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I expect that there will be much written about the Pope’s coming visit to the US. I think perhaps the media will focus on social issues or comments the pope may make and how such statements might effect Catholic voters in the coming elections. But for Catholics I think perhaps there will be no greater issue then on APril 17, when the Pope will engage the 200 top Catholic school officials from across the country. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pope received the same type of reception as he did at the former Catholic university in Rome la-sapienza university 2 months ago.

In First Things Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote an article entitled “A University of a Particular Kind”. There is in this country two kinds of universities – Secular and Christian. Neither are neutral in their worldview, but since there are so many more secular universities most people receiving that type of education would consider secular to be neutral. It’s not, its existance is hostile to the Christian theos. This does not mean it shouldn’t exist, however the inroads of secular thought into Catholic universities has been significant and clearly harmful to the church. If one believes the Cardinal Newman Society it has recommended 20 of the 235 U.S. Catholic colleges “which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education”. In this day and age I amazed its that high.

Catholic universities have been able to give lip service to Catholic parents who believe that their child will receive a “Catholic” higher education. However, whenever the rare bishop is willing to hold the university accountable to that standard, the normal spin or party line if you will goes like this: in seeking truth & academic excellence, placing Catholic teaching or a Catholic environment in higher education would inhibit academic freedom.

If any one would doubt this position, I draw this conclusion from none other then the famous Land O’ Lakes Statement crafted by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh President of Notre Dame University back in 1967. One either hailed this position as a stand for academic freedom or viewed it as a divorce between Catholic education in this country and the Catholic church. IMO the latter is clearly demonstrated.

My biggest issue with Rev. Hesburg and those who support his position is that they disagree with the Catholic church on positions already settle and therefore not open to debate, yet they run their universities directly against those ideals, and they are unwilling to advise the Catholic parents who expect that their young Johnny’s faith will not be undermined, but actually reinforced what was taught in their home.

The Washington Post may prove me wrong about the media not picking up on this one Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message

Ex-corde-ecclesia written by Pope John Paul II in 1989 will finally be implemented into Catholic universities. Or at least I hope it will.

With every other University it shares that gaudium de veritate, so precious to Saint Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth(2) in every field of knowledge. A Catholic University’s privileged task is “to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth”(3).

I don’t expect that the Pope will get anything but lip service. My only hope is that the Pope will place them on notice and advise the general Catholic population that these institutions will be striped of any formal association, and prohibited from claiming any Catholic identity.

As the washington post article stated David Gibson, the author of a Benedict biography, said the pope will ask, “If you’re not going to be an authentically Catholic, orthodox institution, why should you exist?”

Amen.

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A Case of Demonic Possession

It seems like there’s a lot of activity going on in New York right now. The individual who observed this excorism is

Richard E. Gallagher, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in Hawthorne, New York, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at New York Medical College. He is also on the faculties of the Columbia University Psychoanalytic Institute and a Roman Catholic seminary. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton University, magna cum laude in Classics, and trained in Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The New Oxford Review has the full article of the case. While there may be natural explanations for this as a believer I know demons exist.

With a team of priests, deacons, several lay assistants, psychiatrists, nuns, some of whom also had medical and psychiatric training,

However, it would be difficult to disprove. In the end either one believes that there are malevolent forces or not and no evidence one way or the other will likely change ones view.

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Thomas Malthus back in 1798 came up with the theory
I think I may fairly make two postulata. First, That food is necessary to the existence of man. Secondly, That the passion between the sexes is necessary and will remain nearly in its present state. These two laws, ever since we have had any knowledge of mankind, appear to have been fixed laws of our nature, and, as we have not hitherto seen any alteration in them, we have no right to conclude that they will ever cease to be what they now are, without an immediate act of power in that Being who first arranged the system of the universe, and for the advantage of his creatures, still executes, according to fixed laws, all its various operations.

Assuming then my postulata as granted, I say, that the power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man. Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Essay on the Principle of Population -Chapter 1.
Paul Ehrlich has taken up this theory into modern times. He published a book entitled the Population Bomb in 1968 and when his predictions failed he “updated” his theory in 1990 with the Population Explosion.

population-explusion.jpg

Today IMO more rational minds are at work.

