Saturday, July 30, 2011

THIS HAS BEEN A BEAUTIFUL SUMMER WITH TWO EXCEPETIONS. THE NFL LABOR DISPUTE AND THE CURRENT DEBATE IN CONGRESS. IN THE CASE OF THE NFL I FOUND IT VERY DISTASTEFUL, TO SAY THE LEAST,THAT WITH SO MANY PEOPLE OUT OF WORK, SO MANY WORRYING ABOUT HOW THEY ARE GOING TO PAY THEIR BILLS, GROWN MEN ARGUED OVER HOW TO SPLIT 8 BILLION DOLLARS....SHAME ON YOU. I HOPE THEY HAVE THE HONESTY NEVER AGAIN TO SAY THAT THE FANS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT....THEY SHOWED THEIR REAL COLORS.


IN THE CASE OF THE DEBATE DEBACLE I WOULD LIKE TO QUOTE FROM GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS:POLITCAL PARTIES SERVE TO ORGANIZE FACTION, TO GIVE IT AN ARTIFICAL AND EXTRAORDINARY FORCE; TO PUT IN THE PLACE OF THE DELEGATED WILL OF THE NATION, THE WILL OR A PARTY, OFTEN A SMALL BUT ARFUL AND ENTERPRISING MINORITY OF THE COMMUNITY.


HOW SMART PEOPLE PERMIT THEMSELVES TO BE TRAPPED IN A WEB OF STUPIDITY IS BEYOND ME....IT MUST BE SOMETHING IN THE WATER IN DC.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Johnny Cash-Walk The Line

Sixteenth Sunday of the Year

USCCB, CRS Urge U.S. House to Keep in Mind the World's Poorest as Subcommittee Marks Up Foreign OPS Appropriations for FY2012
WASHINGTON—Morally appropriate efforts must be made to reduce the nation's deficit and debt but special care must be taken that the cuts don’t disproportionally affect the world’s poorest people, said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, in a July 5 letter to the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs as it prepares to mark up the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012. In the letter, Bishop Hubbard and Hackett note that the enacted FY 2011 Foreign Affairs budget already cut these life-saving programs by an average of 8.4% from FY 2010 and affirm that “further cuts would be disproportionate and life-threatening to the world’s poorest people”. At stake are a wide range of life-saving and dignity preserving activities such as agricultural assistance to poor farmers; medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS and vaccines for preventable diseases; assistance to orphans and vulnerable children; humanitarian assistance in cases of famine; emergency health care, shelter, and reconstruction in disaster-devastated places like Haiti; peacekeepers to protect innocent civilians in troubled nations such as Sudan and the Congo; and life-sustaining support to migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or persecution in nations like Iraq.“In supporting these life-saving services, we seek to promote integral human development, reduce poverty, and improve stability in the world’s poorest countries and communities in morally appropriate ways,” the letter says. “Doing so contributes to our long-term security, since poverty and hopelessness can provide a fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.” “The Subcommittee must cut with great care, eliminating only those expenses unrelated to basic human needs and development,” the letter says, pointing out that middle or high income countries are better able to cope with the consequences of reduced funding.In the letter USCCB and CRS also affirm strong support for restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the U.N. Population Fund which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.“The USCCB, CRS, and many others in the faith community committed to a Circle of Protection(http://www.circleofprotection.us/) stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity,” Bishop Hubbard and Hackett say in the letter.Full text of the letter follows. Referenced materials (table and testimony) provided upon request.

July 5, 2011

Honorable Representative Kay GrangerChairwomanSubcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related ProgramsAppropriations CommitteeHouse of RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515
Honorable Representative Nita M. LoweyRanking MemberSubcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related ProgramsAppropriations CommitteeHouse of RepresentativesWashington, DC 20515
Dear Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Lowey:
As you prepare to mark up the FY 2012 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the UnitedStates Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) wish to share with you our funding priorities for poverty-focused humanitarian and development assistance. In supporting these life-saving services, we seek to promote integral human development, reduce poverty, and improve stability in the world’s poorest countries and communities in morally appropriate ways. Doing so contributes to our long-term security, since poverty and hopelessness can provide a fertile ground for the growth of terrorism.
We acknowledge the difficult challenges that Congress faces to get the nation’s financial house in order: fulfilling the demands of justice and obligations to future generations; controlling future debt and deficits; and protecting the life and dignity of those who are poor and vulnerable.However, the United States has a moral imperative to maintain its commitment to assist the poorest people in the poorest places on earth as they face the global impacts of the economic downturn, climate change, and food crisis.
Based on our overseas experience and relationships, the USCCB and CRS have identified critical poverty-focused development and humanitarian accounts that warrant robust funding (please see the attached table). We have also attached testimony submitted to the subcommittee earlier this year that provides more details on the priority programs we support. The enacted FY 2011Foreign Affairs budget cut these life-saving programs by an average of 8.4% from FY 2010; further cuts would be disproportionate and life-threatening to the world’s poorest people.At stake are a wide range of life-saving and dignity-preserving activities including the following: agricultural assistance to poor farmers; medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS and vaccines for preventable diseases; assistance to orphans and vulnerable children; humanitarian assistance in cases of famine; emergency health care, shelter, and reconstruction in disaster-devastated places like Haiti; peacekeepers to protect innocent civilians in troubled nations such as Sudan and the Congo; and life-sustaining support to migrants and refugees fleeing conflict or persecution in nations like Iraq.
We welcome appropriate efforts to reduce our nation’s deficit and debt, but we urge the Subcommittee to work with other members of Congress to be fiscally responsible in morally appropriate ways. First, insist on balanced contributions across the entire federal budget, including defense, revenue, agricultural subsidies, and fair and just entitlement reform. Second, give priority to those who are poor and vulnerable at home and abroad. Preserve life-saving services to the poor; if necessary, target other foreign affairs accounts not listed on the attached table.
The Subcommittee must cut with great care, eliminating only those expenses unrelated to basic human needs and development—for example, in middle or high income countries that are better able to cope with the consequences. Even within accounts not on the attached list, however, we urge that the needs of the poor be given priority. For example, in the Economic Support Fund, assistance for Sudan and Haiti and other poverty-focused programs must be retained. Of course, as with all accounts, we should subject poverty-focused services to careful scrutiny so as to eliminate waste and duplication.
As you consider appropriations language, we strongly support restoring the Mexico City Policy against funding groups that perform or promote abortion, and denying funding to the U.N.Population Fund which supports a program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization inChina. It is also important to preserve the Helms Amendment, prohibiting U.S. funding for abortion, and the Kemp-Kasten provision, prohibiting support of organizations involved in programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
The USCCB, CRS, and many others in the faith community committed to a Circle of Protection(www.circleofprotection.us) stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity.
Sincerely yours,Most Reverend Howard J. Hubbard Bishop of Albany Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace
Mr. Ken HackettPresidentCatholic Relief Services--- Keywords: appropriations, budget, FY 2012, foreign aid, Catholic Relief Services, CRS, Ken Hackett Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, USCCB
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Friday, June 3, 2011






