Articles Posted by marshmallow

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  • Irish Bishop Bows to Pressure, Shelves Plans for Permanent Diaconate

    09/17/2014 6:25:41 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 5 replies
    An Irish bishop has decided not to institute the permanent diaconate in his diocese, because of protests from supporters of women’s ordination. Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe had begun recruiting candidates for the diaconate, when opposition arose among some women in the diocese. Quickly reacting to the pressure, Bishop O’Reilly announced: “I will not now proceed with the introduction of the permanent diaconate at this time in the diocese.” Bishop backs down over plan for male-only lay ministers (Irish Independent)
  • Reigning and “Emeritus.” The Enigma of the Two Popes

    09/16/2014 7:50:17 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 6 replies
    Chiesa Online ^ | 9/15/14 | Sandro Magister
    It is an unprecedented innovation in the history of the Church. With many unknowns still unresolved, and with serious risks already in play. An analysis by Roberto de MatteiROME, September 15, 2014 – That the figure of “pope emeritus” is an unprecedented innovation in the history of the Church, “instituted” by Benedict XVI himself in his act of resignation, has been recognized by Pope Francis himself, during the press conference on the airplane that brought him back from Korea to Rome last August I8. This does not change the fact that from both the juridical and the doctrinal point of...
  • Russian Orthodox Church Cancels Lutheran Dialogue Over Gay Rights

    09/15/2014 7:04:25 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 24 replies
    Pravmir ^ | 9/12/14
    The Russian Orthodox Church has cancelled an official doctrinal dialogue with the Finnish Lutheran Church over the Lutheran stance on homosexuality. The Orthodox side wanted to pre-approve a communique before the meeting, but talks broke down over the Finns’ refusal to condemn homosexuality.Finnish and Russian attitudes to gay rights are poles apart, and that’s helping to derail doctrinal dialogues between the two countries’ largest religions. Archbishop Kari Mäkinen says that he was forced to cancel planned ecumenical dialogues when he met the Russia Patriarch Kiril in Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church wanted to agree a statement in advance, as the...
  • What Does Opposition to the Traditional Mass Really Signify?

    09/14/2014 9:31:31 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 24 replies
    The New Liturgical Movement ^ | 9/24/14 | Peter Kwasniewski
    In the post-Summorum world, the ancient Roman Rite can no longer be considered forbidden, dubious, marginal, or obsolete. It enjoys equal rights of citizenship with the Novus Ordo: two forms of the Roman Rite—one called Ordinary because most recently promulgated and more widely used, the other called Extraordinary, the usus antiquior, deserving respect for its venerable use—with each able to be freely celebrated by any priest of the Roman Rite, no special permission needed. One would think that, as a gesture of reconciliation at the heart of the Church, the two forms would be flourishing side by side, with Catholics...
  • Bishop to Travel to White House, Ask for Visas for Persecuted Iraqi Catholics

    09/12/2014 6:22:11 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 15 replies
    Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo, the head of a Chaldean Catholic eparchy based in San Diego, will travel to the White House with a list of 25,000 Iraqi Catholics who seek entry into the United States. “Requests have been made to White House for an increase in the number of visas issued, to be granted to those who wish and desire to leave Iraq,” reported a California-based Chaldean news site. “In response to a request from the White House, St. Peter's Diocese has been compiling a list of names for our brothers and sisters in Iraq that want to escape persecution.”...
  • The Rev Ian Paisley Dies Aged 88

    09/12/2014 6:15:51 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 91 replies
    The Catholic Herald (UK) ^ | 9/12/14 | Staff Reporter
    The Rev Ian Paisley, Protestant firebrand and former leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, has died at the age of 88. The Rev Paisley served as First Minister of Northern Ireland for a year when power was first devolved in 2007. His deputy, Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin, expressed sadness at the news of his death. “Over a number of decades we were political opponents and held very different views on many, many issues but the one thing we were absolutely united on was the principle that our people were better able to govern themselves than any British government,” he...
  • John Paul II Institute Scholars Notably Absent from Synod

