Saturday, May 30, 2009
And admits that what happened at Gitmo was a violation of the Geneva conventions. Rachel Maddow has it on tape. So much for the protestations of Cheney and daughter's sinking skin saving posse that the Geneva Conventions don't apply because we are in an "asymetical war against terror" and the Geneva Conventions only applied to countries.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture invites you to —
A RELIGIOUS PUBLIC WITNESS IN WASHINGTON, DC
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Noon - 1:30
PMNRCAT is sponsoring a major event led by seven heads of faith groups and other senior religious leaders in front of the White House atnoon on Thursday, June 11, to urge President Obama to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate U.S torture practices since 9/11.
Our goal is to have 1,000 people of faith join us. We need your help make that happen. In his speech on Guantanamo and torture last week, the President reiterated his opposition to appointing such a commission. We are disappointed and believe he is wrong.
By making our position visible, we seek to change his mind. Discovering the truth makes us free, holds people accountable, andcan bring healing and transformation. The results of the investigation will also make it possible for the Congress to put the needed safeguards in place to assure that U.S.-sponsored torture never takes place again. The list of confirmed senior national religious leaders who will provide leadership during the witness at the White House on June 11,other details about the event and promotional fliers are all available here<http://www.nrcat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=346&Itemid=260>
See, TORTURING DEMOCRACY
The world of amazing foot-in-mouth Republican insanity just got more over the top.
G.Gordon Liddy surfaces to proclaim she must have been having PMS, shouts of "racist!"
bounce off what Olberman calls "Mr. Bouncy Bouncy" - that puffy faced over-pharmaceuticated Rush Limbaugh who couldn't look more bafoonish if he had a round red ball at the tip of his nose, and another senior spinmeister declares to her party "time to play grown-up." Even Mr. Steele said to can it with the shoot anything that moves mentality.
What country is this? Seriously- I think I crawled through the Looking Glass and I am in the middle of a feeding frenzy of intemperate biting hogs gone wild flailing in their defeat.
It's a pig pen mud bath of rhetorical farting on prime time.
Who on earth do these people think they are catering to.
Sodomayer is a very highly distinguished woman- a two time Ivy league graduate ( Rove -the U.of Utah drop out says he knows dumb people from Ivy League schools- I know dumber ones who dropped out) and a sitting appellate Judge
who has contributed to her community and legal life in a distinguished way giving more hours on pro-bono and mentoring activity than she likely could afford, to serve Truth, Justice and the American Way- and all they can do is wildly call her astoundly defamatory epithets. The Republican rule of the reasonable is gone and the mouthpieces have lost all rhetorical and moral compass. What is the compulsion to trash professional women? What is the compulsion to trash Latinas? This is really a classic case of the psychological projections of those who call others what they are. I don't need to say what it is- but it is transparently obvious to everyone- people who trash professional women because they are women are not nice people. People who trash people of foreign origin or descent (Puerto Rico by the way is a US protectorate so she isn't technically an immigrant even) are not nice people. Who wants to be a country of not nice people? This PR strategy is a complete disaster- and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.
The only good thing that could possibly come out of this ill-advised verbal food fight is that perhaps now Rush Limbaugh will get the psychiatric attention he apparently so seriously needs.
Friday, May 29, 2009
It isn't just the church hierarchy.
http://www.zenit.org/rssenglish-26023 (cut/paste to browser)
The church is its members- all of them- some with Robes, some with special functions and titles, and all the lay people who have a distinctive honor and responsibility of being together the Church. The Pope implicitly underscores the fact that a few old jealous dames on a parish council and their pet priest a Church maketh not.
CONFLICT SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL
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FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009, 6:30 PM to 9 PM
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THANK YOU TO LETELIER THEATRE
Calm down everyone. The vow of perpetual priestly celibacy violated does not violate or invalidate the ontological change that made him a priest. As any Christian he is still empowered to cast out demons, and drink any deadly thing and it cannot hurt him. His smile can still lift a heavy heart, his kind words can still heal a broken heart, his persuasion can still introduce people to the saving power of Jesus. He is a priest. Whether he is teaching in a Catholic college, consecrating at the altar, hearing confessions in a box or a coffee shop, or serving in a soup kitchen- he is still a priest.
Jesuit James Martin, S.J. indicated that the perpetual mandatory celibacy is "a thousand year old tradition." It is one that is a church institutional accommodation- it is not something ever mandated by Christ. Christ never mandated that any priest should have to perpetually be celibate. Note that this is a world of difference from the chastity requirement- chastity is a mandatory requirement FOR ALL TIME FOR ALL PEOPLE who are not "lawfully" married.
In 1st Corinthians (go find it) Paul exhorts in explaining why he isn't going to be a burden on anyone and was a "tentmaker" earning his own living and living a single life while preaching in spite of the fact that -hey, don't I have the "right" to have a Christian wife accompany me like Cephas (Peter), "the brothers of the Lord" and "all the other Apostles." Clearly, the norm, the rule, was that those Apostles, the "brothers" of the Lord and Peter (whose mother in law was cured by Jesus) had WIVES. Paul calls this a "right." Obviously this was the norm, the rule and the predominant practice because all the first Apostles were with small exception Jews. Jews consider it a sacred obligation to "be fruitful and multiply" as a primordial commandment to perpetuate the race. The mandatory celibacy of the priesthood was imposed institutionally rigidly around the 11th or 12th Century- as a response to issues involving property, land, and power and was not originally well rooted or founded theologically.
That said, there is a profound witness of Chastity in the celebite priesthood- which has led people to salvation. It is repeatedly written in scripture that "fornicators" and the "unchaste" shall not enter the Kingdom of God. At the end of the book of Revelation where there is a list of
those who shall be left out of the Kingdom, the "unchaste" are left outside the gates as surely as the "murders" and "liars." The profundity of this is sometimes lost on our over-sexed culture that considers casual sexual indiscretion or sin as little more serious than overeating. The effect on the soul of sexual impurity or immorality has in modern western culture been masqued or obliterated from consciousness- our sensibilities are dulled and diluted. So an institution that preserves the celibacy of the priesthood is a great witness in today's culture. I personally found it originally very refereshing that there was a safe place to go to in my 20s where I could be sure I would find a familial love that didn't involve any sexual politics and where male figures expressed care and love without hitting on me. It allows a flowering of personality not experienced when one is constantly on the defensive fending off propositions.
But there is also in today's culture a lack of witness for "traditional marriage" or good healthy sound marriage involving a man and a woman creating a family - a marriage that works, is function not dysfunctional, and that lasts as it is rooted in Love- which is, after all, God.
