Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Seeking John Paul II's Intercession?: Official Prayer of Church now published

While Pope John Paul II was here with us on earth, God guided him and the Barque of Peter. We ask, dear Lord, for his continued prayers and intercession.

Catholic Culture

How to Seek the Intercession of John Paul II

July 22, 2005

Before it is completed, John Paul II’s beatification process will require a miracle attributed to his intercession. For this reason, the Church has published an official prayer which we can use to seek John Paul II’s help. Here is the text:

O Blessed Trinity,

We thank You for having graced the Church with Pope John Paul II and for allowing the tenderness of Your fatherly care, the glory of the cross of Christ, and the splendor of the Holy Spirit, to shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy and in the maternal intercession of Mary, he has given us a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary Christian life and is the way of achieving eternal communion with You.

Grant us, by his intercession, and according to Your will, the graces we implore, hoping that he will soon be numbered among Your saints.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Pope calls youth in Europe to be leaven of a new Christian humanism

Catholic Online News
International News Story

Holy Father Hopes Youth Will Be a Leaven in Europe

July 24, 2005.

LES COMBES, Italy, JULY 25, 2005 (Zenit) - Says Continent Is Forgetting Its Christian Roots. Benedict XVI hopes that the hundreds of thousands of Europeans who attend World Youth Day in Cologne will be leaven of a new Christian humanism.

The Pope expressed this hope today at midday when he met with 8,000 pilgrims who gathered in the field near the Alpine chalet where he has been on vacation since July 11.

The Holy Father began his address making note of the feast of the Apostle James on Monday. The Pope added that the saint's "relics are venerated in the famous shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, destination of innumerable pilgrims from all over Europe."


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pope condemns terrorism worldwide; calls on God "to stay hand of assassins"

Pope asks God to stay hand of "assassins"

24 Jul 2005 10:56:41 GMT

Source: Reuters

LES COMBES, Italy, July 24 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Sunday condemned violence in Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and Britain and asked God to stay the hand of terrorists.

"While we entrust to God's goodness ... the victims of these acts that offend God and man, we call on the Omnipotent to stay the hands of assassins who, driven on by fanaticism and hate, have committed these things," the Pope said in his Sunday address to pilgrims at his summer holiday retreat in the Alps.

Benedict has repeatedly condemned terrorism since the July 7 suicide bomb attacks in London, which killed at least 52 people and injured 700.

"Again, in these days of serenity and rest, I am overcome by the tragic news of the abominable terrorist attacks that cause death, destruction and suffering in countries including Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and Britain," he said to a crowd of hundreds.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pope confers on Rabbi Jacob knighthood into the Order of St. Gregory the Great

Catholic Online
National News Story

Pope confers title of knighthood on rabbi

By Patricia Bartos


PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- In an honor rarely conferred on people of other faiths, Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl invested Rabbi Walter Jacob, rabbi emeritus of Rodef Shalom Congregation, into the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

The knighthood was granted through the late Pope John Paul II.

The ceremony in mid-June formed part of a daylong tribute to Rabbi Jacob celebrating his 50 years of service to Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and his 75th birthday.

Rabbi Jacob, who retired eight years ago, is a native of Germany and the 18th generation of his family to enter the rabbinate.


Friday, July 22, 2005

In interview, Archbishop Cordes says Pope Benedict XVI is "God's response" to secularism

In this interview, Benedict XVI is described as having "been given the task to revive the Judeo-Christian tradition in Europe and the West in the face of moral and religious decadence." He appears to have been prepared and anointed for just such a labor:

Catholic Online

Benedict XVI as 'God's Response to Secularism'

7/22/2005 - 5:00 AM PST

Interview With Archbishop Cordes, "Cor Unum" President

ROME, JULY 22, 2005 (Zenit) - Archbishop Paul Cordes, a longtime friend of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, is convinced the new Pope is "God's response" to the spread of secularism. In this interview with Catholic Online, the 70-year-old president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum," who oversees the coordination of the Church's charity institutions, describes some of Joseph Ratzinger's essential features.

Q: According to some observers, John Paul II was for communism what Benedict XVI will be for moral and religious relativism. In your opinion, to what degree is this affirmation valid?

Archbishop Cordes: In his appointments, God undoubtedly has in mind the biographical experience and specific capacities of his messengers.

In his youth and as bishop of Krakow, the deceased Pope had lived the painful experience of communism. And for this reason he fought energetically against the regime's atheist forces. …

As Bishop of Rome, he never ceased to struggle before kings and presidents on behalf of freedom and people's dignity. Unfortunately, his ardent desire to visit Russia and China was not heard.

As a professor of theology, Pope Benedict XVI has always transmitted the truth of the faith and Tradition in a clear and comprehensible way. He formed future priests and catechists in the university. He tried to identify and spread in the intellectual world the arguments for an understanding of Revelation.

As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he helped John Paul II in his work of formulating theological directives for the people of God; suffice it to think of the writing of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

2 weeks after London, Pope says best way to combat terrorism is to pray fervently for peace

The Pope has called us to pray for peace. With prayer and fasting one can defeat any evil and avert any war.

