September 16, 2006

"... if the pope does not appear on TV and apologize ... we will blow up all of Gaza's churches"

During one rally gunmen in Gaza City opened fire at the Greek Orthodox church; no injuries or damage were reported. An unknown organization calling itself “The Sword of Islam" claimed responsibility for the incident.

“We want to make it clear that if the pope does not appear on TV and apologize for his comments, we will blow up all of Gaza’s churches,” the group said in a statement.

From an online news article.
Click HERE for it.

Union of Italian Islamic Communities: THE POPE IS SORRY, IT IS ENOUGH

(Agenzia Giornalistica Italia)-- "Is the pope deeply sorry? It is enough for me", Union of Italian Islamic Communities (UCOII) president Hamza Piccardo does not want to ignite a row commenting the last statement made by the Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone on pope Benedict XVI's speech in Germany. Piccardo said that the pope making a lesson at the Ratisbon university had superimposed the role of professor to the role of pope and did not understand that he is listened in all the world as the pope. Some statements that could be accepted in an university contest have fuelled a row being told by a pope, he said. "We believe that he had no bad intentions and Cardinal Bertone' statement closes the incident. We must continue working on the common elements of our religions like the fight against atheism and materialism and the will of peace and talks. In a world where wars are made due to materialistic reasons the spiritual values are a common bulwark" he said.

From the AGI website
Click HERE for it.

Islam has an opportunity

"only by listening to the Pope's suggestions,
and those of a few Muslim intellectuals,
can Islam's chances for renewal become real."

"It is high time that Islam deal with modernity;
not to be swallowed up by it,
but rather to take what good it has to offer and improve on it"

From an article in "The Jerusalem Post"
Click HERE for it.

Issued 16 September: Declaration by the Vatican Secretary of State

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says,
"Given the reaction in Muslim quarters to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, and the clarifications and explanations already presented through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, I would like to add the following"

[The following link should open the Vatican's English translation. Otherwise it will be immediately below the Italian original on the same page.]
Click HERE for it.

September 15, 2006

Muslim commentator defends the Pope, denounces hatred

Magdi Allam is a leading Muslim commentator in Italy. He has written what I consider to be a major editorial for an Italian national newspaper, "Corriere della Sera". You will find below my probably flawed, non-professional translation of his editorial. The Italian original itself wasn't gramatically perfect. At the end is a link to the editorial (in the original Italian) on the web.

UPDATE (17 September). The Italian newspaper has now provided an English translation. I have used it to adjust one or two words in my translation below. The newspaper's own translation had a couple of minor translation inaccuracies. I find that my translation is more literal.

SECOND UPDATE (September 17). The pope has now personally and publicly expressed his sorrow and reiterated the clarification of his intentions. I have posted his Italian original and my translation which can both be read by clicking on:

- - -

15 September 2006


Muslims against the Pope, “He has offended us, let him ask pardon”

Magdi Allam

It is desolating and preoccupying to see Muslims who have given life to a unified international front to attack the Pope and demand public apologies. From Bin Laden to the Muslim Brotherhood, from Pakistan to Turkey, from Al Jazeera to Al Arabiya, there has risen anew the widespread and universal alliance that first emerged on the occasion of the events surrounding the cartoons about Mohammed. It testifies, in an unequivocal manner, that the root of the evil is a blind ideology of imperious hatred among Muslims, one that violates the faith and darkens the mind. Why is it that Muslims, especially the so-called moderates, never stand up with similar and as much enthusiasm against the true and perpetual profaners of Islam, the Islamic terrorists who massacre Muslims themselves in the name of the same God, the Islamic extremists who legitimize the destruction of Israel and inculcate faith in the so-called Islamic “martyrdom”, while in the meantime they feel themselves dutybound to promote a sort of Islamic “holy war” against the head of the Catholic Church who legitimately expresses his evaluations concerning Islam, with respect but with just as much clarity about the diversity that naturally exists between the two religions? The considerations referred to by the Pope, citing the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologus II, concerning the spread of Islam by the sword, whether on the part of Mohammed within the Arabian Peninsula or on the part of his successors in the rest of the world (with just a few exceptions), are an incontrovertible historical fact. Testimony to the fact comes from the Koran itself, from the reality that the entire Byzantine empire to the East and South of the Mediterranean fell to Islam, and from the reality of the successive [Muslim] expansion northward into Europe and eastward into Asia.

To deny the historical reality is simply foolish, and it can generate nothing but foolishness. I recall that one of the most notable contemporary Islamologists, the Egyptian Mohammad Said El Eshmawi, said to me in the mid-nineties that he simply did not sympathize with the military conquest carried out by the Arab tribes in the Christian lands of the Mediterranean, and that he would have preferred to have had Islam spread peacefully as came about in Southeast Asia. And now the Pope is being punished and threatened for having said what every honest and rational Muslim should accept: the historical reality. The lesson to draw is that the West and Christianity ought to stop considering themselves to be the cause of everything that followed, whether good or bad, within Islam and in the rest of the world. The ideology of hatred is an ancestral reality that exists in the heart of Islam from its very beginnings, because of the refusal to recognize and respect the plurality of the physiological religious communities, and given the subjectivity of the relationship between the believer and God, and the absence of a single spiritual reference point that embodies the absoluteness of the dogmas of faith. And it is a reality that, beginning with the defeat of the Arab armies in the war of 5 June 1967, it [the ideology of hatred] has undergone an unstoppable upsurge parallel to the growth of the power of the Islamic extremists from Iran to Indonesia. It has ended up flowing into the current of globalized Islamic terrorism, that has transformed the West itself into a “kamikaze factory”.

