Friday, 27 June 2008

Benedict XVI Changing Pallium Again

Aide Says Beauty More Important Than Antiquity or Modernity

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2008 ( Benedict XVI will begin using a pallium of a different shape, said a Vatican official, citing "several problems and inconveniences" with the Pope's current model.Beginning Sunday, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Father will use a new pallium. It will be circular and larger than his current one, with two pendants in the middle of the chest and back, and including the characteristic red crosses.

Monsignor Guido Marini, master of papal liturgical ceremonies, explained to L'Osservatore Romano this change brings back something of the form of the pallium used before Pope John Paul II, though longer and with red crosses (previously, the crosses were black).Benedict XVI's current model, which he chose at the beginning of his pontificate, hearkens back to the sixth century. The end of the cloth drapes over his left shoulder.
The papal pallium, a liturgical vestment used since ancient times, is a white woolen band worn over the chasuble by the pope and metropolitans archbishops. The pope's is different from those of the other archbishops.The shape of the papal pallium has changed through the centuries, with the circular form coming into use in the 10th or 11th century. Monsignor Marini explained that the pallium draped over the shoulder chosen by Benedict XVI after his election "entailed several problems and inconveniences"; hence the decision to return to the circular shape. Rooted in Tradition
However, this is not the only change made in the papal liturgical vestments. For several months the Pope has decided to use a golden staff in the form of a Greek cross, used by Pope Pius IX, instead of the silver one with the figure of the Crucified, introduced by Pope Paul VI.
"This choice does not mean simply a return to the ancient, but shows development in continuity, a rooting in Tradition that allows going forward in an orderly manner on the path of history," Monsignor Marini said. "The pastoral staff, called 'ferula,' responds more faithfully to the form of the papal staff typical of the Roman tradition, which had always been in the shape of a cross and without the Crucified."
Benedict XVI has also retuned to the use of the canauro (a red cap with a white border used only in winter), which had fallen into disuse since Pope John XXIII's pontificate, as well as other ancient liturgical vestments.

Monsignor Marini explained that the "hermeneutics of continuity is always the exact criterion to read the path of the Church in time." This, which the popes carry out in regard to the magisterium, "is also valid for the liturgy, to indicate the same continuity of the 'lex orandi.'"
Benedict XVI "doesn't always use ancient liturgical vestments, but also modern ones," the monsignor clarified. "What is important is not so much antiquity or modernity, but beauty and dignity, important components of all liturgical celebrations."

Do You Really Want to Live in the Future You’re Building?

June 26th, 2008

2 Kgs 24:8-17 / Mt 7:21-29
Most of us were very young when we first heard the old adage, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” And very probably most of us paid no attention to its wisdom at the time, because as children we’d been guests at an extended free lunch for as long as we could remember. With the optimism of youth, most of us continued to reach for that free lunch in multiple contexts, and we discovered to our woe that eventually the bill came: There was an exam, or a job performance review, or a project update, and we were empty handed.
Those early mistakes ought to have been lessons for a lifetime, but too often they were not. In too many parts of our lives, we’re still living as if no bill will ever come, as if we could immunize ourselves from the adverse consequences of our inattention or our poor choices. This denial of reality is painfully visible in so many marriages and in so much of parenting. It’s visible too in so many people’s haphazard spiritual lives.
But as we saw in today’s Old Testament reading, eventually time is up, we are faced with the consequences of our choices, and too often we lose the good things that should have been ours for the taking. God is eternally forgiving, but nature inexorably takes its course, and effect follows cause.
Make very sure that you are really prepared to live in the future that you are building with your choices today! If it’s time for a change, God will help you if you let him. And woe to the one who looks the other way!

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Pope Mourns Victims of Capsized Ferry

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 22, 2008 ( Benedict XVI assured the people of the Philippines of his prayers after strong winds from Typhoon Fengshen caused a ferry to capsize with more than 700 people aboard.
The Pope mentioned Saturday's tragic capsizing after praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square today.

"As I assure the people of these islands who have suffered from Typhoon Fengshen of my spiritual nearness," the Holy Father said, "I offer a prayer to the Lord for the victims of this new tragedy at sea, in which many children also seem to have been involved."
The ferry was carrying 626 passengers and 121 crew members and sailing from Manila to nearby Cebu. So far, 10 survivors are known to have made it to land.
The typhoon has so far caused more than 100 other deaths throughout the Philippines with flooding and landslides.

home reserved

Its summer holiday..

1:45pmTue, Jun 24
7:45am Wed, Jun 25
Departure Terminal:
12 hour(s) and 0 minute(s)
Arrival Terminal:

Airline Reservation Code:

Current Temperature:
77F / 25C

Wed, Jun 25

Departure Terminal:
2 hour(s) and 35 minute(s)

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Today's Inspirational Quote

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

-- Theodore Roosevelt

"A journey of a thousand miles
must start with the first step"

--author wellknown

Freedom Of Religion In Sabah

Posted by Super Admin
Thursday, 19 June 2008

The term “Allah” in reference to God has been used for generations; it has become part of the cultural heritage. Despite this fact, churches, from time to time, face harassment from the local authorities for using Christian literature containing the word “Allah”.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution provides for the natives of Sabah the special position and privileges as that of the Malays. Sabah joined Sarawak, independent Malaya and Singapore to form Malaysia in 1963.

A 20-point agreement was made as part of the condition to join the Federation, and among the points are: ns relating to Islam in Federal Constitution should not apply.

1. There should be no state religion and the provisio
2. English should be an official language for all purposes without limitation of time.
3. The natives should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays.
4. The power to amend the Constitution of Sabah belongs exclusively to the people of Sabah.

In the 1985 elections, the then opposition Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), led by Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, form the state government. PBS ruled Sabah until 1994 when an internal agitation made way for UMNO to enter Sabah politics. Datuk Seri Musa Aman from UMNO was the Chief Minister from 2003 when the two-year rotation system was abolished.
In 2002, PBS’ joining the Barisan Nasional coalition rendered Sabah a state with no competitive opposition. Regardless, there have been palpable tensions and occasional calls for withdrawal from the Federation.

An added impetus is the token 5% royalties fo­r oil and gas. The Federal Government takes 95% of the profits, contributing very little to the state in return. Sabahans feel that the federal policies have generally been unfair and unfavourable to the state development. There have been calls for the review of these federal policies. Many believe that the NEP has not benefitted the Sabahan bumiputeras.
Despite the rich natural resources and the Prime Minister’s assurance that “no community is left behind in the mainstream of development” (The Star, 7/11/07), Sabah falls greatly behind the mainstream in economic development.
Sabah, together with Sarawak, contributed to BN’s simple majority in Parliament at the 2008 general elections in March. The recent political realities have prompted the various opposition parties to form a coalition called Pakatan Rakyat Sabah (The Star, 7/7/08).
Before 1963, Sabah and Sarawak were guided by their native customs and British laws. The influence of Islam was minimal. In 1967, the new state government under Chief Minister Mustapha Datu Harun embarked on vigorous religious activities. Mustapha strongly believed that the Malay language and Islam should be used to unite the people.
There have been reported mass conversions, particularly in the rural areas.
The most devastating blow came when Mustapha used his emergency powers to expel expatriate Christian missionaries with the reason that imperialist mentality and outlook should not be allowed to continue after independence, whether in relation to politics or religion (Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, 1977, p. 266).

