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Monday, March 31, 2008

Islam (what else is there?)

A few articles and thoughts on each...

Reuters: Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

This article is kind of misleading. While Catholics have in the past made up the largest single Christian group in the world and the largest single group of any religion, this headline compares /all/ Muslims to just Catholics. I'd like to see the breakdown between Catholics versus Sunnis or Shi'ites or whatever. Comparing an entire religion to just us Catholics is nice for us Catholics, but the downbeat headline is not representative of a real, valid comparison.

Pakistan Christian Post: Saudi Arabia: No churches unless prophet Mohammed recognised, says expert (from Rorate Caeli)

Yeah, yeah, some expert toots his horn and spouts off his hard line rhetoric... Big deal.

Magister's latest essay on the general situation.

This essay by Magister is rather interesting in that he reveals his thoughts on the idea that the true focus of relations lately has shifted to the king of Saudi Arabia. An example:

This is to say: precisely while the accusations were erupting against Benedict XVI over Allam's baptism, the Saudi king not only ignored the accusations, but he expressed himself in diametrically opposite tones.

There's more. Check it all out.

Friday, March 28, 2008

CDW and CDF

Father Z quotes Andrea Tornielli who relates rumors that when Arinze goes, Amato, the secretary at CDF, will take over at CDW.

Tornielli:

The change of the guard foreseen at the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Vatican’s "liturgy ministry": Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze (who turned 75 last November) could soon leave his post, and in his post could arrive (and the conditional is important) the Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato, 70 next June, presently Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The later’s post would be freed up for Bishop Rino Fisichella, the well-regarded Rector of the Lateran University.

The post goes on to relate how this is odd given that the current secretary at CDW, Archbishop Ranjith, has been so prominent in promoting the current pontiff's initiatives. A commenter at Father Z notes that it is precisely because of this support that it's possible Ranjith will be passed over at Divine Worship in favor of Amato from Doctrine of the Faith.

Perhaps that's possible. It's noted as well that it's customary for the secretary at one dicastery, if he moves up, to not take over the same dicastery. Personally, I wouldn't hold to custom in this instance. Ranjith has proven himself time and again a true supporter of the pope's program and it just seems to be totally bizarre to appoint Amato to succeed Arinze.

It would be funny though. The secretariat has supposedly dominated curial affairs for years. With Sodano gone and if this rumor proves true, the secretariat, CDF and CDW would be all headed by Ratzinger/CDF alums.

Magdi Cristiano Allam

Magister has up an essay on the reception of Magdi Cristiano Allam into the Catholic Church this past Easter Vigil. He has up various letters written by Allam and from Islamic scholars and from the Vatican in reply to the event and in reply to the replies. It's a pretty comprehensive summary of all that's flying around out there.

One passage caught my eye that Magister wrote himself:

But nothing intimidates Benedict XVI. At the Easter vigil, on Saturday, March 22, the pope baptized at the basilica of Saint Peter, together with six other men and women from four continents, a convert from Islam, Magdi Allam, 56, an Egyptian by birth, a famous writer and journalist and the vice director of the leading Italian daily, "Corriere della Sera," and the author of important books, the latest one entitled "Viva Israele [Long Live Israel]."

Bolding is my own. What I think people are starting to realize when it comes to His Holiness is that he is not only old school, he is /old school/ in that he is not afraid because he believes. Sure, everyone assumes that the pope is probably going to believe in God and all that, but I think that Benedict is willing to seriously engage Islam and risk all the consequences precisely because he believes in two things.

In the end the Church will prevail.
Martyrdom is not only noble and holy, but it is also not obsolete.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leave it to the Daily Iowan

This at DailyIowan.com started off as a decent story about patterns and how these things play out. Then of course, it descended into blaming it on religiou... Bolding is mine.

People who commit these slayings usually suffer some sort of immense public embarrassment and often impose a choice, albeit an irrational one, on themselves, Black [a University of Iowa psych professor] said. Is my family better off dead or alive and left to suffer from public shame?

"It reflects a very distorted view of the future," said Michael O'Hara, a UI professor of psychology.

Though contradictory, Black said, many of these episodes can ultimately be tied to religion. Christian doctrine may explicitly forbid killing - and for Catholics, suicide as well - but such killers are frequently Christian white males.

According to these religious teachings, "they wouldn't get to heaven," Black said. "It's just part of the irrational person who sees his life as completely bleak and hopeless. So an afterlife may seem preferable."


