It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Thursday, November 30, 2006

VICTORY! A Catholic-Orthodox Joint Declaration


Common Declaration by Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I

“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
(Ps 117:24)

This fraternal encounter which brings us together, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, is God’s work, and in a certain sense his gift. We give thanks to the Author of all that is good, who allows us once again, in prayer and in dialogue, to express the joy we feel as brothers and to renew our commitment to move towards full communion. This commitment comes from the Lord’s will and from our responsibility as Pastors in the Church of Christ. May our meeting be a sign and an encouragement to us to share the same sentiments and the same attitudes of fraternity, cooperation and communion in charity and truth. The Holy Spirit will help us to prepare the great day of the re-establishment of full unity, whenever and however God wills it. Then we shall truly be able to rejoice and be glad.

1. We have recalled with thankfulness the meetings of our venerable predecessors, blessed by the Lord, who showed the world the urgent need for unity and traced sure paths for attaining it, through dialogue, prayer and the daily life of the Church. Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I went as pilgrims to Jerusalem, to the very place where Jesus Christ died and rose again for the salvation of the world, and they also met again, here in the Phanar and in Rome. They left us a common declaration which retains all its value; it emphasizes that true dialogue in charity must sustain and inspire all relations between individuals and between Churches, that it “must be rooted in a total fidelity to the one Lord Jesus Christ and in mutual respect for their own traditions” (Tomos Agapis, 195). Nor have we forgotten the reciprocal visits of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Dimitrios I. It was during the visit of Pope John Paul II, his first ecumenical visit, that the creation of the Mixed Commission for theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church was announced. This has brought together our Churches in the declared aim of re-establishing full communion.

As far as relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople are concerned, we cannot fail to recall the solemn ecclesial act effacing the memory of the ancient anathemas which for centuries had a negative effect on our Churches. We have not yet drawn from this act all the positive consequences which can flow from it in our progress towards full unity, to which the mixed Commission is called to make an important contribution. We exhort our faithful to take an active part in this process, through prayer and through significant gestures.

2. At the time of the plenary session of the mixed Commission for theological dialogue, which was recently held in Belgrade through the generous hospitality of the Serbian Orthodox Church, we expressed our profound joy at the resumption of the theological dialogue. This had been interrupted for several years because of various difficulties, but now the Commission was able to work afresh in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. In treating the topic “Conciliarity and Authority in the Church” at local, regional and universal levels, the Commission undertook a phase of study on the ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the sacramental nature of the Church. This will permit us to address some of the principal questions that are still unresolved. We are committed to offer unceasing support, as in the past, to the work entrusted to this Commission and we accompany its members with our prayers.

3. As Pastors, we have first of all reflected on the mission to proclaim the Gospel in today’s world. This mission, “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), is today more timely and necessary than ever, even in traditionally Christian countries. Moreover, we cannot ignore the increase of secularization, relativism, even nihilism, especially in the Western world. All this calls for a renewed and powerful proclamation of the Gospel, adapted to the cultures of our time. Our traditions represent for us a patrimony which must be continually shared, proposed, and interpreted anew. This is why we must strengthen our cooperation and our common witness before the world.

4. We have viewed positively the process that has led to the formation of the European Union. Those engaged in this great project should not fail to take into consideration all aspects affecting the inalienable rights of the human person, especially religious freedom, a witness and guarantor of respect for all other freedoms. In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion. In Europe, while remaining open to other religions and to their cultural contributions, we must unite our efforts to preserve Christian roots, traditions and values, to ensure respect for history, and thus to contribute to the European culture of the future and to the quality of human relations at every level. In this context, how could we not evoke the very ancient witnesses and the illustrious Christian heritage of the land in which our meeting is taking place, beginning with what the Acts of the Apostles tells us concerning the figure of Saint Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles? In this land, the Gospel message and the ancient cultural tradition met. This link, which has contributed so much to the Christian heritage that we share, remains timely and will bear more fruit in the future for evangelization and for our unity.

5. Our concern extends to those parts of today’s world where Christians live and to the difficulties they have to face, particularly poverty, wars and terrorism, but equally to various forms of exploitation of the poor, of migrants, women and children. We are called to work together to promote respect for the rights of every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, and to foster economic, social and cultural development. Our theological and ethical traditions can offer a solid basis for a united approach in preaching and action. Above all, we wish to affirm that killing innocent people in God’s name is an offence against him and against human dignity. We must all commit ourselves to the renewed service of humanity and the defense of human life, every human life.

We take profoundly to heart the cause of peace in the Middle East, where our Lord lived, suffered, died and rose again, and where a great multitude of our Christian brethren have lived for centuries. We fervently hope that peace will be re-established in that region, that respectful coexistence will be strengthened between the different peoples that live there, between the Churches and between the different religions found there. To this end, we encourage the establishment of closer relationships between Christians, and of an authentic and honest interreligious dialogue, with a view to combating every form of violence and discrimination.

6. At present, in the face of the great threats to the natural environment, we want to express our concern at the negative consequences for humanity and for the whole of creation which can result from economic and technological progress that does not know its limits. As religious leaders, we consider it one of our duties to encourage and to support all efforts made to protect God’s creation, and to bequeath to future generations a world in which they will be able to live.

7. Finally, our thoughts turn towards all of you, the faithful of our two Churches throughout the world, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, lay men and women engaged in ecclesial service, and all the baptized. In Christ we greet other Christians, assuring them of our prayers and our openness to dialogue and cooperation. In the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, we greet all of you: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 1:2).

At the Phanar, 30 November 2006

Benedict XVI
Bartholomew I

Catholic Answers Poll

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Hey, I did a poll on the 'Catholic Answers' forum, asking how many people there use the 1962 Missal (or prior) for private devotion. You won't believe the results so far! It looks like the 1962 Missal is even popular among Catholics who are predominately Novus Ordo! I could go into some analysis here in an attempt to explain why, but why do that, when some of those people have already explained it in their own words.

You can visit the thread, and see for yourself here: http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=121675

I encourage everyone reading this to participate in the poll and discussion there.

Pope Pushes for Christian Freedom In Muslims Nations

By PELIN TURGUT/ISTANBUL

The Pope's Push to Protect Minority Christians in the Muslim World
Benedict XVI wants to help restore Istanbul as the global center of Orthodox Christianity. But the Turkish authorities worry what that could mean for their country's secular identity

Istanbul's Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, a complex of 17th century buildings off the shores of the Golden Horn, may be spiritual home to some 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide, but daily mass here is a decidedly lonesome affair. Only a handful of worshippers, all visiting tourists, fill the ancient oak pews of the Church of St George. The priests, robed in black, outnumber the faithful.

Leading the ceremony, Patriarch Bartolomew I is in the strange position of a shepherd without a flock. In the decades since Turkey's independence in 1923, his Greek Orthodox community has dwindled from around 150,000 to 1,500 people, most of them elderly. And his role as spiritual head to Orthodox Christians worldwide has been curtailed, critics say, by Turkish restrictions.

Yet, Istanbul is where Pope Benedict XVI chose to make his first visit to the head of a church. He was driven, observers say, by a desire to further the healing process begun in 1964 between the churches of east and west, and, more controversially, to highlight concerns over Christian minorities in the Muslim world...

read full story here

Media Screw Up - Pope Did NOT Endorse Turkey's Entry Into EU

MEDIA BLOW IT BIG TIME:
POPE DID NOT CHANGE STAND ON TURKEY AND EU

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented as follows:

“It is one of most embarrassing journalistic blunders to have occurred in some time. All the news reports which said that Pope Benedict XVI now supports the admission of Turkey into the European Union were wrong. He never said any such thing. Here is what happened.