Pope meets the press, calls fervent prayers for peace best way to combat terrorism

Vatican City, Jul. 21, 2005 (CNA) - Yesterday, on the eve of the two week anniversary of the London blasts which killed 56 commuters, and in light of today’s evacuation of three more underground stations, Pope Benedict XVI said that terrorism must be fought with sincere prayer for peace, and dialogue--especially among the three religions which recognize Abraham as Father.

The Pope responded to reporters questions while returning to his vacation chalet from Val Grisanche in the northwest Italian alps. He is on holiday in the Valle d’Aosta region of Italy until July 28th when he will travel to the papal summer residence of Castelgandolfo, south of Rome.

As Benedict’s car returned to the chalet he surprised onlookers by asking the driver to stop and getting out to answer reporters questions. Among them, were his thoughts on the July 7th London attacks.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Help support confirmation of Judge Roberts to Supreme Court; please sign online petition

For all who are interested--a petition from Town Hall supporting the confirmation of Judge Roberts to the Supreme Court is available online:

Protect Our Constitution

Town Hall needs your help.

We MUST collect 300,000 signatures in the next 24 hours!

An outpouring of support CAN stop any pending liberal obstruction of President Bush’s nominee, John G. Roberts Jr., to the Supreme Court.

You can make your voice heard in what promises to be one of the pivotal political battles of the decade. Please Take Action RIGHT NOW! This battle is too important to wait another minute.

Please sign today:

Fidelis to Senators: keep religious bigotry out of confirmation of Roberts, a faithful Catholic

Fidelis, is an organization self-described as "a Catholic-based family of organizations that has been founded to defend and promote the time-honored values of life, faith and family throughout America."

Rightfully concerned with a prior history of judicial nominees attacked because of their religious faith in past Senate confirmation hearings, Fidelis President, Joseph Cella, is calling on Senators to keep religious bigotry out of the Senate confirmation hearing of Judge Roberts, a faithful Catholic.

U.S. Newswire

Fidelis on Roberts Nomination: 'Hearings Are Ripe For Anti-Religious Bigotry'

7/20/2005 1:02:00 AM


To: National Desk

Contact: Brian Burch of Fidelis, 734-358-3433, bburch@fidelis.org

WASHINGTON, July 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following the nomination of Judge John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush to serve as Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, Fidelis warned Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senators Patrick Leahy, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold to keep anti-religious bigotry out of the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

"Judge Robert's confirmation hearings are ripe for anti-religious bigotry," said Fidelis President Joseph Cella. "Judge Roberts is a faithful Catholic, who is devoted to his wife and children. With the history of Catholic and Christian judicial nominees attacked because of their religious faith and family life in past Senate confirmation hearings, we call on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Ranking Member Senator Patrick Leahy, Senators Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold to prevent this vile brand of hate politics from entering this important process. Judge Roberts is an eminently qualified jurist, and his outstanding legal credentials and temperament should enable his confirmation prior to the Supreme Court reconvening on October 3."


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

John Paul II miniseries, "A Man Who Became Pope" to air August 15 on Hallmark Channel

Hopefully, this miniseries on Pope John Paul II is able to do justice to the man--a very difficult task indeed!

First posted on my Christian screenwriting and media blog, "An Anglo-Irish Convert in 'the City'":

Ignatius Insight Scoop

Friday, July 15, 2005

Hallmark airing "A Man Who Became Pope" in August

Hallmark Channel has paid $3 million for the rights to air the Italian-made, English-language miniseries “A Man Who Became Pope,” beginning August 15.

A NewsWire.com press release states:

A Man Who Became Pope” was warmly received when screened at the Vatican’s Paul VI hall on May 19. “The film presents scenes and episodes that, in their severity, awaken in the viewers an instinctive ‘turning away’ in horror and stimulates them to consider the abyss of iniquity that can be hidden in the human soul,” said Pope Benedict XVI. “At the same time, calling to the fore such aberrations revives in every right-minded person the duty to do what he or she can so that such inhuman barbarism never happens again…I…express living gratitude to those who wanted to offer me…the opportunity to view this moving film.”


Monday, July 18, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI stamps pontificate with his own style

A hat tip to Spirit Daily and Menafn.com:

Analysis: New pope's style takes shape
UPI - Sunday, July 17, 2005

By ROLAND FLAMINI, Chief International Correspondent

WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- When Pope Benedict XVI left Rome for his two-week vacation in a chalet in the Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps last week he took with him a piano and three suitcases of books. This was a significant change from his more athletic predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who spent his holidays in the same location, but packed a knapsack and hiking boots.

Pope Benedict may have been chosen to provide continuity for the core beliefs of John Paul, but in his first three months in office he has shaped a style that is all his own. He has enjoyed no honeymoon from dissident theologians. Father Thomas Reese, the U.S. Jesuit whose dismissal from the editorship of the Jesuit journal America magazine was said to have been at the command of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger shortly before the latter's election, has attacked the new pope as the irreconcilable enemy of modernity.

But despite his reserve the intellectual pope "is captivating the crowds," reports Vatican expert Sandro Magister. "The same masses of the faithful that applauded the gestures or striking phrases of Pope (John Paul II), while almost completely missing what it was that he was talking about, are doing the opposite with the new pope," Magister says. "They follow Ratzinger's homilies word for word, from beginning to end."

On vacation, Vatican sources say, the pope will be working on his first encyclical, writing it by hand as he does his homilies and sermons, in German in a miniscule script.