Now Thank We All Our God

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

:
John Jay report not just about mistakes in 1960s, says sex abuse expert
Karen Terry, principal investigator on the John Jay report, listens to questions during a press conference on causes and context of clergy sex abuse May 18. (CNS/Bob Roller)
By Carol ZimmermannCatholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Even before the report examining the causes and context of clergy sexual abuse in the United States was released May 18, media reports keenly honed in on one possible cause of abuse cited in the study: the social upheaval of the 1960s.
Monica Applewhite, an expert in abuse prevention strategies, said she was surprised the report was characterized almost solely for what The New York Times dubbed the "blame Woodstock" theory, especially since that factor did not "jump out" at her after reading the 150-page report.
She said highlighting one cause -- among multiple factors that were described -- "is an extreme simplification of what the report actually says" and ends up oversimplifying "a complicated problem that requires a complex solution."
"I would encourage people to read the report for themselves, or at least the four-page executive summary," she added. The report is available online at www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context.shtml.
The report: "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010," was conducted by a team of researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York and commissioned by the National Review Board, a lay consultative body created in 2002 under the bishops' "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
It concluded that there is "no single identifiable 'cause' of sexually abusive behavior toward minors" particularly during the 1960s and 1970s but instead that situational factors, opportunities to abuse, social upheaval of the time and lack of "careful preparation for a celibate life" for priests played a role.
Applewhite said the report makes "a significant contribution" to the study of sexual abuse and could be a model for any youth-serving organization "that decides to study itself." She pointed out that "no other major organization has taken on a study like this" and credited the U.S. bishops for publicly releasing its findings.
A Texas-based researcher, Applewhite is an expert in the field of abuse prevention and response. She specializes in programs for churches and schools and has worked with several hundred organizations that serve children and youths. She spoke to Catholic News Service May 25 from her office in Austin, Texas.
One aspect of the John Jay report she found particularly helpful was the language it used to describe different ways bishops have responded to reports of abuse in their dioceses -- either as "innovators" or "laggards."
The report describes innovators as those who "understood the harmfulness of the (abuse) acts and moved to implement policies to reduce abuse and remove abusers early on." It conversely notes that the response of other bishops "lagged behind, thus creating an image that the church generally was not responsive to victims."
The report said the media "often focused on these 'laggards,' further perpetuating the image that the bishops as a group were not responding to the problem of sexual abuse of minors."
In nearly 20 years of working with religious groups to prevent sexual abuse, Applewhite said she has encountered both types of responses. The most pastoral responses have been from church leaders who met with abuse victims. Those who avoided these meetings have been "more blind" to the effects of abuse, she said.
Just labeling these different responses is a start, she said, since "so much of changing a large organization and problem in society is developing language." For example, she said, it was important to have language describing the warning signs of abuse or how to establish boundaries in order to bring about changes in behavior to prevent abuse.
But there is still much to be done. From her perspective, the most significant gap for preventing abuse in the Catholic Church and other religious groups is the "lack of professional supervision for ministers."
She said this observation "came out in the study, but hasn't received the attention it needs."
The report notes, for example: "The absence of supervision and/or regular evaluation make it all the more important that newly ordained priests are well trained, or formed, in seminary for the life and the responsibilities they will have in a parish."
Applewhite said "ongoing monitoring and supervision is a critical factor," just as therapists have professional supervision and school employees are given performance evaluations.
Since the report's release, the church has been criticized for acting as if the abuse crisis were simply an ugly page in its past. Applewhite said she does not get that sense from reading the study or from the abuse prevention work she knows is going on in dioceses and religious communities across the country.
"People are saying the church is portraying this as historic, but I pay attention to the steps the church is currently taking to prevent abuse which speak loudly and strongly that abuse is an issue to be addressed day in and day out, year after year," she said. "The research may say that the worst era has passed, but the church is not saying that the problem is over -- not in words and not in actions."
END
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Resumé Bloopers
"Here are my qualifications for you to overlook."
"Wholly responsible for two (2) failed financial institutions."
"Instrumental in ruining an entire Midwest chain operation." (Perhaps he meant running.)
"Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job."
"Finished eighth in my class of ten."
"Experienced supervisor, defective with both rookies and seasoned professionals."
"Please call me after 5:30. I am self-employed and my employer does not know I am looking for another job."
"It's best for employers that I not work with people."
"I’m extremely loyal to my present firm, so please don’t let them know of my immediate availability."
"I Planned a new corporate facility at $3 million over budget."
Personal Interests: "Donating blood. 14 gallons so far."
"Education: College, August 1880-May 1984."

Friday, May 20, 2011






Handel - Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

Who's On First?


John Jay College Reports No Single Cause, Predictor of Clergy Abuse
Clergy abuse consistent with social patterns at the time, says Karen Terry of John JayWhat we are doing works and we need to keep learning, says Bishop CupichPositive news cannot make us complacent, warns Diane Knight, Review Board chair
WASHINGTON (May 18, 2011)—A landmark study by researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, which examined the causes and context of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church, concluded that there was no single cause or predictor of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The report added that that situational factors and opportunity to abuse played a significant role in the onset and continuation of abusive acts. “The bulk of cases occurred decades ago,” said Karen Terry, PhD., John Jay’s principal investigator for the report. “The increased frequency of abuse in the 1960s and 1970s was consistent with the patterns of increased deviance of society during that time.” She also stated that “social influences intersected with vulnerabilities of individual priests whose preparation for a life of celibacy was inadequate at that time.” Terry also said that neither celibacy nor homosexuality were causes of the abuse, and that priest candidates who would later abuse could not be distinguished by psychological test data, developmental and sexual history data, intelligence data, or experience in priesthood. The development of human formation components of seminary preparation for priesthood is associated with the continued low levels of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States, she said. The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 report by a John Jay College research team was made public May 18 in Washington. Terry presented the report to Diane Knight, CMSW, Chair of the National Review Board, a group of lay Catholics who oversaw the project and to Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane, Washington, who chairs the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People. The study also found that the initial, mid-1980s response of bishops to allegations of abuse was to concentrate on getting help for the priest-abusers. Despite the development by the mid-1990s of a comprehensive plan for response to victims and the harms of sexual abuse, diocesan implementation was not consistent or thorough at that time. Yet, the decrease in incidence of sexual abuse cases by clergy was more rapid than the overall societal patterns. Knight, a social worker from Milwaukee, lauded the work of John Jay. “Through its extensive processes of data collection and statistical analyses,” she said, “the researchers found that the crisis of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests is an historical problem.” She added that “researchers also concluded that much of what has been implemented through the Charter is consistent with a model response to the prevention of child abuse. However, this in no way should lull us as a Church into complacency.” The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 and has guided their response in dealing with sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Bishop Cupich found hope in the documented progress that shows that “what we are doing works” in addressing child sexual abuse. He said that the inability to predict individual sexual deviance “makes the safe environments programs valuable and necessary.” He added that “the Catholic Church has taken a position of zero tolerance of any cleric who would sexually abuse a child.” “Such a position protects children,” he said. “But it also protects the tens of thousands of priests who have suffered greatly in this crisis, all the while quietly serving with honor and self-sacrifice every day of their lives.” The way forward for the bishops must be marked by humility and partnerships with others, Bishop Cupich said. “The shame of failing our people will remain with us for a long time. It should. Its sting can keep us resolute in our commitments and humble so as to never forget the insight we came to nearly a decade ago in Dallas. We cannot do any of this on our own.” The report can be found at http://www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors-by-catholic-priests-in-the-united-states-1950-2010.pdf Established in 1964, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York is an international leader in educating for justice. It offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law.--- Keywords: Catholic Bishops, clergy sexual abuse, John Jay College, Karen Terry, Bishop Blase Cupich, Diane Knight, National Review Board, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic bishops
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For inquiries, e-mail us at Media-Relations@usccb.org
Department of Communications 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gather us in

