Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Abbot Primate of Benedictines: Pope Benedict XVI strongly influenced by Benedictines in Bavaria

An upsurge in vocations and faithful adherence to the monastic tradition of the Benedictines could be a catalyst and go a long way toward re-evangelizing a de-Christianized Europe. As the Abbot Primate noted, the Pope has quoted a phrase from the Rule of St. Benedict, "Christo omnino nihil praeponant -- put absolutely nothing before Christ." If more Christians could be found who put absolutely nothing before Christ, re-evangelization would be assured.

It is only fitting that Christianity's own faith traditions of monastic life and prayer would be a mustard seed planted upon which to revitalize a faltering Church. One can access The Rule of St. Benedict and the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) online for further information.

Date: 2005-05-31

The Pope and the Timeliness of St. Benedict's Rule

Interview With Father Notker Wolf, Abbot Primate

ROME, MAY 31, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI already has enabled the world to rediscover the timeliness of the Rule of St. Benedict, says Father Notker Wolf, abbot primate of the Confederated Benedictines.

The order which was founded in the sixth century is dedicated today to the celebration of the liturgy, care of souls, missions, study, art, education of youth and the media insofar as it is compatible with monastic life. The order counts 7,860 monks, including 4,139 priests.

Father Wolf talked about the new Pope with ZENIT.

Q: What was your first impression when you heard that the new Pope was called Benedict XVI?

Abbot Wolf: I was in the Monastery of Tepeyac, in Mexico, and I followed the events on television there. We were very surprised and happy when we heard his name.

Q: How has the Benedictine presence in Bavaria influenced the new Pope, either at the theological level or in the choice of his name?

Abbot Wolf: The experience he had with the Benedictines in Bavaria seems to have had a real influence. He himself thought of entering a Benedictine monastery. There are 17 Benedictine convents in Bavaria.

The Bavarian mentality is very much influenced by the Benedictines. In the last years the Pope did his annual Spiritual Exercises in the Benedictine Abbey of Scheyern.

In fact, on several occasions he has quoted a phrase of the Benedictine Rule: "Christo omnino nihil praeponant -- put absolutely nothing before Christ." Christ is the center of our life, Christ is the salvation of the world.

Q: Benedictines have a dynamic organization: They are not centralized, and give great freedom to each monastery. Do you think the Pope will be inspired by this model to decentralize the Church?

Abbot Wolf: St. Benedict asks the abbot to exercise authority, but he excludes authoritarianism. When an important question must be addressed, all must be heard. The abbot makes the decision only afterward.

We know that, at meetings, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger would let everyone speak and he knew how to listen. I wouldn't be surprised if he delegates much and if he promotes the principle of subsidiarity.

He himself has said that a universal Church should not be directed in a centralized manner. He will respect the local Churches without endangering the unity of the Church.

Q: How can St. Benedict inspire the Europe of today?

Abbot Wolf: Through his Rule and his monks, St. Benedict transmitted to the West stability and a new culture at a time of great changes.

In an age like ours, which is also characterized by great changes, his principles should also indicate the path to the future, to which belong, among others, common responsibility before God, respect for the dignity of the person, integration of the individual person in the community and a just measure in conduct, in the area of laws and their application.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Bivouac of the Dead: a Memorial Day tribute

Thanks for this poem of Theodore O'Hara referenced today from "Diary of a Suburban Priest".

May 30, 2005

Bivouac Of The Dead
By Theodore O'Hara

(Written in memory of the Kentucky troops killed in the Mexican War - 1847)
Portions Of This Haunting Poem Are Inscribed On Placards
Throughout Arlington, As Well as On The McClellan Gate

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo;
No more on Life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few.
On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents to spread,
And glory guards, with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.

No rumor of the foe's advance
Now swells upon the wind;
Nor troubled thought at midnight haunts
Of loved ones left behind;
No vision of the morrow's strife
The warrior's dreams alarms;
No braying horn or screaming fife
At dawn shall call to arms.


Sunday, May 29, 2005

French vote to protect French sovereignty; say "Non" to European Constitution

The news is a resounding defeat for the government of Jacques Chirac! Thankfully, Gallic pragmatism and desire to preserve French sovereignty prevailed in the end.

A secular European constitution would have further eroded the Christian heritage of Europe. Now, we can all go back to eating les pommes frites and les fromage.

French Voters Deliver a Crushing Defeat to European Constitution

International Herald Tribune
Published: May 29, 2005

PARIS, May 29 - French voters dealt a crushing defeat to the European constitution today, demonstrating their determination to punish the leaders of France and of Europe after a bitter campaign that split the country in two.

Video: At the Polls in France

As the polls closed, the French Interior Ministry said the no camp had 57.26 percent, compared to 42.74 for yes, with nearly 83 percent of the votes counted.


Some further reactions to the news in Britain:

NON: EU thrown into turmoil as French reject constitution

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What's on trial here?: the injustice of "the defamation of Islam" charge against Oriana Fallaci

The Pope's fervor to re-evangelize Europe is brought into increasingly sharp focus in the face of this recent indictment by a preliminary judge, Armando Grasso, in Bergamo, Italy.

Besides the recent killing of innocents by Muslims in reaction to unsubstantiated claims from Newsweek that the Qur'an might have been "desecrated" in Guantánamo prison by being placed on toilet seats or flushed, now, we have further travesties against sanity and justice. As a May 25, 2005 article,
"Fallaci charged in Italy with defaming Islam" from Reuters in Rome reports, the judge, against the advice of prosecutors at a hearing on Tuesday, May 24, decided to bring the famed journalist up on charges of blasphemy against the Qur'an because of 18 statements she made in her recent book, "La Forza della Ragione".

Since when was defacing the Qur'an or criticisms against the violence of jihadist Muslims a crime? We in the West are not living under the Taliban or under Sha'ria law. Even though political authority in Italy has devolved into the hands of the secular state, the last time I checked Italy was still historically part of Christendom.

This is not about a "religious hate crime" but about passing sentence on anyone who dares to inform others about the dark side of jihadist Islam. Now it appears that in Italy bogus charges of "defamation" can be brought up against anyone who crosses over a politically correct line protecting Islam. As Irene Adler remarks in her article in "A Western Heart," Fallaci "has had the temerity to criticize the uncriticizable".

Secular forces in Italy would be screaming "Inquisition!" if similar charges of blasphemy were brought against those defaming Christianity. Since when was Italy an Islamic country? Am I missing something here?

A Western Heart
Saturday, May 28, 2005

Fallaci On Trial in Italy For Blasphemy
by Irene Adler

They are calling the official charge "defamation of Islam" but blasphemy is really what it is all about. Oriana Fallaci has had the temerity to criticize the uncriticizable, and European multi-cultis are aligning with Islamists to figuratively stone her to death. The dying old WWII Resistance fighter will fight the good fight against tyranny with every breath, of course. A blog called Dagger-in-Hand has a translation into English of the "charges" against Fallaci, who is being tried for making the following "criminal" statements:

1) during the occupation of Montecassino in the 9th century “the Muslims amused themselves by sacrificing each night the virginity of a nun. Do you know where? On the altar of the cathedral.”


Friday, May 27, 2005

Collected video clips from Jihadist sermons: Islamist clerics denigrate Christians and Jews

From MEMRI and sent as a communique from the American Congress for Truth, is a very explosive video showing Islamist clerics from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority preaching hate against Christians and Jews. Nothing like a little Jihadist rhetoric to stir the blood...

Isralert.com source: MEMRI

May 18, 2005

Today's new clips include Saudi Cleric Awadh Al-Qarni on Iqra TV, discussing the ideological roots of the American mind. Another clip includes the Egyptian cleric Sheikh Mahmoud Al-Masri on Al Majd TV singing a song about 'apes' and 'pigs' and the annihilation of the Jews. Also, last week on PA TV in an official Palestinian Authority sermon, Sheikh Mudeiris stated: "We (Muslims) Will Rule America" and called Israel a cancer, and Jews a virus resembling AIDS.