Black said, however, that individuals such as Sueppel are more often white just because whites so heavily outnumber other ethnicities in Iowa.

Nice, huh. He forgot the part about it being a religion that is also about forgiveness. But then of course, that doesn't go along with the 'pattern'. :P In the last sentence, the professor adds that individuals are more likely to be white males because there just happens to be so many of them in Iowa. (Blogger's disclosure: I am a white male Catholic.) Couldn't the same conclusion be reached about this case since I would say that the majority of 'white males' may also be Christian?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A tragedy

As you all know, I live here in IC and the Sueppel case is dominating the news. I attend the same parish as the family, though I did not know them at all. Please pray for Sheryl Sueppel and her children: Eleanor, Seth, Ethan and Mira. Pray as well for the troubled soul of Steven Sueppel himself. Doctor Peters has a post regarding if Mr. Sueppel should be granted an ecclesiastical funeral. An excerpt:

One of the reasons we have rules is to help us guide our decision-making when circumstances make it difficult to think clearly. The horrific murder of the Sueppel family by their husband-father Steven, who then finally succeeded in killing himself, is nothing if not a difficult circumstance. My read, in any case, of 1983 CIC 1184.1.3, in light of the gruesome facts of this case, leads me to conclude that Steven Sueppel should be denied ecclesiastical funeral rites.

...
Requiescat in pace.

Best Potpourri of Popery

After taking a look thanks to a link at Father Z's blog, I saw that The Crescat is taking nominations for a variety of categories and I am gratified to see that this humble endeavor has been nominated in the 'Popery' category. It is always nice to be associated with the Romish cult in a positive way. ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Rebirth?

Read and digest this essay from Spengler.

As I wrote in 2005, "Now that everyone is talking about Europe's demographic death, it is time to point out that there exists a way out: convert European Muslims to Christianity." Today's Europeans stem from the melting-pot of the barbarian invasions that replaced the vanishing population of the Roman Empire. The genius of the Catholic Church was to absorb them. If Benedict XVI can convert this new wave of invaders from North Africa and the Middle East, history will place him on a par with his great namesake, the founder of the monastic order the bears his name.

Will anyone rise to the challenge?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let's repeat ourselves

Tuesday in Holy Week

From today's VIS email:

VATICAN CITY, 18 MAR 2008 (VIS) - As previously advised, the VIS bulletin will be suspended tomorrow Wednesday 19 March, Solemnity of St. Joseph and the Holy Father's name day, then from Thursday 20 March to Tuesday 25 March, the holy days of Easter and holidays in the Vatican. Service will resume on Wednesday 26 March.

Aren't holy days and holidays the same thing? Especially in a place like the Vatican? :P

Monday, March 17, 2008

Not Quite St. Patrick's Day

Monday during Holy Week
Saint Patrick's Day (though it was officially translated to the 15th)


You know anyone who's gotten drunk yet? It's fifteen minutes to ten in the morning here and I am logged in somewhere where a fine young gentleman from another time zone has already gotten a start and is quite drunk on 'Irish' brew... Of course, those who are more likely to go out and have a rip-roaring good time with their mates are also less likely to notice the fact that the sanctioning body that made Saint Patrick's Day what it is (the Holy Catholic Church!) moved it to March 15th this year...

In any case, I like to take a more sober approach to the day given it is the anniversary of my entry into the Catholic Church as well as this year falling during Holy Week.

I'm still considering what I want to do next Sunday for Easter. The Church commands us to receive Holy Communion at least once a year at Easter and I haven't since before my surgery last year. But swallowing even little particles is hard and I doubt they'd left me use a plastic straw if I brought one. I should email Father and ask what he thinks...

Here's a toast to all my Harrah and Henry kin.
Wear your green and say a prayer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

Or is it Passion Sunday?

All I know is that palms are given out, so it's Palm Sunday to me. :)

In any case, I went out to the communal penance service yesterday and was heard by a priest whom I did not recognize. He was friendly enough and offered a few words which I really didn't get before he moved on to to the absolution and that was that.

Then later in the day, I went to the Saturday evening Mass and sat in the balcony. Due to circumstances, I was just sitting up there reading along on my own and then we reached to Gospel. We all stood and again I was reading along, not exactly sure if they were doing the long form or the short form. Whatever. Then suddenly everyone knelt and I figured out where we were.