“Earlier this month Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent out 84,000 letters to church leaders to warn them against speaking about politics from the pulpit according to IRS tax-exempt restrictions. Responses so far have not been so enthusiastic.
AU says they attempted to be “respectful” in their reminder and claim they are merely trying to protect organizations’ tax exempt status. In a blog post the group’s assistant director of communications, Simon Brown, explained that they only want churches to “follow the rules” and “stay out of partisan politics”:
“We merely want houses of worship to follow the rules, stay out of partisan politics and keep their tax exemption. And when we explain to clergy what the law requires, we do so in a respectful way.”
Despite their “respectful” tone, the church and state watchdog told The Blaze that they’ve already received about 45 fiery responses, and expect more in the days to come.
One church sent back AU’s letter with the simple statement “Drop Dead” written in marker across it. Another response was a brief letter, addressed to the executive director of the group, which concluded by asking to be removed from his mailing list and saying he could take his “solicitude regarding our legal well-being” and “shove it up your fat white a__.”
Here are two shots of the messages (via The Blaze):
An Internet video released Friday purportedly shows an Islamic State fighter beheading captured British aid worker Alan Henning and threatening another American captive in the fourth such killing carried out by the extremist group, according to The Associated Press.
The video mirrored other beheading videos shot by the Islamic State group, which now holds territory along the border of Syria and Iraq. It ended with an Islamic State fighter threatening a man they identified as an American named Peter Kassig.
Has the Nation changed? Once upon a time in Washington D.C. there was a cover-up and Nixon and friends were out on their collective ears. Impeachment was the battle cry and the national remedy.
Charles Krauthammer on Thursday brought up Watergate and reminded us that the Benghazi aftermath will be “about who knew up high and when,” adding, “I’ll remind you that nobody died in Watergate.”
Gov. Mike Huckabee “ I’m going to be blunt and tell you this — nobody died in Watergate. We have some people who are dead because of this. There are some questions to be answered and Americans ought to demand to get answers and it doesn’t matter what the politics are.” Gov. Mike Huckabee
Prostitute: They just came over, they’re workin’ with us, and we’re helpin’ them out –
Parenthood Planned Staffer: Mhm
Prostitute: Just keeping them safe.
Pimp: Could we even sign off as guardians? Could we even sign off as a guardian, is that even possible?
Planned Parenthood Staffer: If you were writing the support letter, yeah, you could say –
Prostitute: Oh good
Planned Parenthood Staffer: that you take care of them, you support them.
Planned Parenthood Staffer: But nothing here, like, our patients, we don’t ask for guardian’s signature. Everything is the patient. Like a thirteen-year-old could come in and get the services she needed, by herself.
Pimp: So, how would you recommend for them best to do it? Cause we don’t want them getting confused or what not, and it’s kind of a sensitive subject, so we don’t want you know, them saying the wrong thing, you know getting refused or turned away, so how would you suggest they go about you know being able to get the access even in spite of what they do, you know?
Planned Parenthood Staffer: Yeah, like, like I said everything’s confidential, they don’t have to tell anybody what it is that they do when they make the an appointment, it’s just gonna be between them and the Physician they see.
Got that? The pimp just needs to write a letter that says he’s acting as guardian of the girls and that he supports them, instead of the other way around, and PP will have no problem keeping his secrets. They just don’t want to know about — despite their legal obligation to report it. Planned Parenthood is concerned, however, when it comes to one issue:
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: I’m one of the practitioners here.
Pimp: Oh, ok. I was wondering, uh, do you have a moment?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm
Pimp: I was wondering, um, so like is this still confidential?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Yeah.
Pimp: We’re involved in sex work-
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm.
Pimp: We have some girls that are kind of young like, 14, 15, that they might need an abortion-
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Mhm.
Pimp: And, how is the best way should they could go about it?
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: They just show up, and set up an appointment. Do they have insurance?
Pimp: They don’t have insurance, some don’t even speak that good of English ‘cause you know, they just got here.