View video.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Donahue of Catholic League alerts Catholics: "Penn and Teller" episode "Holier Than Thou" slanders Mother Teresa

The "Catholic League" is, in their words, "the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization" [that] "defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination."

Dr. Donahue, its President, has issued a press release about the highly offensive episode.

Along with the actions of the Catholic League, hopefully, such a bigoted and mean-spirited character assassination of Mother Teresa will elicit outrage from the general public. Let's pray that public outcry will be effective in notifying Viacom to stop development of such offensive productions in the future.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 4:45 p.m. EDT

Viacom's Showtime Slanders Mother Teresa

When shareholders of media conglomerate Viacom show up for their annual meeting tomorrow, they'll face the wrath of Catholic League President Dr. William Donahue over a shocking Showtime episode that slandered the late Mother Teresa and her order of nuns in the vilest of terms.

According to Donahue, who plans a press conference in front of the hotel in New York City where the Viacom meeting is being held, an episode of Showtime's Penn and Teller show "Holier Than Thou” was a "Nazi-like assault on Catholicism, and on the person the show calls..."


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The way to re-evangelize de-Christianized Europe, says Spanish association, is Adoration of Blessed Sacrament

Agenzia Fides

May 25, 2005

EUROPA/SPAIN - Year of the Eucharist - “New Evangelisation in a de-Christianised Europe can only be from the Eucharist and towards the Eucharist”: all-night adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Seville (Fides Service) - The Spanish association for all-night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, founded in Madrid in 1877, is present today in every diocese of the country with a total number of 1,500 sections and circa 80,000 members. Under the guidance of the Bishops these Adorers in parish groups or other groups in other churches and chapels are committed to spending one night every month in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament on behalf of the whole Church and the whole of humanity. Besides this monthly commitment these Adorers also promote and support many other forms of Eucharistic devotion in full communion with the bishops, taking part in various initiatives and groups of apostolate as part of local diocesan pastoral activity. In his address at the 48th International Eucharistic Congress last October in Guadalajara Mexico, Adolfo José Petit Caro Spiritual Director of diocesan nightly Adoration in Seville said many circumstances are obstacles to nightly adoration and they make it appear less timely and less understandable today. “Secularisation of habits and environments, declines in religious and Christian awareness, changed customs and habits in family and social life are part of a cultural context which appears to want to present many religious and church realities as antiquated and outdated by modern humanism without God”.The Spiritual Director of the diocese of Seville said he hoped the Year of the Eucharist will prompt new efforts for apostolic activity, greater creativity and unity and deeper love for Jesus in the Eucharist to revitalise this admirable work of new evangelisation with new fervour, new methods and more lively apostolic vigour. “New evangelisation called for by the Church in an old de-Christianised Europe, can only be towards the Eucharist and from the Eucharist - centre and origin, source and summit of the Church’s life and mission - and to be convinced and committed apostles Catholics must be ever more intensely Eucharistic”.

(R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 25/5/2005, righe 25, parole 333)

Meddling with human embryos in the name of therapy is not only morally reprehensible but highly dangerous

Scientific manipulations of human embryos for "therapeutic" ends is morally reprehensible. Not only is such meddling never right but from a scientific vantage point it is highly dangerous. The results can never be certain nor can their effects be predicted. When man plays God, he always opens a Pandora's box.

More details on these human cloning experiments can be found:
Along with the urgings of the Vatican to stop the cloning of human embryos, let's pray that this morally outrageous and indefensible research be stopped globally before irreversible and grievous harm is done.

Date: 2005-05-24

Vatican Official Urges Halt to Cloning Technique

Bishop Sgreccia Responds to Reports From England and Korea

VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Reports of "therapeutic" cloning of embryos in England and South Korea highlight the need for international organizations and political authorities to halt this practice, says a Vatican official.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, sounded that warning Saturday on Vatican Radio.

Echoing a report in The Times newspaper the day before, Vatican Radio explained that a team at Newcastle University, headed by Alison Murdoch and Miodrag Stojkovic, created three blastocysts, namely, the clones of human embryos in the first stage.

Last year, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority of Great Britain authorized the university's team to work on "therapeutic" cloning.

The British scientists worked on 36 ovules donated by 11 women who underwent treatment for in vitro fertilization. The nucleus of each ovule was replaced by a skin stem cell. The ovules were then subjected to an electric discharge to initiate the growth process.


From 10 ovules, the researchers were able to create three blastocysts. The attempt to extract stem cells had not yet been successful as clones had not lived for more than five days.

According to the researchers, the experiment was carried out to prove that ovules taken from women who have undergone treatment for in vitro fertilization are adequate to produce clones.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Spreading the pro-life message with a smile; now one can view Umbert the Unborn daily online

Pro-life comic Umbert the Unborn can be viewed daily in the "Culture of Life" section of Catholic.net.

A daily dose of Umbert can also be accessed from creator Gary Cangemi's new womb site, Umbert the Unborn.

Monday, May 23, 2005

To re-evangelize Christendom, Christ who is Truth must supplant the relativization of truth

Relativism 101: A Brief, Objective Guide
by Carl E. Olson
May 22, 2005

It is, according to Pope Benedict XVI, "the most profound difficulty of our time." Pope John Paul II said it is a leading cause for lack of evangelistic and missionary zeal. And the late Allan Bloom, author of the controversial bestseller The Closing of the American Mind, said it is the only thing that many university students believe in.

Defining Relativism

All three are referring to relativism, the belief that truth is in the eye of the beholder. Relativism insists that morality, cultures, and beliefs are all of equal value, meaning, and worth. It asserts that what is true for one person might not be true for another, and each person can decide for himself what is true, good, and right. Popular expressions of relativism include comments such as, "This is true for me–and so I believe it" and "What's right for you might not be right for me."

In his homily at the Mass preceding the conclave that quickly elected him Pope Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Ratzinger said that "relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,’ looks like the only attitude [acceptable] to today’s standards." He warned: "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires."

Relativism comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. For example, cultural relativism holds that "truth" is merely the creation of a particular culture and what is "true" for for one culture is not necessarily "true" for other cultures. There is moral relativism, the belief that morality is a subjective social creation of a particular people in a certain time and place–and that morality can be changed as desired or needed.

Situational relativism asserts that what is "right" and "wrong" depends on the specifics of each situation–not upon objective, transcendent morality. And cognitive relativism is the philosophical belief that truth, rationality, and knowledge are relative–there is not such thing as objective, definitive truth.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Roy and Mary Schindler present Pope Benedict XVI with pictures of their daughter, Terri

The Schindler's continue to struggle against "the culture of death," by bringing attention to how heroically their daughter Terri struggled to live. The battle against the euthanasia or right-to-die movement continues at TerrisFight.org, the site of the Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation, and on the numerous blogs listed on the blog aggregator and blogroll, BlogsforTerri.

AP - Wed May 18, 9:17 AM ET

In this picture released by the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI meets with Terri Schiavo's parents, Roy Schindler, right, and Mary Schindler presenting him with pictures of their daughter at the weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Wednesday, May 18, 2005. - YahooNews.com

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, created to counteract a perceived American hegemony

Diana West, in this February 2005 Op-Ed piece for "The Washington Times," determines how very important it is to understand "a new geopolitical entity," Eurabia, as described by Bat Ye'or in his book of the same name. Its conclusion? The underlying reason for an Euro-Arabian alliance: to counteract an American hegemony perceived to be dangerous.

