29 December 2007

Nativity scene

This is the nativity scene at my Church, Our Lady of Lourdes in Harpenden.
Picture taken on an N82 and posted from the N82 via email.

25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Today we celebrate Christmas. It is a day for giving, when we give gifts, we give our love, and we give of ourselves to others. We also give thanks, thanks to God for the greatest gift of all, His Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to all.

11 November 2007

Remembrance Day

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Commemorating the time the guns fell silent across Europe after the first World War, this is when we remember all those who have given their life in war. Those who died to give us the freedoms we have. Those who died on the opposite side, too. War is a nasty business, and it effects so many people, family and friends of those who die, the lives of the losers in war and the lives of those who win.

I don't like war, I don't agree with war, but I respect those who give their lives and risk their lives and often receive life altering injuries doing something I don't think I could do.

To all who have lost loved ones, to all who came back injured, to all who just came back, and especially to all who gave their lives in war, both past and present, I will remember you in my prayers today.

01 November 2007

All Saints Day

Today is the feast of All Saints. So here, in no particular order, is a list of 5 (of many) Saints I admire:

St Joseph
A prayer to St Joseph:
O blessed Joseph, faithful guardian of my Redeemer, Jesus Christ, protector
of thy chaste spouse, the virgin Mother of God, I choose thee this day to
be my special patron and advocate and I firmly resolve to honor thee all
the days of my life. Therefore I humbly beseech thee to receive me as thy
client, to instruct me in every doubt, to comfort me in every affliction,
to obtain for me and for all the knowledge and love of the Heart of Jesus,
and finally to defend and protect me at the hour of my death. Amen



St Teresa of Avila
A prayer of St Teresa of Avila:
O my God! Source of all mercy!
I acknowledge Your sovereign power.
While recalling the wasted years that are past,
I believe that You, Lord,
can in an instant turn this loss to gain.
Miserable as I am,
yet I firmly believe that You can do all things.
Please restore to me the time lost,
giving me Your grace,
both now and in the future,
that I may appear before You in "wedding garments."

Amen.


St Anthony of Padua
Prayer to St Anthony of Padua:

Good Saint Anthony, in God's providence you have secured for His people many marvelous favors. You have been especially celebrated, good Saint Anthony, for your goodness to the poor and the hungry, for finding employment for those seeking it, for your special care of those who travel, and for keeping safe from harm all who must be away from home. You are widely known also, good Saint Anthony, for securing peace in the family, for your delicate mercy in finding lost things, for safe delivery of messages, and for your concern for women in childbirth. In honoring you, Saint Anthony, for the many graces our Lord grants through your favor, we trustfully and confidently ask your aid in our present need. Pray for us, good Saint Anthony, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. May it be a source of joy, O God, to your Church that we honor the memory of your Confessor and Doctor, Saint Anthony. May his spiritual help always make us strong, and by his assistance may we enjoy an eternal reward. This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

St Peter
A prayer to St Peter:
Blessed Apostle Peter,
to whom God has given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven,
and the power to bind and loose,
grant that we may be delivered through the help
of your intercession from the bonds of our sins.
O, Holy Shepherd,
Prince of the Apostles,
pray for us that we may be made worthy
of the promises of Christ.

Amen




St Francis of Assisi
The prayer of St Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.


O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

22 October 2007

Ave Maria

Every once in a while, you find something special on the web. I found this clip on the Alive and Young blog. It is a video clip of Bobby McFerrin, leading the audience in a rendition of Ave Maria. I wonder where the event took place, I'm impressed enough people in the crowd knew the words to sing.

Enjoy.

24 September 2007

When is an unborn baby not an unborn baby?

In 2006, an average of 530 unborn babies were killed in the UK, every day. I blogged it here.

Today, I read an article at the Daily Mail online, about how 1,000 unborn babies die unnecessarily each year due to a shortage of midwives. You can see the full story here.

Each story is an absolute tragedy. The preventable, needless loss of life in both situations is very upsetting.

The difference in the two articles is in one, the unborn baby will be called anything but, to allow society to accept the senseless slaughter of innocent life. Whilst in the other, all of a sudden it *is* an unborn baby, to allow the article to carry emotional weight and a political slant.

After all, what person wouldn't be upset at the needless loss of unborn babies?

22 September 2007

Pope to make climate action a moral obligation

The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a "moral" cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.

The New York speech is likely to contain an appeal for sustainable development, and it will follow an unprecedented Encyclical (a message to the wider church) on the subject, senior diplomatic sources have told The Independent.

It will act as the centrepiece of a US visit scheduled for next April – the first by Benedict XVI, and the first Papal visit since 1999 – and round off an environmental blitz at the Vatican, in which the Pope has personally led moves to emphasise green issues based on the belief that climate change is affecting the poorest people on the planet, and the principle that believers have a duty to "protect creation".

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic Church in the UK, said last night: "This is a crucial issue both today and for all future generations. We are the stewards of creation and we need to take that responsibility seriously and co-operate to care for the created world."

A Papal tour of America will be particularly potent during election year in the US, where Catholics number around 73 million, and is being discussed in Rome after Pope Benedict accepted an invitation from the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon. For the Pope to take his climate-change message to the high-profile UN platform will be considered hugely influential to the fifth of the world's population who are Catholics, and will act as a rallying call for action in Africa and Asia, which have seen a rise in Catholics in recent years.

News of the speech comes as Vatican City has become the first fully carbon-neutral state in the world, after announcing it is offsetting its carbon footprint by planting a forest in Hungary and installing solar panels on the roof of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

It also follows a series of interventions by the Pope on the environment. On 2 September he told a 300,000 youth audience: "Before it is too late, it is necessary to make courageous decisions that reflect knowing how to re-create a strong alliance between man and the earth." On 7 September, he said there was a "pressing need for science and religion to work together to safeguard the gifts of nature and to promote responsible stewardship".

UK diplomats have held a number of behind-the-scenes meetings with Vatican officials on the environment. A Whitehall source said last night: "Benedict is the spiritual head of 19 per cent of the world's population and a highly respected figure. If the Pope's words are taken on board by his community that is one big constituency for change and could well turn the tide on climate change and environmental degradation."

Source

Pope in 'freedom' blast at Islam

The Pope has again risked provoking the wrath of the Islamic world, by criticising its treatment of Christians.

Benedict XVI attacked Muslim nations where Christians are either persecuted or given the status of second-class citizens under the Shariah Islamic law.

He also defended the rights of Muslims to convert to Christianity, an act which warrants the death penalty in many Islamic countries.

His comments came almost exactly a year after he provoked a wave of anger among Muslims by quoting a Byzantine emperor who linked Islam to violence.

Yesterday, near Rome, the 80-year-old pontiff made a speech in "defence of religious liberty", which, he said "is a fundamental, irrepressible, inalienable and inviolable right".

In a clear reference to Islam, he said: "The exercise of this freedom also includes the right to change religion, which should be guaranteed not only legally, but also in daily practice."

Addressing the problem of Islamic extremism, he added: "Terrorism is a serious problem whose perpetrators often claim to act in God's name and harbour an inexcusable contempt for human life."

Last September, radical British Muslims said Pope Benedict should be executed for "insulting" the Prophet Mohammed.