A new documentary filmdemographic_winter0.jpg called Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family deals with the indicators that not only are we not going to undergo a population explosion, but there are strong trends that many cultures will radically decrease or possibly die out.The Heritage Foundation has the director of this film on media player here.

The world population increased from 3 billion in 1959 to 6 billion by 1999, a doubling that occurred over 40 years. The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest projections imply that population growth will continue into the 21st century, although more slowly. The world population is projected to grow from 6 billion in 1999 to 9 billion by 2042, an increase of 50 percent that will require 43 years.

Total Fertility Rate projected in 2045
Belgium-1.69;France-1.75;Germany-1.67;Ireland-1.72;Italy-1.65;Luxembourg-1.71;Netherlands-1.70; Norway-1.71;Poland-1.65;Portugal-1.67;Russia-1.66;Spain-1.65;Sweden-1.70;

Switzerland-1.67;United Kingdom-1.70

To put it mildly – Europe is dying. The only industrialized nation on earth reaching the breakeven replacement value of 2.1 is the USA. We will reach 9 billion people in the world by 2050. But by 2100 it may well drop to 4.9 billion

Bishop Thomas Doran wrote last year Reaping the Whirlwind of Abortion .

If stats about the population say anything it’s that as a global society we have to protect the family(economically, spiritually, and legally). Abortion, contraception, divorce, the rise of cohabitation, families putting off procreation to pursue careers & euthanasia are going to place such a strain on those currently under 10 years of age, when they grow up and face a Europe with 1/3 the population over age 65 and when they die Europe’s population will be cut in half.

The USA while it is projected to hold replacement values, it has as a culture that supports all the factors that place pressure in lowering the fertility rate. The culture of death. Immigration won’t stop the decline.

Russia has started a program of paying couples to have children Can Russia Reverse its Demographic Crisis?

In May 2006, family allowances were doubled for the first child and multiplied by four for the second child. A one-time payment of 250,000 rubles ($9,700) will also be deposited in a special account after a second child is born, but will be released only when the child is three and its use is limited to expenses that will primarily benefit the child, such as tuition or mortgage payments.

The problem is it hasn’t worked at least not yet.

The Vatican has for decades not only decried the methods of human self-annihilation, but implored for support of the family.FAMILY, MARRIAGE AND “DE FACTO” UNIONS, and CHARTER OF THE RIGHTS OF THE FAMILY&FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO

The church is slow to adapt in many areas which is a strength and weakness, but because of its’ unwavering position against abortion, contraception, divorce and euthanasia has been the rock against humanity seeking to destroy itself.

Global mass migration, cloning as a way to stave off replacement rates, euthanasia to reduce the tax burden on the young. I don’t envy the young in their forced choices from flawed decisions of the baby boomers and gen-x er’s. Reaping the whirlwind indeed.

Updated: First Things also has a great article on it as well. The barren Left

Unlike the Black Death of the Middle Ages, which filled up the graveyards of the continent, the new epidemic of voluntary infertility empties out the maternity wards. And it is not the result of bacteria that infect our bodies but rather anti-natal thoughts that invade our minds. These are reinforced by an economic system that puts a premium on expanding the workforce at the expense of maternity, as well as a political system that weakens families, putting those with children at a financial disadvantage that is both unjust and shortsighted. The peoples of Europe, along with those of every other developed nation and many as yet underdeveloped, for some time now have been refusing to provide for the future in the most fundamental way—by providing the next generation…As a result, the current population of 728 million will plunge to only 557 million by the year 2050, a drop similar in magnitude to that occurring during the Black Death. At that point, Europe will be losing three to four million people a year. Three out of four Europeans will have disappeared by the end of the twenty-first century, when the population will number only 207 million. By then the population decline will be irreversible, with the surviving Europeans averaging more than sixty years of age.

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Cuba invites Catholic monks to set up new monastery Some folks attack the church or run from God after a perceived hurt and after a long life are unable to trun back to Him as they approach death. Castro suppressed all Catholic radio, TV, expropriates all religious schools (about 350 Catholic), denied parents the right to raise their children, public school denied belief in God. He forced into exile 3,400 Catholic religious priests & nuns.