The Washington Times

February 18, 2005

The emerging 'Eurabia'

By Diana West

It was just a coincidence that "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis" appeared in the mail the same day a New York Times article on the subject of Eurabia landed on the doorstep. "Eurabia," the long-awaited book by Bat Ye'or, is a comprehensive, even overwhelming and absolutely shocking explication of how and why it is that Europe is transforming itself into what the Egyptian-born historian calls "a new geopolitical entity " Eurabia." The New York Times article, on the other hand, a muddled analysis by Craig S. Smith about the "fear of Islamists" and the "far right" in Belgium, is one more illustration of how desperately Bat Ye'or's trail-blazing work is needed.

Few of us have the long-view vision to make sense of the sweep of history as it smokes past our eyes; Bat Ye'or, as a historian of Islam, and, in particular, the dhimmi (the non-Muslim peoples who live as second-class citizens under Islamic rule), has precisely the laser-lens required. She also has the fortitude of the historian/gumshoe to wade through the stacks of articles, memoranda and conference declarations generated by something called the Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD).

Created 30-odd years ago at the instigation of France and the Arab League, the practically unknown EAD has provided structural and theoretical underpinnings to a Euro-Arab axis " Eurabia. These have fostered the political, economic and cultural bonds between Europe and the Arab world that Bat Ye'or maintains were designed to create "a global alternative to American power."

How? Very basically " and this is detailed in the book " by shepherding a meeting of Euro-Arab minds, first and foremost, on the Arab League war on Israel. This would come about in exchange for freely flowing Arab oil into Europe, which would come about in exchange for freely flowing Muslim immigration into Europe, which would come about in exchange for research and development and labor and education and tourism and cultural ties between the Europe and the Arab world... which would all come about with an increasing independence of, and, indeed, hostility toward America.

This goes a long way toward explaining the behavior of Old Europe " the heart of Eurabia " since September 11. It also leaves a question hanging when the New York Times pegs Muslim immigration into Europe to a simple "postwar labor shortage": Is that really all the news that's fit to print?


Friday, May 20, 2005

President Bush at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast: "freedom rests on the self-evident truths about human dignity"

Transcript of Remarks by President Bush at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

5/20/2005 10:04:00 AM

To: National Desk

Contact: White House Press Office, 202-456-2580

WASHINGTON, May 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast:

Washington Hilton Hotel
Washington, D.C.
8:42 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for that warm reception -- especially for a Methodist. (Laughter and applause.) It's an honor to be here at the 2nd Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. This is a new tradition, yet, its promises are timeless for Catholic Americans: to thank the Lord for the blessing of freedom, to renew our shared dedication to this great republic, and to pray that America uses the gift of freedom to build a culture of life. (Applause.)

I am sorry that Laura is not here. You probably think she's preparing a couple of new one-liners. (Laughter.) But, in fact, she's winging her way to Jordan and Egypt and Israel to spread the freedom agenda. (Applause.) But I know if she were here, she would join me in thanking you and millions of others whom we'll never get to say thanks to in person for the countless prayers. It's an amazing experience to be the President of a nation where strangers from all religions pray for me and Laura. And I will tell you, it gives me such peace of mind, and enables me to do my job much better when I'm lifted up in prayer. Thank you for your prayers. (Applause.)


Vatican hopes for New Europe that remembers its spiritual identity and Christian patrimony

Date: 2005-05-17

Vatican Address to Council of Europe
A New Europe to Be Founded on "Freedom and Equality"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 17, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address, delivered in English by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, at the third summit of heads of state and governments of the Council of Europe, held in Warsaw, Poland, from May 16-17.

* * *

1. European Unity and European Values

1. It is my honor to convey to all present the cordial greetings of the new Pope, Benedict XVI, who in the choice of his name intended to recall one of the great architects of European civilization. In some of his previous talks and publications he has proposed a number of considerations, both historical and doctrinal, on the subject of European unity and values, which remain relevant and worthy of attention.

2. This theme, to which the present session is dedicated, is something particularly important for the Holy See. Pius XII in his Christmas message of 1944 proposed to Europe a "true democracy founded on freedom and equality" ("Acta Apostolicae Sedis," 37 (1945)14), and on May 9, 1945 he spoke of "a new Europe ... founded on respect for human dignity, for the sacred principle of equality of rights for all peoples, all states, large or small, weak or strong" (ibid, 129-130). Pope Paul VI dedicated keen and increasing attention to the same subject. And all are aware of the incessant, passionate and active commitment of John Paul II to a Europe corresponding more fully to its geographical, and especially to its historical identity. Here in his Polish homeland, I am particularly pleased to recall his great and lovable personality.

3. Europe will be loved by its citizens and will serve as an agent of peace and civilization in the world only if it is animated by certain fundamental values:

a. The promotion of human dignity and fundamental human rights, among which in the first place freedom of conscience and religion.

b. The pursuit of the common good in a spirit of solidarity.

c. Respect for national and cultural identity. These values obviously are shared by all, however, if they are to take on a clear focus and not remain generic, they must refer to Europe's own history because this is what constitutes Europe in its spiritual identity. For this reason the Holy See views with satisfaction the commitment expressed in the Preamble of the Declaration, paragraph 6, "to the universal values and principles which are rooted in Europe's cultural, religious and humanistic heritage." The pre-eminent role that Christianity has played in forming and developing this cultural, religious and humanistic patrimony is well known to all and cannot be ignored.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Islam, the "religion of peace": telling testimony from Islamic scholar, Dr. Mark A. Gabriel

In his illuminating testimony, Dr. Mark A. Gabriel, a former professor at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, an imam in Giza, and an Islamic scholar, relays how much and in what way Islam is a "religion of peace."

As Pope Benedict XVI has indicated, territories must be reclaimed for Christ, especially in the West. As part of this restoration, it is incumbent upon all believers to counteract the counterfeit message of Islam with the true message of the gospel.

In the light of the true gospel of peace, we are all called to be God's emissaries: to be missionaries, and to spread abroad the gospel of Jesus Christ, the true Prince of Peace.

My Story
Disillusioned at Al-Azhar

Fifteen years ago I was the imam of a mosque in the city of Giza, Egypt, which is where the famous Egyptian pyramids are located. (Imam of a mosque is a position similar to pastor of a Christian church.) I preached the message of the week on Fridays from 12 to 1 in the afternoon, as well as performed other duties.

One Friday the topic of my message was jihad. I told the two hundred fifty people seated on the ground before me:

Jihad in Islam is defending the Islamic nation and Islam against the attacks of the enemies. Islam is a religion of peace and only will fight against one who fights it. These infidels, heathens, perverts, Christians and Allah's grievers, the Jews, out of envy of peaceful Islam and its prophet---they spread the myth that Islam is promulgated by the sword and violence. These infidels, the accusers of Islam, do not acknowledge Allah's words.

At this point I quoted from the Quran:

And do not kill anyone whose killing Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause.
---Surah 17:33, The Noble Quran

When I spoke these words, I was just freshly graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt---the oldest and most prestigious Islamic university in the world. It serves as the spiritual authority for Islam worldwide. I was teaching at the university, and I was an imam on the weekends at this mosque.

I preached my sermon on jihad that day according to the philosophy of the Egyptian government. Al-Azhar University focused us on the politically correct Islam and purposely overlooked areas of teaching that conflicted with the authority of Egypt.

I was preaching what they taught me, but inside I was confused about the truth of Islam. But if I wanted to keep my job and my status at Al-Azhar, I needed to keep my thoughts to myself. After all, I knew what happened to people who differed from Al-Azhar's agenda. They would be fired and would not be accepted to teach at any other university in the nation.