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

.
BINLADEN-RELIEF May-11-2011 (990 words) xxxn
Bin Laden's death brings relief, chance to reflect on a violent world
By Dennis SadowskiCatholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It has been nearly 10 years since her death, but for Thomas Heidenberger, his wife Michele remains foremost in his mind.
Michele died as a crew member on American Airlines Flight 77, which hijackers crashed into the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. Memories of the life the two shared in their Chevy Chase, Md., home and the devotion to family are what Heidenberger tries to keep alive.
Never mind that Osama bin Laden is dead, said Heidenberger, a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in suburban Washington.
"For myself and my children, it (bin Laden's death) did not make an iota of difference," he told Catholic News Service May 10. "It doesn't change things.
"To a certain amount of people, they call it justice," he continued. "I wouldn't even call it that on account it did not bring Michele back. It will not bring back any of the 3,000 who perished that day. To the families themselves it doesn't change things in the broader spectrum."
Heidenberger, now 65, said he's not bitter about Michele's death. Neither does he feel that the man who controlled the al-Qaida terror network got what he deserved because he cannot, as a Catholic, rejoice in the death of another human being. He said he harbors no doubts, however, that the violence that bin Laden espoused and the equally violent assault on his compound feeds a spiral that does little good.
"Violence begets violence. Here in Washington and New York, they're all waiting for the next shoe to drop," he said.
"Where does it get you? I don't want 3,000 people or one individual to go through what we had to go through 10 years ago."
Heidenberger's sentiments were echoed by others who lost family members in the terrorist attacks in the wake of bin Laden's death.
Elsewhere, pastors in parishes that continue to reach out to family members of those who died in the gruesome destruction of Sept. 11 adopted much the same message offered by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, May 2 hours after bin Laden's death became public. In a statement, Father Lombardi called upon Christians not to rejoice in a man's death, but to work toward greater peace and reduced hatred.
Colleen Kelly, a nurse practitioner who is a member of Visitation Parish in the Bronx and whose brother died in the World Trade Center, told CNS that even though she felt relieved that bin Laden was no longer a threat, she still wondered if there was a way he could have been captured rather than killed.
A founder of September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Kelly noted that it was diligent intelligence gathering as opposed to the long-term wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that unearthed bin Laden's whereabouts.
Another member of Peaceful Tomorrows, Anne Mulderry, a Catholic who lives in Kinderhook, N.Y., said that while she adheres to nonviolence, the action taken against bin Laden was "the much better choice" over widespread bombing in a civilian neighborhood.
Mulderry's son, Stephen, 33, died in the attack at the World Trade Center.
"I felt sad and it surprised me how filled with sadness I was," Mulderry said of bin Laden's demise.
"On the other hand, I have to admit, I do feel that Osama bin Laden was a voice preaching hatred and a voice the world must cope with," she added. "The world must still those voices teaching hatred if the world is going to respond responsibly.
"In one sense, Osama bin Laden had chosen his own death. He lived by the sword and he died by the sword."
In a brief message in the parish bulletin May 8, Msgr. Joseph Masiello, pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Westfield, N.J., said he believed the action against bin Laden was appropriate. He noted that Americans learned of bin Laden's death on the night of May 1, the same day in 1945 that Germany announced the death of Adolf Hitler.
"When no amount of words will ever make a difference, then the sad, painful, so difficult decision must be made, after much and profound reflection and as a truly last resort, to take up arms to show love of and provide protection for a neighbor under attack," he wrote. "And so, if ever a 'moral' war were fought, I believe it to be World War II and the war against terror."
Msgr. Masiello, whose parish lost four members at the World Trade Center, told CNS that even though he found the death of bin Laden was just, "death is not something to celebrate."
The death toll from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in suburban Ridgewood, N.J., was 10 and Father Ronald Rozniak, pastor, said he made sure to reach out to as many parishioners as possible who lost a family member at the World Trade Center in the days following the U.S. raid in Pakistan.
"I offered them a word of concern, knowing that this raised the whole memory of what happened on 9/11 to a new level. I don't think it's ever out of their memories," he said.
"Most that I talked to were in between," he explained. "As Christians they knew that you can't rejoice at someone's death and yet at the same time they felt somewhat of a relief that at least that page had been turned."
At St. Joseph Parish in Jersey City, N.J., just across the Hudson River from the southern tip of Manhattan where the World Trade Center was located, Father Thomas Iwanowski, pastor, said the death brings "a sense of closure" to families but that it deserved little other attention.
"It was the death of one man," he said. "I don't think he deserved any more attention than that. Then (by focusing on bin Laden) we make him out to be more important than he was. He was a misguided evil person. It's time to move on. His death is not going to make anybody's life better."
END
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Friday, May 6, 2011

MVI 0122

Inn Video

Celtic Alleluia

Bin Laden killing poses questions for moral debate
A worker looks over memorial items left on a fence at the former World Trade Center site in New York May 3. The Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida attack on the trade center's towers killed 2,752 people. (CNS/Mary Knight)
By Patricia ZaporCatholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- As word got out that Osama bin Laden had been killed by a Navy SEAL strike team in Pakistan, television and the Internet quickly began to feature images of spontaneous celebrations outside the White House and at ground zero in New York.
Just as quickly, blogs and social media pages such as Facebook began to rage with debates: about the morality of bin Laden's killing and how it was accomplished and about the appropriateness of the celebratory atmosphere. Others questioned the meaning of the "justice" described by President Barack Obama in announcing bin Laden's death.
"We must be clear what we understand when President Obama says 'justice has been done,'" said Gerard Powers, director of Catholic Peacebuilding Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, in an exchange of emails with Catholic News Service.
"Justice has been done in that the killing of bin Laden was necessary to defend the common good against terrorism," Powers wrote. "Justice has not been done if we revel in his killing as an act of revenge for 9/11. It is unclear if justice has been done in the sense of holding bin Laden legally accountable for his past crimes against humanity, especially the 9/11 attacks."
Also unclear was whether bin Laden could have been captured and brought to trial, Powers said. "If it was possible to capture bin Laden and he was killed anyway, then justice was not done."
Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington, Va., whose diocese includes the Pentagon, wrote that bin Laden's death brings back painful memories for many in the community, which requires a note of caution.
"It is important that we recognize the distinction between support for this act of justice defending our nation and a misguided sense of revenge," he wrote. "Let us not turn toward resentment or bitterness, but rather toward a deeper trust in our Lord. With confidence in his mercy and guidance, let us pray for those serving our country, for a conversion of heart among those who support the evils of terrorism and for the growth of faith and a desire for peace within our own hearts."
The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and the Islamic Society of North America were among those applauding the elimination of the threat posed by bin Laden, but warning against misdirected hatred and stereotypes.
"We hope his death will bring some relief to all the families, of every faith and walk of life, who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in every other terrorist attack orchestrated at the hands of Osama bin Laden," said a statement from the Islamic society, which said bin Laden "was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims."
The Islamic society said al-Qaida, the terrorist organization bin Laden headed, "has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity."
A statement from the Tanenbaum center voiced gratitude that bin Laden, "one of history's most infamous voices of hate and terror... is silenced and can no longer promote a violent agenda."
But it cautioned against the "voice of hatred" emerging amid the scenes of national jubilation.
"On Twitter today, we see racial epithets used to describe bin Laden. We see stereotyping of all people who follow Islam. The venom expressed is not different in kind from the hatred that Osama bin Laden spewed," said the Tanenbaum statement. "The question for those who tweet, write blogs, participate on Facebook and join in the media debate is: 'Why do you think your blind hatred, unjust stereotypes of Muslims and promotion of violence is so different from bin Laden's hate?' And the answer, of course, is that it isn't."
The Tanenbaum statement went on to say: "Failing to recognize our common humanity is the first step in dehumanizing others, and a dangerous progression toward creating a country based on hate rather than respect, justice and inclusion."
In one of the Catholic blog discussions, Jesuit Father James Martin, culture editor of the Jesuit magazine, America, captured some of the more charitable threads of the Internet debate:
"Osama bin Laden was responsible for the murder of thousands of men and women in the United States, for the deaths and misery of many thousands across the world, and for the deaths of many servicemen and women, who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives. I am glad he has left the world. And I pray that his departure may lead to peace," wrote Father Martin.
"But as a Christian, I am asked to pray for him and, at some point, forgive him. And that command comes to us from Jesus, a man who was beaten, tortured and killed. That command comes from a man who knows a great deal about suffering. It also comes from God."
Franciscan Brother Daniel Horan, a member of the theology faculty at Siena College in New York, questioned the point raised by some on his "Dating God" blog that "because we believe in the Resurrection, every death should be celebrated."
"Well, I understand that sentiment, but what we really do at something like a funeral Mass is celebrate the life, both earthly and the next, of the person who has died -- we don't laud death as a good in itself," he wrote.
The Vatican was among the religious organizations that were quick to weigh in with a statement acknowledging bin Laden's faults, including: "spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end." But the Vatican also admonished against the gleeful response: "In the face of a man's death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred."
Powers said that there are other thorny moral issues raised by the case of bin Laden. They include the difference between attempts to assassinate heads of state, such as Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, versus attempts to kill heads of terrorist organizations, such as bin Laden, which is less morally problematic, he said. Also subject to moral review might be whether the United States violated the sovereignty of Pakistan by waging the assault on bin Laden's hiding place.
"Yet in Catholic teaching sovereignty is not an absolute," Powers said. "If it was clear that Pakistan was unwilling or unable to take appropriate action against bin Laden and other terrorists in its midst, then, at some point, Pakistan cannot complain when others fulfill the responsibilities it cannot fulfill itself."
Finally, Powers said, "even though we can justify the killing of bin Laden, we do so with a sense of deep regret and with a recommitment to develop nonmilitary ways to defend against terrorism and address its deeper roots, while cultivating the peaceable virtues without which no lasting peace is possible."
END
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Thursday, April 28, 2011






