Faith in the News

For those deep thinkers out there.
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hugodrax
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by hugodrax » Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:34 pm

mcommini wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:33 pm
wosbald wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:43 pm
+JMJ+

Perceived Discrimination toward Christians is Highest Living Among Christians [In-Depth, Analysis]
Image

[…]

I want to push on why people might believe such things [i.e. that Christians are under threat]. I suspect that they are mobilized from elite communication and are not the result of personal experience. One way of checking that out without communication data is to see if these beliefs cluster geographically. That is, the elite rhetoric above suggests that Democrats and the non-religious are the source of the discrimination, so is perceived discrimination more common in parts of the country that are more secular?

The analysis draws on newly released survey data from the Voter Study Group called Nationscape. We’re used to big datasets like the CCES, but this one is a monster. In 2019, the Nationscape is composed of 155,000 interviews. It’s amazing in some ways, limited in others, but helpful for this analysis. They adopted the PRRI scheme of asking, “How much discrimination is there in the United States today against each of the following groups?” The groups included Christians, Muslims, whites, Blacks, Jews, women, and men. I’m going to focus on responses about Christians for this post.

I thought I’d start by examining which religious groups think that Christians are discriminated against. Shown below, it’s no surprise that evangelicals — white or non-white — are the most likely to believe this, while religious minorities and nones are the least. Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians are in between. It’s not as if groups reject that there is any discrimination — even atheists admit that there probably is “a little” — though evangelicals believe that there is somewhere between “a moderate amount” and “a lot.”

Image

The following figure shows how much Christians within each state believe that Christians face discrimination. If Christians are persecuted by the non-religious, then Christians in Vermont and Oregon would be on top of the list. However, the opposite is true — the highest reported values come from Christians in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The lowest rates are reported in the northeast — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. This is not the pattern that the elite rhetoric leads us to expect.

Image

[…]
Hmmm. Given that more conservative Christians live in these less "elite" states, see a lot of elitist carpetbagging being forced upon them both by federal elites and those progressives moving into their communities seeking escape from the oppressive taxation of California and New England, I'm not surprised.

Especially given that the type of Christianity that is claimed to be persecuted is creedally orthodox- of which few and far between are to be found in the "elitist" states. Syncretist mainliners, Bad Catholics (and Orthodox) would of course see little discrimination as they are not the ones being discriminated against and have little sympathy for those "living in the past", who haven't felt the new wind of the Holy Spirit, haven't been enlightened by Vatican II, or who haven't realized their religion is just an ethnic social club akin to a slightly more overtly religious form of freemasonry. Those rotters aren't being discriminated against, they're the discriminators, staunchly defending Christ and their view of the Church as the exclusive means of an actual Salvation from an actual Hell. Good riddance to the lot, they're as bad as the Klan!
I’m confused. It’s the second-to-the-last sentence that I’m not understanding, I think.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by mcommini » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:37 am

hugodrax wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:34 pm
mcommini wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:33 pm
wosbald wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:43 pm
+JMJ+

Perceived Discrimination toward Christians is Highest Living Among Christians [In-Depth, Analysis]
Image

[…]

I want to push on why people might believe such things [i.e. that Christians are under threat]. I suspect that they are mobilized from elite communication and are not the result of personal experience. One way of checking that out without communication data is to see if these beliefs cluster geographically. That is, the elite rhetoric above suggests that Democrats and the non-religious are the source of the discrimination, so is perceived discrimination more common in parts of the country that are more secular?

The analysis draws on newly released survey data from the Voter Study Group called Nationscape. We’re used to big datasets like the CCES, but this one is a monster. In 2019, the Nationscape is composed of 155,000 interviews. It’s amazing in some ways, limited in others, but helpful for this analysis. They adopted the PRRI scheme of asking, “How much discrimination is there in the United States today against each of the following groups?” The groups included Christians, Muslims, whites, Blacks, Jews, women, and men. I’m going to focus on responses about Christians for this post.

I thought I’d start by examining which religious groups think that Christians are discriminated against. Shown below, it’s no surprise that evangelicals — white or non-white — are the most likely to believe this, while religious minorities and nones are the least. Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians are in between. It’s not as if groups reject that there is any discrimination — even atheists admit that there probably is “a little” — though evangelicals believe that there is somewhere between “a moderate amount” and “a lot.”

Image

The following figure shows how much Christians within each state believe that Christians face discrimination. If Christians are persecuted by the non-religious, then Christians in Vermont and Oregon would be on top of the list. However, the opposite is true — the highest reported values come from Christians in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The lowest rates are reported in the northeast — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. This is not the pattern that the elite rhetoric leads us to expect.

Image

[…]
Hmmm. Given that more conservative Christians live in these less "elite" states, see a lot of elitist carpetbagging being forced upon them both by federal elites and those progressives moving into their communities seeking escape from the oppressive taxation of California and New England, I'm not surprised.

Especially given that the type of Christianity that is claimed to be persecuted is creedally orthodox- of which few and far between are to be found in the "elitist" states. Syncretist mainliners, Bad Catholics (and Orthodox) would of course see little discrimination as they are not the ones being discriminated against and have little sympathy for those "living in the past", who haven't felt the new wind of the Holy Spirit, haven't been enlightened by Vatican II, or who haven't realized their religion is just an ethnic social club akin to a slightly more overtly religious form of freemasonry. Those rotters aren't being discriminated against, they're the discriminators, staunchly defending Christ and their view of the Church as the exclusive means of an actual Salvation from an actual Hell. Good riddance to the lot, they're as bad as the Klan!
I’m confused. It’s the second-to-the-last sentence that I’m not understanding, I think.
I got a bit ironic in adopting the viewpoint of those listed in the second sentence of the last paragraph, shifting tone as that paragraph went on (and indeed, in the middle of that very sentence). See that sentence from their point of view directed against those of a more orthodox belief.
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by hugodrax » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:52 am

mcommini wrote:
Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:37 am
hugodrax wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:34 pm
mcommini wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:33 pm
wosbald wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 2:43 pm
+JMJ+

Perceived Discrimination toward Christians is Highest Living Among Christians [In-Depth, Analysis]
Image

[…]

I want to push on why people might believe such things [i.e. that Christians are under threat]. I suspect that they are mobilized from elite communication and are not the result of personal experience. One way of checking that out without communication data is to see if these beliefs cluster geographically. That is, the elite rhetoric above suggests that Democrats and the non-religious are the source of the discrimination, so is perceived discrimination more common in parts of the country that are more secular?