Throughout the Middle East and Africa, Christians were subjected to violence in retribution for his remarks.

His latest comments, however, come just days after one of the Church of England's-senior bishops warned that Muslim leaders here must speak out in defence of the right to change faith.

The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, told Channel 4's Dispatches programme of his fears for the safety of the estimated 3,000 Muslims who have converted to other faiths in this country.

A poll earlier this year of more than 1,000 young adult British Muslims found that 36 per cent believe those who convert to another faith should be punished by death.

Pope Benedict is particularly concerned about the persecution of Christians in Iraq since the invasion of 2003.

Before then, there were about 1.2million Christians in the country. But the number has dropped to below 600,000.

Source

21 August 2007

Catholic Women Ordained as Priests in Minneapolis

A report here detailing that two women were ordained as Catholic Priests.
Two women were ordained to the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church at an event in Minneapolis last weekend. The ordination of Judith McKloskey and Alice Marie Iaquinta marked their addition to the approximately 60 other women who have been ordained nationwide. The Vatican, the Catholic Church's highest authority, does not recognize the ordination of women into the priesthood, and in Iaquinta's case, the ordination could result in excommunication.

The West Bend, Wis., woman's ordination has raised the ire of the Catholic Church in that region. Archdiocese of Milwaukee Communications Director Kathleen Hohl told WTMJ, an NBC affiliate in Milwaukee that they will turn Iaquinta's information over to the Vatican.

"It is our duty and obligation to forward this information to the Vatican for consideration," said Hohl.

Iaquinta says it doesn't matter. "The truth is no one can be excommunicated from their faith. By baptism you are born into Christ, and that's that," she said.

The Vatican's official stance on banning women? They've always been banned, so they will continue to be banned. Pope John Paul II wrote in 1994:

"[The Church] holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."


Catholics advocating the inclusion of women into the priesthood disagree with that stance and that version of history.

Michael Bayly, executive coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities, attended the event with more than 200 others. "These women demonstrate that not only do they feel called by God to minister as priests, but there's a long, albeit, suppressed history within Catholicism of women's ordination," he said. "It's that reality that they're reclaiming, believing, as they do, that such reclamation will make the Church a healthier place and a truer reflection of God's all-inclusive love."

Far be it from me to upset anyone, but there are good reasons why Women are not able to be ordained as Catholic Priests. As much as these fine ladies like the idea, they are NOT Catholic Priests. As much as they think they are 'blazing a trail' for others to follow, they are actually doing damage. If they have any respect andl ove for the Faith, they will stop their charade and renounce what they have done.

Somehow I don't think they will. How very sad.

15 August 2007

Beaten for turning to Christianity

Story One:
Authorities in Iran have punished a man with 34 lashes after he was unmasked as a Muslim convert to Christianity when a copy of the Gospel was found in his car.

The man, identified as A.Sh. on an Iranian web site representing Christian converts, was arrested after police searching his car, which had been involved in an accident, found the book printed in Farsi.

He was detained at a police station Number 102 in Tehran for two days where he was lashed and suffered "other humiliation", the site said.

Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism are the only religions people in Iran are allowed to practice, however converting from Islam to one of the others is prohibited.

Story Two:
A former Islamic leader in Ethiopia has described how he found faith in Christ after Jesus appeared to him in a dream.

However, the conversion turned out to be the start of intense persecution from those begrudging his newly found faith.

Following Robel’s conversion, militants destroyed his house and stabbed his son with a spear. His life is now at risk, Release International reports, but even though he has been offered riches to return to Islam he has declared his determination to follow Jesus.

Robel was expelled from the mosque he helped to lead in 2003 for asking questions about Jesus, RI told Christian Today.

The morning after he saw Jesus in his dream, he committed his life to the Lord and started attending church.

He testifies: “After my conversion my house and all my property were burned. Several times the Muslims came to my house with a spear threatening us, trying to hurt someone.”

The militants stabbed Robel’s son with a spear, but the boy escaped serious injury, RI reports.

A year later, extremists burned his house again, and Robel was forced to leave the area without his family.

He explains: “I miss my family and my children are very, very small. I also worry about them, how they will live, because nobody is there to protect them. But I trust in the Lord to take care of our needs. One day He will reunite us, and we will be able to live together.”

Since his conversion, Islamists have tried to entice Robel back to Islam offering him the opportunity to go to Saudi Arabia for Islamic training and return to Ethiopia a wealthy man. But Robel refused, preferring poverty and to sleep in trees - with the freedom to choose his own faith still intact.

According to Voice of the Martyrs, Robel said: “People always seek the money and the wealth of the earth, but what I seek is from God."

Despite the pressure in Ethiopia, Christians in neighbouring Eritrea are fleeing there to escape persecution - which is even worse in their own country.

RI’s CEO Andy Dipper said: “Release International is providing practical support for Christian refugees now living in Ethiopia. This includes helping them to set up businesses and find work. Please pray for the strength of believers going through persecution in Ethiopia and in neighbouring Eritrea."

14 August 2007

Via Crucis

I've seen this video clip on three different blogs today. It shows the persecution suffered by Catholics in China. Very powerful, very moving. It's so easy for me, I go to Mass every week, I can go to Church during the day, I can pray and I can share my faith, freely and in the open. We need to keep all in our prayers who are persecuted for their faith.

13 August 2007

Should you practice the faith to teach the faith?

I saw a story on Telegraph online today. The headmaster of a Catholic school has entered into a civil partnership with a teacher from another school.

As far as I am concerned, to teach the faith you need to practice the faith. How can the headmaster in the school concerned imagine to teach the Church's stance on this issue when he lives the total opposite? It sets the wrong example, and this man carries a level of responsibility with his job. He has already demonstrated he is not up to the responsibility of his role, and therefore should resign.

Seems obvious to me.

03 August 2007

New Last Supper Conspiracy

There is a new conspiracy surrounding the Last Supper, the famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci. Someone has taken the picture and superimposed its mirror image on top of it, and made each image slightly transparent. Doing so has revelead an image of a woman apparently cradling a child standing next to Christ, and also an image of two knights at the table. See images below:










Last Supper, superimposed with its own mirror image.















The 'woman' leans across the group in the direction of Jesus















Two guests appear as knights

All to the enjoyment of misinformed conspiracy thoerists, who see this as further 'evidence' to support the theory that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child with her.

Just shows that with digital editing you can make an image appear pretty much how you want it to.

Story here

19 July 2007

St Patricks Day Moved

Fr Peter Jones, of the Liturgy Commission:
"St Patrick's Day is all about the religious aspect of the feast and mass on the day. It's not about whether it's a public holiday or not, it's not about whether sports events and parades take place,"

Sinead Grace, of Tourism Ireland:
"I wouldn't imagine too many people are aware of the religious aspect."


So next year, St Patrick's Day is being moved from it's traditional March 17th date to March 15th. This has to happen as March 17th is Monday of Holy Week, leading up to Easter. It is always the case that Saints days are moved when they conflict with other more important dates in the Church calendar. Normally, the event is moved to the first convenient date afterwards, but the Vatican has given special dispensation to move the celebrations forward two days to the 15th, which is a Saturday.

I presume this is to allow all the people who are unaware of the real point of St Patrick's Day to continue to abuse it as a reason for getting as drunk as possible.