The Project IC or Project M, a political scandal relating to systematic granting of citizenship to immigrants, was reported to have begun when UMNO entered Sabah politics in the 1990s. The immigration policy favouring Muslims had resulted in an influx of immigrants from the Philippines and Indonesia, both legal and illegal. It is widely believed that this exercise was implemented to weaken the indigenous Kadazan-Dusun Christians and to enhance UMNO powerbase.
At a seminar in June 2007, the Chief Minister claimed that Malays formed more than 50% of the population, although the state’s statistics showed only 11.5%.
Supporting the claim, his counterpart, the Chief Minister of Melaka, said, “Even if that person is Chinese or Indian or Kadazan, if they are Muslim or have converted, converse in Malay and follow the Malay tradition, then they are Malays” (Daily Express, 10/6/07).
Religious Freedom
In April 2007, a businesswoman complained to the then Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Rafidah Aziz, that her loan application was rejected because her unisex styling business was in conflict with Islam (Daily Express).
The Sabah Fatwa Council issued a decree banning all activities related to Rufaqa Corporation (The Star, 15/12/06). The Mufti said the movement had gone against Islamic teaching and caused confusion among the Muslim community. In May 2007, 11 people were arrested under the ISA for alleged involvement in an Islamist group known as Darul Islam Sabah.
There is no provision on conversion out of Islam. Muslims who wish to renounce Islam may face either punishment or mandatory detention at rehabilitation centres.
According to the 1995 Sabah Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment, “A Muslim who intends to or attempts to convert out of Islam is subject to be detained in the Islamic rehabilitation centre for a term not more than 36 months for ‘rehabilitation’ purpose.” Further, a Muslim declaring himself to be a non-Muslim is guilty of ridiculing the religion and thus subjects himself to punishment.

Bahasa Malaysia is the medium of communication among the natives in the state and the Alkitab is the principal Scripture used by Christians.
The term “Allah” in reference to God has been used for generations; it has become part of the cultural heritage. Despite this fact, churches, from time to time, face harassment from the local authorities for using Christian literature containing the word “Allah”.
Last 15 Aug, three boxes of Christian educational publications containing the word “Allah” and belonging to SIB Sabah were detained at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang by the Customs. The Internal Security Ministry subsequently took over the matter. After several unsuccessful appeals, the SIB church turned to legal redress at the civil court. The lawsuit against the Federal Government is ongoing.
Last year, a lawsuit was filed against the Sabah Chief Minister concerning a stop-work order on the Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) statue in Kudat. The project was said to have been approved in Dec 2005 but a stop-work order came after the state mufti in July 2006 issued a fatwa saying that the construction was contrary to Islamic teaching.
Administrative error on Sabahans’ MyKad in relation to religious status has caused hardship to the people in recent years. The state registration department has presumptuously entered Islam to the MyKad of non-Muslim applicants simply because their names had the word “bin” or “binti”. It has refused to make correction when mistakes were highlighted. Applicants have been asked to fly to Putrajaya in Kuala Lumpur for any amendment to their MyKad.
The entry of “Islam” on the MyKad has grave effects on, among others, the non-Muslims’ marriage, children’s registration, burial and inheritance.
Sabah’s migrant population has been estimated to be anywhere from 600,000 to 1.7 million (Nov 2007). Political expediency and the state’s historical ties have created longstanding illegal immigrant problem.
Without proper documentation and no access to educational opportunity, the stateless children of the migrants are facing bleak futures. Many of them were born locally and become street children once their parents are deported.
Statistics show that Sabah has the highest number of poor households in the country, especially in the interiors. Groups say that Sabahan non-Malay bumiputeras are marginalised and have not benefitted from the NEP. The Federal Government has recently introduced measures to improve their lives.

Some NGOs have chided the Sabah authorities for their apathy when issuing identity cards (IC) to indigenous people. It is an irony that many bumiputeras do not have ICs while foreign workers receive PR status soon after they enter the state.
Today, some of the indigenous children in the most remote areas do not go school. Many rural schools are small and do not even have basic facilities. The Federation of Chinese Sabah has claimed that some 250,000 Chinese are living along poverty margin (Daily Express, 9/2/08). (By courtesy of Berita NECF/ MySinchew)

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Today's Inspirational Quote

"If you want to get somewhere you have to know where you want to go and how to get there. Then never, never, never give up."
-- Norman Vincent Peale, Author and Speaker
"God always will help those who help themselves"
--wellknown author

What Does It Mean to Be Great?

June 18th, 2008
2 Kgs 2:1,6-14 / Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
The perennial question asked of small children, and older ones as well, is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” After a while kids develop stock answers for that, and college age folks learn how to fake it too as they’re trying to figure out the answer and simultaneously hating to hear the question.
What are you going to be when you grow up?” is a threatening question for far too many people over 25. And that’s because we have deep inside us a God-given sense that we’re supposed to be special and we’re supposed to do something special. That was the profound desire of the new prophet Elisha as he bade farewell to his mentor Elijah. That intuition and desire is right on the mark. The problem is with our definition of “something special.”
Jesus has shown us the way out of this cul-de-sac. Real greatness, He showed us, doesn’t come from commanding and controlling but from serving — just the way He did. He changed countless lives, and changed the world, not by pushing folks around but by caring for them, and in the end, dying for them.
That’s real greatness, and it’s a greatness that can be ours.

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Islamic-Catholic Panel Reaches 5 Conclusions

Islamic-Catholic Panel Reaches 5 Conclusions

Agree That Muslims, Christians Share Duty of Compassion

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2008 ( Christians and Muslims alike believe that it is their duty to show compassion toward every human being, given that God is compassionate, concluded the Islamic-Catholic Liaison Committee.

This was one of five conclusions from the 14th meeting of the committee, which was held in the Vatican last Wednesday through Friday.

The Catholic delegation was headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, while the Islamic delegation was headed by Professor Hamid bin Ahmad Al-Rifaie, president of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue, of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The pontifical council released a statement Sunday about the meeting, which had the theme "Christians and Muslims as Witnesses of the God of Justice, of Peace and of Compassion in a World Suffering From Violence."

The Vatican statement reported, "The topic was treated from a religious point of view according to the teaching of our two religious traditions."

The committee agreed on five points, the first being that "from the inherent dignity of each human being stem fundamental rights and duties."

They added: "Justice is a priority in our world. It requires, beyond the implementation of the existing legal provisions, the respect of the fundamental needs of individuals and peoples through an attitude of love, fraternity and solidarity. There can be no true and lasting peace without justice.

"Peace is a gift from God and also requires the commitment of all human beings, and particularly believers, who are called to be vigilant witnesses to peace in a world afflicted by violence in many forms.

"Christians and Muslims believe that God is compassionate and therefore they consider it their duty to show compassion towards every human person, especially the needy and the weak."

Finally, the committee affirmed that religions, "if authentically practiced, effectively contribute in promoting brotherhood and harmony in the human family."

The Vatican communiqué concluded by explaining that Benedict XVI received the participants in audience. He "encouraged them to continue their endeavors for the promotion of justice and peace."

Saturday, 14 June 2008

God's hand?

a friend of mine emailed me this photo entitled,
God's hand

Friday, 13 June 2008

A blessed Father's day

My father, my hero By YU MING
Yesterday, 12 giugno 2008, 13.59.18

Every child starts off thinking their fathers are heroes.

They think their fathers are larger than life have great power. And they always think that their fathers are good people. Until he screws it up by neglecting, losing authority and forgetting what heroes are supposed to do. And what do heroes do exactly? They come to the rescue when they need to, of course! They mentor, train and are good examples. They bond with their children. That was the sermon I heard in church one Sunday...

read more click:

What Are You Putting in His Way?

June 13th, 2008
1 Kings 19:9,11-16 / Mt 5:27-32

It’s hard to imagine a worse nightmare than finding oneself in the middle of a vast desert with neither food nor water. The hours pass and then the days, and we rapidly grow weaker and more desperate. There seems no escape and the end seems very near.
Many of the greatest saints have told us about this experience in their own spiritual lives. They were quite safe in their convents and monasteries, but the “desert” overwhelmed their souls and they felt abandoned by God and by everyone else as well. The pain was overwhelming because they’d put all their trust in the Lord - and he seemed to be gone.

But he wasn’t. He was there all the while; they just didn’t know where to look. He was there, as we hear in today’s Old Testament reading, in the quiet whispering of the breeze, waiting for them to strip away whatever it was in their lives that was in the way of their being at one with him. The Lord didn’t walk away from them. It was they and we who have other preoccupations and other agenda that block him out.