All Creatures of Our God and King

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER






 
FIFTY DAYS OF EASTER
 
The Resurrection of the Lord is so important and so rich in meaning that one day does not do it justice. The Feast not only has an Octave, which is really a continuation of the Solemnity of Easter, but is celebrated through the Fifty Days to the Feast of Pentecost.
The Gospels for the “Fifty Days of Easter” tell us who the Lord is. In the first readings, from the Acts of the Apostles, we are reminded of the working of the Lord in His Church through the Holy Spirit. There are many windows through which we may look at these readings. Like the mystery they make present their meaning is never quite exhausted.
The simple question which is asked and hopefully in some small way answered is: “What does the Lord tell us about Himself?” These mediations will in an inadequate way try to answer this question and in so doing to continue the celebration of Easter.
Easter cannot be relegated to just one day. It is basically a celebration of our lives and the “Fifty Days” help to impress on us the importance of this Celebration.
The meditations will focus on the Gospels. It is not because the first readings do not contain important lessons. The history of the Church, of how it grew within a very short period of time from just a few people gathered on Mt. Sion to a religion which touched the known world, is indeed exciting. The Gospels, however, are the words of the Lord and permit us to see Him more clearly.
 
The Octave of Easter
Monday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 2:14,22-32; Matt.28: 8-15)…The first word He speaks after the Resurrection is “peace”. This is the Easter gift. Peace, order, the way things should be. With this greeting He is saying that His task is finished, that all has been reconciled. All of creation has been brought back into the order that first existed, things are the way they should be. That is what has happened because of the Resurrection. In the “peace” is also the “not yet”. Radically all things have been brought together, but this still has to be accomplished. The task of Easter is to become and help the world become what the Resurrection has made it.
Tuesday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 2:36-41; John 20:11-18) It is so easy to miss the Lord as we walk through the “garden” of our lives. We see Him in so many different ways; in a beautiful sunset, in the smile of a child, in the face of one crying out to be recognized, in the poor, the sick. We call Him by a different name, the “gardener”. Through all the noise, the “not seeing” a voice comes through. It calls gently, like a summer’s breeze, we have to be attentive or we miss it. It calls out our name. He knows who we are. We close our eyes and hear the voice, we know the Resurrection is not distant but is now.
Wednesday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 3:1-10; Luke 24:13-35) Going back to the past is so easy. That is what the two men of today’s Gospel were doing. The newness of the future was clouded. They had dreamed of a different future. The Cross had not been in their dreams. They had to go back to the past, where things were secure. Along the way to the past, the future met them. He opened their eyes. They let go of the past. Their dreams of the future were replaced by the Future, the Lord.
 
Thursday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 3:11-26; Luke 24: 35-48) It is so difficult to see the Lord. He stands in front of us, we want to believe, but surely He would come to us in a more glorious way. We have to see, to touch, be assured. To live Easter, is to break loose from the restrictions of the material. We enter a new world. In entering the new world we see the present world through different eyes. We see that the present world has sin. It is separated from God. It has to be given Easter.
 
Friday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 4:1-12; John 21:1-14) Sometime in the deepest part of our hearts we may be asked to do something completely foolish. Peter throwing the net to the starboard was foolish. One just did not fish from that side of the boat. It was especially “foolish” after having caught nothing through the night. It was in doing this “foolish” thing that they could say “It is the Lord”. Easter asks us to make judgments not by the standards of the world, which are safe, logical, measurable but rather by the standards of God which are not safe, because we are not in control; are not logical, because they look at reality through the eyes of God; are not measurable because Easter works slowly.
 
Saturday of the Octave of Easter (Acts 4:13-21; Mark 16: 9-15) Easter is to be shared. The times we met the Lord in the garden of our lives, the times He walked with us along the way, the times He opened the future, the times He asked us to cast the net of our lives on the starboard side, all of these are not to be held onto selfishly but rather to be given to the world. The Lord wants everyone to be an Easter person.
 
Second Week of Easter
Monday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 4:23-31; John 3:1-8) He is the one who has come from God. The obedience of the Lord runs throughout the Gospel message. To listen actively is the lesson which He wants to teach us about Himself. Obedience is so difficult. It is the saying “yes” and in so doing we must die to ourselves as the Lord did. It was through His obedience that we have life…it is through our obedience to the Lord that we can be life givers to others.
Tuesday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 4:32-37; John 3:7-15) The Cross is always before Him. It is the path His entire life takes. “to be lifted up” so in dying others may have life. What is “life”? To be alive is to be in relationship with the world. To be dead is to place ourselves in an ice cube. We cannot escape nor can others enter. To live is doing away with the chains of selfishness so that we can both love and be loved. Eternal life is living in the love of God.
Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 5:17-26; John 3:16-21) He is the light. Light permits us to see. Without light we stumble, knock things down. Without light we are afraid, the unknown hidden in darkness. It is easy to create our own light, to think that we see. A paradox, this light is really the darkness of pride, and selfishness. It is the “I” centric. He comes to
enlighten that light, to break through the light/darkness which we have made . It is this light which allows us to see ourselves as people living tied to God.
Thursday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 5:27-33; John 3:31-36) How much He loves us. He testifies but no one listens, but He does not stop. Love has to have the courage to be rejected. He never stops giving Himself. It would have been so easy if they had listened. Today He speaks to us. He speaks with the courage of love, we are free to respond or not to respond. “respond” is a beautiful word, it means to answer a hope of another. He has the courage to tell us His hopes for us and for us to say “no”.
Friday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 5:34-42; John 6:1-15) Such a completely human thing, to feed people. Without food there can be no life. He feeds them not because He has a lot of food, rather He feeds them from a lack of food. He does something from a limitation. The miracle of feeding continues through those who give not because they have a lot, but because the little they do have can do marvelous things.
Saturday of the Second Week of Easter (Acts 6:1-7; John 6:16-21) “do not be afraid” how important these words are. Fear is a two edged sword. At one time it protects us from dangers, and another time it can paralyze us. Fear can be a positive motivator in life, or it can stifle the human spirit. Fear in itself is not bad it only becomes bad when we let it stop us from living. It is this fear that Jesus says to us “do not be afraid”.

Friday, April 22, 2011

HAPPY AND HOLY EASTER TO YOU ALL

Chorus: "Hallelujah"

EASTER SUNDAY

THE EASTER EGG, WHERE DID IT COME FROM


Ancient Spring Goddess
According to the Venerable Bede, Easter derives its name from Eostre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A month corresponding to April had been named "Eostremonat," or Eostre's month, leading to "Easter" becoming applied to the Christian holiday that usually took place within it. Prior to that, the holiday had been called Pasch (Passover), which remains its name in most non-English languages.

(Based on the similarity of their names, some connect Eostre with Ishtar, the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility, but there is no solid evidence for this.)

It seems probable that around the second century A.D., Christian missionaries seeking to convert the tribes of northern Europe noticed that the Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus roughly coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations, which emphasized the triumph of life over death. Christian Easter gradually absorbed the traditional symbols.