11 July 2007

Only Catholicism is the true Christian faith

Pope Benedict is coming in for a lot of criticism at the moment, after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the leadership of Cardinal William Levada, issued a document today that provides further explanation of the teachings of Vatican II on the nature of the Church.

In basic terms, the document reaffirms what the Catholic Church has always taught - that the only true Christian faith is the Catholic faith. It shouldn't come as a surprise, this is something the Catholic church has always taught. You can follow the roots of the Catholic Church all the way back to Jesus Christ. All Protestant Churches are found by men. I pray that one day all Christians will be together, united, following the one true faith. But for that to happen a lot of people are going to have to swallow their pride and accept the fullness of the truth.

You can read more here, here and here.

19 June 2007

193,700 children killed in the UK last year

In 2006, in the UK, 193,700 children were killed. That's an average of 530 children killed every day. The children were defenceless, unable to protect themselves. And the saddest thing is, these children were killed by the very people you would expect to protect them.

Abortion is horrific. We live in a screwed up world when the slaughter of children is accepted by society as normal. People are brainwashed into thinking that early term abortion is ok, because after all it's not really a baby, is it? Thing is, it really is a baby. A child. A HUMAN BEING! Deserving of all the dignity and respect that any human being is given.

To curb drink driving, campaigners show mangled car wrecks. To curb drug taking, campaigners show shocking photos of people who've died from overdose. Maybe that is the way to go, to show people just how horrific abortion really is. Someone who aborts their child is killing a real human being. A real person, who is alive. Living. Why isn't that life precious? Is it because the person who was to be born would be disabled? Does that make the life any less precious, because the child isn't normal? What is normal in this screwed up world? I know what is NOT normal, it is not normal to kill, it is not normal to murder, and just because that child has not been born, doesn't mean it's life is any less precious than yours! 2,000 children were killed in the UK in 2006 because they were to be born disabled.

Two pictures now. One of an aborted child at 7 weeks. The second of an aborted child of 8 weeks. Take a look, don't turn away. People need to see just what abortion is. Because hiding away the horror is not going to help that unborn child. People need to know what abortion is, how wrong it is, and people need to know how precious life is. These children need YOU to stand up for them. Protect them.

Abortion is murder.


01 June 2007

EWTN - Global Catholic Network

This post is for any UK based Catholics who pass by here.

One of the most annoying things, for me, is the lack of resource available to Catholics in the UK. One thing I find really useful is the EWTN channel. I've had SKY for a couple of years, but it is only in the last 6 months or so that I discovered EWTN. EWTN is an American channel but I find some of the programming really useful and a good way of learning more about the Catholic faith. There are programs with the fantastic Father Corapi, Father Benedict Groeschel, Mother Angelica, Father John Trigilio and more.

If you have SKY, tune into channel 769, if you don't, click on the EWTN logo and sign up. The EWTN channel is free to watch, so is included in the SKY Freesat package.

31 May 2007

Cardinal speaks out against abortion

Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien will use a speech he is giving at the 40th anniversary of the abortion act in the UK to remind Catholic MP's who defend abortion that they should not partake in communion, and they risk their full membership in the Catholic Church.

In his sermon, Cardinal O'Brien will urge voters to consider rejecting candidates who are in favour of abortion. Typically, not everyone is in favour of what the Cardinal has to say. Scottish Liberal member Jeremy Purvis accuses the Cardinal of using 'inflammatory' language, saying:
"It is not right that we would be seen to be put under pressure, or indeed some members threatened, by a religious leader on what is a very sensitive issue."

I'm just glad that we have a Cardinal with the balls to stand up and say what needs to be said. If you are a Catholic, you don't pick and choose the bits you like. You're either Catholic, or you are not, and you take all the hardship that brings. Supporting abortion is NOT an option. If you support abortion, the you ain't Catholic, it's very simple. I find it so sad that this needs to be discussed, for a true Catholic abortion support wouldn't even be a consideration. Good on Cardinal O'Brien, long may he continue to say what needs to be said.

18 May 2007

Choosing life

It's always hard to argue the case for life when there is certainty the baby is going to die. The arguments for aborting a child that you know will not survive after the birth is always a strong one. But life is life. A life is a precious thing and should be cherished no matter how short or difficult that life is.

There was a story in the news in the last week, about a young Irish girl. She is pregnant, and knows her child has a medical problem that means the child is unlikely to live two or three days after birth. She fought for her right to be allowed to come to the UK from Ireland and have the child aborted.

Reading through some blogs today I found a link from the Te-deum blog to this story on the American Papist blog

The young girl has had a change of heart, and chosen life for her child. I applaud her bravery and courage in this most difficult time.

02 May 2007

Italian Archbishop receives death threats

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco has been receiving death threats following comments he made recently opposing so called gay marriage, same sex unions.

Over the weekend a letter was received with a live bullet in the envelope, along with a picture of the Archbishop with a swastika cut into it. This is the latest in a line of incidents which started last month when graffiti was sprayed onto the doors of the Cathedral in Genoa.

The Archbishop spoke out recently against proposed legislation in Italy that will give the same marital rights to same sex unions as those given to normal marriages. He said that such legislation undermines the traditional and ancient position of the institution of marriage within society.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has expressed his support for the Archbishop, charging him to continue working for human and religious rights, without which "it was impossible to build a true, free and stable democracy."

28 April 2007

Poland under attack

Poland is coming under attack - From other member countries of the EU.

A vote was passed by 325 to 124 votes, with 150 abstaining, approving a European Parliament resolution chastising Poland for homophobia.

The issue surrounds a proposed law in Poland which would forbid homosexual propaganda in schools. MEP's from France, Holland (no surprises there) and Italy condemned Poland as 'hateful' and 'repulsive' for refusing to allow the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

France's MEP Rour Martine said "these are not European values" and called the legislation "repulsive" and "hateful". Dutch MEP Sophia in't Veld accused the Polish government of hatred, and Italian MEP Giusto Catania also attacked the legislation and also attacked the Church, claiming the Church had never stopped expressing hatred towards homosexuals.

The EU have made their stance clear. They will not tolerate any member country who does not accept homosexuality as normal. Any country who dares to take a stance against the promotion of homosexuality to children will be taken through the European courts.