Planned Parenthood Supervisor/Practitioner: Right. So we have an interpretation phone, so if they don’t speak Spanish that’s not a problem. I mean if they don’t speak English that’s not a problem cause we can have an interpreter …
Once again, I’ll note that the national office did notify the Department of Justice about the visits they got from this pair once the clinics began comparing notes, but these videos show that the clinics themselves seem very comfortable with providing strategies for pimps looking to cover up their exploitation of underage girls. Is that what American taxpayers get with the $300 million in funding that goes to Planned Parenthood each year from the federal treasury?
Pope Benedict XVI appeals at the All Saints Day Angelus:
Last evening, in a grave attack on the Syriac-Catholic cathedral of Baghdad, there were scores of deaths and injuries, among them two priests and a group of the faithful there for Sunday’s Holy Mass. I pray for the victims of this absurd violence, even more ferocious in that it has been inflicted upon defenseless people gathered in God’s house, which is a house of love and reconciliation. I express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, now stricken again, and I encourage its pastors and faithful alike to be strong and firm in hope. Beyond these savage moments of violence, that continue to tear apart the peoples of the Middle East, I would lastly like to renew a heartfelt appeal for peace: it is a gift of God, but it is also the result of the efforts of men of good will, of national and international institutions. May everyone unite their strengths to end every act of violence!
This All Saints Day we not only commemorate those who have gone before us through the centuries, but we are vividly reminded that sainthood through martyrdom is not something of the ancient past. Yesterday more than 40 Syriac Catholics were martyred in Our Lady of Deliverance Cathedral in Bagdad where 120 Catholics had been taken hostage by Muslim extremists demanding release of Muslim women given sanctuary by a Coptic church in Egypt.
Jimmy Akin follows up:
There is more to say about the story. Quite a bit, actually. In particular, I’ll be responding to Sullivan, and I’ll be able to report on the German story, but first there are some additional facts to get on the table regarding the Wisconsin one.
Let’s start with a piece by Fr. Thomas Brundage (pictured), who writes:
I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process.
Interesting that Brundage says two of the four men died during the process. Contrary to what you would think from press reports, Murphy appears to be one of the two, given what shortly will become clear.
In any event, a 50% death rate seems to indicate aggressive prosecution of men even when they are quite old or in ill health. So already a picture is forming of Brundage as presiding over a vigorous court.
He has not been pleased with the New York Times’ (and other outlets’) reportage on the Murphy case:
As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing from a sense of duty to the truth.
The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.
In 1996, I was introduced to the story of Father Murphy, formerly the principal of St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. It had been common knowledge for decades that during Father Murphy’s tenure at the school (1950-1974) there had been a scandal at St. John’s involving him and some deaf children. The details, however, were sketchy at best.
Courageous advocacy on behalf of the victims (and often their wives), led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to revisit the matter in 1996.
“Courageous advocacy” suggests that there was a struggle requiring courage to get the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to act, presumably this involved the argument that Fr. Murphy’s crimes were committed long ago and that he was no longer in the diocese. Nevertheless . . . Continue reading
Thank you Anchoress: Murphy Case – NY Times Never Talked to Judge
Thank You Fr. THOMAS BRUNDAGE, JL
Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy
Then-presiding judge for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gives first-person account of church trial
By Fr. THOMAS BRUNDAGE, JLC
To provide context to this article, I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 1995-2003. During those years, I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy. Two of the four men died during the process. God alone will judge these men.
To put some parameters on the following remarks, I am writing this article with the express knowledge and consent of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, the Archbishop of Anchorage, where I currently serve. Archbishop Schwietz is also the publisher of the Catholic Anchor newspaper.
I will limit my comments, because of judicial oaths I have taken as a canon lawyer and as an ecclesiastical judge. However, since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero. Continue reading
But curiously, as the media talk endlessly about an extremely sick case out of Wisconsin, the Times -which “broke” the story- seems to have been very selective in their sources. Fr. Thomas Brundage, JLC appears not to be considered “useful” to the sensationalists in the press:
I was the Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee . . . I presided over four canonical criminal cases, one of which involved Father Lawrence Murphy.
I will limit my comments, because of judicial oaths I have taken as a canon lawyer and as an ecclesiastical judge. However, since my name and comments in the matter of the Father Murphy case have been liberally and often inaccurately quoted in the New York Times and in more than 100 other newspapers and on-line periodicals, I feel a freedom to tell part of the story of Father Murphy’s trial from ground zero.
