Friday, May 25, 2007

Atheist supports Catholic Education

The Archdiocese of New York received a record-breaking gift of $22.5 million from self-styled atheist Robert Wilson to provide educational scholarships for inner-city children.

Wilson, a philanthropist and former Wall Street investor, gave the money to the Cardinal's Scholarship Program, started in 2005, to aid disadvantaged students.

Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, has expressed his gratitude for the "historic and far-sighted support from Mr. Wilson for the education and future well-being of our neediest children in the archdiocese."

Wilson, 80, told Bloomberg News, that, although an atheist, he has no problem giving money to fund Catholic schools.

"Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization," Wilson said. "Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent."

Wilson added, "It was a chance for a very modest amount of money to get kids out of a lousy school system and into a good school system."
The references and jokes about various groups, etc. write themselves. Why can't Europe realize what this nonbeliever has stated? And of course there's the statement about Catholic schools and the quality of their religion teaching. I'll leave that to others.

I commend this guy for being honest.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Hugo Chavez demands Papal Apology

Hugo Chavez has demanded an apology from the Pope to the indigineous peoples of the Americas for the evil stuff the Church did back in the day, or at least denying that it happened, supposedly. (Article)

"Something much more serious occurred here than during the holocaust of World War II, and nobody can deny that this is true, and neither can his Holiness come here, to our own land, and deny the aboriginal holocaust," Chavez said over the weekend on Venezuelan radio and television.

"So, as a head of state, but clad in the humility of a Venezuelan farmworker, I implore his Holiness to apologize to the peoples of our America," Chavez demanded.

Chavez said he paid close attention to everything the Pope said in Brazil, and that after hearing him say that the Gospel was not imposed upon the natives, he called Venezuela’s minister for the indigenous peoples, Nizia Maldonado, who said she did not share the Pope’s opinion and that it was "difficult to support, for God’s sake!"

I'm not sure what he's going on about, maybe he's just nuts.


Abortion Supporters Honored by Jesuits

In our next installment of the abortion supporting politician saga, surprise, another Jesuit university honors pro-abortion politicians at their commencement ceremony. (Article)
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, delivered the commencement address at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco on Saturday. The pro-abortion supporter spoke during the ceremony at the university’s McLaren College of Business.

At the same ceremony, the college honored former California lieutenant governor Leo T. McCarthy, also a pro-abortion supporter, posthumously.

In a May 17 letter faxed to the university’s president, Fr. Stephen Privett, Patrick Reilly, president of the Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society, urged him to withdraw the Pelosi invitation and the McCarthy honor.

Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco also received an honorary degree during the commencement ceremony for his demonstration of “an extraordinary sense of social justice, a passionate concern for peace, and a commitment to nonviolence to achieve ethical goals.”

The Cardinal Newman Society has asked Archbishop Niederauer to boycott the ceremony if the university did not change its plans.

A quick search didn't find out that the Archbishop boycotted the ceremony, though he should have done something crazy like close the school down or something. That's his job as Bishop, to make sure the Catholics aren't led astray.

Why is it that Jesuits always screw up like this?


Animal Human Hybrid in England

The British government has recently announced that they are lifting their ban on creating an Animal-Human hybrid, which has alarmed many. (Article)
"The creation of a hybrid animal-human embryo has been banned by everyone in the biotechnology field, until now -- and not just by religious groups," Bishop Sgreccia said. "This is because human dignity is compromised and offended and monstrosities will be created from these inseminations.

"It is true that these embryos are suppressed and the cells taken out, but the creation of an animal-human being represents a natural border that has been violated, the most grave of violations."

In an interview with Vatican Radio, he called for a complete moral condemnation of the practice, "in the name of reason and in the name of justice and science, which must be maintained for the well being of the person and respect for human nature."
He goes on to discuss why there is really no need for this. I can't imagine why we'd want to do this. Those who have no concerns of morality are willing to destroy human embryos, and people who do care about morals have adult stem cells to work with. What is the point here anyways?


