Friday, July 22, 2011

Colleagues List, July 23rd, 2011

Vol. VII. No. 2


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:


In This Issue -

Special Item This Week:

Sacred Sites -
Thoughts on Tourism as
Spiritual Enrichment

Colleague Comments:

Art Bauer
Tony Parel
Reginald Bibby
Brian Brown

Colleague Contributions:

Ron Rolheiser
Jim Taylor
Michael Higgins

Net Notes:

Catholic Crackdown
Good Event, Bad Event
The Shadow of a Great Rock
Murdoch Scandal and Christianity
Churches and Obesity: A Good Fit?
Gerald Vandezande, CPJ Founder, Dies
Lutherans Endorse Gay Pastors and SSM
Muslims, Westerners Retain Stereotypes
Bachmann's Church Says Pope is Anti-Christ
Irish PM Decries Vatican Response to Abuse


Global Faith Potpourri:

12 ENI Geneva stories this week.

Quotes of the Week:

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sara Miles
St. Francis of Assisi
Dorothy Sayers
Carlo Carretto
Esther de Waal
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Thomas Merton


On This Day:

July 10, 1940 -
Battle of Britain begins

July 16, 1918 -
Russia's Czar, family, executed

July 18, 1936 -
Spanish Civil War begins

July 20, 1969 -
Armstrong first man to walk on moon

July 21, 1925 -
"Monkey trial" - ends in Tennessee

Closing Thought - Bede Griffiths


Dear Friends:

Summer for me offers a chance
to reflect more deliberately
on my life.

A new term in my vocabulary is
'spiritual travel' and some are
thinking it offers another
dimension to my vocation.

One way to test that is to
write about it and share the
results with friends.

So, here are my current thoughts
on "Sacred Sites - Thoughts on
Tourism as Spiritual Enrichment" -
my special item for this week.

Your feedback would be welcome.

Colleague Comments:

The past two weeks brought me a
fine number of communications
and contributions from fellow-
colleagues which I want to share.

Here are personal comments from
Art Bauer, Tony Parel, Reginald
Bibby and Brian Brown.

I hope you enjoy these offerings!

Colleague Contributions

Ron Rolheiser - shares thoughts on
his cancer in a poignant piece.

Jim Taylor - provides insight, as
a journalist, on Rupert Murdoch.

Michael Higgins - writes a column
for the Globe and Mail on Marshal
McLuhan. It is the media guru's
100th birthday (were he alive.)

Net Notes:

"Catholic Crackdown" - Why did the
US bishops come down so hard on
the RC woman theologian Elizabeth
Johnson? Here is a Protestant
perspective (Christian Century)

"Good Event, Bad Event" - Sr.
Joan Chittister writes a column
on the Christian life as a matter
of living between hope and despair
(National Catholic Reporter)

"The Shadow of a Great Rock" -
Harold Bloom authors a beautiful
literary tribute to the 400
year old King James Version of
the Bible (Publishers Weekly)

"Murdoch Scandal and Christianity"
- Zondervan (HarperCollins) and
even the Vatican are linked to
that vast communications empire
(Assist News)

"Churches and Obesity: A Good Fit?"
- it seems that sitting in pews
and getting fat are inter-related
(Anglican Journal)

"Gerald Vandezande, CPJ Founder, Dies"
- one of Canada's key bridgepersons
between the churches and government
has recently passed away (Citizens
for Public Justice website)

"Lutherans Endorse Gay Pastors and SSM"
- ELCIC Lutherans, led by capable
national bishop and colleague Susan
Johnson, have just ended their national
convention in Saskatoon (Anglican Journal)

"Muslims, Westerners Retain Stereotypes"
- here is a report on an important
international study on this troublesome,
current issue in global faith affairs
(Forbes and the Associated Press)

"Bachmann's Church Says Pope is Anti-Christ"
- Canadians keep a wary eye on right-wing
US political hopefuls and here is the
latest on one of them (The Atlantic)

"Irish PM Decries Vatican Response to Abuse"
- here is a devastating blast against the
Vatican by a political official who - not
that long ago - would have been a loyal son
of Rome. This is sadly Quebec redux
(Irish Times, National Catholic Reporter, BBC)


Global Faith Potpourri:

12 stories have been gathered during
the last two weeks from Ecumenical News
International (ENI) Geneva.

Quotes of the Week:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sara Miles,
St. Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Sayers,
Carlo Carretto, Esther de Waal,
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Thomas Merton
offer a rich collection this time.