The text of the European Parliament resolution condemning homophobia:

Homophobia in Europe
European Parliament resolution of 26 April 2007 on homophobia in Europe

The European Parliament,
- having regard to international instruments guaranteeing human rights and fundamental freedoms and prohibiting discrimination, notably the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),
- having regard to Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and Article 13 of the EC Treaty, which commit the EU and the Community, respectively, as well as the Member States, to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms and which provide means at European level to fight discrimination and human rights violations,
- having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, in particular Article 21 thereof, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation,
- having regard to EC activities to fight homophobia and discrimination based on sexual orientation, in particular Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation and Decision No 771/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 establishing the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - towards a just society ,
- having regard to its previous resolutions on homophobia, protection of minorities and anti discrimination policies, and notably to those of 18 January 2006 on homophobia in Europe and of 15 June 2006 on the increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe ,
- having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas Parliament has monitored a proliferation of hate speech targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in a number of European countries,
B. whereas statements and actions by political and religious leaders have a major impact on public opinion, so that they have an important responsibility in contributing positively to a climate of tolerance and equality,
C. whereas this resolution, like the above-mentioned resolutions, has been triggered by the proliferation of hate speech and other series of worrying events, such as the prohibition by local authorities of holding equality and gay pride marches, the use by leading politicians and religious leaders of inflammatory or threatening language or hate speech, and the failure by the police to provide adequate protection against violent demonstrations by homophobic groups, even while breaking up peaceful demonstrations,
D. whereas equality and gay pride events are planned throughout Europe and the world in the forthcoming months, with participants and organisers facing possible physical violence, despite their fundamental right to freedom of expression and assembly, as recalled inter alia by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights,
E. whereas Matteo, a 16-year-old Italian citizen from Turin, recently committed suicide and left two suicide notes citing as the reason for his suicide the bullying that he suffered because of his sexual orientation; whereas civil society organisations in the United Kingdom have signalled an increase in instances of homophobic bullying in secondary schools throughout the United Kingdom; whereas a gay man was bludgeoned to death in the Netherlands solely for his sexual orientation and feminine appearance,
F. whereas Parliament has repeatedly asked for the completion of the anti discrimination legislative package based on Article 13 of the EC Treaty, and periodically asks the Commission to propose a directive prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in all sectors,
G. whereas in its above-mentioned resolution of 15 June 2006, Parliament has already expressed its serious concern at the situation in Europe and notably in Poland, condemning the declarations of incitement to hatred and violence by the leaders of the Party of the League of Polish Families and, notably, by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education,
H. whereas in March 2007 the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education announced draft legislation punishing 'homosexual propaganda' in schools, and illustrated its content, which is to provide for dismissing, fining or imprisoning school heads, teachers and pupils in the event of LGBT rights 'activism' in schools,
I. whereas the Polish Deputy Minister for Education confirmed that the administration is drafting such legislation and declared that 'teachers who reveal their homosexuality will be fired from work'; whereas various members of the Polish Government reacted in different ways, leaving it unclear whether the legislation will in fact be proposed,
J. whereas the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education has expressed a desire to promote the adoption of similar laws at European level,
K. whereas the proposed legislation received the support of the Polish Prime Minister, who declared that 'promoting a homosexual lifestyle for young people in school as an alternative to normal life goes too far, and that these kinds of initiatives in schools have to be stopped', thus presenting a distorted interpretation of education and tolerance,
L. whereas the Polish Ombudsman for Children has stated that she is preparing a list of jobs for which homosexuals are unfit,
M. whereas in June 2006 the State Prosecutor's office ordered checks on the funding of LGBT organisations in connection with 'criminal movements' and their presence in schools, in order to find traces of criminal activities, without any result,
N. whereas on 8 June 2006 the Polish Government sacked the head of the Centre for Teacher Development and prohibited the distribution of an official Council of Europe anti discrimination manual, and whereas the new head of the Centre stated on 9 October 2006 that 'improper patterns must not be present in schools, because the objective of school is to explain the difference between good and evil, beauty and ugliness… school must explain that homosexual practices lead to drama, emptiness and degeneracy',
O. whereas Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Terry Davis reacted to the events described by stating that 'the Polish Government is free to decide whether it wishes to use Council of Europe material for human rights education, but if the teaching material is optional, the values and principles contained therein are certainly not' and expressed concern about 'some policies promoting homophobia … and homophobic behaviours being accepted by the government',
P. whereas the Polish Government has also denied funding for projects sponsored by LGBT organisations in the framework of the European Youth Programme, and illustrated this decision in a letter to those organisations by stating that 'the policy of the Ministry does not support actions that aim to propagate homosexual behaviour and such an attitude among young people ... [and] the role of the Ministry is not to support cooperation with homosexual organisations',
Q. whereas a number of positive developments may also be noted, such as the successful gay pride event in Warsaw in June 2006, the massive demonstration for tolerance and democracy in Warsaw in November 2006 after the banning of a tolerance demonstration in Poznan, the protection of the gay rights march in Krakow in April 2007, and the fact that gay pride marches are no longer systematically banned,
R. whereas Parliament has asked the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia to conduct an inquiry into the emerging climate of racist, xenophobic and homophobic intolerance in Poland, and has asked the Commission to verify whether the actions and declarations of the Polish Minister for Education are consistent with Article 6 of the TEU, while recalling the sanctions provided for breaching it, and whereas those requests have remained unmet,
1. Underlines that the European Union is first and foremost a community of values, with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination among its most cherished values;
2. Affirms that the EU institutions and Member States have a duty to ensure that the human rights of people living in Europe are respected, protected and promoted, as provided for by the ECHR, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, Article 6 of the TEU, Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin and Council Directive 2000/78/EC;
3. Reiterates its request to the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited by completing the anti-discrimination package based on Article 13 of the EC Treaty, without which lesbians, gays, bisexuals and other individuals facing multiple discrimination continue to be at risk of discrimination; calls for a worldwide decriminalisation of homosexuality;
4. Will mark International Day against Homophobia on 17 May each year;
5. Urges the Commission to speed up the review of implementation of the anti discrimination directives and to institute proceedings against Member States in the event of violations of their obligations under Community law;
6. Reminds all Member States that, in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, the right to freedom of assembly may be exercised even when the views of those exercising that right challenge the views of the majority and that, in consequence, discriminatory bans of pride marches, as well as the failure to provide proper protection to those taking part in them, contravene the principles protected by the ECHR; invites all competent authorities, including local authorities, to authorise such marches and protect participants adequately;
7. Condemns the discriminatory remarks by political and religious leaders targeting homosexuals, since they fuel hate and violence even if later withdrawn, and asks the respective organisations' hierarchies to condemn them;
8. Reiterates its invitation to all Member States to propose legislation to overcome the discrimination experienced by same-sex couples, and asks the Commission to make proposals to ensure that the mutual recognition principle is applied in this field also, in order to ensure the freedom of movement for all persons in the EU without discrimination;
9. Expresses its solidarity with, and support for, fundamental rights activists and defenders of equal rights for members of the LGBT community;
10. Urges the competent Polish authorities to refrain from proposing or adopting legislation as described by the Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education or from implementing intimidating measures against LGBT organisations;
11. Calls on the competent Polish authorities publicly to condemn and take measures against declarations by public leaders inciting discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation; believes that any other behaviour would constitute a violation of Article 6 of the TEU;
12. Requests the Polish authorities to facilitate the implementation of the Year of Equal Opportunities 2007, and requests the Commission to monitor the implementation of the Year, in particular the clause whereby funding is conditional on ensuring that all grounds for discrimination are addressed equally in the national programmes;
13. Asks the Conference of Presidents to authorise the sending of a delegation to Poland on a fact-finding mission, with a view to obtaining a clear picture of the situation and entering into dialogue with all the parties concerned;
14. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and the candidate countries, and the Council of Europe.

25 April 2007

Father Corapi - Telling it the way it is

I love Father Corapi he has the knack of taking a difficult message and making it so easily understandable. I couldl isten to this man preach for a long time.

God bless Father Corapi

23 April 2007

10 - 15 years



















10 - 15 years. That is all we have to change the world. A bit dramatic, perhaps? Possibly. But I find it hard to understand those people who deny that climate change is happening, and that it is directly because of the actions of man that it is happening.