However, I knew that what I was teaching at the mosque and at Al-Azhar was not what I'd seen in the Quran, which I had memorized in its entirety by the age of twelve. What confused me the most was that I was told to preach about an Islam of love, kindness and forgiveness. At the same time, Muslim fundamentalists---the ones who were supposed to be practicing true Islam---were bombing churches and killing Christians.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Obin Report shows Islamization of French schools well underway

As Pope Benedict XVI has indicated, re-evangelizing the West, and Europe in particular must be a top priority.

Already Muslims have made great strides in their Islamization of France, by hijacking the French school system. A March 11, 2005 article,
"France - Il ne figure même pas sur le site du ministère. Pourquoi veut-on étouffer le rapport courageux et accablant de Jean-Pierre Obin, inspecteur général de l'Éducation nationale, sur l'islamisation de l'école républicaine?", in Proche-Orient.info, made it clear that great strides have already been made by Islamists to coerce, intimidate, and subvert school children in France into becoming radical Muslims. The article draws its conclusions from a report developed by Jean-Pierre Obin, the General Inspector of Education. A rough translation of the article into English can be found using the Google translation engine. The report, which was silenced in great part in France, can be downloaded as a PDF file from Proche-Orient.info.

The Weekly Standard

The Islamization of French Schools
A disturbing report is leaked.

by Olivier Guitta
05/09/2005, Volume 010, Issue 32

AN OFFICIAL REPORT DEALING WITH religious expression in French schools has become a must read for anyone interested in the Islamization of France. Written under the auspices of the top national education official, Jean-Pierre Obin, the report was not initially released by the Ministry of Education. But it was leaked on the Internet in March and now can be found in its entirety at Proche-Orient.info and other websites.

The 37-page report is the product of a study carried out between October 2003 and May 2004 by a team of 10 inspectors, including Obin. In addition to examining the recent literature on religion and schools in France, they visited 61 academic and vocational high schools in 24 départements, chosen not as a cross-section of public schools, but rather as schools typical of those where religious expression has become a problem because of the high concentration of ethnic and religious minorities. Many are located in ethnically segregated neighborhoods now often referred to, the report says, "by analogy with the United States, as 'ghettos.'"

In each school, inspectors interviewed the management team, staff, and teachers, as well as lay people from the community, including parents, social workers, and elected officials. In addition, regional education officials were asked to submit accounts of their experiences in primary schools.

Amid much diversity--some of the schools were rural, some urban; some had fairly homogeneous student populations, others immigrants from many different countries--the inspectors report two consistent findings: a marked increase in religious expression, especially Muslim expression, in schools; and denial on the part of officials at all levels--from the classroom, to the principal's office, to the regional administration--that this phenomenon is occurring.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Stop Saudi Islamic fundamentalist madrassas in America from demonizing Christians and Jews

We in America must not allow what is happening in Europe to happen here. As Pope Benedict XVI has noted, Europe has become so secular that it needs to be re-evangelized for Christ. Secularization, by creating a religious void, has also left Europe particularly vulnerable to radical Islamist proselytation. Muslims are now 10% of the population in France; along with these numbers has come a sharp increase in anti-Semitism.

Unknown to most, dangerous Islamist proselytation is now occurring within maddrassas in the U.S. as well. These schools, funded by Saudi Arabia, are using our tradition of religious tolerance as a cover to spread lies and propaganda that demonize Christians and Jews.

We, as concerned citizens, must petition our elected officials to intervene and stop Islamic hate education.

Please sign the petition below:


It is vitally important that you sign the "Stop Saudi Islamic fundamentalist Madrassas in the US" petition to send our representatives in Congress a clear message that Islamic hate education must be stopped in America.

We the people of the United States of America request that you, our elected officials, put an immediate stop to the Saudi Madrassas in the United States. The Saudi education is based on the teachings of Sheik Muhammad Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. The cornerstone of education in Saudi Arabia consists of the most pervasive themes in Islam. The book, published by the Saudi Cultural Mission to the U.S., quotes a document published by the Higher Committee for Educational policy which contains 236 principles that explain how students should promote loyalty to Islam by denouncing any system or theory that conflicts with Islamic law. The students are also taught to understand Islam in a correct manner, how to plant and spread Islam throughout the world, and how "to fight spiritually and physically for the sake of Allah", with emphasis on early Islamic glories.

Here's a sample from 8th, and 9th grade books:

Sharh Kitab Eltawhid, 8th grade, published 2001, PG 43,Jews and Christians - Cursed by Allah and Turned into Apes and Pigs- a textbook explains why Jews and Christians were cursed by Allah and turned into apes and pigs. Quoting Surat Al-Maida, verse 60, the lesson explains that Jews and Christians have sinned by accepting polytheism and therefore incurred Allah's wrath. To punish them, Allah has turned them into apes and pigs.


Monday, May 16, 2005

At Columbia University, Brigitte Gabriel, Founder of ACT, decries Islamic propaganda advocacy on American college campuses

At this critical juncture in America we need to counteract the constant barrage of Islamist propaganda, lies, distortions, and indoctrination, especially about Islam and the Middle East, being spoonfed to students on our college campuses. We need the truth!

After arriving in the United States as a refugee, Brigitte Gabriel formed the American Congress for Truth to fight such propaganda.

For years as a child, she was indoctrinated with a steady diet of Islamic propaganda that passed for education. She saw firsthand the devastating effects of such propaganda upon her homeland of Lebanon. As she says:

"Everyday, American Congress for Truth (ACT) is on the front lines fighting for you in meeting with politicians, decision makers, speaking on college campuses and planning events to educate and inform the public about the threat of radical Muslim fundamentalists to world peace. We are committed to combating the global upsurge of hate and intolerance."
Recently at Columbia University, Ms. Gabriel spoke to university students about academic freedom, or the lack thereof, on American college campuses. The talk, "Environments of Hate: Indoctrination in the Arab World and Propaganda Advocacy in America’s University Classrooms", given on March 6, 2005, was hosted by "Scholars for Peace in the Middle East" at their Conference on "Academic Integrity and the Middle East".

She is passionate that, in the name of tolerance, that the American values of free speech not be hijacked and used by radical Muslim fundamentalists to stifle academic freedom and debate. In response to many requests a video of the same speech can also be viewed online at Columbia University.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

New Prefect highlights Pope's determination to re-evangelize the West and to fight moral relativism

As it appears from many of Benedict XVI's statements, both now and as the prior Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, some of the top agendas of the Church in the near future will be to re-evangelize the West, fight the insidious "relativization" of moral truth, regain lost territories for Christ, and set as a top priority a mandate to counteract the continual aggressive movement of Islam into the West.

According to the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, Pastor Bonus, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988, and specified in Article 48, "[t]he proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way."

Hopefully, by this papal appointment, the Church will move closer to being able to implement a more stringent promotion and safeguarding of faith and morals. We need to have an increasing number of clergy willing to put themselves on the line to fight for the "culture of life as against the "culture of death." We need to take back the culture for Christ.

According to his record, Levada appears to be a "doctrinal authority who is not afraid to oppose homosexuality, divorce, contraception, and other hot- button issues facing the church." Obviously, he was partly chosen for this ability to "hang tough" in the face of concerted secular opposition. Being the Archbishop of San Francisco since 1995, I'm sure, armored him with the hide of a rhino.

Vatican's focus falls on U.S., Europe Choosing Levada spotlights the West

Don Lattin, Angela Frucci, Chronicle Staff Writers
Sunday, May 15, 2005

When Pope John Paul II died early last month, papal pundits were consumed with the idea that the world's cardinals might replace him with an African or Latin American pope -- someone from a part of the world where the Catholic Church finds its greatest growth, and perhaps, its future.

Instead, they elected German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a longtime Vatican insider, as Pope Benedict XVI.

On Friday, Benedict named an American, San Francisco Archbishop William Levada, as his chief doctrinal watchdog for the 1.1 billion Catholics around the world.