So while I agree with Fr. Martin that the church might look at the mandatory celibacy and priestly marriage option again because there is only 1 priest for every 5,000 Catholics on average in Africa, I also think that the Church now needs to be a strong witness for healthy traditional marriage and not frustrate God's love.
When you persecute Love you persecute God, because God is love.
When you persecute women who love priests because you see them as only temptations or evil distractions from the celibacy obligation, you persecute Christ- because God is love.
A good piece of Roquefort blue/green cheese has just the right amount of blue/green bacteria in it to be a healthy piece of Roquefort. If it is completely overrun in blue/green bacteria so it is covered in black and overrun in bacteria- it is no longer cheese, it is a wad of bacteria which if eaten could cause someone serious illness. So too, the celibacy in the priesthood- the right balance is something that has to be achieved, which is achievable because of the Holy Spirit's gifting of those he calls to celibacy to remain celibate- and those he calls to marriage- to live IN HIS LOVE which IS GOD in a married state with a woman. God is Love. It is the most basic truth of Christianity- God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son so that whomever should believe in his name and is called according to his purposes shall be saved.
The Church has to ask itself- is it chasing out GOD in the name of Celibacy? Celibacy does not save, Jesus does and Jesus is Love. The fact that celibate people can be hateful anti-loving unChristian people is nowhere more apparent than in those who think all they have to do is rip apart any Pro-Choice people as being intrinsically sexually sloven to be in good standing with God- a point made by Doug Kmeic yesterday in so many words. Jesus is Love. It bears repeating because it is a point well lost.
God is Love, and no man has greater love than this that he lay down his life for his friends.
Father Cutie laid down his life as a priest administrator in the Catholic Church and traded it for more of God's Love, for the Love of his Life- and this is where he lives in God. We should all bless him, and thank him for his courage. Further, we should all take note that regardless of whether he wants to be the anti-celibacy priest or not, he has taught us all a lesson. When you persecute Love you persecute Christ. Because God is Love.
How can you say you Love God when you don't Love your neighbor?
Seriously, yes, I'm talking to you- How can you say the Love of God is in you when you don't love your neighbor.
The Greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and LOVE your neighbor as yourself. This is the summation of all the Law and all the prophets.
There is a verse in Revelation that indicates that there will in the end times be those who kept themselves "unstained from women" who number a specific number 140,000- which is the exact number of those pulled from the 12 tribes- these pertain to Jews- not Gentiles saved by Grace, by the blood of the lamb Jesus. the 140,000 were the select elect pulled from the Jewish tribes who were Virgin males (like John the Baptist- and the least of those in the Kingdom is greater). There is nothing in this verse that indicates that this is a non-marriage requirement for catholic or christian priests. It specifically references Jews pulled in equal numbers from each of the 12 tribes. You have to read the whole book to get it in context.
The issue of sexual immorality or unchastity is often confused with the issue of mandatory lifetime non-marital celibacy. They are totally different things. Cutie did sin grievously in living a double life ( a lie) and engaging in unchaste sexual contact outside marriage while witnessing to the opposite. This was sexual immorality- no excuse-which he can and should only make right by marrying whom he introduced as his "fiance." There is clearly a requirement that if you fall in love, and are carnally familially sexually bound to a woman, she is your wife and you need to seek the Lord's blessing to make it right in a "legal" or "lawful" marriage. It used to be called "making an honest woman of her" but it really makes an honest man also.
After the long debate between Paul and Peter regarding what it took to be a Christian, and whether it required first converting to Judaism and adherence to all the Jewish laws and traditions, it was finally decided that there are three hallmarks of what made a Christian in terms of adherence to behavioral laws: 1. Do not eat anything sacrificed to idols 2. Do not eat blood of animals (because the only "blood" allowed to be consumed would be the saving Blood of Jesus) and 3. avoid sexual impurity, unchastity, immorality or "unlawful" marriage, i.e. fornication outside a blessed "lawful" marriage.
So Cutie's witness has been compromised- but because God is a God of Love who gives him AND HIS GIRLFRIEND a future and a hope, he needs to marry her now.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Saint Luke Institute
Annual Benefit Reception
at the Vatican Embassy
Monday, October 19, 2009
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Presentation of the 2009 Saint Luke Award to
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
Invitations will be mailed in September
Sponsorship opportunities are available.
For more information, please contact Valerie Lapcinski at Saint Luke Institute.
Please post and distribute this information. (especially if you ever thought your favorite priest needed a shrink.)
Mission Statement of Saint Luke Institute
We participate in the healing ministry of Christ by promoting the health and well being of Catholic clergy and women and men religious in the United States and abroad. To accomplish this task, we provide mental health treatment, offer education and wellness programs, and conduct research. In these services, we strive to integrate the highest quality spiritual, psychological and physical resources within the context of a Christian community. The Institute conducts its ministry in harmony with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
I’m very happy to serve as a volunteer on the committee for our Saint Luke Institute Annual Benefit Reception, and I hope that you will join me in supporting this wonderful event.
“In giving we receive.”
St. Francis of Assisi
Vince ConnellyConnelly & Assoc. Fundraising, LLC443-413-6033
Member: AFP - The Association of Fundraising Professionals
Theological consultant to the Catholic Association of Teachers of Homiletics and was appointed to the task force overseeing the review and revisions of the accrediting standards for the Association of Theological Schools.
from the Vatican Information Service: the Official Vatican News Service
VATICAN CITY, 24 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Following this morning's Mass and before praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope pronounced some remarks to the thousands of people gathered in Cassino's Piazza Miranda, which from today will be known as Piazza Benedetto XVI.
Referring to what he described as "the need of all humankind fully to savour the richness and power of Christ's peace", the Holy Father recalled how the word "Pax" is written over the entrance to the abbey of Montecassino and to all Benedictine abbeys.
"As you know", he continued, "on my recent visit to the Holy Land I myself became a pilgrim of peace, and today - in this land marked by the Benedictine charism - I have the opportunity to emphasise once again that peace is primarily a gift of God, and therefore its power lies in prayer".
The gift of peace however, Benedict XVI explained, "is entrusted to human endeavour. ... It is therefore vital to cultivate an authentic life of prayer in order to ensure that social progress comes about peacefully. ... Only by learning, with the grace of Christ, to struggle against and defeat the evil in ourselves and in our relations with others can we become authentic builders of peace and of civil progress.
