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Vol. VI. No. 31 ***** Wayne A. Holst, Editor ***** Colleagues List Blog: http://colleagueslist.blogspot.com/ ***** In This Issue - Special Item This Week Book Notice: "Why Catholics are Right" by Michael Coren ___ Colleague Contributions: Elfrieda Schroeder Harry Winter ___ Net Notes: ... And Jesus Sang The Flaw in Banning Books Tomb of St. Francis Restored Swiss Acquit Holy Book Burners North Korea to Indict Christian Martyr for Cause or Christian Martyr? Vanishing of Religion is Exaggerated Bourgeois Tells Order He Cannot Recant Tony Blair Writes on Religion in China Priest Calls for Secular Pakistan State Lutheran/Anglican Leaders' Easter Greetings ___ Global Faith Potpourri: Ten ENI Geneva stories appear this week. ___ Quotes of the Week: Jelaluddin Rumi Dorothy Day Danilo Dolci César Chávez Margaret Feinberg ___ On This Day: April 13, 1970 - Crippled Apollo returns safely April 14, 1865 - Lincoln killed by John W. Booth April 15, 1912 - Titanic sinks in North Atlantic ___ Closing Thought - Hildegard of Bingen (end) ************ Dear Friends: We are heading into Holy Week, the high holy days of the Christian year! In this issue of Colleagues List, I offer you a notice of a book by Micheal Coren, a Toronto-media personality who specializes in religious issues. "Why Catholics are Right" - is his forthcoming polemical volume, written to counter what he views as anti-Catholic bias in the media. I both appreciate and challenge his views. ___ Colleague Contributions: Elfrieda Schroeder provides further comment on attracting young people to the church (after a CL article, two weeks ago) It's good to hear from you again, Elfrieda! --- Harry Winter responded to the piece last week on the unwillingness of the Vatican to engage in formal acts of prayer with persons of other religious traditions at the forthcoming interfaith gathering in Assisi. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Harry! ___ Net Notes: "... And Jesus Sang" - a favourite author, Barbara Brown Taylor - shares her thoughts on the place of music in our Lord's life (The Christian Century) "The Flaw in Banning Books" - challenges the decision of the American Catholic bishops to ban a recent book by US nun Elizabeth Johnson - her book is entitled: "Quest for the Living God" (Sightings) "Tomb of St. Francis Restored" - after years of neglect, the tomb of a famous Italian saint is refurbished (CBC News) "Swiss Acquit Holy Book Burners" - the Swiss courts have exonerated a man for the public desecration of scriptures (Swiss Info News) "North Korea to Indict Christian" - news appeared this week of the jailing of a preacher for seeking converts (Christian Science Monitor, Ucan News) "Martyr to a Cause or Martyr to Christ?" - delving deeper into the recent murder of a Christian Pakistani official (Christian Week) "Vanishing Religion Greatly Exaggerated" - commentary on a recent study predicting an end to religion in several nations, including Canada (America Magazine video) "Bourgeois Tells Order He Cannot Recant" - Maryknoll priest and advocate for the ordination of women in the Catholic Church takes his "Luther-like" stand (National Catholic Reporter) "Tony Blair Writes on Religion in China" - the former British prime minister has been developing a perspective on religion in China and shares it (Washington Post) "Priest Calls for Secular Pakistan State" - in the wake of Christian persecution in Pakistan, here is a call for the legal provision of religious freedom (Ucan News) "Lutheran/Anglican Leaders' Easter Greetings" - again, for the special religious season, the Lutheran and Anglican leaders in Canada extend their festive greetings (ELCIC News) ___ Global Faith Potpourri: Once more, courtesy of Ecumenical News International. Geneva, we have ten global news stories appearing this week. ___ Quotes of the Week: Jelaluddin Rumi, Dorothy Day, Danilo Dolci, César Chávez and Margaret Feinberg offer their insights courtesy of Sojourners.online ___ On This Day: Provided from the New York Times archives, these stories were written as the following significant news events were occurring: Crippled Apollo 13 returns safely to earth (1970) President Lincoln assassinated by J.W. Booth (1865) "Unsinkable" Titanic dies in North Atlantic (1912) ___ Closing Thought - Hildegard of Bingen offers her spiritual guidance from the pages of "Christian Mystics" - introduced here last week. ___ Palm Sunday begins a week of spiritual sojourn for faithful Christians. Let us journey together! Wayne ************************ 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 - http://sduc.ca/services.htm ___ ST DAVID'S ACTS WEB PAGE Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish http://stdavidscalgary.net/ NOTE: This page is being reconstructed. ***** REMINDER: ST. DAVID'S 50th ANNIVERSARY TOUR OF CELTIC LANDS - 2011 Airline tickets, a special travel booklet with much good spiritual reflection material and information about preparations to make and places to be visited - have been provided to all persons on the tour. We are coming close to the departure date! 35 PEOPLE ARE BOOKED TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS JOURNEY TO CELTIC LANDS FROM APRIL 26th-May 10th. We have started an interest list for other, future tours! Let me know if you are interested in learning more about exciting, spiritual tourism! This is a cutting edge ministry at St. David's. We hope to do many more of these tours in future! Take a look at the St. David's, Wales Sacred Site: http://tinyurl.com/4gbg35t ***** STUDY ARCHIVES A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted since 2000 can quickly be found at: http://bookstudies.stdavidscalgary.net/ 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. ****************************************** SPECIAL ITEM WHY CATHOLICS ARE RIGHT by Michael Coren McClelland and Stewart: Toronto 228 pages. Date: Apr. 19th, 2011. $28.99 CAD. ISBN #978-0-7710-2321. Publisher's Promo: Columnist, television host, author, and practicing Catholic Michael Coren examines four main aspects of Catholicism as they are encountered, understood, and more importantly, misunderstood, today. For some Catholicism is the only permanent, absolute body of truth, while for others it is the last permanent, absolute body that has to be opposed and stopped. Why Catholics Are Right opens with a discussion of the abuse scandal and the reality of what happened. Coren then traces Catholic history, with a discussion of the Crusades, Inquisition, Holocaust, and Galileo. He looks at Catholics and theology, explaining what and why Catholics believe what they do — Papal infallibility, immaculate conception, the Church rather than Bible alone. Finally, Coren outlines the pro-life position and why it is so important to Catholicism. In this challenging, provocative, and personal book, Michael Coren draws on history, politics, and theology to present the arguments for the truth of Roman Catholicism. --- Author's Words: When I first told friends and colleagues about this book, they were intrigued by its proposed content but disturbed by its title. "Sounds a little proud." "Is that sufficiently conciliatory for these progressive and pluralistic days?" and "You ought to be careful because it might offend people..." ... to claim that being an authentic Roman Catholic necessitates believing that Roman Catholicism is correct positively terrifies many modern men and women, as though a Catholic claiming to be right was some terrible sin... The title stands, and for a specific reason: to oblige and demand a certain clarity on the part of the book's readers. I'm a Catholic and believe in Roman Catholicism, and thus I believe that people who disagree with my beliefs are wrong. I do not dislike them or wish to hurt them, but I do wish these readers to consider what I have to say and to not abuse my beliefs in a manner and with a harshness that they would not dream of using against almost any other creed or religion... I admit, there are some degrees of wrongness. For example, serious evangelicals and Eastern Orthodox believers are only slightly wrong. Many of them could teach many Catholics a good deal about love, charity and devotion to God. Alleged Christians who want to edit rather than follow Christ, professional atheists and part-time Catholic bashers are indeed wrong. We have all heard comments about Catholics that if applied to almost any other group would simply not be tolerated. I was not a Catholic, and came into the Church only in my mid-twenties. I'd grown up in a secular home in Britain with a Jewish father... So I know what being despised simply for being is all about... Very few people dislike Catholicism because of its theology, but many oppose it because of the moral and ethical consequences of its teachings. This book is not supposed to be anything like a definitive guide to Roman Catholicism. It is a mere handbook dealing with some of the most common but by no means all of the attacks on the church. It should be useful to Catholics who want to defend their beliefs but need a little help. It should also be of use to honestly curious non-Catholics who have heard the usual accusations and rumours and can't believe that this institution that has done so much good and contains so many good people can be so evil and wrong. I hope this book leads some to read further and deeper, to look at modern Catholic authors and apologists as well as some of the greats of the nineteenth century and even of the medieval age. This book is meant to be accessible, rather than exhaustive. These days, tragically, the Catholic clergy abuse scandal is thrown in somewhere. It has to be discussed, but it has to be discussed honestly and accurately. Much of the criticism of Catholicism is nonesense, and not based on reality. Still, it is nonesense that is given a veneer of credibility by thinking people who shape opinion. In almost every area, we have matured as a people and a culture. Not so on the subject of Roman Catholicism. - from the Introduction (edited) --- My Thoughts: When I was a young boy I recall visiting my maternal grandfather. Even in my youthful and rather naive mind, it did not take me long to discover a defining characteristic of this otherwise decent man. My grandfather hated Catholics. He was of Scots-Irish background and his ancestors had lived for generations as