To some observers, the election of a German pope and the appointment of an American archbishop show that Catholic leaders are focusing attention on solving problems they see in churches across Europe and the United States. For years, Cardinal Ratzinger bemoaned the steep decline of the church's influence in Italy, France, Germany -- the historic cradle of Catholicism. And while church attendance in the United States is relatively high and stable, the moral and financial fallout of the clergy sexual abuse scandal continues to haunt American bishops accused of covering up the crimes of pedophile priests.

But Benedict's goals as pope -- and his marching orders for Levada -- go much deeper than shoring up church attendance in Europe or finding a way out of the 20-year-old sex abuse scandal. They seek to counter what the pope recently called "the dictatorship of relativism," which the church casts as the idea that there are no absolute truths, and all the religions and spiritual philosophies are equally good and true.


Saturday, May 14, 2005

Levada, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sparks debate


Spirit Daily

The New York Times reports today (5/14): "When Archbishop William J. Levada was appointed ten years ago to lead the Roman Catholic archdiocese of San Francisco, he brought with him a reputation as an assertive protector of Church orthodoxy. In his previous post in Portland, Ore., he helped lead the fight against a state measure approving physician-assisted suicide, because the Church opposes euthanasia. In the 1990's he served on a Vatican committee that stripped the gender-inclusive language from a lectionary proposed by the American Bishops Conference. When an American bishops' pastoral letter on women failed to win approval at the Vatican, Archbishop Levada helped rewrite it with such a conservative cast -- condemning feminism and some forms of gender equality - that letter simply died."

And so we begin to gain insights into the new prefect for the highly powerful Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- the highest-ranking American ever at the Vatican.

In his previous post in Portland, Oregon, points out The Times, Archbishop helped lead the fight against a state measure approving physician-assisted suicide, and in the 1990's he served on a Vatican committee that stripped the gender-inclusive language from a lectionary proposed by the American Bishops Conference. "When an American bishops' pastoral letter on women failed to win approval at the Vatican, Archbishop Levada helped rewrite it with such a conservative cast, condemning feminism and some forms of gender equality," notes the newspaper, "that letter simply died.

Liberals consider him a hard-liner; conservatives worry about a possible liberal streak. He has faced criticism from them for not speaking out strongly enough against homosexuality. Really, it appears he is "strong middle-of-the-road."


New Prefect, Levada, already criticized by SNAP for his handling of sex abuse cases

As they say, "You can't please all the people all the time." Or even some of the people some of the time, so it seems.

New Vatican Enforcer Criticized Over Abuse


Published: May 14, 2005
Filed at 5:58 a.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Archbishop William Levada, who catapulted Friday into the most influential Vatican post ever held by an American, has a track record of upholding Roman Catholic policies while deftly handling controversy. But his appointment as the chief enforcer of church doctrine was sharply criticized by clerical sex abuse victims, who say he's done a poor job of dealing with the crisis. Levada countered that his experience with the issue is an advantage for the church.


Official Vatican notification of appointment and biography of Levada

An official Vatican notification of appointment of Levada as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith can be found, along with his biographical data, at the Vatican web page RINUNCE E NOMINE , 13.05.2005.

Friday, May 13, 2005

On anniversary of Marian apparitions at Fatima and assassination attempt on John Paul II's life, Pope puts him on fast track to sainthood

Tom Hanson/AP

Pope speeds up sainthood process for John Paul.

Benedict overrides 5-year waiting period.

A banner saying "Santo Subito" (Sainthood Fast) referring to the wish for Pope John Paul to be proclaimed saint quickly, is shown as thousands of Poles, some waving their national flag, attend the funeral Mass in St. Peter's Square for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on April 8.

The Associated Press
Updated: 7:48 a.m. ET May 13, 2005

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said Friday he had begun the process for the sainthood of Pope John Paul II, overriding the usual five-year waiting period following the death of a possible candidate.

The pope made the announcement during a meeting with the Roman clergy at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, first telling the assembled priests, “and now I have a very joyous piece of news for you.”

Immediately following Pope John Paul’s death on April 2, there were calls from faithful for his sainthood. At his funeral Mass, pilgrims held up banners saying “Santo Subito” (“Immediate Sainthood”).

The announcement came on the anniversary of an 1981 assassination attempt by a Turkish gunman against John Paul in St. Peter’s Square.

The pope read a letter in Latin in which the Vatican official in charge of sainthood, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, announced that Benedict himself had authorized the beginning of John Paul’s path to sainthood. The announcement drew a standing ovation from the Roman priests.


Pope asks faithful to trust Mary; to remember liturgical memorial of Virgin of Fatima

Date: 2005-05-11

Pope Points Faithful Toward Virgin of Fatima

VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI encouraged believers to turn with confidence to Mary, reminding them that on May 13 the Church celebrates the feast of the Virgin of Fatima.

At the end of today's general audience in St. Peter's square, attended by some 20,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father addressed a special message to "young people, the sick and newlyweds."

"Day after tomorrow, the liturgical memorial will be celebrated of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima. Beloved, I exhort you to turn incessantly and with confidence to the Virgin, entrusting to her each one of your needs."

Shortly after, the Pope personally greeted the sick who had arrived in the Vatican in wheelchairs. He also greeted the children present, and gave one of them his autograph.

As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope wrote the theological commentary regarding the publication of the third secret of Fatima, published June 26, 2000.

Archbishop Levada named as new Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Pope Benedict named the Archbishop of
San Francisco, William Joseph Levada,
above, as the new prefect for the
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Pope Names American to Be Guardian of Church Doctrine



Published: May 13, 2005

ROME, May 13 - Acting both symbolically and consolidating his young rule, Benedict XVI announced today his first major public acts as pope: He named an American archbishop to be the guardian of church doctrine and he said he would speed up the process to make his popular predecessor, John Paul II, a saint.

Until he was elected pope last month, Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, held for 24 years the doctrinal job, one of the most powerful and contentious posts in the Roman Catholic church. Today, he named William J. Levada, 68, archbishop of San Francisco, to be his successor.

As such, Archbishop Levada, a friend of Pope Benedict's who worked with him over many years, is the first American to be named to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is now the highest-ranking American at the Vatican.

Colleagues describe him as fair and broad-minded, a man who brings to the job a combination of scholarship, experience in the Vatican and years of pastoral work. He is also known as a theologian who has staunchly defended church teaching on many of the social issues now confronting the church, including abortion, women's role in the church, homosexuality and euthanasia.


Visit to Fatima Shrine in Portugal proposed for Pope in 2006 to canonize Francisco and Jacinto Marto

Papal visits to Krakow, Fatima being proposed

Rome, Apr. 26, 2005 (CNA) - In addition to visiting Germany in August for the 2005 World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI may also travel to the Polish city of Krakow and the Fatima Shrine in Portugal.

A few days ago the Holy Father confirmed he would be present at World Youth Day in his country of origin and on Sunday he promised Governor Edmund Stoiber of Bavaria that he wishes to visit the German state where he was born “soon.”

According the Italian press, a visit to Krakow, where Pope John Paul II was archbishop, on the way to Cologne is under consideration. For his part the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, suggested that the Pontiff could visit Fatima in 2006 to canonize Marian visionaries Francisco and Jacinta Marto.

The cardinal said the visit was possible and that he would do “everything possible to make it happen,” although he acknowledged that “these things are the exclusive responsibility of the Holy Father.”

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said the cause of the Fatima children has always been a subject “much appreciated by the Holy See” and also by Benedict XVI who, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “presided at the May 13, 1996 pilgrimage in Fatima, at which he was impressed by the devotion and faith of the Portuguese people.”


