual acts. The bishop said he would "not tolerate" the "behaviour" of a child struggling to come to terms with his or her homosexuality. Last night his views were attacked by gay rights groups, which branded them "unChristian" and "deeply out of step" with the views of ordinary Scots.
In the fourth of the Gonzaga Lectures held at St Aloysius' College in Glasgow on Tuesday, Bishop Devine said: "The homosexual lobby has been extremely effective in aligning itself with minority groups.
"It is ever-present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution. We neglect the gay movement at our peril.
"I want to ask you if you are able to see the giant conspiracy that's taking place before our eyes, even if we didn't see it at the time. I take it you're beginning to see that there is a huge and well-orchestrated conspiracy taking place, which the Catholic community missed."
THIS YEAR'S TEMPLETON WINNER
The world's richest annual prize has been won by a Polish physicist and Catholic priest whose research on the origins of the universe and the tension between religion and science was conducted for decades under intense Soviet-era repression.
Michal Heller will be awarded the $1.7-million Templeton Prize by Prince Philip at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in May, the foundation that has been handing out the award since 1973 announced Wednesday.
"Michal Heller's quest for deeper understanding has led to pioneering breakthroughs in religious concepts and knowledge as well as expanding the horizons of science," said John Templeton, Jr., head of the foundation and son of the global investor and philanthropist who started the award for the study of what he considered life's biggest questions.
Templeton's father, knighted by the Queen in 1987, deliberately set the value of his award higher than the better-known Nobel prizes to underline his belief that the benefits of spiritual study outweigh those of other human endeavours.
REST IN PEACE ARCHBISHOP PAULOS FARAJ RAHHO
A [Caldean] Catholic archbishop who was kidnapped in Iraq last month, in a move described by the Pope as an "abominable" act, is believed to have been found dead.
The body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found near the Iraqi city of Mosul where he had been abducted on February 29, the SIR Catholic news agency said.
Read the brief report...
DR. DEATH RUNS FOR CONGRESS
Just when you think the slate of candidates for political office can't get any worse, it does.
Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, who spent eight years in prison for second-degree murder, says he's running for Congress.
Kevorkian, who will be 80 years old in May, picked up petitions from the Oakland County Clerk's Office on Tuesday to run as a candidate with no party affiliation.
"I plan to," Kevorkian said Tuesday afternoon. "I wouldn't do this otherwise. We need some honesty and sincerity instead of corrupt government in Washington."
Kevorkian said he would have more to say about his candidacy next week. "Everything's in a formative stage," he said.
Read the rest if you've got the stomach for it...
THE WORLDWIDE ADORATION PROJECT
has been launched by Father Frank Pavone and Father Benedict Groeschel.
The Worldwide Hour of Eucharistic Adoration will take place at 7:00 p.m. local time on April 2nd, 2008, the Third Anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s death.
By hosting this hour in time zones throughout the world, this will result in a full calendar day of Eucharistic Adoration in remembrance of Pope John Paul II.
This endeavor will work towards the promotion and education of Eucharistic Adoration worldwide.
The website doesn't mention it, but the Congregation for Clergy in conjunction with Benedict has called for worldwide adoration for our priests as Deacon Greg Kandra explains.
The Eucharistic adoration campaign for priests and victims of sex abuse was announced by Catholic News Agency last January.
Adoremus has put together a booklet to be used for Adoration.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
DON'T SEEK TO INDEFINITELY PROLONG LIFE
In the words of Benedict XVI:
"Medicine is a fight for life over death, to find the medicine of immortality,"
The pontiff said that even if an 'immortality pill' was found, "the world would fill up with old people; there would be no space for the youth."
"We cannot then, hope for the infinite lengthening of biological life." said Benedict.
Read all of it...
I agree. But how do we play this out here on the ground? Because no one has an immortality pill and no one is likely to get one, so that really isn't the issue. Instead what we have is a "cure" for this particular life-threatening malady, and medication that will control that other particular life-threatening malady. What we do is heap one medicine on top of another until the medicines start to fight with each other or the cost of them becomes greater than the person's budget can bear.
Do we put age limits on treatment? Do we adopt the Biblical standard of three score and ten as the proper limit to life? Do we put the burden on patients to refuse treatment when they recognize that their days of usefulness are coming to a close? Do we put the burden on the medical establishment to emphasize pain management over prolonging of life? Just how are we to morally escape the condition of an aging population which Benedict seems to be saying is not a good thing, when modern medicine continues to advance?