On This Day:

From the archives of
the New York Times:

The Battle of Britain begins (1940)
Russia's Czar, family, executed (1918)
The Spanish Civil War erupts (1936)
Armstrong first man on moon walk (1969)
"Monkey trial" ends in Tennessee (1925)

Closing Thought -

This week, Bede Griffiths - the Brit
who spent his career living and
learning in India, in the context of
Eastern religions - offers his
view about the religious future
of humankind.

Blessings on your days!




"Report to the Congregation and Reflection"
 Sunday, Sept. 11th, and Monday, Sept. 12th

As St. David's congregation returns from
the summer break, we plan a special weekend
of gathering/worship for those participating
in our Fiftieth Anniversary Tour of the Celtic
Lands, April 26th - May 10th, 2011.

Sunday, September 11th - worship with a
Celtic theme, and a special "Sight and
Sound Report" to the congregation prepared
by Jock McTavish (some of this material will
be posted on Colleagues List).

A CD Jock has produced will be given gratis
to all tour participants and extras will be
made available for those who are interested.

Monday, September 12th, TM Room, 7-9PM
the venue of a special reunion for persons
who took the tour. It will be an opportunity
for reflection and suggestions for future
spiritual travel projects sponsored by
the ACTS Ministry of St. David's.

David Rostad of Rostad Tours, the person
whose tour company planned and organized our
experience in the UK and Ireland, will be
present to join our reflections and suggest
future possibilities.

Mark your calendars!




"Living Ethically Amid Chaos"
 Two Books by Richard Holloway

September 19th - November 28th
TM Room, St. David's United Church
7:00PM - 9:00PM. Ten Sessions.

"Godless Morality"
 Learning how to separate "God says"
 from doing what is right

Information about the book from


"Between the Monster and the Saint"
 Spiritual support for pursuing a life
 that seeks above all to be good

Information on the book from


Led by Jock McTavish and Wayne Holst
Book sale begins at the end of August!

Registration: $50.00 for class fees,
the two books and special hospitality

Purchase only the books - $35.00



Two Study Programs Sponsored by:
The Department of Continuing Education
At the University of Calgary

Taught by: Wayne Holst

Recommended university studies:

"God, Atheism and Morality" (ten sessions)
 Tuesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00 PM
 September 27th - November 29th



"Paul the Apostle" (ten sessions)
 Wednesday Nights, 7:00PM - 9:00PM
 September 28th - November 30th




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.



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.



Thoughts on Tourism as
Spiritual Enrichment

The evaluations of most pilgrims who
took the tour of the Celtic lands to
celebrate the 50th anniversary of
St. David's Calgary are now collated!

100% of those participating said the tour
either met or exceeded their expectations.
(exceeded - 68%, met - 32%). We consider
this an excellent response and it makes
us consider an offering of future trips.

In our planning with Rostad Tours of
Calgary (tour members gave them a 9:9
rating for service) we sought to provide
a special kind of experience which we
call "spiritual tourism."

We integrated an intentional spiritual
dimension into a regular tour itinerary.
This trip succeeded in doing that, even
though we can always improve what we do.

Spiritual tourism is more than traveling
as a group to visit, for example, Holy
Land sites that purport to be the places
where Jesus was born, raised, taught and
died - during his stay on earth.

We are appealing to intelligent and
discriminating participants who will
see the tour we offer as "an experience
of a lifetime." (That was the way one
of our recent pilgrims described the
Celtic lands tour.)

We would also like to work together
with our fellow-travelers - before,
during and after - the trip to view
travel as an opportunity to grow in
faith and the understanding of life.

All good travel involves planning,
execution and a time for reflection
on what transpired. Taken together,
the benefits of this kind of a tour
are considerably enhanced.

As a strategic follow-up we plan to
sponsor a "report to the congregation"
service, Sunday, September 11th,
and a tour group reunion, Monday,
September 12th. Both events take
place at St. David's United, Calgary.


In advance of that weekend, it seems
right to offer a reflection on what
we think spiritual travel means.

Perhaps you, as readers, will add
your thoughts and suggestions
to enhance current understandings.
This is an evolving process!




Many who think about spiritual travel
are hard-working people who have invested
much in their vocations and who would like
to venture into some new experiences that
have not been possible for them to engage
in previously. We live in a country that
enriches us in many ways, but we have had
to work hard for this and it has consumed
much of our waking hours for many years.