The Lord will never abandon you. Count on that. So if you’re feeling desperate, abandoned, and alone, don’t complain to the Lord, look at what you’ve put in his way!

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.


WHAT IS NEVER MENTIONED IN Mainstream Media likeNST/TheStar/Utusan/BH are these facts....
Malaysian PerCapita Income USD 5000
Singaporean PerCapita Income USD 25000

Further The Star made a comparison of prices in Thailand ,Singapore and Indonesia .

For Thailand it is quoted at RM3.90/liter, however are they aware that inThailand new cars are cheaper than Malaysia by RM10,000?They pay only one life time for their driving license?No renewal fee after that? Also that goes for road tax as well?

And do TheStar alsoaware that you can drive all the way from Hadtyai to Bangkok on a six lanehighway without paying any Tolls ??!!Whereas here in Malaysia you have to pay yearly renewal for road tax ,driving license and TOLLS, TOLLS, TOLLS!!!

For Singapore how can you quote RM 5.20 ? Please quote in Singapore Dollarsbecause they are earning in Sing Dollars. You might as well say Europeans arepaying RM10/liter. RM5.20/liter = Sing $ 2.20/liter, still cheaper thanMalaysia in view of fact that Singapore is not a crude oil exporter.Are you saying that you fill up petrol in Singapore by paying Ringgit?In economy, dollar to dollar must be compared as apple to apple.Not comparing like durian in M'sia is much cheaper than durian in Japan!!Of course-lah, Japan is not durian producer!!! Comparing Malaysian durianwith Thailand durian make more sense!!

For Indonesia we might say is cheaper there at RM2.07/literbut compare that to their level of income!Now, let us compare the price with OIL PRODUCING countries:
UAE - RM1.19/litre
Eygpt - RM1.03/litre
Bahrain - RM0.87/litre
Qatar - RM0.68/litre
Kuwait - RM0.67/litre
Saudi Arabia - RM0.38/litre
Iran - RM0.35/litre
Nigeria - RM0.32/litre
Turkmenistan - RM0.25/litre
Venezuela - RM0.16/litre
MALAYSIA - RM2.70/litreRM 2.70!!!

Individual perspective:As of last month a Toyota Vios would 'cause a damage' of about RM 89,000.In the international market, a Toyota Vios is about USD 19,000USD 19,000 = RM 62,700 (using the indicative rates of USD 1 = RM 3.30)

That makes Malaysian Vios owners pay an extra RM 26,300.This RM 26,300 should be cost of operations, profit and tax becausethe transportation costs have been factored in to the USD 19,000.RM 26,300/ RM625 petrol rebate per year translates to aVios being used for 42.08 years.I do understand that the RM 625 is a rebate given by the government,but it also means that one has to use the Vios for 42.08 years just tomake back the amount paid in taxes for the usage of a foreign car.Would anyone use any kind of car for that long?Now with these numbers in front of us, does the subsidy sound likea subsidy or does it sound like a penalty?

This just seems to be a heavyincrement in our daily cost of living as we are not only charged with highcar taxes but also with a drastic increase in fuel price.With all the numbers listed out, I urge all Malaysians to join mein analyzing the situation further.Car taxation is government profit, fuel sales is Petronas' (GLC) profit whichalso translates into government profit. The government may ridicule usMalaysians by saying look at the world market and fuel price world wide.Please, we are Malaysians, we fought of the British, had a internationalport in the early centuries (Malacca), home to a racially mixednation and WE ARE NOT STUPID!!!

We know the international rates are above the USD 130/barrel.We understand the fact that the fuel prices are increasing worldwide andwe also know that major scientist are still contradicting on why thisphenomenon is happening. Some blame Bush and his plunders aroundthe world and some blame climate change and there areothers which say petroleum 'wells' are getting scarce.Again we go back to numbers to be more straight fwd1 barrel = 159 liters x RM2.70/liter = RM 429 or USD 134On 1 hand, we are paying the full cost of 1 barrel of crude oilwith RM2.70 per liter but on the other hand the crude oil only produces 46% of fuel.Msia sells crude oil per barrel at USD130 buys back Fuel perbarrel at USD134.

And not forgetting, every barrel of fuel isproduced with 2 barrels of crude oil.1 barrel crude oil = produce 46% fuel (or half of crude oil), therefore2 barrel crude oil = approximately 1 barrel fuelIn other words, each time we sell 2 barrels of crude oil,equivalently we will buy back 1 barrel of fuel.Financially,Malaysia sell 2 barrel crude oil @ USD 130/barrel = USD 260 = RM 858then, Malaysia will buy back fuel @ USD 134/barrel = RM 442/barrelThus, Malaysia earn net extra USD 126 = RM 416 for each 2 barrelof crude sold/exported vs imported 1 barrel of fuel !!!(USD 260-134 = USD 126 = RM416)So where this extra USD 126/barrel income ischanneled to by Malaysian Govt?????????

Another analysis:1 barrel crude oil = 159 liters.46-47% of a barrel of crude oil = fuel that we use in our vehicles.46% of 159 = 73.14 liters.@ RM 2.70/liter x 73.14 liter = RM197.48 of fuel per barrel of crude oil.This is only 46% of the barrel, mind you. Using RM 3.30 = USD 1,we get that a barrel of crude oil produces USD 59.84 worth of petrol fuel (46% of 1barrel).USD 59.84 of USD 130/barrel turns out to be 46% of a barrel as well.Another 54% = bitumen, kerosene, and natural gases and so many more.

And this makes a balance of USD 70.16 that has not been accounted for.So this is where I got curious. Where is the subsidy if we are paying 46%of the price of a barrel of crude oil when the production of petrol/barrel of crude oil is still only 46%?In actual fact, we still pay for this as they are charged in the forms of fuelsurcharge by airlines and road taxes for the building of road(because they use the tar/bitumen) and many more excuse charging usbut let us just leave all that out of our calculations.As far as I know, only the politicians who live in Putrajaya and come for theirParliament meetings in Kuala Lumpur (approximately 60+ km) are the onesto gain as they claim their fuel and toll charges from the money of the RAKYAT's TAX.

It is so disappointing to see this happen time and time again to the Malaysian public,where they are deceived by the propaganda held by thepoliticians and the controls they have over the press.Which stupid idiot economist equates rebates for rich or poor with the cc of the vehicles?An average office clerk may own a second hand 1300cc proton Iswara costing $7,000(rebate = $625) while the Datuk's children can own a fleet of 10 new cars of BMW,Audi and Volvo all less than 2000cc costing $2 millions and get a total rebateof $625 x 10 = $6,250! Wow what kind of economists we are keeping in Malaysia...wonder which phD certificate that they bought from...
Example: If the second car seller had 30 units of second car below 2000cc,How?

They also can rebate RM18,750 (RM625X30 = RM18,750) !!they can renew the road tax 3month only, to get the rebate!than sell off the second car with a good price!now every one looking for small car!
Misleading concept of Subsidy:The word "subsidy" has been brandished by the BN government as if it has sogenerously helped the rakyat and in doing so incurred losses.This simple example will help to explain the fallacy:Example:Ahmad is a fisherman. He sells a fish to you at $10 which is below the marketvalue of $15. Let's assume that he caught the fish from the abundance of thesea at little or no cost. Ahmad claims that since the market value of the fishis $15 and he sold you the fish for $10, he had subsidisedyou $5 and therefore made a loss of $5.Question : Did Ahmad actually make a profit of $10 or loss of $5 which he claimed is the subsidy?Answer:

Ahmad makes a profit of $10 which is the difference of the selling price ($10) minus thecost price ($0 since the fish was caught from the abundance of the sea).There is no subsidy as claimed by Ahmad.The government claims that it is a subsidy because the oil is kept and treated assomebody else's property (you know who). By right, the oil belongs to all citizensof the country and the government is a trustee for the citizens. So as in the abovesimple example, the BN government cannot claim that it has subsidised the citizen!_

emailed by:"dom"

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Today's Inspirational Quote

"Challenges can be stepping stones or stumbling blocks.
It's just a matter of how you view them."