Settling into the Vatican with him is his small German staff. His long time personal assistant Ingrid Stampa, is supervising the work of arranging the papal apartments throughout the summer while the pope is away first in the Italian Alps and then at Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer residence in the Alban Hills outside Rome. His private secretary, who like him is a Bavarian, Father Georg Gaenswein, 48, comes from Freiburg and joined the pope two years ago. Four women - Carmela, Loredana, Emanuela, and Cristina -- from the Catholic organization Communion and Liberation, who have taken nuns' vows but do not wear a religious habit will perform the domestic duties in the pope's household.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Deliver us O Lord: A prayer against terrorism

Dear Jesus, in these times of hatred, spare us. Deliver us, O Lord, from terrorism...

From Christian Action for Israel:

Prayer in These Days of Terrorism

O Lord, our God, in great distress we call upon You

We and our nation have sinned against You, O God. We have been self-indulgent, seeking material wealth above all else. We have disobeyed Your commandments and even opened the doors to blasphemy. And now because of our sins the walls of our nation are down (Isaiah 5:5) and we are experiencing the curse of terrorism, which is threatening to ruin this and other countries. We call upon You in this time of fear and peril. Save us from our enemies. Let our supplications come before You. Mercifully hear our prayers for the sake of Jesus' outpoured blood.

We entreat You to prevent the terrorists from gaining control in our country.

Lord, have mercy, for You alone are our Helper and our Salvation, to whom all power is given in heaven and on earth.

Lord Jesus Christ, our mighty Victor, we plead with You to destroy their plans according to the Scripture, `Take counsel together, but it will come to naught.' Frustrate the plans of the terrorists.


American neo-Nazi movement allies itself with Islamic jihadists over hatred of Jews

On its website, the "Aryan Nations," the American neo-Nazi movement is now expressing admiration for Islamic jihadists based on a shared hatred for Jews. The "Aryan Messianic Identity" movement replaces the Jesus of history with a false Christ--a messiah of "Aryan" origins.

But, the Jewish people are the people of God's covenant--the chosen people. The prophesied messiah came from out of His people; the Son of God, our Lord Jesus, was born of a Jewish virgin. At the Great Synagogue of Rome, Pope John Paul II called the Jews "our elder brothers in the faith of Abraham."

I pray that anti-semitism does not increase here in America. Thankfully, through our prayer, we know that God's love can deliver us from any vile hatred.

A hat tip to "Jihad Watch" for this post:

July 16, 2005

Aryan Nations: "Islam is our ally, and the 1500 cults all claiming to be 'Christian' are our opposition"

America's homegrown terrorists, the Aryan Nations, have allied themselves with the Islamic jihadists.

I don't want to link to their vile website, but here are excerpts from the statement that is on their front page now:

There has been a little misunderstanding as to what our perspective is as far as an alliance with Islamic Jihadeen, and our own Phinehas Priests. There are some out there who would like to imply that we are now an Islamic Fundamentalist Organization, and this is erroneous, our Organization is not for the support of any religion, however based on the history of the Aryan Nations, the rules and conduct are based on Biblical Law, and the general views of the bulk of this organization is the acceptance of Aryan Messianic Identity, or other forms of what is called “Christian Identity” in most circles....

Further, seeing the errors of the past, we have taken this approach with alliances to Islamic adherents, because we find their standards of morality to be nearly analogous to our own, and their resolve to uproot and destroy the fallen tree of the Garden, the satanic “jew”, to also be analogous to our own desires and devotion. In this sense, Islam is our ally, and the 1500 cults all claiming to be “Christian” are our opposition, as they have chosen to worship the image [jews] of the beast [satan] as prophesied within the Holy Scriptures for the non-elect, the condemned of Yahweh, the rejects of Israel. Islam has not been dishonored as much by “jew”ish incursion, therefore Islamic Jihadeen have safeguarded the purity of the very instinct for self preservation for which we hold the most vociferous esteem.

Note the disassociation from the name "Christian" and denial that they are a "Christian" group. Yet in a week, or a month, someone will mention this group to me again as an example of "Christian extremism," as if the existence of such a thing somehow justifies the Islamic jihad. This shows how increasingly divorced from reality is such moral equivalence.

Friday, July 15, 2005

3 months into Pope Benedict's reign: intelligentsia hostile; faithful appreciative

The First Three Months of Benedict XVI: New Pope, New Style

The intelligentsia have turned their backs on him, but the common faithful haven't – they have a greater appreciation for him than was foreseen. Initial signs of a different pontificate

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 15, 2005 – During his first three months as pope, Benedict XVI has not succeeded in winning over the major Italian and international press, which to a great extent remains hostile to him.

Among Catholic intellectuals, too, the cease-fire that the prince of the dissenters, Hans Küng, conceded to him after the election seems to have expired.

From the beaches of California, Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese – who is said to have been dismissed as director of "America" at the behest of Joseph Ratzinger when he was still a cardinal – has blasted the new pope as an irreconcilable enemy of modernity, inspired by the gloomiest form of Augustinianism imaginable. By way of demonstration, Reese recommended an essay in "Commonweal" by Joseph A. Komonchak, who is a priest of the archdiocese of New York, a professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and one of the leading collaborators with the five-volume "History of Vatican Council II" directed by Giuseppe Alberigo. The most widely read history of the council in the world, this series was recently the object of criticism from Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the pope's vicar.