    09/11/2014 4:05:57 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 1 replies
    The National Catholic Register ^ | 9/10/14 | Edward Pentin
    The Vatican yesterday published the names of participants for the upcoming Synod on the Family, but strangely absent from the list are experts from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, despite the organisation having a faculty in Rome. Professors from the Institute have been some of the most vocal in criticising the possibility of changing pastoral practice regarding Holy Communion for divorced and “remarried” Catholics. Family life will be the focus of the extraordinary general assembly of the Synod of Bishops that will meet at the Vatican between 5-19 October 2014. The 150...
  • The Old Debate on Divorce and Communion Has a New Wildcard: Francis

    09/10/2014 6:06:41 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 2 replies
    Crux ^ | 9/10/14 | John L. Allen Jr
    As summer turns to autumn, the most compelling storyline in Rome is a highly anticipated summit of Catholic bishops from around the world, which shapes up as a key test of how much the status quo in the Church has been upended by a charismatic pope from a foreign land who’s taken the world by storm. Called a “Synod of Bishops”, the meeting seems destined to grapple with the contentious issue of the Church’s ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion. Although the Vatican’s German doctrinal czar warns no change is possible, his admonition does little to stifle the...
  • More Homosexual Groups Seek Entry in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade

    09/10/2014 6:40:00 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 31 replies
    Homosexual activists in New York are pressing organizers of the St. Patrick's Day parade to include more gay-rights groups in the march. Following up on last week's announcement that Out@NBCUniversal would be allowed to enter the 2015 parade, a group called Irish Queers announced on September 9 that it was applying for a place in the parade. "We want to march up Fifth Avenue as an Irish diaspora that has finally joined Ireland in rejecting religion-fueled bigotry," said a spokesman.
  • ISIS Has 100,000 Fighters, Including Western, Russian Citizens - Expert

    09/10/2014 6:23:39 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 17 replies
    Interfax ^ | 9/10/14
    Moscow, September 10, Interfax - ISIS militants control about 40% of Iraq and 30% of Syria and affiliated structures are seizing lands from Somalia and Sudan to Nigeria and inner districts of Sahara, Institute for Middle East Studies President Yevgeny Satanovsky said. "ISIS is not just a radicalized organization, it is also rich. It controls oil fields and gains $2 million daily from oil contraband. It makes tens of millions of dollars in abducting foreigners for ransom. It robs banks and plants on seized territories; it is also involved in trafficking in human beings and sells women whose husbands have...
  • Obama Administration Moves Forward in Challenging Little Sisters

    09/09/2014 7:25:42 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 13 replies
    Catholic News Agency ^ | 9/9/14 | Adelaide Mena
    The Obama Administration has announced that it will continue its legal fight against the Little Sisters of the Poor over the contraception mandate, which religious liberty advocates say is still unconscionable. “Merely offering the Little Sisters a different way to violate their religion does not ease their conscience,” said Adele Keim, counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the Little Sisters of the Poor in court. “Religious ministries in these cases serve tens of thousands of Americans, helping the poor and homeless and healing the sick. The Little Sisters of the Poor alone serve more than...
  • Lebanese Christians Arm Themselves Against Possible Islamic State Invasion

    09/08/2014 6:32:35 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 7 replies
    (JNS.org) Christian militias have started to arm themselves for the first time in decades as Lebanese military leaders urge unity in the face of the jihadist threat. “ISIS is a cancerous tumor that surfaced at first in parts of Iraq and Syria and it’s still contained to a certain point and this can be removed only if we join our efforts via an international Arab alliance,” Lebanese Forces commander Samir Geagea said Sept. 6, the Daily Star reported. In the face of the threat posed by Islamic State, Christians from groups such as the Free Patriotic Movement political party are...
  • A Tale of Two Churches