Easter Eggs
In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants.

In addition, eggs have been viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.

Many traditions and practices have formed around Easter eggs. The coloring of eggs is a established art, and eggs are often dyed, painted, and otherwise decorated. Eggs were also used in various holiday games: parents would hide eggs for children to find, and children would roll eggs down hills. These practices live on in Easter egg hunts and egg rolls. The most famous egg roll takes place on the White House lawn every year.

Different Traditions
Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and in Greece painted eggs bright red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Hollow eggs (created by piercing the shell with a needle and blowing out the contents) were decorated with pictures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and other religious figures in Armenia.

Germans gave green eggs as gifts on Holy Thursday, and hung hollow eggs on trees. Austrians placed tiny plants around the egg and then boiled them. When the plants were removed, white patterns were created.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bible Lesson A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem. A small child replied: "They couldn't get a baby sitter."
THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT THOU SHALT NOT COMITT ADULTERY The obsession with sex clouds a deeper meaning of this commandment. We are quite willing to stop at the sexual explanation. I wonder what God would say about that. When I gave this commandment I did have faithfulness in marriage in mind Marriage is such a holy state that I wanted to impress on people its exclusive nature. However I did have a few other things in mind. You see adultery at its core is an act of injustice. By marriage the spouses mutually have the exclusive right to one another. This comes with the union which takes place when two people say “I do.” So by sexual adultery we deprive someone of this right. That is unjust. This exclusivity extends to other areas of the relationship. Spouses have a right to time, they have a right to feel they are the center of life, they have a right to emotional understanding and support. You see if you deprive your spouse of these you are being unjust. You are making yourself the center, you protect your time all of these are in a way adultery. Of course, there will be times when these things happen. What I am talking about is a consistent behavior. I wanted the same principles to apply not only to marriage but to all relationships. So much trouble could be avoided if people were faithful to the bonds of the human family. Even when it is difficult. Finally be faithful to yourselves. Remember who I have made you. Do not be unjust to yourself by depriving yourself of these gifts. This is really final, life is a great gift. It is not your sole property but belongs to other people. Do not take this away from them
. . CNS Story: WILMINGTON-CUTS Apr-13-2011 (720 words) xxxn Wilmington Diocese to cut jobs, close newspaper to pay abuse costs By Jim GrantCatholic News Service WILMINGTON, Del. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Wilmington will eliminate 19 full-time and three part-time positions as it cuts operating expenses and prepares to pay more than $77.4 million to survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The diocese announced the cuts in a letter from Bishop W. Francis Malooly accompanied by a list of positions that will be eliminated. Among the services that will be discontinued because of the layoffs are two run by Catholic Charities -- parish social ministry and the adoption program. The diocese will also stop publishing its newspaper, The Dialog, after 46 years and will let go the paper's staff of seven full-time employees and one contract staff member. Other staff reductions will come in the offices of the chancery, Hispanic ministry, human resources, religious education and marriage tribunal. A vacant position in Catholic youth ministry will not be filled. Most of the layoffs will be effective July 1. The Dialog "will be phased out sometime this fall," the diocese said. "Alternative modes of communication between the diocese, parishes and the faithful are being studied." In his letter to parishioners, Bishop Malooly expressed "my sincerest regret to those whose positions will be eliminated" and said he was "pained by the loss of jobs by our dedicated, hard-working members of the diocesan family. They and all of our employees have been and are faithful friends and partners in ministry who loyally serve the mission of the church." The bishop said the diocese is extending health insurance benefits "for an additional time period" for employees whose jobs have been cut. He did not specify how long. (Employees whose jobs are being cut are not eligible for unemployment benefits since the diocese has traditionally opted not to pay unemployment compensation taxes, as allowed by Delaware law for church organizations.) One of those whose jobs will be cut is Sister Sally Russell, who for 10 years has been the assistant director of religious education. "The sadness that I carry is beyond human words at this time," she told The Dialog. "There seems to be no limit to the painful reality of the abuse scandal. My deepest sorrow is for the mission of Jesus served by the ministry of catechesis." Noting that the church is observing the penitential season of Lent, Sister Sally said, "I am compelled to live more deeply rooted in the suffering Christ and in the power of the Spirit. I know, in time, gratitude for those whom I have met and all that I have experienced will replace the sadness of the present moment." On Feb. 2 the diocese reached an agreement to pay survivors of sexual abuse by priests more than $77.4 million to settle nearly 150 claims of abuse. The agreement will end pending lawsuits against the diocese and several parishes and commits the diocese to give to survivors its files on sexual abusers. The agreement, pending approval of all creditors and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, is expected to bring to an end sometime this summer the Chapter 11 process the diocese began in October 2009. The diocese declared bankruptcy to settle the cases filed by the survivors in a "fair and equitable way" while continuing the ministries of the church. In his letter Bishop Malooly reiterated what he said in an April 4 memo to employees that announced the cuts to come. The diocese had two major goals in filing bankruptcy, he said, "to fairly compensate all survivors of clergy sexual abuse and honor our obligations to other creditors and pensioners, and to the best of our ability continue the charitable, educational, pastoral, and spiritual work" of the church. In meeting the second obligation, he said, "we have, through the settlement, protected our parishes and now we are taking those necessary steps to continue the mission and ministries of diocesan services, albeit in reduced fashion." The diocese plans to continue to publish The Dialog on its normal publication schedule -- weekly through May 26 then every other week in summer -- while it prepares its new communications approach. The first issue of The Dialog was published Sept. 3, 1965, when it was called the Delmarva Dialog to reflect the geography of the diocese then. From the beginning, the paper has been sent to all registered households who request it; current circulation is about 55,000. END --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Johnny Cash & The Carter Family - Where You There (1960)

Fifth Sunday of Lent

THE SIXTH COMMANDMENT THOU SHALT NOT COMITT ADULTERY The obsession with sex clouds a deeper meaning of this commandment. We are quite willing to stop at the sexual explanation. I wonder what God would say about that. When I gave this commandment I did have faithfulness in marriage in mind Marriage is such a holy state that I wanted to impress on people its exclusive nature. However I did have a few other things in mind. You see adultery at its core is an act of injustice. By marriage the spouses mutually have the exclusive right to one another. This comes with the union which takes place when two people say “I do.” So by sexual adultery we deprive someone of this right. That is unjust. This exclusivity extends to other areas of the relationship. Spouses have a right to time, they have a right to feel they are the center of life, they have a right to emotional understanding and support. You see if you deprive your spouse of these you are being unjust. You are making yourself the center, you protect your time all of these are in a way adultery. Of course, there will be times when these things happen. What I am talking about is a consistent behavior. I wanted the same principles to apply not only to marriage but to all relationships. So much trouble could be avoided if people were faithful to the bonds of the human family. Even when it is difficult. Finally be faithful to yourselves. Remember who I have made you. Do not be unjust to yourself by depriving yourself of these gifts. This is really final, life is a great gift. It is not your sole property but belongs to other people. Do not take this away from them

