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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gay identity and Same Sex Attraction

The term 'gay' is used now as an identity marker.  Saying "I am gay", means today that one defines one's identity / personhood / life by their homosexual orientation.
Same sex attraction, on the other hand, is a fact of life that some of us deal with.  As a Christian, Jesus defines one's life, personhood, and identity; JESUS IS OUR LIFE ! (Phil 1:21)

Gay Pride Week, Same Sex Attraction & the Catholic

It is gay pride week in some places.

As a Catholic who experiences same sex attraction,
the defining reality of my relationship with my Lord and the joy therein (Neh. 8:10) - my pride and glory is in the Cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14).

Worldly measures of truth and the defining of one's identity are irrelevant to one for whom Jesus is all in all.

Same Sex Attraction and 'Being Gay'

One is not 'gay', rather, one is created either male or female, and as such one is created in accordance with God's intentions for man and woman as revealed in Sacred Scripture, and the orthodox moral teaching of the Catholic Church :) - Praise Be To God! -

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CHURCH: Egypt’s Christians come to defense of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

Egypt's Christians come to defense of Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

CWN - August 28, 2013

The Council of Christian Churches in Egypt has come to the defense of Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of al-Azhar and president of al-Azhar University, the world's leading center of Sunni Muslim learning.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey blasted el-Tayeb for supporting the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi--an ouster also backed by several Christian prelates.

"That scholar is finished," said Erdogan, according to a report in Today's Zaman, a Turkish newspaper. "History will curse men like him, as history cursed similar scholars in Turkey before."

Father Bishoy Helmy, the Coptic Orthodox priest who serves as secretary general of the Council of Christian Churches in Egypt, paid tribute to "the virtues of the imam and his human stature," the Fides news agency reported.

MISSION: Nashville Dominicans expand to Scotland

Nashville Dominicans expand to Scotland

CWN - August 28, 2013

Bishop Hugh Gilbert of Aberdeen has welcomed the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, popularly known as the Nashville Dominicans, to his diocese.

The congregation's charism includes devotion to Mass and the Blessed Sacrament, the choral recitation of the Divine Office and Rosary, the wearing of the habit, and reverence for the Magisterium, according to its website.

"I'm old enough to remember Westerns," Bishop Gilbert preached. "And here we are, wagons drawn close, feeling our last days have come and our scalps about to be removed, when – lo and behold – the US 7th Cavalry appears over the hill. Here they are, armed not with carbines but rosaries. And we can breathe again."

"The religious life, as history ancient and recent shows, is not all glory," he continued. "Corruptio optimi pessima [the corruption of the best is the worst]. But when it is good, it is very good. Every renewal of the Church has had a renewal of religious life at its heart."

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FAITH: Jesus excludes no one says Pope

Jesus excludes no one, Pope tells Sunday audience

CWN - August 26, 2013


"Jesus does not exclude anyone," Pope Francis told his Sunday audience on August 26.

The Pope was commenting on the day's Gospel, with the injunction from Jesus: "Strive to enter through the narrow gate." That gate, the Pontiff said, is Jesus Himself, and "the gate that is Jesus is never closed." This, the Pope explained, is because Jesus is always anxious to welcome and forgive sinners.

The gate is narrow, the Pope said, only because "Jesus asks us to open our hearts to Him, to recognize ourselves as sinners in need of his salvation."

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Friday, August 23, 2013

CHURCH / Egypt: Coptic Catholic Patriarch calls for objective, impartial reporting on Egypt's crisis

Coptic Catholic Patriarch calls for objective, impartial reporting on Egypt's crisis
2013-08-21 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) With the increase of violent protests in Egypt, sparked by the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, the Christian minority has become a major target for attacks by the former president's Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
The attacks against Christian communities have escalated in recent days, allegedly in retaliation for last week's mass killing of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood protestors at the hands of the same military which removed Morsi from office. Scores of churches and monasteries have been torched, looted, or destroyed by Morsi supporters. Meanwhile, the death toll continues to rise from these attacks.
In response to this, Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak released a statement on Monday outlining the current crisis in Egypt:"With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country."
Among other points, he expressed appreciation for "sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be."Finally, he offered "condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured."
Speaking with Vatican Radio, President of the U.S. Copts Association Michael Meunier gave some context to the situation in the country. "Egypt is just beginning to get back on the path of peace and democracy," he said. "Under the Muslim Brotherhood rule, there was no peace or democracy for the majority of Egyptians."
Contrary to some reports by the Western media, Meunier said, Morsi's government was not a democratically elected one. Rather, the Muslim Brotherhood party, he said, was won through violations in the election process, and did not reflect the majority of Egyptians. "What's happening now in Egypt is not a fight between two gladiators. It's actually the Muslim Brotherhood deciding it's either they rule Egypt or they burn Egypt."
"What's happening to Christians in Egypt," he continued, "is the price that we have to pay, and everybody else has to pay, for a long-term freedom. I know everybody's wondering and worrying about [whether] there will be any freedom under the military rule, but what we know, and what we experienced in the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt for over a year, is that there was no freedom."Listen to the full interview by Susy Hodges with Michael Meunier:
Below is the full text of the message by Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak:
With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country. We would like to express the following:
Our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.
Our appreciation of sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.
Our thanks to all Egyptian and international media that report the news and events objectively and impartially while condemning those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion.
Our thanks to our honorable Muslim compatriots who have stood by our side, as far as they could, in defending our churches and our institutions.
Lastly, we address the international conscious and all national leaders that they understand and believe that what is happening in Egypt now is not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.
In conclusion, we express our condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured.
+Ibrahim Isaac
Patriarch of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics
President of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt

Pope to attend Marian Day in the Vatican

Pope to attend Marian Day in the Vatican
2013-08-21 Vatican Radio
(Vatican Radio) "Blessed are you for believing!" That is the theme of the Marian Day which will be held in the Vatican on 12 and 13 October next, in the presence of the Holy Father Pope Francis and all the associations of Marian spirituality. Organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, the event is part of the celebrations of the Year of Faith - organized by the then Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council - and coincides with the anniversary of the last apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima: it was, in fact, on October 13, 1917 when at Cova da Iria, Portugal, Our Lady appeared for the sixth and final time to the three shepherd children, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. Soon after, there was the so-called "miracle of the sun" the solar disc changed colour, size and position for about ten minutes. In memory of this date, therefore, the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be brought to St. Peter's Square and exposed to the veneration of the faithful. This is the program of the day in detail: Saturday, October 12, at 8:00 am, there will be a pilgrimage to the tomb of Peter, an hour later, Eucharistic Adoration will begin with the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation in some churches adjacent to St. Peter's Square. In the afternoon, at 17.00, the statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be welcomed by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square and then the Pope will hold a Marian catechesis. From 19.00 onwards, the statue of the Virgin arrives at the Sanctuary of Divine Love, where the Rosary will be recited with a link up to all the Marian shrines in the world, while starting from 22.00, there will be a prayer vigil. The next day, Sunday, October 13, the statue will return to St. Peter's Square at 10.00 am, there will be a recitation of the Holy Rosary, and at 10.30 The Pope will preside at Mass. "

CHURCH: Jesuit in Egypt laments Western support for Muslim Brotherhood

Jesuit in Egypt laments Western support for Muslim Brotherhood

CWN - August 23, 2013

Father Henri Boulad, an 82-year-old Jesuit who ministers in Egypt, denounced Western support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement associated with ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

"The poor Muslim Brothers! Victims of violence! Those gentle lambs, well known for their sweetness and innocence!" Father Boulad wrote in a column that appeared on the Jihad Watch blog.

"For weeks, the Brotherhood's militias, armed to the teeth, sowed terror among the whole population of Egypt: killings, abductions, kidnappings, ransom demands, abductions and rape of girls forcibly married to Muslims," he said. "No reaction from the West."

"Priests and Christians attacked and killed--including children of tender age--for the sole reason that they were Christians," Father Boulad continued. "No Western denunciation appeared which might be accused of 'Islamophobia,' which today is the crime of crimes."

"Faced with the Army's power grab, the West immediately cried 'coup d'état,'" he added. "If it had been a 'coup d'état', it was a 'people's coup', rather than military one. The Army had merely acquiesced to the will of the people. The people were fed up with a president who had betrayed, flimflammed and hoodwinked them, and they reacted with a survival reflex, calling for his departure."

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

SOCIETY / Canada: Morgentaler no hero

Morgentaler no hero
By ,QMI Agency

First posted: | Updated:

Henry Morgentaler looks on before being awarded the rank of Member in the Order of Canada by Governor General Michaelle Jean at the Citadelle in Quebec City in this file photo
Henry Morgentaler looks on before being awarded the rank of
Member in the Order of Canada by Governor General
Michaelle Jean at the Citadelle in Quebec City in this
Oct. 10, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger/Files
As a Roman Catholic I am obliged to forgive people and even to pray for their souls. I have to say in all candour and humility, however, that it is genuinely difficult to do so in the case of Henry Morgentaler, who died on Wednesday.
He lived to be 90 years old, and enjoyed a life composed mostly of wealth, comfort and prestige. Tragically, hundreds of thousands of babies were never allowed to be born, slaughtered in the womb, because of his personal and political actions. What a grimly evil legacy to leave to the world.
He was a proud man, relishing the adulation of the foot soldiers of the culture of death.
I do not mean average people who have no clear view of the abortion issue and are even, sadly, passively supportive of it.
No, I mean those zealots who regard the right to kill unborn children as a sacrament of modernist, left-wing theology. I have seen their distorted faces, screaming at the very idea of life and love.
He also made a great deal of money as an abortionist, far more than he could have accumulated as a hard-working doctor, helping to prolong life rather than obsessing about ending it.
Do not be misled by horror stories of rape, incest and a mother's life being in danger.
The vast, overwhelming majority of abortions are given to middle-class women who have the flimsiest reasons for wanting to kill their children. Not, of course, that any reason would suffice.
This is not, primarily, a religious issue. Christians might be the most vehement in opposing abortion, but that is because they have a particular appreciation of natural law, social justice and the role of creation.
But it's really about science and morality.
At the very point of conception, the unborn child has a totally distinct DNA and genomic character, unlike any other person who has ever lived, unlike any person who will be born in the future.
This is the starting point for human life, and there is no other objective beginning.
Three-months gestation or after a baby leaves the womb are arbitrary, superstitious and anti-intellectual definitions.
That a baby in its earliest stages doesn't resemble a child is irrelevant.
A newborn doesn't look like a five-year-old, a 10-year-old doesn't look like a middle-aged man. So what?
As for survival outside of the womb, a baby will die very quickly after birth if it is uncared for.
Autonomous survival is a digression, a distraction from the genuine arguments.
Morgentaler worked tirelessly to produce a society where we all pay for the elective surgery of abortion, which is not to make people well but to make people dead.
For this he was given awards and lionized by the usual suspects in consensus media.
While people plead to adopt children, we pretend there are unwanted babies.
While we claim to protect the handicapped, we abort the vast majority of babies who exhibit the likelihood of serious disability.
While we say we care, we are, in fact, indifferent.
As I say, I will try very hard to pray for the man, but sometimes the flesh is weaker than the spirit.

