Friday, February 17, 2012

Colleagues List, February 18th, 2012

Vol. VII. No. 27


Wayne A. Holst, Editor


Colleagues List Blog:

My E-Mail Address:

New "Quicklinks" are now included 
with many items. Otherwise, scroll
down to find your selection in the 
body of the blog, as in the past.


Special Item in this Issue -

A Personal Reflection:

A Troubled Lenten Assessment of
"Miserere" by Gregorio Allegri 

Colleague Contributions:

Ron Rolheiser

Jim Taylor

Lorna Dueck


Net Notes:

Troubles at the Vatican
  *assassination threats
  *scandal-plagued order

Vatican Lashes Out Over Leaks

Priesthood Not About Celibacy

Skepticism Greets Xi's Speech

Austerity Must Have its Limits

Angelou: Obama's Remarkable Job

Spong Queries Newspaper Editorial

Religion in the UK - Under Threat?

Arctic Bishop Valued Inuit Culture

Scots and UK Begin Referendum Talks

Global Faith Potpourri:
Fourteen ENI Geneva stories.

Wisdom of the Week:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Rachel Naomi Remen
Saint Basil
Martin Luther King Jr.

On This Day:

Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin sign
Yalta Agreement during WW II (1945)

Burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's 
unearthed tomb unsealed in Egypt (1923)

President Nixon departed on his historic 
trip to China (1972)


Closing Thought - Thomas Aquinas 



Dear Friends:

As we approach the Lenten Season for
another year, I would like to share
a personal reflection on how my mind
has changed concerning some of the
key themes of this important time
on the liturgical calendar.

It is entitled:

"A Troubled Lenten Assessment of
"Miserere" by Gregorio Allegri"

It emerged from my personal experience
of rehearsing a beautiful musical
expression with the St. David's Chamber
Choir this week. The anthem was first 
created for devotions in the Sistine 
Chapel, the Vatican in Rome, almost 
400 years ago. 

Colleague Contributions:

Ron Rolheiser (San Antonio, TX) - 
writes of the good news he has 
to share with readers this week.

Jim Taylor (Okanagan, BC) -
tells us how hoarfrost provides us
with an important spiritual image.

Lorna Dueck (Toronto, ON) - takes
a strong stand in combating child 
porn; as legislation is currently 
under government consideration.

Net Notes:

It has been a noisy week around the world!

"Troubles at the Vatican" - internal 
finances, assassination threats against 
the pope and having to contend with a 
scandal-plagued order are part of the 
challenges faced by Rome this week
(Reuters News Service, the Telegraph UK, 
and the Washington Post)

"Vatican Lashes Out Over Leaks" - as
criticism swirled, so did counter-attack,
and here is one official Roman response
(Reuters News Service)

"Priesthood Not About Celibacy" -
a Catholic commentator from Asia argues
that the church is linking celibacy and
priesthood too intimately (Uca News)

Skepticism Greets Xi's Speech - as the
new VP of China visited America for the
first time this week, some criticism
from Hong Kong followed him (Uca News)

"Austerity Must Have its Limits" - the
EU, led by Germany, has come down hard
on Greece in exchange for a bailout, but 
there are also good arguments against 
economic heavy-handedness (Tablet, UK)

"Angelou: Obama's Remarkable Job" - as
might be expected, a respected black
voice has come out strongly in favor
of the Obama presidency (Guardian, UK)

"Spong Querries Newspaper Editorial" -
still standing strong, the famous bishop
from New Jersey tackles the editorial
board of a major Minnesota newspaper
(New Catholic Times)

"Religion in the UK - Under Threat?" -
as official religion in the UK falters,
two newspapers - often on opposing sides
of the debate - report similar arguments
(Guardian and Telegraph, UK)

"Arctic Bishop Valued Inuit Culture" - no
one could have spent time in Canada's north,
as I did in the 1980's, without hearing of
the legendary Anglican bishop John Sperry,
who died recently (Anglican Journal)

"Scots and UK Begin Referendum Talks" -
while experienced and thoughtful Canadians 
hold their breath, new talks begin on  
Scottish independence (Guardian, UK)

Global Faith Potpourri:

This week we are treated to fourteen 
religion-related stories from around 
the world by Ecumenical News International 

Wisdom of the Week:

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Rachel Naomi Remen,
Saint Basil and Martin Luther King Jr.
share their insights with us.