Even more on Excommunication and Politicians

In an interview with Time, a Honduran Bishop discussed the excommunication of pro-abortion politicians, in the next salvo of this debate. (From EWTN)
Cardinal Maradiaga was asked, “Do you agree with the Pope’s statement that pro-choice Catholic politicians merit excommunication?” The cardinal responded by saying: “It is canon law that everyone who works for abortion is excommunicated. It’s not something the Pope invented. If you favor abortion, you are outside the communion of the Church. And it was necessary to say that. There are people in Mexico saying I am Catholic and I support abortion rights. This is a contradiction in its very essence. As a teacher of the Church, the Pope has a responsibility of teaching when something happening is wrong.”

Later he was asked: “Do you agree with bishops who deny giving Holy Communion to these politicians?” The cardinal replied: “This is a different point. For who am I to deny Holy Communion to a person? I cannot. It’s in the tradition of moral theology that even if I know a person is living in grave sin, I cannot take a public action against him. It would be giving scandal to the person. Yes, he should not seek [communion], but I cannot deny it from him.”

Nevertheless, in statements to Carlos Polo, reproduced exclusively by the Catholic News Agency, Cardinal Maradiaga, who is in Aparecida participating in the V General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, said his comments to Time magazine should be reformulated “in light of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith teaches in its document, ‘Worthiness to Receive Communion’.”

“A politician who publicly supports abortion, he excommunicates himself. It’s not question of receiving Communion or not; he has already done serious harm to the communion of faith of the Church, to the communion of moral life, and therefore that person himself is doing an act that is inconsistent with what he says he believes,” the cardinal said.

“That is, we’re talking about a person who has become a broken-off branch of the tree of life of the Church, a dry branch that has lost its vital sap and is doing something that is a lie. One who is against life and who is clearly opposed to the message of the Lord Jesus, as is an abortion supporter, cannot be in Communion with Holy Mother Church,” he stated.

“Therefore, if one uses the desire to receive Communion as a justification, it is the worst manner of doing so, because one is doing an act that contradicts what one says he believes,” the cardinal said.

It looks to me like he was being corrected by his staffers, or the Vatican, or someone, based on canon law, which is very clear on the subject:
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Here, the phrase "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin" is the operative phrase. If their sin is grave (supporting abortion) and manifest (publicly, for instance, in a debate or a vote in congress), and they are obstinate (won't change their mind after warning them), they can, and indeed should be denied communion. This doesn't even touch on the formal excommunication either, which I feel should happen as well.

Yet, I don't think the Eucharist should be used as a political pawn. These politicians shouldn't seek the sacrament because they are not in a state of grace. If it comes to it, they should be denied communion. They also should be formally excommunicated, so there is no question. This should fall to the local bishops, and the National conferences should instruct them to act.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Motu Proprio Imminent

The President of Ecclesia Dei has come out saying that the Motu Proprio regarding the Tridentine Rite of Mass will be issued sooner rather than later. (Article)

Although he did not offer a specific date for the announcement, Cardinal Castrillon said that a long-awaited papal document, a motu proprio encouraging greater use of the traditional Latin liturgy, will be released in the near future.

"The Holy Father wants to preserve the immense spiritual, cultural, and aesthetic treasures tied to the old liturgy," the cardinal said. He said that the Tridentine rite-- which, he emphasized, has never been abolished-- will be used alongside the post-conciliar liturgy.

The Traditionalist Catholics rejoice. I, however, am hoping for a document that everyone can dislike. Something that the traditionalists don't think went far enough, and something that might irk, just a little, the French Bishops (as an example).

The good money is on Pentecost.


Benedict XVI is no John Paul II

A journalist has stated that he is upset with BXVI, because he's not living up to JPII's legacy. (Article)
An Italian priest-journalist has criticized Pope Benedict XVI for imitating the style of his predecessor, but failing to achieve the same results, during his visit to Brazil last week.

"Wojtylism is useless without Wojtyla," wrote Father Filippo Di Giacomo in a column for the daily La Stampa. The former missionary said that attendance at the opening session of the CELAM meeting in Aparecida-- about 200,000, rather than the 1 million organizers had anticipated-- showed a failure to match the popularity of Pope John Paul II. (A congregation estimated at about 1 million had gathered in Sao Paulo earlier when the Pope presided at the canonization of Frei Galvao.)