A time comes when accumulating more
might give way to wanting to enhance the
quality of experience. Many people in
Western cultures reach a stage in life
when they desire to invest in activity
that helps them define and integrate
what is really important for them -
especially while they still have the
inclination, energy and adequate
financial resources to enlarge their

Spiritual travel can help people to
enjoy a new dimension of their lives.



Everyone has hopes and expectations
when undertaking a venture of quality
spiritual travel. Most people will plan
their finances and their intended
discoveries with considerable care.

This sort of venture is a special
break - a reward we give ourselves.
But it is much more than a holiday.
It can provide us with "aha" moments
that forever change and enrich us.

We have learned that a trip of good
quality requires the teamwork of
professional travel companies (at
home and abroad) competent tour hosts,
guides, and bus drivers - as well as
accommodation and food specialists.

Even the best destinations can be
disappointing if good preparation
and teamwork is not in place.

People are quick to name the
so-called 'weak links' in the chain!

It does not pay to cut corners, but
all of this can be done without an
exorbitant financial expenditure.
It pays to invest well in people.
Our Rostad travel hosts taught us
that generosity breeds generosity.

We have learned that those who benefit
most from a good spiritual tour have
worked their way through a healthy
'process of discernment' until the
actual trip can be undertaken.

This does not mean that everyone who
wants to travel can do so at any
given time. Health, frame of mind,
financial viability - these and other
factors are variables beyond the
control of most of us. Intention
to travel, however, can reward us
in due course!

The good news is that there is
always another opportunity for many
of us. We discover things we'd like
to return to again, with more depth.
There are also new places to be
visited around the globe!

Experience has taught us much about
how to enjoy and improve spiritual



Until the mid-twentieth century,
most Canadians were living in
rather insular circumstances.
We existed in isolation from each
other and the world outside in
small clusters across a vast
expanse of land.

The great wars changed all that.
Canadians began to travel overseas
- although not always under the
most satisfying of circumstances.

Economic conditions and education
improved. Our interest in the
'greater world' expanded.  We
began to ask questions about
our identities and the origin
of our ancestors from every nation
on earth.

Our generation of Canadians is
the most privileged and globally
sophisticated in our history.

University students now consider
it normal to take at least some of
their studies or practica in at
least one other foreign school.
They learn to live and work in
circumstances quite different
from home. This results in a
worldview expansion.

We encounter people from other
races, cultures, governments, faith
traditions and philosophies of life
that are often considerably different
from our own formative experiences.

Spiritual travel offers new
perspectives and ways of living
to those with eyes to see.

We learn that, as at home, genuine
people (as well as their opposites)
can be found in circumstances quite
different from our own.

Such discoveries can help us to
learn about primal human values
and the causes of aggravating
human misunderstandings.

We realize that we were unaware of
many things when we lived in a
'splendid isolation.'

These epiphanies can engage us and
make us more flexible to other ways
of seeing and doing things. They can
also help us to clarify, define and
come to a better sense of who we are
as individuals and groups.


Several generations ago our great
enemy in the West was Soviet Russia
and Communist China. Today, we seem
locked in a huge struggle with Islam.

Aside from realizing that we in the
West always seem to need an 'enemy'
to stir us out of our complacency,
we are becoming aware that there are
many great religious and cultural
traditions beyond our rather familiar

We are also learning that it is
one thing to come to discover
and relate to Aboriginal, Hindu,
Buddhist and Muslim neighbors next
door. It is quite another thing to
encounter the same faith traditions
in the context from which they have

Thank God for our 'westernized'
Aboriginal, Hindu, Buddhist and
Muslim neighbors! They provide
us with wonderful bridges.

It becomes increasingly important
to better understand the cultures
that nourished and continue to
influence their worldviews.

This can be more fully known
and appreciated by visiting those
places from which other Canadians
have entered our lives.

Inter-faith understanding is also
one of the best ways to envision
and work for future world peace.


All of this may seem an esoteric
exercise - except that spiritual
travel can change a person - for
good and for life.

Some people like to travel alone,
or in couples. Others need to
do so in groups. There are
strengths and weaknesses to
engaging in all three.

The dynamic of visiting 'other
lands' with a group of like-minded
travelers can be one of the most
significant learning experiences
in life.

I change.  We change.

Trying to keep everyone relatively
happy on a group tour can be a bit
of a challenge. Still, the immense
satisfaction gained from looking
back on a significant group travel
experience is a major life-changing



Pompton Plains, NJ.