On This Day:

From the archives of the New York Times
we can read the stories as they happened:

Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin sign
Yalta Agreement during World War II.

Burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's
unearthed tomb unsealed in Egypt.

President Nixon departed on his historic 
trip to China.


Closing Thought - 

This week, Thomas Aquinas closes our
time together. 

A blessed Lenten Season to all of you!



Introducing the Full Program


"The Other Face of God:
When the Stranger Calls Us Home"

by Mary Jo Leddy

Ten Monday Nights - 
January 16th - March 26th, 2012
(except February Family Weekend Monday)

See the study schedule:

Information about the book from

Visit Romero House, Toronto on the web:

NOTE: Mary Jo Leddy is coming to St. David's
the weekend of April 20th-22nd. Watch for new
information as it becomes available.



Welcome to our -


Noon Hour Book Discussions for Faculty, 
Staff and Students Winter Series for 2012:

"An Altar in the World" by Barbara Brown Taylor

Discovering God in the ordinary experiences of life
March 2nd - March 30th - five Friday noon sessions

Time and Location for all sessions:
12:00 to 1:00PM in the Native Centre Board Room
Located above the Dairy Queen, Mac Hall Student's 

Led by: Wayne Holst, 
Coordinator of the ACTS Ministry, St. David's United
and a Faith and Spirituality Centre Liaison.

Cost of the book: $15.00 each


Join us this year for stiumlating campus discussions!

For more information: Adriana Tulissi 403-220-5451
Co-ordinator, Faith and Spirituality Centre, U. of 
C. - artuliss@ucalgary,ca



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

Listen to audio recordings of Sunday services -



An accumulation of thirty-five books studied
since 2000 can quickly be found at:

This collection of study resources represents 
more than 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.



A Personal Reflection:

A Troubled Lenten Assessment of
"Miserere" by Gregorio Allegri 
Based on Psalm 51


First, listen to a beautiful
interpretation by the Chapel
Choir of King's College Cambridge:


The English translation used here is
from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer: 

Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy 
great goodness.

According to the multitude of Thy mercies 
do away mine offences.

Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: 
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my faults: and my 
sin is ever before me.

Against Thee only have I sinned, and done 
this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest 
be justified in Thy saying, and clear when 
Thou art judged.

Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in 
sin hath my mother conceived me.

But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward 
parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom 

Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall 
be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be 
whiter than snow.

Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: 
that the bones which Thou hast broken may 

Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all 
my misdeeds.

Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a 
right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take 
not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and 
stablish me with Thy free Spirit.

Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: 
and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, 
Thou that art the God of my health: and my 
tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.

Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth 
shall shew Thy praise.

For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I 
give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in 

The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: 
a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt 
Thou not despise.

O be favourable and gracious unto Sion: 
build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice 
of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and
oblations: then shall they offer young calves 
upon Thine altar.


Some Background:

While it was, for some time, the private preserve
of the Vatican - and anyone caught 'leaking' it 
in the seventeenth century could be excommunicated -
good evidence has it that the young Mozart visited
and heard the piece during a Sistine Chapel Holy
Week service. Later that day he copied it down
entirely from memory, returning to another chapel 
service to make a few corrections.

Then, in travels to London, Mozart shared the piece
with British historian Dr. Charles Burney who 
published it in 1771. Word also has it that Mozart
was summoned to Rome by the pope. However - instead 
of excommunicating him - the papacy showered him 
with praises for his musical genius. 

(It pays to be a protege if you break copyright!)

Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, Mendelssohn
and Liszt, among others, transcribed it.

In modern times, not only has the King's College
group (heard above) sung it, but also John Rutter, 
Harry Christophers, Andrew Parrott and Graham
O'Reilly created versions to great public acclaim.


My Thoughts:

I have always loved this piece since first
hearing it performed by various religious/
classical ensembles - mainly English. I also
like Sistine Chapel versions sung in the
original Latin.

What I find difficult to appreciate, however,
is not the music, but some of the lyrics which
are, unarguably, direct translations of Psalm 51.

Scanning the text my eyes focus on such phrases 
as the following:

"Wash me throughly from my wickedness..."

"Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in 
 sin hath my mother conceived me..."

"Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: 
 and sinners shall be converted unto Thee..."


An unease enveloped me as the St. David's
Chamber Choir, of which I am a member, was
beginning to prepare this piece for a service
of worship during Lent.

It's hard, while rehearsing, to pay equal
attention to both the music and the words.
Sometimes, however, the words are so dramatic
that they overshadow any focus on the music.

I began to reflect on how - at one point in my
life - terms like "my wickedness" or "in sin
hath my mother conceived me" or "I will teach
thy ways unto the wicked" - would have meant
little. It was the common "liturgical lingo"
with which I was acquainted since youth.

Gradually, however, the terror of such words
began to hit home and I was not happy with
them. They were overwrought and inappropriate. 

Is the best way to reach the hearts of people
achieved by saying how wicked we all are?

Is the message of Jesus essentially a 
"clobber them down to raise them up"

What part did my father have to play 
in the fact that I was conceived in 
a sinful act?


I could go on, because I know that many 
Christians with whom I associate have no
problems with these words. The words 
don't mean anything to them (or) they
were also raised on the same kind of 
"law-based" faith that I was and take
it for granted as part of the liturgy.

Please don't accuse me of falling prey to
modern interpretations that gloss over such 
time honored and respected doctrines as 
original sin or law/gospel theology. The
fact is, I was deeply grounded in such
theology and did my share of trying to
ground others in it during the first two 
decades of my career in the pastoral ministry.

I just don't find such ways of describing
the human condition very helpful to me
any more. I've lived through times when
I felt judgement, rather than grace, coming
from people to whom I looked - even appealed 
to - for support. Should a theology of grace
not come forth at that time? It did not.

I also found that the language of original
sin and law/gospel did not appeal to many
of my students. Fortunately, at least some
of them considered me a passable Christian
mentor without hearing traditional theology
from me.

What has changed in me, I wonder?

Maybe the fact that I am well into the
second half of life makes me less interested
in re-entering the old fights that once
appealed to me.

But most of all, change has happened because
I discovered love and acceptance from people 
who sought to reflect the way of Jesus, without 
allowing those harsh theological caveats to 
inhibit a gospel based essentially on love, 
not fear.


So, as I join fully in rehearsing 
Allegri's "Miserere" during this holy
Lenten season, I am both troubled and

Troubled - because of some of the words/
interpretations I see rooted there, and

Elevated - because I believe I can truly
be engaged with the beautiful music
without bogging myself down in unhelpful

Perhaps there are others who know -
from their own spiritual journeys -
about which I speak.


For more information on Miserere, read
the Wikipedia article:



San Antonio, TX

Regular Columnist Writes 
"In Gratitude" for Cancer Cure

Personal Web Site


Okanagan, BC

Personal Web Log

"Hoarfrost: When the 
 Invisible Becomes Apparent"


Toronto, ON

Globe and Mail
February 17th, 2012

"It's Child Porn -
 We Need Bill C-30"




Financial Scandal -

Reuters News Service
February 13th, 2012


Assassination Threat Against Pope -

The Telegraph, UK
February 10th, 2012


Legion of Christ Scandal-Ridden
Disgraced Leader and Troubled Order - 

Washington Post
February 15th, 2012


Describes 'Leakers' as Wolves

Reuters New Service
February 17th, 2012


Priest Debates the Requirement

Uca News
February 16th, 2012


Human Rights Issue a Sore Point 
As Chinese VP Visits Obama

Uca News
February 15th, 2012


EU's Treatment of Greece Assessed

The Tablet, UK
February 18th, 2012


Black Writer Praises President

The Guardian, UK
February 15th, 2012


Minneapolis Star-Tribune Uninformed on
the Subject of Homosexuality, He Says

New Catholic Times
February 13th, 2012


Militant Secularism Threatens Nation

The Guardian UK
February 15th, 2012


"The Church is Under-Appreciated"
 The Queen Speaks in Defense 

The Telegraph
February 15th, 2012


Bishop Sperry - English Missionary
Converted by the People he Served

Anglican Journal
February 15th, 2012



The Guardian, UK
February 12th, 2012



Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
10 February 2012

Anglican breakaway groups confront 
a new power struggle

Nashville, Tennessee (ENI news) Founded 
by breakaway U.S. Episcopal priests who 
left their former denomination because 
they felt it was too liberal, the Anglican 
Mission in the Americas is now in the middle 
of another ugly church feud. Last time the 
fight was over sex and salvation. Now the 
fight is over money and power, between the 
Anglican Mission's U.S. leaders and the 
overseas Anglican group that adopted them, 
Religion News Service reports. 

Church expert welcomes Council 
of Europe stance on euthanasia

(ENI news) - A church official has urged 
Christians to reflect on euthanasia after 
a new resolution by the 47-country Council 
of Europe. "It's important that people agree 
on the same definitions," said Richard Fischer, 
executive secretary of the Church and Society 
Commission of the Conference of European 
Churches (CEC). "It's also very important 
to reflect clearly when people ask what might 
happen to them in particular circumstances. 
People often confuse euthanasia and assisted 
suicide with other procedures, although these 
are quite different in the practice of European 
countries," the French Lutheran pastor said. 
The 25 January resolution condemns euthanasia 
but supports living wills, advance directives 
and continuing powers of attorney for patients 
facing death. The council is based in Strasbourg, 

Christian communicators 
celebrate World Radio Day

(ENI news) - The World Association for Christian 
Communication (WACC) is urging its partners to 
mark World Radio Day, 13 February, since this 
venerable technology "guarantees spaces for 
ordinary people to have a public voice and to 
be heard by decision-makers." The Toronto-based 
organization noted that World Radio Day "seeks 
to raise awareness about the importance of radio, 
to facilitate access to information through radio 
and to enhance networking among broadcasters." It 
was established by UNESCO last year, with the 
initial idea proposed from the Spanish Academy 
of Radio four years earlier. 


13 February 2012

Evangelical churches rise in France, 
attracting youth

Paris (ENI news) - The atmosphere is like a 
pop concert: in a darkened theater in the 
lively Montparnasse area of Paris, hundreds 
of young people sing catchy songs and wave 
their arms in the air, while a group plays 
booming music on stage. But this is Hillsong 
Church. The Australian-born Pentecostal 
church set up a branch in Paris in 2005 and 
has seen its congregation grow from a few 
dozen people at its first meetings to around 
900 now at each of its two weekend services, 
conducted in French and English. The youthful, 
enthusiastic, multi-ethnic crowd is in sharp 
contrast to the diminishing gatherings in 
French Catholic churches, and it represents 
the rise not only of Hillsong, but of the 
evangelical movement as a whole in a country
that is officially secular, observers say. 

Japanese ponder taking funerals 
out of temples

Tokyo (ENI news) The 48 billion-yen (US$618 
million) Japanese funeral industry is changing 
as more households cut down on the expensive 
business of dying during the global economic 
downturn. In 2009, Aeon Corp., one of Japan's 
biggest retail chains, went into the funeral 
business, normally the domain of Buddhist 
temples. Its goal was to reduce funeral costs 
by making bulk purchases of funeral-related 
items. Current estimates are that Aeon will 
have 100,000 funeral customers in three years, 
reports Majirox News, an Internet-based news 
service that covers Japan. Many Japanese are 
choosing cheaper funerals as the aging 
population is growing.


14 February 2012

Kenyan faith leaders exchange roses 
as reminder of HIV/AIDS

Nairobi, Kenya (ENI news) - At a Roman Catholic 
church center near the Kenyan town of Thika, 
red roses were exchanged among faith leaders 
on Valentine's Day as reminder of their call 
to love and care for people infected and affected 
by HIV and AIDS. The Christian and Muslim leaders 
had gathered under the Kenyan chapter of the 
International Network of Religious Leaders Living 
with or Affected by HIV/AIDS to discuss how to 
strengthen current approaches being used to fight 
the epidemic. "A red rose is a sign of love, but
many people infected by HIV/AIDS don't often get 
the expression of it. In most cases they face 
animosity, but as religiousleaders, we can be 
different," the Rev. Joseph Njakaiof the Anglican 
Church of Kenya told ENInewson 14 February. 

Indonesian Christians continue fight 
to reclaim church building  

(ENI news) - In Indonesia, Protestants who have 
been illegally prevented from worshipping in or 
outside their building are continuing the fight 
to reclaim it. As religious leaders attended the 
2012 World Interfaith Harmony Week at the House 
of Representatives last weekend, dozens of 
Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin 
congregants held Sunday services in front of 
the State Palace in Jakarta. "This is our way 
to show our concern for this country. We've been 
barred from our church for months. Our house of 
worship is sealed," said GKI Yasmin spokeswoman 
Dwiati Novita Rini. 

Pope contributes to restoration 
of Algerian basilica

Rome (ENI news) - Pope Benedict XVI is among 
those contributing to the restoration of the 
Basilica of St. Augustine in Annaba, Algeria, 
in a project that the Vatican said is "a 
symbol of the brotherhood between Christians 
and Muslims," Vatican Radio reported. Church 
officials were careful to point out that the 
contribution, which was not quantified, was 
from Benedict directly and also through the 
"Papal Foundation," but not by the Vatican 
itself. The 112-year-old church was built 
on a hill overlooking the ruins of Hippo, 
the episcopal see of St. Augustine. 

Assemblies of God marking 
100 years in Nicaragua

Managua, Nicaragua (ENI news) - The Assemblies 
of God church in Nicaragua is in the middle of 
a three-month centennial celebration that will 
culminate 21 April with an official 
commemoration in Managua. A two-day caravan 
of 170 vehicles set out on 28 January from 
the Pacific port city of Corinto, where the 
Rev. Benuz Shoneckey set foot on Nicaraguan 
soil in 1912. The caravan retraced the route
Choneckey and his wife, Yegui, used in 
establishing a mission in the Central American 
nation, ending up 145 km to the north in the 
capital of Managua.

15 February 2012

Faith groups participate in peace initiative 
for London Olympics

London (ENI news) - Faith leaders and community 
groups in London are promoting "One Hundred Days 
of Peace" -- an initiative to develop a "peace 
legacy" for the London Olympic Games this summer. 
Churches, schools and colleges, together with a 
coalition called London Citizens that includes 
more than 300 faith and community groups are 
organizing ecumenical programs of prayer and 
a range of activities linked to the Olympics 
to promote peace. These include a campaign 
called City Safe, which aims to build a network 
between shops and businesses across London to 
fight crime. Other activities involve street 
vigils, talks, discussions and the creation 
of several peace gardens. 

British Methodists echo Argentine 
counterparts' hopes for peace

(ENI news) - As the dispute between Great 
Britain and Argentina over the Falkland 
Islands continues to simmer, British 
Methodist leaders have joined their 
Argentine counterparts in praying for 
peace between their two nations. In a 
response to the Argentine Methodist 
Church, the Rev. Leo Osborn and Ruth 
Pickles, president and vice president 
of the British Methodist Conference, 
wrote, "we pray that the rhetoric of 
confrontation be replaced with a 
language of peace and reconciliation." 
Earlier this month, Argentine Bishop 
Frank de Nully Brown wrote to the 
British Methodist Church, expressing 
his desire for their governments to 
resolve their issues peacefully, 
according to the Latin America and 
Caribbean Communication Agency. 


16 February 2012

Berlin exhibit explores artifacts 
from Islam's most sacred site

Berlin (ENI news) - This spring, Berlin's 
Pergamon Museum is hosting an exhibit that 
explores the cultural history of the Arabic 
Peninsula over thousands of years and brings 
artifacts from Islam's most sacred site to 
Germany for the first time.  At its center 
is an object that has great significance for 
Berlin's 250,000 Muslims: A 400-year old door 
that covered the entrance to the Kaaba, the 
cubic stone structure at the heart of Mecca, 
from the 17th century to the middle of the 
20th century.

Maryknoll nuns in Philippines 
celebrate interfaith work

Baguio City, Philippines (ENI news) - As 
Philippine-based Maryknoll nuns joined their 
counterparts in other parts of the world in 
celebrating their order's centenary this year, 
they cited their interfaith education efforts. 
"Our group's pioneering work was mainly in 
hospitals and schools, which included opening 
schools among the Muslims," Sister Margarita 
Jamias told ENInews. Jamias headed the 
coordination of the centennial celebration 
of the Congregation of the Maryknoll Sisters 
of St. Dominic last 11 February in the northern 
Philippine city of Baguio.



February 13th, 2012

"At some thoughts one stands perplexed, above all 
at the sight of human sin, and wonders whether to 
combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide 
‘I will combat it by humble love.’ If you resolve 
on that once and for all, you can conquer the whole 
world. Loving humility is a terrible force: it is 
the strongest of all things, and there is nothing 
else like it.”

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, from "The Brothers Karamazov"


February 15th, 2012

"In the silence of listening, you can know yourself 
in everyone, the unseen singing softly to itself and 
to you."

- Rachel Naomi Remen


February 16th, 2012

"I cannot persuade myself that without love to 
others, and without, as far as rests with me, 
peaceableness toward all, I can be called a 
worthy servant of Jesus Christ."

- Saint Basil


February 17th, 2012

"Truth crushed to earth will rise again. 
How long? Not long! Because no lie can live 
forever. How long? Not long! Truth forever 
on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne. 
Yet that scaffold sways the future and behind 
the dim unknown standeth God within the shadow, 
keeping watch over [God’s] own. How long? 
Not long! Because the arc of the mortal 
universe is long but it bends toward justice."

- Martin Luther King Jr.



Provided from the archives 
of the New York Times

On Feb. 11, 1945 - President Roosevelt, 
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill 
and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the 
Yalta Agreement during World War II.


On Feb. 16, 1923 - the burial chamber of 
King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb 
was unsealed in Egypt.


On Feb. 17, 1972 - President Nixon departed 
on his historic trip to China.



"Those who are in great fear are so intent
on their own passion that they pay no heed
to the sufferings of others."

- Thomas Aquinas

Fear is a great passion. It can take over
our souls. That is why Aquinas warns us that
to build our lives in fear is to banish
compassion. Our fear can swallow our care of
others. It ruins our lives and it ruins our
potential for making community, building
friendship and exercising love.

If fear is the opposite of love, it is also
the slayer of love and compassion. Beware of
fear. Develop a prayer life that stands up
to fear and keeps fear outside the door of 
our hearts.

- Matthew Fox in "Christian Mystics"


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