Di Giacomo argued that Pope Benedict had engaged in disputes with the bishops of Latin America during his trip-- another reason, he said, that the papal journey had been a disappointment.

Just after the anniversary of his second year, he doesn't live up to a 26 year reigning Pope. Big surprise. Plus, he's not JPII, he's his own Pope (or something like that). I think he's doing a good job, being Pope isn't just about drawing the crowds.


UPDATE -- Prague Archbishop to get hearing

I reported earlier on a dispute between the Czech Government and the Archbishop of Prague. The courts have ruled that the battle in the courts can continue. (Article)

The cathedral, which was seized in 1954 by the Communist government of what was then Czechoslovakia, is located in a castle traditionally controlled by Czech kings, and now by the nation's government. For the past 15 years, since the fall of the Communist regime, the administrators of the Prague castle have been battling with the Catholic archdiocese for control of the building.

In April, a court order required the cathedral chapter of the Prague archdiocese to surrender control of the 14th-century building. Cardinal Vlk is challenging that ruling. The latest court ruling affirms that because the cathedral chapter serves the Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Vlk has legal standing to continue the court fight.

What does the government want with a cathedral, anyways? I can understand that all of the seized properties might not return to the Church, which is sad, but is life. Why, though, wouldn't the Cathedral church be returned, at least as an act of goodwill. Must be Europe.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Democrats Angry with the Pope

Big surprise, but Democrats in America are upset with the recent comments made by Pope Benedict about politicians who support abortion. (Article) (Another)
Eighteen Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have joined in criticizing Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) for his statement that pro-abortion politicians should not receive Communion.

During a conversation with reporters on May 9, as he was flying to Brazil, the Holy Father had said that he fully supported the decision of some Mexican bishops to bar politicians from receiving the Eucharist after the lawmakers voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City. The Mexican bishops, the Pope said, had "simply announced to the public what is stipulated by the law of the Church."

The Bishops of the United States have not had the backbone to say this, although this is really the policy of the Church. This is probably getting some of these abortion supporting "Catholic" politicians a little nervous. I think some of the more moderate Catholics would think twice about voting for a formally excommunicated politician, maybe I'm wrong.

But the Democratic legislators, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, charged that the Pope's stand (and by implication the laws of the Church) "offend the very nature of the American experiment."

A move to exclude pro-abortion legislators from receiving Communion would be "a great disservice to the centuries of good work the Church has done," the 18 Congressmen argued.

So, formally excommunicating those who, "by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common good in all its forms." (SC 83)

A great disservice? How about a great disservice to the Truth?
Advancing respect for life and for the dignity of every human being is, as our church has taught us, our own life’s mission. As we said in our Statement of Principles, ‘We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion – we do not celebrate its practice. Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term.’ That is precisely what some of us are doing with our initiative ‘The Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act’ – which includes policies that promote alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, improve access to children’s healthcare and child care, as well as encourage paternal and maternal responsibility.
Huh? I'm glad they at least mentioned adoption, but I don't understand why that's not the primary option considered. If they indeed "agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life..." they could never support abortion. And, what's all this about being committed to stopping unwanted pregnancies? Think they do that by telling people to not have sex? I'm sure not, I'm sure it's contraception.

You can read the whole statement, if you'd like, but I'm sure you'll be as disappointed as I am.


Los Angeles Strapped for Cash

Cardinal Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced that in order to setter the sexual abuse cases in his Diocese, a number of "nonessential Church properties", as well as the headquarters will have to be sold.

The cardinal promised that “no parishes or parish schools will be closed to fund these settlements, nor will their essential ministries be affected by the sales.” The properties under consideration are not being used by parishes. Still, Mahony said, the archdiocese would prefer to retain the properties it is considering to sell.”

In December, the archdiocese settled 46 clergy abuse civil cases for a total of $60 million, of which the archdiocese contributed $40 million, said Mahony in his statement. When the settlement was made he noted that “a settlement in those cases will require the active participation of the many insurance companies who provided liability insurance during those past years when the abuse occurred.” Attorneys, judges, and Church leaders are still negotiating these settlements.