Ulster-Presbyterians. Need I say more? I repeat this truth about my mother's father for one important reason. I became intrigued about the people he seemed to hate so much. What my grandfather succeeded in doing for me was to set me on a spiritual path that included coming to know and understand Catholics better. I simply could not accept and mouth the vitriol that spewed from my grandfather's mouth. Today, when I relate to students and others who exude some of that same vitriol (usually around the subject of clergy sexual abuse) I carefully try to field their comments and to suggest positive - rather than negative - approaches to the subject. Frankly, I think that Michael Coren is obsessed with the hatred expressed against Catholics today. My approach - were I a Catholic - would be to bite the bullet about some of the criticisms levelled against my church. It is of little use to try to defend the evil sexual behaviour and the coverup. The whole mess needs to be exposed. Still, in some ways I wish that, as a Protestant, I might be similarly victimized! The truth is, people must take Catholicism seriously - else they wouldn't get so negatively engaged with it. I wish people would take my mainline Protestantism even half as seriously. Sadly, my faith does not prompt much reaction - good or bad. People seem to have more important things to get worked up about! I honour faithful Catholics - lay and clergy alike - who take an honest look at the flaws - even the profound evils - that exist in any institution made up of humans, including their own - but who continue to be critically faithful. That is something I respect. Perhaps it is because Coren is a convert to Catholicism that he gets so upset by the criticism. Converts are often more prickly about a faith they have struggled to adopt than those who have always held that faith. Because of that, I think we need to cut Coren a bit of slack. --- But now, another thing that bothers me about Coren. It is the title of the book and the attitude he shows throughout it. Michael Coren has a great need to be right. He is very obsessed with right belief. I can recall a time when such things obsessed me too. They no longer do. I continue to grow in my faith, and hopefully, my understanding. But I do not need to declare others wrong and myself right. I am not convinced that believing "the right things" really count for much in my life. Having said this, I would still recommend that you read this book. I do so, for the same reason that I have recommended some books written by the new atheists like Dawkins. While it is always nice to read an author with whom I agree, I find that I learn more from certain authors with whom I seriously disagree. When I come up against some of the arguments Coren offers here in defense of Catholicism I find I have to seriously reflect on my own stance. In some instances, I would have to agree with Catholic interpretations. In other instances, I must simply disagree. I can do this without wanting to create a scenario of "winners" and "losers" and I believe that I can be enriched as a result of the intellectual/spiritual experiences I have while working through his ideas. Perhaps, I hope, some of you agree with me. If so, secure this book and work with it. Let it teach you - but not exactly in the ways the author might have first intended. --- Buy the Book from Amazon.ca: http://tinyurl.com/4329cjy ***** COLLEAGUE CONTRIBUTIONS ELFRIEDA SCHROEDER Winnipeg, MB March 29th, 2011 Hi Wayne, Hardy and I enjoyed reading the article in your blog about attracting young people to the church. (April 2nd Colleagues List) Here is another one, this time written by a young person that might be of interest. "Attracting Young People to the Church" http://tinyurl.com/3kazzcy Sincerely, Elfrieda - email@example.com _____ HARRY WINTER OMI Minneapolis, MN. April 11th, 2011 Re: The Catholic News Service story on the Vatican's Refusal to join in reciting the prayers of other faith traditions at an Upcoming Assisi Inter-Faith Gathering - Wayne: Thanks for your weekly mailing. I was surprised that all Cindy Wooden could find was rather negative, that the participants will not pray together at Assisi. When our (former omi superior) Marcello Zago assisted JP11 at the original meeting 25 years ago, they did not pray together either. But Zago helped the pope develop a very balanced formula so that all participated in prayer, without praying each other's faith. --- The formula worked out for Assisi, 1986, was that Christians would pray together, and they did; then they would "participate" in the prayer of other religions by being there respectfully and attentively, but not reciting or singing, etc. This to avoid the charge of relativism, which Archbishop Lefevre and his like are continually leveling against projects like Assisi. When Benedict visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul in 2006, the iman suddenly stopped for prayer. It was an unscripted moment, and the Vatican entourage was at first uneasy. Then Benedict thanked the iman after Benedict stood respectfully and silently with the iman during the latter's prayers. Hope this helps. Harry - firstname.lastname@example.org ***** NET NOTES ... AND