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:

Envy:Very Low

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.