William Kilpatrick writing in FrontPageMag.com:
“If a weakened Christianity invites an aggressive Islam, what is the prognosis for America? On the surface, Americans seem to have a strong Christian commitment. And on the surface America doesn’t seem to have a population problem. But below the surface there are problems aplenty.
Here’s one indication of the problem: a recent study conducted by Georgetown shows that Catholic college students are less likely to pray and attend Mass after four years of exposure to a Catholic education. The study showed similar results for non-Catholic private religious colleges. Four years of education at Christian colleges and universities produced graduates who were less inclined to attend church, to pray, and to read scripture than they had been before college entrance.
The study is reinforced by several recent polls which reveal that America is less Christian than it once was. According to a Newsweek poll the percentage of self-identified Christians in the United States has fallen from 86 percent of the population in 1990 to 76 percent today. In the same period the number of those who say they have no religion has nearly doubled from 8 to 15 percent. Among younger Americans, ages 18 to 29, a fourth classify themselves as agnostic, atheist, or of no religious faith.
How about that 76 percent that remain identified as Christians? Judging by the Georgetown study, you might not want to count on all of them, or even many of them, to stand shoulder to shoulder in resistance to cultural Islamization. In addition to cutting back on prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance, Christian students seem to acquire a more positive attitude toward activities—such as abortion and same-sex marriage—that were traditionally considered violations of the Christian moral code. Nowadays, the surest sign of your faith is a display of sensitivity to diversity. Education today—whether denominational or non-denominational—is mainly about learning the rules of relativism, and non-judgmentalism. It seems safe to say that if they think about the matter much, students will tend to be non-judgmental about the Islamic faith, as well. Of course, a multicultural education more or less guarantees that people won’t give much thought to the matter because if all cultures, religions, and opinions are equal, what does it matter what people believe. Why bother to be better informed when you already know that all belief systems will turn out to be as innocuous and well-intentioned as your own?”
Full article here.
Peter Stanford / Standpoint:
“Last month, more than 700 people gathered in London’s Royal Geographical Society to debate the motion “England Should Be a Catholic Country Again”. It was, said the Spectator which had organised the event as part of a rolling series, the biggest crowd it had attracted so far. Remarkably, the proposers — headed by a genial but effective Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor — carried the day. Granted, this one result hardly counts as evidence of a major shift in religious sentiment in our officially Anglican but largely secular and sceptical society, but it is arguably a sign that something may be stirring in our
For centuries after the Reformation, English Catholics, despite being oppressed by penal taxation, exclusion from public life and the constant threat of mob violence, imprisonment and execution, continued to pray in their Recusant priest-holes for their country’s return to the Roman fold. I am just old enough to remember beseeching God with my Christian Brother teachers in the early 1970s for the restoration of “Mary’s Dowry” as England was known.
Soon after, though, the phrase fell out of use. This was the new age of ecumenism. When Cardinal Basil Hume referred, in an interview in 1993, to “the conversion of England”, he immediately retracted his remarks after they had caused deep offence to Anglicans. The irony was that Hume, of all English Catholic church leaders, had done most to exorcise the ghosts of the Reformation. Yet here in 2010 was Murphy-O’Connor once again arguing for precisely such a conversion, though he still shrank from actually using the word.
The meat of the debate was about restoration, a return to Catholicism…”
Full article here.
ROME, January 6, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The killing of 50 million unborn children a year and the moral degradation of the post-Christian west will naturally and necessarily lead to a global political and financial crisis even greater than that which is already happening, said the head of Human Life International (HLI), the world’s largest pro-life organization .
In a lengthy interview, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer spoke to LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) at the HLI office in Rome and said that he anticipates a disaster like the collapse of ancient civilizations, but on a global scale, as a result of abortion and the abandonment of Judeo-Christian values in the West. (Read the complete interview here)
“It’s happened in every society that has reached its pinnacle of civilization and then collapsed,” Fr. Euteneuer said.
“Look at Carthage, the Phoenician empire was much more powerful than Rome for a period of time. But Carthage had a religion that offered human sacrifice of babies. Eventually it degraded from within and collapsed on itself.”
“We’ve got a serious crisis on the horizon. I’m not a prophet of doom but I don’t see this going any other way but a serious political crisis that’s going to affect the globe,” he said.