Before he gave up power to his brother Castro invited the Benedictines to establish a monastery. Perhaps even he will seek God forgiveness before he departs this earth.

Munich – Cuba has invited the Catholic Church to open a new monastery on the island and a German Benedictine order said Wednesday it would send four monks to establish a “spiritual centre.”The church has been officially banned in the past from building new churches on the communist island.

The four monks will be provided by the Missionary Benedictines, also known as the Ottilien Congregation, an order of monks with its world headquarters at Landsberg am Lech, west of Munich.

The new site will be in the archdiocese of Havana, the order’s spokesman said.

The foundation had been requested by the archbishop, Cardinal Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, and had been expressly approved by Fidel Castro before his retirement last month as Cuban leader.

The spokesman said Cuban authorities had been helpful in the preparations to set up the monastery, which was likely to open this year.

One of the monks would come from the headquarters abbey, St Odilia at Landsberg, where 110 men practise manual trades as part of their religious vows. The order is a splinter from the Benedictines, the Catholic Church’s oldest religious order.

It was understood that Castro had insisted that one of the four monks with farm experience be skilled in cheese-making. The “Maximo Lider” as he is known in Cuba is said to be fond of cheese.

The spokesman said Cardinal Ortega hoped the Benedictines would give the church in Cuba “fresh spiritual impetus.”

The church has been banned for decades from the Cuban media, but last month Cuban state-controlled television broadcast live a mass celebrated in Havana’s cathedral square by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the visiting Vatican secretary of state.

Bertone visited Cuba February 20-26 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the late Pope John Paul’s trip to the island.

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qatar_-_santa_maria.jpg

Well to be reasonable I have to place the positive along with the negative. The building of a Catholic church in Qatar. There’s a very long way to go but this is an encouraging sign that perhaps moderate Muslims can influence the religious outlook of Islam towards other religions.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Catholic church of St. Mary, constructed as planned without a bell tower or cross, is close to inauguration. In spite of the great modesty of the Catholic community, there is no lack of disagreement on the part of a Muslim intellectuals who are firmly opposing the new church, maintaining that a popular referendum is necessary. They can’t have a cross or a bell tower. I note that the individual who was the former head of the faculty for Islamic law at the univeristy of Qatar. I wonder if he was removed from his place in supporting this move. Hopefully this will be a great assist to at least our Catholic soldiers over there.

The pages of the newspaper Al-Arab read, “the cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha”. In a letter to Al-Watan, the engineer Rashed al-Subaie maintains that the Christians have the right to practice their faith, but should not have permission to build places of worship. The lawyer and former justice minister Najib al-Nuaimi expresses himself as along the same lines. Nuaimi stresses that Qatar is a Muslim country, not a secular one, and maintains that a referendum is the only way to ensure that the church is socially acceptable.

Moderate comments of support come from Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, a former head of the faculty of Islamic law (sharia) at the University of Qatar, who has published articles in various newspapers welcoming the Catholic church in Doha: “places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam”.

St Mary’s will ultimately become a gathering place for the community of Catholics, who number about 100,000 faithful from Southeast Asia and from the West. “It will be merely a place for collective prayer”, says St. Mary’s parish priest, Father Tomasito Veneracion. “It will not have crosses outside the building or serve as a platform for proselytising”. A simple inauguration ceremony will be provided over by Cardinal Ivan Dias and Bishop Paul Hinder on March 14. Five other churches are planned for the same property where St Mary stands, including Anglican, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox churches.

Once St Mary’s open its doors to the faithful, Saudi Arabia will be the only Gulf country that still prohibits the building of churches within its borders.

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If Islam desires to be accepted into the world community, they have to reverse laws like this one. However since Islam seems unable or unwilling to separate the role of the state with the role of religion, I don’t hold out much hope in this regard any time soon. Faith regardless of who is professing what is not something that is left (in this case) at a particular authorized structure, it is a vocation which the individual draws from on every aspect of their life.

ROME, FEB. 13, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A Catholic priest was sentenced by the tribunal of Oran, a city in northwestern Algeria, to a year in prison for having “directed a religious ceremony in a place which has not been recognized by the government.”