“Yesterday, the headline of a front-page article in the New York Times read, ‘In Reversal, Pope Backs Turkey’s Bid to Join European Union.’ It quoted Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s comment that the pope told him that ‘we wish for Turkey’s entry into the E.U.’ The problem is that the pope’s version of what he allegedly said was nowhere reported, and that’s because he never commented on the brief conversation that was held at the airport. But now he has spoken. Here is a quote made today by the pope and Patriarch Bartholomew in their ‘Common Declaration’:

We have viewed positively the process that has led to the formation of the European Union. Those engaged in this great project should not fail to take into consideration all aspects affecting the inalienable rights of the human person, especially religious freedom....In every step towards unification, minorities must be respected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion.


“In other words, Pope Benedict XVI has not flip-flopped: admission of Turkey into the European Union is conditioned on its willingness to respect the religious rights of minorities (something it has failed to do).

“The most accurate journalistic source was Bloomberg News. The most accurately worded editorial appears in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. The most flagrantly inaccurate editorial is in today’s Newsday: ‘Tuesday, he [the pope] admitted he was wrong and reversed his stance, offering full support to Turkey in its long-stalled efforts to join the EU.’

“There is more than carelessness involved here. Some hate the Catholic Church so much they can’t wait to try to prove the pope wrong. Looks like the Holy Father got the last laugh.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

That They May All Be One

An article written by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I. It appeared in the November 27-28 Italian edition of L'Osservatore Romano....

"That They May All Be One."

With great joy, we welcome the visit of our beloved brother in Christ, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to our country and to the See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Given that this is the first official visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Church of Constantinople since his election, it is a historic moment, as were the visits of his predecessors, of venerated memory, Pope Paul VI in 1967 and Pope John Paul II in 1979.

It is also a pilgrimage to the Holy Places where the Apostle Andrew took the Holy Gospel and performed many signs, and where thousands of martyrs and confessors gave witness of their faith. Here in this city and in this ancient and historical land, Christianity has been alive for 2,000 years and has survived despite all the difficulties, challenges and divisions. Indeed, it is a joy and at the same time a blessing that the two leaders of the Church should meet as Christian brothers and servants of our Lord, as the Psalm states: "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1). We very much appreciate this visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to our Church, which is an expression of the existing good relations between our two ancient Churches. It also shows our profound conviction and willingness to intensify our theological dialogue of love, truth and mutual respect through the Joint International Theological Commission.

With honor and dignity, the Ecumenical Patriarchate bears the burden of the People of God. We respond to the challenges of our time and to the appeals of many people who live in need, poverty, danger and injustice. Moreover, we are committed to opposing all forms of violence, for the peaceful coexistence of all religious communities in our country. Having lived for centuries in a predominantly Muslim environment, our Holy Church has always promoted dialogue between peoples and encouraged them to live together in peace, in harmony and in reconciliation, disregarding differences of race, religion and culture.

We consider this visit an opportunity to manifest our fraternal love to His Holiness Benedict XVI and to renew our commitment to continue on our common spiritual path toward the unity of the Church. Hoping with all our heart that His Holiness' visit will be beautiful and pleasant, we express to him our cordial welcome to our country, to our city and to our Church, and we pray fervently that the One and Triune God will continue to guide us in all that we do to fulfill his commandment: "That they may all be one" (John 17:21).

Pope and Patriarch Renew Commitment To Church Unity

By John Thavis Catholic News Service

ISTANBUL, Turkey (CNS) -- In a meeting of East and West, Pope Benedict XVI prayed with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and renewed the church's commitment to the search for Christian unity.

The pope expressed his great joy at the encounter and said he would treasure the Orthodox welcome forever.

"I thank the Lord for the grace of this encounter, so filled with authentic good will and ecclesial significance," he said.

"May this meeting strengthen our mutual affection and renew our common commitment to persevere on the journey leading to reconciliation and the peace of the churches," he said.

The evening prayer service in Istanbul Nov. 29 opened two days of richly symbolic events and brought an ecumenical focus to the pope's four-day visit to Turkey.

Patriarch Bartholomew, who is honored as the "first among equals" in the Orthodox world, greeted the pope at the Istanbul airport and met him again shortly afterward on the steps of the patriarchate's headquarters, where dozens of Orthodox prelates were waiting in the Church of St. George.

The pope and patriarch lit votive candles and, as applause rang out, walked up the center aisle, their path clouded with incense. A choir chanted antiphons commemorating Sts. Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome, and St. Andrew, the patron of the patriarchal see of Constantinople, the ancient name of Istanbul....

read full story here

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hagia Sophia - Vatican of the East


THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: When the pope visits Istanbul this week, keep a close eye on him as he enters the Hagia Sophia -- what used to be the eastern version of the Vatican for the Ecumenical Patriarch. It was taken by Muslims at the end of the middle ages, was made into a mosque, and has been a museum since the 1920s. Any act of faith the pope makes, even crossing himself, while visiting there will be seen by Muslims as a papal claim on the ancient Church for Christianity. Personally, I hope he gives the place a full pontifical blessing! How can Turkey even consider becoming a member of the European Union if it does not allow religious liberty? I say let the pope say mass there if he likes, and then make sure he has police and military protection from the Turkish government if the Islamic-fascists outside decide to riot. If Turkey wants to be part of the Western world, than this is what it means. Freedom of religion is considered a sacred right in the West, if Turkish Muslims don't like it, than they had better get used to it. Otherwise, they can forget about affiliating with Europe, and join the rising Islamic Persian Empire in the middle east. Sadly, I doubt the pope will do anything provocative. This is probably more of a bridge-building mission. I doubt Benedict XVI will do anything to aggravate an already tense situation. It's times like these I long for the provocative days of John Paul II, when the pope thumbed his nose at communism in Poland, and then carried on as if to say "whadda ya gonna do about it!"

By Suna Erdem, Istanbul

The loudest boos, however, are reserved for references to the Pope’s proposed visit to Saint Sophia, the magnificent Byzantine basilica where Mehmed the Conqueror prayed after he took the city for the Ottoman Empire in 1453. It remained as a mosque until the Turkish Government turned it into a museum in the 1920s, to the annoyance of Islamists. If the Pope prays or so much as crosses himself when he enters the vast domed building, he will have staked a claim on the place, the protesters say.

Away from the scene, however, rather than complaining about the visit, secularist columnists have been upbraiding the Government about the mixed messages it has given the Pope and the lost opportunity to show that Turkey, a European Union candidate, is part of the Western world rather than a remote Islamic outpost...

read full story here

Historical Context of Papal Journey

Pope Benedict XVITHE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: As Muslims try to prove the peaceful nature of Islam through violence and mayhem, the context of the pope's visit to Turkey is sure to be lost in the media coverage. This visit, regardless if the pope survives it, may be one of the most historically significant events in a thousand years. It was a little less than a millennium ago (AD 1054), that the schism between East and West ripped Christendom in two, leaving behind a scandal of division from which the Church has yet to recover. Since the division of Christendom, Islam has taken over the region and plunged its sword deep into the European continent. Though successfully repelling Islam in the crusades, Europe now finds itself subject to a new Islamic takeover after having its once Christian population ravished by the emaciating effects of Secular Humanism for nearly a century. The pope's visit to Turkey falls into this context, connecting the division of Christianity with the advance of Islam and the impending fall of Europe. It is in itself a form of crusade, but not a militaristic one. It is a mission of peace in the true sense of Christian spiritual warfare. With peace comes reconciliation, especially for brothers in Christ (Catholics and Orthodox) who should have never been divided in the first place. The eventual reunification of Catholics and Orthodox will mark the end of the real "dark ages" which began in the middle eleventh century, and continues to the present time. It was a millennium marked by the fracturing of Christianity, the advance of Islam, and the rise of Secular Humanism. A thousand years of advance by the forces of hell into the heart of Christian civilization. These "dark ages" were marked by periods of Christian successes and advances as well, but the potential of the Church was stunted by the scandal of division.

