Vol V. No. 33
Edited by Wayne A. Holst
These beautiful lines from Christina Rossetti came
to our attention these days and we pass them on as
a greeting on this Easter Sunday 2010.
HAPPY EASTER !
Colleagues Elfrieda and Hardy Schroeder
An Easter Carol
Spring bursts today,
For Christ is ris'n and all the earth's at play.
Flash forth, thou Sun,
The rain is over and gone, its work is done.
Winter is past,
Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.
Bud, Fig and Vine,
Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine.
Break forth this morn
In roses, thou but yesterday a Thorn.
Uplift thy head,
O pure white Lily thro' the winter dead.
Beside your dams
Leap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs.
All Herds and Flocks
Rejoice, all beasts of thickets and of rocks.
Sing, creatures, sing,
Angels and Men and Birds and everything.
All notes of Doves
Fill all our world: this is the time of loves.
- Christina Georgina Rossetti
In This Issue - Special Item -
"The Good Man Jesus and
the Scoundrel Christ"
by Philip Pullman,
Knopf Canada. April, 2010.
Responses to the April 3rd issue -
Harry, Hank, John, Gary,
Keith, Art, Jean, Ryan, Doug.
John Paul II Five Years Later
The Catholic Church's Catastrophe
Churches Facing Minister Shortages
Malaysia Tries to Bridge Religious Divide
Millennials Do Faith and Politics Their Way
Global Faith Potpourri:
Thirteen Stories from
Ecumenical News International
Quotes of the Week:
Catherine de Hueck Doherty
On This Day (April 3rd - April 8th)
News Items from History -
April 3, 1948 - Truman signs Marshall Plan
April 4, 1968 - M.L. King Jr killed in Memphis
April 6, 1909 - Peary and Henson first to the North Pole
April 7, 1862 - Billie Holliday born on this date (1915)
April 8, 1973 - Picasso died near Mougins, France, age 91
April 9, 1865 - Confederate Gen. Lee surrenders at Appomattox
Closing Meditation - Barbara Brown Taylor
I continue to receive books for possible review
from publishers who would like my opinion, and
I try to oblige as I am able.
This week, I provide a preview (not a review) of
a new title appearing on April 20th. It is from
Canongate in the UK. Knopf Canada (the Doubleday
Publishing Group) has the rights in this country.
The book is entitled "The Good Man Jesus and the
Scoundrel Christ," by Philip Pullman, who lives
You may wonder why I might chose a book with such
questionable title. I try to introduce to you, my
readers, a cross-section of the material out there
today because I believe it is important to learn
Colleague Comment This Week:
In the Colleague Comment section, I share the
responses to my cancer article last week. That
piece was entitled:
"Claiming the Passion and Hope of Holy Week and Easter
in My Own Life" - (April 3rd issue.)
I wish to thank Harry, Hank, John, Gary, Keith, Art,
Jean, Ryan and Doug for submitting your thoughts.
Colleague Contributions This Week:
Jim Taylor - wrote an Easter Sunday reflection entitled:
"Easter Story Contradicts Human Experience."
John Stackhouse - Shares a Youtube presentation on his new
book "Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil."
Kelly Johnson - provides comment from Michael Wilkinson,
the editor of "Canadian Pentecostalism: Transition and
Transformation" - which was featured here two weeks ago.
"The Mormons" - keep up with Mormon Church developments
and view an extensive account of Mormonism provided by PBS.
"John Paul II Five Years Later" - It is now five years since
JPII's death. Zenit News from Rome provides an update on his
continuing popularity with the faithful and the Vatican offers
a webcam on the subject.
For balance, I provide an article written by a former admirer.
"The Catholic Church's Catastrophe" - the story continues.
This week I have clarifying articles on developments from
ENI, BBC, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Huffington
Post and The Tablet.
"Churches Facing Minister Shortages" - Protestant seminaries
in the USA report continued high numbers of students, but
fewer wish to enter parish ministry. Read about why that
is as I try to locate Canadian comparisons (Sightings)
"Malaysia Tries to Bridge Religious Divide" - This SE Asian
multi-racial and multi-faith nation has a history of much
internal conflict. This week, it was announced that new
steps are being taken to faciliate national dialogue and
healing (Ucan News, Asia)
"Millennials Do Faith and Politics Their Way" - fellow-
St. David's staff member Janet Zatke was vacationing with
her family in the American south during Easter break. She
came across this interesting article by Stephen Prothero,
professor of religion at Boston U.
