Monday, February 26, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI Honors Gary Krupp of New York for Work With Pave the Way Foundation

As a gesture of gratitude in recognition of his dedicated and tireless efforts on behalf of Catholic-Jewish and Vatican-Israeli relations, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed the rank of Knight Commander with a Silver Star of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great upon Mr. Gary Krupp of New York.

Vatican City State (PRWeb) February 25, 2007 -- As a gesture of gratitude in recognition of his dedicated and tireless efforts on behalf of Catholic-Jewish and Vatican-Israeli relations, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has bestowed the rank of Knight Commander with a Silver Star of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great upon Mr. Gary Krupp of New York.

The conferral of the Silver Star marks the second time Krupp has been honored by the Supreme Pontiff, having been previously invested as a Knights Commander in the same order by the late Pope John Paul II. Gary and his wife Meredith founded Pave the Way Foundation, a nonprofit charity dedicated to the promotion of peace and understanding between religions through cultural, technological and education exchanges.

His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, presented Mr. Krupp with the honor in Rome, following the presentation of the Bodmer Papyrus to Pope Benedict XVI, as a gift given to the Vatican Library through the initiative of Pave the Way Foundation. Also present for the conferral were His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Archivist of the Holy Roman Church, and His Excellency Bishop Raffaele Farina, SBD Prefect of the Vatican Library.

Mr. Krupp holds the distinction of being the only Jewish man in history to be invested as a Knights Commander of St. Gregory with a Silver Star and to also be invested as an Officer Brother in the Order of St. John, an honor he received by consent of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2005.

About Pave the Way Foundation: PTWF is dedicated to achieving peace by bridging "the intellectual gap," promoting tolerance and understanding, by enhancing relations between religions through cultural, technological and intellectual gestures. The Foundation has a simple yet monumental vision: To enable all the world's religions to mutually realize that extremism, politics and personal agendas must not be allowed to poison the true benevolent message common to all faiths. Bigotry and hatred must be abolished by the faithful embracing their similarities and savoring their differences.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sorry folks but I just could not resist posting this. Too funny.

KFC turns to the pope for help promoting new fish product

Not only is KFC now selling fish, but the fast-food giant wants Pope Benedict XVI to give his seal of approval to the company's new pollack filet in time for Lent.

"People can enjoy the flavor of the new Fish Snacker any day of the week, but we believe it will be especially popular on Fridays," James O'Reilly, the company's top marketer says in a press release. "It's perfect for an on-the-go lunch or any time of the day when you need a quick snack but don't want to sacrifice taste."

It's not every day that a major corporation uses the spirtual leader of some 1 billion people to get attention for a new product.

"The company has turned to Pope Benedict XVI, beseeching him to bestow his Papal blessing for this innovative new menu item," the press release says. "Vatican officials confirmed they received KFC's request, and the company is hopeful to get the Pope's blessing this Lenten season."

Monday, February 19, 2007

All of the Gospels for the past few weeks have followed this theme of living a life of Christ-like love towards one another, of answering evil with good.

Pope says enemy-love and nonviolence are central to Christ's message -19/02/07

Loving enemies is central to the way of Jesus, and Christian non-violence is not a tactical choice, it is a "a personal way of being" based on God’s alternative strength – that was the message of Pope Benedict XVI in St Peter’s Rome on Sunday 18 February 2007.

Before reciting the Angelus prayer, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics talked about the teaching of Jesus on love of enemies.

"What is the meaning of these words of his?" the Pope asked. "Why does Jesus ask us to love our enemies, that is, a love that surpasses human capacity?"

He continued: "In reality, the suggestion of Christ is realistic because it takes into account that there is too much violence, too much injustice in the world and therefore the situation cannot be overcome unless it is countered by more love and more goodness.

"This 'more' comes from God: it is [God’s] mercy, which became flesh in Jesus and alone can 'turn the balance' of the world away from evil towards good, starting from that small and decisive 'world' that is the heart of [humanity]."