July 10th, 2011

Dear Wayne,

Your reflections have been very helpful
more than once. Again, your work and
efforts via the Colleagues List is
impressive: you are fulfilling a
"calling" very well."



Calgary, AB.

July 14th, 2011

"Dear Wayne,

Thank you very much for your wonderful
weekly news letter. I read it with great
interest and regularity. Thanks again.

Regarding Joseph Lelyveld's Gandhi biography,
I have a few comments, which I attach herewith.
Warm regards to you and Marlene.


Editor's note: "Great Soul" was introduced
previously to readers of Colleagues List.


Regarding Joseph Lelyveld’s “Great Soul:
Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India”,
please allow me to make a few remarks.

First, it is written from the perspective of
a “secular Westerner” (pp. 17 and. 319).
Lelyveld is to be applauded for letting us
know this. One may legitimately infer from
this, however, that he sees in Gandhi and
what he represents, the ‘Other ‘of the secular
Westerner. Edward Said would have called a
biography written from such a perspective
‘Orientalist’. A certain feeling of moral
superiority over the ‘Other’ usually goes
with this class of writing. To the extent
that this is true in the present case,
there is nothing much that a ‘secular
Westerner’ can or ought to learn from
Gandhi’s approach to life.

Secondly, the title of the book misrepresents
Gandhi’s relationship with his own people.
It emphasizes the idea of struggle. Indians
tend to see Gandhi as one of their teachers,
perhaps the greatest since the Buddha, and
not as someone who struggled with them.
Above all, he was one of them, not someone
standing apart from them. He was trying to
teach them some hard lessons, but he did so
with love and humility—lessons he himself
had to learn in his own life, sometimes with
success, at other times with not so great
success. The point is that the book
misrepresents Gandhi’s relationship to

Thirdly, if the term ‘struggle’ is relevant
to Gandhi’s life, it is to his relationship
to imperialism and Western secularism. He
struggled against the idea of empire, the
right to govern by virtue of conquest, and
such other rights that the West had exercised
over the rest of the world from about the
sixteenth-century till the end of modern
colonialism. But even here, the struggle was
uniquely Gandhian: a struggle characterized
by deep love. At the bottom of his heart he
saw Britons not as his ‘Other’ but as his
brothers and sisters.  This is the meaning
of satyagraha as struggle.

Speaking more broadly, Gandhi struggled
against the civilization that created and
maintained imperialism, and against Western
secularism that nourished it. The reasons
underlying this twofold struggle -- against
imperialism and Western secularism -- are
worth pondering. Has the attitude towards
imperialism vanished for ever? Or does it
manifest itself in other forms? And what
about Western secularism? While Indians may
not have learnt all that Gandhi had to teach,
it may also be true the West has not learnt
all that it could learn about its imperialism
and secularism. If Gandhi’s life is understood
in the way Gandhi understood it, that is, in
deeply spiritual terms, may be we all can
learn something from it. But I wonder whether
Lelyveld can be of much help here.

Incidentally, the review of Lelyveld’s
biography appearing in the May 2, 2011
issue of “The New Yorker” has used “The
Cambridge Companion to Gandhi” as
offering a corrective to Lelyveld.*

Anthony Parel

Editor's note: Dr. Parel co-edited
"The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi."

"The Inner Voice
 Gandhi's Real Legacy"

 The New Yorker
 May 2nd, 2011


Lethbridge, AB

July 20th, 2011

Dear Wayne:

Here is an article I have just
written for the Western Catholic
Reporter which you might be able
to use.


"The Catholic Church in Canada:
 A Contemporary Assessment"

Western Catholic Reporter
July 18th, 2011



July 21st, 2011

"Always enjoy your amazing material.
 I have a new book comparing the
 Bible and the Koran this fall."



San Antonio, TX

Confronting My Cancer

"A New Challenge..."
 July 17th, 2011


One response to reading Ron's article:

July 20th, 2011

"Thanks Wayne ...a very insightful piece.
It is very much like the way that you
handled your challenge ...with grace and
a positive outlook.

Well done!



"Things Hidden from
 the Learned and the Clever"
 July 10th, 2011


Okanagan, BC

"When News Crosses an Invisible Line"
 The Rupert Murdoch Disaster

Personal Web Log
June 10th, 2011


Ontario and Connecticut

"Marshall McLuhan:
 A Catholic Cassandra's Faith"

Globe and Mail
July 21st, 2011



Elizabeth Johnson and the Bishops
What Protestants Can Learn

The Christian Century
July 11th, 2011


The Changing Church -
Are the Bishop's 'Getting It?'