The analysis draws on newly released survey data from the Voter Study Group called Nationscape. We’re used to big datasets like the CCES, but this one is a monster. In 2019, the Nationscape is composed of 155,000 interviews. It’s amazing in some ways, limited in others, but helpful for this analysis. They adopted the PRRI scheme of asking, “How much discrimination is there in the United States today against each of the following groups?” The groups included Christians, Muslims, whites, Blacks, Jews, women, and men. I’m going to focus on responses about Christians for this post.

I thought I’d start by examining which religious groups think that Christians are discriminated against. Shown below, it’s no surprise that evangelicals — white or non-white — are the most likely to believe this, while religious minorities and nones are the least. Catholics, mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians are in between. It’s not as if groups reject that there is any discrimination — even atheists admit that there probably is “a little” — though evangelicals believe that there is somewhere between “a moderate amount” and “a lot.”

Image

The following figure shows how much Christians within each state believe that Christians face discrimination. If Christians are persecuted by the non-religious, then Christians in Vermont and Oregon would be on top of the list. However, the opposite is true — the highest reported values come from Christians in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The lowest rates are reported in the northeast — Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. This is not the pattern that the elite rhetoric leads us to expect.

Image

[…]
Hmmm. Given that more conservative Christians live in these less "elite" states, see a lot of elitist carpetbagging being forced upon them both by federal elites and those progressives moving into their communities seeking escape from the oppressive taxation of California and New England, I'm not surprised.

Especially given that the type of Christianity that is claimed to be persecuted is creedally orthodox- of which few and far between are to be found in the "elitist" states. Syncretist mainliners, Bad Catholics (and Orthodox) would of course see little discrimination as they are not the ones being discriminated against and have little sympathy for those "living in the past", who haven't felt the new wind of the Holy Spirit, haven't been enlightened by Vatican II, or who haven't realized their religion is just an ethnic social club akin to a slightly more overtly religious form of freemasonry. Those rotters aren't being discriminated against, they're the discriminators, staunchly defending Christ and their view of the Church as the exclusive means of an actual Salvation from an actual Hell. Good riddance to the lot, they're as bad as the Klan!
I’m confused. It’s the second-to-the-last sentence that I’m not understanding, I think.
I got a bit ironic in adopting the viewpoint of those listed in the second sentence of the last paragraph, shifting tone as that paragraph went on (and indeed, in the middle of that very sentence). See that sentence from their point of view directed against those of a more orthodox belief.
Thanks. I didn’t want to assume anything.

Looks like you nailed it. Praying for Christ to be the bridge between all the different camps right now. I have a sinking feeling there isn’t much time left.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth
—Marcus Aurelius

non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:21 am

+JMJ+

Papal preacher says human, not economic, ‘recession’ biggest virus threat [In-Depth]
Image
The preacher to the Papal Household, Raniero Cantalamessa, speaks in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 19, 2019. (Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

ROME — On Good Friday Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, said the biggest thing people should fear about the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic is not an economic but a sort of anthropological “recession,” meaning surrendering the gains in human understanding the crisis has occasioned.

“When, in the memory of humanity, have the people of all nations ever felt themselves so united, so equal, so less in conflict than at this moment of pain? We have forgotten about building walls,” Cantalamessa said April 10, saying global solidarity is one of the major emerging effects of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 “knows no borders. In an instant, it has broken down all the barriers and distinctions of race, nation, religion, wealth, and power,” the 85-year-old Capuchin said.

“We should not revert to that prior time when this moment has passed, we should not waste this opportunity,” he said. “Let us not allow so much pain, so many deaths, and so much heroic engagement on the part of health workers to have been in vain.”

“Returning to the way things were,” he said, “is the ‘recession’ we should fear the most.”

He quoted Chapter 2 of the Book of Isaiah, which says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

The current crisis is an opportune time to fulfill this prophecy, he said, urging the world, and youth in particularly, to “say ‘enough!’ to the tragic race toward arms.”

“Say it with all your might, you young people, because it is above all your destiny that is at stake,” he said, urging unlimited resources to be invested instead in the weapons that will help with the most urgent necessities: Healthcare, hygiene, food, fighting poverty, and caring for creation.

“Let us leave to the next generation a world poorer in goods and money, if need be, but richer in its humanity,” he said.

[…]

In his homily, Cantalamessa said Jesus’s crucifixion and death, which he called the “greatest evil committed on earth,” is better understood by its effects than its causes.

While justification and salvation are the primary effects of Jesus’s sacrifice, he said one effect that is both timely and relevant given the current pandemic is that it “changed the meaning of pain and human suffering.”

“It is no longer punishment, a curse. It was redeemed at its root when the Son of God took it upon himself,” he said.

In terms of the coronavirus, Cantalamessa said the outbreak must also be looked at through lens of effects rather than causes, focusing more on the positive aspects than the tragic stories and numbers recycled in the news.

“The pandemic has abruptly roused us from the greatest danger individuals and humanity have always been susceptible to: the delusion of omnipotence,” he said, noting that it took a microscopic virus to remind humanity that it is mortal, and that “military power and technology are not sufficient to save us.”

With humanity, God at times “disrupts our projects and our calm to save us from the abyss we don’t see,” he said.

Though God does not cause the virus, he allows it, Cantalamessa said, adding, “If these scourges were punishments of God, it would not be explained why they strike equally good and bad, and why the poor usually bring the worst consequences of them. Are they more sinners than others?”

Rather, “God participates in our pain to overcome it,” he said, insisting that God did not want his son to die so that good would come from it, but he “permitted human freedom to take its course, making it serve, however, his own purposes and not those of human beings.”

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by hugodrax » Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:31 am

wosbald wrote:
Sat Apr 11, 2020 8:21 am
+JMJ+

Papal preacher says human, not economic, ‘recession’ biggest virus threat [In-Depth]
Image
The preacher to the Papal Household, Raniero Cantalamessa, speaks in St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 19, 2019. (Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

ROME — On Good Friday Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household, said the biggest thing people should fear about the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic is not an economic but a sort of anthropological “recession,” meaning surrendering the gains in human understanding the crisis has occasioned.

“When, in the memory of humanity, have the people of all nations ever felt themselves so united, so equal, so less in conflict than at this moment of pain? We have forgotten about building walls,” Cantalamessa said April 10, saying global solidarity is one of the major emerging effects of the coronavirus.

COVID-19 “knows no borders. In an instant, it has broken down all the barriers and distinctions of race, nation, religion, wealth, and power,” the 85-year-old Capuchin said.

“We should not revert to that prior time when this moment has passed, we should not waste this opportunity,” he said. “Let us not allow so much pain, so many deaths, and so much heroic engagement on the part of health workers to have been in vain.”

“Returning to the way things were,” he said, “is the ‘recession’ we should fear the most.”

He quoted Chapter 2 of the Book of Isaiah, which says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

The current crisis is an opportune time to fulfill this prophecy, he said, urging the world, and youth in particularly, to “say ‘enough!’ to the tragic race toward arms.”

“Say it with all your might, you young people, because it is above all your destiny that is at stake,” he said, urging unlimited resources to be invested instead in the weapons that will help with the most urgent necessities: Healthcare, hygiene, food, fighting poverty, and caring for creation.

“Let us leave to the next generation a world poorer in goods and money, if need be, but richer in its humanity,” he said.

[…]

In his homily, Cantalamessa said Jesus’s crucifixion and death, which he called the “greatest evil committed on earth,” is better understood by its effects than its causes.

While justification and salvation are the primary effects of Jesus’s sacrifice, he said one effect that is both timely and relevant given the current pandemic is that it “changed the meaning of pain and human suffering.”

“It is no longer punishment, a curse. It was redeemed at its root when the Son of God took it upon himself,” he said.

In terms of the coronavirus, Cantalamessa said the outbreak must also be looked at through lens of effects rather than causes, focusing more on the positive aspects than the tragic stories and numbers recycled in the news.

“The pandemic has abruptly roused us from the greatest danger individuals and humanity have always been susceptible to: the delusion of omnipotence,” he said, noting that it took a microscopic virus to remind humanity that it is mortal, and that “military power and technology are not sufficient to save us.”

With humanity, God at times “disrupts our projects and our calm to save us from the abyss we don’t see,” he said.

Though God does not cause the virus, he allows it, Cantalamessa said, adding, “If these scourges were punishments of God, it would not be explained why they strike equally good and bad, and why the poor usually bring the worst consequences of them. Are they more sinners than others?”

Rather, “God participates in our pain to overcome it,” he said, insisting that God did not want his son to die so that good would come from it, but he “permitted human freedom to take its course, making it serve, however, his own purposes and not those of human beings.”

[…]
I agree. Mr. Pope, tear down that wall you built around the sacraments.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:01 am

+JMJ+

COVID-19 lockdown not a threat to religious liberty, archbishop says [In-Depth]
Image
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori speaks about religious liberty Nov. 16 during the 2015 fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (Credit: CNS)

NEW YORK — No U.S. Catholic bishop has been associated more closely with religious liberty than Archbishop William Lori and he has a message for Catholics who think the current suspension of the sacraments due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a violation of religious liberty: It’s not — and to argue otherwise puts lives at risk.

Further, he is reminding fellow Catholics that “we are a people of faith and reason” and that heeding the government’s orders to suspend religious services is “eminently reasonable” and “it does not in any way attack or undermine our faith.”

In an interview with Crux at the start of Holy Week, Lori admits that while this is always a special time of the year for Catholics, this year is particularly special in unforeseen ways.

From his home in Baltimore, the archbishop is spending his days on videoconferences and recording daily messages to parishioners in the archdiocese, but he’s also been working his way through the roster of priests in the diocese and calling them to check-in.

He says there’s one consistent message he’s getting: “They miss being with their people.”

“It really is in our DNA,” he continues, but that doesn’t stop him from making another point that he’s keen to get across at the moment.

What is happening now — the suspension of Masses and other sacraments, says Lori — is happening “out of pastoral love for both our people and our priests.”

In recent weeks, some minority Catholic groups have claimed that what is happening is a violation of religious liberty, an argument that is made in the open letter for the launch of a petition titled “We are an Easter People,” which calls upon the bishops to take steps to provide “some form of public celebration of Mass during this time of strife and pandemic.”

Lori — who led the U.S. bishops’ religious liberty committee and was their point person on the issue during the bishops’ clash with the Obama administration over the contraceptive mandate — has another message.

“One of the overriding responsibilities of government is to keep people safe. This is a health and public safety issue. And this is not only a concern that the government has, it’s also a concern of the church,” he told Crux. “The Church has to take steps to ensure that we are kept safe and healthy and those steps have to be reasonable, rational. We do not feel as though we have been forced into doing this by the government. We feel like we’re doing the right thing.”

“We’re doing something important for the sake of our people, for the love for our people, recognizing how painful it is to have churches closed and not to be able to receive the sacraments,” he continued. “Nonetheless, my prayer is that we can minimize the number of deaths and infections and contribute to that day when this pandemic will loosen its grip on us and upon our country and our world. I feel like this is something that we should be doing, and I do not see it at all as a violation of our religious liberties.”

During his time representing the U.S. bishops on the issue, Lori frequently penned op-eds on the issue of religious liberty and testified before U.S. Congress, making his case that Catholics should not be forced to choose between their faith and violating the law.

This, he says, is not one of those times.

“All of our rights and liberties are very important. They are a gift to us from the Creator. They are constitutionally guaranteed, but they are not absolute,” he said. “No one right is utterly absolute, that includes religious freedom.”

“It’s always been recognized that sometimes there is an overriding concern on the part of the government and that people of faith have to take note of that and abide by it,” he continued. “I have no sense whatsoever that the authorities, especially here in Maryland, have any animus against our faith. I do have a sense from my personal conversations with those who have to make these decisions is that they want to keep people safe.”

Throughout the pandemic there have been calls on social media for priests to rebel and to offer underground Masses, and more recently, last week, the Catholic editor of First Things magazine wrote about attending one in New York offered by a priest as a “sensible pastoral response” to the moment.

Lori describes such a move, both on the part of parishioners and priests, as irresponsible.

“I think that organizing those kinds of masses in defiance of legitimate authority, both ecclesial and civil, is a mistake. It puts people’s lives at risk, and I believe it also defies reason,” he told Crux.

While he says that he recognizes that here is an understood and legitimate desire for the sacraments, he said that is no excuse for rogue behavior.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by hugodrax » Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:24 am

Happy Easter, Wos.
Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:27 am

+JMJ+
hugodrax wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:24 am
Happy Easter, Wos.
Bakatcha, bro!

:thumbsup:

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:13 pm

+JMJ+

Outgoing World Council of Churches head says Francis sees ecumenism as ‘service’ [In-Depth]
Image
Pope Francis attends an ecumenical prayer service at the World Council of Churches' ecumenical center in Geneva June 21. Also pictured is the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS)

NEW YORK — On the very day Pope Francis was elected in 2013, the head of the World Council of Churches was meeting with colleagues discussing how to “develop a wholeness in our ecumenical work,” when he offered the example of Francis of Assisi.

