Dumped, But Newborn ‘Hope’ Lives

There can be no excuse for doing this:

The tiny baby lay in a plastic bag in the veld, blue and ice cold, with no hope of a chance on life.

Her umbilical cord and placenta still attached to her, she would not have survived another hour.

But this newborn was given a new lease of life when municipal cleaners found her yesterday morning, wrapped in a plastic bag near the Centurion Cemetery in Hennops Park.

Frikkie Gous of LifeMed Ambulance Services said the workers alerted Monitor Net Security Service, and they called the emergency service just after 9am. Rescuers arrived less than 10 minutes later.

“The baby was still alive, but very cold and dehydrated. She was only a few hours old. The plastic bag was twisted, but not knotted, so she still managed to get oxygen. She was so blue, that only after she was given treatment, did her body colour return,” Gous said.

Had they arrived an hour later, the baby would have been dead, he said. “The emergency personnel treated and stabilised her, wrapping her in a space blanket for heat.

“They then rushed her to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. The baby cried a little bit in the ambulance, but only at the hospital, when she was put under the lights, did she really start to show reaction.”

Hearing the story of her short life, hospital staff named the baby “Hope”. She was assessed, put in an incubator and given baby formula, before being admitted to hospital for further observation.

Gous said little Hope was stable and doing well. He was sure the little girl would improve with the love from hospital personnel. “LifeMed also received many calls from people who wanted to donate clothes and nappies for little Hope.”

Once she is discharged from hospital Hope will be taken to a place of safety. Police Captain Bonginkosi Msimango said a case of child abandonment was being investigated.

A Neighbor Can Also Be Met Online

While involved in the digital world, we must never forget the question: “Who is my neighbor?”, and to really establish our presence in an evangelical sense. The Pope said this in a message entitled “Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age”. The Message, for the World Day of Social Communications, was presented today at the Vatican. New technologies, writes Benedict XVI, allow people to meet beyond the boundaries of space and one culture, thus ushering in a whole new world of potential friends. This is a great opportunity, he said…

High Stakes and Hopes for Egypt's Christians in Historic Protests

CNA reports:

Cairo, Egypt – As clashes between anti-government protesters and Egyptian police intensified on Jan. 28, some Coptic Orthodox Christians disregarded their church’s call for peaceful non-involvement – in hopes that the possible abdication of President Hosni Mubarak could advance the cause of their freedom.

Professor Emad Shahin, a political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, specializes in Islamic affairs and has been monitoring the Egyptian situation closely. He told CNA that many Coptic Christians were joining with Muslims to express their frustration with three decades of authoritarian rule.

“The different statements that called for today’s demonstrations were calling on participants to come ‘from the mosques and the churches,’ to go to public squares,” Professor Shahin explained. “We have seen evidence that some Copts have been participating in the demonstrations.”

The protesters, he said, “need an end to corruption. They need the rule of law. They call for freedoms, and dignity – for social justice, and of course, for democracy.”

Officially, however, “the Egyptian Church is taking a separate side – it’s not really participating, or encouraging its members to participate in the events.”

The unprecedented protests have brought hundreds of thousands of Egyptians into the streets since Jan. 25, prompting President Mubarak to deploy security forces and shut down the means of communication – including internet access, text messaging and phone service – within the country.

At least 26 people have already been reported dead, although some government troops have allegedly refused to act against protesters. As of Jan. 28, the president was holding his ground, while acknowledging a number of economic and political grievances and demanding the resignation of his cabinet.

“This is an uprising calling for profound changes,” Shahin said. “It has narrowed down the options for the Egyptian regime: either change, or leave.”

Professor Shahin mentioned a number of statements coming from officials of the Coptic Church –including its leader, Pope Shenouda III – asking Copts not to participate in the demonstrations. They were urged, instead, to attend church services and pray for the peace and the well-being of their country.

But for many Coptic Christians, the prospect of a future without Mubarak – notwithstanding the uncertainty about who would replace him – held more appeal than the Coptic Pope’s call for restraint…

The rest is here.

Who knows what will come to pass… Perhaps it’ll work out to be a matter of better the devil you know that the devil you don’t?

Hundreds of South Africans Pray for Nelson Mandela at Church

Associated Press:

Johannesburg (AP) — Hundreds of South Africans filled a historic church Sunday morning to pray for former president Nelson Mandela after his release from a local hospital earlier this week.

Rev. Benedict Mahlangu, a priest at the main Roman Catholic church in the black township of Soweto, lit a candle and asked congregants to pray for Mandela, who doctors said was treated for an acute respiratory tract infection.

More than 500 people gathered at Regina Mundi church, a former center of anti-apartheid protests and funerals. Bullet holes in the ceiling serve as reminders of a 1976 incident when police stormed the church during an anti-apartheid protest and fired live ammunition at students.

Mahlangu said his parishioners showed great concern during Mandela’s two-night hospital stay.

“Around here, there was no life, everything just stopped,” Mahlangu said. “They were just asking questions: ‘Why?’ And I said to them, ‘the man is 92 years old, he has worked for us, he has done his part and then we need to pray for him.’”

