Saturday, February 6, 2010

Colleagues List, February 6th, 2010

Vol V. No. 24


Edited by Wayne A. Holst




In this issue:

Thomas Aquinas -

Background, Presentation and Reflection
Prompted by a Lecture "Jesus as True Human"
by Dr. Joseph Wawrykow of Notre Dame U.


"In Bed with the Word"

Alberta Readers' Choice Award List
Ten Semi-Finalists


Colleague Comment:

Philip Jenkins
Gary Nickel
Daniel Deyell


Colleague Contributions:

Joel LaForest
Margaret Sommerville


Net Notes:

Jesus Was a Fighter
China Snubs U of C Degrees
Is Haiti Blessed or Cursed?
Where God-Talk Gets Sidelined
Pope Condemns UK Gay Equality Laws
Jesuit Scandal Shakes German Church
Nelson Appointed President of Tyndale
ELCA Delegation Meets Archbishop of Canterbury
Schillebeeckx: "No Salvation Outside the World"
Ex-Gay Files: Bizarre Gay-to-Stright Conversion
US Missionaries in Haiti Charged with Abduction


Global Faith Potpourri:

Sixteen Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Thomas Merton
Valerie Elverton Dixon
Frederica Mathewes-Green
Richard Foster
Barak Obama



Colleague Harold MacDonald
Gwitchin Elder Edith Josie


On This Day (Jan. 31st - Feb. 6th):

Jan. 31, 1865 - US House abolishes slavery
Feb. 2, 1943 - Nazi forces surrender at Stalingrad
Feb. 4, 1974 - Heiress Patricia Hearst kidnapped
Feb. 6, 1952 - Elizabeth II becomes Queen


A Prayer for Cancer Patients



Dear Friends:

While I specialized in systematic theology during
my seminary days I was never much enthralled with
the development of doctrine. I found many of the
conciliar arguments tedious and I considered quite
beyond me any attention to what seemed to be trivial

Over the years I participated in many discussions
and classes that disparaged creeds and doctrines.
I was part of my times!

Now, I see the need to understand the development
of doctrine, if only to have a better awareness
of what is - as the Lutherans say - adiaophora
or of little consequence and what is important.!

It is for this reason that I have concentrated
on the Chalcedon Council of 451 CE in last week's
Colleagues List, and Thomas Aquinas this week.
Those who share my impatience with minutiae will
hopefully bear with me. Those who are pleasantly
surprized by my interests will hopefully rejoice!


Dr. Joseph Wawrykow is a Canadian who earned his
BA and MA degrees at the University of Manitoba
He specializes in 13th century Catholic theology.

Earning his doctorate at Yale he currently teaches
at Notre Dame University in Indiana. This week he
gave a lecture at my university entitled "Jesus as
True Human" - the guest of colleague Doug Shantz
the chairholder of Christian Thought.

I hope you enjoy our little venture into medieval


This week I learned that a book about which I had
notified Colleagues List readers last spring has
been shortlisted (among ten others) for the Alberta
Readers' Choice Award, sponsored by the Book Publishers
Association of Alberta and the Edmonton Public Library.

The book is entitled "In Bed with the Word" by
Daniel Coleman (University of Alberta Press).

You can read about the upcoming awards event in March
and the books in the running. My notification (in part)
appears under 'reviews' and the title in question.

I share this information because I believe it reflects
a growing refinement and excellence in the kinds of
books being published in my province of Alberta today.

Toronto look out! As in other areas, we are catching
up and may even surpass you!!


Colleague Comment:

This week I received feedback  from three colleagues that I
am happy to share with you.

Philip Jenkins responded to seeing my review of his new book.
Gary Nickel has ideas about reading to supplement that book.
Daniel Deyell, a new colleague from Concordia Seminary (LC-C)
Edmonton has a suggestion concerning how you can connect
Colleagues List Blog to RSS feed to remind you when new issues
are available online.