And in Italy, professor Achille Ardigò, a guru of the Bologna "school" founded by Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti and headed by Alberigo, said during an interview with the newspaper "la Repubblica": " I pray every day to the Holy Spirit, that he may guide the pope and Cardinal Ruini to turn aside from their rationalist theology," a theology which – as the historian Pietro Scoppola has also said in an interview with "Avvenire" – clings to natural law, throws out everything in politics, and "excludes the role of transcendence in human activity."


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pope joins 2-minute silence in tribute to London bombing victims

Pope joins Londoners in two minutes of silence honoring bombing victims

Vatican City, Jul. 14, 2005 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI joined millions of Londoners today who, during the morning commute observed two minutes of silence to mark the one week anniversary of a series of bomb attacks which rocked that city.

All across Europe, traffic and business will stop as mourners honor the 52 slain victims of the explosions.

According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Vatican press office director, the Holy Father, who is currently vacationing the northwest Italian alps, participated in the two minutes of silence from his vacation spot to honor the victims killed in London on July 7th.


In viewpoint of VirtueOnline: Spiritual health of Anglicans in Britain not good

"VirtueOnline--The Voice for Global Orthodox Anglicanism," is an online portal that is, in its words, the "Anglican Communion's largest Biblically Orthodox Online News Service." In the opinion section of the portal, "Viewpoints," David W. Virtue, DD writes commentary on hot-button issues galvanizing the Anglican Communion today.

In the following "Viewpoint" of July 12, 2005, Virtue
reflects his concern over the lack of prayer exhibited by Britons in response to last week's suicide bombings in London. Sadly, in his estimation, most Brits no longer ask God for help during a time of crisis but rather, "have adopted a stiff upper lip and 'we'll get on with it' approach" to terrorism:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

If you want to gauge the spiritual health of a nation when a tragedy like 911 occurs or what took place in London this week in terror attacks, look at how people respond.

A VirtueOnline columnist and former UPI Religion editor Uwe Siemon-Netto who was in London at the time of the blasts wrote this. "Here's the difference: in Washington, people poured into churches and synagogues. In London, they rushed to the pubs by the hundreds of thousands."

Uwe then went to St. Paul's Knightsbridge and was appalled to find only four other people kneeling in his favorite London church. "I went there that bloody Thursday afternoon, saddened by what I saw." He found four people on their knees...and they weren't even English, they were faithful visitors from Ohio.

There you have it; the Church of England is largely irrelevant in the lives of most British people. They are a nation without God and they don't particularly care what the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks or, for that matter, what most of his bishops think either. The C of E is irrelevant to the lives of tens of millions of Brits. Only a million or so even bother going to church any more.

What happened is that most Brits have adopted a stiff upper lip and "we'll get on with it" approach. God is not relevant.

Both Dr. Rowan Williams and ECUSA Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold weighed in on the London terror attacks. The two world Anglican leaders fell short in declaring the terrorist bombings in London acts of Jihardist Muslim murderers, while quickly endorsing ecumenical relations with Islam and Muslim leaders; with Griswold indulging in a statement of Western self-loathing and guilt.

Let us continue to remember the three faces of Islam. When Islam is the minority in a society, they are humble and deferential; when they are at parity, they are pushy and aggressive; when they are in the majority, they will kill you." I have written a commentary about the statements of both men in today's digest.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cleric warns: if women bishops approved, 800 Anglican priests could join Catholic Church

As a former Anglican, all I can say is the more Anglican priests who join the Catholic Church the better!

Anglican priests may defect to Catholic Church if women bishops approved, warned cleric

London, Jul. 12, 2005 (CNA) - A senior cleric in the Church of England has warned that he and as many as 800 other priests may join the Roman Catholic Church if the General Synod of the Anglican Communion approves women bishops.

Anglican Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet was the first to make this statement this past weekend, reports journalist Christopher Morgan.

The General Synod decided yesterday to approve the access of women to the Anglican episcopate. The new policy was decided by 42 votes against six, after a three hour long debate.

The vote in favor means women’s ordination to the episcopate will be three years away.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Muslim scholar: in Islam no distinction between civilian and military targets

Just another tidbit about Islam--just enough to make your hair stand on end. Normally in time of war, the countries of the West--rooted in a Judeo-Christian sensibility--try to carefully distinguish between civilians and enemy combatants in accordance with just war theory. But, as this interview with an Islamic scholar on the Arab news channel al-Jazeera shows--Islamic theology makes no such distinction between civilians and military targets.

This points out starkly one more divide between the worldview of the West and the worldview of Islam. Inheriting a warlike theology from the middle ages, Islam only delineates between two "houses," the Dar Al-Islam (the House of Islam) and the Dar Al-Harb (the House of War). Thus, according to this Islamic scholar, waging war against civilians in the Dar Al-Harb--or those outside the House of Islam--is perfectly justifiable. In response all I can say is, "God help us."

Muslim scholar: Killing civilians OK
Head of Islamic center in London responds to attack

Posted: July 12, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

Responding to questions about the terrorist attack on London, a Muslim scholar in the British capital asserted Islam makes no distinction between civilians and military targets.

"The term 'civilians' does not exist in Islamic religious law," said Hani Al-Siba'i, head of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London.