Joan Chittister
July 19th, 2011

Please use Foxfire to
access this article:


A Literary Appreciation
of the King James Bible
by Harold Bloom

Publisher's Weekly
July 20th, 2011

Original Review:

"The Shadow of a Great Rock:
 A Literary Appreciation of
 the King James Bible"
 Harold Bloom. Yale Univ., $28
 (320p) ISBN 978-0-300-16683-5

The King James version of the
Bible (KJB), 400 years old this year,
is a happy reflection of its brilliant
precursors and both the ignorance
and literary genius of its contributors.
This, contends Bloom, Yale professor and
author of 38 books including The Book of
J and The Western Canon, begs our
appreciation of the KJB as literature,
free of religious overlay. Setting aside
“all questions of truth or of how to live,”
he unpacks the aesthetic qualities of the
KJB in a charmingly idiosyncratic manner,
intermittently comparing the KJB to the
Tyndale and Geneva Bibles. Reading the
deeply informed opinions of an
experienced literary critic, readers
learn tantalizing tidbits of Hebrew
vocabulary, face the New Testament's
anti-Semitism, and see the KJB’s
ineluctable effects on Western literature.
There are long pages of quoted material,
which readers may wish addressed biblical
books entirely absent; but Bloom’s erudite
mix of acerbic judgments (e.g., the New
Testament's literary ugliness) and awed
delight (“the biblical David is an
incarnate poem”) offers readers a fresh
take on an old book. (Coming in Oct.)


Zondervan Press and Vatican Connections

Assist News
July 16th, 2911



Anglican Journal
July 13th, 2011


Visionary Canadian Left His Mark

CPJ Special Notice
July 18th, 2011


Church Convention Works Hard

Winnipeg Free Press
July 17th, 2011


Lutherans Wrap Up Full Agenda
Structural Changes in Works

Anglican Journal News
July 19th, 2011


The Obvious Confirmed

Forbes/Associated Press
July 21st, 2011



Would-be Presidential Contender
Holds Questionable Views

The Atlantic
July 14th, 2011


"Her Church May be Anti-Catholic
but Bachmann Isn't," Says Spokesperson

Catholic News Agency
July 16th, 2011



His Strongest Statement Yet

Irish Times
July 14th, 2011


No Reporting Exemption for Clergy
Irish PM Objects to Special Rights

Irish Times
July 15th, 2011


"Vatican Stance Calculated, Abusive"
 Irish PM Withering in Criticism

National Catholic Reporter
July 20th, 2011

Please use Foxfire to
access this article:


"State-Church Relations in Ireland
 are Forever Changed," says PM

BBC News
July 20th, 2011



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
11 July 2011

South Sudan churches hope for
new nation's peace and growth

Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - Church leaders in
South Sudan expressed their readiness to help
secure peace, stability, growth and development
in their new nation, which was proclaimed an
independent state on 9 July. The leaders led
citizens in thanksgiving prayers on 10 July,
a day after thousands in Juba city witnessed
General Salva Kiir Mayardit sworn in as the
first president.


Indigenous Christians in Australia
call for social justice

Canberra, Australia (ENI news) - Indigenous
Christian leaders questioned Australia's
progress on social justice as the nation
celebrated NAIDOC (National Aborigines and
Islanders Day Observance Committee) Week
from 3 to 10 July. The event highlights
indigenous people's achievements and their
contributions to Australian society.
Australian denominations officially
recognized NAIDOC week. But indigenous
leaders are concerned that the needs and
perspectives of aboriginal communities are
not being recognized.

Bishop loses appeal
over Holocaust remarks

Berlin (ENI news) - A schismatic British
bishop who said he didn't believe the
Holocaust claimed six million Jews faces
a reduced fine of 6,500 euros (US$9,110)
for incitement, a German appeals court
ruled on 11 July. The fine levied against
Bishop Richard Williamson is less than
both the 12,000 euros prosecutors had
demanded and the 10,000 euros he was fined
in an initial 2010 court case, Religion
News Service reports. Still, the failed
appeal is a blow for the defense team,
who had insisted that Williamson, 71,
hould be spared because he did not know
the comments he made in Germany to a
Swedish film crew would be available
in Germany, where Holocaust denial is
a crime.