-- Author Unknown

Bionic hand wins top tech prize

The world's most advanced commercially available bionic hand has won the UK's top engineering award.

Face Yourself While There’s Still Time!

June 12th, 2008
1 Kings 18:41-46 / Mt 5:20-26

By the very nature of things, life is filled with conflicts. However charming and mellow the people we live with may be, we inevitably have differences of taste, preferences, interests, goals, visions,…and whatever. Because of that fundamental reality of the human condition, we have to become experts at the art of reconciliation. We have to become adept at facing differences — some of them deeply and hurtfully felt — and bringing them together.
But the most profound and tricky task of reconciliation is not with others but within ourselves — learning how to recognize and name and face the conflicts within our own souls, conflicts that can tear us apart and sink our ships if we do not resolve them.

Jesus addresses that very matter at the end of today’s gospel, when he warns us about making peace with our opponent before we get to court. He’s not talking about an enemy on the outside; he’s talking about our own inner adversaries, our own demons. He’s saying, in a word: Face yourself while there’s still time. Face yourself and do what needs to be done before you destroy yourself.
It’s good advice from our very dear brother. Don’t ignore it!

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Islamic Group Visits Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI today received in audience the participants of a Muslim-Catholic committee meeting in Rome.The Pope was visited after the general audience by the members of the Islamic-Catholic committee established by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Saudi Arabia-based International Islamic Forum for Dialogue, L'Osservatore Romano reported.Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, president and secretary, respectively, of that Vatican dicastery participated.The committee is meeting through Friday on the theme "Christians and Muslims: Witnesses of the God of Justice, Peace and Compassion in a World That Suffers Violence."

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Pastor: Teamwork With Movements Key for Evangelization

( Teamwork between parishes and movements or other ecclesial communities is not always easy; but the new evangelization is depending on it, according to a parish priest from Madrid.

Father Francisco Garvía, pastor of Nuestra Señora de las Delicias, is the author of a chapter on the relationship between parishes, communities and movements in "A Vueltas con la Parroquia: Balance y Perspectivas" (Parish Involvement: Assessment and Perspective).The contribution, titled "Parroquia, Comunidades y Movimientos" (Parishes, Communities and Movements), was originally a speech he gave last year at the XVIII Week of Pastoral Theology in Salamanca.Father Garvía said in his text that a key to overcoming difficulties is to foster encounters that reflect "liberty, respect, generosity and mutual appreciation."He further proposed accepting and educating in diversity, promoting coexistence and working to share responsibility.

"One difficulty is caused by pastors themselves," the priest acknowledged. "Our own thinking, sensitivity or pastoral line can impede a parish presence for the charisms proposed by the various movements and small communities."
Father Garvía said another risk is the total identification of the parish family with a particular community or movement, to the point that individuals only feel like true members of the parish if they belong to the particular group.
An idea that one's community is the "best model of community" also hampers the harmonizing of parishes with movements, he cautioned, "bringing the risk of confusing the Church with one's experience of Church."

"A community's conviction that only by belonging to it can a parish be built, [that it is] the sole model in the neighborhood of the parish community" is a risk, Father Garvía affirmed.
He said another difficulty that hampers teamwork is "distrust and mutual ignorance, which on occasions leads to exclusion and deprives lay people of their autonomy."UpsideStill, Father Garvía proposed, there are far more possibilities than difficulties. "With the parish being the most significant place to manifest the Christian community, it would be good for groups, movements and communities to be integrated in it, to suggest that they develop the communal dimension in their formation, that they take part in essential celebrations of Christian life in the parish community, and that they be involved in the creation of a climate of communion.

"The movements and communities are called to be an integrating element in the whole of parish life, by being concerned and assisting in the common tasks of the parish, with their presence, animation and participation in key events and celebrations."Father Garvía suggested that members of communities or movements should also be witnesses for a style of Christian life, especially for the young.
It is a question of "harmonizing the different charisms present in a parish community, so that they meet, get to know one another, and put at the service of all what is special in each movement," he said. And the parish priest has an important role, in this respect, Father Garvía affirmed.

"It is to be hoped," he said, "that the parish will be a place open to the presence of different spiritualities, that it will present and promote them," so that "groups, movements and communities share prayer and celebration among themselves and with the rest of the greater parish community."

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Be Salt!

June 10th, 2008

1 Kings 17:7-16 / Mt 5:13-16

Heroes energize us and draw us forward. Sports heroes regularly do what seems impossible — run the mile faster than ever, swim the channel in record time, sink the longest putt ever recorded. Entrepreneurial heroes put together deals that are beyond imagining, and suddenly, the high-rise rises, the dream computer hits the market, and the wonder drug is available at our neighborhood counter.

Holy heroes astonish us with their goodness — the pope becomes the key player in liberating eastern Europe, Mother Theresa holds to the end to her course of caring for the poor, and the old woman down the street doesn’t falter as she begins her thirty-first year of caring for her mentally retarded son.

Heroes challenge us to get our lives and our commitments right. “Be faithful!” they say, “and hold to course. Don’t lose your way. You are salt, and you can bring out what is best in things and preserve what is best in things — just the way salt does — if you don’t forget who you are.”
Don’t forget. Be salt: Bring out the best and keep alive what is best.

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Today's Inspirational Quote

"Every day is a new day of learning. We can excel and exceedour own standards by consistently upgrading our outlook andattitude towards those around us. Our position, our power, ourstatus... nothing is permanent. What will remain in fond memories of those around us is not the altitude of our achievements, but our attitude, acts of kindness, andconsideration towards others."

-- CV Varghese


The Quran clearly states that sects do not exist in Islam. Why, therefore, are Muslims killing each other? And who invented the various sects, which did not exist during the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

We always talk about the British divide and rule policy, which, today, has resulted in a very serious racial divide that threatens to tear this country apart. Actually that is not really that serious a problem. After all, Islam is the official religion of Malaysia and if all Muslims (which means most of the political leaders since the Malays dominate Malaysian politics) subscribe to Islamic teachings, then there should be no racial problems since Islam does not recognise race in the first place.The truth is, we have another problem to worry about. And that problem is Muslims in general and Malays in particular do not read the Quran. They do not read the Quran because the Quran is written in Arabic and very few Malays can speak Arabic. Malays, of course, do recite the Quran. But reciting merely means you are parroting the sounds without understanding the meaning.The reason Malays do not read the Quran in their mother-tongue or in a language they can understand is basically because they believe that the Quran must be read in its original language and not in a translated language since the true meaning of the verses could be lost or distorted in the translation. How then do the Malays learn the meaning of the Quran? They do so by attending Quran translation classes, which are conducted in the language that they understand. It does not seem to occur to the Malays that a Quran translation class conducted in the non-Arabic language would mean that there is also a danger of mistranslation or distortion of meaning.What is the difference between attending an English language Quran translation class and reading an English language translation of the Quran?

Well, in the first scenario you have a human as a tutor (guru) and in the second you will be self-taught. And when you are self-taught, argue these people, the devil will become your tutor. I suppose there is no danger that the human guru who is teaching you the Quran translation can also be inspired by the devil.I have attended quite a few religious classes and some of what I heard at these classes makes me cringe. What I heard was hard-core prejudices and biasness and not at all what the Quran propagates. Let us look at some of what the Quran says as opposed to what Muslims really do.You shall hold fast to the bond with God, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall God's blessings upon you - you used to be enemies and He reconciled your hearts. By His grace, you became brethren. You were at the brink of a pit of fire, and He saved you there from. (3:103)The message in verse 103 of chapter 3 of the Quran is simple: do not be divided. Today, the Muslims are the most divided community. See what is currently happening in Indonesia, the latest in the many conflicts between Muslims and Muslims.