Father Pierre Wallez is the first victim of legislation approved in March 2006 regarding the exercise of the practices of non Muslim worship, in this North African country of 33 million residents, 99% of whom are Muslim.

Speaking Saturday on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Henri Teissier of Alger, explained that “the most surprising thing is that the conviction was issued simply because the priest visited a group of Christians in Cameroon. He had not celebrated Mass, but was only joining them in a prayer. It was Dec. 29, a little after Christmas.”

The prelate clarified that the sentence will not be carried out, because the tribunal decided to modify it to a sentence of parole.

“They systematically reject entrance visas for our delegates,” stated the archbishop, “and in November they withdrew the residency permission for four young Brazilian priests who were working with the Portuguese-speaking African immigrants.”

The law, composed of 17 articles, prohibits the exercise of non-Islamic worship outside buildings approved by authorities.

An article allows for fines and prison for anyone “who changes the original function of places of worship” or “incites, coerces, or uses persuasive means to oblige a Muslim to embrace another religion.”

The same penalties are also applied to those who “produce, store, or distribute publications or audio or video material or other means oriented toward undermining faith in Islam.”

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.- A proposed Colorado law restricting religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws could threaten the Catholic character of charitable organizations that receive government funds. The Colorado Catholic Conference has heard from numerous sources pointing to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as being connected to the legislation.

The bill is so restrictive that it would forbid preferring Catholics for appointment to key leadership positions in Catholic non-profit organizations.  The local archbishop has even advised the public that he will have to end Catholic Charities’ involvement with government programs if the bill passes.

The summary of Colorado legislature’s House Bill 1080(HB 1080) says that the bill “limits the applicability of the exception from compliance with employment nondiscrimination laws for religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, or societies when employing persons to provide services that are funded with government funds.”

The bill itself is short, taking up only twenty three lines.  It amends the present blanket religious exemption by requiring every religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society that “accepts government funds to provide services” to comply with anti-discrimination laws.  As listed in the Colorado Revised Statutes, characteristics protected by the anti-discrimination regulations include “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, or ancestry.”

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, criticized HB 1080 in a January 23rd column titled “How to write a really bad bill.”  He said the proposed law would attack the religious identity of non-profits and compromise Catholic organizations that co-operate with government agencies in providing necessary social services. 

Because of the disproportionately large involvement of Catholic non-profits in the community, Archbishop Chaput said, “Catholics will bear a disproportionate part of the damage.”  Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver, the archbishop notes, is the largest non-governmental human services provider in the Rocky Mountain West.

HB 1080, the archbishop believes, would hinder Catholic non-profits from hiring or firing employees based on the religious beliefs of the Catholic Church.  Though recognizing that many non-Catholics work at Catholic Charities, Archbishop Chaput said the bill would remove the ability of the non-profit to maintain a Catholic leadership.

“…the key leadership positions in Catholic Charities obviously do require a practicing and faithful Catholic, and for very good reasons.   Catholic Charities is exactly what the name implies:  a service to the public offered by the Catholic community as part of the religious mission of the Catholic Church,” the archbishop wrote.

The need to preserve Catholic Charities’ Christian identity was so important that the archbishop warned that the non-profit’s cooperation with the government would cease if regulations impeded its Catholic mission.  Speaking of Catholic Charities, he wrote, “When it can no longer have the freedom it needs to be ‘Catholic,’ it will end its services.  This is not idle talk.  I am very serious.”

The archbishop also said he has heard from Catholics who find HB 1080 “offensive, implicitly bigoted, and designed to bully religious groups out of the public square.”  He also voiced concern about the origins of the legislation, saying that the Colorado Catholic Conference has repeatedly heard that the Anti-Defamation League has been a leading advocate for the bill.  Though hoping that allegation was not accurate, Archbishop Chaput encouraged the Anti-Defamation League to distance itself from the bill if it was involved.

The ADL was most recently on the Catholic radar for their fierce opposition to Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” which they claimed would fuel anti-Semitism.

Urging citizens to write their legislators, Archbishop Chaput summarized his concerns, saying, “Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities are glad to partner with the government and eager to work cooperatively with anyone of good will.  But not at the cost of their religious identity.”

Catholic News Agency

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