12 July 2011

Church of England considers
News Corp. divestment

Canterbury, England (ENI news) - The
Church of England's Ethical Investment
Advisory Group (EIAG) said it will
consider selling its 3.8 million-pound
(US$6 million) investment in News Corp.
unless the media organization conducts
a full and open inquiry into a phone
hacking scandal. The EIAG said in a
statement that it has written to News
Corp. saying the behaviour of its
weekly tabloid, News of the World,
 which has been accused of illegally
accessing thousands of voice mail
messages and making illegal payments
to police, has been "utterly
reprehensible and unethical."
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch
on 10 July closed the newspaper.

Greek churches face financial
disaster in economic crisis

Warsaw (ENI news) - Minority
Christian denominations in Greece
are closing down their charity work
and having trouble paying clergy
salaries because of the economic
crisis,according to church leaders
in Athens. "Like other Protestant
churches,we're financially
autonomous here and not supported
by anyone but our own members,
so our revenue has fallen sharply,"
said Dimitrios Boukis, general
secretary of the Greek Evangelical


18 July 2011

Newly ordained Catholic priests
excommunicated in China

Hong Kong (ENI). The Vatican has
excommunicated Fr. Joseph Huang
Bingzhang, a Catholic bishop in
Shantou in the southern Guangdong
province in China, for being ordained
without a papal mandate. In a statement
issued on 16 July, two days after the
ordination, the Vatican said it does
not recognize Huang as bishop and that
"he lacks the authority to govern the
Catholic community of the diocese."


Philanthropic groups in Britain joining
effort to purchase St. Cuthbert Gospel

Canterbury, England (ENI). Executives
at the British Library in London say
they have raised more than half of the
nine million pounds needed to purchase
the seventh-century St. Cuthbert Gospel
from the British Province of the Society
of Jesus before the purchase deadline
expires in eight months. "The National
Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has
awarded 4.5 million pounds, a huge
boost to the campaign to acquire the
gospel. The Art Fund has also generously
pledged 250,000 pounds and a similar sum
was donated by The Garfield Weston
Foundation in recognition of the
importance of the book in Britain,"
said Ben Sanderson, chief press officer
for the British Library in London.
"The library is now in discussion with
a range of other donors with a view to
securing the full amount by the
deadline of 31 March, 2012."


19 July 2011

Archbishops call for more support
for Christians in Holy Land

London (ENI news) - "We cannot wait for
politicians to sort things out, we have
got to make a difference ourselves," the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams,
told reporters at the conclusion of a
two-day conference at Lambeth Palace on
"Christians in the Holy Land," which he
jointly hosted with Archbishop Vincent
Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic
Church in England and Wales. The meeting,
which was attended by more than 60
Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders
and politicians from the Middle East,
Europe and North America as well as
young Palestinian Christians, had been
called to consider the decline in the
Christian population in the Holy Land
and how these communities could be
assisted to remain.


20 July 2011

Church council warns
of food shortages in North Korea

Tokyo (ENI news) - The National Council
of Churches in Korea (NCCK) has asked
its ecumenical partners for further
humanitarian assistance to North Korea,
expressing concern over the north's
chronic food shortages. "This year,
the vegetable crop is in very short
supply due to heavy rains and flooding
and frigid weather in the winter," said
the council's general secretary, the
Rev. Kim Young Ju, in an 18 July letter.
"The people's daily ration has also been
reduced by one third. We are deeply
concerned that children are growing
up with this food crisis and with

Ecumenical "accompaniers"
aid Palestinians

Susiya, West Bank (ENI news) - The
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme
in Palestine and Israel, which
maintains a physical presence to
help Palestinians in the West Bank,
in July welcomed new team members
and opened a new base in the South
Hebron hills. "The south Hebron hills
area sees more violence by [Israeli]
settlers than any other part of the
West Bank, and the local communities
there have often requested our
presence," said Pauline Nunu, EAPPI's
local director. Stone-throwing and
scuffles often break out when
militant Israeli settlers, claiming
a biblical right to the land, harass
both Palestinian residents and Israeli
defense forces patrolling the area.


What's behind China's
hard line against Catholics?

