Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Can Only Shake My Head In Wonder

A new statement attributed to terror leader Osama bin Laden was released today, attacking European countries for siding with the United States in Afghanistan and also blasting Pope Benedict for allegedly allowing the publication of cartoons of Islamic prophet Muhammad to be published.

With illogic such as this, it is no wonder the war on terrorism is going nowhere fast. Like Holy Father has ANY control over what is published in the world.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Declaring "enough with the violence," Pope Benedict XVI on Palm Sunday issued one of his strongest appeals for peace in Iraq.

Speaking days after the body of a kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop was found near the northern city of Mosul, the pontiff also yesterday said the five-year-long Iraq war had completely broken up Iraqi civilian life.

"Enough with the slaughters. Enough with the violence. Enough with the hatred in Iraq!" Benedict said at the end of a Mass in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

The body of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who had been abducted Feb. 29, was found Thursday.

Yesterday, Benedict said Rahho's death and his dedication to the Catholic Church compelled him to "raise a strong and sorrowful cry" against the violence in Iraq that arose from the war.

"At the same time, I make an appeal to the Iraqi people, who for the past five years have borne the consequences of a war that provoked the breakup of their civil and social life," the pope said.
Meanwhile, in New York, hundreds took palms and folded them into crosses at St. Patrick's Cathedral.

"It's a tradition for us to come here every year," said Rose Fiero of Brooklyn, a special-ed teacher who was on hand with her son and daughter.

"It means Easter is getting closer and we're waiting for that celebration," she said. "It's exciting. It's very special for us."

Copyright 2008 Associated Press.
March 17, 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Chaldean archbishop's death

This event saddened me in a deeply personal way. There is a large community of Chaldean Catholics in my town. We happen to live directly across from St. Anthony's Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church.

Pope calls murder of archbishop "inhuman"

Pope Benedict has condemned the murder of the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, who was kidnapped in Iraq last month. The body of Paulos Faraj Rahho was found by police in an empty lot in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blamed the archbishop's death on al Qaeda and stressed that his Shi'ite Islamist-led government was committed to protecting Christians, who make up about 3 percent of the population in mostly Muslim Iraq. Chaldeans belong to a branch of the Roman Catholic Church and form the biggest Christian community in Iraq.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Catholic-Muslim interfaith forum

Pope approves rolling Catholic-Muslim interfaith forum: Vatican
by Martine Nouaille Wed Mar 5, 4:35 PM ET

VATICAN CITY (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI gave his approval Wednesday to the creation of a permanent Catholic-Muslim interfaith forum that will hold it inaugural meeting this November in Rome, the Vatican said.

The initiative was sparked by the pope's own controversial speech at a German university in 2006, where he appeared to link Islam with violence.

The dispute inspired by his remarks led last year to 138 leading Muslim scholars calling for a dialogue with the leader of the Roman Catholic church, and eventually to today's accord.

The first summit of the "Catholic-Muslim forum" will be on November 4-6 in Rome, on the theme of "the love of God, love of neighbour," according to a joint statement issued after the meeting between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and a delegation of the so-called Group of 138.

November's meeting will be attended personally by the pope, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran confirmed in a statement. The Muslim side will be represented Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad, president of Britain's Muslim Academic Trust.

A second follow-up conference has already been scheduled for 2010, to be held in a Muslim country, Ali Aref Nayed, director of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, said.
The structure put in place Wednesday could also be activated in case of a crisis such as the global uproar that followed the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in 2006, according to Nayed.
Nayed told a press conference in Rome he was delighted with the "incredibly positive response" to the Group of 138's call for dialogue, which had already led to a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury amongst others.

The goal is to "return to the roots of the faith and what we have in common" -- far from the image of violence too often attached to Islam, Nayed said.

Wednesday's Vatican meeting was held "in a very positive and welcoming atmosphere," he added.

Questioned about the aftermath of the crisis caused by the Regensburg University speech by the pope, Nayef said it still "burnt strongly in many parts of the Muslim world".

The speech "was a mistake, but everyone makes mistakes ... the important thing is to correct them," he said.

In November the pope will meet all 48 participants, who will debate the theological and spiritual foundations of the chosen theme as well as "human dignity and mutual respect."
November's ground-breaking summit will take place just over a year after 138 Muslim leaders from various sects from 43 countries issued an open letter to Christian churches urging peace and dialogue.

The move in October 2007, sponsored by Jordan's Prince Ghazi bin Muhammed bin Talal, came one year after a speech by the pope at Regensberg University in Germany angered some Muslim leaders for using a quote that seemed to equate Islam with violence.