For Protestants, this trip marks in important date in their calenders too, though few of them realize it now. For the reunification of East and West, which begins here, will open the "springtime of evangelism" foretold by Pope John Paul II during his 27 year pontificate. The reunification of Catholics and Orthodox is not going to happen overnight. A thousand years is a long time for two Church bodies to grow in different ways. But when the reunification is complete (perhaps within our lifetime) it will stand as a glaring testimony of the power of Christ's healing touch to those willing to receive it. Protestants of all kinds, will be faced with the prospect of getting in touch with their Catholic roots, or else face irrelevancy in the coming century. All that remains now is to see how this will play out. Will the pope accomplish this first step of Christian reunification through ceremony or martyrdom? Whichever the case, this papal trip will certainly mark the beginning of the end for Islamic advance into the Western world. It may even mark the beginning of significant Christian evangelism into the Islamic world.

From ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome....

1. The Significance of the Apostolic Journey


In the footsteps of his predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to honor the land of Turkey with one of the first Apostolic Journeys of his Pontificate. Turkey is spread over a vast region which, not without reason, has been called "the Holy Land of the Church". It was there that the Christian community, particularly in the great centers of Antioch and Ephesus, became conscious of her identity and consolidated her growth. There the Church opened out to the ancient world in a process of inculturation and adaptation which made her truly "catholic", open to all cultural expressions. Furthermore, this land was the starting-point for the first evangelization of both the Far East and the Slav peoples.

It was not by chance that most of the writings that make up the New Testament originated in this land or were addressed to its Christian communities. Two of those biblical authors, Paul of Tarsus and Luke of Antioch, are among the first witnesses to a Church that in the course of the centuries saw a rich flowering of outstanding figures who left their mark on the whole of Christianity. We need but recall the Cappadocian Fathers, and those of Antioch and the Syria, to say nothing of the ranks of martyrs and ascetics whom even today the liturgy offers us as models of Christian life.

The journey of the Bishop of Rome to Turkey takes place between two significant dates that recall those illustrious witnesses of the faith: the seventeenth centenary of the birth of Ephrem the Syrian (306) and the eighteenth centenary of the death of John Chrysostom (407).

Both are splendid rays of that "light from the East" which the Holy Father John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter "Orientale Lumen" (1994), wished to reaffirm, so that the universal Church would treasure the rich witness, wisdom and spirituality of the Christian East and would look back with nostalgia to the first Christian millennium, when the Church lived in unity.

In a pluralistic age like our own, the manifold riches of the various religious traditions, past and present, found in the land of Turkey bear witness to the fact that pluralism in liturgical and spiritual expressions, and unity of faith in Christ the Lord, can be combined harmoniously. The Holy Father has rightly spoken of dialogue as a "polyphony of cultures".

This principle is true for the various Christian confessions, but it is also applicable to the dialogue between Christians and the followers of Islam. Shadows from the past cannot obscure the light radiating from the daily "dialogue of life", the "dialogue of charity" and the "dialogue of religious experiences" which has marked relations here between Christians and Muslims.

The journey of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey is a part of this history, and must be understood in the light of that history. It is a pastoral journey, an ecumenical journey and a journey of dialogue with the Islamic world...

read full story here

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Massive Protests Against Pope In Turkey

Tens of thousands of protesters denounced Pope Benedict XVI as an enemy of Islam at a rally that highlighted the deep strains in Turkey before hosting the pontiff this week.

Chants of "No to the Pope!" rose among the nearly 25,000 demonstrators at every mention of the pope's remarks on violence and the Prophet Muhammad. Many protesters wore headbands with anti-pope slogans and waved placards that included a depiction of Benedict as the grim reaper.

The protest, organised by an Islamist political party, was the largest mass gathering so far against Benedict's four-day visit scheduled to begin Tuesday - his first papal journey to a mostly Muslim nation. The outcry also was designed to rattle Turkey's establishment.

Turkish officials hope to use the visit to promote their ambitions of becoming the first Muslim nation in the European Union and showcase their secular political system. But pro-Islamic groups - which have been gaining strength for years - perceive Benedict as a symbol of Western intolerance and injustices against Muslims...

read full story here

Friday, November 24, 2006

PRAY FOR THE POPE IN TURKEY


Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey – a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monitor the Holy Father's Pilgrimage Here

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

'Una Voce' Ready To Assist Local Priests With Latin Mass

Una Voce America Eager for Increased Access to Traditional Latin Mass
Prepared to Assist Priests with Mass Rubrics

ST. CHARLES, MO. — Responding to recent news stories reporting a possible easing of restrictions on the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, Una Voce America today reaffirmed its support for Pope Benedict XVI and announced that it is prepared to assist the pastors of the Church in facilitating the more frequent celebration of the traditional Mass.

Una Voce America is one of 26 national associations comprising the International Federation Una Voce, a lay apostolate founded in Rome in 1966. Una Voce (a Latin phrase meaning "with one voice") is dedicated to the preservation of the Roman rite of Mass as codified by Pope Pius V in the sixteenth century. Most Catholics today attend Mass according to the rite established by Pope Paul VI in 1969, which generally is celebrated in the everyday language of the people. The position of Una Voce is that those Catholics who wish to attend Mass in Latin according to the ancient rite should be permitted to do so, and the organization works within Church structures to increase the availability of this Mass...

read full story here

find an 'una voce' chapter near you

Players Gear Up for World War III

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Though I would argue we're already in the early stages of it, it would appear "World War III" is about to become a household phrase. Even a modest monitoring of news from the middle east reveals the major players are gearing up for an Armageddon-like showdown in the very near future. When the stuff finally hits the fan, (and it will very soon), only the most clueless people among us will be able to say it caught them by surprise....

The political crisis in Lebanon has deepened after the assassination of Lebanese Industry Minister and prominent Maronite Catholic Pierre Gemayel.

Mr Gemayel, the son of former President Amin, was shot dead in a Christian suburb of Beirut. He was rushed to hospital but his death was reported on Lebanese radio shortly after.

Mr Gemayel was a leading anti-Syrian politician, and a member of the Phalange Party.

The killing of Mr Geyal, who had been a strong critic of Syrian involvement in Lebanon, was condemned by the US as an "act of terrorism" and "political intimidation," and has fuelled suspicion of possible Syrian involvement in the assassination.

read full story here

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The Syrian government was responsible for the assassination yesterday of Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel and will likely attempt more killings with the goal of destabilizing Lebanon, the country's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told WND in an interview today.

Jumblatt is head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party and is widely considered the most prominent anti-Syrian Lebanese politician.

He charged the calls by many in the U.S. government for a withdrawal from Iraq sent a message of American weakness to Syria that may result in "more instability and chaos" in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

"The Syrian regime through some of its local allies carried out this assassination," said Jumblatt. "They (the Syrians) are capable of anything. They will probably try more killings. We still have a majority in the parliament unless ministers resign or Syria kills more ministers off."