And this latest conflict in Indonesia, just like the many before this all over the world, was triggered by the religious leaders. Are these religious leaders trying to send their followers to heaven or to hell?God thus explains His revelations for you, that you may be guided. Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners. (3:104)The next verse of chapter 3 explains it all: The ‘winners’ are those who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. The Quran sums it all up in a simple language that, take my word for it, has not been lost in the translation. How can you mistranslate or distort ‘let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners’?Muslim leaders, however, in particular the Malay leaders of Malaysia, will try to prevent you from exercising verse 104, chapter 3 of the Quran by invoking the Sedition Act. These Muslims are in fact violating the teachings of Islam and we should not be afraid of them or afraid of the punishment that they will inflict upon us because, according to the Quran, we are the winners.

That would mean, of course, that they are the losers.So they send us to jail if we practice what the Quran says in verse 104, chapter 3. So what? We are the winners, says the Quran, and they will be the losers. But how many Malays who claim to be Muslims will uphold this particular teaching of the Quran? Not many, I’m afraid. Most would rather toe the line and serve their political masters in stifling dissent. And this would include the Muslim police force, Muslim judiciary and Muslim AGs Chambers. Yes, they claim to be Muslims, but they violate what the Quran stipulates.Do not be like those who became divided and disputed, despite the clear proofs that were given to them. For these have incurred a terrible retribution. (3:105)The next verse of the same chapter reinforces the word of God and promises a terrible retribution. The following verses of the Quran stresses the point of not dividing into sects: And do not be amongst those who have broken the unity of their faith and have become sects like, each sect rejoicing in that which is with itself. (30:31,32)In all these verses it is clear that sects do not exist in Islam. Why, therefore, are Muslims killing each other? And who invented the various sects, which did not exist during the time of the Prophet Muhammad?

As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you (Muhammad) have nothing to do with them. (6:159)In this verse the Prophet Muhammad has been instructed to disassociate himself from the various sects. In short, followers of the sects are not followers of the Prophet Muhammad (be in Islam Hadhari, Islam Sunni, Islam Shia, Islam Ahmadiyah, etc.). This means the Indonesians (plus the Iraqis, Iranians, Indians, etc.) are killing each other for nothing. Both sides are in fact violating the Quran and are not followers of the Prophet Muhammad, as decreed by God in the Quran.However, they divided themselves into disputing religions. All of them will come back to us. (21:93)This verse of the Quran is most interesting. The Quran says that the true submitters (Islam means submit) are the followers of Abraham. Verse 93, chapter 21 of the Quran further forbids us from dividing into religions. Here the Quran forbids us from not just dividing into sects but into religions as well. And the Quran says that the true submitters are the followers of Abraham.Figure out for yourself what the Quran is saying here.

If the true submitters are the followers of Abraham, should we all be killing each other in the name of Moses, Jesus or Muhammad? Yes, this is certainly food for thought for those who think that their religion is correct while all others are the enemy when the Quran has clearly spelt out that disputing religions do not exist.Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. If it were not for a predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for a definite interim, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts. (42:14)But they tore themselves into disputing factions; each party happy with what they have. (23:53) Those who divide themselves into sects do not belong with you. Their judgment rests with God, then He will inform them of everything they had done. (6:159) We will deal with the dividers. They accept the Quran only partially. By your Lord, we will question them all, about everything they have done. (15:90-93) Your congregation is but one congregation, and I alone am your Lord; you shall serve Me alone.

However, they divided themselves into disputing religions. All of them will come back to us. (21:92-93)You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, observe the Shalat, and whatever you do, do not ever fall into idol worship. Like those who divide their deen into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have. (30:31-32)The Quran emphasises again and again that Islam prohibits sects: Muslims must be only of one congregation (21:92-93)Dividing into sects tantamount to idol worshipping (30:31-32)Muslims who divide themselves into sects are not Muslims (6:159)Muslims who divide themselves into sects are accepting the Quran only partially, not fully (15:90-93)Where does that place all these Muslims who claim to be Sunnis, Shias, or whatever? And where, also, does that place all those followers of Abraham who claim to be Jews, Christians and Muslims? It does make one wonder, does it not?

Pope Calls for Better Understanding of Person

Says Philosophy Based on Good Anthropology Is Needed

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2008 ( Modernity requires a philosophical reflection open to a deeper understanding of man, says Benedict XVI.The Pope affirmed this Saturday when he addressed participants in the 6th European Symposium of University Professors. The Holy Father said that, in face of the present crisis of modernity, it is urgent to re-launch a "fruitful dialogue" between philosophy and theology.
Cardinal Camilo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome, and professors from 26 European countries, were received by the Holy Father in the Vatican's Clementine Hall, at the conclusion of their June 5-8 symposium on the topic "To Extend the Horizons of Rationality: Perspectives for Philosophy."

In opening his address, the Pontiff mentioned that this year marks the 10th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's encyclical "Fides et Ratio." The German Pontiff recalled that when that document was published in 1998, some 50 philosophy professors from Roman universities "expressed their gratitude to the Pope with a declaration underlining the importance of relaunching the study of philosophy in universities and schools."
"The events of the years that have passed since the publication of the encyclical have delineated more clearly the historical and cultural stage onto which philosophical research is called to enter," Benedict XVI contended. "Indeed, the crisis of modernity is not a symptom of the decline of philosophy; on the contrary, philosophy must embark upon new lines of research in order to understand the true nature of that crisis.

"Modernity is not simply a historically-datable cultural phenomenon; in reality it requires a new focus, a more exact understanding of the nature of man."The Holy Father suggested that Christianity is called to "take charge of [a] historic urgency" -- that of humanity's "desire for fullness."
The Pontiff said this new dialogue between faith and reason "cannot be addressed with the terms and modes in which it was carried out in the past. If it is not to be reduced to a sterile intellectual exercise, it must begin from the concrete situation of man, and engage in reflection that takes up the ontological-metaphysical truth."A research proposal Benedict XVI said that from the beginning of his pontificate he has "listened attentively to the petitions made to me by men and women of our time; in the light of such expectations, I wished to offer a research proposal which, it seems to me, would awaken interest in the relaunching of philosophy and its irreplaceable role within the academic and cultural world.

"The Pope proposed that a good understanding of modernity "reveals an 'anthropological question' that manifests itself in a much more complex and articulated way than that foreseen by the philosophical reflections of the last centuries, above all in Europe." It is not a question of a mere cultural phenomenon, he said; rather, it implies "a more precise understanding of the nature of man."
In the quest for solutions to this "prolonged crisis," the Holy Father noted the significance of many contemporary thinkers who propose an openness to religions, and in particular to Christianity. This is "an obvious sign of the sincere desire to remove philosophical reflection from self-sufficiency," he proposed.
In light of this, the Bishop of Rome recalled that Christianity from the beginning made a clear choice between mythical thought and philosophy, favoring the latter. "This affirmation, which reflects the path of Christianity since its beginning, is revealed fully in the historic-cultural context we are living."

"In fact, only beginning from this premise, which is historical and theological at the same time, is it possible to meet the new perspectives of philosophical reflection," he said. True understandingYet, Benedict XVI pointed out two risks on this path that Christianity must avoid: that of being instrumentalized and that of being relegated to the "abstract world of theories."
"The Christian faith must descend to a concrete historical experience that reaches man in the most profound truth of his existence," the Pope affirmed. "The understanding of Christianity as a real transformation of the existence of man, if on one hand it drives philosophical reflection to a new approach to religion, on the other it animates it not to lose confidence in being able to know reality.

"The Pope affirmed that the proposal to "extend the horizons of rationality" should not be counted among new lines of philosophical and theological thought. Instead, he said, it "must be understood as the need for a new opening to the reality to which the human person, in his uni-totality, is called, overcoming old prejudices and reductionisms, in order to open the way for a true understanding of modernity."