Churchgoers clad in colorful African fabrics swayed and harmonized with the choir, waving their arms to the hymns.

“All of this wouldn’t have been possible without him,” said Lerato Tsotetsi, a university student. “He gave us this new South Africa, and yes, he’s our father, so it’s only right. We all are his children, and we’re gathering to pray for him.”

In 1997, Mandela spoke at the church, and praised the institution for opening its arms to anti-apartheid protesters. He called Regina Mundi a “battlefield between forces of democracy and those who did not hesitate to violate a place of religion with tear gas, dogs and guns.”

Doctors discharged the Nobel peace laureate from the hospital Friday, and he is continuing to receive care from home. On Saturday, South Africa’s deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe visited Mandela at home and said Mandela was happy to have returned from the hospital. Doctors examined him at his home earlier Saturday and left satisfied with his condition, said Thabo Masebe, Motlanthe’s spokesman.

Mandela became the country’s first black president after serving 27 years in prison for his fight against racist rule.

“We don’t forget him,” said Eva Ntuli, a churchgoer. “Even the smallest children cry, ‘Dada, you must live for us.’ They pray everyday. We still need him.”

The Ordinariate on Sky News

This in via the busy Ordinariate Portal:

Hundreds of disillusioned Anglicans are expected to defect to the Roman Catholic Church in time for Lent.

It follows a campaign by Father Keith Newton to leave the Church of England in protest at its stance on the ordination of women and gay clergy.

Fr Newton has encouraged Anglicans to join the Ordinariate – a special branch of Catholicism established by the Pope – to welcome protestant defectors.

The Ordinariate is a special structure established by Pope Benedict to welcome the disillusioned Anglicans.

The efforts of the Archbishop of Canterbury have not been enough to stop hundreds of Anglo Catholics making the split that he had hoped to avoid.

In mid-January it got off the ground with the conversion of three Anglican bishops who are now bringing others on board.

The Church of England says that 1,000 of its 13,000 parishes are opposed to the ordination of women.

The video report on the above can be seen here.

A Prayer for a Happy Death

This beautiful Prayer for a Happy Death was written by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman. In it we ask for all of the elements of a happy death: contrition and absolution; Last Rites and the reception of Holy Communion; and spiritual and physical peace. It is an ideal prayer to pray before going to bed.

Prayer for a Happy Death

O my Lord and Saviour, support me in my last hour by the strong arms of Thy sacraments, and the fragrance of Thy consolations. Let Thy absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me; and let Thine own body be my food, and Thy blood my sprinkling; and let Thy Mother Mary come to me, and my angel whisper peace to me, and Thy glorious saints and my own dear patrons smile on me, that in and through them all I may die as I desire to live, in Thy Church, in Thy faith, and in Thy love. Amen.

My Jesus, mercy.

Church Must Make Women Bishops, say MP's

Just another affirmation of the need for and the validity of the Ordinariate:

The Government is being asked to remove the Church of England’s exemption from equality laws if it does not end the bar to women being made bishops.

The Telegraph has the story:

A group of influential MPs will tomorrow call for Parliament to intervene over the historic reform [reform?!] as fears grow that the Church will reject plans allowing female bishops [the rejection is actually a Biblical mandate].

The cross-party group, including former ministers Frank Field and Stephen Timms, and Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, is concerned that the General Synod, the Church’s parliament, may not pass legislation designed to end the glass ceiling for women clergy.

Traditionalists believe that a rise in the number of opponents of female priests to the Synod has improved their chances of blocking the law, which can only pass if it receives a two-thirds majority in the houses of laity, clergy and bishops.

Many of them feel that the current legislation does not provide sufficient concessions to those who cannot accept women as bishops.

However, Mr Field has tabled an early day motion, which could abolish the Church’s current exemption from equality laws relating to gender discrimination and ultimately force it to consecrate women

Christina Rees, a member of the Archbishops’ Council, welcomed the MPs’ support for women to be made bishops as soon as possible, but said she hoped the reform would be passed by the Church.[Again, not reform, schism within the received Apostolic faith].

“I think the fact that Frank Field is putting down his motion shows a growing level of impatience for the Church of England to get on with passing legislation making it possible for women to be bishops.

“I think there’s a certain amount of exasperation at the amount of time it’s taking as we’ve been in this process for years.

The Church has repeatedly made it clear it wants women bishops so it would be unthinkable if it were to fall at the last hurdle.”

Legislation drawn up by the Church to allow women bishops has been sent around the dioceses for their approval before returning to the General Synod next year.

Three bishops have already left to join the Roman Catholic Church and scores of clergy could follow them if the reform is passed.

You can read more on this unwarranted state interference in ecclesiastical matters here.

Homily – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (2011)

The Be-atitudes are again before us today. In teaching these eight pronouncements (Matthew’s Gospel has eight while Luke has but four cf. 6:20-26), Jesus is demonstrating the attitude that ought to mark the Christian’s way of approaching life. They are a collection, if you will, of Jesus encapsulating the Law and clarifying the essence of the Old Covenant subsumed in the New. Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, inaugurating the New Covenant which will continue through His death and resurrection.