Jumblatt said Syria is "emboldened by the fact that the Americans are searching for an exit strategy from Iraq. This is encouraging all kinds of people to kill and create chaos in the region."

read full story here

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TEL AVIV – The only way to stop the regular rocket fire on Sderot, an Israeli city of about 20,000 nearly three miles from the Gaza Strip border, is for the Jewish state to evacuate the entire city, Hamas announced in a statement today.

"Only the departure of residents from Sderot will stop the rocket fire," Abu Abaida, spokesman for Hamas' so-called military wing, said in a statement to reporters.

"There are no limits on our rocket attacks and we will prove that in coming days. We advise residents of Sderot to evacuate," the Hamas spokesman said.

Asked by WND if his statement was rhetoric or whether the Hamas leadership actually sanctioned a call for Israeli residents to evacuate, Abu Abaida replied, "We are very, very serious. The evacuation can be done in the next days or even up to several weeks, but it must be done. And after that, we will stop all rocket fire unless the Zionists continue more military operations in Gaza"

Abu Abaida said Hamas is seeking to impose "a new equation in which the Zionists understand that for every incursion into Gaza, we will use our rockets to bombard your towns and cities until more and more are forced to evacuate. Our rockets have already improved, as Sderot residents know. We keep working on (the rockets) to improve deadliness, force and distance."

read full story here

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The IDF will continue to carry out operations in the Gaza Strip, some on a larger scale than those conducted so far, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday after the security cabinet convened to discuss the situation in Gaza and the growing threat Kassam rockets pose to southern Israel.

Ministers participating in the meeting said the ideas raised in the meeting were "more of the same," Israel Radio reported.

The security cabinet instructed the IDF to draw up plans for a large-scale operation in Gaza and present it for approval at a future date.

read full story here

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The communiqué issued by the cabinet Wednesday, after a session convened to chart a strategy to cut down the escalating Hamas-led missile campaign against Israeli civilian locations, concealed more than it revealed. Its primary decision was that Israel has no option but to launch a major offensive against Hamas and allied terrorist groups to pre-empt their war build-up. Hamas spokesmen have admitted that one of their key objectives is to force the evacuation of Israeli towns and villages around the Gaza Strip...

read full story here


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The military pacts Palestinian Hamas interior minister Said Siyam signed with his Iranian counterpart Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi in Tehran on Oct. 12 are designed to transform Hamas’ military wing, the Ezz e-Din al Qassam, into a crack operational arm of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and Gaza into a second Lebanon.

Syam was in Tehran for two days at the head of a 7-man delegation.

DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report Tehran has committed to training Hamas’ rapid deployment force of 6,500 men in Hizballah combat tactics, with the accent on missiles, especially the anti-tank variety which were used with devastating effect against Israeli tanks in the Lebanon War. The force will be sent over in batches for six-week courses at Revolutionary Guards installations in southern Iran.
Iran will foot the $60 million bill for the training as well as for the top-notch weaponry...

read full story here

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A new Middle East war is in the offing. DEBKAfile’s exclusive military sources in Iraq and sources in Iran reveal that Turkish and Iranian air units as well as armored, paratroop, special operations and artillery forces are poised for an imminent coordinated invasion of the northern Iraqi autonomous province of Kurdistan.

Our sources pinpoint the target of the combined Iranian-Turkish offensive as the Quandil Mountains (see picture), where some 5,000 Kurdish rebels from Turkey and Iran, members of the PKK and PJAK respectively, are holed up. Iranian and Turkish assault troops are already deployed 7-8 km deep inside Iraqi territory.
Turkey to the northwest and Iran to the east both have Kurdish minorities which have been radicalized by the emergence of Iraqi Kurdistan in the last three years. The three contiguous Kurdish regions form a strategic world hub...

read full story here


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WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush could choose military action over diplomacy and bomb Iran's nuclear facilities next year, political analysts in Washington agree.

"I think he is going to do it," John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a military issues think tank, told AFP.

"They are going to bomb WMD facilities next summer," he added, referring to nuclear facilities Iran says are for peaceful uses and Washington insists are really intended to make nuclear bombs, or weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"It would be a limited military action to destroy their WMD capabilities" added the analyst, believing a US military invasion of Iran is not on the table.

US journalist Seymour Hersh also said at the weekend that White House hawks led by Vice President Dick Cheney were intent on attacking Iran with or without the approval of the US Congress, both houses of which switch from Republican to Democratic control in January after the November 7 legislative elections...

read full story here


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

President Gingrich?

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It may seem like a long shot, but hey, I would vote for him. He may be the only man who can beat Hillary in 2008, assuming she doesn't sputter out on her own shrill/monotone personality. Newt is an intellectual giant when it comes to history, politics and society. He can think circles around Hillary Clinton, and beat her on the playing field of ideas every time. The man truly is a political genius, and though they'll never admit it, that is one reason why Democrats are terrified of him.

[Newsmax] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is telling associates that he’s launching a major new grass-roots movement to recapture the soul of the Republican Party, and quite possibly the White House.

Gingrich says that the effort will be much larger than his founding of GOPAC and his creation of the Contract with America.

The Georgia Republican is spearheading a program called "American Solutions for Winning the Future” in an effort to revitalize the GOP with Ronald Reagan conservatism.

This is the third time Gingrich has led a drive to steer the Republican Party toward traditional conservative values. In 1986, Gingrich took the chair of the Republican political action committee GOPAC and transformed it into an effective tool for electing conservative candidates. The stated theme of GOPAC was "a conservative opportunity society replacing the liberal welfare state.”

GOPAC was a key element in Gingrich’s rise to the leadership of the Republican caucus in Congress.

Then in 1994, as House Minority Leader, Gingrich was a co-author of the Contract with America, a conservative political platform that helped the GOP gain 54 seats in the House and end 40 years of Democratic majorities there.

Gingrich’s new program echoes the title of his 2005 book, "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America.”

Sources close to the former speaker say Gingrich believes the Republican Party has once again lost its way, and needs to refocus its agenda with an eye toward regaining Congress in 2008.

Stepping back into the political spotlight could help Gingrich’s presidential aspirations as well.

He recently told an interviewer that he won’t decide whether to seek the White House in 2008 until September of 2007....

read full story here

American Church Ready for Return of Latin Mass

Latin Mass would restore mystery
By Steve Gushee


The Mass in the vernacular was a noble experiment that didn't quite work. The Latin Mass might soon be back, and that could be a good thing for the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI plans to make it much easier for churches to use the 16th-century Latin Mass. That could help deepen faith and unite an American church whose members speak a veritable babel of languages...

read full story here

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pope Confronts Islam

By DAVID VAN BIEMA, JEFF ISRAELY/ROME

With his blunt talk on Islam, Benedict XVI is altering the debate between the Muslim world and the West. On the eve of his visit to Turkey, TIME looks at the roots of the Pope's views--and how they may define his place in history

For the traveling Pontiff, it was not a laid-back Turkish holiday. The citizens of the proud, predominantly Muslim nation had no love of Popes. To the East, the Iranian government was galvanizing anti-Western feeling. The news reported that an escaped killer was on the loose, threatening to assassinate the Pontiff when he arrived. Yet the Holy Father was undaunted. "Love is stronger than danger," he said. "I am in the hands of God." He fared forward--to Ankara, to Istanbul--and preached the commonality of the world's great faiths. He enjoined both Christians and Muslims to "seek ties of friendship with other believers who invoke the name of a single God." He did not leave covered with garlands, but he set a groundwork for what would be years of rapprochement between the Holy See and Islam. He was a uniter, not a divider.