New hope that Catholic inter-faith dialogue with Anglicans will lead to full communion

Catholics, Anglicans produce joint document on Mary

Vatican City, May. 13, 2005 (CNA) - In a joint statement, the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion Office announced today that the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), will present their report, "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ," next week in Seattle.

The Commission, started in 1966, and recently led in large part by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council, has sought to build common ground between the two faiths.
In their statement, the ARCIC said that, "Over the past two years, the Pontifical Council has been concerned by the impact of recent developments in Anglicanism in North America on our relations.”

“The publication of 'The Windsor Report' and the communique issued by the Anglican Primates on February 24”, it continued, “have sought to clarify the direction (in which) the Anglican Communion wishes to move" and "have offered new hope that our dialogue can continue to make progress towards the full communion which has been its aim since it was first conceived in March of 1966" by Pope Paul VI and then Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

300,000 of Pope's books selling out in few days, Ignatius Press reports

Pope's books selling like hotcakes: U.S. publisher

Wed May 11, 2005 06:07 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI last month, has another new title: best selling author, his U.S. publisher said on Wednesday.

"It's just amazing the interest in the Pope's writings," said Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, which has the U.S. rights to Benedict's writings.

"We're reprinted over 300,000 copies of his books and we've sold out in the first couple of days all the copies we had on hand," he said. "Almost all of those 300,000 copies we're reprinted are spoken for."

The non-profit San Francisco-based publisher started printing Ratzinger's works a quarter century ago in an effort to spread the works of leading European theologians.

When Ratzinger's fellow cardinals named him successor to Pope John Paul II, Ignatius Press experienced an unprecedented surge in demand for books by the incoming pontiff.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Communities that live full Christian life are antidote to "failure of the West," says Pope

Albacete protests the characterization of Pope Benedict XVI by his critics: namely, that "... he's a reactionary, closed-minded, intolerant. Citing the Pope's latest book, a dialogue with a non-believer on relativism and the "feared failure of Europe and of the West to stand up to the challenges of Islamic fundamentalism," he refers to the Pope's time-honored solution. According to Albacete, Pope Benedict XVI's answer to this "failure of the West" is to institute, as St. Benedict did, communities that live the full Christian life "of humanity, of peace, of joy."


Who is Benedict XVI, and where does he want to take the Catholic Church? On the day the new pope was elected, Charlie Rose interviewed Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, a leading Catholic theologian and a friend of John Paul II, and asked him that question. The answers may surprise you.

By Charlie Rose

CHARLIE ROSE: Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete was a friend of Pope John Paul II and I am especially pleased to have him at this table to help us understand the selection of the new pope and what it means for the church. Welcome.

LORENZO ALBACETE: Thank you very much.

CHARLIE ROSE: Tell me, you expected this selection?

LORENZO ALBACETE: Yes. Like everyone else. Certainly Cardinal Ratzinger was a leading candidate. But frankly, I was not too sure that he would be elected. Because you've got to admit that he doesn't have a very good image. He has a serious image problem around—among certain segments of the church. And after the triumphant gestures of John Paul II—so many people seemed attracted by him—I thought maybe the cardinals would worry about this image problem.

CHARLIE ROSE: What kind of image problem did he have?

LORENZO ALBACETE: Well, he's a reactionary, closed-minded, intolerant. You name it. You know, he's a monster, and against free thinking. His homily, his last homily, which was the one before the conclave was, was said to be a blunt statement of the need to cut down newness, to find refuge in the old tradition, et cetera, which is completely false. This is not this man. This is not this man at all.


13th Conference on World Mission and Evangelism starts

Symbolic of St. Paul's missionary journey (Acts:16-34), a cross, made in Jerusalem, will be brought to the Areopagos on Mars Hill in Athens.

EUROPE/GREECE - With the arrival by sea of a 4 mt high cross of olive wood sent from Jerusalem the 13th Conference on World Mission and Evangelism organised by the World Council of Churches opens in Athens today

Athens (Fides Service) - From 9 al 16 May the 13th Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, the 1st in the 21st century, organised by the World Council of Churches WCC will take place at the Agios Andrea Recreational Centre in Athens with the theme “Come Holy Spirit, heal and reconcile” and sub-theme “Called in Christ to be healing and reconciling communities”. The 12th Conference was held in 1996 at Sao Salvador da Bahia Brazil, on the theme: "Called to One Hope - the Gospel in Diverse Cultures". This is the first time that the event is held in a mainly Orthodox country.

The Catholic delegate led by Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Unity among Christians comprises 26 representatives of the Mixed Working Group Catholic Church and WCC, the Roman Curia, the Federation of Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life and Mission Orders, and lay movements within Missionary Orders and Movement for Christian Unity.

The Conference opens today with a touching ceremony. Summoned by the sound of African talking drums, nearly 500 conference participants and over 100 local representatives, guests and stewards will gather on the beach to receive a 4-metre-high cross was made of Olive wood by a Jerusalem craftsman. Brought from the Middle East and received by representatives from the other regions of the world, it is intended as a symbol of reconciliation and healing as well as of churches standing in solidarity with Christians in the Middle East. In the afternoon on Sunday 15 May, the same cross whose reception marked the beginning of the conference will lead participants and members of Greek congregations in a procession to the Areopagos, on Mars Hill. There, on the very spot where the apostle Paul preached to the Athenians nearly two thousand years ago, an open-air worship service will close the conference and send participants out into the world, to fulfill Jesus' command to proclaim the good news of God's kingdom as a testimony to all nations” said Juan Michel Conference media officer.

Among the first ecumenical fruits of the conference at the local level has been the creation of a host committee in which the Church of Greece is joined by four other churches: Roman Catholic, Evangelical Church of Greece, Armenian Evangelical and Armenian Apostolic Church. . Addressing some 700 participants at the opening session the archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, His Beatitude Christodoulos welcomed the Conference as an “important and timely event, in face of the many and difficult challenges which confront all Christians today".

See more information: http://www.mission2005.org. (R.Z.) (Agenzia Fides 10/5/2005; Righe 33 - Parole 447)

For more information go to the "Conference on World Mission and Evangelism".

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Chinese government, after promising improved relationship to Vatican, arrests seven priests

Our prayers are always needed for the suffering Church in China. Hidden behind many prison walls are dedicated and faithful religious and laity, who are being martyred for their faith in Christ and His Church.

One of the underground Roman Catholic Church's priests in China, Cardinal Kung, suffered a white martyrdom of imprisonment for many years. While in prison, he wrote this moving prayer on a small piece of rice paper entitled, "A Meditation On The Crucifixion of Jesus":

"Our Lord Jesus is on the Cross. His whole body is covered with wounds, His hands and feet are nailed to the Cross; His head is crowned with thorns; for His drink, only vinegar and bitter gall. Although He suffered so much, He knows that many will remain indifferent. This mental anguish is even more painful than His physical torment.

God suffered so much for me. Why am I not willing to give up some worldly pleasure and accept some suffering in this life? I know well that Jesus suffered in reparation for my sins and yet I still go against His will and commit sin. How can I reject His grace and increase His sorrow?"

Although Cardinal Kung died in 2000 at the age of 98, his nephew, Joseph Kung, helps to carry on his uncle's work through "The Cardinal Kung Foundation". The Church in China in union with the Vatican, still suffers severely under Communist oppression...