FAITH / Society: Years ahead will be more God-centred than you might like

Years ahead will be more God-centred than you might like
By ,QMI Agency

First posted: | Updated:

Pope Francis
Pope Francis greets Catholic faithful outside Sao Joaquim Palace in Rio de Janeiro, July 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Pilar Olivares)
When the conclave to elect the pope was held earlier this year, more than 6,000 journalists gathered in Rome to discuss why nobody was interested in the Catholic Church anymore. Irony, it seems, isn't big with contemporary media.
Whether you like it or not, religion is not of the past but is the key ingredient on the menu of modern and future politics and public life. And if you doubt me, observe the staggeringly large crowds in Brazil gathered for World Youth Day.
The North American and European chattering classes may swoon over the late Christopher Hitchens and pretend to have read Richard Dawkins, but nobody is going to die, or live in the real sense, for secular humanism and atheistic materialism. The dynamic, the driving force of, in particular, younger people is religion.
Shocked, incredulous, even angry at what I just said? Fine, be happy in your denial. But if you think, for example, that people are fighting in Egypt, Syria and Iraq for relativism or liberalism, you have no understanding of the greater world.
In Brazil this week, millions are swarming around Pope Francis for World Youth Day, not because they embrace either the free market or state socialism and not because they are liberal or conservative. No, it's because they acknowledge him as the direct successor to St. Peter, given the keys of the kingdom by Jesus Christ, the son of God, while the messiah was here on Earth among us.
You might reject this — and thank goodness you have that right in the west — but you're naive if you assume that because you don't go to church anymore because you'd rather watch Big Brother than listen to Big God, it means you represent the majority.
What characterizes establishment thinking in Toronto, Ottawa or Calgary is not what symbolizes mass opinion in Moscow, Cairo, Lagos and Rio. This is sloppy solipsism. In other words, the self-obsessed notion that because you and your friends think something, everybody else does as well.
Population and power are changing the world, and the future is with those areas where religion is more influential than ever. World Youth Day is huge almost beyond imagination. Even when it was in Toronto, we saw crowds of an unprecedented size. Ignore the soiled propaganda issued each year around the gay pride parade; if you want to see a million and more people, look not to pride but to humility. World Youth Day in the Philippines assembled 5 million people for the papal mass!
Feel smug about laughing at evangelicals if it makes you happy, smirk at Catholic moral beliefs if it gets you through the day, pretend you're not afraid of Muslim triumphalism, even imagine that Russian Orthodoxy is less vibrant than American cynicism.
But whether you like it or not, religion is not going away and the world of the future will be a lot more God-centred than you might like.
I would advise you to pray, but that would defeat the purpose of course. Maybe just sit back, hold tight and enjoy the journey, and hope the religious are more forgiving than the faithless.

CHURCH / Egypt: Stop the persecution

Stop the persecution
By ,QMI Agency

First posted:

EGYPT strife 7 ways
A supporter of ousted President Mohamed Mursi throws a tear gas canister back towards the police during clashes in central Cairo August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
A Coptic Christian Church in Upper Egypt dating from the fourth century was destroyed last week by the Muslim Brotherhood. It was not of any military significance, it was attacked simply because it was a church.
At the time of writing, 30 churches have been destroyed in Egypt by Muslim mobs. Some of the buildings are ancient; most are modern, however, because it is extremely difficult in Egypt and in most Muslim countries for Christians to get permission to build new churches and repair old ones.
I suppose that compared to the thousands of people killed and wounded in the past week this is insignificant. Yet no matter tragic human suffering is, the deliberate removal of a fourth century church from Egypt is on a different level of sociological violence and ethnic cleansing.
You see, Christianity pre-dates Islam by 600 years, and Egypt was a majority Christian country long before Islam existed. The attack on the church was a clear statement to the 15% of Egyptians who refuse to abandon Christ. "You do not belong, you never existed."
At almost the same time as the church was destroyed, a little Christian girl, 10-year-old Jessica Boulous, was shot through the chest and killed in Cairo as she walked home from a Bible class. Her teacher had briefly turned away to buy something from a market. "I just can't believe she is gone," Nasr Allah Zakaria, her uncle, said. "She was such a sweet little girl. She was like a daughter to me."
We should remember Jessica as a daughter to the world. As a symbol of the legions of Christians who have been martyred in Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria, China, and elsewhere. But mostly, it must be admitted, in the Muslim world. Not just the Arab world; the Islamic world.
The Copts of Egypt are the indigenous people of the country, with far more rights to the land than many Muslims. But while the world will sympathize with Palestinians, or for that matter Canadian natives and Australian aboriginals, it prefers to ignore persecuted Christians.
A former speechwriter to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff went so far as to actually mock the plight of these poor souls when I wrote of them on my Twitter account recently. British actor and author Stephen Fry has written a letter to his prime minister demanding action be taken against Russia for its legislation regarding gay demonstrations. Will he write something similar for Christians tortured to death, raped and imprisoned? Of course not.
The situation in Egypt will probably get worse before it gets better, and the one guarantee we have is — just like the Jews of the past — the majority will somehow find a way to blame and beat the Christians when social breakdown and chaos occurs.
There are fashionable causes, trendy minorities, easy campaigns to support. Then there are the genuine cases of massive suffering, the open wounds on the international body politic. The world has turned its back before and held its head in shame afterwards.
The phrase "never again" sounds somewhat hollow right now, and this agony is not historical but contemporary. Its colour is blood red.