Food For The Poor Haiti Earthquake Anniversary 2011

RAINBOW HOME Apr-6-2011 (850 words) With photo. xxxi Loreto-run Rainbow Home brings new hope for Kolkata's street girls By Anto AkkaraCatholic News Service KOLKATA, India (CNS) -- Fourteen-year-old Maya Shaw dreams that someday she will be flying over India, perhaps even around the world. "I want to become an air hostess," she said confidently in English at the school she attends run by the Loreto sisters in the Sealdah area of Kolkata. Her ambition is not that of a girl born in a middle class or elite family, but of an abandoned girl picked up along with her younger sister, Chaya, as they roamed aimlessly at the Sealdah railway station seven years ago. Both girls had been left on the railway platform by their widowed mother, who was unable to look after them following the death of her husband. The girls now live and study in the comfort of Rainbow Home, a distinctive program for orphaned, abandoned and street girls founded by Loreto Sister Cyril Mooney that combines schooling with life's necessities such as food, hygiene and housing. Maya is in fifth grade at a Loreto-run school connected with the program. That makes her four years older than most of her classmates because her schooling started late, at age 7, shortly after she and her sister were discovered at the railway station. Still, Maya, like dozens of other girls, are far better off than their peers who remain on the crowded streets of Kolkata, Sister Cyril told Catholic News Service. Sister Cyril said the idea to reach out to forgotten girls came after she realized that most Catholic school buildings in Kolkata were used for only a few hours a day. She wanted to help the girls in a broader way than just getting them off the streets. "It is a criminal waste of our resources (not to use the schools more fully) when thousands struggle outside without a home," said the 75-year-old Irish nun who has been principal at her school since 1979. Initially, poor students were educated in off-hours, separate from tuition-paying students from more well-to-do families. In 1997 though, Sister Cyril began mixing students in classrooms. It was the following year, after a 4-year old girl was raped outside the school gate, that Sister Cyril launched Rainbow Home to provide a home-like environment on school premises for the forgotten girls. Gradually, more and more girls were enrolled as two field workers made the rounds of railway stations and red light districts to look for lost children. Today, half of the school's 1,500 students are from poor families or the streets. Older girls and volunteer teachers coach newcomers on the basics of studying and hygiene prior to formal enrollment. "Those who picked up English are admitted to our (English medium) school while other girls are sent to Bengali (language) medium government schools while they stay with us," Sister Cyril said. At the outset, Sister Cyril's efforts drew objections from some tuition-paying parents who felt their children should never be made to sit with girls from the streets. But Sister Cyril convinced them that true education comes from understanding the poverty and social inequities that exist across Indian society. Over the years, Sister Cyril has persuaded her fellow nuns to open Rainbow Homes at the six other Loreto schools across Kolkata. The Loreto congregation -- formally known as the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary -- now takes care of more than 700 forgotten girls in the Rainbow Homes. Tuition is waived for poor children, while fees for students from affluent families begin at $33 a month and rise in proportion to family income. Their tuition subsidizes the education of the poor children. A joyful atmosphere in the Rainbow Home resonates when the orphan girls go to bed at night, after dinner and an entertainment hour. Sister Cyril steps in and blows a whistle to get the girls' attention. Together, the girls and Sister Cyril, whom they call "Mother," say a brief prayer. Sister Cyril then moves to a staircase, where each girl embraces her before climbing three floors to reach their dormitory. As the news of Sister Cyril's revolutionary education system spread, hundreds of poorer parents started flocking to the nun seeking admission to the schools. That posed another problem to tackle. "Then I thought the best option would be to educate the children in the slums itself as it would be impossible for many of them to go to school," Sister Cyril explained. So she started a school program in the slums in 2002. The idea spread quickly, and now 380 schools educate nearly 20,000 students across Kolkata. The school network employs more than 1,000 teachers. West Bengal state officials have acknowledged Sister Cyril's pioneering work by freely distributing textbooks for the 20,000 slum children and printing teaching aids she developed specifically suited for the poor students. Sister Cyril's work has garnered several awards, including recognition from UNESCO, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Indian government. The Catholic Church in India also acknowledges her education model by requiring that seminarians in their final year at Morning Star Regional Seminary in Kolkata to spend two weeks at the schools for pastoral training under Sister Cyril's direction. END --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Come To Me David Haas

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Amusing Signs In a Paris hotel elevator:Please leave your values at the front desk. On the walls of a Baltimore estate:Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.-- Sisters of Mercy In front of a church:Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case. In a Bucharest hotel lobby:The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable. On a long established New Mexico dry cleaning store:Thirty-eight years on the same spot. In a hotel in Athens:Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily. In a New York medical building:Mental Health Prevention Center
Cardinal to Senate: Respect Religious Freedom of All WASHINGTON (March 29, 2011)—“We remain firmly committed to the defense of religious liberty for all—not just for Catholics—because our commitment is to the dignity of each and every human person,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, testifying on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.” “As a community that has been the target of religious discrimination, we understand the need today to bring attention to protecting the civil rights of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “We see religious freedom as an essential foundation for our life together in our own nation and across the globe.” Cardinal McCarrick spoke of current threats to religious freedom, noting, “When the very right of conscience is attacked, the ability to exercise religious beliefs is subverted. There are well known contemporary examples where the state would force religious groups and individuals to choose between following their religious beliefs and practices and following the dictates of law.” He concluded, “As other countries wrestle with how to treat religious minorities, let them look to our nation where we work to ensure that their Muslim sisters and brothers are treated with dignity and their religious identity and beliefs are treated with respect. Let them see a people blessed with hard won religious freedom living out our commitment to the rights of all by demonstrating full respect for the identity, integrity and freedom of all religions.” Cardinal McCarrick’s written testimony can be found online: www.usccb.org/sdwp/Cardinal_McCarrick_Testimony_March_29_hearing.pdf ---Keywords: United States Senate, Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, hearing on Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, USCCB, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Muslims, human dignity # # # # # For inquiries, e-mail us at Media-Relations@usccb.org Department of Communications 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 (202) 541-3000 © USCCB. All rights reserved.
THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT Thou shalt not kill   Violence is such a part of the world in which we live. TV, movies newspapaers are filled with it. It is in the light of so much violence that I asked God what this commandment might mean. His answer: When I gave this commandment what I had in mind was really quite simple, to protect the dignity of human person and in extension of all creation. That may sound like a stretch. It is really logical. All of my creation is endowned with a dignity. What I mean by that is I love what I have made. It is that love which keeps everything going. Now since they are the focus of my love that makes them very valuable. That is the dignity of which I speak, all things are valuable in my sight. They are worth something not because of what they can do, but simply because they are. Violence is any act which deliberately denies that dignity. Violence is saying that someone or something is not worth too much. We see the blatant violence, war, murder, abortion. The more subtle types of violence often are cloked in garments of respectability. For example, budegtary violence. Whenever there is a cut it is the poor who suffer. They are looked at as just an economic function. Greed is another great motivator towards violence. The "how much can I sell this for" instead of asking "what is a fare price." Not giving to those in need is also a kind of killing. Someone once said: if you do not give the needy a piece of bread you have already killed him. That should be a real wake up call. Ignoring people, the nasty talk, using people for our own purposes with no respect are all denying the dignity which I have given them. Therefore we can say that you have killed them. this applies to all of creation. You kill creation when you do not use it for the purpose which I intended. You see I made things for the common good not just for profit. When the resources of my creation are used solely for profit someone is going to go without them. Thou shall not kill is a command which extends into our daily lives. How do we view other people? What are the acts of violence I perpetrate? Do I give to the needy?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Read about the Franciscans

I am excited to share with you the Spring 2011 Be A Franciscan newsletter. The current issue from the Holy Name Province Franciscan Vocation Ministry includes a Lenten reflection by Fr. Brian Smail as well as articles about our Chapter, student friars and HNP's commitment to Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. I hope you will read it! Please click the image of the newsletter to visit the Be A Franciscan newsletter page, where you can download the current and past issues. Read Be A Franciscan!

Read about the

Friday, March 25, 2011



Close your eyes and relax, deeply (This really works!) music by Paul Co...