Al-Siba'i, in an interview with the Arab news channel al-Jazeera, elaborated, "There is no such term as 'civilians' in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not."

Dar Al-Harb refers to the Muslim concept of the world being divided into two "houses," the House of Islam and the remaining territories, the House of War, or Dar Al-Harb.

Al-Siba'i speculated that a Western nation could have been responsible for the attack, but he acknowledged it could have been carried out by Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization, according to a transcript provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI.

"If al-Qaida indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it," he said. "It rubbed the noses of the world's eight most powerful countries in the mud."


Monday, July 11, 2005

Pope to London terrorists: "Stop in the name of God"

Date: 2005-07-10

Pope to Terrorists: "Stop in the Name of God!"

Asks Prayers for Attackers as Well as Victims

VATICAN CITY, JULY 10, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI called on the terrorists responsible for the London bombings to "stop in the name of God."

After praying the Angelus with some 40,000 tourists and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope said: "We all feel profound sorrow for the atrocious terrorist attacks in London last Thursday."

Then, after requesting prayers "for the people who were killed, for those who were wounded and for their dear ones," the Holy Father appealed for prayers for the attackers, "that the Lord will touch their hearts."

"God loves life, which he has created, not death," he said to those who "foment sentiments of hatred," and those who carry out "such repugnant terrorist attacks."

The Holy Father pleaded: "Stop in the name of God!"

On Thursday, when Benedict XVI received the news of the attacks, he withdrew to his private chapel to pray and sent a message to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, to condemn "these barbaric acts against humanity."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Britain: a homebase and crossroads for militant Islam in Europe

It's amazing to me that the express and repeatedly stated aims of the apostles of militant Islam, who openly invoke others to murder, are not taken more seriously from the get-go! The British cultural imperative of free speech, and as the article below points out, its "deep tradition of civil liberties and protection of political activists have made the country a haven for terrorists." Until recently, such cultural attitudes seem to have outweighed a commonsense mandate to protect citizens from the jihadists within Britain itself. The same unrealistic cultural viewpoints often color debate within the United States as well. We all have to wait to be slaughtered.

Often people in the West are blinded by their own Judeo-Christian worldview, and automatically extend that worldview to all others. Not everyone's thinking is culturally conditioned within such a framework.


For a Decade, London Thrived as a Busy Crossroads of Terror


Published: July 10, 2005

LONDON, July 9 - Long before bombings ripped through London on Thursday, Britain had become a breeding ground for hate, fed by a militant version of Islam.

For two years, extremists like Sheik Omar Bakri Mohammed, a 47-year-old Syrian-born cleric, have played to ever-larger crowds, calling for holy war against Britain and exhorting young Muslim men to join the insurgency in Iraq. In a newspaper interview in April 2004, he warned that "a very well-organized" London-based group, Al Qaeda Europe, was "on the verge of launching a big operation" here.

In a sermon attended by more than 500 people in a central London meeting hall last December, Sheik Omar vowed that if Western governments did not change their policies, Muslims would give them "a 9/11, day after day after day."

If London became a magnet for fiery preachers, it also became a destination for men willing to carry out their threats. For a decade, the city has been a crossroads for would-be terrorists who used it as a home base, where they could raise money, recruit members and draw inspiration from the militant messages.

Among them were terrorists involved in attacks in Madrid, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, Israel and in the Sept. 11 plot. Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man charged in the United States in the 9/11 attacks, and Richard C. Reid, the convicted shoe-bomber, both prayed at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The mosque's former leader, Abu Hamza al-Masri openly preached violence for years before the authorities arrested him in April 2004.

Although Britain has passed a series of antiterrorist and immigration laws and made nearly 800 arrests since Sept. 11, 2001, critics have charged that its deep tradition of civil liberties and protection of political activists have made the country a haven for terrorists. The British government has drawn particular criticism from other countries over its refusal to extradite terrorism suspects.

For years, there was a widely held belief that Britain's tolerance helped stave off any Islamic attacks at home. But the anger of London's militant clerics turned on Britain after it offered unwavering support for the American-led invasion of Iraq. On Thursday morning, an attack long foreseen by worried counterterrorism officials became a reality.

"The terrorists have come home," said a senior intelligence official based in Europe, who works often with British officials. "It is payback time for a policy that was, in my opinion, an irresponsible policy of the British government to allow these networks to flourish inside Britain."

Those policies have been a matter of intense debate within the government, with the courts, the Blair government and members of Parliament frequently opposing one another.

For example, when the Parliament considered a bill in March that would have allowed the government to impose tough controls on terror suspects - like house arrests, curfews and electronic tagging - some legislators objected, saying it would erode civil liberties. "It does not secure the nation," William Cash, of the House of Commons, said of the bill. "It is liable to create further trouble and dissension among those whom we are seeking to control - the terrorists." The measure is still pending.


Saturday, July 09, 2005

Britain's Daily Telegraph: Where is the Gandhi of Islam?

Today in Britain's Daily Telegraph-Opinion is this excellent piece by Charles Moore (on-site registration might be required to access the whole article but it's well worth it):

Where is the Gandhi of Islam?