MISSIONS / Pope Francis: do not be tempted by comfort

Pope to missionary congress in Argentina: do not be tempted by comfort

2013-08-19 Vatican Radio

Pope Francis sent a message to the participants of the Fourth National Missionary Congress which commenced on Monday in Catamarca, Argentina.
In his message, Pope Francis extended his "warm greetings and best wishes and blessings" to all those participating in the Congress. He thanked them for their work, their zeal, and he expressed his hope that this Congress would lead to the increase in missionary work. "I encourage you to go out of yourselves and go to the peripheries, both geographical and existential, to proclaim Jesus and make known his message." The Holy Father continued: "May the Holy Spirit give you strength and make you courageous, without fear and with bravery." He also asked that they may be free from being tempted by that which is comfortable. "Over the course of these days," he concluded, "I will be closely united with you in prayer and in the Eucharist. I ask that you please pray for me. May Jesus bless you, and may the Blessed Virgin care for you."

Monday, August 19, 2013

Oh, let us pray! :)


The day was long, the burden I had borne

Seemed heavier than I could bear,

And then it lifted- but I did not know

Someone had knelt in prayer;

Had taken me to God that very hour,

And asked the easing of the load, and He,

In infinite compassion, had stooped down

And taken it from me.

We cannot tell how often as we pray

For some bewildered one, hurt and distressed,

The answer comes, but many times those hearts

Find sudden peace and rest,

Some one had prayed, and Faith, a reaching hand,

Took hold of God, and brought Him down that day!

So many, many hearts have need of prayer:

Oh, let us pray!

MUSIC / Faith: Rhythm divine the Ethiopian nun whose music enraptured the Holy Land World news The Guardian

Rhythm divine: the Ethiopian nun whose music enraptured the Holy Land

Jersusalem's classical music lovers honour Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù, 90, after a life devoted to God and the piano

in Jerusalem    
  • Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù
    Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù: Jersualem's best kept musical
    secret for 30 years. Photograph: Gali Tibbon
    From a small, spartan room in the courtyard of the Ethiopian church off a narrow street in Jerusalem, a 90-year-old musical genius is emerging into the spotlight.
    For almost three decades, Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù has been closeted at the church, devoting herself to her life's twin themes – faith and music. The Ethiopian nun, whose piano compositions have enthralled those who have stumbled across a handful of recordings in existence, has lived a simple life, rarely venturing beyond the monastery's gates.
    But this month the nonagenarian's scribbled musical scores have been published as a book, ensuring the long-term survival of her music. And on Tuesday, the composer will hear her work played in concert for the first time, at three performances in Jerusalem. Guebrù may even play a little.
    Her music has been acclaimed by critics and devotees. Maya Dunietz, a young Israeli musician who worked with Guebrù on the publication of her scores, says in her introduction to the book that the composer has "developed her own musical language".
    "It is classical music, with a very special sense of time, space, scenery," Dunietz told the Guardian. "It's not grand; it's intimate, natural, honest and very feminine. She has a magical touch on the piano. It's delicate but deep. And all her compositions tell stories of time and place."
    Guebrù's inspiration comes not only from her faith, but from her life: an extraordinary journey from an aristocratic family in Addis Ababa, with strong links to Emperor Haile Selassie, to a monastery in the historic centre of Jerusalem .
    She was born Yewubdar Guebrù on December 12 1923 and lived in the Ethiopian capital until, aged six, she and her sister were sent to boarding school in Switzerland. In one of two seminal moments of her life, there she heard her first piano concert, and began to play and study music.
    After her return to Addis Ababa, and a period of exile for her family followed by yet another return, Guebrù was awarded a scholarship to study music in London. But she was unexpectedly denied permission to leave by the Ethiopian authorities.
    Israeli musician Maya Dunietz Israeli musician Maya Dunietz, who compiled Guebrù's compositions into a book. Photograph: Dana Dunietz
    In the bleak days following this calamity, Guebrù refused food until, close to death, she requested holy communion. Embracing God was the second seminal moment of her life. She abandoned music to devote herself to prayer, and after several years joined a monastery in northern Ethiopia. She spent 10 years there, barefoot and living in a mud and stone hut.
    It was here she changed her name to Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam. It was only after rejoining her mother in Addis Ababa that Guebrù resumed playing and composing and even recorded a few albums.
    Guebrù and her mother later spent six years in Jerusalem, and she returned to the Holy Land to take up permanent residence after her mother's death in 1984. She has remained at the imposing circular Ethiopian church ever since.
    Dunietz came across her music eight years ago when her husband, the conductor Ilan Volkov, brought home a CD he had bought in London. "We listened and were amazed by the strange combination of classical, Ethiopian and blues," said Dunietz. "And then we read the sleeve notes and discovered she lives right here in Jerusalem."
    The couple found Guebrù sitting at the piano in her room at the church, and began a series of visits. "In the beginning there was a lot of silence. We felt there was a lot of longing and sorrow and loneliness, but slowly a connection started," said Dunietz.
    Guebrù was still playing and composing in her room, but she had not performed in public for several years, and her music was "not much appreciated" within the monastery. Dunietz immediately understood the importance of publishing the nun's scores to create and preserve a musical legacy, but the project did not get off the ground until two years ago.
    Easter celebrations outside the Ethiopian Orthodox church in Jerusalem
    Easter celebrations outside the Ethiopian Orthodox church in
    Jerusalem, where Guebrù has lived since 1984. Photo: Abir Sultan/EPA
    "She handed over four plastic bags — old wrinkled Air Ethiopia bags — containing hundreds of pages, all muddled up, a big mess, written in pencil, some of them 60 or 70 years old. It was all the pages of her music that she had found in her room. 'Make a book', she said." It was, added Dunietz, "like an archaeological dig" to piece together the scores.
    Daunted by the task, Dunietz sought the help of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, which organises an annual summer festival of art, music and food in the city. As well as the book, the three concerts have a huge significance for Guebrù.
    "This is the first time she will hear her own music performed in concert by professional artists," said Duenitz, who will play the piano. "It is what every composer wants." Guebrù, she says, is feeling overwhelmed by the attention and has largely withdrawn into the solitude of her monastery room, declining requests for interviews and meetings.
    In the book accompanying Guebrù's music, Meytal Ofer, a regular visitor over recent months, describes her: "I enter a darkened room and catch my first glimpse of her, an elderly woman, not a wrinkle on her face, lying in bed. It is a modest room with a small window. In the room is a bed, a piano, piles of musical scores and a picture of Haile Selassie and the Empress Menen hung above the papers."
    Guebrù is wrapped in a blanket against the winter cold, writes Ofer. "Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam is in her own world; she speaks slowly with an inner peace, her soothing voice caresses the listener and her infectious smile sneaks into the conversation every now and then … The disparity between the room's sparseness and Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam's spiritual richness reaches deep down into my soul."