Colleague Reginald Bibby is our source of information
on Canadian millennials as we continue to watch these
developments south of the border. (USA Today)
Global Faith Potpourri:
Read the 13 short-takes I have collected from ENI
during the past week.
Quotes of the Week:
Rowan Williams, Stephanie Wilson, Catherine de Hueck
Doherty, Daniel Berrigan and Ralph Abernathy provide
On This Day (April 3rd - April 8th)
News Items from History - include the introduction
of the Marshall Plan after WWII (1948); the tragic
assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis (1968);
the first men to arrive at the North Pole (1909); the
story of Billie Holliday, jazz singer, born in 1915;
the death of Picasso (1972) and the end of the American
Civil War (1865)
All these stories are provided from the archives of
the New York Times.
Our closing meditation is offered by Barbara Brown Taylor,
who writes beautiful prose from her home in Georgia.
Enjoy the beauty of the Easter season!
SPECIAL ST. DAVID'S LINKS
Contact us at: email@example.com (or) firstname.lastname@example.org
St. David's Web Address - http://sduc.ca/
Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -
ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE
Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish
ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY
TOUR TO CELTIC LANDS - 2011
We plan a 15-day tour of special Celtic sites
in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England -
April 26th - May 10th, 2011.
A highlight of the tour will be a visit to
St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR EVENT DEVELOPMENTS!
THE FUTURE OF FAITH by Harvey Cox
Monday Night Study, January 18th - March 29th, 2010
An insightful description of where Christian faith
is moving in the twenty-first century.
Follow our class videos, power point presentations,
other notes and study resources. Bookmark this link:
THIS PROGRAM IS NOW COMPLETED.
WATCH THIS SITE FOR CONCLUSIONS AND UPDATES.
A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can
quickly be found at: http://www.blogger.com/goog_1619098594
This collection of study resources represents a decade of
Monday Night Studies at St. David's, plus extra courses too!
You are welcome to use our course outlines, class notes and
resource pages in your personal and group reflections.
THE GOOD MAN JESUS
AND THE SCOUNDREL CHRIST
by Philip Pullman, Knopf Canada
April 20th, 2010. 245 pages.
UK Intro to the Book:
The Guardian , March 26th, 2010
The Conception of Jesus (from the book)
At that time, Mary was sixteen years old, and
Joseph had never touched her.
One night in her bedroom, she heard a whisper
through her window.
"Mary, do you know how beautiful you are? You
are the most lovely of all women. The Lord must
have favoured you especially, to be so sweet
and so gracious, to have such eyes and such lips..."
She was confused and said "Who are you?"
"I am an angel." said the voice. "Let me in and I
will tell you a secret only you must know."
She opened the window and let him in. In order
not to frighten her, he assumed the appearance of
a young man, just like one of the young men who
spoke to her by the well.
"What is the secret?" she asked.
"You are going to conceive a child," said the angel.
Mary was bewildered.
"But my husband is away," she said.
"Ah, the Lord wants this to happen at once. I have
come from him especially to bring it about. Mary,
you are blessed among women, that this should come
to you! You must give thanks to the Lord."
And that very night she conceived a child, just as
the angel foretold.
When Joseph came home from the work that had taken
him away, he was dismayed beyond measure to find his
wife expecting a child. He hid his head in his cloak,
he threw himself to the ground, he wept bitterly, he
covered himself with ashes.
"Lord," he cried, "forgive me! forgive me! What sort
of care is this? I took this child as a virgin from the
temple, and look at her now! I should have kept her
safe, but I left her alone just as Adam and Eve, and
look, the serpent has come to her in the same way!"
He called her to him and said "Mary, my poor child,
what have you done? You that were so pure and good,
to have betrayed your innocence! Who is the man who
She wept bitterly and said "I have done no wrong,
I swear! I have never been touched by a man! It was
an angel that came to me, because God wanted me to
conceive a child!"
