March 17, 2014 1 Comment
While the New Republic asks: Is Eastern Ukraine next.
March 17, 2014 1 Comment
So say a leading English priest:
Fr Timothy Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, made the comment after Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster asked Deacon Nick Donnelly “to voluntarily pause from placing new posts” on his blog Protect the Pope.
Fr Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, south east London, wrote: “I do wonder about the practical wisdom of attempting to censor the blogosphere. Protect the Pope now carries posts by Mrs Donnelly, and she has offered an invitation to others to contribute material – which several writers have already taken up. Other censored bloggers can also simply start up a new blog under a pseudonym, or use alternative social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter are well-known but the possibilities are endless. As activists on the internet pointed out years ago, censorship is just another bug for which you find a hack or a workaround. The danger is that a previously censored commenter will be probably not be inclined to moderation in a new social media incarnation.
“Bishops also have on their side the great respect of most Catholics for Bishops. Quite often a blog will criticise a Bishop severely, only to find that another blog tells a different side to the story, or the Bishop issues a statement clarifying things – and then receives a lot of support from Catholic bloggers. The discussion will continue, but the Bishop is not exactly powerless to defend himself. Bloggers work in an environment which is open to everyone. One of the healthy things about such open communication is precisely that you cannot rely on personal standing to squash disagreement.”
After the bishop’s request Deacon Nick Donnelly, who writes the Protect the Pope blog, will be taking an indefinite break from blogging, while his wife, Martina Donnelly, has taken on the running of the blog for the time being.
A statement released by the Diocese of Lancaster last week said: “After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on March 7 saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.
“Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church. Deacon Nick has agreed to the bishop’s request at this time.”
In a short statement on the Protect the Pope website Martina Donnelly wrote: “As Nick’s wife I am writing to thank you for all the kind messages, prayers and gifts that Nick has received. You may have noticed that he has not posted for a while and I did not want you to be worried, as although he is still far from better, this silence has not been caused by his illness. Rather Nick has been asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection. Please continue to pray for Nick during this time.”
When asked by The Catholic Herald if he thought his blog had ever crossed the line, Deacon Donnelly replied: “No.”
He said: “I think blogging is an incredible tool for evangelisation, I started blogging in 2010 before the papal visit because I felt I needed to answer lies and misrepresentations about the Catholic Church. When I launched Protect the Pope it received coverage all over the world. I even received coverage in Vietnam. When I finished Protect the Pope I was getting 100,000 views per month.”
He said that the aim of his blog was simply “to compare and contrast what’s being said and done in the Church with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That can never be wrong.”
He said that he would rather not continue blogging in the future if it meant that he would have to change this basic aim. He emphasised that the “period of reflection” was indefinite and added: “The past three days I’ve had so many messages of support from my readers, even people who don’t agree with me. I’ve found that really encouraging. That’s been a positive experience from all of this.”
When asked if he thought that Catholic bishops understood the blogosphere, he said: “My feeling is that their a priori position is suspicion and they don’t understand blogging’s potential. They don’t react to it well.”
Meanwhile, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told the leaders of the world’s ordinariates that while blogs could be a helpful tool of evangelisation, they could also “express unreflected speech lacking in charity”.
The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.
March 6, 2014 1 Comment
Catholic Archbishop Emeritus Lawrence Henry has died, the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference announced.
Archbishop Henry died on Tuesday night. According to the SACBC website, he had been diagnosed with cancer the previous day.
He served as the Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town from 1990 until his retirement in 2009.
In paying tribute to his life, the SACBC stated that Henry “continued to be active assisting in leading services whenever requested”.
He was succeeded by Archbishop Stephen Brislin.
And the announcement via Archbishop Brislin:
I regret to inform you that Archbishop Lawrence Henry passed away on Tuesday 4th March at about 23h45. He died peacefully in Cape Town Medi-Clinic. Archbishop Henry had been undergoing tests over the past few days. His health took a turn for the worse on Sunday night when he experienced a great deal of abdominal pain and he was rushed to hospital. Doctors confirmed on Monday afternoon that he had cancer and that it had spread to different parts of the body. He was seen by an oncologist early on Tuesday afternoon. Despite doctors’ recognition of the seriousness of his condition the suddenness of his death was unexpected by all. Doctors have given us the assurance that Archbishop Henry died without pain.