As I have found that the reporting on this issue has been inaccurate and poor in terms of the facts, I am also writing out of a sense of duty to the truth.
The fact that I presided over this trial and have never once been contacted by any news organization for comment speaks for itself.
Pope Benedict XVI will go to Malta in April of this year. According to the Vatican, the Apostolic Journey to Malta will take place April 17-18th.
On April 17th. the Pope will arrive at the International of Malta in Luqa. There will be a courtesy visit with the President of the Republic at the Grand Masters’ Palace of Valletta. Then the Pontif will visit to the Cave of Saint Paul in Rabat.
On the 18th the Pontif will celebrate Holy Mass at the Floriana Granaries, and then lunch with the Bishops of Malta and Papal Entourage at the Apostolic Nunciature in Rabat. Pope Benedict will then go by boat from the Port of Kalkara to the Great Port of Valletta to meet and address the young people. Then, it’s on to Luqa and home to Rome.
A divided federal appeals court Thursday reversed itself, ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t violate the constitutional prohibition against state-mandated religious exercise even though it contains the phrase “one nation under God.”
Also decided Thursday was a challenge brought by the same plaintiff, Michael Newdow, to the phrase “In God We Trust” printed on the national money. The same three-judge panel ruled that an earlier case had found the phrase to be a national motto and that its placement on U.S. coins and currency wasn’t required by any government statute.
Rep. Trent Franks has called President Obama the “Abortion President.” He clarifies the call, but doesn’t back away from it. Congressman Frank tells why:
“I don’t know what it takes to get people to see the obvious. The fact that humanity is very gifted and hiding from something that obviously true. I mean: in this country, we had slavery for God knows how long, and, now, we look back on it and we say, ‘How blind were they? What was the matter with them?’ I mean: four million slaves! This is incredible, and we’re right! We’re right! We should look back on that and question. It is a crushing mark on America’s soul! And yet today, today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted! Far more black children, far more of the African American community is being devasted by the policies of today, than were being devastated by the policies of slavery.. and I think, ‘What does it take to get us to wake up?’ “
Fox News reports,
Quoting the dad:
“My legs went out from underneath me,” Mike Hermanstorfer said Tuesday. “I had everything in the world taken from me, and in an hour and a half I had everything given to me.”
Dr. Stephanie Martin, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs said:
“She had no signs of life. No heartbeat, no blood pressure, she wasn’t breathing,” said Martin, who had rushed to Hermanstorfer’s room to help. “The baby was, it was basically limp, with a very slow heart rate.”
The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict is setting up special provision for Anglicans, including married clergy, who want to convert to Rome together, preserving aspects of Anglican liturgy. They will be given their own pastoral supervision, according to this press release from the Vatican:
“In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”
I hope Dick Cheney keeps the pressure on Obama. He’s a Lone Ranger with silver bullets hitting their mark.
AllahPundit writes of Cheney:
Dour though his Darth Cheney persona may be, he projects gravitas and speaks with understated eloquence. He’s bound to persuade at least a few fencesitters.
The Pundit points to Toby Harnden in Telegraph.co.uk who notes Cheney’s 10 punches:
1. “I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that, but I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.”
Anyone who was in New York or Washington on 9/11 (I was here in DC) was profoundly affected and most Americans understand this. Obama was, as far as I can tell, in Chicago. His response – he was then a mere state senator for liberal Hyde Park – was startlingly hand-wringing and out of step with how most Americans were feeling. This statement by Cheney reminds people of the tough decisions he and Bush had to make – ones that Obama has not yet faced.
2. “The first attack on the World Trade Center was treated as a law- enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact: arrests, indictments, convictions, prison sentences, case closed.”
This was the pre-9/11 mindset, much criticised after the attacks. Many sense that this is the approach Obama is increasingly taking.
3. “By presidential decision last month, we saw the selective release of documents relating to enhanced interrogations. This is held up as a bold exercise in open government, honoring the public’s right to know. We’re informed as well that there was much agonizing over this decision. Yet somehow, when the soul searching was done and the veil was lifted on the policies of the Bush administration, the public was given less than half the truth.”