Carlo Rubbia, the Italian nobel winning physicist, has said that if we are to avoid major problems with climate change, we need to start making changes now. If we do not,then the earth will change us, and it won't be a barrel of laughs when that happens.
"We are facing an emergency. We have ten to 15 years to change the world, otherwise the world will change us. And it will change us in terrible ways," said Prof. Rubbia.

"In the short time we have available we must develop the means to face the situation. We must concentrate on science and technology," Rubbia said in an interview with Italy's Sky TG24 channel.

The evidence is powerful, the changes can actually be seen. Just open your eyes and take a look at the world around you. It is different. We are all responsible for what happens to the planet we live on. It's time we stopped abusing it, taking it for granted. Before it is too late.

20 April 2007

A new look

I thought it was about time I had a new look on my blog, so I followed the link from EllasDevil's blog to where he got his theme from. Pannasmontata offer a good range of templates for the old blogger system. So if you don't mind using that, check them out. There are some great templates there.

16 April 2007

What are your sins?

I saw this over on the Angela Messenger A test for your sins. For my results, I could agree with laziness and anger, but I wasn't aware I suffered from pride, too. To check your sins, click here:

Greed:Low
 
Gluttony:Low
 
Wrath:Medium
 
Sloth:Medium
 
Envy:Very Low
 
Lust:Low
 
Pride:Medium
 


Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Benedict XVI

The Pope celebrates his 80th birthday today. I like the Pope, he's done a good job in my opinion, working solidly to preserve the faith from outside influences who think 'we should move with the times'.

Lets hope he's around for a few more years yet.

12 April 2007

Restore Holy Days to the dates they should be!!!

In the UK, the dates of three holy days were changed. Epiphany, Corpus Christi and the Ascension were moved, to be celebrated on the nearest Sunday. I never liked the idea, and there is now an online petition to see if we can get the change reversed. If you would like to add your name to the petition, you can do so here.

02 April 2007

2nd April, 2005

Today is the anniversary of the passing of Pope John Paul II, 2nd April 2005. Below is a short biography of JPII, taken from the CNA Website.
Even though I grew up outside the Catholic faith, (outside of any faith, really) I was always aware of the Pope, from watching Italian TV. Anytime the Pope has something to say, it is always headline news, whilst in the UK it rarely receives a mention. I appreciate everything John Paul II brought to our faith, and I admire Pope Benedict XVI for managing to follow on from such a popular Pope.

Karol Józef Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 election to the papacy, was born in the Polish town of Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the youngest of three children born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer died in 1941. A sister, Olga, had died before he was born.

He was baptized on June 20, 1920 in the parish church of Wadowice by Fr. Franciszek Zak, made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at 18. Upon graduation from Marcin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in the Solvay chemical factory to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Krakow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theatre," also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Krakow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Sapieha in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

Shortly afterwards, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the subject of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross (Doctrina de fide apud Sanctum Ioannem a Cruce). At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Krakow as well as chaplain to university students. This period lasted until 1951 when he again took up his studies in philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on "evaluation of the possibility of founding a Catholic ethic on the ethical system of Max Scheler" at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed titular bishop of Ombi and auxiliary of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Eugeniusz Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was appointed archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who made him a cardinal June 26, 1967 with the title of S. Cesareo in Palatio of the order of deacons, later elevated pro illa vice to the order of priests.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II (1962-1965) where he made an important contribution to drafting the Constitution Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Wojtyla participated in all the assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

The Cardinals elected him Pope at the Conclave of 16 October 1978, and he took the name of John Paul II. On 22 October, the Lord's Day, he solemnly inaugurated his Petrine ministry as the 263rd successor to the Apostle. His pontificate, one of the longest in the history of the Church, lasted nearly 27 years.

Driven by his pastoral solicitude for all Churches and by a sense of openness and charity to the entire human race, John Paul II exercised the Petrine ministry with a tireless missionary spirit, dedicating it all his energy. He made 104 pastoral visits outside Italy and 146 within Italy. As bishop of Rome he visited 317 of the city's 333 parishes.

He had more meetings than any of his predecessors with the People of God and the leaders of Nations. More than 17,600,000 pilgrims participated in the General Audiences held on Wednesdays (more than 1160), not counting other special audiences and religious ceremonies [more than 8 million pilgrims during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 alone], and the millions of faithful he met during pastoral visits in Italy and throughout the world. We must also remember the numerous government personalities he encountered during 38 official visits, 738 audiences and meetings held with Heads of State, and 246 audiences and meetings with Prime Ministers.

His love for young people brought him to establish the World Youth Days. The 19 WYDs celebrated during his pontificate brought together millions of young people from all over the world. At the same time his care for the family was expressed in the World Meetings of Families, which he initiated in 1994.

John Paul II successfully encouraged dialogue with the Jews and with the representatives of other religions, whom he several times invited to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.

Under his guidance the Church prepared herself for the third millennium and celebrated the Great Jubilee of the year 2000 in accordance with the instructions given in the Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio adveniente. The Church then faced the new epoch, receiving his instructions in the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio ineunte, in which he indicated to the faithful their future path.

With the Year of the Redemption, the Marian Year and the Year of the Eucharist, he promoted the spiritual renewal of the Church.

He gave an extraordinary impetus to Canonizations and Beatifications, focusing on countless examples of holiness as an incentive for the people of our time. He celebrated 147 beatification ceremonies during which he proclaimed 1,338 Blesseds; and 51 canonizations for a total of 482 saints. He made Thérèse of the Child Jesus a Doctor of the Church.

He considerably expanded the College of Cardinals, creating 231 Cardinals (plus one in pectore) in 9 consistories. He also called six full meetings of the College of Cardinals.

He organized 15 Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops - six Ordinary General Assemblies (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994 and 2001), one Extraordinary General Assembly (1985) and eight Special Assemblies (1980,1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (2) and 1999).

His most important Documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters.

He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of Tradition as authoritatively interpreted by the Second Vatican Council. He also reformed the Eastern and Western Codes of Canon Law, created new Institutions and reorganized the Roman Curia.

As a private Doctor he also published five books of his own: "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (October 1994), "Gift and Mystery, on the fiftieth anniversary of my ordination as priest" (November 1996), "Roman Triptych" poetic meditations (March 2003), "Arise, Let us Be Going" (May 2004) and "Memory and Identity" (February 2005).

In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on 2 April a.D. 2005, at 9.37 p.m., while Saturday was drawing to a close and the Lord's Day was already beginning, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, the Church's beloved Pastor, John Paul II, departed this world for the Father.

From that evening until April 8, date of the funeral of the late Pontiff, more than three million pilgrims came to Rome to pay homage to the mortal remains of the Pope. Some of them queued up to 24 hours to enter St. Peter's Basilica.

On April 28, the Holy Father Benedict XVI announced that the normal five-year waiting period before beginning the cause of beatification and canonization would be waived for John Paul II. The cause was officially opened by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, on June 28 2005.

Source

29 March 2007

It's gay rights laws that are intolerant, says Cardinal

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor has finally spoken up:

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor accused Labour of "legislating for intolerance" in his most outspoken attack yet on the imposition of gay rights laws on church bodies.

The leader of England and Wales's four million Roman Catholics also questioned "whether the threads holding together democracy have begun to unravel".