An Orthodox Christian Historical Timeline

By Stavros L. K. Markou

Dates are given according to the Orthodox determination of years since the time of Adam, and according to the contemporary usage of "BC" and "AD" as invented by Dionysius Exiguus. However, please take note that the Orthodox year begins in September, whereas the system of Dionysius Exiguus begins each year from January. Also, there is no year zero, and the years 1 BC and 1 AD are the exact same year according to the Dionysian system, being divided at the point of December 25. Also note that Dionysius Exiguus made an error of 8 years in determining the year of Christ’s birth.

see Historical timeline click:

Today's Inspirational Quote

"Smooth roads never make good drivers. Smooth seas never makegood sailors. Clear skies never make good pilots. A problemfree life never makes a strong and good person. Have a toughbut winning day ahead! Be strong enough to accept thechallenges of life. Do not ask life, 'Why me?' instead say,'Try me'."

-- Author Unknown

Monday, 9 June 2008

Let the Lord Fill You Now Instead of Later!

June 9th, 2008

1 Kings 17:1-7 / Mt 5:1-12

“Desperation” has many meanings. It can mean, as in today’s Old Testament reading, that there’s a famine, no more food or water and we’re facing death. It can mean that we’ve just lost everything and have gone from rich to poor in a millisecond. It can mean that we’re guilty, the police have the evidence, and they’re at the front door.

Desperation takes many shapes, but the most desperate of all is that terrible state of inner exhaustion when we can see no hope and we are separated from the future by a blank wall.
In some form or other, moments like that come to all of us, when we cannot see tomorrow, and when today makes us recoil and turn away. Those are the times when we discover who we really are, and when we discover who God really is. For to those whose hearts are battered and broken God can bring a special gift. The gift comes precisely because they are so weary that they finally do what they ought to have done much earlier — and that is relax, open up, and let him in.
An open heart always gets filled. So why wait until you’re battered and weary? Open your heart now and let the Lord bless you and fill you full!

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Pope Summarizes Christian Message

It's About Love for God and Neighbor

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2008 ( The message of Christianity is one of love for God and neighbor, says Benedict XVI.The Pope reflected today before praying the Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square on the passage from Hosea that Jesus repeats in Sunday's Gospel: “I want love and not sacrifice.""We have a key word here, one that opens for us the door to the heart of sacred Scripture," the Pontiff said.He explained that when Christ called Matthew, who was "considered a public sinner by the Jews" because he was by profession a tax collector, the latter was "called while he was sitting on the tax collector’s bench."Afterward, the Holy Father continued, "Jesus goes to Matthew’s house with his disciples and sits down to dinner with other publicans."Benedict XVI then recalled Christ's words to the "scandalized Pharisees": “The healthy do not need the doctor but the sick do … I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.

”"The Evangelist Matthew," said the Pope, "who is always attentive to the link between the Old and the New Testament, puts the words of Hosea’s prophecy on Jesus’ lips."Matthew reports that Jesus said, “Go, therefore, and learn the meaning of the words: ‘It is mercy that I want and not sacrifice.’”"This word of God has reached us, through the Gospels, as one of the syntheses of the entire Christian message," said the Pontiff. "True religion consists in the love of God and neighbor."

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Regards from papa

Regards from papa to all of you bloggers round the globe.
I visited him yesterdayJune 6th, 2008, at 11.59am.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Barack Obama has captivated the world

June 5, 2008
in The L.A. Times

No one's tossing confetti or releasing balloons, but U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's ascent to likely Democratic Party presidential nominee has captivated many of those watching the American political contest abroad. Newspaper front pages and television newscasts throughout the world Wednesday featured photographs and footage of the smiling Illinois lawmaker, who a day earlier clinched the Democratic nomination by winning enough delegates to edge out Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Ten commandment of the Enviroment

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 5, 2008 ( Showing its support for the U.N.-sponsored World Environment Day, the Vatican has released the Ten Commandments of the environment, inspired by the Christian vision of creation.Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the 10 points on the opening day of Milan's first festival of the environment, which began Wednesday.The secretary told Vatican Radio today that the document is an attempt "to explain in 10 points the most important aspects of the chapter on the environment in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

"He added that is an effort to enlighten Christian communities, groups and movements on "the very rich social magisterium of the Church on the specific question of the environment and its protection."Bishop Crepaldi expressed his appreciation for the U.N.'s initiative in establishing the world day, although he commented that this year's theme -- "Toward a Low Carbon Economy" -- should take other variables into account, involving the relationship between the rich and poor world."The objective and perspective delineated by the social magisterium of the Church, confirmed many times by [Benedict XVI], is that of a just and unified economy. It is good to decrease the rate of carbon, but it is also necessary to add other things," he continued.Reality checkIn regard to the debate on the use of alternative energies, the prelate encouraged the development of the latter.

"However, one must be realistic, given that at present it is not possible to sustain the existing economic systems solely with alternative energies."The Vatican official said an answer must be given to "the poverty and underdevelopment of so many areas of the planet, and when we speak of underdevelopment, we are speaking of millions and millions of poor, of people who have nothing."Regarding the will of the international community to reduce carbon emissions in order to combat global warming, Bishop Crepaldi said that it is a "very complex and controversial" issue, which calls for "greater commitment at the scientific level" to "clarify the terms of this issue, in an effort to evaluate the long-term effects."He noted the need for greater commitment "from the political point of view, because the policies implemented by governments to control so-called global warming are policies that are difficult to sustain from the economic point of view; they are too costly. Both scientists as well as politicians, evidently with the participation of civil society, must continue to work in this field.

"On nuclear energy the bishop clarified that the Church "condemns its military use," but has "no objection to its civil use.""Evidently, we are faced with a very delicate issue," said Bishop Crepaldi, "because in this case we have a cultural and political problem when it is stated that nuclear energy will be used for civil needs, but in reality, some are planning to use it for military objectives."

Why do Catholics use crucifixes?

A crucifix is a sacramental. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that:

1677 Sacramentals are sacred signs instituted by the Church. They prepare men to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life.

1678 Among the sacramentals blessings occupy an important place. They include both praise of God for his works and gifts, and the Church's intercession for men that they may be able to use God's gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel.

1679 In addition to the liturgy, Christian life is nourished by various forms of popular piety, rooted in the different cultures. While carefully clarifying them in the light of faith, the Church fosters the forms of popular piety that express an evangelical instinct and a human wisdom and that enrich Christian life.

Homily of the Day

June 6th, 2008
How Deep Is Your Faith?

2 Tim 3:10-17 / Mk 12:35-37
Again, Paul is writing to Timothy from his prison chains: ”…Yet from all these things the Lord delivered me. In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But you, remain faithful to what you have learned….”
Why that sentence about wicked people and charlatans? I think he is warning Timothy that there are those who will try to make the Christian life easy and comfortable. There are those who would accept a piece of glass instead of a diamond. People who try to follow Jesus, but do not expect persecution, according to Paul, are wicked. Taking the easy way to faith is actually wickedness.
Please let me repeat the line from Wednesday: “Can we dare to let the truth of the gospel cost us whatever it will? As one poet (the Reverend Calvin Miller) put it, ‘I don’t buy love, but I owe it everything.’ Obedience, love, the splendor of truth: pursue these, and you will have the peace that Paul lived and died in.”
Ignore these and be a deceiver or be deceived. Paul tells Timothy to keep digging to deepen the truth that he has already heard.
The digging may be slow, but the treasure to be found is worth the cost.
A lot of metaphorical language? Yes. Paul does make it very clear in our reading, though. He tells Timothy that he will find what he needs in Scripture because there is “wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
May our Lord find the faith in our hearts as precious as any diamond.

by Fr. Frank E. Jindra

Today's Inspirational Quote

"Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this."

-- Henry Ford

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Splendor of Truth Will Lead You

June 4th, 2008
by Fr. Frank E. Jindra ·Print ·ShareThis

2 Tim 1:1-3; 6-12/ Mk 12:18-27

Today we move into the marvelous personal letter from Saint Paul to Saint Timothy. As usual, Paul does not waste time getting to the heart of his matter:

”Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God for the promise of life in Christ Jesus…. Now made manifest through the appearance of our Savior Christ Jesus, who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed preacher and Apostle and teacher….”