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    CHURCH / Egypt: 2nd day of attacks on churches

    Egypt: 2nd day of attacks on churches

    CWN - August 16, 2013

    By the end of a second day of attacks on Christian institutions, homes, and businesses in Egypt, Islamists had burned down over 50 churches, a Coptic Orthodox bishop told CNN.
    The attacks followed police and military action against Muslim Brotherhood protestors who support ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
    "The military tried to evacuate this sit-in by the Muslim Brotherhood, but they (Brotherhood members) went out and set fire to important sites, including many churches," a spokesman for the Catholic Coptic Church, Father Hani Bakhoum Kiroulos, told Catholic News Service. "This is a problem not just for Christians but also for moderate Muslims. We are facing a group of terrorists who seek to set the whole country ablaze."
    Referring to the July 3 ouster of Morsi, he added that "the Church did not support a military coup--on the contrary, the military supported the desire of the people, and the Church is part of the people."

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    Mark Steyn: “When the state has the ability to know everything except right and wrong, it won’t end well.”

    The maniacal mind of Mark Steyn

    August 8, 2013 (Unmasking Choice) - Few writers have the breadth and scope of Canadian-born commentator Mark Steyn. He calls himself "The One-Man Global Content Provider," and he is easily one of the most popular and prolific conservative polemicists writing today, producing everything from obituaries and Broadway reviews to tomes on Islam and demography.  His work has been reviewed by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and renowned British novelist Martin Amis.  Amis, whom Steyn wrote very critically of in his book America Alone, provides one of the most accurate descriptions of Steyn's writing: "Mark Steyn is an oddity. His thoughts and themes are sane and serious—but he writes like a maniac."
    And so he does—on the rise of Islam in the West, on liberty-stifling Big Government, on the decline of masculinity, on plunging birthrates. And he also happens to be very anti-abortion—and his comments on the matter are, as usual, witty and incisive.
    I had the opportunity of interviewing Steyn a couple years back when I did freelance work for The Jewish Independent. Steyn was coming into town to speak at the Hillel gala, and a few of us were going to have lunch with him a day or so prior to the event. As I asked him questions for my Independent article, I decided to throw in a question about abortion, just out of curiosity.
    "Why does anyone think Europe needs huge numbers of Muslim immigrants?" Steyn replied, "Supposedly to keep their welfare state in business, because they are the children that Europeans couldn't be bothered to have themselves. One third of German women are childless. If you just take your average, dopey Western feminist at a university campus in North America today, and she's concerned about patriarchy, [she thinks that by] forming a pro-life club you're forcing your backwards, patriarchal views on her. If she thinks you're the big, stern, dominating patriarch, she ought to wait twenty or thirty years in the average Canadian city. She'll be figuring out what the people in Amsterdam and Brussels and Malmo and Paris are beginning to figure out right now—that there's a whole, far more motivated breed of patriarch that's going to be walking around those cities. That's what the dopey, clap-trapped, cobwebbed 1960's feminist doesn't get—that abortion is an indulgence and the indulgence only works for a generation or two before a bunch of other people take over and rebuild the future you weren't interested in building for yourselves."
    And suddenly, abortion is put in context. It's not simply killing—although it certainly is that. It's cultural suicide. It's emblematic of the bloody, narcissistic tailspin of the West at twilight. It is, as Mark Steyn refers to it elsewhere, Big Government's back alley.
    "The back alley is back, and supersized," he writes, "When the pro-choice rally ends and Cameron Diaz, Ashley Judd and the other celebrities d'un certain age return to Hollywood, and the upper-middle-class women with the one designer baby go back to their suburbs, a woman's 'right to choose' means that, day in, day out, the blessings of this 'right' fall disproportionately on all the identity groups the upscale liberals profess to care about—poor women, black women, Hispanic women, undocumented women, and other denizens of Big Government's back alley."
    Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!
    But does the touching and suffocating compassion of Big Government and its enforcers encompass pre-born human beings with its long tentacles? Unfortunately no, as Kermit Gosnell, the butcher of Philadelphia, and so many others have proven. An indication of moral bankruptcy, Steyn notes: "One solitary act of mass infanticide by a mentally-ill loner calls into question the constitutional right to guns, but a sustained conveyer belt of infanticide by an entire cadre of cold-blooded killers apparently has no implications for the constitutional right to abortion."
    Thugs and bullies kill babies, or "fetuses" if you prefer, because they cannot fight back or make noise—at least not noise unmuffled by the body of his or her mother. And ideological thugs and bullies, desperate to maintain their right to frivolously frolic away the future with sterile sex hammer down on any who publicly disagree with their feticide free-for-all. Think of what happened last year, when Komen, an organization dedicated to fighting breast cancer, decided briefly to pull their paltry donation to abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Komen was soon brought grovelling back into line by Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and her fellow hench-womyn.