Vatican City, 20 July (ENI news) - When
China's state-run Catholic Church ordained
a new bishop for the Diocese of Shantou on
14 July without the Vatican's approval,
it represented the latest step back from
years of progress in a complex relationship.
Yet the main causes for the shift may have
little to do with Rome, experts say, and
instead lie in momentous geopolitical events
in other regions of the globe, and deep social
changes within China itself. For more than
half a century, China's 12 million to 15
million Catholics have been divided between
the officially approved Chinese Patriotic
Catholic Association (CPCA) and an
"underground" church of Catholics loyal
to the pope. Each side fiercely rejects
the other's legitimacy.


21 July 2011

Religious groups in New Zealand
praise new immigration rules

Wellington, New Zealand (ENI). Migrant
religious workers in New Zealand are
welcoming the opportunity to be permanent
residents after the government announced
changes to the law on 19 July. Starting
in November, an updated temporary visa
will allow workers to stay in the
country for four years before applying
for residency. Religious leaders said
current laws discriminate against
respondents to a "calling," which is
not a job advertisement, and hope the
new law will alleviate clergy shortages.
Many successful visa applications
require evidence of paid work, a
barrier for the Catholic Church,
since a quarter of New Zealand's
Catholic priests come from abroad.
Buddhist priests are also unpaid
and face a similar problem.



Provided by

July 11th, 2011

"There is a crack in
 everything God has made."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


July 12th, 2011

"My only sense of 'mission' now was
to show others that they, too, could
feed and touch and heal and love,
without fear. To catch them up in
the desire to see more, taste more,
without caring if they got doctrine
right or became a regular at my church."

-  Sara Miles, from
   "Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion"


July 13th, 2011

"[The Creator] gives you the mountains
and the valleys for your refuge, and
the tall trees wherein to build your
nests, and as you can neither spin nor
sew God clothes you, you and your
children. Your Creator loves you much,
since [the Creator] has dealt so
bounteously with you: and so beware,
little sisters of mine, of the sin of
ingratitude, but ever strive to praise

- St. Francis of Assisi


July 14th, 2011

"It is curious that people who are filled
with horrified indignation whenever a cat
kills a sparrow can hear that story of the
killing of God told Sunday after Sunday
and not experience any shock at all."

- Dorothy Sayers


July 15th, 2011

"God's call is mysterious; it comes in
the darkness of faith. It is so fine,
so subtle, that it is only with the
deepest silence within us that we can
hear it."

-  Carlo Carretto, from
   "Letters from the Desert"


July 19th, 2011

"Lack of contentment lets me become
trapped in the coils of the competitive
society, competing for material goods,
social status, the sort of car I drive,
the place in which I live."

- Esther de Waal, "A Life-Giving Way"


July 20th, 2011

"We can of course shake off the burden
which is laid upon us, but only find
that we have a still heavier burden to
carry -- a yoke of our own choosing,
the yoke of our self. But Jesus invites
all who travail and are heavy laden to
throw off their own yoke and take his
yoke upon them -- and his yoke is easy,
and his burden is light. The yoke and
burden of Christ are his cross."

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


July 21st, 2011

"Teach me to take all grace/
And spring it into blades of act,/
Grow spears and sheaves of charity,/
While each new instant, (new eternity)/
Flowering with clean and individual
Speaks me the whisper of [God's]
consecrating Spirit./
Then will obedience bring forth
new Incarnations/
Shining to God with the features
of [the Lord's] Christ."

- Thomas Merton



From the archives of
the New York Times:

On July 10, 1940, during World War II,
the 114-day Battle of Britain began as
Nazi forces began attacking southern
England by air. By late October, Britain
managed to repel the Luftwaffe, which
suffered heavy losses.


On July 16, 1918, Russia's Czar
Nicholas II, his wife and their
five children were executed by
the Bolsheviks.


On July 18, 1936, the Spanish Civil
War began as Gen. Francisco Franco
led an uprising of army troops based
in North Africa.

On July 20, 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong
became the first man to walk on the moon.


On July 21, 1925, the "monkey trial"
ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T.
Scopes convicted of violating state
law for teaching Darwin's theory of

The conviction was later overturned.



"All the Christian churches - Eastern
and Western - have to turn to the
religions of the East, to Hinduism,
Buddhism, Taoism and the subtle blend
of all these in Oriental culture, and
to the deep intuitions of tribal
religions in Africa and elsewhere, if
they are to recover their balance and
evolve an authentic form of religion
which will answer all the needs of
the modern world

- Bede Griffiths

Eastern and indigenous traditions
can teach us much about equilibrium
and healthy forms of faith.


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