"May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace", he added, "help all Christians, in their various vocations and life situations, to be witnesses to the peace that Christ gave us", the peace He "left us as a mission to be carried out always and everywhere".
The Pope then recalled how today, 24 May, "liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians - who is venerated with great devotion in the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai, China - marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China. My thoughts go to all the Chinese people", he said. "In particular, I send a most affectionate greeting to Catholics in China and I exhort them, on this day, to renew their communion of faith in Christ and of faithfulness to Peter's Successor. May our joint prayer obtain an effusion of gifts from the Holy Spirit so that unity among Christians, and the catholicity and universality of the Church, may always become more profound and visible".
Benedict XVI then greeted those present in various languages, expressing the hope that the spiritual witness of St. Benedict "may help the people who live on the European continent to be faithful to their Christian roots and to build a united and cohesive Europe, founded on the search for justice and peace".
Having completed the Marian prayer, the Holy Father travelled by car to the abbey of Montecassino where he had lunch with the Benedictine monks. On his way there he made a brief stop at the "Casa della Carita" (House of Charity), a structure that helps people in need such as the poor and immigrants. There he unveiled a plaque in honour of his visit and blessed and inaugurated the building.
PV-ITALY/REGINA COELI/CASSINO VIS 090525 (510)
How cute is someone with a moral spine. But, Keith- the Texan congressman actually made sense on what he was trying to say on the 10th Amendment. Invite me to New York and I'll explain.
I would love to be a talking head, but I may not be short enough. One of the fun things about Washington is the celebrity citings. Today I saw E.J.Dionne on 17th Street, and in the past week I have seen David Brock, and Bill Kristol- who with Stephanopolis all stacked combined might reach
the basketball hoop. If they each are an inch taller than 5'3" I will eat my french beret. The magic of television while sitting down.
But I am betting Olberman is at least as tall as I am. And so he gets the Best Person of the Week award - for standing tall against Torture and for standing for Truth.
(cut and paste to browser if it doesn't connect)
Ted Olsen, the attorney who represented Bush at the Supreme Court in the Florida election debacle wherein the Supreme Court, against the overwhelming popular will and vote count, annointed Bush in his first term has joined forces with David Boies who represented Gore in the same case, to bring a constitutional federal challenge on the "marriage equality" issue. Be careful what you wish for guys- this Supreme Court even with Sodomayer on it isn't likely to find that
a same-sex marriage has the same protected class standing for equal protection purposes. But this will be a tough one from a constitutional perspective which will involve questions of, inter alia, whether sexual behavior (that some Justices no doubt consider flatly perverse) has the same protected class standing as immutable characteristics such as race and gender- or whether it should have the same protected status as other mutables like "religion" such as is protected in the "free exercise" first amendment context.... The fervor over this belief system that insists that gay sex and marriage is as correct, normal, "natural" or even holy as heterosexual does seem to rise to the level of a sort of religion - albeit some think a perverse idolotrous one based on the supremacy of the hedonistic what I feel like pleasure principle. The first amendment protections against the States (by incorporation of the 14th Amendment) making no laws that
prohibit the free exercise of religion does not place any value judgment concerning which religions are better than others on purpose-which is the point of the separation/non-establishment. But what if a group of people were to express a religion in which they sodomized children (as was actually practiced in pre-christian pagan times where male child prostitutes were part of the liturgy)-that surely wouldn't be given constitutional protection under the freedom of religion principles-because that is against other criminal statutes (statutory rape in fact). What about other practices that are not against criminal statutes but are nonetheless offensive or evil- like a religion wherein one is required to masturbate to porn daily and distribute it on the web to adults- not illegal. Everyone doing this should have the same ability to marry anyone else doing this. Anyone see a problem with making that constitutionally protected as a new constitutionally protected class? -or as the Pastor on Larry King last night postulated- what about couples who want to marry in a threesome with an ancor bi-sexual partner? What is the problem with redefining marriage like that? We have laws against polygamy and no one has challenged that this is unconstitutional-while it might violate the religion of a few mormons (like those followers of Jeffs currently in federal custody.)
Having not read the complaint I can't comment on the success on strict constitutional grounds and precedents, while I note that Ted's defection might get him a huge retainer from the Log Cabin Republicans, he has taken himself out of the running for any public office under a Republican banner-not that he cares. If Sodomayer is on the court there will be six catholic justices and a few non-catholic ones might find the argument troubling as well. Just a hunch. An adverse Supreme Court ruling on this would of course wipe out the legislative framework that Vermont, Iowa and other states have made to accomodate same sex marriages. Then Miss California might be in the running for Miss Universe.
The next Republican head scratching naval gazing exercise in defeating their own purposes comes when trying to find any credible assault on the nomination of Sodermayer who is as sure to be confirmed as she is sure to be popular. This is a woman who inspires me- a white mostly suburban traditionally raised woman attorney who knows that anyone who graduated second in her class Cum Laude at Princeton didn't get there on Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action might get your application a second look but you still have to make the grades. No doubt her stellar Catholic grade/high school education served her well. Well enough to get into Princeton, and launch a trajectory of an impressive career.
Another aspect of her personal history that cannot be overlooked is the fact that she is a juvenile diabetic. That is a recognized disability in fact under the ADA- and it hasn't stopped her. What a testimony of someone who should have had every stike against her to sit in self-pity and bitterness- born to poor parents, living in a project in the Bronx, with a serious medical condition. No doubt a portion of the people on her hall as a child ended up in the "system" in prison or caught in the drug-poverty cycle of despair. She didn't. She rose -unbelievably high.
If anyone appreciates that the "health of the mother" exception is not a bogus catchall that renders the rest of the ruling meaningless it is a juvenile diabetic. Juvenile Diabetics get pregnant at great risk and peril - it is a seriously risky proposition for a diabetic to get pregnant.
It is serious when gestational diabetes manifests during a pregnancy and even more serious when diabetic from childhood. Anyone with a relative with this condition knows this too well.
There are a few special OBGYNs who specialize in diabetic pregnancies- because they are tricky and highly risky. The incidents of stillborns, miscarriages or death of the fetus in utero are exponentially greater in juvenile diabetics- and health risks attendant to the mother can be fatal.
From that perspective- with advanced medical knowledge due to her condition, she should be
treated with the respect due her. I am in awe of her achievements- and she is another great American tale from the pages of this Land of Opportunity that can inspire us all.
Postscript: the issue of "marriage equality" under the constitution is now not only "likely" but probable to come before the court as a result of the Bois/Olsen filing giving Sodomayer cover if the question should arise in her confirmation hearings. Sorry fellas, can't answer as it is likely and probable to be before the court.