By Charles Moore
(Filed: 09/07/2005)

Yes, there was a Blitz spirit. As we waited in large crowds for a train out of London on Thursday afternoon, everyone was peaceful, cooperative, calm and slightly more jokey than usual. A woman near me in the carriage was talking on her mobile phone: "There's nothing left for them to bomb," she said cheerfully. "You'll find the sausage rolls at the bottom of the fridge."

And, yes, the emergency services were magnificent. They had trained; they were coordinated; they were ready. The strength of a civilisation is shown not only in its great monuments and works of art, or in its famous people: it appears also in the instant, instinctive behaviour of millions at a moment of crisis. By this measure, London is part of a great civilisation.

Yet there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was in Singapore on Thursday, having helped London's successful Olympic bid. His stricken face showed his shock, and of course he condemned the attacks. Then he analysed them.

They were not, he said, attacks "against the mighty and the powerful", but against "working-class Londoners". Would they have been all right, one wondered, if they had been against the mighty and powerful, or if they had cleverly found a way of killing only middle-class Londoners?

Then Mr Livingstone said: "This is not an ideology or even a perverted faith." Why did he want to say that? How - if, as the authorities tell us, the attacks were carried out by Islamist extremists - could this be true?

The main spokesman for the Metropolitan Police on Thursday was Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick. He also complained about attacks on "purely innocent members of the public", thereby making one think that there might be other people (police? soldiers? politicians?), who are not purely innocent and should have been attacked instead. Asked about the nature of the terrorists, Mr Paddick said: "Islam and terrorism don't go together."

It is true that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists, or involved in terrorism, and this needs to be said strongly if people assert otherwise. But if the Metropolitan Police really believe what Brian Paddick says, if they really, truly think that the words "Islam" and "terrorism" must not be linked, then we have little hope of catching the killers, of understanding how the terrorism works, or of preventing new atrocities.

You can show this with a simple comparison. When Britain was afflicted by Irish republican terrorism, most Irish people repudiated that terrorism. It was nevertheless the case that the great majority of the terrorists - more than 95 per cent - were Irish, or of Irish origin, and they drew overwhelmingly on Irish people to help and hide them.

This was not a funny coincidence. It was because the IRA preached a doctrine about Ireland and called on the loyalty of a perverted version of Irishness. Therefore, the words "Irish" and "terrorist" went together, hard though this was on the majority of Irish people. The Brian Paddicks of the day would have been appallingly negligent if they had not concentrated their investigations among the Irish. And the vigilance of the public, which the police then and now rightly call for, inevitably directed itself towards Irish neighbours, Irish accents, Irish pubs.

So it must be with Muslims in Britain. In fact, the situation is more serious because we are dealing with a religion, not merely a national aspiration, and the demands of a religion are more absolute than anything else. If fanatics can persuade people that their religion insists that they kill others (and often themselves) in its service, then they will obey. And whereas the IRA, though utterly sadistic and fanatical, kept in mind a political aim which, once achieved, would mean that they need kill no longer, the religious fanatic lacks even this check on his behaviour.

From time to time, perhaps, he will kill for a specific reason - to take power in one country, to drive foreign troops out of another - but, in principle, there is no end to his killing until everyone who does not share his particular version of truth is exterminated.

What strikes one again and again about the reaction of the public authorities, of commentators, of the media, is the terrible lethargy about studying what it is we are up against. We are dealing with an extreme interpretation of one of the great religions of the world.

We flap around, looking for moderates and giving them knighthoods, making placatory noises, putting bits of Islam on to the multi-faith menu in schools, banishing Bibles from hospital beds, trying to criminalise the expression of "religious hatred", blaming George Bush and Tony Blair. But if we do not know the way the faith in question works, its history, its quarrels, its laws and demands, we will not have the faintest chance of distinguishing the true moderate from the fellow-traveller or of bearing down on the fanaticism.

If you look at the Koran, you will find many glorifications of violence. In Sura No 8, for example, God is quoted as saying: "I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!" This punishment comes to them for having "defied God and His apostle". It seems reasonable to ask Muslims what this sort of remark means in the modern world.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Peter's Pence collection in support of papacy should remind laity of general call to service

A hat tip to St. Peter's Helpers for reminding us about this work of the laity in today's post, What is Peter's Pence?.

For, in this time of emphasis on the ministry of the laity, as expressed in the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of our beloved Pope John Paul II, promulgated on December 30, 1988, [On the Laity (Christifideles Laici)], it is only right that voluntary laymen's contributions not only be offered but increase annually in support of the papacy. In these perilous times we need a vast army of diligent workers in the field of the Lord who pray, fast, and make their offerings--both spiritual and material.

Pope thanks organizers of Peter's Pence collection

Vatican, Jul. 07 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) met on July 7 with members of the Italian group that administers the annual "Peter's Pence" collection, and thanked them for their support to the papacy.

"This is the first time I have met you since God called me to undertake the Petrine ministry," the Holy Father told the 30 leaders of the Circolo San Pietro, "but I have long known of your service, animated by convinced faithfulness and acquiescence to Peter's successor." The Circolo San Pietro arose in the 19th century to provide charitable assistance for the needy in Rome. Today they provide shelter for the homeless, assistance for unwed mothers, and free meals for the poor. Members of the group also act as honorary ushers in St. Peter's Basilica.


Evil will not triumph: British keep a stiff upper lip in wake of London bombings

From across the pond our sympathy and condolences go out to the British. Their stoicism and resolve to stand up unflinchingly to terrorism is an example to all.