The lecture delivered in Westminster made him the first Catholic leader in nearly 180 years to place a question mark over the allegiance of his church to the British state.

He has already threatened to close nine Catholic adoption agencies if they are forced by the Sexual Orientation Regulations to place children with homosexual couples.

He declared: "For my own part, I have no difficulty in being a proud British Catholic citizen.

"But now it seems to me we are being asked to accept a different version of our democracy, one in which diversity and equality are held to be at odds with religion.

"We Catholics - and here I am sure I speak too for other Christians and all people of faith - do not demand special privileges, but we do demand our rights."

The Sexual Orientation Regulations come into force next month after minimal debate in the House of Commons.

They are aimed at stopping businesses discriminating against gays, but Christian leaders say they will force those of faith to act against their conscience.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said last night: "My fear is that, under the guise of legislating for what is said to be tolerance, we are legislating for intolerance. Once this begins, it is hard to see where it ends.

"My fear is that in an attempt to clear the public square of what are seen as unacceptable intrusions, we weaken the pillars on which that public square is erected, and we will discover that the pillars of pluralism may not survive.

"The question," the Cardinal added, "is whether the threads holding together pluralist democracy have begun to unravel. That is why I have sounded this note of alarm.

"I am conscious that when an essential core of our democratic freedom risks being undermined, subsequent generations will hold to account those who were able to raise their voices yet stayed silent."

He also fueled speculation that Catholics may order their adoption agencies to break away from links with the state - and forgo their £10 million a year of taxpayers' funds in favour of relying on donations.

The Cardinal said: "I wonder how far we can still claim as British the assumption that if a religious organisation serves the public interest according to its own rights, it has a legitimate claim on public resources.

"I begin to wonder whether Britain will continue to be a place which protects and welcomes the works of people shaped and inspired by the church." The Cardinal said he feared intolerance of Christianity "so when Christians stand by their beliefs, they are intolerant dogmatists. When they sin, they are hypocrites.

"When they take the side of the poor, they are soft-headed liberals. When they seek to defend the family, they are Rightwing reactionaries."

He added: "What looks like liberality is in reality a radical exclusion of religion from the public sphere."

Catholic leaders have made a powerful point of their loyalty to the British state since full civil rights were granted to Roman Catholics by the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.

The Cardinal described the Act as a historic turning point.

The speech is likely to make uncomfortable reading for Tony Blair - he is expected to convert to Roman Catholicism after he leaves Downing Street later this year - and for Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, a staunch Catholic responsible for pushing through the Sexual Orientation Regulations.


Source

28 March 2007

Catholic Podcasts

I read an excellent post today over at the Swallowed Scroll blog. All about using technology to learn more about the One True faith.

The article talks about using iPod and iTunes to download podcasts and listen to them, and goes on to list a good selection of sources for material. Podcasts are great, and you don't need an iPod, pretty much any MP3 player will do. For example, I listen to my downloads on my mobile phone. You don't necessarily need iTunes either, although the software is free. Very often you can download the Podcasts direct from the website.

I also burn the MP3 files I download to CD, so I can listen to them in the car. The best thing is, all this material is available on the internet, for free. Where possible though, I always look to make a donation where I can, to help ensure these services are around for others to enjoy too.

Take a look, and give it a go.

27 March 2007

Water is not a commercial product


















Water is not a commercial product.

An excellent post from the Beppe Grillo blog.

A thousand million people have NO drinking water

One million, eight hundred thousand children die each year from polluted water.

Read the full article here.

When I say "I am a Christian"

Being a wordsmith would be great. To be someone who could paint a picture with words, to be able to use words that instantly spring in the imagination of people who hear the words, to be able to describe a scene so vividly they can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, in their mind. Unfortunately, it's not to be. My skills are in listening, not talking (or writing)

I received an email today with this beautiful poem enclosed, and I wanted to share:

When I Say "I Am A Christian"
by Carol Wimmer
When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I am saved"
I'm whispering "I get lost!"
"That is why I chose this way."

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need someone to be my guide.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
my flaws are too visible
but God believes I'm worth it.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
which is why I seek His name.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority.
I only know I'm loved.

Death threats

Threatening to kill anyone is just not nice. Plain common sense, huh? A blogger called Kathy Sierra, who writes the Creating Passionate Users blog, has been receiving death threats. The information is posted on her blog, with links to other sites where alleged threats have been made. There are some nasty pictures around and some horrible comments, too.

Now I don't know Kathy Sierra, have never come across her blog til today. Does she wind people up? Who knows. If she did would that justify death threats? Certainly not. It would appear some mischief making is going on, some people with small brains and big mouths are saying anything they want, people are getting upset, etc, etc.

Receiving a death threat is unpleasant. You have to feel for this woman, whatever the circumstances. I hope the situation is dealt with and Kathy can stop living behind a locked door, in fear.

26 March 2007

Europe - Thy name is cowardice

I saw this post over at catholic caveman blog. An interesting article from Die Welt, Germany's largest publication newspaper. The Catholic Caveman blog is often a good read, check it out.

EUROPE - THY NAME IS COWARDICE

(Commentary by Mathias Dapfner CEO, Axel Springer, AG)

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true. Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives, as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements. Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe, where for decades, inhuman suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European Appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush...

Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement. How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic Fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany?

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists. One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolph Hitler and declaring European "Peace in our time".

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness. Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for Anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against Democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive".

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.

Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

23 March 2007

Blog Tag

Over on Ellasdevil's blog he's been doing a tag/meme type thing. And at the end he 'tagged' me for the same. So, here we go:

10 FAVORITES

Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Food: Italian
Favorite Month: May
Favorite Song: Ave Maria - It's beautiful
Favorite Movie: Godfather II
Favorite Sport: Football. I like most sport but football above all
Favorite Season: Late spring
Favorite Day: Saturday
Favorite Ice Cream: Mint Choc Chip
Favorite Time of Day: Early morning or late evening. When it's peaceful and quiet.

9 CURRENTS

Current Mood: Happy
Current Taste: BBQ flavour mini cheddars
Current Clothes: Trousers and shirt. Smart casual.
Current Desktop: The creation of Adam, where my blogger avatar comes from
Current Toenail Color: Normal. I don't paint my toe nails
Current Time: 20:34
Current Surroundings: My TV room
Current Thoughts: Making plans for the weekend

8 FIRSTS

First Best Friend: Brian (no surnames, for privacy)
First Kiss: Julie
First Screen Name: Jay3gsm. It's a play on my first name and my interest in mobile communication technology
First Pet: A rabbitt
First Piercings: I don't have any. Gross.
First Crush: Kirsty
First CD: I'm old. I don't remember, but it was possibly Guns n Roses, Use your Illusion I & II

7 LASTS

Last Cigarette: I've never smoked
Last Drink: Water, at lunch time
Last Car Ride: Driving home from work this evening
Last Kiss: From my daughter, last Sunday :)
Last Movie Seen: La Vita e' Bella (Watched on DVD last weekend)
Last Phone Call: With a business client this morning
Last CD Played: Fratellis (my new favourite band of the moment)

6 HAVE YOU EVERS

Have You Ever Dated One Of Your Best Friends: Yes (And married)
Have You Ever Broken the Law: Yes, before I didn't care. Now I try not to.
Have You Ever Been Arrested: Yes
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: No way!
Have You Ever Been on TV: Yes.
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: Yeah, it's a greeting. Full on, no.