If not sending any controversial or even offensive emails is the nomination criteria I wouldn't be nominated secretary of the soda machine. It is one's moral obligation to be controversial at times I would argue. But Diaz is a safe bet for Obama who offends no one on the pro-life score.
His academic credentials are impecable and his theology soundly orthodoxly old-school catholic.
He is sure to have never fallen in love with a priest, and never championed the married priesthood option nor pushed the envelope on any women's rights to do anything more than what we already do. At least that is the impression. He will be a good- kiss the ring and shut up stand up guy. I can't imagine who would oppose him and I expect the John Carroll Society to invite him to their annual dinner at the Four Seasons in the Spring to give him an honorary degree.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Rumi Forum (http://www.rumiforum.org/) today brought in Rabbi Lustig of the Washington Hebrew Congregation to discuss some key aspects of Deuteronomy and Leviticus that all three major Abrahamic faith traditions can agree on to underscore the biblical commonality that we all share. He emphasized the qualities of righteousness that involve charitable works and the Moses Maimonides Treatise on Tzedakah.
He was warmly greeted by an audience of Muslims, Christians and Jews devoted to reconciliaton and peace through constructive dialogue. A day earlier, Muslims, Christians and Jews packed an event at the Stimson Center for an event co-sponsored by Conflict Solutions International (http://www.csiorg.org/) and the Al Waref organization at which the notions of Separation of Church and State were explored in the context of Muslim society, with attorneys, writers and an Iraqi women's rights advocate who detailed abuses against women's dignity under Sharia law. Discussion revolved around the role of clergy, the possibilities of degrees of secularization in various predominantly Muslim countries, how separation of church and state might be achieved to create a Safe Sacred Space for civil dialogue and the history of the church-state non-establishment constitutionally espoused in the United States.
http://www.alwaref.org/en/component/content/article/163-may-26-09-separate-state-religion. Check Al Waref's website in coming days for video of the event.
Both the Rumi Forum and Al Waref have a wealth of brilliance, insight and goodwill for
reforming and transforming political conflict into places where peace reigns and pluralistic co-existence is not only possible but preferable. God Bless them all.
May 27, 2009
Robert H. Schuller
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." – John 14:3
The story is told of a little Scottish lassie who lay dying. Her pastor came to her and asked, "Lassie, if you die, are you sure you'll go to heaven?" "Oh yes," she answered."How can you be sure?" the pastor persisted."Well," she replied, "Jesus promised, 'anyone who comes to me I will in no wise cast out.' I came to Jesus and accepted his love. He would never throw me away.""But what if God forgets his promise?" the pastor inquired."Then he would lose more than I would," the girl replied. "I would only lose my soul. He would lose his honor."
The religious "right" (an oxymoron often) are going to huff and puff and try to blow the house down on Sotomayer because of her statement that Judges make policy at a Duke conference. This isn't her judicial philosophy- it is a well known fact. The religious "right" loves it when it works in their favor- like when the California Supreme Court makes the policy the California referendum policy of democratically voting propositions in without a legislative vote is democratically sound- even if there is an undesired outcome acccording to the legislature -as they ruled in the Prop. 8 issue on gay marriage. The religious "right" loves that California made the policy that gay marriage is now banned again in California.
Sotomayer is a superb judge with more judicial experience than anyone sitting on the Supreme Court ever had before their nomination(s). I trust her judgment, fairness and intellect. I trust her as a Catholic. She will be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court.
The knee jerk - and I do mean Jerk- response of the GOP to immediately trash anything Obama does that could remotely touch on the abortion issue without one fact is appauling.
Moreover, it's insane if not just completely intellectually dishonest. Every precedent is a policy.
What other brilliant ideas do you all have? I can't wait until someone comments flatteringly that she doesn't sound Puerto Rican.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Dear Cynthia Louise,
I wrote a short essay for the Washington Post about the President's selection for the Supreme Court. See below.
HAROLD FORD JR.
Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council; former House member from Tennessee
"I am an ordinary person with extraordinary experiences," the next Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, said this morning with the president and vice president standing behind her -- as a country full of complexities, experiences, challenges and varied backgrounds stood before her. This country needs her on the high court.
Predictably, she will inspire the right's ire. We all know the attacks: "She's too liberal" and "she's a judicial activist." Lack of substance will lead these arguments to fade fast, and she will be confirmed for many reasons, two of which stand out.
First, Sotomayor's record defies ideological caricature. Her credentials, temperament and legal experience are unassailable. One may disagree with her conclusions but not the power, rigor and depth of her intellect. Further, the right must remember that she was first appointed to the federal bench by President Bush.
Second, she humanizes the court. The millions of Americans who haven't grown up with much can relate to someone who started out in a Bronx public housing community. And her roots will help her identify with people across the spectrum. In short, she brings an informed empathy.
The Senate should hold hearings, examine her record thoroughly -- and barring anything disqualifying -- confirm her.
apparently now agrees with Ms. California- and President Obama, and the Democratic majority of Californians who voted for Prop. 8. Not a surprising decision.
Is this "discriminatory" such that it should override all other moral concerns of the majority of
Californians? The California Supreme Court thinks not.
What a rise from mocking poverty to Supreme Success. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/01/sonia-sotomayor-supreme-c_n_194470.html
What an excellent choice.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
THE PEACEMAKER SAINT
Patroness of seemingly impossible causes, almost as famous for granting graces for hopeless situations as Saint Jude, the Augustinian Fathers of Villanova dedicated the South Philadelphia Italian immigrant community to Saint Rita of Casia (Casia is in Umbria, Italy) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Rita
The likes of Stallone (Rocky) and Frank Sinatra graced these parts -
Her feast day was yesterday. http://www.saintritashrine.org/ritalife.htm
She had a hell of a life----and didn't lose it. So if you are stuck - remember her- and ask the good Philadelphia fathers to say a prayer for you. They have been doing it since Columbus landed (almost)
Totally under the Radar due to the kerfuffle regarding Obama addressing Notre Dame, Nancy Pelosi flew to Doha, Qatar to deliver the commencement address to the Georgetown Doha Campus as was reported in this weeks Hoya. Jack DeGoia, who is smarter than the average bear, didn't give this much- or any- advance publicity in America and scored a remarkable coup without a peep of irate "baby killer" rhetorical firebombing nonsense.