That was 1979 and Pope John Paul II. But when Benedict XVI travels to Turkey next week on his first visit to a Muslim country since becoming Pope last year, he is unlikely to cloak himself in a downy banner of brotherhood, the way his predecessor did 27 years ago. Instead, Benedict, 79, will arrive carrying a different reputation: that of a hard-knuckle intellect with a taste for blunt talk and interreligious confrontation. Just 19 months into his tenure, the Pope has become as much a moral lightning rod as a theologian; suddenly, when he speaks, the whole world listens. And so what takes place over four days in three Turkish cities has the potential to define his papacy--and a good deal more.

Few people saw this coming. Nobody truly expected Benedict to be a mere caretaker Pope--his sometimes ferocious 24-year tenure as the Vatican's theological enforcer and John Paul's right hand suggested anything but passivity. But this same familiarity argued against surprises. The new Pontiff was expected to sustain John Paul's conservative line on morality and church discipline and focus most of his energies on trimming the Vatican bureaucracy and battling Western culture's "moral relativism." Although acknowledged as a brilliant conservative theologian, Benedict lacked the open-armed charisma of his predecessor. Moreover, what had initially propelled John Paul to the center of the world stage was his challenge to communism and its subsequent fall, a huge geopolitical event that the Pope helped precipitate with two exhilarating visits to his beloved Polish homeland. By contrast, what could Benedict do? Liberate Bavaria?

Well, not quite. But this year he has emerged as a far more compelling and complex figure than anyone had imagined. And much of that has to do with his willingness to confront what some people feel is today's equivalent of the communist scourge--the threat of Islamic violence. The topic is extraordinarily fraught. There are, after all, a billion or so nonviolent Muslims on the globe, the Roman Catholic Church's own record in the religious-mayhem department is hardly pristine, and even the most naive of observers understands that the Vicar of Christ might harbor an institutional prejudice against one of Christianity's main global competitors. But by speaking out last September in Regensburg, Germany, about the possible intrinsic connection between Islam and violence, the Pontiff suddenly became a lot more interesting. Even when Islamic extremists destroyed several churches and murdered a nun in Somalia, Benedict refused to retract the essence of his remarks. In one imperfect but powerful stroke, he departed from his predecessor's largely benign approach to Islam and discovered an issue that might attract even the most religiously jaded. In doing so, he managed (for better or worse) to reanimate the clash-of-civilizations discussion by focusing scrutiny on the core question of whether Islam, as a religion, sanctions violence. He was hailed by cultural conservatives worldwide. Says Helen Hull Hitchcock, a St. Louis, Mo., lay leader who heads the conservative Catholic organization Women for Faith and Family: "He has said what needed to be said....

read full story here

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Obama Verses Brownback For 2008

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Forget John McCain and Hillary Clinton for now. These men are the two to watch over the next 18 months. Republican Senator Sam Brownback has stated his desire to run for president on more than one occasion. Formally an Evangelical, this convert to Catholicism is a no nonsense Social Justice Conservative, who is Pro-Life and Pro-Family. Democratic Senator Barack Obama is a rising star in the new Democratic Party. A liberal Protestant in the United Church of Christ, Obama sports an appeal to the left-wing base of the Democratic Party that demands a Pro-Abortion candidate who is Antiwar and friendly to Homosexuality. While Obama says he is against Gay-Marriage, he supports the legal equivalent under the different name of "civil-unions." Obama and Brownback have been making appearances together to boost public attention for now. This is a tactic frequently used by presidential hopefuls just before gearing up for a campaign. We saw this about a year ago with Clinton and McCain.

While Brownback and Obama may seem like long-shots right now, the two front-running senators (Hillary Clinton and John McCain) have some serious problems that will cripple their bid for the Whitehouse within a year.

Senator Hillary Clinton is not generally well liked in most parts of the country, even within her own party. She voted in favor of the resolution authorizing the current president to take us to war in Iraq. Though initially saying she had no regrets about the decision, she later reversed that and said it was a mistake. That kind of flip-flopping isn't going to help her when the new Democratic Congress fails to deliver the hard left-wing agenda the party base is demanding. Since her election to the Senate in 2000, Clinton has tried to play to the political center while simultaneously pandering to her liberal base. It's a tightrope act that has simultaneously enraged her liberal base, while providing ample political fodder for Republican attack ads. Besides all this, Hillary has another problem, and this one is sure to finish her off on the national campaign trail. The problem is her personality. The woman has only two modes of speaking: shrill and monotone. It's either one extreme or the other, and anything between seems to escape her. Ironically, the one demographic group MOST hostile to her are suburban housewives -- particularly those of a church going nature. Senator Clinton has done well for herself in the liberal State of New York, and will probably do well gaining support in the New England states and West Coast, but her political capital stops there. She is not likely to gain any significant support in the Old South or Midwestern states.

Personally, I refer to Senator McCain as "the man who will never be president." Why is this? Because he's hacked off virtually every major coalition in the Republican Party. The religious right can't stand him. The neoconservatives despise him. Fiscal conservatives and civil libertarians are frustrated by him. It seems the only Republican demographic that even remotely likes him is the RINO ("Republican In Name Only") coalition. McCain publicly opposes abortion, but favors fetal tissue research. Pro-lifers perceive McCain as "squishy" on this most important issue, and will soon find themselves searching the horizon for a new Republican presidential candidate once McCain hits the mainstream. When they do, Senator Sam Brownback will be standing out among the rest.

Sam Brownback is a Libertarian-Leaning Conservative.

Libertarians support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence. Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.

Conservatives tend to favor economic freedom, but frequently support laws to restrict personal behavior that violates "traditional values." They oppose excessive government control of business, while endorsing government action to defend morality and the traditional family structure. Conservatives usually support a strong military, oppose bureaucracy and high taxes, favor a free-market economy, and endorse strong law enforcement.

read Brownback's full political scorecard here


Barack Obama is a Populist-Leaning Liberal.

Populists want government to have a great deal of power over the economy and individual behavior. They frequently doubt whether economic liberty and individual freedom are practical options in today's world. Populists tend to distrust the free market, support high taxes and centralized planning of the economy, oppose diverse lifestyles, and question the importance of civil liberties.

Liberals usually embrace freedom of choice in personal matters, but tend to support significant government control of the economy. They generally support a government-funded "safety net" to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations, defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.

read Obama's full political scorecard here

Papal Victory for English Translations

Vatican, Nov. 18 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has ruled that the phrase pro multis should be rendered as "for many" in all new English-language translations of the Eucharistic Prayer, CWN has learned.

Although "for many" is the literal translation of the Latin phrase, the translations currently in use render the phrase as "for all." All new English-language translations will use "for many" when they appear...

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: It may not seem like much, but little victories like this go a long way toward healing the liturgical crisis in the Church today. How we worship reflects how we believe, and what our faith is all about. Praise God that we have a pope who is not afraid to exercise his petrine authority and do what needs to be done.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Liberal Verses Conservative Catholicism



THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: This fun little video illustrates the frustrating differences between diocese run by conservative bishops verses liberal bishops. As author Michael S. Rose pointed out in his bestselling book "Goodbye Good Men," the priest shortage in the western world is both artificial and contrived. It's not that there aren't enough good men willing to serve as priests, but rather, good men are frequently rejected and turned away from the priesthood by liberal seminaries, wishing to ordain liberal priests exclusively, for the sole purpose of advancing a liberal agenda in the Church. Because liberal candidates to the priesthood are hard to come by, the number of seminarians who actually graduate and get ordained has plummeted. In contrast, however, conservative seminaries in Conservative diocese, run by conservative bishops, frequently graduate four to five times as many seminarians who go on to the priesthood in any given year. To most Catholics, who follow Church events, this is old news. But the video above tends to illustrate this kind of truth, in a fun and humorous way. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

2006 Election Analysis: Pro-Choice Republicans Out, Pro-Life Democrats In

Pro-abortion Republicans sustained greater losses in the midterm elections.
BY DAVID FREDDOSO

WASHINGTON — Republicans were bludgeoned in the midterm elections Nov. 7 as Catholic voters abandoned them in the midst of a bloody Iraq occupation and scandals in Congress.