He is “a role model of what we’re talking about of the faith perspective, of the missionary perspective, of the relationship to nature and to God’s calling to the poor and to people of other faith,” Olav Fykse Tveit recalls telling his team. “Let us use Saint Francis as a model of how God calls us to justice and peace.”

When, hours later, the new pope appeared on the loggia of St. Peter’s taking Francis of Assisi as his namesake, Tveit took it to be a providential sign that the two would be great collaborators in the work of Christian ecumenism.

Now, as Tveit, who has led the World Council of Churches (WCC) since January 2010 and just last month finished ten years on the job as general secretary, looks back at his work, he told Crux that one of the things he’s proudest of is the “practical ecumenism” pursued together with Pope Francis.

[…]

Although the Catholic Church has never been a part of the WCC, it has permanent representation on its Faith and Order Commission, and in June 2018, Pope Francis traveled to Geneva to mark the 70th anniversary of the WCC’s founding.

Soon after arriving in his post, Tveit had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI, where at the time he said relations between the WCC and the Vatican were “quite good.” He recalls getting along well with Benedict, who related to him as theologian to theologian, given Tveit’s background work as Lutheran scholar.

The two enjoyed long chats, Tveit recalled, but he also realized there was “unused potential” and that following Pope Francis’ election, a more proactive effort between the two bodies emerged with a focus on practical initiatives defined by the mantra of “let’s do together what we can do together.”

This was Francis’s “very clear message form the very beginning,” said Tveit, who observed that while scholarship and theology are foundational, “we cannot separate theology from the work for peace, the care of God’s creation, to deal with the situation of the poor and migrants.”

“It must be diakonia,” Tveit continued, drawing on the Greek word for service or helping those in need.

This, he says, is the major breakthrough between the WCC and the Vatican during Francis’ pontificate, Tveit says, of an understanding of ecumenism as a diakonia, of “service to the world.”

[…]

He says that Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato si’, which demands new action to care for the environment, “sums up” what the WCC has been working on for the last 40 years.

Tveit also points to the defense of migrants and resisting the rising tides of nationalism in recent years as example of joint service. All of it, he argues, has been fueled by a renewed understanding that “ecumenism is for the purpose of God’s mission in the world.”

He cites Pope Francis reminder to the two entities cannot “forget that we are together in mission.”

That common mission, Tveit said, “is not for ourselves, but to share the Gospel” — and that understanding, “has become much stronger in recent years.”

When Francis traveled to Geneva, some speculated that it was partially an effort to inch the Catholic Church closer toward membership in the WCC.

Tveit, however, says there’s never been any discussion of that possibility with Francis and, the two bodies probably work best as they do now.

[…]

ImageImage

"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:50 am

+JMJ+

Women accused of witchcraft in Ghana find refuge in outpost run by sisters [In-Depth]
Image

Image
Vivian Salamatu, outside her house, relates how she escaped death from angry villagers who had accused her of killing her brother-in-law. (Doreen Ajiambo)

Persistent cultural practice targets women.

Gushegu, Ghana — Vivian Salamatu and 200 hundred other women here are bound together for life. They share each other's misfortunes and all have a similar story. They were accused of witchcraft, beaten, cast out and sent to "witch camps" that serve as havens.

"When my nephew died after a short illness, everyone hated me," Salamatu explains in Dagbani, her native language. "My brothers-in-law said I was responsible, they accused me of being a witch."

Dozens of elders and villagers gathered at her home to determine her innocence or guilt. One of the elders participating in the ritual test grabbed a chicken, slit its throat and flung it overhead. After it finished struggling, the chicken fell head first and died face down.

It was clear by the village standard she was a witch.

"If the chicken had died face up, then I would have been declared innocent of witchcraft," said Salamatu, 39, a mother of three. "That night, villagers led by my brothers-in-law attacked me with machetes and set fire to my house. They wanted to kill me with my children."

Her attackers, who had tied her up with a rope, were intercepted by nuns and local authorities. She was rescued with her children and taken to Gushegu "witch camp," located in the north of the country.

"I can't believe I'm alive today," she said, noting that the allegations came barely a year after losing her husband in a road accident. "I had no one to protect me from the angry villagers. But I want to thank God and the sisters who came and rescued me. It was a miracle!"

Salamatu is among hundreds of women who have been rescued by the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor and taken to Gushegu. The refuge, which is run by Sr. Ruphina Anosike and other sisters, provides homes to women accused of witchcraft. Anosike also cares for the homeless by providing meals and other necessities such as medical care and education for their children.

The immense majority of these women are widows with children. They have been accused by relatives, or sometimes by a competing wife, neighbors or village elders, of witchcraft, mainly of killing their husbands or other family members, said Anosike.

"It's heartbreaking to see that these women suspected to be witches are no longer needed in their families and communities," she said, noting that her camp, which accommodates more than 200 women, has become a safe haven for widows accused of witchcraft. "They stay here because they have no place to go, no food to eat, and no one cares for them."

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One of the mud huts where women accused of practicing witchcraft live in the Gushegu camp of northern Ghana (Doreen Ajiambo)

The motive to call someone a witch

Anosike notes that the chief motive behind such acts is often greed, and labeling these women as witches becomes a means of taking away their husbands' wealth. Camp residents also include mentally ill women and children who are considered outcasts in Ghana, she said.

Salamatu agreed there is a motive.

"My father-in-law wanted to take cows, land and some money that my husband had left, and I refused," she said, adding that her husband's relatives became hostile to her and toward her children. "They later accused me of practicing witchcraft so that I could be chased away and leave them everything. One of my neighbors told me they held a meeting to discuss how they could chase me away so that they would be able to take my properties."

Thousands of women and their children in northern Ghana have been left homeless after being accused of witchcraft, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. State Department. The report indicates that there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern region, holding 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children.

There is a widespread belief in witchcraft in the West African nation, according to 2009 Gallup surveys, despite 96% of the population declaring themselves to be active worshippers in one of several world religions. The belief in the phenomenon has devastating consequences. Elderly women believed to be witches are often persecuted, ousted from their homes or even murdered. Their children are also cursed and not allowed to go back home after they have grown.

[…]


GSR video of sisters and women at the Gushegu camp in northern Ghana by Doreen Ajiambo
► Show Spoiler
[…]

A superstition that sticks

Witchcraft is a stubborn phenomenon in African cultures, experts say. Witches and wizards are thought to possess intrinsic and supernatural powers that are used to create evil. Many seek out the services of witchdoctors and wizards to find solutions for their relationships, troubles and even for good health. However, the practice has for years also had its negative side. In worst-case scenarios, such beliefs lead to murder and destruction of the accused witches, they said.