The Bible say that Jesus, ‘went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them…’ (Matt 5:1-2), and with them, the multitudes, face to face. Going up and a ‘mountain’ is significant in and of itself. Immediately we are reminded of Moses climbing up Mount Sinai in the Old Testament to receive the Law from God Himself. Mountains were often places of divine action, as men sought to get closer to God and where God would reveal Himself intimately to man (Gen 22:2; Ex 3:1; 19:2). St Matthew purposely here chooses to present Jesus as Master speaking with the authority from God. St Augustine likened the mountain here to the higher precepts of righteousness as compared to lesser laws.           

The Sermon on the Mount, of which the Beatitudes forms an initial section, is a homily really by Jesus in which he introduces the kind of life that those who seek to be a part of God’s kingdom must lead. It can be read in total in Matthew chapters 5-7.    

Each of the eight Beatitudes begins with the word ‘blessed’, hence ‘beatitude’ from the Latin word ‘beatus’ meaning ‘blessed’, ‘happy’ or ‘fortunate’; a state of well-being in relationship to God. So, blessed, happy or fortunate are you are, if you… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight… Or, put another way, if you are a part of the Kingdom of God, then,

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, or theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven…’

Herein lies the joy and the hope of true discipleship: The rewards and promises found in Christ Jesus our Lord that await us as people of God. And never miss the point: Here, as in many other places in Scripture, the context is heavenly or spiritual, not material or earthly prosperity. The latter is a lie of the Devil and one that has sadly invaded the Western Church in many parts and places in our modern times. You only need to flip on the telly, to find this erroneous teaching being propagated by men  and women in flashy suits, with blinking jewellery, driving flashing cars, living in mansions and managing mega-churches, while encouraging the undiscerning faithful to sow passionately, dollar in faith, to the end of material and earthly blessings.  

The Catechism of the Catholic Church however states:

The beatitude we are promised confronts us with decisive moral choices.  It invites us to purify our hearts of bad instincts and to seek the love of God above all else.  It teaches us that true happiness is not found in riches or well-being, in human fame or power, or in any human achievement – however beneficial it may be – such as science, technology, and art, or indeed in any creature, but in God alone, the source of every good and of all love’ (CCC # 1723).

In fact, these simple teachings of Jesus turn all our worldly value systems upside down. So while we are day after day bombarded by worldly values and are egged on to seek and pursue earthly happiness in the pleasures and temporal power given by  money and status and promiscuous sex, Jesus, in the Gospel, demands of us values that are fundamentally different.

Seeking happiness is indeed a natural desire that originates in and comes from God Himself. Yet the world, having long forgotten Him, distorts those desires and channels them into the temporary highs, the so-called quick fixes, through the vain lie that in such, happiness will be found. Sex, alcohol, the promotion, food, control over others, drugs, money, the rush of buying a new car and racing up and down the N2, travelling the world, video game, shopping, gambling, winning the race, all these things will never satisfy; rather, they will let you down time and time again, just as fast as they gave you that thrilling sense of euphoria. While we tend to benignly call them addictions, sinful habits is what they really are. And they serve to enslave us. Jesus alone has the ability to satisfy.             

So the challenge drawn here today is for us to choose: To live either as a Christian, following and trusting in Jesus and His wise counsel, or to live by the standards of the world. The two are not compatible. You are a fool and to be pitied above all, if you thing that you can be a Christian and at the same time enjoy the wicked and fallen ways and attitudes this lost world. Its oil and water beloved. Unable to coexist.

So take a look at your life. You and I know by introspection, that which is wrong with us, that which we should not do, that which needs to be cut out… Sin. Conscience, convictions of the Spirit and the Word, are what guide us and point these things out. So change. Deal with it. Break with sin. Stop. 

The choice to live out the Gospel is what will change our lives entirely: How to act; how to speak; how to behave; what to dress; what is appropriate and what is not; right and wrong. How to deal with others; how to deal with our money; how to deal with conflict; how to live a life that pleases Jesus. It’s then, and only then, that one will find the mystery that is true blessedness.  

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Beatitudes for the Bulletin

This is nice for the Church bulletin today:

The Vatican has the Highest Rate of Crime in the World?

Misdemeanor crimes per-capita that is, with most of the perpetrators apparently fleeing to Italy:

Rome – The Vatican saw 1,300 misdemeanor crimes committed last year, propelling that state to the top of the global per-capita statistics.

527 persons live in the Vatican, but some 18 million people visited the territory located in Rome last year.

The papal state’s news agency VIA reports that the Vatican prosecutor decided to pursue 171 cases.

Almost 90 percent of the listed incidents fall under the category of petty theft, mostly pickpocketing, but a majority of perpetrators remain unpunished as they “flee to Italy“.

It has also been announced that Vatican’s measures aimed against money laundering were more strict than those in Italy, and that the pope last year set up a “financial information service” aimed at cooperating with other states and tracking movement of money.

The service is expected to start work in April of this year.

Statistics can be misleading at times…

HT:   New Advent


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