Democrats took control of both the U.S. House and Senate, as pro-lifers lost some ground in both chambers.

Catholics overwhelmingly chose Democratic congressional candidates, according to exit polls. Nationally, Catholics made up 26% of the vote and chose Democrats over Republicans by 55% to 44%. In 2004, Republican congressional candidates had managed to win 50% of the Catholic vote, to 49% for the Democrats.

Although Republicans lost badly, pro-life losses were only moderate in the House of Representatives. The losses were more serious in the Senate, but life issues did not appear to have hurt any of the Senate candidates significantly.

“I don’t think this election is a sign that the country has shifted on the life issues,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan, a pro-life leader in Congress and a reported hopeful for the 2008 presidential election. “I think we continue to gain ground in support for pro-life issues on the national level".....

....On the House side, Republicans lost 29 or 30 members, pending recounts and challenges, but about 12 of them were pro-abortion moderates.

Republicans lost 18 members with mostly or all pro-life voting records, but it does not appear that many — if any — lost because they were pro-life. Among the pro-life losers, seven were involved in congressional or personal scandals. Four were connected to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, one allegedly choked his wife, another allegedly choked his mistress, and another allegedly used his influence to enrich his family.

Of the others, three of the Republicans were replaced by Democrats who appear to be genuinely pro-life — Joe Donnelly and Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, and former pro football player Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

“It fills us with hope that the Democratic Party is embracing social-conservative Democrats warmly,” said Joe Cella, president of the Catholic political activist group Fidelis. “We’re going to reach out to those Democratic conservatives who have won and develop relationships with them.”

“I think those are people who could definitely be approachable on traditional values issues,” said Mike Bober, executive director of the House Conservatives Fund, which raises money for pro-life, conservative Republican candidates....

read full story here

More Protestants Admit Catholics Are Right About Birth-Control

SAN ANTONIO, TX, November 16, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A pro-life trend among conservative Protestants is picking up steam in the US, Newsweek reports. In 1995, David and Suzanne Bortel of San Antonio, Texas developed a website called Quiverfull.com to lend support and encouragement to couples who are totally open to as many children as God gives them. Under the name of Quiverfull, the group encourages its members to reject all forms of birth control and welcome children as "a gift and blessing from our gracious heavenly father."

The name of the group is taken from Psalm 127 of the Bible which says:

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them."

Members of Quiverfull reject not only birth control but also Natural Family Planning, a natural method and one condoned by the Catholic Church as a moral way, under serious circumstances, to avoid conception by abstaining from sexual intercourse during the fertile periods of a woman's monthly cycle.

Quiverfull's beliefs also do not condone any form of artificial conception, such as in-vitro fertilization. Mary Pride, a Quiverfull believer and author of the book, 'The Way Home', says, "You shouldn't be unnatural in going to a fertility clinic or in trying to avoid having children by regulating when to have sex with your husband."

The Quiverfull website is careful to emphasize that family size is not what makes one a Quiverfull believer. It says, "Whether your quiver is large or small, you are welcome." Regarding all children as blessings and leaving fertility in the hands of God is the Quiverfull mission.

Rejection of birth control is a growing trend among many denominations of Protestants. Many Protestants who previously espoused birth control methods, are becoming more and more alarmed by the contraceptive mentality that has overtaken the country. In today's society, sex and procreation of children are commonly viewed as two separate components of marriage. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is very convicted and outspoken on the subject. He says, "If a couple sees children as an imposition, as something to be vaccinated against, like an illness, that betrays a deeply erroneous understanding of marriage and children."

read full story here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pope To Establish Anglican Rite?

Pope to throw open the 'Flaminian Gate' to Anglicans
Ruth Gledhill, Times Religion Correspondent


According to a comment on Titusonenine, the Pope will this week receive on his desk a document that proposes something akin to an Opus Dei-style personal prelature for disgruntled Anglicans of a Catholic bent. This would allow them to be received into the Catholic Church but retain their Anglican identity, with presumably their (or should I say our?) own priests going with them too. William Tighe, who touts this possibility, which is also being debated on ShipofFools, says nothing will be published officially before January. But putting it up here, right now, might liven things up a little in Leeds tonight and tomorrow. It might also give Jonathan Petre and me something to gossip about when we set off for Rome with the Archbishop of Canterbury next week. More news from Rome today is a meeting on the vexed question of priestly celibacy, sparked by the rebel Milingo. The Pope is calling advisers together in the Vatican to decide how to respond after the "married" (in a Unification church ceremony) African "Archbishop" (now excommunicated) ordained some married priests the other day, effectively forming a schismatic Catholic Church. The Pope hates losing any of his flock, as his efforts to bring back the Lefebvrists indicate...

read full story here

America Can't Handle The Truth

Missouri Committee Blames Abortion for Need for Illegal Immigration

By Peter J. Smith

JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, November 13, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Missouri state panel is under fire for issuing a report that blames 33 years of legalized abortion for the United States’ increasing dependence on illegal immigration. Missouri’s House Special Committee on Immigration Reform also credited "liberal social welfare policies" for discouraging Americans from working jobs taken by illegal immigrants.

The report stated: "Suggestions for how to stop illegal hiring varied without any simple solution. The lack of traditional work ethic, combined with the effects of 30 years of abortion and expanding liberal social welfare policies have produced a shortage of workers and a lack of incentive for those who can work." The report then added, “Today’s growing affinity for government dependency has created a class of potential employees who are not eager to work.”

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The conclusion is simple, startling, and Americans can't handle it. The massive illegal immigration problem, America is experiencing, is a form of social natural selection. When you combine the widespread use of abortion and artificial contraception, the result is a massive population debt. There simply aren't enough new laborers to support America's social security system and welfare state. In addition to that, the welfare state itself has created an entire class of people who could (or should) be doing the work illegal aliens are now doing instead. The end result is this. If current conditions remain, English-speaking Americans will slowly be phased out of the North American continent. In their place, hard working Spanish-speaking Mexicans will slowly take back the land once held by the diminished American population. So in other words, abortion, contraception and the welfare state are causing Americans to phase themselves out - in a kind of self imposed extinction - making room for illegal Mexicans to move in and take over.

St. Louis Archbishop Becomes Major Leader In U.S. Catholic Church

By Tim Townsend
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH


BALTIMORE — St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke took center stage during debate on two controversial topics Tuesday as the nation's Roman Catholic bishops met in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting.

Burke, who is trained as a canon, or church, lawyer, submitted 10 amendments to two proposed documents, more than any other bishop except former St. Louis and current Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali, who submitted 15.

During the debate on preparing to receive Holy Communion, Burke was adamant that the bishops address an issue he's dealt with in the last few years.

In early 2004, Burke said he would deny Communion to Sen. John Kerry, who was running for the U.S. presidency and who supports abortion rights.