5 THINGS

Thing You're Wearing: My crucifix
Thing You've Done Today: Worked. Nothing more interesting than that :(
Thing You Can Hear Right Now: Mother Angelica on EWTN
Thing You Can't Live Without: My faith, now I found it I don't want to lose it.
Thing You Do When You're Bored: Read. Or sleep, if I can.

4 PLACES YOU'VE BEEN TODAY

Work
Tony's Cafe
Fish shop
Shopping

3 PEOPLE YOU CAN TELL ANYTHING TOO

My sister
The priest
My friend

2 CHOICES

Black or White: White
Hot or Cold: Hot

1 THING YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE

See my children grow into adults.

Ok, tag time. Easy, if you've read this, blog your own. If you do, let me know, I'll pop over and have a read.

22 March 2007

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing


I received this email today, that I wanted to put on my blog. If only two people who care enough follow through and support the action, then it is worthwhile. This is a long post. It's a letter from Karl Keating, from catholic.com I don't live in America, but I can see the reason why this action is important. The Catholic Church is OUR Catholic Church, and we need to ensure that we don't allow disease to enter our faith and erode it from the inside. Please, read this letter and do what you can to help. The email allows use of the text, here it is in full:

How to Keep the Catholic Church from Being Undermined by Dissenters Who Have Lost the Faith and Are Trying to Destroy the Faith of Everyone Else, Too!

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers,

This is a painful letter for me to write.

Why? Because it deals with a painful problem that affects thousands of priests, nuns, deacons, and other individuals who are in charge of millions of souls.
The problem is the wave of theological and moral dissent that is in danger of overtaking the Church in America.

The dissenters—who are well organized—are systematically trying to subvert and “reconstruct” the very foundations of our Catholic faith.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve written many times to warn people about Call to Action, Women’s Ordination Conference, Catholics for a Free Choice, CORPUS (the National Association for a Married Priesthood), Dignity, FutureChurch, and many other self-proclaimed “change agents” present in the Church today.

They all have a similar agenda: to dismantle the existing structure and essence of the Catholic Church and then re-make it in their own image and likeness.

Their common concerns? They desperately want the Church to change its “rigid” stand on such issues as abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexual activity, women’s ordination, and married priests.

It’s almost hard to believe that these people are serious. But they are.
For many of us, it may even be hard to believe that
pose a serious threat to the Church. But they certainly do.

Did you know that at a recent Call to Action national convention (in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), a couple of hundred priests were in attendance?

It’s true. Also present were many radical feminist nuns, religious educators, chancery officials, liturgists, theologians, and various Church bureaucrats.

Altogether, about 4,000 to 5,000 people were in attendance.

So, as you can see, this group of dissenters actually represents . . .
A Powerful Force within the Church Today!

And they have a clear, systematic agenda: to tear down the Church as we know it— you’ve been seeing it happen for the last 40 years—and then re-build it into a different “NewChurch” structured around their own agenda.

As proof, we here at Catholic Answers just finished an eye-opening new report that spells out this crisis in detail.

It’s titled Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing—and it’s devastating. It contains hard-hitting facts and quotations from the dissenters themselves about their plans for remolding the Church into something no faithful Catholic would recognize.

Their own words incriminate them.

One of the most insidious plans being laid by the dissenters is to have a “constitution” adopted by the Church—which would give so-called “rights” to “the people” (or, more accurately, to the dissenters).

The “Constitution for the Catholic Church” is being widely promoted right now by a group called the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, which was founded in 1980 in reaction to Vatican censure of such radical theologians as Edward Schillebeeckx, Jacques Pohier, and Hans Küng.

Let me show you some of the key articles of this Constitution. You’ll be able to see for yourself how they would destroy the Catholic faith if adopted.

Article 1 is the most important of all—laying the groundwork for everything else to come.

It says, “All Catholics have the right to follow their informed consciences in all matters.”

Notice it doesn’t say “properly formed” consciences. You see, the dissenters believe that the final arbiter of any decision must be the person’s own conscience - regardless of whether it is properly formed or not.

Of course, if the Church were to accept this “ideal,” then the original standard—reliance on a properly formed conscience based on the authority of the magisterium—would be swept away, replaced by a mandate for pure moral relativism.

This is what leads men like Frank Bonnike, co-founder of CORPUS, to say, “I keep all the rules, but I also respect people who don’t keep all the rules. The key is to respect their consciences.”

Of course, the dissenters don’t really believe that all Catholics have the right to follow their consciences. Why? Because whenever orthodox Catholics oppose abortion, homosexual “marriage,” contraception, and the like, the dissenters viciously condemn us and ridicule our views!

As with “tolerance” and “non-judgmentalism,” this reliance on personal conscience is simply a tool that the dissenters use to further their goals.
You Won’t Believe These

Take a look at some of these other articles in the proposed charter and “Constitution for the Church” (you can read these on the ARCC website at http://arcc-catholic-rights.org):

Article 2: “Officers of the Church have the right to teach on matters both of private and public morality only after wide consultation with the faithful prior to the formulation of the teaching.”

Article 5: “All Catholics have the right to a voice in all decisions that affect them, including the choosing of their leaders.”

Article 16: “All Catholics, regardless of canonical status (lay or clerical), sex or sexual orientation, have the right to exercise all ministries in the Church for which they are adequately prepared, according to the needs and with the approval of the community.”

This blatant call for women’s ordination is repeated in Article 26: “All Catholic women have an equal right with men to the resources and the exercise of all the powers of the Church.”

Then there’s Article 28: “All married Catholics have the right to determine in conscience the size of their families and the appropriate methods of family planning.”

I don’t have to tell you what that means: The acceptance of abortion, sterilization, and all means of contraceptive and abortifacient birth control.

But here’s a real whopper.

Articles 30 and 31: “All married Catholics have the right to withdraw from a marriage which has irretrievably broken down. All such Catholics retain the radical right to remarry. All Catholics who are divorced and remarried and who are in conscience reconciled to the Church have the right to the same ministries, including all sacraments, as do other Catholics.”

These folks need to re-read Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11–12, and Luke 16:18, which recorded our Lord proclaiming, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

But these dissenters ignore such a direct statement made by Christ himself. That’s why their ability to deceive themselves knows no boundaries.

And as if all that weren’t enough, here’s Article 32: “All Catholics have the right to expect that Church documents and materials will avoid sexist language, and that symbols and imagery of God will not be exclusively masculine.”

But what makes me even more upset is that the dissenters envision holding a “constitutional convention” in order to enact all of the demands described above, and they want to call it . . .
“Vatican III”

We already know how much damage these same people did to the Church in the name of “the spirit of Vatican II.” Imagine what they would do if they succeed in holding “Vatican III.”

One of the things they want, for instance, is for every continent, nation, diocese, and parish to have a detailed constitution of its own, whose articles and amendments would be arrived at by popular vote of the bodies of individuals concerned, one in each different area!

This is actually the key to fulfilling the dissenters’ dream of the destruction of the hierarchical Church.

