Church

Halos Banned from Euro Coin

Depicting St Cyril and St Methodius:

The Commission of the European Union has demanded that Slovenia remove the halos from its new Euro coin commemorating the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Moravia. A spokeswoman for the Bank of Slovenia explained their decision to comply with the European Comissions demands:

‘The European Commission and some member states have asked Slovakia to remove some symbols from the draft coin to comply with the principle of religious neutrality. We believe the final coin will be a dignified combination of a symbol of state and a symbol of Christianity,”

The European Commission defended its insistence that Slovenia remove the halos from  Cyril and Methodius:

“Under EU rules, when designing the national side of a euro coin, Member States are required to take into account that the coins will circulate throughout the whole eurozone, and in that context, proposed designs are shared in advance with other Member States so that they can provide any comments they deem appropriate.

The Commission acknowledged that some members states objected to the coin, adding that Slovakia submitted a slightly amended design, “which has now been approved by the [EU] Council of Ministers.”

Protect the Pope comment:  The European Commission’s demand that Slovenia  remove the Christian symbol of sanctity that has been included on coins throughout Europe for thousands of years is yet another attack on our common Christian heritage. In the censored coin St. Cyril and St. Methodius have been reduced to the stature of  mundane historical figures, their eternal significance and role as intercessors and exemplars of sanctity removed from the public arena.  The secular reformation of Europe continues to impose its intolerant ideology under the guise of ‘religious neutrality’.

http://www.thejournal.ie/no-halo-on-slovakia-2-euro-coin-680616-Nov2012/

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Church

Former Lutheran Pastor, Joachim Gauck, Elected German President

(Reuters) – Germans resoundingly elected  Joachim Gauck, a former Lutheran pastor and human rights  activist from communist East Germany, as president of the  European Union’s largest country on Sunday, posing a potential  headache for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the largely ceremonial office of president, Gauck   presents no threat to Merkel’s domination of national politics.  But his moral authority, independence of mind and lack of party  affiliation could make him an awkward partner for her government  as it struggles to overcome Europe’s economic crisis.

Gauck, 72, won 991 votes in the federal assembly comprising  members of parliament and regional delegates. His main rival,  veteran anti-Nazi campaigner Beate Klarsfeld, got 126 votes.

Germans hope Gauck, a prominent player in the peaceful  protests that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, can  restore dignity to the presidency, tarnished by financial  scandals that felled his predecessor Christian Wulff.

“I take up this post with the endless gratitude of a person  who, after a long trek through the political desert of the 20th  century, has finally and unexpectedly found his home again and  was able to witness in the last 20 years the joy of shaping a  democratic society,” he said after taking the oath of office.

His victory was never in doubt after all the main political  parties, including Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats,  threw their weight behind his candidacy.

Merkel played down suggestions that the feisty theologian  would use his office as a pulpit to harangue Germany’s  politicians or that they might clash over policy issues…

Unlike career politician Wulff, Gauck – who describes  himself politically as “a left-leaning, liberal conservative” –  likes to speak his mind on controversial issues, and he does so  with an eloquence forged in the pulpits of East Germany…

Source (and rest).

 

Culture

Children are Being Abandoned on Greece’s Streets

Children ‘dumped in streets by Greek parents who can’t afford to look after them any more’

Shocking!

Children are being abandoned on Greece’s streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

It comes as pharmacists revealed the country had almost run out of aspirin, as multi-billion euro austerity measures filter their way through society…

More here.

What a mess!

Lord have mercy…

 

Culture

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks: Has Europe Lost its Soul?

Every so often a sermon or lecture is delivered which merits being published in its entirety. In truth, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks delivers them all too frequently, but the pithy brevity of the blog is hardly the optimum medium for dissemination. This one, on the question of ‘Has Europe Lost its Soul?’ was delivered today at The Pontifical Gregorian University. It is replete with wisdom and insight (for those who don’t have the time to read it, His Grace highlights some salient points). Lord Sacks’ grasp of history, theology, philosophy, politics and economics is profound. His address is to the Roman Catholic Church, and his appeal is to their partnership…

Do read on here.

