Recently in Global Church Category
The Pope's new encyclical,Spe Salvis discusses several saintly examples of hope lived out. One of these is St. Bakhita, the first Sudanese saint. Back in 2000 when St. Bakhita was canonized, Fides News Service spoke to Bishop Macram Max Gassis of El Obeid, Sudan, about Bahita. Bishop Gassis describes Bakhita as a sign of "hope to be freed from many forms of slavery" and "hope for those who leave their homeland."
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston recently completed a pilgrimage with his Orthodox counterpart, Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Church in Boston. They visited Rome, Constantinople and St. Petersburg. He wrote up the experience here and here, complete with gorgeous pictures.
In fact, the Cardinal has inspired me. In the spirit of promoting interfaith dialogue, I'm going to solicit donations to send my family on a worldwide pilgrimage along with an Orthodox family yet to be determined (first come, first serve).
I received an email back from the editor of AsiaNews with regards to their crazy story on the looming North American Union and the Amero. Attached was a letter from the article's author that was a history lesson stating that the US government doesn't always do what the people want. I realized then that I over-emphasized the ridiculousness of the ideas in the article and under-emphasizing the flimsiness of the author's sources.
I sent a clarifying email, pointing out that whatever my difference of opinion with the author, his research did not even reach high school levels of acceptability. Just to recap, here's what the author offered as evidence that "the United States along with Canada and Mexico, appears to be getting ready to launch a new single currency - the Amero":
- a report by the Council on Foreign Relations. The report nowhere calls for an Amero.
- a clip of a CNBC report he found on YouTube. The report cites no evidence, it's an interview with some conspiracy theorist who urges viewers to google Amero and see what the government is planning.
- a webpage of an alarmist far-right US radio host. The site features pictures of fake Amero coins which were made by a private Denver company.
- a suggestion that the Denver mint, currently being renovated, is actually being turned into an Amero factory.
- a Wikipedia page. The page he references merely discusses the CFR report and notes that one of its members has publicly called for an Amero.
Not one single person was interviewed. Not one actual piece of evidence that there are plans for an Amero was presented. He simply touted internet rumors.
If they can publish this, how do we know they're getting Lebanon, Indonesia or, for goodness' sake, Chinaright? This is a Church institution putting this stuff out. This is very very frustrating.
I read AsiaNews just about every day. It's a news service compiled by the Church's missionary congregation that features reports from around the world. Until today, I assumed they were a fairly reliable source of news.
But if they can get something like this so drastically wrong, one has to wonder what else they get wrong.
Really? Do they really think this?
A news report on the Amero broadcast on CNBC is also available on Youtube.
Similarly, 20 Amero coins can be seen on the Hal Turner Show webpage, with a small D visible, D as in ‘minted in Denver.’ Curiously, the Denver Mint is currently closed to the public, ostensibly for restoration work, till September 28.
It's on Wikipedia and YouTube - it must be true! And the Denver mint is being converted into an Amero-factory AS WE SPEAK! AMERICA LOSES MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY NEXT WEEK!
Here's the kicker:
If you read the entire article, you'll discover that the author did not interview a single person. It's based entirely on what likely amounted to 5 minutes of googling. He encountered some kooky websites - likely the products of either one-world wannabe master-planners or nationalist conspiracy-theorist fear-mongerers who respectively have dreams or nightmares about the North American Union - and wrote them up as newsworthy. Had he tried talking to actual Americans he would have found that not only is the idea of a looming North American Union a fiction, it's also opposed by any American with any sense. Sure, it's possible to find individuals, like former Mexican president Vincente Fox and various (looney-tunes) think tanks and opinion journalist, who favor the idea, but there are certainly no plans in the works.
I'm not being flippant here, this is kinda serious. I honestly don't care that they got this particular story wrong. I can't imagine it hurting anybody to propagate the idea that a North American Union is coming. This would be a laughing matter if it weren't for the source.
The problem is that up until now, I've considered AsiaNews a reliable source. They report on wars, refugees, famine, disease and religious tensions (including the persecution of Christians) around the world, and I've assumed they get reports from contacts "on the ground" so to speak. Yet this article was clearly written by somebody who does not live in America and has not the slightest clue about such things as a North American Union and a continental currency. If they can get something so completely wrong that's so easily refutable, how can we honestly trust what they have to say about complex civil wars on the other side of the world? We should hope that they take greater care to verify stories about more serious subjects, but really, how can we know that?
I have emailed the editor and asked for an explanation. I'll let you know what I hear.
The cause for beatification for Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân is officially open.
Today, the Holy Father received officials from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which Cardinal Van Thuân headed after being expelled from Vietnam. Zenit translated his address. Here's a snip:
Dear brothers and sisters I welcomed with profound joy the news that the cause for beatification of this singular prophet of Christian hope has begun and, while we entrust this chosen soul to the Lord, we pray that his example will be for us a valuable teaching. With that, I bless you all from my heart.
The Italian monthly 30 Days has their latest issue online, including this interview with the patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq.
Here is the address of His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus at his audience with Pope Benedict XVI in June, which included this powerful plea:
Human rights are trampled upon, monuments are destroyed, works of our spiritual patrimony become the object of international trade, and the division of the last European capital, Nicosia, seems doomed to continue. Will no one hear our just lament and raise their voices in protest to the powerful of the earth, who exploit Christ's Name but are deaf to the law of love?
