Friday, April 15, 2011

Colleagues List, April 16th, 2011

Vol. VI. No. 31


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:


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



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

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!




Contact us at: (or)
St. David's Web Address -

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague
Jock McTavish

NOTE: This page is being reconstructed.




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!


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:



A collection of twenty-five+ studies conducted
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

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.



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

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



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"


Elfrieda -


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 -


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 -  




(and after they had sung a hymn...)

The Christian Century
Barbara Brown Taylor
April 8th, 2011


A Dated Practice in Modernity

April 14th. 2011

The US Catholic Bishops and 
Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s book 
"Quest for the Living God"



CBC News
April 9th, 2011


Decision Refines Condemned Action

Swiss Info Website
April 12th, 2011


Man Caught Proselytizing...

Christian Science Monitor
April 14th, 2011


Detainee Tipped to be Pastor

Ucan News
April 15th, 2011



Death of Pakistani Christian 
Official is Assessed
(text and video)

April 8th, 2011



America Magazine Video
April 12th, 2011


Likely Dismissal for Priest

National Catholic Reporter
April 11th, 2011

(Open this link using 
 Firefox search engine)



Washington Post
April 14th, 2011



Ucan News
April 15th, 2011



ELCIC News Service
April 14th, 2011



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 


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. 



Provided by

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 



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.


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.


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.



"God has gifted creation with everything necessary. 
 Nothing that is necessary for life is lacking."

- Hildegard of Bingen


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