I think Paul is putting before Timothy and us today the entire vision he has of what his work as an Apostle is all about. Very simply, it is about focusing our attention on eternal life.

We have been “called to a holy life…[by] the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus before time began….”

Paul wanted Timothy to hold to this one truth: the only life that is real is a life in Christ Jesus. When we look at all of the fake lives that are presented to us by the world today, it is hard to hold fast to one God has called Life.

At the start of his encyclical Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II wrote: “Called to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, ‘the true light that enlightens everyone’ (Jn 1:9), people become ‘light in the Lord’ and ‘children of light’ (Eph 5:8), and are made holy by ‘obedience to the truth’ (1 Pet 1:22). This obedience is not always easy….”

Paul knew this same fact: it is not easy to be an Apostle. But the splendor of the truth of the gospel drove him on. He was not “ashamed” of the gospel and neither can we be.

Can we dare to let the truth of the gospel cost us whatever it will? As one poet (the Reverend Calvin Miller) put it “I don’t buy love, but I owe it everything.” Obedience, love, the splendor of truth: pursue these, and you will have the peace that Paul lived and died in.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Holy See on the World Food Crisis

"More Than a Temporary Emergency"

GENEVA, JUNE 3, 2008 ( Here is the address Archbishop Silvano Tomasi gave May 22 at the 7th Special Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on “The negative impact on the realization of the right to food of the worsening of the world food crisis, caused 'inter alia' by the soaring food prices."

* * *

Mr. President,

1. The Delegation of the Holy See fully supports the priority attention accorded to the current food crisis by means of this special session of the Human Rights Council. The primary tasks before the global community are to develop a coherent response within the context of the multiple initiatives underway and to "mainstream" this crisis within the framework of human rights.

We are faced with the overwhelming challenge to adequately feed the world's population at a time when there has been a surge in global food prices that threatens the stability of many developing countries. This calls for urgent concerted international action. This crisis shines a "red light" of alarm on the negative consequences affecting the long-neglected agriculture sector when more than half of the world's population struggle to make their livelihood through such work. It calls attention to the dysfunction of the global trade system when four million people annually join the ranks of the 854 million plagued by chronic hunger.

Hopefully, this session will open the eyes of public opinion on the worldwide cost of hunger, which so often results in lack of health and education, conflicts, uncontrolled migrations, degradation of the environment, epidemics, and even terrorism.

2. The international community long has recognized a right to food in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (art. 25) and in the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights of 1966 (art. 25), just to mention some juridical instruments that proclaim the fundamental right to freedom from hunger and malnutrition. Conferences and declarations of intergovernmental agencies rightfully have concluded that hunger is not due to lack of food but rather is caused by the lack of access, both physical and financial, to agricultural resources.

The first Millennium Development Goal aims to reduce by one-half the number of the people living in extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2015. Society must confront the hard fact that stated goals very often are not matched by consistent policies. As a result, many millions of men, women and children face hunger everyday.

Higher prices may cause some inconvenience to families in developed countries since they find it necessary to spend 20% of their income on food. However, such prices are life threatening for the one billion people living in poor countries since they are forced to spend nearly all their daily income of $1 per day in search of food. The grave task before us is to design and implement effective policies, strategies, and actions that will result in food sufficiency for all.

3. The problem of adequate food production is more than a temporary emergency. It is structural in nature and should be addressed in the context of economic growth that is just and sustainable. It requires measures dealing not only with agriculture and rural development but also with health, education, good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

The impact of international trade on the right to food and the liberalization of trade in agricultural products tend to favor multinational enterprises and, therefore to harm production by the small local farms, which represent the base of the food security in developing countries. A renewed commitment to agriculture, especially in Africa, appears necessary. To this end, investments in agriculture and rural development are important.

Moreover, the duty of solidarity toward the most vulnerable members of society must be recognized. When seen through this ethical perspective, hoarding and price speculation are unacceptable and individual property rights, including those of women, must be recognized.

The priority in food production should be to benefit people. Unfair subsidies in agriculture need to be eliminated. To remedy the limitations faced by small farms, cooperative structures can be organized. The utilization of land for food production and for the production for other resources eventually has to be balanced, not by the market, but by mechanisms that respond to the common good.

Mr. President,

4. In this complex and urgent debate on the right to food, a new mentality is required. It should place the human person at the centre and not focus simply on economic profit. Due to lack of food, too many poor die each day, while immense resources are allocated for arms. The international community must be galvanized into action. The right to food regards the future of the human family as well as peace in the global community.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Today's Inspirational Quote

"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future.You must break out of your current comfort zone and becomecomfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown."

-- Denis Waitley, Author, Speaker, Trainer, Peak Performance Expert

Tiniest extrasolar planet found

By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News

Astronomers have sighted the smallest extrasolar planet yet orbiting a normal star - a distant world just three times the size of our own.
Discovering a planet with a similar mass to that of Earth is considered the "holy grail" of research into planets that lie outside our Solar System.
It is vital because researchers want to find other worlds that could host life.
The planet orbits a star which is itself of such low mass it may in fact be a "failed star", or brown dwarf.
Astronomers found the new world using a technique called gravitational microlensing. This takes advantage of the fact that light is bent as the rays pass close to a massive object, like a star.

Homily of the day

June 3rd, 2008

2 Peter 3:12-18 / Mk 12:13-17

Are You Helping God’s Kingdom to Come?

This world of ours is an astonishing place, and the societies and institutions that have evolved on our planet are so complex that no one fully understands exactly how they work and how we can make them do our bidding. It’s all just a work in progress, with all sorts of things that need fixing. There’s no better evidence of this than the fact that so many of our conversations begin with words like, “Why don’t they…?” or “How come they didn’t…?” or “When are they going to…?”

We talk about “them” all the time. One wonders who the mysterious “they” are, who are supposed to fix things and make the world run right. It’s simple, “they” are us! And that’s St. Peter’s message to us in today’s epistle. “Look for the coming of the day of God,” he says. But don’t just sit around waiting for it to happen. Get serious and hasten its coming. Make it happen!
Taking God’s kingdom come is the business of every one of us. To each of us has been committed a unique array of gifts, a piece of the earth, and a limited span of time. What we’ve been given defines our vocation. It’s our homework assignment from God. And when our days at last are done, God’s big question to us will not be: Did you stay out of trouble and keep your hands clean? God’s question will be: Did you help my kingdom come in that little piece of the earth that I entrusted to you?
Are you pleased with the answer you could give if God asked the question of you today? I hope so, but if not, we’d better get busy!

by Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Reality-click to see (Mars landing video)

You Already Have What You Need

Today's homily
June 2nd, 2008 by Msgr Dennis Clark, Ph.D. ·

2 Peter 1:2-7 / Mk 12:1-12

Life is a wonderful gift — no doubt about it! And most of us regularly thank the good Lord for giving us this gift which we could never earn or merit. But sometimes life can get very complicated and our calm confidence can get rattled or even shaken to the core.
It may be a crisis of certifiably major proportions, but more often it’s just a convergence of lots of little things, a scraped fender, a sick child, a checkbook that won’t balance, a water heater that burst at the worst possible moment. By themselves none of them is life threatening, to say the least. But when they come together, they can push us over the edge and leave us feeling not just weary but truly overwhelmed.

When those moments come, as they do to us all, we need to look past our feelings of inadequacy and desperation, and remember what St. Peter tells us in today’s epistle. The Lord has already bestowed upon us everything we need in order to face whatever challenges life serves up. The essence of the Lord’s gift is the Holy Spirit who dwells silently within the heart of every one of us.
The Spirit can give us both the wisdom and the strength we need to make the best of each day, no matter what that day brings. Trust the Holy Spirit within you, and you will live in peace, even when storms rage all around you. Trust the Spirit, follow the Spirit’s lead, and you will never lose your way.