JESUS SANG (and after they had sung a hymn...) The Christian Century Barbara Brown Taylor April 8th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/6fm62bk ***** THE FLAW IN BANNING BOOKS A Dated Practice in Modernity Sightings, April 14th. 2011 The US Catholic Bishops and Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s book "Quest for the Living God" http://tinyurl.com/3svemmq ****** TOMB OF ST. FRANCIS RESTORED CBC News April 9th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/63cjgce ***** SWISS ACQUIT HOLY BOOK "BURNERS" Decision Refines Condemned Action Swiss Info Website April 12th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3lwgwrf ***** NORTH KOREA TO INDICT CHRISTIAN Man Caught Proselytizing... Christian Science Monitor April 14th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3l88qwg --- Detainee Tipped to be Pastor Ucan News April 15th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3c9gu66 ***** MARTYR FOR A CAUSE OR MARTYR TO CHRIST? Death of Pakistani Christian Official is Assessed Christianweek.org (text and video) April 8th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/44br8bh ***** VANISHING RELIGION IS GREATLY EXAGGERATED America Magazine Video April 12th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3ww6d9j ***** BOURGEOIS TELLS ORDER THAT HE CANNOT BACK DOWN Likely Dismissal for Priest National Catholic Reporter April 11th, 2011 (Open this link using Firefox search engine) http://tinyurl.com/3kbkw5n ***** TONY BLAIR WRITES ON RELIGION IN CHINA Washington Post April 14th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3dxvymc ***** PRIEST CALLS FOR SECULAR STATE IN PAKISTAN Ucan News April 15th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3sxb6t5 ***** LUTHERAN/ANGLICAN LEADERS SEND THEIR EASTER GREETINGS ELCIC News Service April 14th, 2011 http://tinyurl.com/3g4c59y ***** GLOBAL FAITH POTPOURRI 12 April 2011 John Paul II's feast day will be October 22, Vatican says Rome (ENI news) - The late Pope John Paul II's feast day, or day of commemoration, will be October 22, the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments announced in what is the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. Generally, a feast day is announced once a person is beatified -- given the title "Blessed" – which is the last step before sainthood. John Paul will be beatified in Rome on 1 May, however, the Vatican did not give an explanation for the early announcement. _____ Filipino churches divided on a hero's burial for Marcos Manila, Philippines (ENI news) - Some Filipino church leaders strongly reject but a few favour a resurrected proposal to give the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial. "This is ironic and this happens only in the Philippines. The proponents of the proposal either haveno sense of history or have misplaced values on human rights," Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Philippine Independent Church told ENI news. Calang cited human rights violations, which, he said, Marcos' soldiers committed. _____ Anglicans tighten rules to prevent sham marriages London (ENI news) - Couples suspected of using their wedding vows as a ruse to skirt immigration laws will be required to meet strict identity checks and face greater scrutiny under new Church of England guidelines to stop sham marriages. The guidelines announced 12 April by the church's House of Bishops target the practice of some vicars conspiring in fake weddings between British nationals and illegal immigrants as a means toward gaining legal residency, Religion News Service reports. ***** 13 April 2011 After Japan disaster, faiths join to prevent suicides Tokyo (ENI news) -In the aftermath of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, a Christian network is joining with Buddhists to provide bereavement services to prevent suicides, according to a Japanese interdenominational network. The Sendai Buddhist Federation through the Miyagi Prefecture Liaison Council of Religious Corporations has established a counseling room at a funeral hall in Sendai, said the Rev. Naoya Kawakami, who heads the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network. A joint memorial service also is planned, he said. The goal is to offer grief counseling and spiritual support, or "condolence," to those whose loved ones were killed or remain missing. _____ At interfaith church, a rabbi does the Easter sermon Silver Spring, Maryland, 13 April (ENI news) - On the second night of Passover, Rabbi Harold White will lead a traditional seder dinner with matzoh and bitter herbs and all the trimmings. Five days later, he'll deliver the sermon on Easter Sunday. That's what life looks like inside the Interfaith Family Project (IFFP) near Washington, D.C., where Jewish- Christian couples have decided their kids shouldn't have to choose one faith over the other. Instead, they can do a little of both, Religion News Service reports. ***** 14 April 2011 Ivory Coast churches prepare to help victims of turmoil Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - Church leaders in Ivory Coast said they are preparing to respond to urgent humanitarian needs as the country adjusts to the deposition