Joseph was troubled. If this was really God's will,
it must be his duty to look after her and the child.
But it would look bad all the same.
Nevertheless, he said no more...
There is a review embargo on this book until
April 24th, so I hesitate to write anything that
might seem like a review at this time.
However, the title has been widely promoted in
the UK through author interviews and articles on
Pullman's previous work, including "The Golden
Compass" which appeared as a movie several years
ago at Christmas.
What I wish to say at this point is that I hope to
review the book (perhaps for the Globe and Mail)
because it reflects an interesting mix of literary
forms - "part novel, part history, part fairy tale"
- not unlike some of the writing that Canadian author
Ralph Milton has produced on biblical themes over the
years - but with a decidedly secular slant.
Pullman writes with a clarity and finesse that is
sometimes unnerving, unsettling, even risque.
He has a clear animus against organised religion,
yet the writing of this book was encouraged by the
Archbishop of Canterbury who himself possesses no
small literary insight.
Myth and reality, history and imagination - are
combined in Pullman's work as the chapter appearing
above readily suggests.
It is a book about Jesus, a figure held in high
esteem by most religions. It perpetuates a current
theme - how Jesus became corrupted into Christ by
Paul and the early church. In this book, however,
Christ is a separate character from Jesus - a
manipulative twin brother - who tempts him in the
wilderness and betrays him to the authorities.
Using the four Gospels as a source but not as
definitive truth, the book introduces a naive
young Mary giving birth to twins after a visit
by a mysterious stranger claiming to be an
The babies grow up into the physically robust,
straight-talking Jesus and the bookish, calculating,
often morally tortured Christ. Jesus is a
charismatic, honest speaker who believes that the
Kingdom of God is imminent. Christ, on the other
hand, has an eye to posterity, to the need for
an organised church, and to the requirements of
The book contains manipulated versions of familiar
stories from the Gospels. "I think my version is
much closer to what Jesus would have said," the
author recently told The Guardian.
Pullman denies he is an atheist. He likes the term
"possibillian" - meaning "one with a state of mind
that sees all kinds of things as possible."
This writing helps to stretch one's imagination if
you don't allow yourself to be limited by either
classic Christian "orthodoxy" or "the truth"
as you know it.
Ignore the obvious attempt to "push the buttons"
of the religiously sensitive and appreciate what
a creative writer can do with the biblical text
and his own imagination.
I will write more on this title in future.
Order the book: http://tinyurl.com/ydbt3uw
E-mails arriving this week:
Many, many prayers for you Wayne, as you cope with
colon cancer. Your reflections are very helpful to
all of us.
I note you had one item on an April 2 anniversary
(19l7, Woodrow Wilson). I hope next week's blog will
mention that April 2 this year is the fifth anniversary
of JPII's death.
Harry Winter omi
Harry, please see note and video link, below (ed)
I always read your weekly column/blog with interest and
began to read this week's with the usual curiosity of what
there might be there on Good Friday.
Thank you for sharing your personal story of your own cancer
and treatment, I appreciate what this means in the context
of the Easter season and how this has changed your life.
I am somewhat amazed at how you have managed to keep producing
such fine work in the midst of your own treatment regimen. I
hope and pray for a successful outcome!
All the best,
Thanks, Wayne, for this issue.
Please be assured of my prayers for your complete and total
healing as you struggle through your cancer treatment.
A blessed Easter!
Sorry to hear about the cancer but thankful to hear about
the treatment and all. Will keep you and family in our
Thanks for the wide spread -- the balance, the perspectives
and depth of coverage of the RC abuse problems. I've been
following a variety of news and commentary re it and yours
is very well balanced.
Also I was reminded in your reference to observing Lent at
this part of the season: in Lethbridge they had a tradition
of a service each day in Holy Week, and I always enjoyed
working with the steps of Holy Week of Christ on that journey
for myself and in formulating something that those attending
could participate in and get into.