The woman who is No.3 in line to the White House, the Speaker of the House, arguably the most influential powerful woman in America (or at least tied with Hillary and Michelle) was no doubt a model of grace and inspiration to this class which contained, inter alia, a Sheik/Prince's son and a number of women. The fact that a woman delivered the Commencement Address was
a powerful statement and example to the women of Qatar. She was received by Royalty there.
On the other end of the thoughtful reasonable spectrum- Liberty college which just kicked off
the Young Democrats club banning them from the campus- a la inquisition. Are they going to block everything progressive from the internet also? What if the young democrats want to hold a prayer meeting-will they ban that too? I sense an ACLU freedom of assembly suit or something similar. Every major Democratic gubernatorial candidate slammed the school.
Last night, the French Embassy in tribute to all the American fallen who gave their lives to fight Tyranny, showed an upcoming PBS documentary introduced by a French General on all the cemeteries in Europe of America's soldiers who died in WWI and WWII. The documentary
HALLOWED GROUNDS will air Monday, Memorial Day at 10pm or 11pm. (check local listings) on your PBS station. In DC that is WETA channel 26 at 11:00pm. In Maryland it airs Tuesday at 10pm on Channel 22. One producer Glenn Marcus told how his uncle perished in WWII in his early 20s and his father was said to never be the same since. As there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of soldiers in these graves in 24 graveyards around Europe and marble walls of lists of unfound missing soldiers, this story is not unique to Mr. Marcus. Many American families were devastated by both World Wars. As a huge percentage of them wished that their family members remained in the locations where they fell in the countries they served to liberate the US commissioned these cemeteries which are now maintained by a Monuments commission. They contain unique statuary and beautiful landscaping creating an environment of Peace- the Peace and liberation they fought to attain for Europe.
The documentary elicited an auditorium full of tears watching European after European thank Americans for their great heroism that saved them from Tyranny to allow them to be free. It is remarkable that this was but a generation or two ago and people alive remember serving with those in these graveyards. Each battle near one of these cemeteries is described briefly and famous people who rest in peace there are noted. Two of President Teddy Roosevelt's boys were killed in the world wars and they rest in peace near each other. General Patten's grave site is in Luxembourg. The Royalty of Luxembourg of the day considered that he saved their country and wanted to enshrine him in the capital Cathedral, but the Americans insist that all soldiers, regardless of rank or position,
have the same white Cross or white Star of David and rest in peace with their fallen compatriots. So as a compromise Patten's grave is front and center and isolated with a little fence at the head of the troop.
There is an extremely interesting segment on the cemetary in Tunisia that is universally respected by the (Moslem) Tunisian government and people who are grateful to America for their liberation; the North African front was one of the first theatres that America saw in WWII.
Boats were torpedoed off the North African coast in this invasion- and the Germans were ultimately driven out of North Africa.
While it may seem a bit grim to watch a documentary on cemeteries for a whole hour, it is an important exercise- because one is left with the appreciation of what astoundingly great cost it was to America to defeat pure evil. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of Americans lost their lives, with their families never the same, buried by the sands of Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, in Brittany, France, near the French Riviera, in Lorraine, France, in "Flanders Fields" Belgium, in England, in Florence, Italy, south of Rome in the "Sicily-Rome" cemetery, in Luxembourg and many other places. We took the European continent back from the Brink of Hell - and the fact that any of us live to tell about it is due to those people beneath the white Crosses and Stars of David.
Happy Memorial Day indeed.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The church has had its fair share of miscreants in authority. The article on the cover of today's Washington Post (page 1) about the official Irish government report on the thousands of children in Catholic run schools subject to insufferable unimaginable abuse, physical, sexual, and emotional humiliations on all levels is beyond disturbing and affirms that a white Roman collar is not a guarantee of anyone's sanctity.
But lets not forget that this is the same Church which fostered brilliantlly beautiful art, worshipful praising music, theology, philosophy, established caring hospitals all over the world, brought Jesus' miraculous healing to those seeking it, disaster relief, and on balance has done far more incredible amounts of good for over two thousand years that far outweighs the blotches and blights on it's history.
Jesus works through his church sometimes in spite of its members. And those who really know him and who really are his children cannot be deterred by any miscreant in authority- because the Lord still rules heaven and earth and all the earth and everything in it is the Lord's.
There is still and always will be reason to Trust Jesus.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, World Without End. Amen.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Inquisition; not just for Spaniards and Albigensian Cathars.
They even killed Italians. Did you know that the entire province of Venice, Italy was excommunicated in the Middle Ages? PBS has a new documentary on the grip Orthodoxy had
on citizens all over evolving Europe throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Over the top Fellas.
Especially delightful was the boiling in tar and oil in the Piazza Navona episode where a law student refused to denounce the corruption and found himself at the end of Friar's temper. Nice.
Then there was the official list of baned books. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_Librorum_Prohibitorum
These included copies of the bible in the common language of Italian rather than official Latin -as all Liturgy was in Latin. Possessing or printing these could get you tortured quicker than shouting Al Queda in a crowded theatre. This list of banned books was not repealed until after Vatican II in 1966. I was 6 years old before it was legal for a Catholic to read a bible in English according to Canon law. Ask the next Friar lecturing you how old he was in 1966 or how old his Professors were in 1966.
Banning literature oppressively- it could cost you your life- or at least merited medieval torture (rack anyone? bed of nails?) was their way of protecting the soul from the critical literature that came from the Guttenburg Press invention which revolutionized printing making it affordable and accessible to anyone. Bibles didn't have to be painstakingsly copied by monks in monestaries- they could be mass produced. This is a bit like having a secret police monitor website traffic then track down everyone who clicks on an objectionable link and shooting them in the head while confiscating all their computers and software.
Thank God we have a separation of church and state in the US and the only thing we let burn in oil is popcorn. Even more charming is the cameo interview of the good Dominican Friar, current resident in Washington, DC at the Dominican House who labeled it all "a model" approach- or did they take that out of context. You watch it and you tell me.
Are we surprised there are such things as Lutherans? By the way- now women get to read from scripture at a Mass in the common language (non-latin) of English from an English Bible- then it would get you fried in boiling oil and the biggest bonfire of the vanities where all such texts went aflame in the public square to intimidate anyone from reading scripture for themselves so as to be completely dependent on what the hierarchy taught- making their interpretation the only valid one.
So what are you hanging on to doctrinally that 500 years from now will be completely horrifying to God's people. You probably know in your heart it is off its rocker now.---Because your heart is your heart for a reason.
The torturing of heretics: The first step is labeling them criminals.