The 138 signatories have now swelled to 241.

The Catholic Church remains reluctant to engage in a profound theological debate with Islam without first clarifying such issues as complete religious freedom for Christians in Muslim countries.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A letter to Holy Father

A Letter to Pope Benedict XVI
2008-03-02 | A group of concerned people of many faiths, who support Pope Benedict's public statements in opposition to the Iraq war, are encouraging him to confront President Bush on the matter during the Pope's scheduled April visit to the United States. Their letter to the Pope reads as follows.

If you would like your name added, please send it to me in the form that you would like it to appear. Include whatever other forms of identification you deem appropriate, e.g., organization, vocation, position.

Also feel free to circulate it to others who might be interested with the instruction to reply to me at by March 4.

in peace,

Stephen Kobasa

To His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI

Most Holy Father:

In your own words, "today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'." Yet, during your upcoming visit to the United States, you are planning to meet with President George W. Bush, whose empty justifications for the violence in Iraq lead to increasing numbers of dead, injured and displaced people. Iraqi civilians still endure the "continual slaughter" which you described in your 2007 Easter Sunday address.

Shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, you rightly declared that "there were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war." You've also called attention to the terrible new technologies which cause indiscriminate destruction. Five years later, how much more reason you have to call for an immediate end to this war, and to refuse to meet with the President of the United States until that is accomplished.

If you kneel in grief and outrage before the cross of the tortured Christ, can you offer your blessing to a head of government who excuses the most terrible abuses of human minds and bodies as "legal"?

If meet with him you must, then meet as a prophet should - issuing a warning and an invitation to repentance. Courtesy cannot be used as an evasion of our biblical faith. Ezekiel was repeatedly reminded of his responsibility to admonish those doing evil if he desired to escape sharing in the responsibility for their sins. Shouldn't any of us who recognize the horror of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan be condemned if we are silent?

You are scheduled to be in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of your birth. We feel sure that you will be thinking of the countless children of Iraq who never reached their fifth birthday. In 2005 alone, 122,000 Iraqi children under age five died. There are many, both within the Church and outside of it, who long for your voice to speak for those innocent dead and - face to face with those whose policies denied all respect for their lives - demand that the killing stop.

We are, in faithful hope (among the 882 signatures gathered as of March 1)

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit
Kathy Boylan, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
Stephen Vincent Kobasa
Kathy Kelly
Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
Marie Dennis, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Rev. John Dear, S.J.
Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ
Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy
Bruce Martin Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University; Principal Advisor to the United States Catholic Bishops for The Challenge of Peace (1983)
Joan Chittister, OSB, Co-Chair, Women's Global Peace Initiative; Co-Chair, Network of Spiritual Progressives
Ray McGovern
Bill Quigley, Loyola University, New Orleans
Msgr. Edward Pfeffer, retd., Diocese of Des Moines
Dr. Eugene Sensenig-Dabbous, Dept. of political science, Notre Dame University
Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, Emeritus, Temple Kol Tikvah, Woodland Hills,CA
Cynthia Russett, Larned Professor of History, Yale University
Harold W. Attridge, Dean, Yale Divinity School
Rev. Alice de V. Perry, Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice, Board of Directors, National Religious Campaign Against Torture
S. Joellen Sbrissa, CSJ, Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, Congregation of St. Joseph
S. Patricia Schlosser, OSF
Pio Celestino, Refugio del Rio Grande, Texas, EE.UU.
Shelley and Jim Douglass, Mary's House, Birmingham, AL
Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, Saints Francis and Therese Catholic
Worker, Worcester, Massachusetts
Elizabeth Griswold, Harvard Divinity School
Sister Karen Nykiel, O.S.B., Illinois State Coordinator, Pax Christi USA
Joe Morton, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Goucher College
Dr. Aurolyn Luykx, University of Texas at El Paso
Fr. Vincent Petersen OFM Conv., San Antonio Catholic Church, El Paso, Texas
Fr. Jim Hoffman, OFM, Director, Sacred Heart Province JPIC Office, IL
Eileen White, GNSH, for the Grey Nun Social Justice Group
Rev. Robert Dueweke, OSA, Theologian
Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry
Lorraine Lynch Nagy
Thomas J. Nagy
Tom Cordaro, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
Father Joseph E. Mulligan, S.J., Christian Base Communities of Nicaragua
Arthur Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, D.C.
Gabe Huck, Theresa Kubasak, Iraqi Student Project, Damascus, Syria
Robert L. Davis, Retired Deputy Asst. Secy., US Department of Labor