Burke said there was "a clear presence of scandal" in situations involving Catholic politicians who repeatedly legislate contrary to church teaching and yet receive Holy Communion. Many bishops spoke in support of Burke's words. The document was approved overwhelmingly, 201-24, with two abstentions.

The other document was a set of new guidelines for bishops interested in ministry to gay Catholics. It also was approved by a huge margin, 194-37, with one abstention.

During debate before the vote, Burke asked that a national, Vatican-approved group called Courage, which counsels gay Catholics to lead chaste lives, be added to the text as an example of an organization doing the kind of work spoken of in the guidelines. He mentioned that the Courage annual meeting was held this summer in St. Louis and said he'd met with "members and priests who serve as directors and advisers, and it confirmed my view that they are filled with hope and joy, assisting one another in leading a chaste life."

read full story here

Younger Nuns Are Getting Back Into The Habit

By TRACY SCHMIDT, LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN

For the iPod generation, it doesn't get more radical than wearing a veil. The hijab worn by traditional Muslim women might have people talking, but it's the wimple that really turns heads. And in the U.S. today, the nuns most likely to wear that headdress are the ones young enough to have a playlist.

Over the past five years, Roman Catholic communities around the country have experienced a curious phenomenon: more women, most in their 20s and 30s, are trying on that veil. Convents in Nashville, Tenn.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and New York City all admitted at least 15 entrants over the past year and fielded hundreds of inquiries. One convent is hurriedly raising funds for a new building to house the inflow, and at another a rush of new blood has lowered the median age of its 225 sisters to 36. Catholic centers at universities, including Illinois and Texas A&M, report growing numbers of women entering discernment, or the official period of considering a vocation. Career women seeking more meaning in their lives and empty-nest moms are also finding their way to convent doors.

This is a welcome turnabout for the church. As opportunities opened for women in the 1960s and '70s, fewer of them viewed the asceticism and confinements of religious life as a tempting career choice. Since 1965, the number of Catholic nuns in the U.S. has declined from 179,954 to just 67,773, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. The average age of nuns today is 69. But over the past decade or so, expressing their religious beliefs openly has become hip for many young people, a trend intensified among Catholic women by the charismatic appeal of Pope John Paul II's youth rallies and his interpretation of modern feminism as a way for women to express Christian values...

read full story here
Related Stories...

Major U.S. Churches Move to Condemn Homosexuality

By Alan Cooperman and Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writers


BALTIMORE, Nov. 14 -- Faced with rising public acceptance of same-sex relationships, three U.S. Christian denominations are taking strong measures this week to condemn homosexual acts as sinful.

The nation's Roman Catholic bishops, meeting in Baltimore, declared Tuesday that Catholics who minister to gays must firmly adhere to the church's teaching that same-sex attractions are "disordered." Catholics with "a homosexual inclination" should be encouraged to live in chastity and discouraged from making "general public announcements" about their sexual orientation, the bishops said.

The largest Baptist group in North Carolina, meanwhile, moved to expel any congregation that condones homosexuality, adopting a policy that allows the Baptist State Convention to investigate complaints that member churches are too "gay-friendly."

And on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a mainline Protestant denomination with about 3 million members, will put a minister on trial for conducting a marriage ceremony for two women.

The decisions are part of a mounting backlash in many U.S. denominations against church groups whose stated goal is not only to welcome but also to "affirm" gay congregants. For many religious groups, the biblical injunction to hate the sin but love the sinner is no longer sufficient, because many believers do not view homosexuality as a sin...

read full story here

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

OFFICIAL: All Cafeteria Catholics Barred From Communion

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The Cafeteria is OFFICIALLY closed! That's what the US Catholic bishops said today in their vote to approve the document "'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist." From now on, Catholics who reject (or disagree with) the Church's moral teachings on such things as abortion, euthanasia, contraception, gay-marriage, etc., are expected to refrain from receiving communion. Such action, though not a formal excommunication, does imply that the dissenter is no longer in communion with the Church. The moral teachings of the Church are a core part of the Catholic Christian faith. Failure to adhere to them is no different than ascribing to other forms of heresy. This means that the US Catholic bishops have OFFICIALLY barred all Catholics (including Catholic politicians) from receiving communion if they disagree with the Church on moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, contraception, gay-marriage, etc. The statement reflects a directive from the Vatican issued by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) under the previous Pope John Paul II. The party is over folks. Cafeteria Catholics have got some real soul searching to do. For them, only three options remain now...
  1. Seriously reflect on why they dissent on certain Catholic moral teaching, and try to conform to the Church's expectations.
  2. Continue to dissent, and abstain from communion, knowing their standing in the Church is compromised.
  3. Compound the problem, by receiving communion anyway, in direct violation of the bishops orders -- a mortal sin.
Beyond that, the only other option is to leave the Catholic Church entirely, either for a more liberal church (like the ECUSA) or else live as non-practicing (or lapsed) Catholics. Whatever the case, some tough decisions lay ahead for many in the Church. For Cafeteria Catholics anyway, judgement day has come...

Serious sin a bar to receiving Communion, bishops say in new document

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- Emphasizing that they were addressing all Catholics, and not just politicians or any other group, the U.S. bishops Nov. 14 voted in favor of a document calling on those in a state of serious sin to refrain from receiving Communion. The vote was 201-24, with two abstentions.

An effort to amend the document to specifically name politicians as among those who need to examine their consciences before receiving the Eucharist failed on a voice vote.

Titled "'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist," the document says that a Catholic who "knowingly and obstinately" rejects "the defined doctrines of the church" or repudiates "her definitive teaching on moral issues" would not be in communion with the church and therefore should not receive Communion.

"All kinds of people don't understand their responsibilities when going to the Eucharist," said Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine. His committee prepared the document because of a request in November 2004 by Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark, N.J., for a statement on how Catholics should prepare to receive the Eucharist.

read full story here

read the bishop's statement here (.pdf)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Greatest Movie Line Ever

Roman Curia Meeting This Thursday

Nov. 13 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI will gather the leaders of the Roman Curia for a meeting on November 16, to discuss critical questions including the bid for broader use of the traditional Latin Mass.

According to the Italian ANSA news agency, the items for discussion will also include the case of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, who was excommunicated in September; and the call to ordain some married men as priests...

read full story here

Democrats to 'Cut and Run' from Iraq

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Determined to turn Iraq into another Vietnam, so as to provide political fodder for the 2008 Presidential election, Democrats are now posturing to sacrifice the Iraqi people to their enemies, and insure that our troops died in vain....

Democrats Push for Troop Cuts Within Months
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 — Democratic leaders in the Senate vowed on Sunday to use their new Congressional majority to press for troop reductions in Iraq within a matter of months, stepping up pressure on the administration just as President Bush is to be interviewed by a bipartisan panel examining future strategy for the war.

The Democrats — the incoming majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada; the incoming Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan; and the incoming Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware — said a phased redeployment of troops would be their top priority when the new Congress convenes in January, even before an investigation of the conduct of the war.

“We need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months,” Mr. Levin said in an appearance on the ABC News program “This Week.” In a telephone interview later, Mr. Levin added, “The point of this is to signal to the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over and that they are going to have to solve their own problems.”

read full story here

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Before you declare this a victory for Catholic principles on just war, you may want to look at this story I posted almost a year ago. It would seem the Vatican would rather we stay and finish the job in Iraq, than cut and run...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Vatican’s shift on Iraq

Terrorism evident in recent papal statements

WASHINGTON (Our Sunday Visitor) -- Recent statements by Pope Benedict XVI reflect a notable shift in emphasis in the Vatican's approach to Iraq and the war on terror. Instead of assailing U.S. policy in Iraq, as he and the Holy See did three years ago, Pope Benedict now is stressing the evil of terrorism and the need to deal with it...

read full story here

Civil Rights Case Settled Out Of Court

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Some days back I ran a story on the civil rights lawsuit filed by Emily Booker (a Christian) against Missouri State University (MSU) for alleged discrimination and harassment over her religious beliefs. A statement released by the university indicates that MSU was at fault, and Emily Booker's civil rights were violated.