Continued Lenten Blessings [with Easter Blessings to come]
(Ft. Saskatchewan, AB)
It has been some time since I have communicated with you
and I appologize for the silence from down here. Part of
my silence can be accounted for by the fact that I have
had some major health issues. I ended last year with a
mild stroke that damaged my eye sight slightly. That was
followed by a heart attack and the implantation of a
defibrulator on Dec. 30th.
The new year found me in the hospital where the cardiologist
decided that I have congestive heart failure. Now I have
been following a strict salt free diet and exercising and
feel much better. I think I am on the mend and look forward
to better health in the months to come.
I found your link to the video of the lecture by Harvey Cox.
It is great!
Thanks again for all the resources you include in your
communication and hope that you and Marlene are doing well.
Your thoughtful and faith-driven segment regarding your
cancer experience shook me up. Been there and healed...
but the whole thing surfaces whenever another brother is hit.
Your story shows all the ingredients required -- strong faith,
excellent medical care, loving family/friend support, careful
and wise reflection, keep-going-ness. Your have walked with
God many a day; you know in whose hands you rest [mixed
metaphors!]. These are the days/years/time when one does look
at oneself and the journey traveled......with regrets, to be
sure, but with hope and assurance up front
You have truly found yourself and your "calling" (many
dimensions there are of that good word). Not only for you,
but for your family and Colleagues and St. David's, also,
do we wish you well.
You are in thought and prayer as May approaches.
(Pompton Plains, NJ)
Thank you for sharing your account of facing and coping
with a cancer diagnosis. I'm sure many of us relate
closely to what you have said in your Colleagues List this
week and share the sense of comfort and hope that comes
with facing such events within the understanding of our
I thank God for you and your work, and for Marlene who
stands with you in solidarity. I know all of this is so
important in the way your return to wholeness will take
place - so you will have many more years of doing the
Lord's work and enjoying and celebrating God's Creation.
Joyful Easter blessings to you and Marlene,
I had no idea you'd been diagnosed. I'm very sorry
to hear that. You'll be in our prayers (if you are
okay with that).
Though I am glad you are at ease at what must be a
stressful time. As Leonard Cohen says, "there's a crack
in everything--that's how the light gets in." I am glad
that there is a crack in whatever darkness you're going
through right now.
Be well and best wishes my friend,
Just a quick word of appreciation for the weekly
collection of readings you circulate, and a note of
concern about the cancer you described.
What can I say? You seem to have a very good handle
on the physical, medical, emotional and spiritual
aspects of living with a dangerous disease.
May God continue to bless you with a keen sense of
perspective. And may he restore you to full health
and continuing vitality.
A sincere thanks for these messages, and for the
thoughts and prayers expressed in other ways too.
EASTER STORY CONTRADICTS HUMAN EXPERIENCE
April 4th, 2010
It's Easter Sunday.
After all the chocolate bunnies have been chomped down,
all the Easter eggs found -- and after a small percentage
of the population has actually attended an Easter Sunday
worship service -- what's left?
The central focus of Easter is not a rite of spring --
despite the deluge of advertising. Rather, Easter is a
claim that contradicts everything that we know about life...
Read the article: http://tinyurl.com/yl374wj
April 6th, 2010
I was in the Toronto area recently and a Christian program,
"100 Huntley Street," had me on to talk about my new book,
"Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil."
If you decide to visit, you can click here:
April 7th, 2010
The following is a message Michael Wilkinson sent when
I told him it was included in your weekly posting/blog.
Bless you Wayne. Kelly
From Michael Wilkinson, editor -
Transition and Transformation"
Reviewed in the March 27th issue of Colleague List -
"Thanks Kelly for keeping in touch and spreading the word about
"It has gone into second printing and selling very well. The
universities are picking it up. University of Waterloo grad
students in religion are required to read it. I heard UofT
students are reading it as are some European universities.
"Wish we had more scholars to study other areas of
Pentecostalism still underdeveloped in Canada. The
next generation needs to be encouraged to keep it up."
April 5th, 2010
JOHN PAUL FIVE YEARS LATER
Zenit News From Rome
April 2nd, 2010
John Paul II's Tomb, 5 Years Later
Now One of Rome's Most Visited Sites
by Carmen Elena Villa
VATICAN CITY, Since 2005 when Pope John Paul II passed
away,the Vatican grottoes where his tomb is found has
become one of the most frequented tourist sites in Rome.