Please keep him in your prayers and please ask parishioners at all your Masses today to pray for him. Funeral arrangements will be announced as soon as possible.
I wish to offer my condolences to you and to all who mourn the passing of Archbishop Laurie.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
+Stephen Brislin Archbishop of Cape Town
February 26, 2014 Leave a comment
Pictures emerge of thousands of residents of the Damascus district of Yarmouk, who have remained trapped for nearly a year, queuing for food and aid.
This picture taken on January 31, 2014, and released by the UNRWA on February 26, 2014, shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria…
February 25, 2014 2 Comments
Hearing the confessions of soldiers shortly before they go into combat is one of the most important and symbolic duties performed by priests who serve as military chaplains representing Christianity’s ancient churches.
After all, the soldiers are going into harm’s way and there is no way to know if they will return. In a way, the priest knows that he could be hearing the penitent’s final confession — turning this encounter into a kind of Last Rites for a person who is not sick unto death, but may be moments from death.
This brings me to the first photo — pictured above — in a remarkable online slideshow produced, using photos from a number of different news sources, by the foreign-affairs desk at The Washington Post.
This particular photo is from Getty Images. There is no way for me to know what kind of information was attached to this photo that could have been used by the copy-editor or editors who produced this feature. There is no way to know if the photographer had any way to talk to the specific priest or this penitent to obtain more information about what was happening in this dramatic scene.
As readers can see above, the photo caption reads:
A man kneels before an Orthodox priest in an area separating police and anti-government protesters near Dynamo Stadium on Jan. 25, 2014, in Kiev.
This is, I guess, a literal statement about what the photographer saw.
However, for the hundreds or perhaps even thousands of Ukrainians at the scene, that is not what was taking place.
The priest in this picture has placed his stole over the man’s head and is reading prayers. This is what happens at the end of the rite of confession, which under ideal conditions would take place in a sanctuary with the penitent facing an icon, often the icon known as Christ Pantocrator. The penitent is confessing his or her sins to Christ, with the priest hearing this confession representing the church.
Is there another circumstance in which a priest would place his stole over the head of a kneeling believer and then say prayers? There may be, but not one that I know of as an Eastern Orthodox layman. The same was true for my priest, to whom I took this question over the weekend.
Would it have been more dramatic to say that this believer, in the midst of territory that was turning into a war zone in downtown Kiev, felt the need to say his confession?
I would say so.
Is he confessing his sins because of something he has just done? There is no way to know that.
Is he confessing his sins because he believes he is about to be placed in a situation resembling combat, a setting in which his life will almost certainly be at risk? I would say that this is the safest interpretation of the information contained in this photo…
Read on here.
February 25, 2014 1 Comment
Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.
The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”
Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.
February 24, 2014 Leave a comment
The recipe is simple—and the ingredients common: As long as you have access to mud, water and straw (or another type of organic material), you, too, can mimic the manufacturing process used by ancient Egyptians—and Israelite slaves—to make mudbricks.
There is a slide show here too.
So basically, it goes like this:
1. Mix topsoil and water to create a thick mud.
2. Add straw. While the composition of the mud will affect the exact proportions, as a general rule, add a half pound of straw for every cubic foot of mud mixture. If you have access to grain chaff (a byproduct of threshing), you can use that as temper. If not, chop straw into very small pieces—called straw chaff—and use that.
3. Knead the mud mixture with your bare feet for four days.
4. Once it has fermented (after four days of kneading), leave the mixture alone for a few days.
5. Knead the mixture again on the day you plan to form your mudbricks.
6. Pour the mud mixture into molds (the shape of your choosing) and let them solidify in the molds for at least 20 minutes.
7. Remove from molds and deposit on a drying floor layered with sand and straw to prevent the bricks from sticking to the floor itself.
8. Let the bricks dry for a week.
After the bricks have dried, they are ready to be used—whether to build something new or to reconstruct ancient walls!