In the “moral dimension of the law of nature,” the killing of countless millions of children through the 20th and 21st centuries will require a tipping back of the scales of cosmic justice on an unimaginable scale, he said.
The salvation from this impending disaster, he said, is not the election of a different party or political candidate: “We have to turn back to God.”
“If people get fed up and just elect another political party that is just as bad as the previous political party, it does nothing to stem the global crisis that’s going to come upon us. What we need is a conversion of heart.”
In most cases, he said, only suffering has enough power to effect such a change. “People turn back to God when they suffer.” But the price, he warned, is necessarily going to be high.
“50 million is what is killed every year around the world. It’s a global genocide and it’s totally unrepented. And with contraception and abortion, we’re basically committing mass suicide on a global scale.”
But Euteneuer, who also serves as an exorcist, said that the message cannot be one of despair. “Every war is discouraging because you lose some battles. And sometimes you lose a lot of battles before you actually win one and then turn the tide.”
That tide, however, is not turning yet, he said. “I don’t think we’ve reached that point yet. I think the crisis we were talking about earlier will be the way in which the tide turns.”
“Again, I’m not predicting anything. I just have this intuition that the way things are going, they’re getting worse, they’re declining, they’re dismantling, and that can only mean some form of major destruction down the road.
“The ones who are now presently on the side of the angels are the ones who are going to get through that. And to bring others along with them back to God.”
Read the complete text of the interview here.
Dana Lewis with Fox News reporting:
Egyptian Maher El-Gowhary and his 15 year old daughter Dina never pray twice at the same church, never stay longer than a month in any one apartment. They are constantly under threat, always on the run because they converted to Christianity in a largely Muslim country.
Several religious fatwas have been issued for “spilling his blood” after Maher asked an Egyptian Court to legally recognize his conversion, so he can one day be buried as a Christian and so his daughter won’t be forced into a marriage by her Muslim mother.
The court ruled a legal conversion to Christianity would threaten public order. His lawyer told us it’s a dangerous double standard because in Egypt a Christian can convert to the Muslim faith in a week, but a Muslim cannot convert to the Christian faith.
Ten percent of Egypt is Christian, largely the Coptic Christians who increasingly say they face daunting discrimination and even death.
The U.S. State Department reports respect of religious freedom in Egypt is declining, Christians are denied Government jobs, Priests are threatened and harassed, Christians are increasingly attacks in what State describes as “a climate of impunity that encourages violence.”
In some cases authorities turn a blind eye to attacks on Christians, in other cases there is evidence police sparked the attacks.
Her father Mayer says he can’t stay in Egypt anymore. He and his daughter are in such grave danger we can’t report where they are in Egypt now, or where they are planning on moving tomorrow.
In recent days the two met with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in Cairo. They asked for refugee status to get out of Egypt.
A source at the Commission say’s its a complicated matter because Dina has a Muslim mother and there are legal issues, but their request is being considered.
The Commission source also says because of religious discrimination in Egypt, last year the State Department down graded Egypt to being on a watch list. This year it could potentially be downgraded further to a Country of particular concern. That means the U.S. might even consider sanctions against a Country which receives some 2 billion dollars in U.S. aid every year.
As I write this Dina and her father are packing, moving to another area of Egypt. Out of money. And running of out hope.
Full report here.
The dialogue remained frozen until, in 2005, the German Joseph Ratzinger ascended to the throne of Peter, a pope highly appreciated in the East for the same reason he prompts criticisms in the West: for his attachment to the great Tradition.
First in Belgrade in 2006, and then in Ravenna in 2007, the international mixed commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches started meeting again.
And what rose to the top of the discussion was precisely the question that most divides East and West: the primacy of the successor of Peter in the universal Church.
From the session in Ravenna emerged the document that marked the shift, dedicated to “conciliarity and authority” in the ecclesial communion.
The document of Ravenna, approved unanimously by both sides, affirms that “primacy and conciliarity are mutually interdependent.” And in paragraph 41, it highlights the points of agreement and disagreement:
“Both sides agree that . . . that Rome, as the Church that ‘presides in love’ according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch, occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium.”
“Protos” is the Greek word that means “first.” And “taxis” is the structure of the universal Church.
Since then, the discussion on controversial points has advanced at an accelerated pace. And it has started to examine, above all, how the Churches of East and West interpreted the role of the bishop of Rome during the first millennium, when they were still united.