    "Ms. Richards' business is an upscale progressives' ideological protection racket," Steyn noted wryly, "for whom the 'poor women's' abortion mill is a mere pretext. The Komen Foundation will not be the last to learn that you can 'race for the cure,' but you can't hide. Celebrate conformity—or else."
    Abortion, as any literate human being can tell you, kills a human being. Abortion, as any moral human being can tell you, is a human rights violation. And abortion, as Mark Steyn tells us, is a cultural indulgence that can't last more than a few generations. Abortion is a symbol of everything that threatens the West, from plunging birthrates to skyrocketing self-absorption to the slow rise of Big Government's Brave New World.
    For as Mark Steyn wrote, "When the state has the ability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won't end well."
    Reprinted with permssion from Unmasking Choice

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    SOCIETY: Ontario principal abetted gay partner’s sexual abuse of students

    Gay principal at Ontario Catholic school loses license over partner's sexual abuse of students

    THUNDER BAY, Ontario, August 9, 2013 ( – The former principal of a small Catholic school in northern Ontario has had his license revoked by the Ontario College of Teachers for ignoring the repeated sexual abuse of students by one of his homosexual partners.
    Jacques Perron was found guilty of "professional misconduct" earlier this year and was barred on Wednesday from reapplying for his teaching license for at least five years.
    The former principal of a French-language Catholic school had hired two men, Pierre Grondin and Jannick Gélinas — with whom he was sexually involved — to work at the school. Grondin was hired as part-time school custodian and Gélinas as school secretary.
    From 2003-6, Grondin exposed himself to male students in the classroom and in a hotel while on a school trip, sexually abused an intellectually-challenged male student several times a week for a number of years, and sexually abused two sisters while filming them. He also harassed staff and enforced Perron's unwritten policy of no dissent.
    The discipline committee of the Ontario College of Teachers ruled in January that Perron "acted inappropriately and incompetently, violated the ethics of the teaching profession, and failed to carry out his professional responsibilities".
    During the hearing, Perron's defense lawyer admitted that the principal used "wilful ignorance" to "overlook" the actions of his homosexual lover. 
    Principal Perron was accused by staff of "foster[ing[ a climate of intimidation, manipulation, retaliation, threats and criticism", making it difficult for anyone to raise a voice against him or his actions.
    Yvonne Monto, a teacher, secretary, and technician at the school, described the school as having "an absolutely toxic, unbearable atmosphere" because, she said, Perron controlled everything.
    Monto testified that Perron used his homosexual lover Grondin to propagate harassment.
    One trustee, René Nadeau, testified that he could not confront the homosexual principal, because he was afraid of retaliation against his spouse.
    Staff describe Perron's behaviour as aggressive. In one incident, he asked a teacher returning from the bathroom if she had masturbated.
    During Perron's reign of terror at the school, religion classes ceased and students began accessing porn from the school's computers. Donald Dionne, who served as Interim Principal for the school from November 2004 to June 2005, testified at a court hearing earlier this year that the school had been stripped of "religious teaching" and that "students had access to pornographic websites". 
    Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.
    Robert Laplante, a human resources consultant and a retired supervisory officer, observed during his three-day visit to the school in January 2005 that staff records were "incomplete," including "no criminal background checks" on employees. He also confirmed that "no religion classes were offered" at that time. 
    Discipline to the homosexual principal comes at a time when leaders of life and family issues are urgently warning parents of the infiltration of the school system by homosexuals crusading to indoctrinate children into the gay lifestyle.
    Last month Ontario's former Deputy Minister of Education was arrested in the wake of an international child pornography and child exploitation sting that led to his doorstep. Dr. Ben Levin, who oversaw the development of a sex-education curriculum that critics say contains an underlying homosexual agenda, was charged with making and distributing child pornography as well as arranging for a sexual offense with a child.
    "Why would we push anti-bullying programs or social studies classes that teach kids about the historical contributions of famous queers unless we wanted to deliberately educate children to accept queer sexuality as normal?" wrote Daniel Villarreal in a 2011 piece that appeared on the popular gay site
    "Recruiting children? You bet we are," he said.
    "We want educators to teach future generations of children to accept queer sexuality. In fact, our very future depends on it."
    "And I would very much like for many of these young boys to grow up and start f**ing men," he said.
    Perron's new lawyer Jacques Roy said on Wednesday that his client plans to appeal the college's recent decision since he now denies that he ignored the abuses perpetrated by his homosexual partner.
    "I feel like a victim," he said after the hearing, adding his belief that the decision was the result of false accusations from former students and colleagues out to destroy his reputation.

    Saturday, August 10, 2013

    A young Calvinist discovers grace in Spanish Catholic mystics. (If that’s what it takes.)

    A young Calvinist discovers grace in Spanish Catholic mystics. (If that's what it takes.)

    EUCHARIST as Food for LIFE

    Make Sure You Are Hungry

    Meditation 13 of 53

    Christ is the bread, awaiting hunger.   — St. Augustine

    Eucharist is presence encountering presence—mutuality, vulnerability. There is nothing to prove, to protect, or to sell. It feels so empty, simple, and harmless, that all you can do is be present. In most of Christian history we instead tried to "understand" and explain presence. As if we could.

    The Eucharist is telling us that God is the food and all we have to do is provide the hunger. Somehow we have to make sure that each day we are hungry, that there's room inside of us for another presence. If you are filled with your own opinions, ideas, righteousness, superiority, or sufficiency, you are a world unto yourself and there is no room for "another." Despite all our attempts to define who is worthy and who is not worthy to receive communion, our only ticket or prerequisite for coming to Eucharist is hunger. And most often sinners are much hungrier than the so-called saints.

    Adapted from Eucharist as Touchstone (CD, MP3)

    The Daily Meditations for 2013 are now available
    in Fr. Richard's new book Yes, And . . . .


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    The Six-Decade Carmelite / Brigittine Rosary

    The Six-Decade Carmelite / Brigittine Rosary
    The place of the Dominican Rosary is so secure in the affections of Catholics that is is difficult to appreciate that other groupings of beads have vied for that position. The six-decade Brigittine devotion actually presented a serious rivalry to the five decade rosary through the Middle Ages. It remains an important devotion today and has interesting overlaps with the five-decade Dominican devotion.

    Saint Teresa of Jesus prayed the Rosary each day, and whilst travelling throughout Spain stayed in at least one Brigittine Monastery. From these nuns she learned the six-decade Rosary, which was later adopted as the Rosary to be worn as part of the Discalced Carmelite habit, with a large medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in addition to, (or even in place of,) the Crucifix found on the Dominican Rosary. With the Carmelites only six of the eighteen decades are worn, as opposed to the entire fifteen decades of the Dominican Rosary, worn with the Religious habits of some other Orders.
    The Brigittine Rosary consists of six decades. Seven Pater Noster beads honour the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and sixty-three Ave Maria beads commemorate the sixty-three years it is believed she lived on earth before her Assumption. When the whole devotion is offered here are a total of eighteen decades:
    Six Joyful Mysteries; the first in honour of the Immaculate Conception.
    Six Sorrowful Mysteries; the sixth commemorating the moment when the Body of the Lord was placed in the Arms of His Sorrowful Mother.
    Six Glorious Mysteries; the sixth mystery recited in honour of the Patronage of Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace and, for Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel.
    The other mysteries are the same as in the Dominican Rosary. A significant variant is found at the end of each decade, where the Apostles Creed, rather than the Gloria Patri, is recited. Due to the length of the Apostles creed said six times and the extra mysteries this devotion requires more time to perform than the Dominican Rosary. Perhaps for this reason that the latter has proved to be universally popular.

    File:Our Lady of Lourdes Highlands Jersey.jpg
    Our Lady of Lourdes holding a six-decade rosary

    On the 25th of March 1858 Mary revealed herself to fourteen year old Bernadette and in describing herself as the IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, confirmed her status as the New Eve. The Book of Genesis records that the first Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. Significantly during the first apparition Bernadette began praying her simple five decade rosary but Mary held and prayed the six decade "Brigidine Rosary". The Faithful in that region of France had a long tradition of praying a six- decade Rosary in place of the usual five-decade and Our Lady's reference to this practice is confirmed by the fact that she is depicted as holding a six decade Rosary in the large 'Crowned Virgin' statue in Lourdes. In devotional terms the extra decade is to be recited on behalf of the Souls in Purgatory or in honour of the Immaculate Conception.

    From: Newman Chaplets

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    MISSION: 14 priests killed in 2013

    14 priests killed in 2013

    CWN - August 09, 2013

    Fourteen Catholic priests around the world have been murdered in 2013, according to a report by La Stampa's Vatican Insider.

    Four priests have been killed in Colombia, and two have been killed in Mexico. One priest has been murdered in each of the following nations: Brazil, Canada, Haiti, India, Italy, Syria, Tanzania, and Venezuela.

    Additional sources for this story
    Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

    Benedict XVI Picture book :) !!!