They want to be the ones who ultimately hold power at the top. For example, their constitution would set up a complicated judicial system of diocesan, national, and international tribunals, culminating in a Supreme Tribunal whose job would be to hear cases charging illegal or unconstitutional actions…
By the POPE!

Bizarre but true!

And the constitution warns darkly, “There shall be no judicial appeal from the judgments of the Supreme Tribunal.”

And again, I’m not making this up. You can read it on their web site!

At the recent Call to Action conference, attendees were asked by a journalist what motivates them and why they don’t just leave the Church if they dislike it so much. A typical response revealed the true reason dissenters stay in the Church and are trying so hard to change it:
“The Church has absolutely no right to make us feel guilty
about activities that our consciences tell us are moral.”

You see, they know that if they leave the Church, they will be nothing special—just another gaggle of splinter groups in the great world supermarket of churches.

But like parasites, they seek to drain the “host” of its vitality for their own purposes. Also like parasites, the dissenters have gradually burrowed their way into the very structure of the Church.

Almost two-thirds of Call to Action conference attendees actually work for the Church! Many of them work in positions as pastoral assistants, teachers at Catholic schools and seminaries, or directors of religious education.

If they get their way, the Church won’t be able to teach anything other than “follow thy conscience.”

As proof, here’s a quote from Anthony Padovano, the current president of CORPUS:
“Conscience or so-called ‘cafeteria’ Catholicism is infinitely more beneficial for the Church than cathedral Catholicism. Cathedral Catholicism does not give us a community of believers, but an assembly of servants and slaves.”

What an insult to faithful Catholics!

Truly, their audacity knows no bounds. Mr. Padovano asserts that it is wrong for the pope to rule on birth control since he “has no personal experience” in the area, never having been married.

When Pope Benedict XVI was elected, Padovano stated, “American Catholics will not allow this papacy to prevail. Some will openly resist; others clandestinely subvert; most will simply not comply.”

Yes, he’s that arrogant and defiant.
Who’s Really Obsessed with Sex?

When you look at the dissenters’ writings, you’ll notice that they accuse everyone else (especially our Pope) of being “obsessed” with sexual issues. But in fact, the people who are really obsessed are the dissenters themselves.

Even just a casual look at their literature reveals that most of their scribblings deal with sex-related subjects such as contraception, abortion, priestly celibacy, and homosexuality.

Dissident organizations that abound today are so preoccupied with sex—and especially . . .
Sexual Deviancy

For instance, one of the newer groups is New Ways Ministry—whose job is to advocate for gay Catholics and gay priests. Yep, just what the Church needs.

There’s DignityUSA, which boldly states in its mission statement:
“DignityUSA envisions and works for a time when Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Catholics are affirmed and experience dignity through the integration of their spirituality with their sexuality, and as beloved persons of God participate fully in all aspects of life within the Church and Society.”

CORPUS (a group of ex-priests who left ministry to get married) states its goal this way:
“We are committed to working for a renewed priesthood of married and single men and women in the Catholic Church. We continue to work for an inclusive priesthood . . . one that is open to women and men, married and single, gay and straight.”

It boasts on its web site that “on July 31, 2006, eight Roman Catholic women were ordained as priests in Pittsburgh. They were validly ordained by three consecrated female bishops.”

These people take themselves very seriously. And they’re in positions of power within the Church—especially at the parish level—so we need to take them seriously, too.

So, I want to send you a copy of our new research report, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing—and I also want to ask for your help in getting it widely distributed to the millions of Catholics all across the United States.
Won’t You Help Us Sound the Alarm?

This report is must reading for every Catholic who loves the Church and cares enough to defend it.

That’s why, with your help, I want to send a copy of this report to as many Catholics as possible so they can take action in their own parish—because so much of the dissenters’ poison is now spread at the parish level through CCD classes and RCIA classes.

But we can’t send a single copy to anyone without your help.

The initial cost of this project will be approximately $150,000. We need to raise that money in the next 30 days so we can launch this vital defense of the faith.

As Fr. John Hardon, S.J., once pointed out:
“The Church cannot be destroyed, but let’s be clear: The Church in any particular country CAN be wiped out. We have some 1,900 extinct dioceses in the world today. Barring a miracle of grace, one diocese after another in the United States will disappear.”

Those are very sobering words—so we must take heed!

This is why we at Catholic Answers are so dedicated to getting widespread distribution of our new research report, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.

As you know, our central purpose is to defend the Catholic faith. And right now in America, it’s under severe attack by the dissenters.

If we don’t do something now, we will live to regret it. But even worse, our children and grandchildren will live to resent us for it, and millions will never know the faith at all.

They will wonder why we didn’t fight to save our beloved Church when we had the chance.
They Will Wonder If We Really Loved It at All!

We must not let that happen.

And we must not make the mistake of thinking that God will just take care of everything by himself. Listen: If we don’t fight to defend his Church, then we don’t deserve his help!

It’s that simple.

Looking on the bright side, this terrible onslaught of heresy, schism, and apostasy will actually serve to strengthen the Church in the long run—and get people to rally around the orthodox teachings of the faith.

People will be inspired to learn and live their faith so they can defend it.

Many vocations to orthodox religious orders will no doubt come out of this, too.

In a word, God will draw GOOD out of the evil we face . . .

. . . but only if you and I do our part to cooperate with him.

We at Catholic Answers are totally dependent on your generosity in order to send out our new report. As I mentioned, the initial cost will be $150,000—which we don’t have right now.

Therefore, would you be able to send us your gift of $35 or more to help with this project? In return, I will send you a copy of our eye-opening report, Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.

If you can afford it, please dig deep and give $100 or more. It’s that important.

I know I’m asking for a lot. But the Church in America has virtually no one else to stand up for it and defend it besides faithful Catholics like you.

If you don’t stand with us, who will? And if we don’t defeat the dissenters now, when?
It’s Up to Each of Us to Do Our Part

The dissenters are working to dismantle the Church and replace it with an institution of their own design.

Consider this quotation from a leading dissenter, Fr. Bill Callahan:
“The Church system is showing such strains and contradictions that it is ready to crumble. Systems crumble much more readily if there are people marching around the walls, everyone with a little rock pick, working on their part of the wall. You can’t repel them all.”

To that I say, “Yes we can, Father. Watch us. There are more of us than there are of you. Leave our Church alone!”

Will you join me in this battle?

All you have to do is make your donation—by clicking here now.

We need to hear from you right away so that we know we have the resources to go forward.

So please donate now—and then pray harder than ever that God will bless our humble efforts on behalf of his Church.

As Fr. Hardon said, it will take a miracle to keep the Catholic Church in America from being destroyed from within by dissenters. So let’s start praying—and working—right now for that timely miracle.

God bless you, and I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Sincerely in Christ,

Karl Keating

p.s., One of the worst dissent groups in the Church today is Catholics for a Free Choice—the pro-abortion outfit established by Frances Kissling.

In our new research report, we expose CFFC—and we show why it’s anything BUT Catholic.

We also show you where it gets its money—millions upon millions of dollars a year.

Despite what you might think, the dissenters are well-funded by people who hate the Catholic Church and want to see it fall.

That’s why we need your financial help more than ever before—because this project can help stop the dissenters in their tracks. But only if we raise the money.

May God bless you for helping us and shower his graces upon you and your family for keeping the faith!

Click here to donate.