We ask your support through the invincible weapons of brotherly prayer, but also through your fatherly cry for the defence of the inalienable rights of the Ancient and Apostolic Sister Church of Cyprus, this crossroads of peoples, religions, languages and civilizations of the Mediterranean and Middle East.
We want you beside us! Through us the Holy Apostle Barnabas invites his elder brother, the Blessed Apostle Peter, to make a first Visit to his humble home and to receive hospitality in it, to feel as though it were his own home and to bless it!
Seriously, it's an excellent summary of the challenges of stem cell science, though I wish he went a little more into why some opponents of ANT approve of ANT-OAR.
The February English version of the Italian journal 30 Days has just come online and has five stoties on the plight of Iraqi Christians who have fled Iraq and have been taken in with open arms by Syria. It should shame us that the Baathist regime in Damascus is doing more for Iraqi Christians than the U.S.
Sr. Ann Thole, who died March 31st while trying to rescue patients from a fire that engulfed the AIDS hospice where she worked.
A couple of years ago, a few bishops from the Phillipines started blogs. Well, they've gone a step further: this year, they started video blogging for Holy Week.
Here's a sample:
It's this year's Easter Vigil homily delivered by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.
John Allen has been in South America researching his next book and has been writing up a storm about the Church there. Great stuff.
Whatever it is, I bet it's not based on Deus Caritas Est.
This week, The Tablet has coverage of Christians in the Holy Land suffering from the violence.
- Lebanese Christians
Food, clean water, milk and medicine were urgently needed and, despite the destruction of roads, bridges and power lines, the bishop was confident that the Church's infrastructure would enable him to get emergency aid through to villages in some of the most remote areas.
According to Aid to the Church in Need, Lebanon has for many years been seen by church leaders as a sanctuary for Christians in the Middle East, and the clash between Hezbollah and Israel has prompted fears that an exodus of Christians from the region could spell disaster for the survival of the Church in the whole region. The director of a centre east of Saida run by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Lebanon described the situation as "tragic and catastrophic".
- Iraqi Christians
Half OF Iraq's Christian population has left the country in the last five years, according to Bishop Andreas Abouna of Baghdad.
In an interview with the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which supports persecuted Christians around the world, Bishop Abouna said that the number who have fled Baghdad could even be as high as 75 per cent.
Speaking during a visit to London last week, the bishop described how the state of anarchy in Iraq was driving away his flock. "What we are hearing now is the alarm bell for Christianity in Iraq. When so many are leaving from a small community like ours, you know that it is dangerous - dangerous for the future of the Church in Iraq," he said.
The bishop estimated that 600,000 Christians had left since 2002 - most of them going to Turkey, Jordan and Syria, where they sought sanctuary, initially on a temporary basis. The signs of them returning in the near future, however, were "increasingly bleak".
- A general look at the situation of Christians in the Middle East
A profound series of crises has overtaken Middle Eastern Christianity in modern times. Displacement by war, genocide and interreligious conflict, leading to loss, emigration and exile are the main experiences of its followers. Some observers have even suggested that there is a "Christian barometer" that provides the world with an accurate measurement of the political atmosphere in the Middle East, according to how the Christian minorities are treated.
The theory goes that as the Middle East becomes more free and prosperous, linked to the West and hospitable to minorities and women, the higher the probability that the Christians will continue to live there. The most highly educated and multilingual Christians, who are part of a large diaspora in Europe and North America, may even return. But if Christians sense that things are getting worse, if the Arab countries they live in lose their commitment to political, economic and religious freedom, they tend to emigrate from the Middle East.
Catholic News Agency also picks up this beat with a sketch of the efforts of Catholic Relief Services to help all Lebanese people displaced by the violence.
One of my favorite news agencies is Fides News, a service associated with the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. Fides carries news from all over the world, giving an "on the ground" Catholic perspective on world events. From natural disasters, wars and famines to new seminaries, schools and hospitals and addresses from bishops in third world countries, Fides gives an account of what's going in the world and how the Church is ministering to those those affected by these events.
Here's a sample of some recent news items, follow the links for the whole stories:
- From the Democratic Republic of Congo
Repeated violence in east Congo is causing tens of thousands to abandon homes and fields. Warned that food supplies will soon run out the United Nations World Food Programme has launched an urgent call to international donors to give more funds assist these suffering people. The situation is most serious in Gety, in Ituri province, where 38,000 displaced persons are sheltering. On July 14 WFP took two week food rations from its stores at Bunia to distribute to 30,000 people in Gety, but now its supplies are almost finished and more funds are urgently needed.
- From Israel
St John of God Catholic Hospital in Nazareth was the first to give emergency treatment to victims of an attack on the town a week ago in the present conflict. At about 5pm on Wednesday 19 July, re-named Nazareth’s black Wednesday, without any warning three Katyusha rockets suddenly landed in the Bilal district of the Arab part of the town hitting a mosque in front of which several children were playing.
- From East Timor
If more young men ask to serve the Lord and consecrate their lives to service of the Church and the people in East Timor, there is still hope for the youngest democracy in Asia, despite conditions of political and social instability. The occasion of the solemn profession of new Salesians di Camilo Boavida and Venancio Fatima Freitas was in fact a festive event for the whole community in Baucau. People put aside their daily worries and anxieties to share in the joy of the two young men called by God to follow in the footsteps of Saint John Bosco.
Journalist and long time St. Blogger Robert Duncan has a great article about the World Meeting of Families over at Spero news.