For the task ahead of us is not between Jews and Catholics, or even Jews and Christians in general, but between Jews and Christians on the one hand, and the increasingly, even aggressively secularising forces at work in Europe today on the other, challenging and even ridiculing our faith.

If Europe loses the Judaeo-Christian heritage that gave it its historic identity and its greatest achievements in literature, art, music, education, politics, and as we will see, economics, it will lose its identity and its greatness…

When a civilisation loses its faith, it loses its future. When it recovers its faith, it recovers its future. For the sake of our children, and their children not yet born, we – Jews and Christians, side-by-side – must renew our faith and its prophetic voice. We must help Europe recover its soul.

 

Culture

If Christianity Goes, So Does Europe

Writes Rev Dr Peter Mullen in The Telegraph:

… Europe is now officially secular. Pope Benedict XVI identified our real crisis with terrifying clarity:

“The EU is godless. But then it is unthinkable that the EU could build a common European house while ignoring Europe’s identity. Europe is a historical, cultural and moral identity before it is a geographic, economic or political reality. It is an identity built on a set of values which Christianity played a part in moulding.”

A church in every village. A cathedral in every city. The glorious traditions of European music and literature. The political freedoms of which we are rightly proud. All these were products of Christian civilisation.

The mistake of the secularists and the bien pensants who now control every aspect of our lives is to imagine that we can throw off our Christian identity and yet all the political liberties and other good social consequences we derive from that identity will remain in place.

They won’t and already they haven’t. If Christianity goes, the lot goes. As T S Eliot said back in 1934, “Such attainments as you can boast in the way of polite society will hardly survive the faith to which they owe their significance.”

He’s right you know.

Read the whole piece here.

 

Culture

An Idiot’s Guide to the Greek Debt Crisis

ABC News has it (for people like me) :

The European Union is an economic and political institution forged over decades, sealed with a treaty in 1993  but only, truly made real in 2002, when most of the current member states dropped their currency in favor of the common  euro. For centuries a breeding ground for war and imperialism, Western Europe had bound itself together in peace and apparent prosperity, with a supranational government all its own to be quartered in Brussels.

Its anthem: “Ode to Joy.”

Things have changed. While most major banks remain multinational (with interests around the world) their errors — some would say crimes — have brought renewed focus on the sovereign state. Today, with Greece on the edge of default, the euro zone nations have a new catchphrase: “Exposure.” As in, how much “exposure” do our banks have to the bad debt held by yours.

It’s enough to make one’s head take an “Exorcist”-style lap around the neck. But here, below, is a simple guide to this latest and most important chapter in the crisis. The results in Greece will likely determine, and certainly predict, the fate of the European Union. This is the least you should know.

Why is Greece in debt?

Like any state (or person, for that matter) it spent more money than it took in. Traditionally, but especially after switching over to the euro, the Greek government paid out huge amounts of cash it simply did not have. To compound this, the retirement age there is low by modern Western standards, and benefits are generous. Public sector employees are well paid.

Sounds good, right?

The problem is that Greece is also infamous for mass tax evasion. That means severely limited revenue. So when the money ran out, Athens turned to European banks for loans. Soon, the government was borrowing billions and those debts, like subprime mortgages in the United States, were often repackaged and sold off around the Continent. Everyone, especially banks in France and Germany, wanted a piece. Now  they have it.

Why does Europe — indeed, the world — care so much about Greece’s debts?

One of the perceived perks when Europe got together on a single currency (Greeks, for instance, gave up the drachma for the euro) was that a strong Europe could prop up an individual state in a time of need. But what’s happened is that Europe itself has become too weak, in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown, to bite the bullet on a country like Greece. A default would shatter otherwise monetarily strong countries like Germany. The Germans, like the Americans, would be left with a host of “too big to fail” banks ready to do just that…

Do read on here.