NOT TRUSTWORTHY IN ORLANDO
This is one of the saddest developments in the contemporary Church that I've seen recently. The Diocese of Orlando has mandated the use of money bags that are numbered and have a tamper-resistant seal for the Sunday collection.
Given the examples of dishonesty the bishops have given us in the scandal, this shouldn't come as a great surprise, I guess, but it still does. Does being Catholic stand for anything these days? Or have we become just another example of the secular culture?
VIOLENCE IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS
An article in the Mail & Guardian blows my conception of South Africa as a civilized part of the planet with largely British values. The article describes violence in South African schools, and the article is titled "Rape games played at SA schools":
Games such as "hit me, hit me" and "rape me, rape me", where schoolchildren chase each other and then pretend to hit or rape each other, are being played at South African schools, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said in a report on school-based violence, which was presented in Johannesburg on Wednesday. ...
The report said school is the "single most common" site of crimes such as assault and robbery against pupils. According to a study conducted by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention (CJCP), young people are twice as likely to become victims of crime than adults. ...
"Research indicates that learners perceive school toilets as the least safe areas, as are grounds and playing fields," the report said.
These areas are a haven for bullies, which is the most common and well-known form of school violence. ...
According to a study conducted among 1 227 female students who were victims of sexual assault, 8,6% were assaulted by teachers, the report said.
The Western Cape department of education said that on average it receives between one and four cases a month against teachers for sexual assault or harassment of students.
The article introduces new terminology--"corrective rape":
"There is a growing phenomenon of corrective rape. This refers to an instance where a male learner rapes a lesbian female learner in the belief that after such a sexual attack the learner will no longer be lesbian," the report said.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
WORDS OF PAST POPES
Do we worship the same God as the God of Islam?
Nostra Aetate included the quote that has stirred controversy in Catholic websites. This is taken from the document:
3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
The footnote--(5)--attributes this to St. Gregory VII, letter XXI to Anzir (Nacir), King of Mauritania (Pl. 148, col. 450f.)
I found this website dedicated to the subject which claims that there was actually no King Anzir, Nacir, Nasir, or Naseer in Morocco in 1076.
Setting that issue aside, the website also gives what is said to be the pertinent part of the text making the claim:
...we believe and confess one God, although in different ways, and praise and worship Him daily as the creator of all ages and the ruler of this world.
This, of course, also indicates that both religions "confess one God" but it does not say that both religions confess the SAME God. In any case the passage is contained in a supposed letter to the King of Mauretania, not in an infallible encyclical. The matter appears far more political than theological.
There are words of another pope that are pertinent here. Blessed Urban II (1088-99) was an assistant to Gregory VII. The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us:
About 1070 he retired to Cluny and was professed there under the great abbot St. Hugh. After holding the office of prior he was sent by St. Hugh to Rome as one of the monks asked for by Gregory VII, and he was of great assistance to Gregory in the difficult task of reforming the Church.
Pope Urban spoke at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The object of his speech was to inspire the first Crusade. There are five versions of the speech. The following is taken from Robert the Monk's account:
From the confines of Jerusalem and the city of Constantinople a horrible tale has gone forth and very frequently has been brought to our ears, namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race utterly alienated from God, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not entrusted its spirit to God, has invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by the sword, pillage and fire; it has led away a part of the captives into its own country, and a part it has destroyed by cruel tortures; it has either entirely destroyed the churches of God or appropriated them for the rites of its own religion.
Does that sound as though we worship the same God?
NO REHAB OF MARTIN LUTHER AFTER ALL
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Rumors that the Vatican is set to rehabilitate Martin Luther, the 16th-century leader of the Protestant Reformation, are groundless, said the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi.
News reports in early March alleged that Pope Benedict XVI was dedicating a planned September symposium with former doctoral students to re-evaluating Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy.
The story "does not have any foundation, insofar as no rehabilitation of Luther is foreseen," Father Lombardi told the Italian news agency ANSA March 8.
Vatican officials said the topic of the pope's annual summer gathering of former students this year has not yet been decided. Of the two topics under consideration, Luther is not one of them, one official told Catholic News Service.
Read all of it...
Thanks to a reader for the link.
NO FURTHER CHANGES TO THE PRAYER
Catholic World News reports:
Speaking to a German ARD television audience, Cardinal Kasper-- who heads the Vatican commission for relations with Jews-- said that no further change in the Good Friday prayer is necessary because "it is entirely correct from a theological perspectieve."
The German cardinal is scheduled to meet this week with Jewish leaders who will make a last effort to persuade the Vatican that a second change in the prayer is necessary.
PAPAL VISIT BLOG
Keep tabs on the Papal visit at the USCCB's Papal Visit blog.
SHOWER THE POPE WITH ASHES
A reader sent in this one...
A group that works for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans in the Roman Catholic church is planning a series of protests against Pope Benedict during his visit to the US next month.
The Rainbow Sash Movement said it is calling on "Catholics of good will" to take the Papal visit as an opportunity to shower the Pope mobile with ashes instead of confetti.
"Ashes are an ancient and appropriate greeting for a sinner who has caused the Church so much division and pain," RSM said in a statement.
Read the rest...
CATHOLIC COUPLE WIN FIRST ROUND IN CIVIL PARTNERSHIP ROW WITH POLICE
A DEVOUT Catholic couple who object to their marital status being listed alongside civil partnerships have won the first round in an employment tribunal action against Scotland's largest police force.
Lucille and Frank McQuade, who have been married for 26 years, claim that Strathclyde Police is guilty of religious discrimination after altering its civilian employee records to change their status from "married" to "married/civil partnership".
Speaking after an earlier tribunal hearing, Mrs McQuade, 46, who until recently worked as a CID clerk with the force, said: "The concept of homosexuality is not compatible with our faith." Mrs McQuade, now with the Catholic Parliamentary Office and Fertility Care Scotland, which teaches natural family planning, added: "We find it offensive that people don't know if we are married or civil partners."
Mr McQuade, 49, a communications officer with the force, added that no slur was intended on the gay community.
The couple, from Motherwell, told the original tribunal hearing in Glasgow last October that the change to their "true legal and religious status" amounted to sex discrimination and religious discrimination.
The McQuades argued also that they had been treated less favourably than single colleagues who have not been affected by any change in status.
Monday, March 10, 2008
PSYCHOSIS OR POSSESSION ?
The February issue of "New Oxford Review" contains an article written by a board certified psychiatrist in public practice describing the difference between manifestations of psychological illness and possession.
BLESSED VIRGIN DEFILED BY ARTIST...AGAIN
Artwork depicting the Virgin Mary as a stripper stirred trouble while on display at a small Catholic university before the piece was apparently stolen.
The print was part of an exhibit last month at the University of Dallas that featured the work of students at Murray State University in Kentucky. Joanna Gianulis, a senior art major at Murray State, said she was trying to raise questions about perceptions of saints and sinners and didn't intend to be sacrilegious.
"How do we know that an exotic dancer is sinful?" she said. "What if she has the best intentions and strives only to help those in need?
"Many single mothers are in this position and that is another reason why I chose to reference the Virgin Mary, because she was another woman who was in a tough position and probably received much criticism because of it."
Gianulis said she has no digital image of the print. Others who have seen it say it includes a veiled young woman wearing pasties and a G-string with money stuck in it.
The university president did not act in time to prevent the theft. He was hampered by his considerations of "academic freedom", proving that he considers the concerns of man superior to reverence for the Mother of God. Meanwhile a Junior understood the issues at hand saying "The uiniversity ought not display images that make profane that which the institution holds sacred". Smart kid. Perhaps he should be the university president and the president should go back to the religion classroom.
MORMON MISSIONARIES DESECRATE CATHOLIC SHRINE
SAN LUIS, Colo. - Members of the Sangre de Christo parish of the Roman Catholic Church voted Sunday to pursue criminal charges against three Mormon missionaries who allegedly vandalized a shrine and committed sacrilegious acts in the church.
Although the incidents occurred in 2006, they only came to the attention of the parish when they were seen on the Internet site ''Photobucket."
Alonzo Payne, a parishioner and lawyer, said he was asking the Costilla County Sheriff to pursue charges on behalf of the parish.
Sheriff's Cpl. Scott Powell told the Pueblo Chieftain that the men, who were not identified, could face up to six charges, including felonies for criminal mischief and conspiracy.
Robert Fotheringham, in charge of the LDS church's missionary program in parts of four states, and whose region includes the San Luis Valley, declined to release names of the missionaries. He confirmed the three missionaries seen in the photos, which have been removed from the Internet, were Mormon missionaries. He said they would be disciplined, though he declined to go into detail.
''We're just mortified this has happened. This is not what we're about," he said.