    Pass this on to whom you see fit! I stumble upon it on the Vatican website; it's pretty cool!  :)

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013

    Pope FRANCIS: Honor St. Cajetan by helping others

    Honor St. Cajetan by helping others, Pope tells Argentines

    CWN - August 07, 2013

    Pope Francis has sent a video message to Argentine participants in an annual celebration honoring St. Cajetan.

    In Buenos Aires, thousands of people take part in an annual celebration at the shrine of St. Cajetan on August 7. Pope Francis—who presided at the celebration last year, as Archbishop Bergoglio—told the participants that he was with them in spirit this year.

    The Pope encouraged the faithful to imitate St. Cajetan in serving the poor. He stressed in his message that this help should be delivered in person, to one's neighbors, since there is never any shortage of people with various needs. He called for a "culture of encounter" that would assist people in recognizing and meeting the needs of others.

    Additional sources for this story
    Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

    FAITH: Newman for the Rest of Us: Holiness, not Argument

    Newman for the Rest of Us: Holiness, not Argument

    By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - send a comment) | August 06, 2013 2:06 PM

    Back when I was teaching at Christendom College, I assigned Blessed John Henry Newman's Apologia pro Vita Sua (the title means a defense of his life) to a class of freshmen. This is the absolutely brilliant prose classic in which Newman explains and defends his spiritual progression into the Catholic Church. Some of the students loved it, but many others found Newman's style simply too hard to follow. A generation schooled to read Ernest Hemingway and C. S. Lewis too easily became lost in Newman's long rolling sentences, conveying ideas both subtle and precise, packed into perfectly balanced subordinate clauses.
    A small experience of the difficulty may be found in the current translation of the prayers in the ordinary form of the Roman Rite. The Proper prayers now closely follow the original Latin style, which means they invariably incorporate relative clauses somewhere between an auspicious beginning and a suitable conclusion. How many times do we hear priests stumble over these clauses at Mass! Typical English style now is simpler in construction, using shorter sentences with fewer clauses. Without too much exaggeration, we can say that most contemporary authors write a section of material where nineteenth-century authors wrote a paragraph. And they write a paragraph where a nineteenth-century author would write a sentence.
    What used to go into a topic sentence now goes into a subtitle. White space, which amounts to rest for the eye, is not infrequently the largest part of the page for contemporary readers. For example, while I tend to write longish sentences with multiple clauses by today's standards, most of Newman's sentences are longer than the individual paragraphs I write on, where a ten-line paragraph is really pushing things. With my longer sentences, a paragraph might contain only three or four of them, or five in this case. That might be true sometimes with a nineteenth century English writer as well, but the paragraph would still span a page or two, and very frequently even more—which we would immediately break up now into smaller chunks.
    Newman was a prose master. He was certainly the very epitome of nineteenth-century writers, and in fact they all sound like lesser Newmans. It is not so much that his sentences are difficult to understand (and if that were true, we could not consider him a master), but they can be difficult because we are not used to seeing the cadences, rhythms and relationships of a whole paragraph or a whole page packed into a single tightly-sprung sentence, and so we tend to tire half-way through. Reading Newman becomes easy with practice, but it can be an almost foreign experience at first, confusing simply because it is not the style to which we are accustomed.
    Some Solutions
    The solution I devised for that class at Christendom the next time around was to assign Newman's somewhat autobiographical novel, Loss and Gain. Deliberately designed for more popular consumption, Loss and Gain is written both in a simpler style and in the form, obviously, of a story rather than an argument. Freshmen found it far easier to grasp. And yet the verdict of history is fairly uniform: Loss and Gain is a middling novel; Apologia pro Vita Sua is a masterpiece of autobiography and apologetics.
    A second approach to the problem has been taken by Sophia Institute Press in publishing some of the great cardinal's devotional reflections in Everyday Meditations. Introduced by Bishop James D. Conley, STL, this is a collection of meditations drawn from the doctrinal section of the collected Meditations and Devotions of the Late Cardinal Newman, originally put together in 1916 by Longmans, Green, and Company in London. Newman very deliberately wrote these reflections, prayers and meditations over the years for others in coming day by day to a greater holiness and perfection of life. These are the work not of Newman the scholar, nor of Newman the controversialist, but of Newman the pastor.
    As such, they are not only a collection of spiritual gems in their own right, but a superb introduction to Newman's work for those who may initially find the style of his more extensive essays and books difficult. For example, there is this, drawn from the very first meditation, "Hope in God the Creator":
    God knows what is my greatest happiness, but I do not. There is no rule about what is happy and good; what suits one would not suit another. And the ways by which perfection is reached vary very much; the medicines necessary for our souls are very different from each other. Thus God leads us by strange ways. We know he wills our happiness, but we neither know what our happiness is, nor the way. We are blind. Left to ourselves we would take the wrong way; we must leave it to him. Let us put ourselves into his hands and not be startled even though he leads us by a strange way, a mirabilis via, as the Church speaks. Let us be sure he will lead us right, that he will bring us to that which is, not indeed what we think best, nor what is best for another, but what is best for us.
    That is just one illuminating paragraph from an initial meditation of some three-and-a-half small pages. It is not at all like reading the Apologia or the Development of Christian Doctrine or the Grammar of Assent. It is brief, it is simple, and it still touches the fundamental things as Newman invariably touches them. There are fifty such meditations in this small volume, best designed, I think, to be read over as many days. They are intended as spiritual reading, and they serve their purpose admirably.
    Newman for the rest of us? I think so, but perhaps only if, like Newman, we are really looking more for holiness than for argument.