Officials at St. Peter's Basilica told ZENIT that an
average of 12,000 people visit the tomb each day. It's
open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 in the evening
(6 in the summer). Many pontiffs rest near John Paul II,
not least on the list, the first Pontiff: St. Peter...
Read the article:
On the Net:
Webcam of John Paul II's tomb:
April 8th, 2010
The Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal and the Paradoxical
Legacy of Pope John Paul II, by César Baldelomar
As someone who has recently rejoined the Catholic church,
I find it painful to write about the unethical consequences
of John Paul II's repressive rule. It is also a struggle
for me to write about the late pope himself, since I once
admired him. But with the evidence of his mismanagement
coming into full view, I now have to reconsider the legacy
of this paradoxical figure.
Click to continue - http://go.sojo.net/ct/S11lejY1WU3i/
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S CATASTROPHE
Ecumenical News International
6 April 2010
Consternation greets Vatican Easter reaction to child abuse
Rome (ENI). The reaction of some of the Roman Catholic Church
hierarchy over the Easter period to accusations that they have
failed to deal with cases of clergy abuse and paedophilia in
different parts of the world have drawn consternation in many
places, as church leaders in Rome closed ranks around Pope
Benedict XVI. Speaking in St Peter's basilica in front of
the Pope, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who holds the title
of preacher to the pontifical household, caused controversy
when he compared the "violent and concerted attack" on the
Pope regarding child sex abuse cases to the, "more shameful
aspects of anti-Semitism". Jewish leaders lambasted
Cantalamessa's comparison, made during a Good Friday sermon.
The Jewish Council of Germany said, "This is offensive and
indecent for victims of abuses and for victims of the
Archbishop Williams critical of Irish Church
April 3rd, 2010
The Archbishop of Canterbury says the Roman Catholic Church
in Ireland has lost all credibility over the child abuse
April 4th, 2010
Archbishop Williams sorry over abuse remarks
Rowan Williams says sorry for his comments about the
Catholic abuse crisis, as several Easter sermons
address the issue.
April 5th, 2010
Pope's preacher sorry for remarks
The Pope's preacher apologises for comparing criticism of
the Catholic Church over child abuse to anti-Semitism.
Wall Street Journal
April 3rd, 2010
by Peggy Noonan
The Catholic Church's Catastrophe:
The press and the pope deserve credit for confronting
The Guardian (UK)
April 5th, 2010
This is a crisis of clericalism.
The Catholic church survived the French and Russian
revolutions. It will survive this crisis too, but
humbler, poorer, and more honest
The clerical sex abuse crisis is not the worst for
the Church since the Reformation. Remember the French
Revolution, which executed clergy and nationalised
church property? It was limited, on the whole less
violently, by the states of Europe and Latin America
in the nineteenth century which stripped the Church
of its land, privileges, funds and autonomy.
The relentless media stories fuelled by angry abuse
victims stepping forward to remember abuse of 20 or
30 years ago may be excoriating, but they do not
compare to what the Mexican, Russian and German
states did to the Church and Catholics in the early
twentieth century, in the era of totalitarianism...
Read the article - http://tinyurl.com/y9cg8jm
April 3rd, 2010
by Fr James Martin SJ.
Blaming the media in the current sex abuse crisis
(To) blame the messenger for this current wave of
stories about sexual abuse is to miss the point.