People do not respond well outside your general audience to name calling. You might get a hearty whooping cheer to your base when you call your opposition "low class" but to the rest of us it looks like code for something more sinister- and your constant obsessive compulsion to slander the opposition with labels and threats. People don't respond well to people being threatened, whether it is against them directly or people they know. People have Democrats in their families that they love. Over HALF of all catholics in the country affiliate with the Democrats now, not the Republicans. No one likes their loved ones slandered, maligned or threatened. But this persists in being the insulting Republican mantra. It is a culture of self-rightousness misplaced; a culture of slander and a culture of insult.
When you don't have anything constructive to say and no real policy substance, just spit insults- people will get sick of it and you will guarantee this will be the highlight of your career. Keep it up. We couldn't ask for a better Opposition strategy.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
to drown out the "baby killer" insane shouting from a heckler at Obama's commencement address who was escorted out by what looked like Notre Dame's Defensive Tackle. Peace. Well, not exactly but isn't that the aspiration? This is why Obama is in office and the Democrats are overwhelmingly representing us all in every branch but the Judiciary.
While the Republicans peddle themselves as the national security protectors the rest of the country doesn't trust them. They made too much money off it. War Profiteers and defense contractors turned a blind eye to known abuses of human rights called everywhere else in the civilized world "Torture" and we only know the half of it. Unacceptable. Military Mis-steps, strategic diversions, and millions of people dead in countries that never attacked us or invited in to "liberate" them. Disgusting.
Obama now faces the precarious fence walk of maintaining wars that might never have been waged, trying not to look more like Bush- light than the Change we can believe in. The consensus of the thoughtful is that when we attack those who never attacked us, in an unforgiving culture this breeds more contemptuous revenge and makes us less safe. Because the rest of the world saw through our justifications long before the Congress caught on.
Obama needs to signal a clear break from the Bush administration and demonstrate to the American people that he isn't going to just sweep everything under the rug like nothing happened. Because that isn't Justice. Too much back-peddling isn't moving us forward.
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
Monday, May 18, 2009
The repeated public statements of Bush, now known to be complete lies, that "We Don't Torture" is an admission that he knew it was wrong and unacceptable to the American people- yet, he did it anyway. He and Cheney authorized it and implemented it. We Don't Torture. It is against the Geneva Conventions, it is against the Moral law of civilized nations.
We did in fact Torture human beings. Who else did this? Saddam Hussein was famous for his torture chambers. This, you will recall, was one of the reasons and justifications offered by Bush for going to war against him- he was a torturer, with torture chambers even.
Hitler Tortured the Jews in the most unimaginable heinous ways.
Winson Churchill refused to Torture the Torturers. Because We Don't Torture.
That is the Bar we as a civilized world have set. If we fall beneath the Bar we make ourselves no better than them.
Talking head punditry that tries to excuse our obligations under the Geneva Conventions regarding torture because we were not fighting a 'country' but in an "asymetric war against terrorists" is factually and morally ridiculously shamefully flawed. We were and are in a war against a country- Iraq's leader and ruling Baathist party was what we decimated- and in Afghanistan we completely replaced the ruling party and leader with a friend to America. The principles of the Geneva Convention which reflect the moral consensus of the world that the signatories, including the US would never let the impulses of the Sick Saddistic Bastards to impose torture in wartime in any civilized country. The signatories to the Geneva Conventions were well aware of all the arguments for using torture and deemed them unacceptable and/or unproven.
It is appauling that CBS and Stephanopolous engage Cheney's daughter, who should be corrected every time she refers to her father as the "Vice President" -she apparently hasn't heard of a guy named Joe Biden and the word "FORMER" (thank God) should be interruptedly interjected in her fantasy, in dialogue about why we should be allowed to torture people.
It is disgusting and inexcusable. The argument that we have been safe for 7 years begs the obvious question "Why did the FORMER vice president" misdirect fighter F16s the wrong way over the Atlantic instead of protecting the pentagon on 9-11 and begs for the FULL TRUTH Commission that Nancy Pelosi is asking for.
Sick Saddistic Bastards Torture.
HITLER tortured. We Don't Torture.
This Just In:
Twelve (12) Bush Attorneys who used tortured legal rationale to support the use of Torture providing Bush/Cheney cover face disbarment Complaints. http://www.rawstory.com/
Bar Complaints will in DC be deferred pending any future criminal prosecution until it's outcome.
AT NOTRE DAME
By: Cynthia L. Butler, Esq.
Obama called for "fair minded words" in discussing the hot button issue of the Catholic world: Abortion, which he confronted head on not shying from controversy. If ever there were a resounding thumbs down to what Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity College in DC (Former Assistant Dean of Georgetown Law School) DAME OF MALTA calls "religious vigilantism" (Washington Post, p.A5, Monday, May 18, 2009) of vicious name calling it was demonstrated by this Fair Minded Notre Dame class of 2009 who didn't listen to the ranting ragefest from the religious wrong and packed the stadium to listen to the 44th President of the United States.
No one in recent memory can recall Obama taking a knife to the throat of an innocent in-womb child or even one born alive, yet the moniker "infanticidal" was thrown at him like mud patties thrown by an incontinent toddler. Except adults were doing this. That is where the real scandal is. No one thinks Randall Terry (Operation Rescue) ranting "baby killer" from the gates outside Notre Dame gets changes in public policy or does anything other than deeply embarrass the thoughtful catholic world. I used to think that these people were just out of their minds on too many anti-depressants, until I heard Randall Terry try to defend his strategy in which he argued that no social movement came without this sort of in your face insulting verbal throwing up. I have news for him- Martin Luther King didn't run around calling people vituperative ugly names. He spoke intelligently, eloquently and mobilized people by loving them into humility if not a little shame. I don't recall the in-your-face strategy being employed by Ghandi or Mandella either. The greatest people in the world are the most humble- like Jesus. Obama spoke about "courtesy" which is a concept rather alien to the self-righteous crowd.
"Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor." – Proverbs 18:12
Only about 50 students showed up to pray at the Grotto with Frank Pavone- who the rest were is anyone's guess- my guess, some clerical staff at Notre Dame and community members from South Bend who want in on the excitement to say they were there at the next parish picnic. They could just as easily have been petty republican operatives there to try to embarrass the President. The two reported (apparently only two) visible verbal protesters inside the stadium of thousands were quietly escorted out.