The Internet photos showed the three vandalizing the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs in 2006 and mocking the Roman Catholic faith.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shall not pollute the Earth. Thou shall beware genetic manipulation.
Modern times bring with them modern sins. So the Vatican has told the faithful that they should be aware of "new" sins such as causing environmental blight.
The guidance came at the weekend when Archbishop Gianfranco Girotti, the Vatican's number two man in the sometimes murky area of sins and penance, spoke of modern evils.
Asked what he believed were today's "new sins," he told the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the greatest danger zone for the modern soul was the largely uncharted world of bioethics.
"(Within bioethics) there are areas where we absolutely must denounce some violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments and genetic manipulation whose outcome is difficult to predict and control," he said.
Read the rest...
IF IT'S ANTI-SEMITIC IT'S IMPORTANT--IF IT'S ANTI-CATHOLIC IT ISN'T
If the statements are derogatory toward Jews, it is to be expected that Jewish leaders will give support to those who make the charge of anti-Semitism. According to a story in the Jewish publication Forward.com this happened recently when O'Bama renounced Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitism. One would suppose that this same support would be extended to objections to anti-Catholic statements, but one would suppose in vain.
Just as Jews and other people of good will have appropriately demanded that Barack Obama unambiguously renounce and reject the endorsement of Minister Louis Farrakhan because of his bigotry and rabid antisemitism, so Jews and other people of good will should demand that John McCain renounce and reject the endorsement of Pastor John Hagee because of his vicious and inflammatory anti- Catholicism, Kula wrote in a statement released February 29, two days after Hagee made his endorsement.
But other Jewish leaders who spoke with the Forward took issue with this assessment.
The comparison doesn't hang, it just doesn't hang, said Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical assembly. I think each has to be seen in its own way, Meyers said. Hagee has said some things that, as a person of faith who's Jewish, I kind of cringe, but other fundamentalist leaders have said things I've cringed at, too, so I understand that world and that religious milieu.
He added, From the perspective of the Jewish community, Farrakhan has said some terrible things about Judaism and the Jewish people; Hagee hasn't.
Meyers found agreement from the national director of the ADL, Abraham Foxman, who had drawn headlines in recent months for his public calls for Obama to disavow views expressed by his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, including praise for Farrakhan.
Hagee's endorsement is not a Jewish issue, Foxman told the Forward. Are we troubled by Hagee's support of McCain and McCain's acceptance? The answer is no, and that's where it ends for us.
The difference between Farrakhan and Hagee is self-evident, Foxman said. So to compare the two and to say: 'Well, if you ask Obama to distance from Farrakhan well, Farrakhan is a black racist, an antisemite, anti- Israel, consorts with America's enemies. Hagee is a supporter of Israel, an advocate of Israel, opposed to antisemitism, and there are issues on which members of the Jewish community and some organizations disagree with, and so from time to time they or we have indicated our disagreement, but it's not of the same nature or category or being.
EVANGELICALS ADOPTING CATHOLIC PRACTICES
A reader sent in a Washington Post article now available only in the cached version that indicates Evangelicals are picking up Catholic practices:
Evangelicals observing Lent?
Fasting, and giving up chocolate and favorite pastimes like watching TV during the 40 days before Easter are practices many evangelical Protestants have long rejected as too Catholic and unbiblical.
But Lent -- a time of inner cleansing and reflection upon Jesus Christ's sufferings before his resurrection -- is one of many ancient church practices being embraced by an increasing number of evangelicals, sometimes with a modern twist. The National Community Church, which has three locations in the District and one in Arlington County, updated the Lenten fast by adding a Web component: a 40-day blog, where participants from as far away as Australia, Korea and Mexico discuss their spiritual cleansing.
This increasing connection with Christianity's classical traditions goes beyond Lent. Some evangelical churches offer confession and weekly communion. They distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday and light Advent calendars at Christmastime. Others have formed monastic communities, such as Casa Chirilagua in Alexandria, modeled on the monasteries that arose in Christianity's early years.
This represents a "major sea change in evangelical life," according to D.H. Williams, professor of patristics and historical theology at Baylor University.
There is more at the website. How is this going to sit with the Jews who have joined with the Evangelicals in promoting Zionism?
Sunday, March 09, 2008
OUT OF THE EMAILBOX
Fr. Euteneuer is in Jamaica and has not sent his weekly letter, but Justin forwarded one from the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America) on the Commencement of Holy and Great Lent that I'm posting instead.