The release of the documents was a nakedly political move by Obama and Cheney called him on it. This passage from Obama’s speech today came across as completely disingenuous: “I did not do this because I disagreed with the enhanced interrogation techniques that those memos authorized, and I didn’t release the documents because I rejected their legal rationales — although I do on both counts. I released the memos because the existence of that approach to interrogation was already widely known, the Bush Administration had acknowledged its existence, and I had already banned those methods.”
Read the full article here.
Update: In hindsight, wasn’t it awfully stupid of The One to rush out a national security speech to try to preempt Cheney? If he’d kept quiet, this still would have been a hit on righty blogs and Fox News but nowhere else. By jumping in, he created the sensational “terror duel” storyline that’s forcing the media to magnify this. At the very least, he should have waited a week or so and then given his speech as a rebuttal to Cheney’s. For someone so message-savvy, he crapped the bed this time.
Church welcomes their first married priest – KRQE reports.
Father Whorton was ordained in May of 2008 and became part of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Rio Rancho. He talks about his decision to move to the church and the controversy and questions surrounding it.
Checkout Joan’s Rome for her interesting coverage of the Pope pilgrimage with a personal touch:
PALESTINIANS, INCLUDING GAZANS, WELCOME BENEDICT XVI WITH GREAT JOY, POPE SAYS “HOLY SEE SUPPORTS THE RIGHT OF YOUR PEOPLE TO A SOVEREIGN PALESTINIAN HOMELAND
“I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name. I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off.” With this passage from the Book of Isaiah, Pope Benedict XVI began a recollection of those slain in the Holocaust and memorialized at Yad Vashem. This passage furnished two words: Yad meaning “memorial” and shem “name.” The Pope recalled how each person remembered there bears a name. Though robbed of their life they could never be robbed of the name God had given them. The Pope said that he can only imagine the joyful expectation of their parents as they anxiously awaited the birth of their children; “What name shall we give this child? What is to become of him or her?” He said, that they could never have imagined that they would be condemned to such a degradable fate. Their cries still echos in our hearts. the Pope said that it is the cry of Able rising from the earth to the Almighty. Pope Benedict prayed from the Book of Lamentations proclaiming that the favors of the Almighty are never exhausted and His mercies are not spent.They are renewed each morning. So great is His faithfulness.
ADDRESS OF POPE BENEDICT XVI
DOME OF THE ROCK JERUSALEM
12 MAY 2009
Dear Muslim Friends, As-salámu ‘aláikum! Peace upon you! I cordially thank the Grand Mufti, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, together with the Director of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, Sheikh Mohammed Azzam al-Khatib al-Tamimi, and the Head of the Awquaf Council, Sheikh Abdel Azim Salhab, for the welcome they have extended to me on your behalf. I am deeply grateful for the invitation to visit this sacred place, and I willingly pay my respects to you and the leaders of the Islamic community in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock draws our hearts and minds to reflect upon the mystery of creation and the faith of Abraham. Here the paths of the world’s three great monotheistic religions meet, reminding us what they share in common. Each believes in One God, creator and ruler of all. Each recognizes Abraham as a forefather, a man of faith upon whom God bestowed a special blessing. Each has gained a large following throughout the centuries and inspired a rich spiritual, intellectual and cultural patrimony. In a world sadly torn by divisions, this sacred place serves as a stimulus, and also challenges men and women of goodwill to work to overcome misunderstandings and conflicts of the past and to set out on the path of a sincere dialogue aimed at building a world of justice and peace for coming generations. Since the teachings of religious traditions ultimately concern the reality of God, the meaning of life, and the common destiny of mankind – that is to say, all that is most sacred and dear to us – there may be a temptation to engage in such dialogue with reluctance or ambivalence about its possibilities for success. Yet we can begin with the belief that the One God is the infinite source of justice and mercy, since in him the two exist in perfect unity. Those who confess his name are entrusted with the task of striving tirelessly for righteousness while imitating his forgiveness, for both are intrinsically oriented to the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of the human family. For this reason, it is paramount that those who adore the One God should show themselves to be both grounded in and directed towards the unity of the entire human family. In other words, fidelity to the One God, the Creator, the Most High, leads to the recognition that human beings are fundamentally interrelated, since all owe their very existence to a single source and are pointed towards a common goal. Imprinted with the indelible image of the divine, they are called to play an active role in mending divisions and promoting human solidarity. This places a grave responsibility upon us. Those who honor the One God believe that he will hold human beings accountable for their actions. Christians assert that the divine gifts of reason and freedom stand at the basis of this accountability. Reason opens the mind to grasp the shared nature and common destiny of the human family, while freedom moves the heart to accept the other and serve him in charity. Undivided love for the One God and charity towards ones neighbor thus become the fulcrum around which all else turns. This is why we work untiringly to safeguard human hearts from hatred, anger or vengeance. Dear friends, I have come to Jerusalem on a journey of faith. I thank God for this occasion to meet you as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, but also as a child of Abraham, by whom “all the families of the earth find blessing” (Gen 12:3; cf. Rom 4:16-17). I assure you of the Church’s ardent desire to cooperate for the well-being of the human family. She firmly believes that the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham is universal in scope, embracing all men and women regardless of provenance or social status. As Muslims and Christians further the respectful dialogue they have already begun, I pray that they will explore how the Oneness of God is inextricably tied to the unity of the human family. In submitting to his loving plan for creation, in studying the law inscribed in the cosmos and implanted in the human heart, in reflecting upon the mysterious gift of God’s self-revelation, may all his followers continue to keep their gaze fixed on his absolute goodness, never losing sight of the way it is reflected in the faces of others. With these thoughts, I humbly ask the Almighty to grant you peace and to bless all the beloved people of this region. May we strive to live in a spirit of harmony and cooperation, bearing witness to the One God by generously serving one another. Thank you!
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS
Josafat Valley – Jerusalem
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
“Christ is risen, alleluia!” With these words I greet you with immense affection. I thank Patriarch Fouad Twal for his words of welcome on your behalf, and before all else I express my joy at being able to celebrate this Eucharist with you, the Church in Jerusalem. We are gathered beneath the Mount of Olives, where our Lord prayed and suffered, where he wept for love of this City and the desire that it should know “the path to peace” (Lk 19:42), and whence he returned to the Father, giving his final earthly blessing to his disciples and to us. Today let us accept this blessing. He gives it in a special way to you, dear brothers and sisters, who stand in an unbroken line with those first disciples who encountered the Risen Lord in the breaking of the bread, those who experienced the outpouring of the Spirit in the Upper Room and those who were converted by the preaching of Saint Peter and the other apostles. My greeting also goes to all those present, and in a special way to those faithful of the Holy Land who for various reasons were not able to be with us today.
As the Successor of Saint Peter, I have retraced his steps in order to proclaim the Risen Christ in your midst, to confirm you in the faith of your fathers, and to invoke upon you the consolation which is the gift of the Paraclete. Standing before you today, I wish to acknowledge the difficulties, the frustration, and the pain and suffering which so many of you have endured as a result of the conflicts which have afflicted these lands, and the bitter experiences of displacement which so many of your families have known and – God forbid – may yet know. 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, 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, multiethnic and multireligious.
In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul tells the Colossians to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col 3:1). His words resound with particular force here, beneath the Garden of Gethsemani, where Jesus accepted the chalice of suffering in complete obedience to the Father’s will, and where, according to tradition, he ascended to the right hand of the Father to make perpetual intercession for us, the members of his Body. Saint Paul, the great herald of Christian hope, knew the cost of that hope, its price in suffering and persecution for the sake of the Gospel, yet he never wavered in his conviction that Christ’s resurrection was the beginning of a new creation. As he tells us: “When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, you too will be revealed with him in glory!” (Col 3:4).
Paul’s exhortation to “set our minds on the things that are above” must constantly echo in our hearts. His words point us to the fulfilment of faith’s vision in that heavenly Jerusalem where, in fidelity to the ancient prophecies, God will wipe away the tears from every eye, and prepare a banquet of salvation for all peoples (cf. Is 25:6-8; Rev 21:2-4).
This is the hope, this the vision, which inspires all who love this earthly Jerusalem to see her as a prophecy and promise of that universal reconciliation and peace which God desires for the whole human family. Sadly, beneath the walls of this same City, we are also led to consider how far our world is from the complete fulfilment of that prophecy and promise. In this Holy City where life conquered death, where the Spirit was poured out as the first-fruits of the new creation, 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.
Gathered beneath the walls of this city, sacred to the followers of three great religions, how can we not turn our thoughts to Jerusalem’s universal vocation? Heralded by the prophets, this vocation also emerges as an indisputable fact, a reality irrevocably grounded in the complex history of this city and its people. Jews, Muslims and Christians alike call this city their spiritual home. 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” (cf. Ps 85:8)!
Jerusalem, in fact, has always been a city whose streets echo with different languages, whose stones are trod by people of every race and tongue, whose walls are a symbol of God’s provident care for the whole human family. As a microcosm of our globalized world, this City, if it is to live up to its universal vocation, 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.
Here I would like to speak directly to the tragic reality – which cannot fail to be a source of concern to all who love this City and this land – of the departure of so many members of the Christian community in recent years. While understandable reasons lead many, especially the young, to emigrate, this decision brings in its wake a great cultural and spiritual impoverishment to the City. 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.
Dear friends, in the Gospel we have just heard, Saint Peter and Saint John run to the empty tomb, and John, we are told, “saw and believed” (Jn 20:8). Here in the Holy Land, with the eyes of faith, you, together with the pilgrims from throughout the world who throng its churches and shrines, are blessed to “see” the places hallowed by Christ’s presence, his earthly ministry, his passion, death and resurrection, and the gift of his Holy Spirit. Here, like the Apostle Saint Thomas, you are granted the opportunity to “touch” the historical realities which underlie our confession of faith in the Son of God. My prayer for you today is that you 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.
In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, pilgrims in every century have venerated the stone which tradition tells us stood before the entrance to the tomb on the morning of Christ’s resurrection. Let us return frequently to that empty tomb. There let us reaffirm our faith in the victory of life, and pray that every “heavy stone” that stands before the door of our hearts, blocking our complete surrender to the Lord in faith, hope and love, may be shattered by the power of the light and life which shone forth from Jerusalem to all the world that first Easter morn. Christ is risen, alleluia! He is truly risen, alleluia!
Whispers in the Loggia shares the Papal Address at Ben Gurion Airport. Here is a part of Pope Benedict’s words at the beginning of this holy mission to Israel:
The just ordering of social relationships presupposes and requires a respect for the freedom and dignity of every human being, whom Christians, Muslims and Jews alike believe to be created by a loving God and destined for eternal life. When the religious dimension of the human person is denied or marginalized, the very foundation for a proper understanding of inalienable human rights is placed in jeopardy.
Tragically, the Jewish people have experienced the terrible consequences of ideologies that deny the fundamental dignity of every human person. It is right and fitting that, during my stay in Israel, I will have the opportunity to honor the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah, and to pray that humanity will never again witness a crime of such magnitude. Sadly, anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head in many parts of the world. This is totally unacceptable. Every effort must be made to combat anti-Semitism wherever it is found, and to promote respect and esteem for the members of every people, tribe, language and nation across the globe.
During my stay in Jerusalem, I will have the pleasure of meeting many of this country’s distinguished religious leaders. One thing that the three great monotheistic religions have in common is a special veneration for that holy city. It is my earnest hope that all pilgrims to the holy places will be able to access them freely and without restraint, to take part in religious ceremonies and to promote the worthy upkeep of places of worship on sacred sites. May the words of Isaiah’s prophecy be fulfilled, that many nations shall flow to the mountain of the house of the Lord, that he may teach them his ways, that they may walk in his paths – paths of peace and justice, paths that lead to reconciliation and harmony (cf. Is 2:2-5).
Even though the name Jerusalem means “city of peace”, it is all too evident that, for decades, peace has tragically eluded the inhabitants of this holy land. The eyes of the world are upon the peoples of this region as they struggle to achieve a just and lasting solution to conflicts that have caused so much suffering. The hopes of countless men, women and children for a more secure and stable future depend on the outcome of negotiations for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In union with people of good will everywhere, I plead with all those responsible to explore every possible avenue in the search for a just resolution of the outstanding difficulties, so that both peoples may live in peace in a homeland of their own, within secure and internationally recognized borders. In this regard, I hope and pray that a climate of greater trust can soon be created that will enable the parties to make real progress along the road to peace and stability.