Press Release – April 27, 2005

The Cardinal Kung Foundation
Contact: Joseph Kung
PO Box 8086
Stamford, CT

Tel: 203-329-9712
Fax: 203-329-8415
E-Mail: jmkung@aol.com

Arrest of Seven Underground Roman Catholic Priests in China

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Seven priests belonging to the Diocese of Zhengding 正定, Heibei 河北 were arrested at 5:30 pm April 27 Bejing time in Wuqiu Village 武邱村 of Jinzhou city 晉州市. These seven priests had traveled from their parishes for a religious retreat conducted by Bishop Jia Zhiguo who had just been released from 24-hour surveillance during the period of approximately March 30 to April 25 when Pope John Paul II was dying and when the new Pope Benedict XVI was elected. The mass arrest of priests was made by the Security Bureau of Shijiszhuang 石家庄, officers of the religious bureau, and dozens of police riding in nine police cars. Bishop Jia was warned by the Public Security and religious bureaus not to initiate any religious activities. The seven priests were sent to the Security Bureau of their respective parishes as stated below.

The arrested priests are: (All ages are approximated) Fathers WANG Dingshan 王進山 (50), LI Qiang 李強 (31), and LIU Wenyuan 劉文元 (35) from Gaocheng 蒿城市. Father Zhang Qingcai 張慶才 (45) from Wuji 無極縣 County. Father LI Suchuan 李素川 (40) from Zhaoxian 趙縣. Father PEI Zhenping 裴正平 (43) from Luancheng. Father Yin Zhengsong 尹正松 (32) from Dingzhou.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: "it defies logic. How could the Chinese government on one hand proclaim to Pope Benedict XVI and the world their willingness to improve the relationship between China and the Vatican, and on the other hand keep arresting the Pope's priests? It is quite obvious that the desire expressed by the Chinese government to improve its relationship with the Vatican is less than sincere."

Monday, May 09, 2005

In small town America, mosques are being used to promote violent Jihad

Within American mosques, Islamists provide two different messages to Americans: one that recruits the uninformed non-Muslim with messages of "brotherhood" between Muslims, Christians and Jews, and the other for the Muslim that promotes violent Jihad.

Jihad comes to Small Town, USA


By Laura Mansfield

It happened again this week. I came out of the office to find a flyer under my windshield wipers inviting me to a special informational presentation on God and family values, and how to bring them back to the forefront in America.

I'm a parent so the flyer caught my interest. But as an analyst for the Northeast Intelligence Network, my eyes were riveted to the address on the flyer: The session was being held at a nearby mosque.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided it would be a good time for some onsite investigations of the mosque. In order to not attract undue attention, I dressed conservatively, wearing a navy jumper with a long sleeve white blouse, and low heels. I debated whether or not to put on a hijab (head scarf) then decided not to – after all, I was going to "learn," not to pretend I was a Muslim.

I checked the mosque schedule on the Web, and discovered there was going to be an Arabic language session an hour before. So I showed up an hour early. The imam met me at the door, and told me that the presentation didn't start for an hour, and suggested I come back in an hour. Fortunately, I had anticipated this. I explained that since I had quite a bit of reading to do for a class I was taking. "Can I just sit here and read?"

He hesitated a moment, then agreed. I sat in the back of the room, with my book open, and made a mental note to remember to turn the pages every so often, as I listened to the speakers in Arabic.

The first speaker was the head of the Muslim Students' Association at the nearby university. Although I missed the beginning of the discussion, I caught up quickly. He was talking about the problems he had encountered on a recent trip, when TSA flagged him for extra screening. He joked about the fact that they had stopped him for extensive screening. He had anticipated that he would be screened and he had filled his carryon luggage with printouts of the Quran from the Internet, and had 15 or 16 CDs labeled in Arabic, and he had a notebook computer with him.

As he expected, he was delayed – he thought it was very amusing that while several TSA personnel were scrutinizing his personal belongings that his classmate from Jordan was able to walk through security, along with his American girlfriend, without any problems whatsoever.

One of the men said, in Arabic: "Blonde Americans are good for something!" Another man advised him to be cautious, since there was an American woman in the room. The imam spoke up and told everyone I didn't speak Arabic.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

"St. Malachy Mania" after Pope's election should prompt spiritual readiness not fear

Director of the Morley Institute for Church & Culture, Deal Hudson, advises all Catholics to be cautious when ascribing the purported prophecies of St. Malachy to the election of Benedict XVI. He reminds us that prophecy is only valid when it is in accordance with Holy Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church and, finally, true prophecy is not meant to fuel speculation that the end is near and to frighten us but to help us all "avoid spiritual harm" by being alert and in a constant state of spiritual readiness.

The Window
on April 28, 2005
A Catholic Look at Society, Culture and Politics

Deal W. Hudson

In This Issue:
St. Malachy Predicts the Election of Benedict XVI

The election of Benedict XVI set predictable cries of joy and sorrow. Fortunately for the Church the cries of joy far outnumber the cries of sorrow, even if the media refuses to see it.

But another aftershock of April 19th is buzz sweeping the country about the medieval prophecies of St. Malachy.

My own daughter came home from her Catholic high school in Fairfax, VA and informed me that there would be only one pope after Benedict XVI. She explained further that the last pope would also signal the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. "Dad, everyone at school is talking about the prophecies of St. Malachy, all the students and even the teachers."

An internet search and calls around the country confirmed that a bit of St. Malachy mania is sweeping through the country, especially among Catholic students. In an increasingly virtual age, such information, especially if it's sufficiently exotic, can be sent nationwide by instant messaging, emails, and bloggers in the space of twenty-four hours.

With respect to prophecies and visions - - there are several things to keep in mind. The canonization of a person, such as St. Malachy, would imply that that there is nothing in his prophecies and visions that is contrary to the faith. (Malachy was canonized the first Irish Saint in the Catholic Church by Pope Clement III in 1190 AD)

Thus, it's important to question whether or not they are authentic. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who wrote an early biography of St. Malachy, corroborates his gift of prophecy but does not mention any specific prophecies

Personal revelations should always be read in conjunction with the Scriptural prophecy, especially the Book of Revelation, and the prophecies which the Church gives official credence. The final discernment of prophecies is judged in accordance with the Magisterium of the Church.


Friday, May 06, 2005

On May 1 Easter Mass Greek Orthodox Patriarch Urges Ecumenical Committment

3 May, 2005

Stronger ties with the Catholic Church, says Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim

by Jihad Issa

During Easter Mass in Damascus, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch urged the faithful to renew their faith in the future and expressed a desire for a single calendar for all Christians.

Damascus (AsiaNews) – We want to renew and strengthen our ecumenical commitment with the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI. It was with this statement that Ignatius IV Hazim, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, began his solemn Easter Mass homily.

The mass was celebrated last Sunday, May 1, at al-Mariamieat Cathedral in Christian neighbourhood of Bab Touma—Thomas Gate—in Damascus before thousands of faithful and several representatives of the Syrian government.

“We really want to believe in the Resurrection of the Lord, and we believe in it through deeds of peace, harmony and charity,” the Patriarch said.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

God is Man's Safeguard Against Idols, Says Pope


(AGI) - Vatican City, May 4 - A "sentinel, always awake and thoughtful" safeguards man from risks and perils: that sentinel is "God, who watches over his people, to prevent them falling prey to other idols" said Pope Benedict XVI today in St.Peter's square during the general hearing. The Pope commented psalm 120, part of the 2 canticles on the Ascension, the pilgrimage to meet the Lord in Zion's temple. That's when the Pope improvised, pointing out that looking to pagan temples is a temptation "which is not to be followed, since they don't lead to paths of life". The Pope mentioned faith, because psalm 120 "is a faith psalm, including the Hebrew verb 'shamar', which means protect". "God is the divine shepherd preserving his people in eternity". Another important symbol "is shadow, the shadow which protects the people from the sun during their journey. The third symbol is the fact that the Lord is to the right of the follower: that's the position of military and trial assistance, the proof that the believer is never abandoned to persecution and evil". "The message is to have faith: God will watch over you with love, always. Our life is to be spent under God's loving eyes".