I would never have guessed the Church was bleeding money so bad. I think it is always a shame when the Church either sells or loses property. I don't know a lot about this abuse scandal, but I wonder if it boils down to trying to profit off the Church. Looks like it is working.


Chinese to invite Pope for a visit

Catholic World News is reporting that Pope Benedict has been invited to take a trip to China. (Article)

The Adnkronos agency, citing sources at the Vatican, reports that the Pope has received an invitation from the organizers an art exhibition scheduled to take place in Beijing.

The Vatican has not offered any official comment on the report.

The prospects for a papal trip to China in the near future appear remote. Before considering a visit by the Pope, the Vatican would undoubtedly want to secure the fundamental rights of the Church in China.

During the past year, the Holy See and the Beijing regime have clashed repeatedly over the efforts of the government-backed Catholic Patriotic Association to assert control over the Catholic Church in China. In light of those disputes it seems highly unlikely that the government would approve an invitation to the Pope, or that the Pope would accept such an invitation.
When I first saw this article, I was very much in disbelief. The Pope going to China? After all that has recently happened? This must be some art exhibit, if it warrants a pastoral visit from the German Shepherd himself. China has lots of problems regarding religion and religious rights (not to mention human rights), and so therefore there's no way our Pope would be going there any time soon. That's not even bringing up the security issues. How could we be assured that the Chinese government wouldn't take him prisoner or something?


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Pope gives interview on plane

As the Pope is making his way to Brazil, he spent 25 minutes answering questions on the airplane with reporters, CNS reports.
In remarks about the recent legalization of abortion in Mexico, the pope appeared to support Mexican church leaders who held out the possibility of excommunication for Catholic legislators who voted for the legislation.

Asked whether he agreed with the excommunication penalty, the pope answered: "Yes, these excommunications were not something arbitrary, but are foreseen by the Code (of Canon Law). It is simply part of church law that the killing of an innocent baby is incompatible with being in communion with the body of Christ," he said.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the pope was not announcing a new policy on Catholic politicians. He also noted that the Mexican bishops had not announced the excommunication of anyone.

"And if the bishops haven't excommunicated anyone, it's not that the pope wants to do so," Father Lombardi said.

He said the pope was only reiterating the teaching that Catholic legislators who promote initiatives like the legalization of abortion exclude themselves from the conditions needed to participate fully in the Eucharist.
I recalled reading a while back when the Mexican Bishops' spokesman said "any baptized assembly members will automatically be excommunicated and therefore be excluded from the Catholic Church," and thinking "too bad it's not true". The canon law in question is generally interpreted to only include those who actually procure or commit abortion. The Pope seems to be opening the way to change that interpretation, or at the very least, he is supporting the Mexican Bishops.

Wouldn't it be fun to be able to be part of one of these press conferences?


STOQing up

The Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest (STOQ) recently has announced they will be publishing their first four volumes on the integrations of science and theology, Zenit reports.
"These publications overcome one of the most common and deeply rooted stereotypes about the Church in today's mentality, which says the Church has a lack of interest in science, and is even averse to science," the cardinal said.

Two of the volumes each had a single author: "Some Mathematical Physics for Philosophers," by Michael Heller, which offers a panoramic view of the mathematical methods used in physics; and "Life and Organisms," by Pietro Ramellini, a collection of historical-critical definitions of living organisms recorded in the last two centuries, since biology became a science.
I totally want to read these books, especially the physics one. This has long been an interest of mine. I bet these won't be available on the internet any time soon, though. No matter, I'm sure a library will have them, or something.

I read, recently, an article with a bit of a different take than most on the ordination of women. In most cases, the position is simply: "The Church has never ordained women, Christ didn't ordain women, and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis says the Church can't, so there" essentially.

Though these points are also mentioned in this article as well, the main focus is that this denies true femininity, forcing women into a masculine role.
Those who want to ordain women to the priesthood manifest a failure to recognize the dignity of women, said an expert in moral theology and women's issues.