Read more... http://tinyurl.com/ylr6745
April 9th, 2010
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
by Timothy Radcliffe
CHURCHES FACING MINISTER SHORTAGE
by James L. Evans
Read the article: http://tinyurl.com/ygzhd4z
MALAYSIA TRIES TO BRIDGE RELIGIOUS DIVIDE
April 8th, 2010
MILLENNIALS DO FAITH AND POLITICS THEIR WAY
March 29th, 2010
by Stephen Prothero
GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI
Ecumenical News International
5 April 2010
S. African church heads condemn killing
of extremist white leader
Cape Town (ENI). Christian leaders in South Africa have
condemned the slaying of an extreme rightwing leader in
the country, Eugene Terre'Blanche, and have called on
political leaders to urge restraint at a time of rising
racial tension. A song promoted by the leader of the youth
wing of the ruling African National Congress that encourages
the killing of white people, and that one court ruling has
banned, has been blamed for fanning some of the tensions that
the followers of Terre'Blanche say caused the killing. The
Web-based news outlet Legalbrief reported that the 3 April
slaying of Terre'Blanche, who was the leader of the Afrikaner
Weerstandsbeweging (AWB - Afrikaner Resistance Movement), has
increased fears of growing racial tension following the legal
battle over racial hate speech. The Anglican Archbishop of
Cape Town, the Rev. Thabo Makgoba, was quick to respond to
the killing of Terre'Blanche, who once served a prison
sentence after beating a black petrol pump attendant to a
pulp, and who bitterly fought against the end of apartheid.
Briton's debate 'discrimination against Christians'
after clerics' plea
London (ENI). A call by Six (Anglican) Church of England
bishops and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey,
for election debate about "discrimination" against Christians
in the workplace before Britain's upcoming national poll has
drawn some criticism from the Anglican leader, Archbishop Rowan
Williams. In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper on 28
March they highlighted the ongoing case of Shirley Chaplin, a
nurse in a National Health Service hospital who was removed
from patient care duties after refusing to remove the cross
she has worn around her neck for 38 years. On Easter Sunday
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was, however
critical of what he called "overheated language" used to
describe Christian suffering in Britain by groups seeking
to protect what they see as their country's religious heritage.
6 April 2010
Kenyan Anglican head differs
with other church leaders on new law
Nairobi (ENI). Anglican Archbishop Eluid Wabukala of Kenya
has chosen to differ with other Christian leaders in his
country over a draft constitution that would permit Islamic
"Kadhi" courts, and authorise abortion. The archbishop has
urged Kenyans to back the law, while suggesting that
controversial clauses in it could be revised in future.
"The document is better than the current one. It is my
feeling that Kenyans should accept it and amend some clauses
later," Wabukala told journalists. Still, Wabukala's view is
contrary to that of other Kenyan Christian leaders, who have
rejected the draft constitution as being against the wishes
of their followers in the east African country. The leaders
of the Roman Catholic Church and the national Christian
council have accused politicians of ignoring their views,
and warned of future confrontation.
Filipinos' crucifixion ritual unnecessary
say religious leaders
Manila (ENI). In the Philippines, where real-life crucifixion
re-enactments have become both a holy ritual and a tourist
attraction, Roman Catholic and Protestant church leaders have
urged people to live out their faith beyond the rituals and
penitence of Lent and Holy Week. "If Jesus were watching those
who self-flagellate or who get themselves crucified, he would
be asking himself, 'Why would they need to do all these things
when I have already sacrificed myself, and died for the world
and all humankind?'" the Rev. Rex Reyes, secretary-general of
the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, told
Ecumenical News International. Reyes was speaking on 1 April,
the day before Good Friday, when 27 penitents, two of them
women, from the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan, north of
Manila, were nailed to crosses.
US Muslims, Sikhs welcome change
in airport security screenings
Washington DC (ENI/RNS). Muslim and Sikh groups have praised
the Transportation Security Administration in the United States
for rolling back screening rules on passengers arriving from 14
primarily Islamic countries, even as some worry that profiling
will continue. The new rules had been enacted after a Nigerian
Muslim man tried and failed to explode a bomb onboard a Northwest
Airlines jet bound for Detroit on Christmas Day. Civil liberty
groups said the rules amounted to ethnic and religious profiling,
Religion News Service reports. The suspect in that case, Umar
Farouk Abdulmutallab, had not been subjected to extra screening
despite being listed in a government database of suspected or
known terrorists. Under revamped policies announced by U.S.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on 2 April,
international passengers will be compared against intelligence
data based on physical descriptions or travel patterns.
7 April 2010
Maoist violence in India 'challenges' churches
to be peacemakers
Thrissur, India (ENI). A senior Indian church official
has called on churches in his country to address increasing
Maoist violence, as well as the strong-arm response to it
by the State. "The situation is getting worse, and more and
more incidents of violence are reported. We should not remain
silent spectators to this increasing violence," the Rev. Asir
Ebenezer, acting general secretary of the National Council of
Churches in India, told Ecumenical News International.