of former dictator Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April and the accession of democratically-elected president Alassane Ouattara. "We are watching the situation ... We fear there may be mass movement of people into the neighbouring countries," the Rev. Blaise Amia N'Guessan, general secretary of the Conference Episcopale Nationale de la Cote d'Ivoire (Episcopal Conference of Ivory Coast) told ENI news in a telephone interview from Abidjan, the capital. _____ Russian Jehovah's Witness Exonerated of Extremism Charges Moscow (ENI news) - A Jehovah's Witness on trial in Siberia was found innocent on 14 April of charges of "inciting religious hatred and enmity," in a case that was being watched as a litmus test of religious freedom in Russia. Aleksandr Kalistratovhad been accused of distributing Jehovah's Witnesses literature, which has been qualified as extremist in Russia, according to a Russian federal law that was touted as atool for fighting hate crimes and Islamic extremism. **** 15 April 2011 In Israel, Ethiopian Jews learn about the Passover Seder Mevasseret Zion, Israel (ENI news) - When Ethiopian immigrant Dabas Chekol, 31, sits next to his father, Gretaet, at the Seder table on the evening of 18 April, it will be the first time father and son celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover together. First, however, they had to learn about the ritual foods and prayers of the Seder, which retells the story of the ancient Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt, so they attended a "model Seder" on 14 April staged at a government-run immigrant support center just outside of Jerusalem. _____ Aid group urges European governments to help Libya refugees Warsaw, Poland (ENI news) - An ecumenical aid organisation has urged European governments to do more to help refugees from the war in Libya, and warned that continued inaction could damage relations with the Arab world. "The European Union should be helping with resettlement facilities - instead, all we're seeing is the reinforcement of border controls to prevent new arrivals," said Genevieve Jacques, a staffer at La Cimade, an aid group belonging to France's Protestant Federation. _____ New Anglican relief agency defines focus areas at its first meeting Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - The global Anglican Communion's new relief and development agency at its first meeting adopted economic empowerment, peace and reconciliation, and governance as its key focus areas. "Through this week people have seen the potential and what being part of the alliance can bring. I have been impressed by 'how much expertise there is.' A lot is happening already and we are talking about an organization that has a lot of strengths on the ground," said Sally Keeble, director of the Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy. She spoke with ENI news on 15 April at the end of the meeting in Nairobi. ***** QUOTES OF THE WEEK Provided by Sojourners.online: April 11th, 2011 "Lord, the air smells good today, straight from the mysteries within the inner courts of God. A grace like new clothes thrown across the garden, free medicine for everybody. The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise the first blue violets kneeling. Whatever came from Being is caught up in being, drunkenly forgetting the way back." - Jelaluddin Rumi, "Lord, the Air Smells Good Today" --- April 12th, 2011 “Whatever I had read as a child about the saints had thrilled me. I could see the nobility of giving one’s life for the sick, the maimed, the leper. But there was another question in my mind. Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place? Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?” - Dorothy Day --- April 13th, 2011 "Words don't move mountains. Work, exacting work, moves mountains." - Danilo Dolci, Sicilian poet and social activist --- April 14th, 2011 "Show me the suffering of the most miserable, so I will know my people's plight. Free me to pray for others, for you are present in every person. Help me to take responsibility for my own life, so that I can be free at last. Grant me courage to serve others, for in service there is true life." - César Chávez, from "Prayer for the Farm Workers' Struggle" --- April 15th, 2011 "Prayer might not change things, but it will change my perspective of things. Prayer might not change the past, but inevitably, it changes the present." - Margaret Feinberg ***** ON THIS DAY Provided from the Archives of the New York Times: April 13, 1970 - Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. The astronauts managed to return safely. http://tinyurl.com/5s9c2z8 _____ April 14, 1865 - President Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth while attending the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next day. http://tinyurl.com/3wa75fa _____ April 15, 1912 - the British luxury liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland, less than three hours after striking an iceberg. About 1,500 people died. http://tinyurl.com/4qr89m ***** CLOSING THOUGHT "God has gifted creation with everything necessary. Nothing that is necessary for life is lacking." - Hildegard of Bingen (end)