The most responsible TV commentary came from people like Father James Martin, S.J. who was very impressed with Obama's speech and gave him credit for taking on the issue thoughtfully and with a desire to reconcile toward common ground. Surely, we all can agree that reducing unintended pregnancies and promoting sexually responsible behavior is a good strategy and there is much work we need to do along those lines. That moots the issue- and isn't that better than labeling people with pure slander. Obama sounded more like Cardinal McCarrick in his calls for responsible rhetoric and civil dialogue than did Frank Pavone.
There are moving aspects to the Obama catholic connection. He spoke how Cardinal Bernadine led him to Jesus. Obama is in fact a Christian convert from an unchurched background-and he openly credits Cardinal Bernadine for his conversion. He spoke of his deep gratitude to "Fr. Ted", now 92 years young and still standing, a Notre Dame Icon and the only surviving member of the Civil Rights Commission established by Eisenhower that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964. God Bless Him.
The demonization of people who hold thoughtful views and come out the other way on strategy is just wrong. It is evil. It is unChristian and it is inexcusable. It not only turns people off the issue but it turns people away from Jesus. It is a pathetic example. Refusing to talk to people, banning, evicting, and ostracizing people who hold the same ultimate value of respect for life and wish to see abortions eliminated from the planet because such people think there are more effective strategies than vituperative name calling, trashing and impugning their morality, slandering their virtue, and the Republican platform which has only ever argued for penalizing only women (not men/boys in violation of our Constitutional Equal Protection principles) and doctors, when abortion stats ROSE under Bush like a toddler with his fingers in his ears refusing to listen to reason is counterproductive, not helpful or effective and just juvenile. Kudos to Father Jenkins for tipping his hat to Fides et Ratio and calling all to a faith tempered by reason. I repeat, the slander is UNCHRISTIAN. It offends everyone. The fact that it made no headway on a Catholic Campus should tell those Randall Terry and Pavone devotees just how offensively off the wall and ineffective they are.
The comments I routinely heard were "those people need to get a life" and worse. Dr. Harvey a noted academic physician from, inter alia, Georgetown Medical School, and Pro-Life expert on the life issues commented at Holy Trinity's coffee hour on Sunday that such people are "complete ignoramuses."
That said, what is all the fuss about?
It is responsible to look at the statistics in a calm manner in effort to appreciate where all the emotion comes from.
It has been reported that every year 1.3 million in-womb children are aborted. Their lives are ended before they see daylight. During the Holocaust 6 Million Jewish people were murdered between the years 1941 and 1945. You can do the math comparisons. To put this in current perspective, if 1.3 Million in-womb children are murdered every year (the taking of innocent life being a murder that some believe and at least one Archbishop of the Church maintains is never justified) then every two years a population the size of the city of Philadelphia is wiped off the planet. Every three years a population the size of Los Angeles is wiped off the planet.
Now think about the magnitude of the issue. These are children that no one is protecting. They are separate from their mother and thus not merely an extension of their mother. They can have different gender, blood and phenotype. They always have different DNA-their own unique DNA.
This is therefore, a critical social problem that demands a social response, not just an individual response at the individual level. Moreover, it is an URGENT critical social problem. The people who did nothing and turned a blind eye to the Holocaust were considered guilty by their neglect. There is a moral responsibility to not only speak out against but do whatever is in one's power to stop an evil like the slaughter of innocent Jews.
These are children. The problem with the ongoing mass murder of innocent in-womb children is that it is not being dictated by a visible "Furer." There is no Hitler to kill to stop the war. There is no one person who can be stopped to end the murder of innocent in-womb children. It is a much more pernicious evil.
The "Furer" in this case is the Devil himself, who works through the minds and hearts of the women who get abortions - such that they are held captive by their hopelessness, despair, hatred in some cases, and fear- all demonic influences. Obama recognizes that this is a spiritual battle with spiritual repercussions. So how do you combat those influences? One responsible way is of course, to combat the physical world's properties that lend themselves to those emotions to fight those influences. Fighting Poverty fights despair- Providing free education and day care creates a world more hospitable to young women with children. Health Care reform tells a woman that we as a society will take care of you when you are pregnant and with infant care needs. This is not only a more loving approach, it is a more effective responsible approach.
In this approach, there is no room for people feeling spiritually superior or condemning others as presumably less spiritually superior because you get it and no one else does and you love children more, and the rest of the world must not love Jesus. We will be judged by the DEEDS we DO in the body not the rhetorical carpet bombing we do.
The Culture of Slander is Over. Try learning to knit a baby quilt.
Friday, May 15, 2009
-and a tribute to Constitutional law expert Mark Tushnet-
Roughly half the country consists of females. Eve was the "only acceptable helpmate" to Adam. Yet, they still have little real voice in some arbitrary decisions that affect them daily. Women did not even get to vote in this country until 1920. That means that women have not even held the vote in this country for a hundred years.
Woman have been historically not just disrespected but ABUSED by spouses, employers, and the Church, and it still continues. ABUSED. Insulted, Demeaned, Belittled, Trashed and ABUSED. It was just recently that serious protections against domestic violence became law, thanks in large part to Joe Biden's efforts. It's outrageous and inexcusable that the status of women has not progressed with more deliberate speed. They still are hired at substantially less wages and rates and employed less readily than men of comparable talent- even prevented from certain professions all together in some part of the world. The numbers of women partners in major law firms you can still count on your hands, the numbers of women CEOs that did not inherit the family business is also abysmal. Women of national prominence who did not piggy back their careers on the panache of their husbands and rise to prominence on their own talent and merit you can count on one hand.
The Catholic Church is made of an all male hierarchy who sincerely believe that the Holy Spirit only works through the men of the hierarchy. Women just don't rank enough in piety definitionally. They either get with the program or get off the bus in the Catholic Church (if they are not booted off the bus for being too vocal.) They don't have any real power- decisions about what is or is not "sin" is therefore an exclusively male determination. Regardless of the personal holiness, sanctity or piety of any one of them- whether an Archbishop is a pedophile or Gay or not (as one retired one recently confessed) they still maintain that they -only men-are exclusively qualified over every woman in the world to know the Will of God on earth and hear most clearly the Holy Spirit. All Moral law from a Catholic Church perspective is thus filtered through a male prism. This obviously is scripturally suspect and rejected by the entire Protestant world but the catholic church implicitly still maintains that this is true--and actually punishes dissent.
We have FIVE Supreme Court justices who are Roman Catholic MEN at least four of whom subject themselves to this Father-Knows-Best philosophy. A philosophy of the world that maintains that women don't even get a voice or a say over key aspects of their destiny because God can't talk to them or the Holy Spirit doesn't work through them. This, let me tell you, should scare the begeezes out of everyone.