(AGI) - 042119 MAG 05

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pope Challenges Secular Values; Says True Life Comes from Lord, Not Comfortable Lives

Pope chides power, prestige and the ‘comfortable life’

Vatican City, May. 04, 2005 (CNA) - Some 13,000 pilgrims turned out for Pope Benedict XVI’s Wednesday audience today in which he chided temptations to overemphasize power, prestige, and what he called the “comfortable life.”

In the audience, he resumed his catechesis on the Psalms and Canticles, which was begun by the late John Paul II.

The Pope spoke about Psalm 120, "the keeper of Israel," explaining that it forms part of the "'songs of ascent,” or the “pilgrimage towards the meeting with the Lord in the Temple of Zion."

He pointed out that the name of God is used as "the keeper, ever alert, watchful and considerate, the 'sentinel' who keeps watch over his people to protect them from all risks and dangers."

Here, Pope Benedict, speaking off-the-cuff challenged those gathered, saying that, power, prestige and the comfortable life are sometimes considered "the high points of our lives." In reality, he said, they are not so "because true life comes from the Lord."

The Holy Father continued, pointing to the psalmist, who "raises his 'eyes to the hills,' in other words to the heights where Jerusalem stands. From there comes help, because there the Lord dwells in His holy temple."


Atheists View Benedict XVI as Threat to Secularism

Pope Ratzinger “Bad News” For Secularism, Freedom Warns Atheist Civil Rights Group


Posted by mlgaither on Saturday April 30, 2005 at 7:41 pm MST

Monty Gaither, AZ St. Director of American Atheists mlgatheist@cox.net
Link to story: http://atheists.org/

The selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope (Benedict XVI) is “bad news” for civil liberties and the rights of women, gays, intellectuals and other secularists throughout the world, warned an Atheist civil rights watchdog group today.

Ellen Johnson, President of American Atheists, noted that the new pontiff demonized atheism, individualism and other alleged ills during a papal conclave mass. She added that Ratzinger, former head of the papal office which ran the Inquisition and sniffs out dissent within church ranks, is the foremost advocate of “reconverting” Europe to Catholicism, and is a leading opponent of secularism.

“Ratzinger is even more extreme that Pope John Paul II. He opposes many of the civil liberties that Americans take for granted including equal rights, dissent from religion, and even free speech. He clearly sees government as a servant and instrument of the church.”

Johnson added that the new pope will likely embrace policies which inflame the civilizational conflict between Islam and the west, and cited Ratzinger’s opposition to allowing Turkey to join the European Union. “He’s got the mentality of a Crusader, and his attitudes will provide new ammunition to Islamic extremists like Osama bin Laden.”

Dave Silverman, Communications Director for American Atheists, said that expects that as a result of Ratzinger’s rise to the papal throne, U.S. Bishops could become more aggressive in the political arena and intensify their efforts for government aid to religious schools, banning abortion and carrying out the Vatican’s global agenda. “The American Religious Civil War has just gone nuclear,” said Silverman.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Even in 2002, future Pope Benedict XVI Saw Relativism as a Main Challenge for Church

Date: 2005-04-22

What Cardinal Ratzinger Was Thinking in 2002

Gave Interview With Journalists in Spain

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The proclamation of Christ and his Gospel in a relativist world was for the future Pope Benedict XVI one of the main challenges of the Church.

This is how Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explained it on Nov. 30, 2002, in this interview with journalists, among whom were several of ZENIT's writers.

The interview took place at St. Anthony's Catholic University of Murcia, Spain, where the cardinal was attending an International Congress on Christology.

We offer this long interview which reflects some of the characteristic features of the new Pope, considered one of the most important contemporary theologians.

Q: Some interpret the fact of proclaiming Christ as a rupture in the dialogue with other religions. How can one proclaim Christ and dialogue at the same time?

Cardinal Ratzinger: I would say that today relativism predominates. It seems that whoever is not a relativist is someone who is intolerant.

To think that one can understand the essential truth is already seen as something intolerant. However, in reality this exclusion of truth is a type of very grave intolerance and reduces essential things of human life to subjectivism. In this way, in essential things we no longer have a common view. Each one can and should decide as he can. So we lose the ethical foundations of our common life.

Christ is totally different from all the founders of other religions, and he cannot be reduced to a Buddha, a Socrates or a Confucius. He is really the bridge between heaven and earth, the light of truth who has appeared to us.

The gift of knowing Jesus does not mean that there are no important fragments of truth in other religions. In the light of Christ, we can establish a fruitful dialogue with a point of reference in which we can see how all these fragments of truth contribute to greater depth in our faith and to an authentic spiritual community of humanity.


Profound Friendship with Christ is only Defense Against Cultural Relativism

Date: 2005-04-30

The Risks of Relativism

Fallacies That Confront Benedict XVI

ROME, APRIL 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Upholding the value of moral principles against the modern tendency to relativism could be among the priorities of Benedict XVI. In a homily April 18, during the Mass celebrated before the start of the conclave, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger referred to the ever-changing trends in contemporary thought.

"How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought?" he asked. "Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error."

At the same time, for believers to uphold the values of their faith "is often labeled as fundamentalism," he noted. As a result, "relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of 'doctrine,' seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable."

Against what Cardinal Ratzinger termed "a dictatorship of relativism that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the 'I' and its whims as the ultimate measure," the Church offers Christ as the true measure. Moreover, the Church offers its followers an adult faith that does not follow the latest trend and is, instead "profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ." And on the basis of this friendship we have "the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth."

For more go to article "The Risks of Relativism" in the "Weekly News Analysis April 30, 2005"...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Pope prays that Pontifical Missionary Works help people of God in mission "ad gentes"

Pope Benedict prays for those persecuted ‘for the sake of faith and justice’

Vatican City, May. 02, 2005 (CNA) - This morning, the Vatican announced Pope Benedict's first general prayer intention for the world.

This month, the Pope prays, "That those persecuted for the sake of faith and justice may experience the consolation and strength of the Holy Spirit". In addition, the Holy Father’s traditional mission intention is: "That the Pontifical Missionary Works, proposed by the Holy Father and the bishops for the evangelization of all nations, may help the people of God to feel that they have a real part to play in the mission 'ad gentes'."

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Pope will pursue goal of Catholic-Orthodox unity

Benedict XVI Looks Toward Unity With Orthodox

Continues a Tradition From the Window of Papal Apartment

VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Benedict XVI extended Easter greetings to Orthodox Christians, who were celebrating the day, and indicated again he will pursue the goal of Catholic-Orthodox unity.

In his first Regina Caeli address from the window of his papal apartment, the Holy Father today said God is "asking us to travel decisively down the path toward full unity."

Tens of thousands of people were gathered below in St. Peter's Square to hear the Pontiff's address, which continued a Sunday tradition of Pope John Paul II's.

"I address you, my very dear brothers and sisters, for the first time from this window that the beloved figure of my predecessor made familiar to countless people in the entire world," Benedict XVI said.

"From Sunday to Sunday, John Paul II, faithful to an appointment which became a cherished habit, accompanied for more than a quarter-century the history of the Church and of the world, and we continue to feel him closer to us than ever," he said.

The Holy Father, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, thanked "all those who supported me in these days with prayer."

Benedict XVI moved into the third-floor papal apartment on Saturday. He had been living in the Vatican guesthouse Domus Sanctae Marthae since his election on April 19 while the apartment was readied for the new Pope.

May 1 is the Labor Day holiday in Europe; liturgically it is usually the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Benedict XVI mentioned that his baptismal name was Joseph.

He said he hoped that people, especially the young, would always be able to find work and that "working conditions are ever more respectful" of human dignity.

The Holy Father also referred to problems on the international scene, including "wars, poverty and diseases."

He mentioned the African nation of Togo, torn by strife after disputed elections. He said he was praying for harmony and peace for Togo's people.