Rosary Is a School of Mary, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 1, 2008 ( The rosary is a school of Mary in which Christians can learn to let the lamp of faith shine brighter in their hearts, says Benedict XVI.The Pope said this Saturday evening at a gathering in St. Peter's Square marking the conclusion of May, the month dedicated to the Mary.The candlelight event, attended by cardinals, bishops, priests and the laity, is one of a number of events honoring Mary that the Pontiff participated in this May. On the first Saturday of the month he presided at the praying of the rosary at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

In his address at St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father reflected on the rosary, which he said is "a biblical meditation that permits us to reflect on the events of the Lord’s life in the company of the Blessed Virgin, treasuring them, as she did, in our heart."Benedict XVI encouraged the practice praying of the rosary, "so that, in the school of Mary, the lamp of faith may shine ever brighter in the heart of Christians and in their houses."
The Pope then reflected on the "Magnificat" of Mary, in which she "acknowledges God’s greatness.""Magnificat""This is the first indispensable sentiment of faith," the Pontiff explained, "the sentiment that gives certainty to the human creature and liberates the creature from fear, even in the midst of history’s storms."

He continued: "Going beyond the surface, Mary 'sees' with the eyes of faith God’s work in history. For this reason she is blessed, because she believed: By faith, in fact, she welcomed the word of the Lord and conceived the incarnate Word."Her faith allowed her to see that the thrones of the powerful of this world are all provisional, while the throne of God is the only rock that does not change and does not fall."And Mary’s 'Magnificat,' after centuries and millennia, remains the truest and the deepest interpretation of history, while the readings of the many wise persons of this world have been disproved by the facts over the course of the centuries."

"Let us return home with the Magnificat in our heart," urged the Holy Father. "Let us carry in us Mary’s same sentiments of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, her faith and her hope, her docile abandonment into the hands of divine providence."Let us imitate her example of availability and generosity in serving our brothers and sisters. In fact, we are only able to raise a canticle of praise to the Lord by welcoming God’s love and making of our existence a disinterested and generous service of neighbor."

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Gay Marriage

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Do Catholics oppose same-sex marriage because they think sex is dirty? Do they not want others to have fun?The Catholic Church takes a very high view of marriage and human sexuality. As the account of Genesis shows, marriage and sexuality were created by God and given to mankind as gifts for our benefit. Scripture records God's statement that "it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him" (Gen. 2:18). As a result, "a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Some may forego the good of marriage to serve a higher calling (cf. Matt. 19:10-12), but it is a good nevertheless.Marriage is a conduit through which God's grace flows to the couple and their children.1 The Catholic Church understands marriage between a baptized man and woman to be a sacrament, a visible sign of the grace that God gives them to help them live their lives here and now so as to be able to join him in eternity.2 For Catholics, marriage is social as well as religious, but its religious aspects are very important. The Bible repeatedly compares the relationship between man and wife to that between God and Israel (cf. Hos. 9:1) or between Christ and his Church (cf. Eph. 5:21-32).

For Catholics, marriage is a holy vocation.Since the Church sees marriage as holy, it believes it must be treated with reverence. It also recognizes that marriage is basic to the health of society and therefore a public institution that must be defended against harm.Marriage is a public institution. Consequently, proposals that could harm the institution of marriage must be subjected to the same sort of objective analysis that we give any public policy question. Marriage is not just a private matter of emotion between two people. On the contrary, its success or failure has measurable impact on all of society. Rational analysis yields solid, objective reasons for limiting marriage to one man and one woman-reasons anyone can agree with on purely secular grounds.Our analysis will show that prohibition of homosexual marriage is not just a "fairness" issue, nor does it require anyone to "force religious dogma" down anyone else's throat. Nor is it a manifestation of hatred, as proponents sometimes suggest.

How do you answer the charge that the Catholic Church or opposition to same-sex marriage is "homophobic"?The term homophobic refers to fear of homosexuality. This term often is used by homosexual activists to end rational discussion of the issue by accusing their opponents of having an irrational fear. This is unjust. One can disagree with and be critical of a behavior without having a fear of it. When the charge of "homophobia" is made, it signifies that those making the accusation do not have reasoned responses to their critics, so they switch to portraying their critics as irrational rather than responding to their arguments.While the Church does recognize homosexuality as disordered, this does not mean that the Church is uncompassionate to those who suffer from the disorder. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies . . . must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."3We have to remember that all people are created in the image of God and deserve to be treated as such, no matter what their behavior. We make a distinction between person and behavior, sometimes expressed as "hate the sin, love the sinner." The Catechism describes homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered": "They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life.

They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."4So we deplore acts of discrimination or unkindness against homosexual persons, but we insist on speaking the truth about the nature of homosexual acts. This is not a phobia. It is compassion together with frank recognition of the nature of a disordered condition.The Catholic Church opposes homosexual activity because it is intrinsically disordered, an abuse of our human nature. But legalizing same-sex marriage would also have harmful effects on society, as we will see in the remainder of this special report.

A Stradivarius Must Be Played

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dt 11:18, 26-28, 32 / Ps 31:2-3, 3-4, 17, 25 / Rom 3:21-25, 28 / Mt 7:21-27
A violin by the 18th century Italian luthier (maker of stringed instruments) Antonio Stradivari was once purchased by an investor. The man placed the instrument in an airtight vault and kept it there for 10 years expecting its value to dramatically increase during that time.
On the day of the auction, the violin was taken out of the vault and handed to the world’s greatest violinist to demonstrate its authenticity. The Stradivarius was tuned and the auction house became hushed to hear the notes of one of the finest violins in the world. But what came from the instrument was worse than the music from a cheap, beat up, children’s violin. The story has it that a Stradivarius will only reach its potential if it is played regularly and not simply kept hidden in a safe.
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In Sunday’s gospel, Jesus is calling us to do more with the precious gift of God given to us in the Sacraments.
Jesus explained to us the will of his Father in heaven. The Bible is dedicated to it. We have heard it in every Mass. The Church tries to clarify it for us in the Catechism. And God calls us to live it every day.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to actually follow the directions. Much like what our parents and teachers tried to teach us, we can not just pick and choose which directions we have been given.
We have to understand that doing the will of God is more than just having an episode where we “get saved.” We have to hear what Jesus tells us and then act on it.
There is nothing wrong with the message those football fans regularly write on signs. But John 3:16 is part of Jesus’ point. You can declare that Christ is your Lord and Savior but if you fail to heed Jesus’ message in Matthew 7:21-27, you have not followed ALL the directions.
The very first Bible lesson I was ever taught was on building on rock or sand. Even at that young age, I clearly understood what Jesus was saying. Go and build at sand castle at the beach and you will quickly become an expert on Jesus’ message.
Jesus has given us some very clear directions on how to live. And it does not take an architect to understand his point. Each of us must do the will of the Father. Not some of his will. Not the parts of his we that are easy or popular or socially acceptable. This is an all or nothing statement.
And we can not hear the will of God and decide that if we stick it in the vault of our heart, it will not increase in value with time. Follow the directions daily and Jesus will not declare you to be an evildoer or a fool.
May 31st, 2008 by Fr. Stephen Anam

One-Issue Voters

One-Issue Voters
A response to: Denver Prelate Addresses Obama's Catholic Fans

I am a devote Roman Catholic and I do support Barak Obama for president.
Firstly, I do wish his view of abortion would change, but [President] George Bush is pro-life and exactly what has he accomplished in the past eight years on the issue?
Secondly, I am pro-life for all humans, born and unborn. The Republican party absolutely supports the death penalty with George Bush killing more prisoners on death row when he was governor of Texas than any governor in the history of the US. McCain is pro-death penalty as well.
Thirdly, what about all the unnecessary deaths in the Iraq war? How many innocent lives were lost because of this war? McCain wants to stay in indefinitely. How many more lives will be lost?
If you are going to be pro-life, than be it for everything. Though the Republicans claim to be pro-life, their record clearly states otherwise. I think it is dangerous to be a one-issue voter.
It is time for a regime change and Barak Obama is the right man for the times.
Patty Kuntz