Wall St. Journal writes,
Improved technology is allowing researchers to scan ancient texts that were once unreadable — blackened in fires or by chemical erosion, painted over or simply too fragile to unroll. Now, scholars are studying these works with X-ray fluorescence, multispectral imaging used by NASA to photograph Mars and CAT scans used by medical technicians.
One of the most ambitious digital preservation projects is being led, fittingly, by a Benedictine monk. Father Columba Stewart, executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s Abbey and University in Minnesota, cites his monastic order’s long tradition of copying texts to ensure their survival as inspiration.
His mission: digitizing some 30,000 endangered manuscripts within the Eastern Christian traditions, a canon that includes liturgical texts, Biblical commentaries and historical accounts in half a dozen languages, including Arabic, Coptic and Syriac, the written form of Aramaic. Rev. Stewart has expanded the library’s work to 23 sites, including collections in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, up from two in 2003. He has overseen the digital preservation of some 16,500 manuscripts, some of which date to the 10th and 11th centuries. Some works photographed by the monastery have since turned up on the black market or eBay, he says.
Read full story here.
Light on the horizon?….Michael Novak amazed at the numbers in the latest Pew Research survey showing opposition to legal abortion in growing.
The latest Pew Research survey (April 30) shows an amazing drop in support for legal abortion since August 2008, and a corresponding jump in numbers of those who now hold that abortion should be made illegal in most or all cases. This trend shows an astonishing rise in resistance to abortion among people of all ages, and an eye-catching jump in opposition to abortion among moderate and liberal Republicans.
Read the entire report here.
H/T Anchoress, who hopes for conversion of President Obama on issues of life. I’ll pray for that! I’m sure Obama now knows who Mary Ann Glendon is and may give ear to what she has to say he only out of curiousity, due to a well publicized run in with this woman of integrity.
“We have also been mindful of the fact that in today’s world, ironically, many threats to the dignity of the person have appeared in the guise of human rights. As you pointed out in your memorable speech to the United Nations last year, there are mounting pressures to ‘move away from the protection of human dignity towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular interests.’ “……………
“We have paid special attention to rights that are currently under assault such as the right to life, the right to found a family, freedom of conscience and religion, and to rights that have too long awaited fulfillment such as the right to decent subsistence.”
From Pope Benedict’s response: (Full text here)
“The Church’s action in promoting human rights is therefore supported by rational reflection, in such a way that these rights can be presented to all people of good will, independently of any religious affiliation they may have”. At the same time, “insofar as human rights need to be re-appropriated by every generation and by each individual, and insofar as human freedom … is always fragile, the human person needs the unconditional hope and love that can only be found in God and that lead to participation in the justice and generosity of God towards others”.
Totus (Teleprompter of the US) could have used a teleprompter in a pre-Cinco de Mayo bash. He celebrated Cinco de Mayo at the White House with Cinco de Cuatro panach, whatever that is (five of four, anyone?) Oh well, he’s trying…..though Ed Morrissey muses otherwise in Obamateurism of the Day:
¡Hola, amigos! ¿Que pasa? Maybe Barack Obama should have just stuck with that when trying to use his Spanish to offer a holiday greeting to White House visitors
Michelle Malkin gives us the Gaffetastic-o video, saying, “How many times over the last year have we said “If George Bush said what Barack Obama said…”
“Short cuts that undermine who we are.” Those are words President Obama used at least twice on the 100th day of his Presidency. Obama was speaking of techniques and procedures considered too torturous for enemy combatants. His objection to these procedures, that he considered them corrosive to our country’s character.
It just so happens that ‘torture’ is a good word to use when describing abortion, also mentioned on your 100th day. For those who haven’t seen an abortion or read of the procedures, the fetus is violated, at whatever stage, whatever age, with or without pain.When ones life is stolen that is a violation. The other victim seldom mentioned in an abortion is the mother/woman, who has been treated as a womb to be emptied. She bears the scars for life while the national discourse is silent or simply frowns on admitting and speaking of this violation to the women and to our “national character”. “Short cuts that undermine who we are” Can’t you see Mr. President your own duplicity in these words also spoken on your 100th day:
The reason I’m pro-choice is because I don’t think women take that ? that position casually. I think that they struggle with these decisions each and every day. And I think they are in a better position to make these decisions ultimately than members of Congress or a president of the United States, in consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy.