Third Sunday of Lent

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
Thou shalt not kill
 
Violence is such a part of the world in which we live. TV, movies newspapaers are filled with it. It is in the light of so much violence that I asked God what this commandment might mean. His answer: When I gave this commandment what I had in mind was really quite simple, to protect the dignity of human person and in extension of all creation. That may sound like a stretch. It is really logical.
All of my creation is endowned with a dignity. What I mean by that is I love what I have made. It is that love which keeps everything going. Now since they are the focus of my love that makes them very valuable. That is the dignity of which I speak, all things are valuable in my sight. They are worth something not because of what they can do, but simply because they are.
Violence is any act which deliberately denies that dignity. Violence is saying that someone or something is not worth too much. We see the blatant violence, war, murder, abortion. The more subtle types of violence often are cloked in garments of respectability. For example, budegtary violence. Whenever there is a cut it is the poor who suffer. They are looked at as just an economic function. Greed is another great motivator towards violence. The "how much can I sell this for" instead of asking "what is a fare price."
Not giving to those in need is also a kind of killing. Someone once said: if you do not give the needy a piece of bread you have already killed him. That should be a real wake up call.
Ignoring people, the nasty talk, using people for our own purposes with no respect are all denying the dignity which I have given them. Therefore we can say that you have killed them.
this applies to all of creation. You kill creation when you do not use it for the purpose which I intended. You see I made things for the common good not just for profit. When the resources of my creation are used solely for profit someone is going to go without them.
Thou shall not kill is a command which extends into our daily lives. How do we view other people? What are the acts of violence I perpetrate? Do I give to the needy?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gather Us In

Second Sunday of Lent

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER
This commandment is nuanced by the years. When we are young it comes down to doing what we are told to do and not giving any backtalk. When we get older it means taking care of our parents in some way. When they die it is keeping their memory alive inside the family. I wondered if there was perhaps a different way of looking at this commandment lest it get neglected. I let the Lord speak
When I gave this commandment to the Hebrews what I had in mind was simple, they should take care of their parents in their old age. They did not have all the nice facilities to take care of the aged. When they became feeble, sick and all those burdens of becoming old I wanted to remind their children that it was their obligation to care for them. I hoped that this commandment would light the spark of seeing the needs of their parents and responding to them.
At the same time I had something else in mind . You see there is the human family. I am sure that you have all heard that expression, Radically this human family is based on my Fatherhood for all people. It goes beyond blood, nationality race. My Son, Jesus, gave a very good teaching about this family when He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The boundaries of what neighbor means were widened and therefore what family means.
You may be asking yourself the question: so what? Well, inside of this human family there are the weak, the feeble, those who need you. There are the poor, the homeless, the immigrants, the lonely and forgotten. In short there are people who need others in order to live. The sickness may be self inflicted .e.g. chemical addiction, it may come from society e.g. economic stress or it may come from some sort of weakness inside of one…this list is not meant to be exhaustive just some examples of the needy.
The next step is a big one and one which is easy to miss. In the context of why I gave this commandment in the first place, to take care of those who are in need (parents) broadening the concept of family beyond blood, inside of this wider family there are the needy. I would like it very much that one way to keep this commandment is to look at the needy you see as your fathers and mothers. In short, in honoring the needy among you you honor your father and mother.
REACTION-ABUSE Mar-15-2011 (960 words) With photo posted March 14. xxxnReport 'puts cloud over' church efforts to prevent abuse, says officialBy Carol ZimmermannCatholic News ServiceWASHINGTON (CNS) -- A recent grand jury report alleging past sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel in the Philadelphia Archdiocese "puts a cloud over everything" the church is doing to prevent abuse, said Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.In the wake of the archdiocese placing 21 priests on administrative leave March 7 in its ongoing response to the grand jury inquiry, Kettelkamp said people want to know what happened, how it happened and what can be learned from it."Every bishop wants to hear how this could happen" to assure Catholics it won't happen in their diocese, Kettelkamp told Catholic Service March 11.She does not attribute any failure in responding to claims of abuse to the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 at their Dallas meeting and revised three years later. The charter and its norms are meant to put a comprehensive system in place to address and stop abuse.What needs to be examined, said Kettelkamp, is the extent to which dioceses are following the "spirit and the letter" of the charter.When the Philadelphia grand jury released its report, it called for the archdiocese to "review all of the old allegations against currently active priests and to remove from ministry all of the priests with credible allegations against them." Among other initiatives the archdiocese pledged a re-examination of the cases of 37 priests.The grand jury also handed down five criminal indictments against a former priest, three current priests and a former parochial school teacher. The five were in court March 14 for a preliminary hearing.As the Philadelphia cases of alleged abuse are re-examined, Kettelkamp said it should become clear if unreported cases of abuse were the result of human failure or a weakness in the process itself."We have a good charter and a good audit, but we'd be foolish and irresponsible not to take a fresh look at everything we do," she told CNS.For starters, she noted that every diocese should be asking if it has sent every reported allegation of abuse to the local diocesan review board, and if not, why not.Philadelphia's grand jury report cites instances where archdiocesan review board members, who examined reported cases of abuse, found some allegations lacked sufficient evidence to justify a priest's permanent removal. In some instances when these priests were not removed from active duty, the report showed, further allegations of abuse were made against them.The charter's "zero tolerance" policy calls for the permanent removal from ministry of any priest or deacon found to have abused a minor in any way -- even if only once.The policy has strong support among victims' groups as a sign that the church is serious about protecting children, but critics say there should be different levels of penalties for different types of child sex abuse, that a cleric who only touches a child should not be given the same penalty as a cleric who has raped numerous children.Kettelkamp stands by the "zero tolerance" policy, especially given the current scandal.She is confident that answers will come to light as the Philadelphia abuse cases are carefully scrutinized.Currently, Gina Maisto Smith, the veteran child abuse prosecutor hired by the archdiocese, is leading the intensive re-examination of the cases. After her initial review, she recommended that Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali place 21 priests on administrative leave.The cases concerned allegations ranging from sexual abuse of a minor to other incidents of what the archdiocese termed "boundary issues" -- discussions or behavior by a clergyman that might indicate a pattern leading to later abuse.The priests' placement on leave is not a final determination, according to a press release issued by the archdiocesan communications office. The action follows "an initial examination of files looking at both the substance of allegations and the process by which those allegations were reviewed."In one of a number of statements he has issued in response to the report, Cardinal Rigali called sexual abuse a crime and "always wrong and always evil.""Many people of faith and in the community at large think that the archdiocese does not understand the gravity of child sexual abuse," he said Feb. 16. "We do. The task before us now is to recognize where we have fallen short and to let our actions speak to our resolve."Kettelkamp said she hoped that during the archdiocese's review, "all the good work the church has done" to combat abuse will not be completely overshadowed. She also hopes the "armies of people" involved in rooting out abuse in the church will not give up their fight."On any given day there are at least 1,000 people (across the country) working on the charter," she said, adding that the Philadelphia scandal "demoralizes so many people who have worked so hard.""I don't want them to get discouraged and give up," she added. "They should keep on doing what they do."Both the charter and norms the U.S. bishops approved for dioceses to adhere to the charter's mandates have Vatican approval. The charter was updated in 2005, the norms in 2006.The charter mandates that safe environment programs be set up in dioceses and parishes. It also requires an annual audit on how dioceses and religious orders are complying with provisions in the charter. Under canon law, dioceses cannot be required to participate in the audit, but it is strongly recommended.In 2009, as in previous years, a few dioceses and eparchies declined to be audited for various reasons, but the Philadelphia Archdiocese has always participated in the audit. Results of the 2010 audit have not yet been released.END
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Friday, March 11, 2011



Hosea (Come Back to Me)