Full report here.
Gary L. Krupp writing in the New York Post:
Growing up Jewish in Queens, I never dreamt I would be defending the man I once believed to be a Nazi sympathizer and an anti-Semite. But my work since 2002 with my wife, Meredith, and the Pave the Way Foundation has led me to this point.
We founded Pave the Way to identify and eliminate nontheological obstacles between religions. Thus, despite our early prejudices, we decided to investigate the papacy of Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), one of today’s greatest sources of hurt between Jews and Catholics.
After years of research in documentary evidence and eyewitness testimony, what we found shocked us. We found nothing but praise and positive news articles concerning Pius’ actions from every Jewish, Israeli and political leader of the era who lived through the war.
A few articles in the postwar era suggested that he should have done more to confront the Nazis — but it wasn’t until 1963, in the wake of the fictitious play “The Deputy” (written five years after Pius died), that accusations began flowing that he had failed to act, that he was a cold-hearted Nazi sympathizer who couldn’t care less about the Jewish people.
The evidence strongly suggests this was part of a KGB-directed and -financed bid to smear Pius, a Soviet disinformation campaign meant to discredit the Catholic Church, which at that time was profoundly anti-Communist.
In any case, the facts simply don’t match what so many have come to believe about Pius.
Full article here.
PRAGUE—Outgoing Prague archbishop and head of Czech Catholics Miloslav Vlk warned of a looming “islamization” of Europe in an interview published in Prague on Tuesday.
“Europe has denied its Christian roots from which it has risen and which could give it the strength to fend off the danger that it will be conquered by Muslims — which is actually happening gradually,” Vlk said.
“If Europe doesn’t change its relation to its own roots, it will be islamized,” the 77-year-old cardinal, who was named Prague archbishop by pope John Paul II in 1991, added on his website http://www.kardinal.cz.
He blamed immigration and Muslims’ high birth rate for helping Muslims to “easily fill the vacant space created as Europeans systematically empty the Christian content of their lives”.
“At the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern age, Islam failed to conquer Europe with arms. The Christians beat them then,” Vlk said.
“Today, when the fighting is done with spiritual weapons which Europe lacks while Muslims are perfectly armed, the fall of Europe is looming,” added the cardinal.
Vlk, who was persecuted by the former communist regime toppled in 1989, offered his resignation as Catholic bishop two years ago — at age 75, in line with Church rules, but Pope Benedict XVI extended his term by two years then.
Vlk’s successor should be named this week, according to Czech media.
Excerpt from an essay, “Faith, Reason, Islam and the West” by Father J. Patrick Serna, Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Catholic Men’s Quarterly.
* * *
So what do we do? Do we sit on the sidelines, which send more people to the hottest parts of hell, according to Dante? No. We must be the Catholic men and women who Jesus wants us to be. We must be filled with a passionate love for Jesus, His Church, and His Mother. If we are filled with that love, then we will pray more. If we pray more, preoccupy ourselves with living in a state of grace and preach more with our lives than our mouths, then the world will be transformed. God’s Grace will transform this sad world of ours if and when we decide to cooperate with that Grace. Catholicism has always held to the belief of Faith AND Good Works. We must show God that we want to change ourselves and the world with more than just words… if we show Jesus in our actions that we wish to cooperate with His transforming Grace, then moral decadence in Christendom will be reversed, as will the Islamic threat to world civilization.
Full article here.
In the letter, Benedict XVI recalled his visit to Istanbul, and said that the practice of exchanging delegations represents an authentic sign “of the commitment of our Churches to an ever deeper communion, strengthened through cordial personal relations, prayer and the dialogue of charity and truth.”
He continued: “Indeed, our work toward unity is according to the will of Christ our Lord. In these early years of the third millennium, our efforts are all the more urgent because of the many challenges facing all Christians, to which we need to respond with a united voice and with conviction.”
Full report here.
From Catholic World News:
Abortion now the leading cause of death in Spain, a pro-life campaigner there told the Fides news service.
Eduardo Hertfelder, the president of the Spanish Family Policy Institute (IPF), based his report on a study prepared by IPF, which shows that in 2006 there was an abortion every 5.3 minutes, or 270 abortions every day, in Spain. Roughly one in every six pregnancies– 15.8%– ended in abortion…
Full report here.