At the conference, de Solenni used St. Thomas' arguments to analyze the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood in light of the natural complementarity between the sexes.
"Woman will never be the bridegroom, in any form. The temptation to force upon women a masculine paradigm arises from our confused notions of power and authority which, in turn, devalue her vocation as a bride, clearly illustrated by Mary," de Solenni said.

Ordaining a woman, she said, "would be, in essence, to show complete disregard for the reality she is as a woman, as a bride."
"No doubt," continued de Solenni, "women need a voice in the Church, but it must be an authentic voice and not their voice made to sound like a man's."

Women, she stated, have a unique role in the Church and in society and that role should not be forced into masculine paradigms. "To do so," she said, "runs the risk of losing what is truly feminine -- not the femininity of fashion, but the varied femininity of women saints, whose personalities and strengths span just as far as those of men saints … if not more."
I'm sure this article would anger many feminists, and those goofy ordain women groups, but it really is true. Women are not men, and so have a different role in the Church. Why not?

Europarliament: Religious Leaders Homophobic

If you look at my previous post, I predicted this next article, though I did see the article before writing the post, so don't hail me as a prophet.
Church officials criticized a European Parliament resolution that condemns "discriminatory comments" made by political and religious leaders against homosexuals.

The resolution, which passed 325-124, with 150 abstentions, condemns the "discriminatory comments formulated by politicians and religious leaders about homosexuals, as fermenting hatred and violence -- even if they were later withdrawn -- and it asks that the hierarchies of the respective organizations condemn them as well."

The European Parliament did refuse to include the proposal of three Italians to publicly condemn Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco for his statements against homosexuals, which were falsely interpreted by the press and then later clarified.

And, so now, even leaders of religious groups are no longer to say things that could be considered discriminatory. Next will be the resolution condemning all religious thought because it purports to be correct, and so discriminates against all other religions. I wonder what the Europarliament would say about the Catechism (2357):
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
Probably hate speech. Of course, they won't read the next paragraph.
They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.
But, this is the way Europe goes.


Poland and the EU square off

The Europarliament, recently, chastised Poland, for standing up for traditional values. (Article)

By a vote of 325- 124, the European Parliament adopted a statement calling upon Polish lawmakers to reject a proposal by education minister Roman Giertych, and authorized a fact-finding mission to travel to Poland to investigate evidence of "homophobia" in that country's government.

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski responded to the resolution by noting that the proposed government policy would not limit the rights of homosexuals, but only prohibit the introduction of homosexual propaganda into the schools. He observed that such propaganda "definitely does not serve young people well."

Admittedly, I don't really know what exactly constitutes "homosexual propaganda", but I think I can commend Poland on this one. To not teach that homosexual attraction is normal, right, or good is now apparently a violation of someone's rights. Next thing you know, the EU will be going after Christian Churches for these sorts of, so called, homophobic tendencies.

Global Warming

This article came out a bit over a week ago, but I've been meaning to talk about it. It is a bit off topic, but still valuable.
Scientists might not have human behavior to blame for global warming, according to the president of the World Federation of Scientists.

Antonio Zichichi, who is also a retired professor of advanced physics at the University of Bologna, made this assertion today in an address delivered to an international congress sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The conference, which ends today, is examining "Climate Change and Development."

Zichichi pointed out that human activity has less than a 10% impact on the environment.

He also cited that models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are incoherent and invalid from a scientific point of view. The U.N. commission was founded in 1988 to evaluate the risk of climate change brought on by humans.

Zichichi, who is also member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, showed that the mathematical models used by the IPCC do not correspond to the criteria of the scientific method.

He said that the IPCC used "the method of 'forcing' to arrive at their conclusions that human activity produces meteorological variations."
This is something I've been saying for a long time. This doesn't mean that we can now burn fuels and pollute to our heart's content, we are still the stewards of God's creation, but we don't necessarily need to worship at the altar of this polliticized aspect of global warming and human behavior.

My Apologies

I want to apologise to the regular reader of this blog for the relative neglect it has seen in the past week or so. I've been quite busy, though I still have a lot to write about.