    09/08/2014 6:58:49 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 41 replies
    Catholic New World ^ | 9/7/14 | Francis Cardinal George
    Once upon a time there was a church founded on God’s entering into human history in order to give humanity a path to eternal life and happiness with him. The Savior that God sent, his only-begotten Son, did not write a book but founded a community, a church, upon the witness and ministry of twelve apostles. He sent this church the gift of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love between Father and Son, the Spirit of the truth that God had revealed about himself and humanity by breaking into the history of human sinfulness. This church, a hierarchical communion,...
  • Left Behind’ Coming to a Theater — and Maybe a Seminary — Near You

    09/08/2014 6:30:09 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 41 replies
    Associated Baptist Press ^ | 9/4/14 | Bob Allen
    The end is near, both in movie theaters and Southern Baptist seminary classrooms.With Nicholas Cage starring in the rapture-themed thriller Left Behind coming out in theaters Oct. 3, two Southern Baptist Convention seminaries recently announced endowed professorships with an emphasis including Bible prophecy. Both Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, announced large gifts to endow the Jesse Hendley Chair of Biblical Theology. The professorships are named after an evangelist and student of New Testament Greek best known as host of the “The Radio Evangelistic Hour,” which began in 1931...
  • Notre Dame Retreats, Will Provide Contraceptive Coverage in Student Health Programs

    09/07/2014 10:25:49 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 28 replies
    The University of Notre Dame will provide for contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in its student health-care program, the National Catholic Register reports. Notre Dame had joined other Catholic institutions in filing suit against the contraceptive mandate in the federal health-care program. In that lawsuit, Notre Dame said that the mandate would "require Notre Dame to commit scandal." But after preliminary court rulings against the university-- which Notre Dame is now appealing-- the university administration has chosen to cover contraceptive costs.
  • Reinterment of King Richard III Services Announced

    09/07/2014 10:09:17 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 15 replies
    ITV ^ | 9/7/14
    The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury will both be taking part in services in Leicester Cathedral to mark the reinterment of King Richard III, it has been announced. This means the most senior clergy of both the Church of England and the Catholic Church in the country will be present as the former monarch is laid to rest during a week of events from 22nd - 28th March next year. Since the discovery of the body of Richard III in 2012, the Anglican Diocese of Leicester and the Catholic Diocese of Nottingham have worked closely to...
  • Thank Goodness Fulton Sheen’s Cause Has Been Suspended

    09/07/2014 10:05:25 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 4 replies
    Crisis Magazine ^ | 9/5/14 | Donald S. Prudlo
    Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was one of the most dynamic preachers of the Catholic Faith in the twentieth century. Anyone familiar with his work in media knows the power of his influence and example. He was clearly one of the most notable products of the American Catholic revival that began in the 1920s, and the strength of his witness continues to impress today. His books remain eminently approachable, an astonishing achievement for one so gifted academically. Shining through his telegenic smile, one could sense the depth of his faith and his holiness. The cause of Sheen’s canonization proceeded on its...
  • Boston Globe's New Site Hopes to Show that 'Catholic Church Matters'

    09/07/2014 6:35:44 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 21 replies
    Boston, Mass., Sep 5, 2014 / 04:17 pm (CNA).- A new website launched by the Boston Globe seeks to have a wide appeal in covering “all things Catholic,” focusing on reporting about the Church rather than evangelizing or aiming solely at a Catholic readership. “Those of us who are Catholic have our own reasons for consuming Church news,” said John L. Allen Jr., Vatican analyst and associate editor of the new project, “but you don't have to be Catholic, or even religious, to recognize that with 1.2 billion followers all around the world, with a rich tradition of social teaching...
  • Nigeria: Boko Haram Attacks Seminary, Convent

    09/05/2014 6:11:46 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 7 replies
    The Islamist militant organization Boko Haram has attacked a seminary and convent in the Diocese of Maiduguri, according to the president of the Nigerian bishops’ conference. In an interview with the Zenit news agency, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama expressed concern that “religious terrorism will continue to spread not only beyond Nigeria to other parts of Africa, but indeed it will engulf the international community.” Archbishop Kaigama Calls on International Community to Tackle Terrorism at Its Roots (Zenit)
  • Salafist Muslim Group Forms 'Sharia Police' Patrol in Germany