I say that without comment specifically on the qualifications of any one of them- all most admirable. I find Scalia even quite witty. I comment on the total lack of respect for the power of the Holy Spirit to communicate through women at a level deserving of the respect of a Supreme Court Justice.
Mark Tushnet, a Constitutional expert and Professor of Law at Georgetown and now Harvard Law who is an expert on the Federal Courts and has written a seminal treatise on the subject puts it thusly (as quoted from the Politico):
"Most presidents have wanted to have a Supreme Court that 'looks like America', as they understand what America looks like. In the past, Presidents sought to achieve something like regional representation--a "Westerner" a "Southerner" and some degree of religious diversity on the court. The reasons for seeking this sort of representation have always blended political concerns- bolstering support in the West, for example--and the sensible view that diversity perspectives on the issues that come to the court will improve the quality of the court's decision making. Westerners for example, were thought to bring special insights to the court's (the) many cases involving the allocating of water rights in the West. The current academic jargon for this is that 'many minds' make for better decisions."
Women clearly are in the minority of ONE on the bench at present and Madam Justice Ginsburg might not hold out another ten years. I will pray she does but that might be pushing it.
The abortion controversy in the country and the finer points pertaining to the authority of the Court to issue rulings pertaining to it, dissolve statutes touching on alleged rights, and other issues regarding what half the aisle calls "reproductive freedom" and the other half calls "murder" is something that a woman's voice MUST be heard on.
It is therefore absolutely critical that Obama appoint a woman to the Supreme Court.
Who did Nancy Pelosi ever waterboard or order be waterboarded? The fact that the Bush Admin did a CYA (that's 'cover your arse' not "catholic youth association") in telling Congress not enough to know really what was going on in any detail and oppressed them with threats implicit in revealing confidential high security information does not absolve the Bush Admin of what they did.
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION is something that the Country elected this Administration to get to the bottom of and vigorously pursue.
Attacking the messenger misses the point and the country isn't falling for it. Keep going Nancy.
The TRUTH will set us all free.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
In My Father's House There Are Many Rooms. Were It Not So Would I Have Told You That I Go To Prepare A Place For You.
IN THE HOLY LAND THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYONE
declares the Pope in the Holy Land. In Washington apparently Not So Much- where political persecution takes bizarre social shunning forms motivated by petty political operatives creating division particularly in the church.
From the official Vatican Info ServiceVATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Following a brief meeting with the consuls general of nine countries with offices in Jerusalem (Belgium, Italy, France, Greece, United Kingdom Spain U.S.A., Sweden and Turkey), at 4 p.m. today Benedict XVI travelled to the Valley of Josaphat, located in front of the Basilica of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, where he celebrated Mass.
The Holy Father began his homily by acknowledging the difficulties and suffering caused by "the conflicts which have afflicted these lands", as well as "the bitter experiences of displacement which so many of your families have known. ... I hope my presence here is a sign that you are not forgotten, that your persevering presence and witness are indeed precious in God's eyes and integral to the future of these lands.
"Precisely because of your deep roots in this land", he added, "your ancient and strong Christian culture, and your unwavering trust in God's promises, you, the Christians of the Holy Land, are called to serve not only as a beacon of faith to the universal Church, but also as a leaven of harmony, wisdom and equilibrium in the life of a society which has traditionally been, and continues to be, pluralistic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious".
"In this Holy City", the Pope went on, "hope continues to battle despair, frustration and cynicism, while the peace which is God's gift and call continues to be threatened by selfishness, conflict, division and the burden of past wrongs. For this reason, the Christian community in this city which beheld the resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Spirit must hold fast all the more to the hope bestowed by the Gospel, cherishing the pledge of Christ's definitive victory over sin and death, bearing witness to the power of forgiveness, and showing forth the Church's deepest nature as the sign and sacrament of a humanity reconciled, renewed and made one in Christ, the new Adam".
Noting then that Jews, Muslims and Christians all consider Jerusalem as their spiritual home, the Holy Father exclaimed: "How much needs to be done to make it truly a 'city of peace' for all peoples, where all can come in pilgrimage in search of God, and hear His voice, 'a voice which speaks of peace'!"
The Holy City must "live up to its universal vocation", he insisted, it "must be a place which teaches universality, respect for others, dialogue and mutual understanding; a place where prejudice, ignorance and the fear which fuels them, are overcome by honesty, integrity and the pursuit of peace. There should be no place within these walls for narrowness, discrimination, violence and injustice. Believers in a God of mercy - whether they identify themselves as Jews, Christians or Muslims - must be the first to promote this culture of reconciliation and peace, however painstakingly slow the process may be, and however burdensome the weight of past memories".
Referring then to the "tragic reality" of the departure of many Christians, especially the young, from this land, the Pope said: "Today I wish to repeat what I have said on other occasions: in the Holy Land there is room for everyone! As I urge the authorities to respect, to support and to value the Christian presence here, I also wish to assure you of the solidarity, love and support of the whole Church and of the Holy See".
The Holy Father concluded his remarks by calling on the faithful to continue, "day by day, to 'see and believe' in the signs of God's providence and unfailing mercy, to 'hear' with renewed faith and hope the consoling words of the apostolic preaching, and to 'touch' the sources of grace in the Sacraments, and to incarnate for others their pledge of new beginnings, the freedom born of forgiveness, the interior light and peace which can bring healing and hope to even the darkest of human realities".
At the conclusion of Mass the Holy Father travelled to the apostolic delegation in Jerusalem, where he dined in private and spent the night.
PV-ISRAEL/MASS/JERUSALEM VIS 090513 (690)
EQUAL DIGNITY FOR ALL
Today about 200 people were treated to a moving video presentation at the Mayflower Hotel on the L'Arche organization that strives to bring Equal Dignity to the mentally challenged.
L'Arche, founded by a compassionate Frenchman Jean Vanier, is a network of group homes in which "core members" are matched with loving assistants who deeply care for them and integrate them into community and larger L'Arche family life. Here people who in by-gone eras would have been housed and forgotten in neglectful institutions are instead given the opportunities under special attention to develop all their skills and talents to maximize their humanity rather than disrespect it. In the Washington, DC (Adams Morgan) and Arlington, Northern Virginia areas there are three houses with a fourth in the works. In addition to the grants funding that is already committed, the DC, Northern Virginia area needs another half a million standing endowment to fully meet it's vision and operating expenses.
L'Arche would be very pleased to have you join them in volunteering whatever time you have to meet the "core" community members, share a dinner with them, and assist with the financial needs of the community.