So ? so that has been my consistent position. The other thing that I said consistently during the campaign is I would like to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies that result in women feeling compelled to get an abortion, or at least considering getting an abortion, particularly if we can reduce the number of teen pregnancies, which has started to spike up again.
‘Short cuts’ whether arrived at by national legislation, medical intervention, consultation with their families, with their doctors, with their clergy are short cuts that still fall far short of moral rectitude and our national and human dignity.
Elizabeth Lev, daughter of Mary Ann Glendon has responded to this written by Kaitlyn Riely at Politics Daily. Riely,speaking of Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, says:
“But Glendon has been trained in diplomacy. Shouldn’t being in the same place and engaging someone of an opposing view be right up her alley? Wouldn’t the better decision be to use her platform — or at least her proximity — to persuade Obama to change his views? Her diplomatic style seems to be less suited for U.S.-Vatican relations and more for U.S.-Cuba relations.”
Reponse by Elizabeth Lev, Mary Ann Glendon’s daughter:
“The Laetare Medal is the highest honor conferred on Catholics in the United States. For a Catholic, it has greater prestige than a Nobel Prize for a scientist or an Academy Award for an actor, as the award is given for career-long achievement, for “staying the course” in the words of St. Paul. It doesn’t just showcase a single discovery or film role.
To renounce it, therefore, is not the lightest of matters. Professor Glendon has spent a month thinking, consulting, and given her deep faith, praying about this decision. (This, for those of you who don’t know, means asking God to help one put aside one’s own personal concerns and act in the way that will produce the greatest good). (Kaitlyn) Riely’s dismissive “thanks, no thanks” rendering of her decision, while pithy, is reductive.
Professor Glendon was to have been honored for not only for her scholarship, but for her second career, her pro-bono work — ranging from the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the great civil rights issues of the present day — namely, the defense of human life from conception to natural death. Her concerns range from the aging and dying population to the unborn to the well-being and dignity of every life, regardless of race, religion, or economic status. Her outstanding work in this field has earned her the respect of the most brilliant minds of the international community, regardless of whether they agree with her position. So again, to see her merely as “strongly anti-abortion” instead of as a tireless defender of the dignity of life, is to reveal not only a lack of understanding of the subject’s work, but also the writer’s real interest in this question.
Furthermore, during his first 100 days in office, President Obama has worked tirelessly to undermine Professor Glendon’s lifetime of work; he is funding abortion out of the bailout package and planning to suppress the protection of conscience for health care workers.
Your notion that her “training in diplomacy” might somehow ease this situation does not take into account that she has a five-minute acceptance speech and he will have a lengthy commencement speech. There is no “engaging” here. Diplomacy generally teaches that if you have a rapier and your opponent has a missile launcher, try not to engage.
That Professor Glendon “did not like that Notre Dame was claiming her speech would serve to balance the event” is again facile and simplistic. What is there to like in being the deflector screen for inviting a profoundly divisive figure to give the commencement speech? What is likeable about a Catholic University named for the most important woman in Christianity exploiting a woman who has already dedicated her life to protecting the Church’s teaching by turning her into a warm-up act for a grotesque twist on a reality show?
Finally, after 50 Catholic bishops condemned the university for its direct defiance in honoring a man in open conflict with the Church’s teaching, it is right that Professor Glendon let her silence speak louder than her five-minute allotment of words would have.Readers might be wondering how I know all this. Well, for one I am her daughter, but more to the point, I read her letter with the careful consideration it deserves.”
Elizabeth Lev is an art historian and writer based in Rome, where all of her three children were born… more
Michelle Malkin sums up Obama’s first 100
Thank You, Jesus! I could kiss her, Mary Ann Glendon that is! This morning she dropped some hot coals on the head of Notre Dame’s President, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
(Mary Ann Glendon is Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. A member of the editorial and advisory board of First Things, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009.)
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree. This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops’ express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions “should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles” and that such persons “should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution’s freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.
Then I learned that “talking points” issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:
• “President Obama won’t be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal.”
• “We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about.”
A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame’s decision–in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops–to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church’s position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.
Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops’ guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame’s example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.
In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.
Ed Morrissey notes Notre Dame has lost their “token pro-lifer”. He also has a nice photo of the lady after my own heart.