Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
Letter from the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Msgr. Samir Nasar, to our Dicastery
1) GUILTY SILENCE:
The more talk there is in Geneva II about peace in Syria, the more the war becomes violent and the suffering great…
We're talking about a typical game, in which each side tries to improve its position on the ground before reaching the final solution. This scenario does not take into account the poor people caught in the crossfire… We are in the third year of this global conflict, sinking into ever greater misery, in the face of the impotence of the United Nations.
This heavy ordeal is crushing THE FAMILY, the basic cell that has withstood the violence… Weakened by the war and by insecurity, the family can neither save nor protect. The Syrian family looks with sadness on the hesitant silence and the indifference of the international society faced by this cruel unending tragedy.
2) LIKE A BEETLE
The father of a family, who has lost everything, came to the church complaining loudly: “I no longer have a home. I’ve lost everything. My family is living scattered with different cousins. I no longer have a job. I'm hungry. I'm sick and without medication. What does the Church do for me? You are not able to protect me, to find me shelter, and you can’t get me a visa so that I can leave the country…”
“I'm like a beetle that’s in the bottom of a cup and can’t get out; it goes around in circles until it dies at the bottom of its hole. That’s what I am”, he said this man as he left the archdiocese with deep anger.
Many Syrians are like this man. They go round and round at the bottom of their hole. All the doors are closed. They face their fate, immersed in accusing silence.
3) THE BROKEN HEART OF A MOTHER
A mother, fleeing the bombing of her village, with four children, was forced, after five hours of walking in the mountains and valleys, to abandon the two youngest on the street. When she got to Lebanon, exhausted, to a place of a refuge, with the two oldest children, she was crying over her two youngest abandoned ones, because she was not able to bring them. She had to choose between the death of all and the survival of only one part. A terrible choice and a cruel situation. How long will this war last? How can we imagine the pain of this mother, forced to abandon two of her children in order to save the other two? Who would better comfort this broken heart than Our Lady of Sorrows? This harrowing scene joins that of Mary at the foot of the Cross.
4) ECUMENICAL SUFFERING
At a meeting of the Bishops of the Middle East, listening to the pain of all these countries, the Apostolic Nuncio evoked ecumenical suffering that unites all Christians of the Orient in the same ordeal. A difficult, painful and providential path of unity. And the disappearance of our two bishops, since April 22nd, 2013, leaves us aghast.
The long list of refugees in the Middle East, which gradually joined by over six million Syrian refugees, is becoming longer. Ecumenism of the exiles without labels, Christians and Muslims… Could this suffering lead to reconciliation between the religions and the peoples of the Middle East? IS IT POSSIBLE TO SEE LIFE AND PEACE WITHOUT THE CROSS?
+ Samir Nassar
Maronite Archbishop of Damascus
Maronite Archbishop of Damascus
Friday, June 14, 2013
Francis to Complete Benedict’s Encyclical Pope Emeritus Will Not Contribute Additional Material to Work on Faith
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
AP not sweating details on stories
A reader passed along this gem from the Associated Press that begins:
SAN FRANCISCO DE YARE, Venezuela — The descendants of African slaves donned masks and bright red costumes as they danced through the streets of this small Venezuelan town on Thursday for its annual commemoration of Corpus Cristi.Um, come again? A “Roman Catholic holiday celebrating the transformation of the body and blood of Christ into bread and wine?” I’m actually of the mindset that 100 percent of educated people should have a passing knowledge of what the Eucharist means to traditional Christians. But even if you think that’s too much to expect, I’m sure we all agree that reporters and editors on stories about the Eucharist should have a passing knowledge of it, right?
Young men beat drums and shook maracas as the “devils” paraded through the streets and people gathered to celebrate Corpus Cristi, a Roman Catholic holiday celebrating the transformation of the body and blood of Christ into bread and wine.
The error is repeated throughout a 16-photo slideshow over at Huffington Post. Each caption includes the error, including this one:
Men dressed as a dancing devils perform on the streets in San Francisco de Yare, Venezuela, Thursday, May 30, 2013. The descendants of African slaves donned colorful masks and bright red costumes as they danced through the streets of this small Venezuelan town on Thursday for its annual commemoration of Corpus Christi, a Roman Catholic holiday celebrating the transformation of the body and blood of Christ into bread and wine. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)I’m going to go ahead and let (HuffPo commenter) MirrorMonkey take it from here:
What incompetents who humorously claim to be “professional journalists” wrote this gross public display of doltish ignorance?
Corpus Christi is certainly not a “Catholic holiday celebrating the transformation of the body and blood of Christ into bread and wine.” It is instead a Catholic solemnity that commemorates exactly the opposite: namely, how in the Eucharist, mere bread and wine are transformed into the true Body and Blood of Christ. Reversing it, as the writer did, is as clueless as saying that a wedding ceremony celebrates the transformation of a married couple into two unmarried people who will live apart.
Furthermore, in a Corpus Christi procession, priests don’t ” carry sacramental bread.” If it were believed to be mere bread, there would be no point in carrying it and honoring it at all. Instead, Catholics believe that regardless of any appearances of bread (that is, the “accidents”), the reality of the Eucharist is that it isn’t bread at all, but is really and truly the Body of Jesus Christ. The priests therefore carry what they believe to be Jesus Christ through the streets — which is why the feast is called (doh!) Corpus Christi, or the Body of Christi.
I know that reporters today are not expected to know anything about the subjects of their stories, but it is unfortunate that the total lack of basic cultural knowledge is now tolerated among those who are supposed to be their editors as well.
Reporters writing about Corpus Christi festivals might consult this page or this one or this one.
Image of Venezuelan Corpus Cristi festival via cla78/Shutterstock.com.