Colleague Contributions:

Joel LaForest - is part of the Knox Centre (Calgary)
education ministry. He has just sent me links to their
Winter/Spring Program. We at St. David's Calgary look
forward to continued and growing collaboration with
Knox in the future. Thanks, Joel!

Margaret Sommerville - has an article on animals and
the importance of preserving human special status in
current discussions about the inter-relationship of
all creation. Thanks, Margaret (who teaches at McGill
University, Montreal, for another stimulating and
challenging piece.


Net Notes:

"Jesus Was a Fighter" - reports the interesting story
of how hundreds of US evangelical churches are using
mixed martial arts events to draw young men into their
congregations (Beliefnet)

"China Snubs U of C Degrees" - just as President Obama
is getting the cold shoulder from China over his planned
reception for the Dalai Lama, the University of Calgary
learned this week that China is not looking kindly on my
school because of our support for the Tibetan religious
leader last fall when he visited our city (Calgary Herald)

"Is Haiti Blessed or Cursed?" - Bishop Gerald Seale of
Bridgetown Barbados, General Secretary of the Evangelical
Association of the Caribbean, writes about neighbouring
Haiti from a "local" perspective (Evangelical Fellowship
of Canada)

"Where God-Talk Gets Sidelined" - This being Super Bowl
weekend, a religion and sports story is appropriate.
The Wall Street Journal writer reflects on the reasons
why sports writers are uncomfortable exploring religion's
impact on athletes.

"Pope Condemns UK Gay Equality Laws" - in preparation for
his September visit to England and Wales, the pope has
admonished his representatives in the UK to fight
parliamentary legislation that would prevent Catholic
adoption agencies from discriminating against gay couples
and make is harder to exclude job applications from gays
or people who have changed their gender (The Guardian)

"Jesuit Scandal Shakes German Church" - the sad story
continues. This time a child sex-abuse scandal has
unravelled at an elite Jesuit school in Berlin, as
well as in two other German schools. The fear is that
this is just the tip of the iceberg (The Tablet, UK)

"Nelson Appointed President of Tyndale" - Tyndale
University College and Seminary in Toronto has just
announced that Canadian Baptist Gary Nelson has been
named its president.

"ELCA Delegation Meets Archbishop of Canterbury" -
a group representing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America visited Rowan Williams in London this week
(ELCA News)

"Schillebeeckx: 'No Salvation Outside the World'" -
At year-end, I reported the death of Dutch Catholic
theologian Edward Schillebeeckx aged 95. This week,
American theologian Richard McBrien wrote a column
about this visionary man who influenced many of us
during the 60's and 70's (Richard P McBrien/Harper
Collins Publishers; National Catholic Reporter)
"Ex-Gay Files: Bizarre Gay-to-Stright Conversion" -
Patrick Strudwick entered the world of a group of
English psychotherapists on a mission to "heal"
those "afflicted with homosexuality." Read this
extensive report published this week by the
Independent (UK)

"US Missionaries in Haiti Charged with Abduction" -
Finally, a sad story eminating from Haiti about a
Baptist group from Idaho who have been charged with
abducting 33 Haitian children to the Dominican
Republic (New York Times)


Global Faith Potpourri:

Sixteen Stories from Ecumenical News International


Quotes of the Week:

Thomas Merton. Valerie Elverton Dixon
Frederica Mathewes-Green, Richard Foster
and Barak Obama offer wisdom for us..



This week we remember Colleague Harold MacDonald,
Anglican priest and one-time Winnipeg politician
whom I came to know through association on the
Canadian Anglican Discussion List.

Gwitchin Elder Edith Josie, newspaper columnist
and Order of Canadian recipient (1995) died last
week in Canada's Yukon Territory.


On This Day (Jan. 31st - Feb. 4th):

Read this week the story of how the US House of
Representatives abolished slavery after the death
of Abe Lincoln (1865) of the surrender of Nazi
forces at Stalingrad during WWII (1943) and of
how newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was
kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in
California (1974) Elizabeth II become Queen


I close with a prayer on behalf of victims
on World Cancer Day, February 4th.




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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



Created and maintained by Colleague Jock McTavish



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:



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.




Based on the 2010
Benthall Lecture in Christian Theology
at the University of Calgary

"Jesus as True Human"
Presented by Dr. Joseph Wawrykow
Notre Dame University
Tueday, February 2nd, 2010

Background information from:



Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was a Roman Catholic
(Dominican) priest whose writings earned him the title
"Angelic Doctor." He is one of only 33 officially
recognized "Doctors of the Church."

Thomas was a very influential philosopher and theologian
in the high medieval tradition of scholasticism. He was
the foremost proponent of natural theology and much modern
Roman and non-Roman academic debate continues to centre on
him - whether for or against.

As a young man, born to an Italian aristocratic family,
Thomas received a good education and was introduced early
to Aristotle, Averroes (a Muslim who re-introduced Greek
philosophy to Europe) and Maimonides (a twelfth century
Jewish philosopher and medical sage whose work continues
to be widely respected.)

In 1245 Aquinas went to study in Paris and after a slow
beginning became increasingly known for his philosophical
disputation. After a stint in Naples and Rome, he returned
to Paris where he completed his famous "Summa Theologica."
This in depth study of Christian theology was strongly
influenced by Aristotle and Averroes and caused some of
his detractors to claim that he was contaminating the purity
of the Christian faith with foreign ideas.

Aquinas, like many great church thinkers, had a stormy career
and seems not to have been an easy person with which to deal.
Near the end of his life he had a spiritual experience that
caused him to question his life's work. He died on his way to
a church council convened in Lyon by Pope Gregory X (1274).
En route, riding a donkey along the Appian Way, he struck his
head on the branch of a tree, and subsequently died of his

His theological enemies put Aquinas and his teachings under
a cloud of suspicion for some years (their major criticism
was that he remained too much influenced by pagan thinkers.)

Fifty years after his death, however, John XXII (one of the
Avignon popes) declared him a saint. From that time, his
reputation grew. At the Council of Trent (16th c. Counter-
Reformation council) Aquinas was honored by having his Summa
placed on the high altar alongside the Bible.

The First Vatican Council (1869-70) declared him a "teacher
of the church."

Aquinas believed that all true intelligence is from God and
intellect and action are one. He said truth is known through
reason (natural revelation.) Faith (supernatural revelation)
has its origin in the inspiritation of the Holy Spirit, made
known through the teaching of the prophets, summed up in Holy
Scripture, and transmitted by the Magisterium (the teaching
office of the church) the sum of which is called "Tradition."
Aquinas used the Bible as the source of his understanding of
Jesus Christ. He believed that the purpose of Christ's
incarnation was to restore human nature by removing "the
contamination of sin" which humans could not do by themselves.
"Divine Wisdom judged it fitting that God should become human,
that thus one and the same person would be able to restore

Jesus was truly divine and not simply a human being. Christ was
also truly human and had a human (rational) soul. This truth,
first officially declared at Chalcedon (451 CE) and refined
over the centuries, affirmed that Christ possessed a duality
of natures - one divine, one human. "These two natures existed
simultaneously, yet distinguishably, in one real human body...
Christ had a real body of the same nature as our's, a true
rational soul, and was together with these, perfect Deity."
Thus there is both unity and diversity in Christ.

The goal of human life is union and eternal fellowship with
God. This goal is achieved through a beatific vision, an event
in which a person experiences perfect, unending happiness by
seeing the essence of God. This vision, which occurs after
death, and in eternity, is a gift from God given to those who
have experienced salvation and redemption through Christ while
living on earth.


"Jesus as True Human"
Notes from the lecture by Joseph Wawrykow

Issues debated and terms used in the development of our
theological understanding of Jesus Christ are truly "out of
fashion" today, said Wawrykow. But theologians continue to
revisit key moments in Christian history because "they seek
an ever-more accurate rendering of Christ."

One of those key moments was the appearance of Thomas Aquinas
and his "Summa Theologia."

Chalcedon (451 CE) declared Jesus to be "eternally divine"
He was one person, both divine and human but with two natures
reflecting his divinity and humanity.


The focus of this presentation is on "Jesus as true human"
because - even though the tendency today is to focus on
his humanity (identification with us) - the long-term
tendency has been to focus on his divinity (identification
with God) and to give inadequate attention to his humanness.

Aquinas followed the Athenasian and Chalcedonian formulae
hammered out during the early ecumenical councils, but
how can we do justice to both his humanity and divinity?

What Does "Being Human" Mean?
His was both an "ontological" and "relational" being-ness
which he shared simultaneously with humanity and with God.

Following a long-standing pattern in his work, Thomas
began with the synoptic gospels to explain how Jesus was
human. For Thomas, scripture and systematic theology were
constantly being synthesised.

He describes what "being human" in Jesus' case was like.
Normal humans possess both defects and a tendency toward
perfection. Jesus lacked any human defects because in him
resided "the fullness of grace."

Jesus had a real, not an imagined, human body and shared
a unique relationship with God. His was, in fact, a
journey, a process into a shared relationship with God.
This journey began in this life and was completed in the
eternal life he always had and continues to have with God.

Jesus was the truly human (fully human in the here and
now) - and one which all humans aspire to be. But he also
engaged in a process of "becoming" God in this life. He
possessed from the start what Thomas called a "beatific
vision" and a special gift of grace from God that allowed
him to realize in this life what he would eventually become
with God in the life to come.

"Grace doesn't destroy nature," he said, "but perfects it."
Jesus continued to grow more fully into what God desired,
and this was completed in eternity with God.

Objections Considered:

Does the theology of incarnation (God becoming human)
downplay the humanity of Christ so that he only "seemed"
to be human as the Docetists taught?

Does the fact that Jesus possessed a "beatific vision" which
is possible for all humans, but was only humanly actualized
in him - compromise the teaching that he was simultaneously
fully human and divine?

Jesus, like us, was a journeyer but also a non-journeyer.
Even as he began his life on earth he was at the end, not
on the way.

Thomas taught that Jesus did not require the virtues of
faith and hope that humans need because he already possessed

It could be objected that this understanding does not appear
in Holy Scripture and that Jesus asks of his followers the
faith and hope he did not have.

Thomas argued that such issues do not deny Jesus' dual
nature and that human faith and hope can attain the
perfection in eternity that Jesus already had in this life.


My Thoughts:

Thomas Aquinas produced a body of theological substance
that has continued to inspire and challenge us for almost
800 years. He has always had disciples and detrators.

Even though his contribution became authoritative in the
Catholic Church (Protestants tended to prefer Augustine)
and was recognized alongside Holy Scripture (as occurred
at the time of Vatican I) we need to remember that many
Catholics have challenged his views, including his ethics
based on his understanding of natural law.

There is no question that Thomas had a major influence
on the approach to abortion and birth control, for
example, officially advocated by modern Catholics.

To better understand modern theological and ethical
debates taking place between and within the various
church traditions, it is important to learn the history
of the theological formulations that have shaped that

Catholics as well as Protestants are influenced by
that history.

I am, by nature, not one given to heavy philosophical
disputation and I tend to recoil against theological
minutiae. However, my encounter with Philip Jenkins'
book on Chalcedon last week and the Aquinas lecture
this week remind me that I cannot avoid struggling
at some level with the issues of "who Jesus is" and
"who do they say that I am?"

To those who have followed me thus far, I say thanks.
I also thank Canadian Joseph Wawrykow for helping me
engage some complex issues in a clarifying way.



"In Bed with the Word"
Colleagues List Notice

Selection Panel and Finalists:




January 30th, 2010

Re: "Jesus Wars" (Review for America Magazine)

"Thanks so much for another perceptive
  (and generous) review..!"



February 1st, 2010

"I was especially interested in your review of
"Jesus Wars" (Jan. 30th Colleagues List.) By
coincidence, I am finishing reading 1800+ pages
of Schaff's "History of the Christian Church."

Volumes 3 and 4 covers the same period as the
Jenkins book and goes into more detail. Schaff
is still considered one of the best for details.

Reading Schaff helps me to appreciate "Jesus Wars"
which sounds like a "bulls-eye" for facts and
reflections on that time (Chalcedon, 451 CE.)

Jenkins speaks of four dominant sees (Antioch,
Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople) which by
1073 CE is reduced to Rome and Constantinople
(no doubt a result of the rise of Islam.)
If readers would like to go beyond Jenkins, I
suggest reading Schaff (I am working through his
8 volumes as a personal project I did not have
time for, earlier.



Colleagues List Feed

"I've just placed the blog on RSS feed..."

Colleague Daniel Deyell suggests this link to
keep you reminded of Colleagues List mailings.




Knox Centre Newsletter
January 29th, 2010



We Must Protect Humans Special Status

Virtual House (EFC)
February 5th, 2010

Click this link:



February 2nd, 2010

Where feet, fists and faith collide...



Calgary Herald
Feburary 4th, 2010
University suspects it is because
of its recognition of the Dalai Lama...

Read the article:



Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
February 2nd, 2010

Read the article:



Wall Street Journal
February 5th, 2010

Where God Talk Gets Sidelined
Sports journalists are reluctant to tackle faith on the field.

Read the article:



The Guardian
February 2nd, 2010

Read the article, click:



The Tablet (UK)
February 6th, 2010

Read the article:



Tyndale University College and Seminary, Toronto
Feburary 2nd, 2010



February 4, 2010

LONDON (ELCA) -- The Rev. Mark S. Hanson met with Dr.
Rowan D. Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in a private
hour-long meeting Feb. 4 at Lambeth Palace here. After
the meeting Hanson said the two discussed strengthening
Anglican-Lutheran relationships, challenges each leader
faces within his own communions, the proposed "Anglican
Covenant" to deepen internal church relationships, global
environmental issues, Christian-Muslim relationships, and
mutual concern for conflicts in places such as Sudan and
the Middle East.




National Catholic Reporter
Fr. Richard McBrien
February 1st, 2010

Richard McBrien writes of the contribution of
a post-Vatican II theologian who influenced
many Christians outside his Catholic tradition:

Click this link:

If link does not work, cut/paste it to your
address bar and click again.



The Independent (UK)
February 1st, 2010

Is Homosexuality a Form of Mental Illness?

A small but evangelical band of psychotherapists
in the UK believe that it is, and they are on a
mission to "heal" the afflicted

Read of the extensive investigation:



New York Times
February 4th, 2010

10 Americans in Haiti Charged With Abduction,
Prosecutor Says

Ten Americans arrested in Haiti last week as they
tried to take 33 Haitian children to an orphanage
across the border in the Dominican Republic were
charged on Thursday with abduction and criminal
association, according to prosecutors.

The charges, which carry prison terms of up to 15
years, were announced after a closed court hearing
in which prosecutors questioned the Americans, most
of them members of a Baptist congregation from Idaho.

The case has become a flash point for Haiti's fears of
 foreign encroachment in the aftermath of the Jan.
12th earthquake.

Read More:



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
1 February 2010

Christian parties call on S. Africa's Zuma
to quit over 'love-child'

Cape Town (ENI). Two Christian political parties have urged
South African President Jacob Zuma to resign for fathering
a child out-of-wedlock, saying he is undermining government
efforts to fight HIV and AIDSs. "The African Christian
Democratic Party is shocked by the report that President
Zuma has fathered a love-child with the daughter of his close
friend, Irvin Khoza. The birth of this child is a clear
indication that Zuma is not using condoms and is undermining
the safe sex message of his own government," said the Rev.
Kenneth Meshoe, the party president, on 1 February.


'Jesus wouldn't want bishops in House of Lords,'
says critic

London (ENI). If Jesus were on earth today, he would ask why
the Church of England still has 26 of its bishops in Britain's
unelected upper chamber of parliament, the House of Lords, a
British commentator on Christian affairs has said. Jonathan
Bartley was speaking during a debate held in the British
Parliament's building, and organized by the Labour Humanist
Group, on whether Anglican bishops from England's established
church (the Church of England) should be evicted from the House
of Lords. The Rev. Tim Stevens, the bishop of Leicester and
convenor of the Lords Spiritual, told Ecumenical News
International that the House of Lords is a bastion against
"the manipulation of Parliament". He added, "And the component
within it which I am here to defend is that of a small group
of the Lords Spiritual." He noted that the bishops' presence
has contributed to the institution for 500 years


Japanese Christians win Shinto shrine land case

Tokyo (ENI). A Japanese Christian has won a law suit he too
to the country's top court against a mayor who had allowed the
free use of local government land for a shrine belonging to a
group from the Shinto religion, a faith based on Japanese
traditions and way of life. "I am convinced that we have won
regarding the unconstitutionality," one of the two plaintiffs,
Sakae Taniuchi, a senior member of the Church of Christ in Japan,
told Ecumenical News International on 28 January. "But," added,
Taniuchi, "I feel very angry about the fact that the court said
that the unconstitutionality could have been avoided through
certain means [by transferring the land to the town for free].
The court should not say such a thing."


US judge grants political asylum to
German home-school learners

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). A U.S. immigration judge has granted
political asylum to a Christian family from Germany that wants
to home-school its children. The Home School Legal Defense
Association, which defended the family, announced on the 26
January decision by Judge Lawrence Burman in Memphis, Tennessee,
Religion News Service reports. "This decision finally recognizes
that German home-schoolers are a specific social group that is
being persecuted by a Western democracy," said Mike Donnelly, an
attorney and director of international relations for the
Purcellville, Virginia-based association.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
2 February 2010

Faith groups seek socially responsible
southern African mines
Cape Town (ENI). Faith groups in southern Africa have
condemned irresponsible mining practices by corporations
they say have claimed lives, damaged the environment and
impoverished communities. "Africa is poor because of its
rich resources … This blessing must not became a curse to
its people," said Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, the
former Cape Town Anglican diocese head. He was speaking
at the opening of the Alternative Mining Indaba, a parallel
event to the annual International Mining Indaba running from
1 to 4 February, two streets away. The Mining Indaba attracts
mining analysts, fund managers, investment specialists and
financiers from around the world.


Polish archdiocese sues newspaper over school rental claims

Warsaw (ENI). A Roman Catholic archdiocese is suing Poland's
top-selling daily newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza after it
reported that the church demanded exorbitant rents from a
local State school. "These commentaries have violated the
archdiocese's good name," the Catholic Metropolitan Curia
in Poznan said in its summons. Extracts of the summons were
published on 26 January by Poland's Catholic information
agency, KAI, which said the city's Curia office had demanded
an apology and the payment of 20 000 zloties (US7000) to the
church's Caritas charity.


Man's will can't dictate homebuyers' religion,
rules Canadian judge

Toronto (ENI). A Canadian judge has ruled that a man's will
could not stipulate the religion of purchasers of his home,
calling the move discriminatory. Thomas Allan Peach instructed
in his will – drawn up more than 25 years ago – that his house
be sold to an Anglican or Presbyterian and that the proceeds
become part of his estate. Peach, a single man with no children
who died in April 2009, was a long-time member of St. Mary's
Anglican Church in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. A former high school
teacher, he once studied for the Anglican ministry.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
4 February 2010

Tuvalu church leader expresses pain of betrayal
at Copenhagen

Melbourne, Australia (ENI). For the Rev. Tofiga Falani,
president of the Christian Church of Tuvalu, the worry of
his Pacific nation has been the risk of rising sea levels.
Climate change in the tiny island nation, most of which lies
only a few metres above sea level, has been a severe worry.
However, now he has to explain how Tuvalu is facing a drought.
Just a few weeks without rainfall constitutes a serious
situation for this nation of nine little atolls that rise
from the floor of the ocean some 1600 kilometres north of
Fiji, and which measure a combined total of 26 square
kilometres, with a population of about 12 000 people.


Rock concert and prayers highlight
Philippines Christian revival
Baguio City, Philippines. (ENI)--The Sunday evening gathering
resembled an open-air rock concert.Vocalists shouted their
lungs out to the beat of drums, buzzing electric guitars in
a storm of flashing lights. But the songs were Christian
hymns sung in Pentecostal or charismatic worship services
adopted by some evangelical Protestant churches and Roman
Catholic renewal fellowships here. The giant stage screen
projected images of the vocalists and band members and
carried sub-titles of the song lyrics to the more than
10 000 people gathered at the Melvin Jones stadium.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
4 February 2010

Zimbabwe soldiers face trial over priest's assault

Harare (ENI). Four Zimbabwean soldiers accused of
beating up a German Jesuit priest, the Rev. Wolfgang
Thamm, have been told to appear for trial on assault
charges. The soldiers, who are based at the Zimbabwe
National Army's mechanised battalion in Darwendale,
about 100 kilometres northwest of Harare, were not
asked to plead when they appeared in court on 3
February. They were freed on bail but told they must
appear for trial on 14 March.


Kenyan churches protest Islamic courts'
clause in constitution

Nairobi (ENI). Church leaders in Kenya are rallying their
followers against a draft constitution they say favours
Muslims and will tear the country apart."Christians will
not relent in holding out this position as it is our
national duty," said the Rev. Peter Karanja, general
secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya,
on 1 February. Karanja spoke at a press conference in
Nairobi in which the leaders released a statement warning
that a clause in the proposed constitution amounts to a
ploy to introduce Islamic Sharia law in Kenya.


100 years on, Korean Catholic assassin
of Japan PM remembered

Tokyo (ENI). Roman Catholic bishops from China, Korea
and Japan will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the
execution of the assassin of the Japanese prime minister
with a Mass in Dalian on 26 March. "This year marks 100
years after the annexation of Korea [by Japan]," said
Bishop Daiji Tani of the Catholic Church in Japan, who
chairs a committee organizing a four-day pilgrimage from
Japan to the church in Dalian, northeast China, where the
joint service will take place. "Let us look to history
together and join the pilgrimage to pray for peace." In
October 1909, Ahn Jung-geun, a Catholic, shot to death
Japanese Prime Minister Hirobumi Ito at Harbin Station
in northeast China. This was one year before Japan began
its colonisation of Korea, which lasted until 1945.


Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
5 February 2010

Uganda church leader blasts Obama for comment
on anti-gay bill

Nairobi (ENI). A Ugandan evangelical church leader says
Africans are saddened by U.S. President Barack Obama's
condemnation of an anti-homosexuality bill before the
country's legislature. "It is very disappointing for
Africans to hear Obama, who ran on the ticket of 'change
we can believe in,' suddenly growing cold feet when we
postulate in faith that homosexuals can truly change,"
Pastor Martin Sempa of the Family Policy and Human Rights
Centre in Kampala told Ecumenical News International.
"We wish to tell him that sodomy is not the change we
want. Nor can we believe in it."" At the National Prayer
Breakfast in Washington on 4 February Obama criticised
as "odious" a law aimed at imposing increased penalties
for homosexuals that has been proposed to Uganda's


Polish bishop apologises and retracts Holocaust claims

Warsaw (ENI). A Polish Roman Catholic bishop who accused
Jews of "inventing the Holocaust" has apologised and
withdrawn accusations against the news agency which
published the interview. "My unfortunate opinion resulted
from a short-cut in thinking and didn't express my views,"
said Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, who chairs the Polish
church's Concordat Commission. "It was not my intention
either to falsify history or to attribute bad will to
anyone." He originally said the Catholic news agency had
manipulated his remarks into a denial of the Holocaust
and would not be allowed to interview him again.


Court rules H. Kong Anglicans must fork out
million in taxes

Hong Kong, (ENI). The Hong Kong Anglican Church will have
to pay 180 million Hong Kong dollars (US$23 million) in
taxes following a court ruling. The church had appealed
to overturn a tax bill on profits made from the re-
development of an orphanage into a luxury housing project.
The court on 27 January upheld the decision of the
government in Hong Kong that the Anglican Church had not
proved that profits it made from the redevelopment project
had been spent on charitable activities. The Anglican
church had argued that as a charitable body taxes on
the project should be waived.


Hillary Clinton bemoans 'unfortunate' US mission's
mishap in Haiti

Washington DC (ENI/RNS). U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Rodham Clinton on has called the efforts of American
missionaries to rescue undocumented children from Haiti
"unfortunate," and said they should have followed correct
procedures for international adoptions. Clinton told
reporters at the State Department that "it was unfortunate,
whatever the motivation, that this group of Americans
took matters into their own hands." The 10 Americans
are now detained in Haiti, Religion News Service reports.



Sojourners Online

February 1st, 2010

It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race,
though it is a race dedicated to many absurdities and one
which makes many terrible mistakes: yet, with all that,
God ... gloried in becoming a member of the human race.

- Thomas Merton, from A Book of Hours


February 2nd, 2010

Very often, people who are in conversation with servants,
people who gain knowledge of the realities of life from
the bottom, have information that people who see life
from a position of advantage do not.

- Valerie Elverton Dixon, from essay, "Servant Knowledge"


February 3rd, 2010

Repentance is the doorway to the spiritual life, the only
way to begin. It is also the path itself, the only way to
continue. Anything else is foolishness and self-delusion.
Only repentance is both brute-honest enough, and joyous
enough, to bring us all the way home.

- Frederica Mathewes-Green, from "Both Door and Path"


February 4th, 2010

Silence frees us from the need to control others ...
frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to
straighten others out. We want so desperately for them
to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate
people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people
with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines
of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that.

- Richard Foster, from his book "Freedom of Simplicity"


February 4th, 2010

Progress doesn’t come when we demonize opponents. It’s
not born in righteous spite. Progress comes when we open
our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we recognize
our common humanity. Progress comes when we look into
the eyes of another and see the face of God. That we
might do so — that we will do so all the time, not just
some of the time — is my fervent prayer for our nation
and the world.

- Barak Obama at National Prayer Breakfast, Washington




Winnipeg Free Press
December 29th, 2009
by William Neville

Noted by Ken Kuhl
London, ON

Harold Macdonald was the quintessential happy warrior



Whitehorse Star
February 1st, 2010

Read the article -



On Jan. 31, 1865, the House of Representatives passed a
constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.


On Feb. 2, 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle
of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets
in World War II.


On Feb. 4, 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped
in Berkeley, Calif., by the Symbionese Liberation Army.


On Feb. 6, 1952, Britain's King George VI died; he was succeeded
by his daughter, Elizabeth II.


Remembering Cancer Patients
Sojourners, February 4th, 2010

On World Cancer Day, we remember all those who have
passed away as a result of this devastating illness,
all those who have lost loved ones, and especially
all those who are even now struggling with cancer.

You are a Healer, God, and so we pray for your
restoration and wholeness to come. But where it
does not, we trust that you are still, and will
always be, faithful in your presence and in your

Grant your peace, Lord, particularly to those who,
being poor, have not the resources to aid them.
Have mercy upon them, God; have mercy on us all.


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