I post this story to demonstrate what happens when Christians stand up for their beliefs and their rights. YOU HAVE RIGHTS FOLKS! THIS IS AMERICA! YOU DON'T JUST HAVE TO SIT DOWN AND TAKE IT! For years now, Christians (of all denominations), especially conservative Christians who adhere to the teachings of their Church, have been discriminated against on university campuses all across the United States. The harassment isn't just among peers. It also exists in the classrooms, from instructors, all the way up to the highest levels of college administration. I've seen it first hand, and I've even been a victim of it a couple of times. When these incidents happen, there is recourse. You don't have to be a victim, and you shouldn't be. Don't be afraid to contact Christian legal organizations for advice. If you have a case, these lawyers will often work pro bono (free) to represent you. If every Christian college student in America, stood up for his/her rights as an American, we could bring these universities to their knees within weeks. We could make anti-Christian discrimination something university Leftists fear and dread. We can put a stop to a lot of this, if only we will stand up and claim the rights that are already ours.

The following is a letter of capitulation and settlement from MSU...

SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State University today signed an out-of-court agreement with the Alliance Defense Fund, thus ending the lawsuit filed against the university by Emily Brooker.

On Oct. 30, the Alliance Defense Fund posted on its website a news release with a link to a lawsuit filed by Brooker. In the lawsuit, Brooker claimed that before she graduated from Missouri State in May 2006 with her undergraduate degree in social work, her free speech and religious rights had been violated in two social work classes. Missouri State University officials have spent the past several days investigating the allegations and discussing the case with the Alliance Defense Fund.

According to the terms of the settlement, Missouri State agrees to the following:

  1. clear Brooker’s official record of the Social Work Level 3 review referenced in the complaint.
  2. pay Brooker an amount of $9,000 and she will be responsible for her own legal fees.
  3. waive academic fees at Missouri State University, or in lieu thereof, reimburse an amount equal to two years of degree work toward a Master of Social Work degree (or a graduate degree of equivalent length) at any public institution in the state, which is estimated at approximately $12,000, plus Brooker will receive $3,000 per year in living expense for two years of graduate education.

“We acted on these allegations as soon as we became aware of them the afternoon of Oct. 30,” said Missouri State President Michael T. Nietzel. “Although our investigation did not support all of the allegations made in the lawsuit, we were concerned about some of the actions that we did learn about.”

In addition to the terms of the lawsuit, Nietzel also announced that based on the university’s investigation, he believed it was important for the university to take a number of other steps that addressed broader issues. They include the following:

  • Nietzel will commission a comprehensive, professionally directed evaluation of the Missouri State Social Work Program. He has asked Provost Belinda McCarthy to identify an outside group of social work education experts who will be charged with this review. “It is important for current and prospective students, for potential employers, and for the faculty and staff in the program to have confidence that the policies, procedures, leadership, and delivery of the program are up to par,” said Nietzel. “The reviewers will have the complete cooperation of the university as they conduct their assessment. We will begin to recruit this external team immediately with the hope that they can visit us and conduct the review in the spring 2007 semester.”
  • Dr. Frank G. Kauffman, assistant professor of social work, has voluntarily stepped down from his administrative duties as director of the Master of Social Work Program. In addition, he has been re-assigned to non-classroom duties in the School of Social Work for the remainder of the fall semester. Finally, Kauffman has begun weekly consultations with Associate Provost Chris Craig, which will continue at least through the spring 2007 semester.
  • Finally, Nietzel will appoint an ad hoc committee to recommend ways in which the university can better publicize and more effectively implement its policies regarding freedom of speech and expression on campus. “The Declaration of Community Principles and the Statement of Student Rights adopted by Missouri State a number of years ago are very good and powerful statement of rights and responsibilities,” said Nietzel. “And, we have strong and effective grievance policies in place. We need to make sure that all members of the campus community, especially new members, are familiar with the Principles and the policies. When we talk about making sure that a Missouri State education is rigorous, part of that is the recognition that the content, theories, and implications of any number of academic disciplines often engender vigorous debate and can sometimes conflict with personal beliefs. How these controversies and how the inevitable clashes of personal convictions and values are raised and addressed are crucial questions for a university. Ultimately, universities must be responsible for providing an environment that promotes learning and that permits individuals to exchange ideas in honest and civil ways. That is our goal.”

read full memo here

read lawsuit charges here

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Latin Mass At Least Once a Week

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The Vatican's most popular and powerful cardinal, Francis Arinze, visited the 'Rome of the West' (St. Louis) today, and instructed America's larger Catholic parishes to offer the mass in Latin, at least once a week. Now this just makes perfect sense to me. Catholics who want the mass in Latin, should have access to it in Latin, (at least the Latin Novus Ordo, but preferably the Tridentine). I've never understood why (or how) a bishop could deny this of his flock...

Top Vatican cardinal addresses St. Louis liturgy conference
By Tim Townsend

Cardinal Francis Arinze, one of the most popular and powerful Vatican officials to visit St. Louis since Pope John Paul II's 1999 visit, told more than 250 people at the Chase Park Plaza Saturday morning that Latin should be used more frequently in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

The Latin language now, he said "is in the ecclesiastical refrigerator ... Mass today should be in Latin from time to time."

Arinze, as the head of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, is the Roman Catholic church's chief liturgist. He was the keynote speaker on the final day of the Gateway Liturgical Conference, sponsored by the St. Louis Archdiocese. Arinze, 74, had been scheduled to give the keynote address at the 2005 Gateway Liturgical Conference, but had to cancel his trip when John Paul died less than a week before the cardinal's address was scheduled.

Arinze, a native of Nigeria, was president of the Vatican's Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue for 17 years before being named to his present position four years ago. Partially because of the explosive growth of the Roman Catholic church in Africa and because of the his expertise on Islam, Arinze was frequently mentioned as a papabile — or likely next pope — in the immediate wake of John Paul's death.


In his address on Saturday, titled, "Language in the Latin Rite Liturgy: Latin and Vernacular," Arinze said the Roman church used Greek in its early years, but was "Latinized" in the fourth century. "The Roman rite has Latin as its official language," he said. The great religions of the world all "hold on" to their founding languages — Judaism to Hebrew and Aramaic, Islam to Arabic, Hindu to Sanskrit and Buddhism to Pali.

"Is it a small matter," he asked, for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in universal language of the church? Or for "a million students" who gather for World Youth Day every few years "to be able to say parts of the Mass in Latin?"

In an hourlong, often humorous, address that received several standing ovations, Arinze suggested that, in order to give Catholics options, large parishes offer the Mass in Latin at least once a week, and in smaller, rural parishes, at least once a month. (Homilies, he said, should always be in the faithful's native language.) Latin "suits a church that is universal. It has a stability modern languages don't have," he said.

Last month Vatican officials said Pope Benedict XVI would soon loosen restrictions on the Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. In the 1960s the Second Vatican Council approved the use of vernacular translations of the Tridentine Mass, and today most Catholics are familiar with the celebration of Mass in their own languages...

read full story here