Ebenezer, whose organization groups 30 Orthodox and Protestant
churches, made his remarks following increasing violece by
Maoists. Seventy-six security personnel died on 6 April, when
a convoy was ambushed by hundreds of Maoists in a remote
village of central Chattisgarh state.
Church in Slovakia takes on US casino giant
Warsaw (ENI). Roman Catholic bishops in Slovakia have condemned
moves by a U.S. gambling company to set up Europe's largest mega-
casino complex on their country's border with Austria, outside
the capital Bratislava. "Games of hazard are ethically
questionable. They damage the person and society, and the
economic benefits flowing from them are highly doubtful," said
the bishops' conference in Slovakia. "Academic research proves
gambling brings more negative than positive consequences. We
need a change in the law." The church leaders were reacting to
plans by Nevada-based Harrah's Entertainment Inc. for a 30
hectare (74 acre) complex at Jarovce, south of Bratislava.
The project is expected to be completed by 2015, and has backing
from the centre-left Slovak government of Prime Minister Robert
Catholic bishop in Norway dismissed due to sex abuse
Oslo (ENI). Former Roman Catholic bishop Georg Müller, who
abruptly left his post as Bishop of Trondheim in Norway on
8 June 2009, was dismissed due to his sexual abuse of an
altar boy 20 years ago, the Vatican has said. Müller's
dismissal was confirmed to journalists on 7 April by Vatican
spokesperson the Rev. Federico Lombardi. The Catholic bishop
of Oslo, Bernt Eidsvig, had earlier announced the dismissal
in a press release. Eidsvig has been acting bishop of Trondheim
since German-born Müller, aged 58, left. Eidsvig said the matter
had not been publicised earlier because the person abused had
not wanted it made public, and had requested anonymity.
Muslim women push European fashion boundaries
Paris (ENI/RNS). It is hard to associate Saadia Boussana's
stylish bonnet with the traditional Muslim head covering that
has drawn sneers, protests and injunctions in cities across
But 29-year-old Boussana, cradling a coffee at a Paris-area
Starbucks, was indeed wearing a hijab - sort of - that offered
an elegant finish to her jeans and black embroidered shirt,
Religion News Service reports. "There are times I can dress
really extravagantly," said Boussana, the communications
manager for MWM, or My Woman Magazine, a new French online
publication for Muslim women. Often derided by Western critics
as a dowdy symbol of female oppression, hijabs, or Islamic
headscarves, are at the forefront of a fashion revolution in
Europe as young Muslim women mix, match and borrow from a
wide array of styles to create their own look.
Ecumenical News International
8 April 2010
World Council of Churches hails Russia-US nuclear treaty
Geneva (ENI). The World Council of Churches has welcomed
the signing of a treaty by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev
and his U.S. counterpart Barrack Obama, which aims to shrink
each country's nuclear arsenals by almost a third. "The new
U.S.-Russia nuclear arms reduction treaty signed today in
Prague is news that the World Council of Churches has
awaited for a long time: the achievement of a nuclear weapons
agreement between the two most heavily armed nations in the
world," WCC general secretary the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit said
on 8 April. He was commenting on the signing by Medvedev and
Obama of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in the
capital of the Czech Republic, which during the Cold War was
considered a crossroads between the West and the Communist
'Banker to the poor' urges
new financial structures to end poverty
Nairobi (ENI). The Bangladeshi economist who won the Nobel Peace
Prize in 2006 for championing microcredit loans to the poor has
called for an urgent re-invention of global financial systems to
end poverty and protect the underprivileged. Muhammad Yunus said
in Nairobi on 7 April that a new system could allow those
excluded from mainstream banking, especially in Africa and the
Middle East, to access credit that would enable them to live in
dignity. "We are not just happy to make ourselves rich and
wealthy. We also want to make sure our fellow human beings can
stand on their feet with pride and dignity, no matter where they
live," Yunus said at the opening of the four-day Africa–Middle
East Microcredit Summit in the Kenyan capital.