This is the tragic reality of the ideology of hatred that is succeeding in solidifying the consensus among all those Muslims whose minds are clouded by being anti-American, anti-West, and by prejudiced hostility to the right of Israel to exist. The pretexts that can set off their fury change, from the Israeli occupation to the American war, from the Mohammed cartoons to the declarations of the Pope. But the problem is entirely internal to an Islam transformed by the extremists from a faith in God into an ideology bent on imposing a theocratic and totalitarian power upon all those who are not in their image and likeness. And it frightens me to note that even the so-called moderate Muslims have renounced the prudence of reason, and have aligned themselves with the “holy war” of which they will be the principal victims.

- - -
The Italian original is online.
Click HERE for it.

Muslims are angry at Pope Benedict XVI. What did he really say?

Click HERE for it.

A Palestinian of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade at a Gaza rally protesting against Pope Benedict XVI

Photocredit: Reuters
Click HERE for it.

"serene, gracious"

Amy Welborn's blog reports today on John Allen's description of the personality of Pope Benedict XVI.
Chesterton was irascible and curmudgeonly; Benedict, on the other hand, is unfailingly gracious, polite, and kind. As a personality type, he's closer to Emily Post. Yet Benedict breathes the same air of Christian enlightenment as Chesterton. His approach to modernity is neither the craven assimilation that Jacques Maritain described as "kneeling before the world," nor the defensiveness of a "Taliban Catholicism" that knows only how to excoriate and condemn.

Facing disagreement and differing cultural visions, Benedict is not afraid-- and because he's not afraid, he's not defensive, and he's not in a hurry.

Such a spirit is largely alien to our fractured and hair-trigger era, and so Benedict has been something of a paradox-- this avatar of Catholic traditionalism espousing a positive message, willing to engage in reasoned reflection with people who don't think like him. For 18 months, people have been speculating about when the "real pope" will emerge from beneath this serene, gracious façade. Ladies and gentleman, I suggest to you tonight that the façade is the real pope.

The "heat ray" is no longer science fiction

As a priest, I could use this when preaching to give people a taste of the fires of hell. It might also be useful when hearing confessions.

September 15, 2006

WASHINGTON – In an effort to give U.S. troops a choice between “shouting and shooting” in confronting hostile crowds, the military is testing a device that gives advancing adversaries the feeling of being on fire without doing any physical harm.

The news article is online.
Click HERE for it.

September 14, 2006

Episcopalians officially announce failure to resolve a split

A group of Episcopalians bishops met in New York on 11-13 September at the request of the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury in view of conflicts within the U.S. Episcopalian denomination.

Seven U.S. Episcopalian dioceses have asked to secede from the U.S. Episcopalians.

The meeting failed to achieve a consensus.

They have published a statement.
Click HERE for it.

In my opinion: a well-done assessment of the Pope's messages in Germany

Click HERE for it.

A handbook: "How to Be a Nun" mentioned the handbook.

"Please do not bring
six suitcases of anything,
your entire wardrobe,
every letter you have ever received,
a years supply of household goods,
your cell phone,
an absolute resentment of any authority but your own,
a 2 metre statue of Buddha or a 4 metre statue of the Sacred Heart,
an intolerable prejudice against any other race, nation or culture,
invincible self-regard
or your scuba diving suit."
Click HERE for it.

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 14 September

I have posted a homily for the feast.
Click HERE for it.

September 13, 2006

Same old, same old Hansy slams the pope

Put some prunes in it, Father Hansel!

The perpetually antiReverend Hans Ho-Hum Küng and his tired, stale bad news!
Click HERE for it.

September 12, 2006

A model of dignity and a model otherwise

Some in New York are still mourning their loved ones. Patricia Smith, the daughter of police officer Moira Smith who was killed on September 11, 2001, holds the hand of her father, James Smith, on stage during the reading of victims' names at ground zero on the fifth anniversary of her mother’s death.

Meanwhile, some in New York spent time and money so that women could look stupid on a fashion runway, Sunday, September 10, 2006.

Both photographs are from Associated Press.

Setting up a papal pilgrimage

Interesting article.
Click HERE for it.

September 11, 2006


Click HERE for it.

A Benedictine watches a Benedict

I recognize the habit.

Click HERE for it.

XVI to nun

Click HERE for it.

When did Josef Ratzinger weep for a teddy bear?

Click HERE for it.

"He shook this hand!"

One nun shows another the hand that has just touched the Pope.

Click HERE for it.

September 10, 2006

Lavender attack on the Pope's home

Pope's birthplace in Bavaria vandalized

The news article is online.
Click HERE for it.

72 percent of women who were initially “strongly leaning” toward abortion decided to carry their pregnancies to term after seeing a sonogram

"Fifty percent made the same choice after counseling alone."

So, the pro-life cause is stocking up on sonogram machines.

Read the Washington Post article online.
Click HERE for it.