"The belief in witchcraft is deeply entrenched in Africa culture and dictates people's lives," said Charles Nzioka, a professor of sociology at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. "Witchcraft is in people's minds. If someone loses a job, Westerners assume that it's due to economic conditions or poor performance. An African is likely to say that someone used witchcraft to make or confuse an employer to hate and sack the person concerned."

Nzioka said that the belief in witchcraft in Africa is intended to keep order in society; any deviation in behavior may lead to an allegation. As in Ghana, women who do not want to conform to society's expectations may fall victim to the accusations of witchcraft, he said.

[…]

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Srs. Ruphina Anosike, left, and Monica Yahaya, second from right, help sort out the grains that had been swept from the market by women accused of witchcraft in Ghana. These women survive by collecting firewood, selling little bags of peanuts or working in nearby farms. (Doreen Ajiambo)

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:24 pm

+JMJ+

Cardinal fears coronavirus could be end of European Un𝗂on [In-Depth]
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Archbishop Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg was elected president of the Brussels-based Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community March 8. He is pictured in an undated photo. (Credit: Felix Kindermann/courtesy COMECE via CNS)

ROME — In a provocative reflection on the coronavirus and Europe, Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich said aloud what many at this moment are likely thinking: With the European Un𝗂on in disarray over the migration crisis and weakened by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, could the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic be the tipping point signaling the end is near?

Speaking of the global impact the coronavirus is having and the need for solidarity with those who will and are suffering in the economic fallout, Hollerich, who was given a red hat by Pope Francis in 2019, said “The largest solidarity network we can imagine is the European U***n. Yet the EU seems paralyzed.”

President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Un𝗂on (COMECE), Hollerich spoke in an article to be published in Saturday’s print edition of the Jesuit-run journal La Civilta Cattolica, but which is already available on their Italian-language website.

In Europe, “the return to national interests seems obvious to most member countries,” he said; then, turning to the current back and forth over aid packages for EU member states most heavily impacted by COVID-19, he said that so far, “The crisis seems to favor the individualism of nations.”

Noting how past epidemics have left lasting impressions on European life and culture, Hollerich mused aloud as to what will be “the traces of the coronavirus pandemic in the collective memory of the European peoples.”

“Europe cannot be built without an idea of Europe, without ideals,” he said, and pointed to increasingly strict migration policies in many European nations, as well as prominent images of overcrowded refugee camps and capsized boats in the Mediterranean. These incidents, he said, “have inflicted deep wounds on the European ideal.”

When it comes to the coronavirus, he said a lack of solidarity with heavily hit countries “can become the fatal wound,” he said. “We see in evidence the difficulty of European solidarity … I fear that for many this will be the disenchantment with the European project.”

Pope Francis himself has often spoken out against a wave of nationalist populism that has swept across much of the world, including many European countries, tending to put individual interests before the good of the whole.

He has also often advocated for European unity, particularly in the aftermath of Brexit. In his April 12 Easter Sunday Urbi et Orbi address, Francis recalled the wave of solidarity that swept through Europe post-World War II, part of which led to the creation of the European Un𝗂on, which he said currently finds itself in the midst of a massive crisis.

With the coronavirus compounding these challenges, the pope said it is more urgent than ever that “these rivalries do not regain force, but that all recognize themselves as part of a single family and support one another.

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:39 am

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SBC leader Albert Mohler indicates support for Donald Trump in reversal of 2016 position [In-Depth]
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Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at the Together for the Gospel conference April 2012. | (Photo: T4G/Sarah Danaher)

Calling him the most “consistent” president in American history, prominent Southern Baptist R. Albert Mohler Jr., indicated Wednesday that he will likely support President Donald Trump in 2020 despite not voting for him in 2016 when he also encouraged other Christian leaders to do the same.

“I did not vote for Donald Trump [in 2016], I certainly did not vote for Hillary Clinton, as a matter of fact,” Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, revealed in an Ask Me Anything session posted on YouTube.

[…]

And Mohler, like many in the “Never Trump” camp in 2016, did not withhold his concern for Trump’s moral character, which some critics dismissed as “borne of false piety and self-righteousness.”

While he doesn’t have a different opinion of Trump’s moral character today, Mohler said he was impressed by the president’s commitment to his campaign promises and as a result he will not make the same decision he did in 2016, when he refused to support him.

“I don’t have a different moral estimation of Donald Trump. Even in office he continually leaves me very frustrated in how he presents himself, how he speaks, but he has been more consistent in pro-life decisions, executive orders … than any president of the United States in any party. He’s been more consistent than any Republican certainly in the quality of appointments he has made to the federal judiciary, which will far outlive any presidency,” he said, noting that he will “will make a different political calculation in 2020.”

[…]

Mohler told The Washington Post in an interview published Thursday that he first began to believe Trump would deliver on his campaign promises during the 2017 Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Neil M. Gorsuch.

Trump also went on to appoint a number of evangelicals throughout his administration, including Mohler’s son-in-law, Riley Barnes, who currently serves as a senior adviser in the State Department. And because Trump has kept his promises, Mohler argued that he could likely see stronger support in 2020 from evangelicals than the 80 percent he got in 2016.

“In retrospect, I made my vote of minimal importance,” he told The Washington Post. “I don’t intend to do that in 2020. There’s a bit of regret in that.”

Dwight McKissic, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, who is black, told the publication that he would no longer recommend Mohler’s seminary to black students.

“It shows you’re tone deaf or you don’t care about the sensitivities of the majority of African Americans who find Donald Trump a repulsive personality and politician,” McKissic said.

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:25 am

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Study finds youth strong in faith amid virus, but increasingly lonely [In-Depth]
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Pope Francis arrives for a July 30 prayer vigil with World Youth Day pilgrims at the Field of Mercy in Krakow, Poland. (Credit: CNS)

NEW YORK — A new study finds that while young people are experiencing heightened levels of loneliness and isolation as a result of social distancing, they are not experiencing a decline in their faith.

Among those surveyed, 35 percent of respondents said that they are actually experiencing an increase of faith, and 46 percent attested to having developed new religious practices.

Yet while Church leaders may be relieved by that data, 50 percent of those who’ve attended an online service also reported they don’t have anyone to talk to about how they are feeling, and 44 percent report feeling isolated because no one has reached out to them.

Further, clergy or faith leaders account for less than one percent of those adults who’ve reached out to young people, who represent what the study labels one of the “most lonely and isolated generations that have ever existed.”