Absent Bethlehem landlords, many Christians,
spark land review
Jerusalem (ENI). Bethlehem, a municipal spokesperson
has given details of the workings of a process aimed at
preventing land theft whereby landowners can contest
registration details of their plots. The scheme began at
the beginning of 2010 to prevent the theft of land
belonging to the increasing number of residents who have
left the town in which Jesus was born.
"The municipality has embarked on a process of [settling land
registration] in order to avoid any problems of land theft,"
said Sari Dallal, director of public relations for Bethlehem.
Preparations for setting up the appeals process began two
years ago at the request of Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas following numerous
complaints of property thefts from landowners living abroad,
said Dallal. He explained that even though many of those
affected by the illegal sales of property are Christians,
because many Christians have emigrated from Bethlehem, the
problem is not divided along religious lines.
Nagasaki statue that 'survived' A-bomb,
going to New York
Tokyo (ENI). The remains of a statue of the Virgin Mary that
survived the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki is to be exhibited
in New York ahead of an international conference aimed at
curbing arms proliferation, says the Roman Catholic Church in
the Japanese city. The wooden statue of the mother of Jesus,
which stood in Urakami Cathedral in the western Japanese city,
was almost completely destroyed by the atomic bomb dropped on
Nagasaki by the U.S. Air Force in the last days of the Second
World War on 9 August 1945. Only Mary's head remained intact.
The cathedral itself was reduced to rubble. "It [the head]
will be shown while prayers are said during a Mass [in New
York]", Midori Shikayama, an official of the Nagasaki
archdiocese's public relations department, told Ecumenical
News International. Shikayama explained it will be the first
time the statue has visited the United States when it is shown
during the Mass at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York City on
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
April 5th, 2010
"The resurrection is in part about the sheer toughness
and persistence of God?s love. When we have done our
worst, God remains God -- and remains committed to
being our God. God was God even while God in human
flesh was dying in anguish on the cross; God is God
now in the new life of Jesus raised from death."
- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, from his
book "Tokens of Trust"
April 5th, 2010
"I'd love to have those numbers be higher, but I think
that we have made a great start and have paved the way,
with women now being able to perform the same duties as
men in space flight."
- Stephanie Wilson, one of three women aboard the space
shuttle Discovery that successfully launched this morning
on a mission to the International Space Shuttle, which
also has a woman crew member, setting a record for the
most women in space at the same time.
April 6th, 2010
"Christ emptied himself for love of us ...
Do not try to apprehend or comprehend, but
prostrate yourself before the most
incomprehensible mystery of the tremendous
love that God has shown."
- Catherine de Hueck Doherty, founder of the
philanthropic religious community Madonna House
April 7th, 2010
We have longed to taste the resurrection. We have
longed to welcome its thunders and quakes, and to
echo its great gifts. We want to test the
resurrection in our bones. We want to see if
we might live in hope instead of in the ...
twilight thicket of cultural dispair in which ...
many are lost.
- Daniel Berrigan, Catholic priest, peace activist
April 9th, 2010
We hate each other because we fear each other. We
fear each other because we don't know each other.
We don't know each other because we won't sit down
at the table together.
- Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, quoted in "Partners
to History" by Donzaleigh Abernathy
ON THIS DAY (April 3rd - April 9th)
On April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the Marshall Plan,
which allocated more than $5 billion in aid for 16 European
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.,
39, was shot to death in Memphis, Tenn.
On April 6, 1909, explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A.
Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. The
claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the N
On April 7, 1915 Billie Holliday, American Jazz Singer
was born on this date in 1915 (see obituary):
On April 8, 1973, artist Pablo Picasso died at his home
near Mougins, France, at age 91.
On April 9, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered
his army to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court
House in Virginia.
Stop for one whole day every week, and you will
remember what it means to be created in the image
of God, who rested on the seventh day not from
weariness but from complete freedom. The clear
promise is that those who rest like God find
themselves free like God, no longer slaves to
the thousand compulsions that send others rushing
toward their graves.
- Barbara Brown Taylor, from her book "Leaving Church"