First Sunday of Lent

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER
This commandment is nuanced by the years. When we are young it comes down to doing what we are told to do and not giving any backtalk. When we get older it means taking care of our parents in some way. When they die it is keeping their memory alive inside the family. I wondered if there was perhaps a different way of looking at this commandment lest it get neglected. I let the Lord speak
When I gave this commandment to the Hebrews what I had in mind was simple, they should take care of their parents in their old age. They did not have all the nice facilities to take care of the aged. When they became feeble, sick and all those burdens of becoming old I wanted to remind their children that it was their obligation to care for them. I hoped that this commandment would light the spark of seeing the needs of their parents and responding to them.
At the same time I had something else in mind . You see there is the human family. I am sure that you have all heard that expression, Radically this human family is based on my Fatherhood for all people. It goes beyond blood, nationality race. My Son, Jesus, gave a very good teaching about this family when He told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The boundaries of what neighbor means were widened and therefore what family means.
You may be asking yourself the question: so what? Well, inside of this human family there are the weak, the feeble, those who need you. There are the poor, the homeless, the immigrants, the lonely and forgotten. In short there are people who need others in order to live. The sickness may be self inflicted .e.g. chemical addiction, it may come from society e.g. economic stress or it may come from some sort of weakness inside of one…this list is not meant to be exhaustive just some examples of the needy.
The next step is a big one and one which is easy to miss. In the context of why I gave this commandment in the first place, to take care of those who are in need (parents) broadening the concept of family beyond blood, inside of this wider family there are the needy. I would like it very much that one way to keep this commandment is to look at the needy you see as your fathers and mothers. In short, in honoring the needy among you you honor your father and mother.
JAPAN-DISASTER Mar-11-2011 (310 words) With photos. xxxi
Damage keeps Japanese church officials from assessing needs
By Catholic News Service
TOKYO (CNS) -- Damage from a magnitude 8.9 earthquake and ensuing tsunamis were preventing church officials in Japan from assessing needs as tsunami warnings were issued for 50 other countries.
Yasufumi Matsukuma, a staffer at the Japanese bishops' conference, told the Asian church news agency UCA News that most staffers would remain in the offices overnight because of suspended rail service and continuous aftershocks.
"In Tokyo, telephone lines are so busy that I cannot contact diocesan chancellor offices in Japan. Aftershocks have followed. The tsunamis are terrible and we cannot get any information concerning the church yet," he said.
Disruption of telecommunications has made it impossible for the conference's general secretariat to contact Sendai, near the quake's epicenter, and neighboring dioceses, he added.
Television and web video showed cars, ships and even buildings being swept away by a wall of water hitting Sendai, and CNN reported police discovered at least 200-300 bodies in the city.
Daisuke Narui, executive director of Caritas Japan, said in a statement: "We are still collecting information at this point, but currently we are not able to communicate on the phone. Cell phones are also out of service."
A spokeswoman for Catholic Relief Services said the agency was on high alert in many countries in Asia, including the Philippines and Caritas Oceania, which is active in many islands in the Pacific.
This earthquake is the strongest since a magnitude 9.1 quake struck off Indonesia in December 2004. The quake and the tsunamis that followed left about 220,000 people dead or missing in more than a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.
"We know from 2004 the devastating impact that these tsunamis can have," said Sean Callahan, CRS executive vice president for overseas operations. "As with all such disasters, CRS will help people recover from the emergency and stand with them as they recover."
END
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011



City of God 2

Ninth Sunday of the Year

Bible Lesson
A Sunday School teacher asked her class why Joseph and Mary took Jesus with them to Jerusalem.
A small child replied: "They couldn't get a baby sitter."
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Keep holy the Sabbath Day
The Lord speaks:
The Sabbath, Sunday, has always been special for the community. From the beginning the faithful would gather to celebrate the memorial of the Lord’s death and resurrection. The great gift which I have given you in the Mass makes you present, in faith, at Calvary and Easter Sunday. Mass is brining into your world this great act of reconciliation. My apostle Paul reminds you that when he writes: he reconciled all things through the blood of His cross. Reconcile means to make things the way they should be.
So at Mass my mercy is given to you. It is there, you may not feel it, but it is working within you. I guess a simple way of defining my mercy is: I fix things. I fix the mistakes of people, I work inside of terrible situation trying to bring good out of them, My mercy, or rather I the merciful one do an awful lot that people will probably never know. This is what Mass does.
Now since you have all been touched by this mercy you should share it. You see I do not give gifts just for the individual but I give to the individual to he may use it to make my kingdom present in the world. My gifts, in this case mercy, are for the world.
Having said all that the next part is the tough one. You see I like to use people to do this. Look at the world and see all the things that are not right with it. Poverty, selfishness, greed, pride man’s inhumanity to man all these need fixing. You can not do everything. But you can do something to make my kingdom better. Maybe volunteering to work at the parish food pantry? The point that I am trying to make is that Sunday Mass is not just one hour you spend in Church. To keep it holy means to live what has happened to you…touched by God’s mercy. The words of my prophet Isaiah come to mind: Come let us set things aright, says the Lord
Questions for reflection:
Have you ever felt during Mass a weight being taken off your shoulders?
Do you see yourself as a “fixer” in God’s Kingdom?
Any ideas of what you could do to be the hands of God?
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The concept and practice of religious freedom is "one of America's greatest qualities" but it cannot be appreciated or passed along to other nations without an understanding of its roots in Christian thought, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver told a symposium at Georgetown University March 1.
"It is impossible to talk honestly about the American model of religious freedom without acknowledging that it is, to a significant degree, the product of Christian-influenced thought," the archbishop said in his keynote address to a daylong symposium on "Religion in American Politics and Society: A Model for Other Countries?"
Archbishop Chaput emphasized that he was not saying America is a "Christian nation" or that everything about our nation's Protestant heritage is "uniformly good." He cited "radical individualism, revivalist politics, a Calvinist hunger for material success as proof of salvation" and "an ugly nativist and anti-Catholic streak" as among the "less happy" effects of that heritage.
"None of these sins, however -- and yes, some of our nation's sins have led to very bitter suffering both here and abroad -- takes away from the genius of the American model," he said. "This model has given us a free, open and nonsectarian society marked by an astonishing variety of cultural and religious expressions."
But that does not mean the American notion of religious liberty can be dropped into another culture that does not share Christian roots, as evidenced by the "bitter experience in Iraq," the archbishop said.
"One of the gravest mistakes of American policy in Iraq was to overestimate the appeal of Washington-style secularity, and to underestimate the power of religious faith in shaping culture and politics," he added.
The "democracy movements now sweeping the Middle East and North Africa" demonstrate, however, that "the values enshrined in the American model touch the human heart universally," the archbishop said.
"The desires for freedom and human dignity ... are not culturally conditioned, or the result of imposed American or Western ideals," he added. "They're inherent in all of us."
He called for "an honest discussion of the relationship between Islam and the assumptions of the modern democratic state."
"In diplomacy and in interreligious dialogue we need to encourage an Islamic public theology that is both faithful to Muslim traditions and also open to liberal norms," the archbishop said. "Shariah law is not a solution. Christians living under Shariah uniformly experience it as offensive, discriminatory and a grave violation of their human dignity."
Archbishop Chaput, who served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2003 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, criticized "the current administration's ambivalence toward the widespread violations of religious liberty across the globe," as well as "the inadequacy or disinterest of many of our news media in reporting on religious freedom issues."
But he acknowledged that those are matched by "the indifference of many ordinary American citizens."
"In government, media, academia, in the business community and in the wider culture, many of our leaders no longer seem to regard religious faith as a healthy or a positive social factor," he said.
But free societies need "a healthy distinction between the sacred and the secular, between religious law and civil law," he added.
"Christians, and especially Catholics, have learned the hard way that the marriage of church and state rarely works," Archbishop Chaput said. "For one thing, religion usually ends up the loser, an ornament or house chaplain for Caesar. For another, all theocracies are utopian -- and every utopia ends up persecuting or murdering the dissenters who can't or won't pay allegiance to its claims of universal bliss."
Quoting James Madison, who said America was born as "an asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every nation and religion," Archbishop Chaput concluded his talk by saying, "Right now in America, we're not acting like we revere that legacy, or want to share it, or even really understand it.
"And I think we may awake one day to see that as a tragedy for ourselves, and too many others to count," he added.
The symposium at which the archbishop spoke, sponsored by Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, also featured three separate panel discussions with Jewish, Muslim and Christian scholars and leaders.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, a key proponent of the proposed Islamic community center near ground zero in New York, said separation of church and state "does not mean a firewall" between the two, but requires a "structured formula" similar to the system of checks and balances among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the U.S. government.
The imam founded and chairs the Cordoba Initiative, described as "a multinational, multifaith organization dedicated to improving understanding and building trust among people of all cultures and faith traditions."
"The ethics and principles that come from our faiths do inform and must inform our political life," he told the Georgetown audience. "The coercive powers of the state should not be used to oppress one religion."
END
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