    09/05/2014 6:04:43 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 12 replies
    NBC News ^ | 9/5/14 | Andy Eckardt
    MAINZ, Germany - Small groups of hardline Salafist Muslims have been patrolling the streets of a German city hoping to "influence and recruit young people," police said. The groups were seen in the western city of Wuppertal wearing bright orange reflective vests with "Shariah Police" on the back. "This was seen as a violation against Germany’s public assembly law and charges were filed,” police spokesman Andre Schwanicke told NBC News. Officials say they have increased the police presence in the city. Meanwhile, a YouTube propaganda video from the German Salafist scene was posted online showing a poster with the English...
  • Christianity No Longer a Religion, Says Turkish Minister

    09/04/2014 7:38:59 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 22 replies
    Hurriyet Daily News ^ | 9/414 | Doğan News Agency
    Christianity has ceased to be a religion but has become a culture of its own, Turkish Environment and Urbanism Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar said at a recent conference hosted by the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) Women's Group. "The biggest three countries in the world are not Muslim countries. China, India – only the U.S. believes in a single God. Spirituality and religious feelings are weakening," Bayraktar said.
  • Analyst: Vatican Regards Islamic State as Waging a 'War of Religion'

    09/04/2014 7:23:19 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 18 replies
    Vatican City, Sep 4, 2014 / 04:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- According to prominent Vatican analyst Sandro Magister, the Holy See views the aggression of the Islamic State as a religious war, and believes that international action taken so far is inadequate. In a Sept. 4 post on his Settimo Cielo blog at l'Espresso, Magister made note of an editorial which appeared in the most recent issue of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Jesuits' Italian-language cultural review. “Obviously, to promote peace it is necessary to know what the war truly is, and not what one would like it to be. It is...
  • Organic Food Company Suffers Boycott Because it Opposes HHS Mandate

    09/04/2014 9:52:37 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 6 replies
    Increasing numbers of food cooperatives around the country are refusing to carry products sold by Eden Foods, a leading organic food company. Eden’s CEO, Michael Potter, is a Catholic, and the company filed a lawsuit in 2013 in opposition to the HHS mandate. Two Months On From Hobby Lobby Ruling, Grocery Co-ops Dump Eden Foods Products From Shelves (Forbes)
  • China’s Modern Martyrs: From Mao to Now (Part 4)

    09/04/2014 9:41:52 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 2 replies
    Catholic World Report ^ | 9/3/14 | Anthony E. Clark, Ph.D.
    The blood of martyrs has proven to be the seed of the Church in China, as vibrant communities thrive despite government interference and restrictionsPart 4, Resurrection “We should be glad and rejoice. As the Shanghai Catholic youths said: ‘We are greatly honored to have been born and lived at this important time.’” — Cardinal Kung Pin-mei, Sermon for Catholics in China (Rome, June 30, 1991) When I published my book, China’s Saints, in 2011, I thought that only a few interested scholars would read it. I wrote it, after all, as an academic study, a work for curmudgeonly professors like...
  • Gay Groups in St. Patrick’s Parade All Right with N.Y. Cardinal Dolan

    09/03/2014 7:19:09 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 13 replies
    Religion News Service ^ | 9/3/14 | David Gibson
    NEW YORK (RNS) After years of strong resistance, organizers of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Wednesday (Sept. 3) said that gays and lesbians will be allowed to march under their own banner for the first time, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan — the parade’s grand marshal next March — has welcomed the move. The decision is another sign of how quickly changing public attitudes toward gay people have pushed changes in state laws, government policies and the practices of private entities. Dolan’s positive response may also point to a shifting dynamic within the Catholic Church on gays and lesbians...
  • What’s Hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives?