In addition, the survey found a severe lack of trust in institutions. On a scale from 1 to 10, over 60 percent of young people rank their trust level at 5 or lower for a range on institutions, including organized religion, with religious practice not offering a “protective effect” against the “epidemic of loneliness and isolation.”

The full study, “Belonging: Reconnecting America’s Loneliest Generation,” was released this month by the Springtide Research Institute, surveying one thousand young people between 18-25.

In response, Paul Jarzembowski, who oversees Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), told Crux the findings are a call for a greater pastoral response to isolation and loneliness among youth and young adults that was already an issue before the pandemic, which has only exacerbated the concerns.

“We need to reach out to them and support them during this time, and even beyond this time of social distancing, as its impact will certainly be felt for years to come,” he said. “This global health crisis will likely be the defining moment in the life of youth and young adults today. We cannot underestimate it as we consider how we best reach out and minister with young people.”

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:01 am

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A new Catholic legal doctrine
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A copy of the U.S. Constitution on the flag. (Image by Wynn Pointaux/Pixabay/Creative Commons)

(RNS) — A couple of weeks ago, The Atlantic magazine ruffled the dovecotes by publishing “Beyond Originalism,” an attack on conservative constitutional orthodoxy by conservative Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule. With the zeal of the convert to Catholicism that he is, Vermeule proposes to replace originalism with what he calls “common good constitutionalism,” a concept that harks back to the late 19th-century anti-libertarian political philosophy of Pope Leo XIII.

Originalism, as espoused by the late Justice Antonin Scalia or Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., is based on the proposition that, unless the framers’ intent is treated as authoritative, the Constitution only means what a given majority on the Supreme Court wants it to mean. That’s how, in the originalists’ view, the court found that prescribed prayer and Bible reading in the public schools violated the establishment clause and discovered a constitutional right for women to obtain abortions.

Vermeule sees originalism as little more than a useful defensive crouch adopted by conservatives decades ago to criticize the dominant liberal legal ideology. But now that conservative judges all but dominate the judiciary, it’s time, he argues, to abandon the crouch and use the Constitution’s grand general principles (such as Congress’ power to provide for the country’s “general welfare”) to pursue common good policies based on “the ius gentium — the law of nations or the ‘general law’ common to all civilized legal systems — and principles of objective natural morality” (i.e., natural law).

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Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule in 2014. (Photo by Martha Stewart, courtesy of Harvard.edu)

To achieve the desired policies, Vermeule envisages “a powerful presidency ruling over a powerful bureaucracy.” He loses no love over majoritarian desires, whether approved by Congress or by some other democratic means.

Not only does Vermeule expect his powerful ruling authorities to promote traditional morality — by, of course, doing away with abortion rights — he also expects it to support organized labor and “to protect the vulnerable from the ravages of pandemics, natural disasters, and climate change, and from the underlying structures of corporate power that contribute to these events.”

If all this seems passing strange in a conservative American legal theorist, it is anything but for one under the influence of Leo XIII, whose papacy ran from 1878 until his death in 1903.

Leo is rightly celebrated by Catholic progressives for his 1891 encyclical “Rerum novarum,” which endorsed the right of workers to unionize at a time when Western capitalism was at its most predatory. But even as he lay the foundations for contemporary Catholic social doctrine, Leo did not prefer democracy over other forms of government. He believed that states exist in order to enable God to reign over humanity.

[…]

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Pope Leo XIII. (Image courtesy of Creative Commons)

[…]

Vermeule rejects the spiritual libertarianism that has led some parents to claim a religious right to send their children to school without being vaccinated. Presumably he would also reject claims made by religious leaders (including a few Catholic prelates and prominent lay folk) who insist on religious exemptions from government orders not to congregate during the current pandemic.

Last year, he proposed giving “lexical priority to confirmed Catholics” in U.S. immigration policy, but in his Atlantic article he says nothing about rethinking the First Amendment’s ban on laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”

Given that a large portion of the conservative Catholic elite in America have embraced a preferential option for both economic and spiritual libertarianism, it is hard to imagine Vermeule’s common good constitutionalism gaining much traction in that quarter. But it will be interesting to see if it has any impact on the jurisprudence of the originalists on the Supreme Court, including John Roberts, Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanagh (Catholics all), and sometime-Catholic Neil Gorsuch.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:15 am

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Prepare now for post-pandemic ministry, church professionals urge [In-Depth]
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A man in Arlington, Va., sits by himself inside St. Ann Church March 20, 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic. Church professionals urge now is the time to prepare for post-pandemic ministry. (Credit: Ann M. Augherton/Arlington Herald via CNS)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — While church lockdowns remain the norm in much of the country, parish management and ministry professionals say now is the time for parishes and dioceses to find ways to creatively keep the faithful engaged when the weekslong coronavirus hibernation ends.

[…]
  • Clergy especially, but also parish staff, must communicate with parishioners. Check-in calls to parishioners, emails inviting people to keep in touch with each other and social media posts all can build a sense of community despite widespread physical separation and accompany people through a troubled time.
  • Better integrating of new technologies into ministry on the heels of new ventures in online streaming of Masses and prayer services.
  • Transparency in operations, including finances, so that people feel encouraged to offer financial support now or in the future when they are able.
  • Sharing responsibility between laypeople and clergy in parish and diocesan ministries and operations, thereby taking full advantage of the expertise and creativity people have as the church maneuvers through uncertain times.
“One of the things we’ve been encouraging parishes to do is that now is the time to communicate more with your people not less with your people,” said Matthew Manion, faculty director of the Center for Church Management at Villanova University.

“There can be a tendency not to get in the way of people’s lives. But in reality, in a crisis situation people look to their leaders for hope, and the church can be one of those voices, probably the strongest voice,” he said.

[…]

Rick Krivanka, executive director of the Jesuit Retreat Center in Parma, Ohio, and former director of pastoral planning in the Diocese of Cleveland, said he believes people are embracing the online liturgies. The key, he suggested, will be engaging them as life returns to normal.

“People are finding it uplifting,” Krivanka told CNS. “They are understanding it is our own responsibility about not only following a routine about going to Mass every Sunday, but now people are finding very uplifting experiences because of the personal initiative they have to take (to find an online Mass).”

[…]

Villanova’s Center for Church Management has sponsored a series of webinars in recent weeks to help church leaders traverse the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. Manion said the underlying message has been one of accompanying people in ways “that may serve the church going forward.”

“The plan to transition people back to worshipping in a full community is going to be really key,” he told CNS. “One of the keys will continue to be in relationship with each other. Our parish communities have to continue or begin to foster that sense of larger community so that it is a family we want to see when this is over.”