Pope Benedict added: "this Gospel page is rightly considered to be the Magna Carta of Christian non-violence, which consists not of giving in to evil - according to a false interpretation of 'turning the other cheek' - but in responding to evil with good, thus breaking the chains of injustice."

Christian non-violence is not merely tactical behaviour but "the attitude of one who is so convinced of the love and strength of God that [she] is not afraid to face evil armed with just the weapons of love and truth."

The Pope concluded: "Loving one's enemy constitutes the nucleus of the "Christian revolution" which changes the world "without making any noise about it."

US Methodist theologian Walter Wink is among those who have pointed out that ‘turning the other cheek’ is not about giving in – but in the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day was a challenge to an oppressor, who would demean himself by striking with the left hand.

From Ekklasia

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jordanian King Invites Pope to Amman
Sunday, February 11, 2007

King Abdullah II of Jordan has invited Catholic Pope Benedict XVI for an official visit to the Hashemite kingdom, according to a statement by the royal court.

“The invitation was extended to His Holiness by Queen Rania who met with the pope at the Vatican on Friday,” said the statement by the royal court.

During her visit to Italy, the Jordanian queen conveyed Jordan’s encouragement for the Catholic spiritual leader to become more involved in “efforts for re-establishment of durable, just and comprehensive peace in the region.”


Saturday, February 10, 2007


After reading Deus Caritas Est (Pope Benedict's first encyclical) I dove into the secular book Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. At the same time, my thoughts were directed on what I hoped I would be led to do for the children of Afghanistan. Superficially, these three things would not seem to have anything to do with each other. But I find them linked together in a very logical way. In Deus Caritas Est Holy Father instructs us on the true meaning of love and the unity found in the joint perfection of eros, agape, and philia. This perfect union exalts the physical and spiritual body of man.

In read Nafisi's book, we see how society can be perverted and destroyed through acts of violent hatred aimed indiscriminately against anyone, any institution, any group that disagrees with the prevailing religious fanaticism. But just as oppression wins and destroys a social order, we also see the triumph of a human spirit and her struggle to live as freely as she can within a society that oppresses. That she has to leave her home eventually in order to survive is her personal sadness.However, that loss gave us her book and the information it contains touched me at a time in my life when an expanding definition of love led me to thoughts of charitable acts and how this might fit into my future. Benedict's encyclical (Pt II:37) says "A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to His will can prevent man from being demeaned and saves him from falling prey to the teachings of fanaticism and terrorism." This simple truth brought me to the third seemingly unrelated point - the cold children of Afghanistan.

Again, it is Benedict who points us in the right direction telling us the "we are able to do acts of charity because the Lord has enabled us to do so."(DCE Pt. II:35) We are not responsible for saving the world but because of love we ARE required to do what we can and leave the rest to God. So when I read of the cold children of Ghor, it just seemed like the most natural thing i the world to send out a call for help. The response has been so gratifying. Nine boxes of warm clothes went to the children. It was a simple act of Collection, Send/Receive, and Disburse. No red tape, just a simple act of charity supported by a few warmhearted women. Blessed Mother Theresa said "Do Small things with great love" and that is what we have done.

So you see, for me, there is a clear connection between Benedict, Nafisi, and the children. It's about love, faith, hope, and charity. The greatest of these is love and you cannot have love without loving God and keeping faith, hope and charity in your heart AND in your acts.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I'm reading this right now. Rich, dense, lucid, and powerful writing. I'll be discussing it later at my "Interior Dialogues" blogsite.

Pope Benedict XVI's discourse on human and divine love is turning out to be a publishing hit.
ANSA said the 72-page document, titled Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) -- has been reprinted three times in German and three times in Spanish, and has sold almost 1.5 million copies in Italian.

The news service said it is one of the most commercially successful doctrinal tracts ever written by a pope.

The encyclical, the first major piece of writing by the new pope, said the true nature of love between men and women needs to be clarified. The pope said erotic love can lead to degradation unless it is united with a spiritual love, ANSA reported.