    09/03/2014 12:27:27 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 46 replies
    Crux ^ | 9/2/14 | Michael O'Loughlin
    Some believe it houses evidence of extraterrestrial life. Others, ancient texts that disprove the existence of Jesus. Perhaps dark truths that would discredit and destroy the Church? A mistranslated Latin word may be responsible for the conspiracy theories about the Vatican Secret Archives. In fact, the actual contents can stand on their own without delving into the absurd. The archives, or Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum, contains historical records chronicling intriguing historical events. Its contents, once plundered by Napoleon and moved to Paris, span 12 centuries. * There’s the document that began the Protestant reformations: Pope Leo X’s 1521 decree excommunicating...
  • Prince Charles Supports Iraqi Christians Facing ‘Diabolic Evil’

    09/03/2014 9:51:37 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 33 replies
    The Prince of Wales has made a donation to Iraqi Christians who he said are suffering from “diabolic evil” under ISIS. In a letter to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako, Prince Charles wrote that he was making his donation, described as a “very small token”, via the charity Aid to the Church in Need. “You can have no idea how heartbroken I am to hear of the truly unbearable and barbaric persecution suffered not only by Christians in Iraq but also by some of their neighbours of other faiths,” he said. “I wanted you to know above all that my heart...
  • An Appointment that Francis Should Withdraw

    09/02/2014 7:29:54 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 2 replies
    Catholic Culture ^ | 8/28/14 | Dr. Jeff Mirus
    At his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis lamented divisions in Catholic parishes, so often caused by gossip and other sins of the tongue. He also explained that the unity of the Church has its origins in the unity and communion of the Trinity itself. But last December he appointed Bishop Nunzio Galantino as General Secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference. Which of these things is not like the others? I’m sure there are plenty of divisions in the Church caused by the kind of pettiness and vanity that create cliques and express themselves in endless gossip. But in my experience over...
  • Pope Benedict Meets with Juventutem and Populus Summorum Pontificum Leaders

    09/02/2014 7:20:10 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 1 replies
    The New Liturgical Movement ^ | 9/2/14 | Jennifer Donelson
    According to Zenit News, MessainLatino.it, and Vatican Insider, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI surprised Cosimo Marti, the treasurer of the International Juventutem Federation, with an invitation to visit him yesterday. Marti had asked some time back to meet with His Holiness, but had thought that the request was forgotten, only to be surprised by a letter from Bishop Gänswein inviting him to visit. On the visit, he was accompanied by Joseph Capoccia, one of the co-founders of "Populus Summorum Pontificum.""Populus Summorum Pontificum" is the annual pilgrimage of people devoted to the extraordinary form of the Mass, now in its third year,...
  • Görmez [Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate] Blames Vatican for Inaction Over Attacks on Islam

    09/02/2014 7:11:28 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 5 replies
    Mehmet Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, has said that the prevalence of attacks targeting mosques and Muslim communities has been increasing year by year, and he criticized the Vatican and other religious foundations for remaining ineffective in preventing such attacks against Muslims. Speaking during an event on Tuesday organized by the Religious Affairs Directorate, which was recently placed under the authority of the prime minister, Görmez said there were 22 attacks on mosques in Germany from 2001 to 2012. Between 2001 and 2013, this number increased to 36, and it has gone up to 70 when this year...
  • Cardinal Mueller: Many Women Religious Upset With LCWR

    09/02/2014 2:32:45 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 7 replies
    CDF Prefect Reveals International Theological Commission Will Have More Women MembersIn an interview published in the latest edition of a monthly supplement on women for the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller has stressed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious do not represent all US nuns, “but just a group of nuns who form part of an association." The cardinal is currently in talks with the LCWR due to concerns over its positions on Church teaching. The LCWR is a canonically approved membership organization which serves to support women religious in the United States. “We have received many distressed...
  • Müller: More Women to Join the International Theological Commission

    09/02/2014 4:07:29 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 3 replies
    La Stampa-Vatican Insider ^ | Andrea Tornielli
    The Vatican newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano’s” monthly women’s insert interviews the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “We are not misogynists!” he says, revealing that the number of women in the Congregation will go from two to five or six, at the Pope’s requestThe latest issue of the women’s insert published monthly by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reveals the identity of the Pope’s next nomination; more women are going to be joining the international theological Congregation: the number will be rising from two to “five or six”. This is according to the Prefect of the Congregation for...
  • Bartholomew I Announces June Environmental Summit