+ B A R T H O L O M E W
BY THE MERCY OF GOD ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE
NEW ROME AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH
TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH
GRACE AND PEACE FROM OUR SAVIOR AND
LORD JESUS CHRIST, AND FROM US BENEDICTION
BLESSING AND FORGIVENESS
During this period of Holy and Great Lent, our Church calls us to repentance. Doubtless, as contemporary man hears this invitation to repentance, he does not feel comfortable, because he has accustomed himself to a certain way of life, and does not wish to question his own rectitude. Calling one¢s own rectitude into question produces feelings of insecurity, because the ideological structure within which you have sure and certain refuge is clearly risked.
However, a deeper examination of the issue compels us to accept that people¢s convictions do not "conform to objective reality, on the basis of reasonable judgment. Rather, they create a justification that is pleasing to self, namely: excuses in sins" (Psalm 140:4). When a person justifies his or her actions and self-vindicates on the basis of erroneous values, significant harm happens, because inevitably, the moment come when the truth emerges, and we find ourselves without excuse. Moreover, there may be no more time to adjust our convictions: that is, to repent of our sinful deeds and erroneous, through which we have tried to justify our behavior.
Now as Christians, we are used to both hearing about and practicing repentance, and we do not feel a conflict with our Church¢s call to repentance. However, there is a need for us to make a deliberate and conscious effort to realize that a complete repentance has two objectives.
The first objective is threefold: a renunciation of our sins, a decision to cease and desist from sinful deeds and habits, and a decision to make amends for the consequences of our sins. For example, the publican Zaccheus, who sincerely repented during his encounter with Christ, demonstrated his repentance in a practical way by repaying fourfold the very people from whom he had unjustly seized wealth.
The second objective of repentance is that we should change our mentality. We should replace our understandings with other higher and loftier ones; or in the words of the Psalmist: "to ascend in our hearts" (Psalm 83:6). This second objective needs to be pursued especially by those who are unconvinced by their consciousness about specific sins. For example, our understanding of love surely falls short of perfection; likewise our understanding of humility. For when we compare our own spiritual state to the perfection of God, a perfection we are called to imitate, surely we will see our shortcomings and realize the endless road we must traverse in order to find ourselves in the path of those who are like unto God.
As we examine the quality of our inner peace, we ascertain that we fall short of the peace of Christ "which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Pondering the level to which we trust our lives to God¢s Providence, we sadly realize that we are often seized by anxiety and uncertainty about the future, as if we were either of little faith or even with out faith. In general, upon examination of the purity of our conscience, we realize that we fall short of understanding correctly the many feelings we harbor within ourselves that are detrimental to our purity, often mistaking them as healthy. Thus, a new and more complete enlightenment of our conscience is needed through the teachings of the Fathers and of the Gospel, so that we will be in a better position to think critically about ourselves and our shortcomings, in line with the judgment of God. Since no one can claim to judge himself perfectly, by the same token no one can claim that he has no need of a renewed mind, a more enlightened mind, a transformation of mind, a correction of mind and mentality, i.e. a need of repentance.
The call of our Orthodox Church to repentance is not merely a call to self-reproach. Self-reproach can be useful, as are deep contrition and tears of repentance; but they are not of themselves sufficient. We need to experience the joy emanating from the forgiveness granted to us by God, the sense of deliverance from the burdens of the bondage of sin, and the sense of God¢s love for us. Our repentance does not deprive us from the joy of life, making us indignant at the hearing of the sermon calling to repentance. Repentance means cleansing and enlightenment of our minds, more ardent love for Christ and His creation, freedom and joy through the newness of life into which we continually enter through our constant repentance.
The one who constantly repents, ever progresses, ever rejoices through new ascents, finds constant satisfaction in deeper understandings of all things. Through the transformation of mentality and understanding, the one who repents better understands the whole world, becomes wiser, more judicious, more discreet, nobler and a true friend of Christ. Therefore, the preaching of repentance should be favorably received by wise persons who are able to appreciate any improvement that comes from the renewal of the human person through repentance.
Therefore, brothers and sisters and beloved children in the Lord, let us accept the invitation of our Church to repentance as we have set forth above. Let us who have fallen short through sin cleanse ourselves from sin through confession. Let us constantly examine our own presuppositions, so our judgments and thoughts may be godly and pure, just and true.
Finally, we paternally pray that all of you may enjoy the every assistance and help of the Lord on your road to repentance and throughout your renewed life in Christ.
Holy and Great Lent 2008
BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople
The fervent intercessor for you all before God