Tony Blair displayed the mettle of all Britons as he said, "It is important that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world."

I second that eloquent sentiment: for we know in the end, God is in his heaven and evil will never triumph.

The Christian Science Monitor via Yahoo! News

The Monitor's View

Fri Jul 8, 4:00 AM ET

London's Calling

Osama bin Laden' is watching. Yes, he like other terrorists who aim to kill and maim the innocent, always watch how people react each time they succeed in an attack.

They'll be watching now to see how Britain reacts to Thursday's multiple bombings on London trains and buses.

They've already seen how Americans reacted after Sept. 11, 2001, how Indonesians reacted after the 2002 Bali bombings, and how Spaniards reacted after the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Global terrorists need a particular kind of audience reaction more than they need to destroy a place or kill people. They need a reaction of either fear and submission, or one of vengeful, unrestrained lashing out. The first one erodes a society from within. The second creates an overreach that incapacitates a society.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Islamic Human Rights Commission chairman urges Muslims to stay indoors

In the aftermath of this morning's terrorism, the chairman of the London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission condemned the bombings and appealed for calm. But fearing possible reprisals, he urged Muslims to stay indoors.

A hat tip to Little Green Footballs (LGF)


Muslims warned to stay indoors

07/07/2005 - 13:53:51

British Muslims were issued with a stark warning to stay indoors today, amid fears of reprisals following the London bombings.

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, appealed for calm and condemned the bombings.

He said: "The Islamic Human Rights Commission utterly condemns this attack, but now we appeal that there should be no further victims as a result of reprisals."

There was no immediate confirmation of who was responsible for the attacks, but a claim was made on the Al-Qal’ah – Fortress – internet site, by a group calling themselves the Secret Organisation Group of Al-Qa’ida of Jihad Organisation in Europe.


Unconfirmed report: London terrorist attack possibly from al-Qaida connected group

Unconfirmed as of now, a militant Islamic group that says its connected to al-Qaida claims responsibility for terrorist attacks in London:

AP via Yahoo! News

Report: Islamic Group Claims London Blasts

43 minutes ago

CAIRO, Egypt - A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" posted a claim of responsibility for Thursday's blasts in London, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The authenticity of the message could not be immediately confirmed.

The statement, which also threatened attacks in Italy and Denmark, was published on a Web site popular with Islamic militants, according to Elaph, a secular Arabic-language news Web site, and Der Spiegel magazine in Berlin, which published the text on their Web sites.

"Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan," said the statement, translated by The Associated Press in Cairo. The AP was unable to access the Web site where it was posted, which was closed quickly after the reports.


Pope Benedict XVI condemns terrorist attacks in London as 'barbaric'

AP via Yahoo! News

23 minutes ago

Pope Deplores 'Barbaric' London Attacks

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday he deplored the "terrorist attacks" in London, calling them "barbaric acts against humanity," and said he was praying for the families of the victims.

In a telegram sent to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop of Westminster, Benedict said he was deeply saddened to learn of the news and would pray for the families.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI and Jews continue ecumenical dialogue

Warm ecumenical dialogue continues between the Pope and the Jews: Sharon has invited the Pope to visit Israel; special edition commemorative stamps were presented to him today from Israel and Germany; and, Jewish representatives invited him to the Synagogue of Cologne--once destroyed by the Nazis--while he is there in Cologne from Aug. 18-21 for World Youth Day.

AFP via Yahoo! News

Wed July 6, 9:57 AM ET

Sharon invites new pope to visit Israel

JERUSALEM (AFP) - An Israeli minister said she had handed over an invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to pay a visit to the Holy Land during an audience at the Vatican with the new pontiff.

"I gave the pope a letter from the prime minister (Ariel Sharon) inviting him to pay a visit to Israel and he replied that Israel is on the list of priority visits," Communications Minister Dalia Itzik told public radio by phone from Rome.

In the first meeting between an Israeli government minister and the new pope, Itzik also presented the German pope with a stamp issued by the Israeli Post Office to commemorate his late predecessor John Paul II's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in March 2000.


AP via Yahoo! News

Wed July 6, 9:12 AM ET

Israel, Germany Present Pope With Stamps

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI was presented with two special edition stamps by Israeli and German officials on Wednesday marking the visit of the late John Paul II to the Holy Land and the church's upcoming World Youth Day in Cologne.

Benedict received the stamps during meetings with Israeli Communications Minister Dalia Itzik and German Finance Minister Hans Eichel.


AP via Yahoo! News

Tue July 5, 6:13 PM ET

Pope to Say Prayers in Hebrew at Synagogue

VATICAN CITY - German-born Pope Benedict XVI will say prayers in Hebrew when he visits the synagogue in Cologne, Germany, that was destroyed by the Nazis, a cardinal organizing the trip said Tuesday.

Jewish representatives invited the pope to visit while he is in Germany in August for the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day and Benedict replied,' "I will come,"' said Cologne Cardinal Joachim Meisner.


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The story of Father Bao: from Chinese Communist to Catholic priest

The underground Church in China is alive and well--gaining converts even from among the ranks of the Communist Party.

From Communist Militant to Underground Priest

Father Bao's China Odyssey

BEIJING, JUNE 26, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Conversions to Christianity, along with consecrated vocations, are increasing in China, says AsiaNews.