    09/02/2014 4:03:09 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 6 replies
    (Vatican Radio) In a letter to the Orthodox world marking the Ecclesiastical New Year, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I has announced an Environmental Summit next June on the theme of “Theology, Ecology, and the Word: a conversation on environment, literature and the arts.”He says the aim of this conference is to “awaken the global conscience to the particular and specific importance of the ethical and spiritual dimension of the ecological crisis – with special reference to the arts and literature – in order that it may be returned to its “original beauty,” which is the natural, hole and sacred...
  • Pope Francis Sends Letter to Residents of Beslan Who Mark 10 Years Since School Massacre

    09/01/2014 4:20:21 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 20 replies
    RIA Novosti ^ | 9/1/14
    ROME, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Pope Francis has written a letter to the residents of the town of Beslan in North Ossetia who are marking ten years since the Beslan school massacre, Italian media reported Monday. Abbot Paolo De Carli, who sheltered 60 Beslan residents for two months at his monastery in the Trentino province in Italy in 2004, will take Pope Francis’s letter, the contents of which are not disclosed, to North Ossetia, the press service of the Honorary Consulate of the Russian Federation in Bolzano told RIA Novosti. Paolo De Carli will also take part in the...
  • [Former UK Attorney General] Dominic Grieve: 'British Christians Forced to Hide Belief’

    09/01/2014 5:54:07 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 12 replies
    The Daily Telegraph (UK) ^ | 8/23/14 | Steven Swinford
    Interview: the former attorney general says he fears that 'aggressive' secularism is pushing the Christian 'faith out of the public space' Britain is at risk of being “sanitised” of faith because an “aggressive form of secularism” in workplaces and public bodies is forcing Christians to hide their beliefs, a former attorney general has warned. Dominic Grieve said he found it “quite extraordinary” that people were being sacked or disciplined for expressing their beliefs at work. He described Christianity as a “powerful force for good” in modern Britain and warned that Christians should not be “intimidated” and “excluded” for their beliefs....
  • Catholic Archbishop in Cuba Criticizes Government

    09/01/2014 5:43:37 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 2 replies
    The Miami Herald ^ | 8/29/14 | Nora Gamez Torres
    In an unusual gesture for a member high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy in Cuba, the Apostolic nuncio Bruno Musaro spoke openly about Cuba’s “extreme poverty and human and civil degradation.” Musaro made his controversial remarks while on vacation in Italy after holding a Mass in the San Pio de Pietrelcina park, in the Italian municipality of Vignacastrisi. The Cuban people are “victims of a socialist dictatorship that has kept them subjugated for the past 56 years,” Musaro said, according to the Italian newspaper, Lecce News24. “I’m thankful to the pope for inviting me to this island, and I hope...
  • Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months

    08/30/2014 7:38:09 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 6 replies
    NPR ^ | 8/27/14 | Pter Kenyon
    Friar Gabriel Tooma leads a service at the Chaldean Church of the Virgin Mary of the Harvest, in Al-Qosh on June 15. At the time, the Christian village in northern Iraq was taking in those fleeing violence in the nearby city of Mosul. Now the village itself is largely deserted. The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qosh was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June. The Assyrian Christian villagers had opened their schools and homes to Iraqis fleeing the takeover of nearby Mosul by Islamist fighters calling themselves the Islamic State. But these days,...
  • Chronicling the “Last Ebbing Twilight of Byzantium”

    08/30/2014 7:31:59 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 27 replies
    Catholic World Report ^ | 8/28/14 | Dorothy Cummings McLean
    William Dalrymple’s 1997 travelogue "From the Holy Mountain" is an excellent place to start for Westerners seeking to understand the devastating decline of Christianity in the Middle East. The historian William Dalrymple is Britain’s most famous living travel writer. He is also a member of the Dalrymple clan, a celebrated Scottish family of three principal branches. William’s branch became Roman Catholic in the 19th century, and in the 20th both his Uncle John (“Old Jock”) and his brother John (“Young Jock”) were ordained Roman Catholic priests. Today “Young” Father Jock Dalrymple is the pastor of a parish church in Edinburgh....
  • Middle Eastern Patriarch Calls for Eradication of the Islamic State

    08/29/2014 6:36:05 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 27 replies
    The Catholic Herald (UK) ^ | 8/29/14 | Doreen Abi Raad
    Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of the Middle East have denounced attacks on Christians and called upon the international community to work toward eradicating terrorist groups. The patriarchs met on Wednesday at the Maronite Catholic patriarchate at Bkerke, north of Beirut, for a special summit to address the crisis in the region. They were later joined by the United Nations’ special coordinator in Lebanon and the ambassadors of the five permanent member-countries of the UN Security Council. “The very existence of Christians is at stake in several Arab countries – notably in Iraq, Syria and Egypt – where they have been...
  • Pope Removes Key Benedict XVI Protege

    08/29/2014 6:28:16 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 5 replies
    AP ^ | 8/28/14
    VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Pope Francis has removed a key protege of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI from the Vatican's liturgy office and sent him back to his native Spain. In 2008, Benedict appointed Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera as prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. The office is in charge of regulating how Masses and other sacraments are celebrated, and under Benedict's papacy took on a more conservative and traditional bent.
  • Italian Bishops' Leader Says Church Should Welcome 'Unconventional Couples' to Sacraments

    08/28/2014 8:18:21 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 31 replies
    The secretary-general of the Italian bishops’ conference has said that the Church must make efforts to welcome “unconventional couples.” "Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice," said Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, who was appointed secretary-general of the Italian episcopal conference by Pope Francis. According to Italy’s ANSA news service, Bishop Galantino went on to say that when couples in irregular marital situations are excluded from the sacraments, it “is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination.”
  • Franciscan Leader: ‘the Middle East is in Flames’

    08/28/2014 8:13:39 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 12 replies
    The priest who serves as Franciscan superior in the Holy Land and several Middle Eastern nations told an Italian audience that the Arab Spring has brought radical change to the region. “The Middle East that we have known since the [1900s], one which was born from the ruins of the old Ottoman Empire, from the end of various colonialisms and the birth of nation states, is ended,” said Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “Now begins a new period, the direction of which, however, we are not yet able to comprehend.” “The main concern at this moment lies in the fear of the...
  • Joined by Church Leaders, Sensenbrenner Becomes Catholic

    08/27/2014 6:54:47 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 38 replies
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ^ | 8/27/14 | Annysa Johnson
    Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls) converted to Catholicism in a quiet ceremony at Milwaukee's St. Francis de Sales Seminary on Monday — a private affair reportedly attended by at least two Wisconsin bishops and Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Sensenbrenner's office confirmed the conversion in an e-mail. But it turned down an interview request, saying the congressman "sees this as a private matter." The ceremony was first noted by Mark Silk, professor and director of the Greenberg Center for the study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Connecticutt, on his blog, Spiritual Politics. In addition...
  • Is James Foley a Martyr? A Brutal Death Sparks a Faith-Based Debate

    08/27/2014 11:27:18 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 65 replies
    Religion News Service ^ | 8/26/14 | David Gibson
    From the moment news broke that U.S. journalist James Foley had been beheaded by Islamic State extremists in the Middle East, many Christians, especially Foley’s fellow Catholics, began calling him a martyr, with some even saying he should be considered a saint. Yet that characterization has left others uneasy, and the discussion is raising larger questions about what constitutes martyrdom. Foley’s parents seemed to validate the martyrdom label when his father, John, spoke at an emotional news conference outside the family’s New Hampshire home and said he and his wife “believe he was a martyr.” Foley’s mother, Diane, added that...
  • King of Bahrain Offers to Help 200 Christian Families from Mosul

    08/27/2014 11:21:39 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 19 replies
    The King of Bahrain, Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, has said he is willing to help 200 Christian families forced from the homes in Mosul, according to a senior Church official in the region. Bishop Camillo Ballin, Vicar Apostolic of Northern Arabia (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) said in a recent interview with Vatican Radio that the monarch was not only willing to assist the families but also receive them in Bahrain. “This shows his generosity towards Christians,” the Bahrain-based bishop said. The monarch visited Pope Francis earlier this year, during which he presented plans for a new Marian...
  • Vatican Official, Syrian Prelate Call for International Force to Block Islamic State

    08/26/2014 8:44:54 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 7 replies
    The Vatican’s chief representative at UN headquarters in Geneva has repeated the call of Pope Francis for international leaders to stop the persecution of Christians and Yezidis in Iraq, “though the mechanisms of the United Nations.” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told Vatican Radio that the Holy See has two objectives for its diplomatic efforts regarding the situation in Iraq: to seek international help to stop the violence against Christiand and Yezidis, and to provide international security for refugees returning to their native villages. Questioned about Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria, the archbishop said that the international community should “support the Nigerian...
  • A Refreshed Benedict XVI Captivates Students with Homily

    08/26/2014 8:40:57 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 11 replies
    Catholic News Agency ^ | 8/26/14 | Elise Harris
    Vatican City, Aug 26, 2014 / 12:31 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Participants in the annual Ratzinger “schulerkreis” study group were overjoyed at seeing the retired pontiff in good health, noting that they were deeply moved by his homily on the triumph of God's love. “The homily was very moving. It was the Gospel of the day about Cesarea of Philippi where Jesus asks the apostles, 'Who do you say I am?'” Father Vincent Twomey recalled to CNA Aug. 25. “Peter answered 'you are Christ, son of the living God,'” to which Jesus responds: “you are Peter and on this rock I...
  • In Ethiopia, an Adrenaline-Filled Act of Faith

    08/25/2014 7:44:10 PM PDT · by marshmallow · 5 replies
    BBC ^ | 8/22/14 | Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll
    Ethiopia’s little-known churchesWith their sheer cliffs, surreal rock formations and vertical spires, northern Ethiopia’s Gheralta Mountains recall stretches of the southwestern United States’ red desert landscape. The primary difference: perched high and tucked away into these mountain cliffs are some of the country’s least visited rock-hewn Ethiopian Orthodox cave churches, some of which are more than 1,000 years old. The Gheralta cluster, located in Tigray Province, includes more than 30 structures. Although local legend claims that these churches date to between the 4th and 6th Centuries, historians believe that they were more likely built from the 9th to 12th Centuries....
  • USCCB Committee Reaffirms Commitment to Dialogue with Muslims

    08/25/2014 10:07:04 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 9 replies
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has strongly reaffirmed its commitment to engage in dialogue with Muslims. After citing texts from the Second Vatican Council and St. John Paul II on dialogue with Muslims, the committee stated that “sadly, in recent years, there has been a deliberate rejection of this call to engage in dialogue with our Muslim brothers and sisters by some in the Catholic Church and in other ecclesial families.” The committee continued: We understand the confusion and deep emotions stirred by real and apparent acts of aggression and discrimination by...
  • Barbarians at The Gate

    08/24/2014 9:28:10 AM PDT · by marshmallow · 15 replies
    Our Sunday Visitor ^ | 8/20/14 | Greg Erlandson
    ISIS leader’s terror in Iraq, threat to ‘march on Rome’ is forcing Western leaders to take actionIt may sound perverse, but perhaps we owe a small note of thanks to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Like a bullet whistling overhead, the ruthless rise of ISIS under al-Baghdadi has had the effect of concentrating the fretful and forgetful minds of Western leaders. Despite the various terrors inflicted by al-Qaida, the Taliban and other radical Muslim groups over the years, and despite the spreading regional war between Islam’s Sunni and Shia factions, America...