May 23, 2013 3 Comments
… and not just salvation by works, but universalism–that all will be saved?
See what Fr Dwight Longenecker has to say.
May 23, 2013 Leave a comment
The Roman Catholic Church has added its powerful voice to the swelling opposition against charging motorists for using South Africa’s freeways, calling the proposed e-tolling “morally unjust”.
It urged people into open rebellion by calling on them not to buy e-tags or pay the toll fees.
As Parliament pushes through the e-toll bill, the co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Department of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, Father Michael Deeb, said e-tolling would be a further burden on the poor who were battling to find jobs and live with steep electricity and food prices.
“We believe, after the research we have done, that at best the whole e-tolling is gross misappropriation of public funds and at worst is total corruption,” he said. “We as the church have been concerned.”
A select parliamentary committee on public services met earlier this month to discuss the Transport and Related Matters Amendment Bill and unanimously approved a word change amendment before sending it back to the portfolio committee.
The amendment, proposed by ANC MP Raseriti Tau, changed a section to say that when the minister of transport makes a regulation in terms of the law, this must be submitted to Parliament for “consideration” instead of the original term “comment”.
The bill amends the law to allow for the electronic collection of tolls and the prosecution of those who fail to pay.
The government insists that tolling roads is the only viable way to pay for the upgrades and maintenance of freeways.
Deeb said the government had not been honest with South Africans and there were other ways they could pay for the improvement of the freeways.
“We believe there is an alternative, such as raising the fuel levy, which is being ignored. If there was just a slight increase to the fuel levy this whole thing would be paid off in one go.
“But with the tolls we are going to pay for it for ever. Because of this, we are demanding answers and that the consultation process should listen to the people, which we don’t believe they have done,” he said.
“We are urging all people, not just people from the church but all people of goodwill to not collaborate with the e-toll system. They should not buy e-tags and they should not participate in it at all. We should force the government to listen to the alternatives.”
Vusi Mona, general manager for communications at national roads agency Sanral, said an inter-ministerial committee led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe met reli-gious organisations last year to discuss this matter and the Catholic church’s representative was not there.
“That was an opportunity for consultation and discussion which the church missed,” he said.
“We are saddened that they have gone outside the view of other religious leaders and even more so, that they decided to make their view heard only to the public and not to Sanral or its shareholder,” he said…
Last week, provincial Transport MEC, Willies Mchunu, announced that Sanral had agreed to scrap the proposed toll gate at Isipingo, south of Durban, and that no toll gates would be built anywhere else on the South Coast to pay for a new highway along the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape.
However, Sanral has denied that the toll plan has been scrapped. Mona said yesterday that the N2 Wild Coast toll project would continue on the Eastern Cape side while discussions are under way with the KwaZulu-Natal government.
He said the funding model would be determined by the Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordinating Commission.
May 22, 2013 8 Comments
The Lord has redeemed everyone with the Blood of Christ, including atheists. So says, Pope Francis:
As he celebrated Mass this morning, Francis said that the possibility of doing good is part of creation, and that Christ redeemed all of us, not only Catholics. Doing good “is a beautiful path towards peace” whilst “killing in the name of God is blasphemy.”
Asia News continues:
Pope Francis spoke about doing good as a principle that unites all humanity.
The pontiff began his reflection with today’s Gospel about the disciples who wanted to prevent a person from outside their group from doing good.
“They complain” because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” But Jesus corrected them. ‘Do not stop him,’ he said. ‘Let him do good’.”
“The disciples,” the Pope said, “were a little ‘intolerant’, set on the idea that they owned the truth, believing that ‘all those who do not have the truth cannot do good.’ And ‘this was wrong’.” In fact, “Jesus ‘broadens the horizon.”
“The root of this possibility of doing good,” which we all have, “lies in creation. The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: Do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, he is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. ‘He cannot.’ He must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, such ‘closing off’ [of the mind], which makes us think that all those outside [of our group] cannot do good, is a barrier that leads to war as well as to what some throughout history have thought [possible], namely killing in the name of God, [the idea] that we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply put, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy.”
“On the contrary, the Lord has created us in His image and likeness, and has given us this commandment in our heart: Do good and do not do evil. The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, what about the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us first class children of God! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!
May 14, 2013 Leave a comment
The Vatican’s annual headcount shows 1.214 billion Catholics worldwide.
Vatican statistics released today show that the number of Asian and African Catholics is continuing its upward trajectory, while the Church in Europe is still shrinking.
The number of religious excluding priests has risen 18.5 percent in Africa and a whopping 44.9 percent in Asia in just 10 years, according to the 2013 Pontifical Yearbook.
The Yearbook, which was published May 13 and contains data from 2011, revealed Catholics still make up less than 18 percent of the world’s population, but the Church is growing the fastest in Africa and Asia.
And although it shows “a strong downward trend was observed in data for the professed religious women with a decrease of 10 percent from 2001 to 2011,” there has also been “a sustained increase” with over 28 percent in Africa and 18 percent in Asia.
The Yearbook states that although the number of Catholics in the world increased by just 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2011, it increased by 4.3 percent in Africa and 2 percent in Asia.
The total number of Catholics that were baptized in 2011 had the highest representation in the Americas at 48.8 percent, followed by Europe with 23.5 percent, Africa was at 16 percent, Asia had 10.9 percent and Oceania came in at just under one percent.
“The dynamics of the number of priests in Africa and Asia is somewhat comforting,” says the document.
It reports that there were over 3,000 new priests in the two continents in 2011 and that in 10 years the numbers increased by 39.5 percent in Africa and 32 percent in Asia.