However long that takes, Krivanka believes a better tomorrow is ahead.

“The world has gotten through everything, the world always recovers,” he said. “Did people suffer? Absolutely. Was it very painful? Absolutely. But the world always recovers. That’s what history tells us.”

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:59 pm

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Pastors Bring Hope Through Parish Neighborhoods With Blessed Sacrament [Video]
ImageImage


In a sign of hope, community and faith, clergy from Saint Helen Church in Howard Beach, Queens are taking to the streets, processing with the Blessed Sacrament.

They’re bringing the Church right to their parishioners’ doorsteps – but from a safe distance.

“The people here miss their church,” said Father Francis Colamaria, pastor at St. Helen’s, “but we also have an elderly population that is not watching online.”

It’s a unique way to give a benediction to the sick, to see their parishioners and to make sure they’re reaching everyone, including those unable to tune into the church’s popular live-streamed Masses.

Fr. Colamaria says the idea came from the past.

“Historically, this has been done during plagues, processions of popes and bishops going through their diocese or their parishes,” he explained. “We wanted to do the same thing.”

They will continue to do this every day starting at 1:30 p.m., taking a different route until they have covered the whole parish.

And St. Helen’s is not alone. Pastors all over the country have been doing this as a way to stay connected with the faithful, including in Brooklyn.

On April 19, the Celebration of the Divine Mercy at Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace in Brooklyn included the visitation of the Bless-ed Sacrament through the streets of Coney Island.

They spread an important message to their parishioners.

“They are not alone in their suffering, that is the best message we could communicate through the best medium of the Church which is the Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist,” explained the church’s pastor, Father Shiju Chittattukara. “God is visiting them to give them the healing, to give them the consolation, to give them the peace that they need at this time.”

[…]

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:45 pm

+JMJ+

The surprisingly Catholic roots of the European Un𝗂on [In-Depth]
Image
The Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium, is headquarters of the European Commission, the administrative arm of the European Un𝗂on. (iStock/Jorisvo)

Image

This February, leaders of an international conservative movement met in Rome and denounced the European Union as a new form of anti-Christian totalitarianism. In doing so, they ignored the E.U.’s surprisingly Catholic roots.

The Rome gathering — the second annual National Conservatism conference, or “Natcon” — was part of a growing movement that has brought together far-right party leaders and public intellectuals in the service of resacralizing the idea of Christian nationalism. Participants included Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary; Marion Maréchal, of the French National Front party; Giorgia Meloni, of the Brothers of Italy party, which has roots in that nation’s postwar fascist parties; Rod Dreher, a writer for The American Conservative magazine and author of The Benedict Option; and Yoram Hazony, the author of The Virtue of Nationalism.

Their movement has taken specific aim at globalism and internationalism as authoritarian projects that are hostile to the freedom of religious communities and individuals. They argue that under the cover of multiculturalism and political correctness (what Mr. Dreher calls the “pink police state”), international organizations like the European Un𝗂on have imposed a regime of liberal, materialist and secular values that legally punishes religious individuals for their beliefs. Beginning with its official name (“God, Honor, Country: President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and the Freedom of Nations”), this year’s Natcon invoked the specter of communist totalitarianism, portrayed the E.U. as its direct heir and made the case that resistance to both takes the form of Christian nationalism.

[…]

To be sure, there are important criticisms to be made of the E.U., as well as contemporary liberalism and the place of faith in the public sphere. That said, the demonization of the E.U. as a totalitarian form of secular humanism — and the idolization of Christian nationalism as an exclusive source of political freedom — represents a dangerously misleading narrative about the role of faith in either. In particular, it overlooks the important Christian and specifically Catholic ideals in the history of the E.U.

In the minds of E.U. founders like Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gasperi, all members of the Christian Democratic movement, the task of postwar European reconciliation required the construction of stronger international organizations and institutions. This support of Christian Democrats for the E.U. cannot be explained away as a mid-century secular turn only reluctantly adopted by the Catholic Church.

Catholic internationalism and suspicion of the nation-state go back much further than that. For much of European history, the church’s preferred political order was closer to an imperial model, as symbolized in the ideal of Christendom that was built up across the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires. The church fought the project of national sovereignty tooth and nail, equating it with a loss of Catholic universalism and all of its globalist implications. The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which birthed the modern idea of sovereignty and the nation-state, was the direct result of the Protestant Reformation and the violent breakup of Catholic empire that followed. In fact, the loss of the United Kingdom to Brexit almost suggests that the E.U. is a contemporary version of the Holy Roman Empire that unites Catholic cultures and Christian Democrats across the middle of Europe.

[…]

The equation of liberty, subsidiarity and religious freedom with the revival of fully sovereign European nation-states is deeply suspect on theological, political and historical grounds. And the appropriation of Christian Democracy for Christian nationalism by actors like Mr. Orban is both distorting and unsettling. If recent European history is any guide, it is a project that will end up poorly for the church. Especially in these days of the coronavirus and the geopolitical consequences to come, it is useful to remember the widely accredited role that the E.U. had in helping to reconstruct the postwar European continent; reconcile France and Germany; and make war between these nations unlikely for the first time in centuries. Our Christian, moral responsibility is to reform the E.U., not destroy it.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Post by wosbald » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:00 pm

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Chaplain to gypsies and Travellers says British TV show reinforces prejudice
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(Credit: Pixabay)

LEICESTER, United Kingdom — England’s national Catholic chaplain for gypsies, Roma and Travellers says a new television documentary will only “reinforce … prejudice” against the communities.

The documentary “The Truth About Traveller Crime” aired on Channel 4 on Thursday night, and claimed to document extortion, theft, vandalism, and violence stemming from the community.

Travellers are a nomadic group originating in Ireland, and there are tens of thousands living in the United Kingdom. Although they are often called “gypsies” in Britain, they are distinct from the Roma community found throughout the rest of Europe. Altogether, there an estimated 300,000 members of these nomadic groups living in the UK.

“Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities make a valuable contribution to our society, yet face extraordinary levels of racism and discrimination. Almost every man, woman and child has suffered some form of hate speech or hate crime,” said Father Dan Mason, the national Catholic chaplain for the communities.

The documentary centers on a community in the Leicestershire town of Lutterworth and attributes a disproportionate amount of crime to the Traveller community in Britain.

“Channel 4’s program used sensationalist language, selective examples and dubious statistics which will only reinforce this prejudice. Such broadcasts would be dangerous and irresponsible at the best of times. Coming amid a national crisis, and a pandemic that’s hitting minority communities so hard, is particularly unacceptable,” the priest continued.

[…]

The Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association said they had “seen an increase in the prejudice our community faces as a result” of the documentary, and called for a national review into the relationship between police and the gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities.

It pointed to the fact that an anonymous uniformed officer appeared on the program and “felt it was acceptable and safe to be openly racist,” and showed a “complete lack of understanding of the complexities that exist” in policing the community.

“This review should focus on identifying and eliminating internal systematic institutional racism and bias,” the association said.

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"[T]he emergency of irregular migration has to be met with justice, solidarity and mercy. Forms of collective expulsion, which do not allow for the suitable treatment of individual cases, are unacceptable."
— Pope Francis, Morocco

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Re: Faith in the News

Post by tuttle » Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:29 am

wosbald wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:45 pm
+JMJ+

The surprisingly Catholic roots of the European Un𝗂on [In-Depth]
Image
The Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium, is headquarters of the European Commission, the administrative arm of the European Un𝗂on. (iStock/Jorisvo)

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This February, leaders of an international conservative movement met in Rome and denounced the European Union as a new form of anti-Christian totalitarianism. In doing so, they ignored the E.U.’s surprisingly Catholic roots.

The Rome gathering — the second annual National Conservatism conference, or “Natcon” — was part of a growing movement that has brought together far-right party leaders and public intellectuals in the service of resacralizing the idea of Christian nationalism. Participants included Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary; Marion Maréchal, of the French National Front party; Giorgia Meloni, of the Brothers of Italy party, which has roots in that nation’s postwar fascist parties; Rod Dreher, a writer for The American Conservative magazine and author of The Benedict Option; and Yoram Hazony, the author of The Virtue of Nationalism.

Their movement has taken specific aim at globalism and internationalism as authoritarian projects that are hostile to the freedom of religious communities and individuals. They argue that under the cover of multiculturalism and political correctness (what Mr. Dreher calls the “pink police state”), international organizations like the European Un𝗂on have imposed a regime of liberal, materialist and secular values that legally punishes religious individuals for their beliefs. Beginning with its official name (“God, Honor, Country: President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and the Freedom of Nations”), this year’s Natcon invoked the specter of communist totalitarianism, portrayed the E.U. as its direct heir and made the case that resistance to both takes the form of Christian nationalism.

[…]

To be sure, there are important criticisms to be made of the E.U., as well as contemporary liberalism and the place of faith in the public sphere. That said, the demonization of the E.U. as a totalitarian form of secular humanism — and the idolization of Christian nationalism as an exclusive source of political freedom — represents a dangerously misleading narrative about the role of faith in either. In particular, it overlooks the important Christian and specifically Catholic ideals in the history of the E.U.

In the minds of E.U. founders like Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gasperi, all members of the Christian Democratic movement, the task of postwar European reconciliation required the construction of stronger international organizations and institutions. This support of Christian Democrats for the E.U. cannot be explained away as a mid-century secular turn only reluctantly adopted by the Catholic Church.

Catholic internationalism and suspicion of the nation-state go back much further than that. For much of European history, the church’s preferred political order was closer to an imperial model, as symbolized in the ideal of Christendom that was built up across the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empires. The church fought the project of national sovereignty tooth and nail, equating it with a loss of Catholic universalism and all of its globalist implications. The 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which birthed the modern idea of sovereignty and the nation-state, was the direct result of the Protestant Reformation and the violent breakup of Catholic empire that followed. In fact, the loss of the United Kingdom to Brexit almost suggests that the E.U. is a contemporary version of the Holy Roman Empire that unites Catholic cultures and Christian Democrats across the middle of Europe.

[…]

The equation of liberty, subsidiarity and religious freedom with the revival of fully sovereign European nation-states is deeply suspect on theological, political and historical grounds. And the appropriation of Christian Democracy for Christian nationalism by actors like Mr. Orban is both distorting and unsettling. If recent European history is any guide, it is a project that will end up poorly for the church. Especially in these days of the coronavirus and the geopolitical consequences to come, it is useful to remember the widely accredited role that the E.U. had in helping to reconstruct the postwar European continent; reconcile France and Germany; and make war between these nations unlikely for the first time in centuries. Our Christian, moral responsibility is to reform the E.U., not destroy it.
That's an interesting take. I think it was a little fear-mongering over the National Conservative conference, but at least it recognized the reason for it, even if it didn't take much stock into it.

But the interesting part is the idea that the EU, on account of its Catholic roots, should be reformed rather than destroyed. That type of thinking would have made sense much longer ago, but the problem is that it should have happened when people discussing reforming the EU would have been as scandalous as the NatCon folks now. And the very same people who write articles like the one above would have been pooh-poohing the reform-minded.

And what of it having Catholic roots? If it has gone beyond the point of a legitimate possibility of reform, if it has severed itself from its own roots and is adrift, then discussing drastic steps seems quite appropriate. It calls to mind something St. Bernard (not the dog) said, Religio peperit divitias, et filia devoravit matrem; "Religion brought forth prosperity, and the daughter destroyed the mother". That seems to fit nicely with the EU. The question no longer is "Why not reform? Why go back to her roots?", but rather "How can you go back to the roots if the roots have been destroyed?" And if the EU has become Frankenstein's monster (as some of the NatCon folks seem to believe) then it really does make sense for you to kill it before it destroys everything you love.

Again, the author is too late, as he would have been too late in the days when folks were merely rumbling. What this kind of thinking really boils down to is cowardice. They want to have the appearance of standing for the truth without the fighting for the truth.
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Re: Faith in the News

Post by wosbald » Fri May 01, 2020 11:31 am

+JMJ+
tuttle wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 6:29 am
wosbald wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:45 pm
The surprisingly Catholic roots of the European Un𝗂on [In-Depth]
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The Berlaymont building in Brussels, Belgium, is headquarters of the European Commission, the administrative arm of the European Un𝗂on. (iStock/Jorisvo)

[…]

The equation of liberty, subsidiarity and religious freedom with the revival of fully sovereign European nation-states is deeply suspect on theological, political and historical grounds. And the appropriation of Christian Democracy for Christian nationalism by actors like Mr. Orban is both distorting and unsettling. If recent European history is any guide, it is a project that will end up poorly for the church. Especially in these days of the coronavirus and the geopolitical consequences to come, it is useful to remember the widely accredited role that the E.U. had in helping to reconstruct the postwar European continent; reconcile France and Germany; and make war between these nations unlikely for the first time in centuries. Our Christian, moral responsibility is to reform the E.U., not destroy it.
[…]

[T]he interesting part is the idea that the EU, on account of its Catholic roots, should be reformed rather than destroyed. …

[…]
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