Despite incessant atheist propaganda and the lack of religious freedom, many young people are reportedly looking into Christianity out of curiosity -- and some are joining the Catholic faith.

A survey conducted by the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing showed that over 60% of students in Beijing and Shanghai are interested in Christianity, according to AsiaNews.

At a time when China's Communist Party is going through a crisis of identity -- few people still believe in Maoist ideals -- many members of the party are taking interest, albeit secretly, in religion and the Christian faith.


Monday, July 04, 2005

To those in the land of the free and home of the brave: Happy 4th of July!

Looks like the Mets have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Yankees do.

With guys like Pedro Martinez pitching so well and Randy Johnson performing so poorly the tables have been turned a bit.

On Indepedence Day, "hear, hear!" for some touting of "mom, baseball and apple pie." Thanks for this post of July 3rd from the Angry Twins

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pope at Angelus today urges leaders meeting at G-8 summit, July 6-8, to reduce debt in Africa


Pope Benedict Urges G-8 Leaders to Reduce Debt, Fight Poverty

July 3 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Benedict XVI urged the leaders of the Group of Eight nations to cut debt and adopt policies to alleviate poverty in Africa, "a continent often ignored.''

The pope, speaking before delivering the Sunday Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square today, said he hoped leaders "can share in solidarity the costs of reducing the debt and enact concrete measures to eradicate poverty and promote authentic growth in Africa.''


Saturday, July 02, 2005

John Paul II on fast track for sainthood: if martyr, would eliminate need for miracle

How quickly the Holy Spirit is moving in the beatification cause for John Paul II:

Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted on Sat, Jul. 02, 2005

Cardinal says John Paul II may be a martyr

Though the late pontiff is close to beatification, martyrdom would eliminate the miracle requirement.

By Nicole Winfield
Associated Press

ROME - Vatican officials no longer are dismissing outright the notion that Pope John Paul II could be declared a martyr, a step that could remove the need for a confirmed miracle to beatify the late pontiff and make it easier for him to become a saint.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said yesterday that it was up to groups of theological experts to decide whether the May 13, 1981, attempt on John Paul's life - as well as his long, public suffering before he died - warranted a declaration of martyrdom.

"In a technical, theological, juridical and canonical sense, the martyr gives his life for the faith," Saraiva Martins said in response to questions at a news conference, according to the Apcom news agency.

"We have to verify the motive for the attempt on the life of [Karol] Wojtyla. And this will be the work of theologians."

Ever since Pope Benedict XVI announced on May 13 that he was putting John Paul on the fast track to be beatified, questions have swirled about whether he could be declared a martyr. Doing so would remove the need for the Vatican to confirm that a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession had occurred after his April 2 death - a necessary step for beatification.


As shown in the AP news article, "John Paul II Placed on Path to Sainthood" and AP video "Process to Beatify John Paul Opens," the Church officially opened the process to beatify John Paul II on Tuesday.

However, details and notification of the date for John Paul II's cause for sainthood were given weeks ago as in this news brief from CWNews.com, dated June 10:


Cardinal Pell of Sydney urges ecumenical action between monotheistic religious leaders

As a way to counteract terrorism, Cardinal Pell urges the leaders of the monotheistic religions to not only ecumenical dialogue but ecumenical action that emphasizes their commonality as the "children of Abraham."

"One-O-Five Live" Vatican Radio

Friday, July 1

Joining Hands
Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders gathered recently in Sydney to discuss ways to cooperate more fully. Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, a member of the international conference “Beyond Dialogue: Interfaith Cooperation in Action” tells us more...>LISTEN


Friday, July 01, 2005

Islam expert Robert Spencer gives greater insight into the mind of a suicide bomber

In my brief commentary of June 29, "TIME Magazine: Interview with an Iraqi 'Suicide Bomber in Waiting'" about the TIME Magazine article, "Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber," I noted that the main culprit behind global jihad is the misguided ideology of militant Islam. By inculcating a worldview that promotes the vision of a global Islamic state, an ideology directly lifted from the Qur'an, tragically, militant Islam destroys the lives of multiple adherents like the suicide bomber, Marwan.

In this article, Robert Spencer, Director of
Jihad Watch and an expert on Islam, goes into, in his words, "this trip inside Marwan's mind," in order to elucidate his mindset and its social implications for the West.

Human Events Online

Jihad Watch

Taking Truth about Jihad Terrorism to the People

by Robert Spencer

Posted Jun 30, 2005

"The only person who matters is Allah — and the only question he will ask me is 'How many infidels did you kill?'"

These are the words of Marwan Abu Ubeida, the subject of a Time magazine piece entitled "Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber." It is gratifying to see Time being willing to make this trip inside Marwan’s mind, since most mainstream media outlets have been singularly uninterested in the thought processes of jihad terrorists. But even Time doesn’t explore the implications of Marwan’s words. And this is no trivial omission: jihadists from Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Marwan Abu Ubeida have consistently made clear that today’s jihadists are working from mainstream traditions and numerous Qur’anic exhortations, and that by means of these traditions and teachings they are able to gain recruits among Muslims worldwide — as well as to hold the sympathy of others whom they do not recruit. This explains why there has been no widespread, sustained, or sincere Muslim outcry against the jihad terrorist enterprise in general.