“America remains stationary around an average of 122,000 priests and Europe, in contrast to the global average, has seen a decrease of 9 percent in the past decade,” the Yearbook says.
Another surprising fact is that the number of permanent deacons has also boomed, especially in Europe and the United States, increasing by over 40 percent in the last 10 years.
The Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the Substitute for General Affairs Archbishop Angelo Becciu presented the Yearbook on May 13 to Pope Francis.
It was edited by several people, including Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, head of the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Church, and Enrico Nenna, the chief statistician in the Vatican’s Central Office for Church Statistics.
The number of Catholics worldwide has remained steady at 1.214 billion for the year 2011.
May 6, 2013 Leave a comment
A suspected bomb blast struck a Catholic church in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha on Sunday, police said, wounding a number of people.
Sectarian tensions have been simmering in east Africa’s second biggest economy after two Christian leaders were killed in the predominantly Muslim islands of Zanzibar earlier this year and there have been attacks on Muslim leaders and mosques.
“Some kind of explosion went off at the church. It is believed to have been a bomb but we don’t know what type of bomb it was,” Tanzania police spokesperson Advera Senso said.
Senso could not confirm if anyone had been killed in the attack or how many had been wounded.
Tanzania’s foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe said in a message on Twitter he was “deeply shocked” by the explosion.
President Jakaya Kikwete has warned about rising religious tensions in several televised addresses.
May 3, 2013 1 Comment
Northern Ireland’s first shared education campus for Catholic and Protestant schoolchildren has been granted planning approval.
Up to six schools with 3,700 pupils are expected to be based at a former Army barracks in Omagh, Co Tyrone, Stormont’s power-sharing government revealed today. The relic of the region’s 30-year conflict is to be transformed into a 126-acre development to educate the next generation together…
SDLP Planning Minister Alex Attwood said: “The new campus will be at the forefront of shared education in Omagh and the North.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers this week said renewed efforts should be made to tackle sectarianism which has characterised much of the region’s past. The Stormont Executive is still considering a cohesion, sharing and integration strategy…
May 1, 2013 11 Comments
Anglican-Catholic dialogue is back on the agenda this week as a team of ecumenical experts from both sides meet in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro from April 30th to May 6th.
This 3rd meeting of the current Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission will continue its work on the relationship between local and universal Church, as well as the way in which both communities respond to the most pressing ethical issues of our time.
To find out more about the meeting, Philippa Hitchen talked to Mgr Mark Langham from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity who serves as Catholic co-secretary of ARCIC III…..
She also spoke, during the recent enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, to an Anglican member of ARCIC III, Bishop Christopher Hill who chairs the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity. He told her that Pope Francis’ emphasis on his role as the Bishop of Rome is extremely encouraging for the whole ecumenical endeavor…
Listen: here (mp3).
April 30, 2013 11 Comments
The Australian Ordinariate folk seems to know something the rest of us don’t. On their official website:
I Googled the ‘Irish Ordinariate’ and only really came up with a blog exploring the idea, which hasn’t posted anything since middle 2011.
Even the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (closest) doesn’t list a group or an exploration group in Ireland.
But then again, Ireland has never been a bastion of Anglo-Catholicism now has it?
Perhaps it’s but a mistake by the webmaster down-under? Or as I said, something only the Aussies are aware of at the moment?
UPDATE I: After the above post, they have updated the tab to read ‘Irish Ordinariate -Discussion’ which takes the reader to a blog run by a one ‘Fr O’. Wonder how many ‘Fr O’s’ there are in Ireland… Can’t be too many…
UPDATE II: Fr O with Little by little.
April 30, 2013 4 Comments
Hundreds of parishioners watched in shock as a Catholic priest died at the altar during mass, moments after baptising a baby.
Napier’s longest-serving priest, Monsignor Timothy Francis Hannigan, 81, collapsed at the altar during communion at St Patrick’s Catholic Church on Sunday.
A doctor and nurses in the packed church rushed to help the popular priest when he slumped to the ground about 9.30am, but he died by the altar of the church where he had served for more than 30 years.
“It’s one thing for a priest to die in a church, but it’s a whole other thing for him to die during communion,” a parishioner who did not wish to be named said yesterday.
The congregation continued to pray as his body was taken away. Some also recited a rosary.
Former St Patrick’s parish priest Father Paul Kerridge said Monsignor Hannigan had taken mass as usual, and had just finished baptising a baby and blessing the parents when he fell to the floor.
It was believed he died after a cardiac arrest.
The energetic priest had not shown any previous signs of illness, and was fine during the sermon, Father Kerridge said.
His loss would be keenly felt.
“I would say everyone in the parish would consider him their next of kin. He was like a brother.”
Parishioner Ross Allan said those who were there were shocked by what they saw unfolding.
“One moment he had baptised a child … then the next moment there was all this commotion up the front of the church. It was a very unusual situation.”
Monsignor Hannigan was a pillar of the community who did everything he could to help those in need, including the homeless who showed up on his doorstep, Allan said.
Fellow parishioner and retired Napier dentist David Marshall said church members were comforted by the fact that Monsignor Hannigan did not have to suffer a long illness.
He died doing what he did best, which was saying mass for his parish family – which I think is the greatest gift a priest could have…”
‘He died doing what he did best…’
Eternal rest, grant unto him O Lord and may perpetual light shine upon him.
April 30, 2013 4 Comments
Germany’s top Roman Catholic has called for women to be allowed to become deacons, which would enable them to perform baptisms and marriages outside of mass – a novelty for Catholic women…
But it doesn’t stop there. Priestesses follow, as a natural sort of progression. And soon enough, you’ll sit with: