Saturday, August 3, 2013
Saturday, August 3, 2013
VATICAN CITY, August 5, 2013 - Twice a month the Vatican secretariat of state publishes modifications to the Annuario Pontificio for the current year. The booklet of last July 1 contains a curious piece of news on one of the most impenetrable countries of the globe, North Korea, which periodically makes international headlines with the threat of using nuclear weapons.
The news is that the Holy See is finally recognizing as vacant the diocesan see of Pyongyang, following the death of its bishop, Francis Borgia Hong Yong-ho, born on October 12, 1906, ordained a priest on May 25, 1933, appointed apostolic vicar by Pius XII on March 24, 1944, and consecrated the following June 29.
But the news is not that a prelate has died at the venerable age of more than 106, which would be a record, but the fact that the Annuario no longer includes the name of Hong, who for decades appeared as the ordinary of Pyongyang but with the specification that he was to be considered "missing."
Bishop Hong was, in fact, one of the 166 clerics who were killed or abducted in the course of the terrible persecutions that took place in North Korea at the end of the 1940's with the advent of the communist regime of Kim Il-sung.
Therefore, for more than sixty years nothing more was known about him, but the Holy See never forgot him. And it always kept his name in the official who's who.
Not only that. On March 10, 1962 John XXIII decided to elevate to the rank of diocese the apostolic vicariate of Pyongyang, and appointed as the first bishop precisely the "missing" Monsignor Hong.
The perseverance of the Holy See in keeping alive for decades the name of the "missing" bishop was - as explained years ago by the cardinal, now emeritus, of Seoul Nicholas Cheong Jinsuk - "a gesture of the Holy See to mark the drama that was and still is lived by the Church in Korea."
But the decision made this year to recognize the death of Hong does not mean that this "drama" of the Korean Church is considered closed. Its motivation is another. It is connected to the fact that the Korean bishops have asked the Vatican congregation for the causes of saints for the "nihil obstat" to open the cause of beatification of Hong and 80 of his martyr companions. And of course no one can be a candidate for the glory of the altars if he is not dead, officially as well.
While in South Korea the Catholic Church has seen in recent decades a substantial increase in baptisms and vocations, in the impenetrable communist North it is not known how many Catholics there are, priests cannot be present there on an ongoing basis, and there exists only one religious edifice controlled by the regime.
So nothing has changed with the death in 1994 of Kim Il-sung, whose unmissable "opera omnia" was published in Italy by Jaca Book - a publishing arm of Communion and Liberation - in the early 1970's. Nor with the death of his son, Kim Jong-il, in 2011. Nor with the arrival as leader of the country of the latter's son, Kim Jong-un.
As Cardinal Cheong recalls, "before 1949 in North Korea there were 55,000 Catholics. When the persecution was unleashed many of them fled, but many were killed. Today there are some who say that there are still a thousand Catholics, others say that there could be three thousand. But there is no way of knowing for sure."
All of the churches were destroyed as well. Except for when in 1988 "the Olympics were celebrated in South Korea, all of a sudden one was built in Pyongyang, from nothing. But this was not a miraculous event: it is easy to intuit that this was a move by the regime to try to demonstrate that also in the North there were Catholics free to profess their faith. Which obviously does not correspond to the reality."
This was, in fact, a "church" run by a self-proclaimed Catholic association led by a layman, Jang Jae-on, who until a short time ago was also the president of the North Korean Red Cross.
In recent decades the Holy See, although formally considering the see of Pyongyang as not vacant, has always appointed the archbishop of Seoul as its apostolic administrator. But he has never been able to visit it.
READ THE REST AT http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350571?eng=y
4:00 – Kresta Comments – Intolerant Muslim Writer Attempts to Intimidate University, Media, Activists to Get Ave Maria Radio’s Islam Debate / Symposium Cancelled – He Failed
4:20 – Public Witness, Public Faith: Deprivatizing Religion
Guest: Kathryn Jean Lopez
5:00 – Kresta Comments – Intolerant Muslim Writer Attempts to Intimidate University, Media, Activists to Get Ave Maria Radio’s Islam Debate / Symposium Cancelled – He Failed
5:20 – The Future of American Catholicism
Guest: Mark Brumley
So what’s on your “to-do” list today? Thinking about all the lists we make during our life-time was the thought process that led to “God’s Bucket List.” It is good to be organized. It is certainly not a bad idea to even establish a long term list of goals. What I have found however, in my own life and ...
Next week: Robert Spencer debating Muslim scholars on "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" at Michigan conference
The editor of Reza Aslan's Aslan Media, desperate as ever to silence the truth about Islam and jihad, has mounted the usual campaign of smears and defamation to get me canceled from this, but this time he has failed. This represents two defeats in a row for him, since I spoke at the conference in Sacramento, California from which he tried to get me canceled last weekend. And the Roman Catholic diocese of Sacramento, even after its bishop caved to this libelous campaign, had a booth at the conference -- obviously they were fine with my being there after all. That is, of course, as it should be: the idea that fighting for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and equality of rights for all people should be controversial at all shows how far the public discourse has degenerated.
Details on our conference appear below....
On Saturday, August 10, renowned experts on Islam from around the world come to MI discuss and debate the question, "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" The one-day symposium will be held in the Student Center at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI
Featured debaters will be Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org facing off against Shadid Lewis, regional director of the Muslim Debate Initiative in the US, on the question "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?"
Muslim columnist for the Turkish News Mustafa Akyol will debate Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center on "Can Islam Support Religious Liberty?"
The Eastern Michigan University Student Center is located at 900 Oakwood Street, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197. Registration for the symposium is $40, and includes a box lunch and free parking. Clergy and student rates are available.
Registration will begin at 8:00 a.m., and the conference will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with Mass following.
To register for the conference, click here or call 734.930.5201.
In this third post we will explore the dangers of reducing God to a cosmic force along with ways we can better gain a healthy perspective on prayer and enhance rather than diminish our progress in prayer (you can read the first post here and the second post here). It is fitting that I have completed my edits and made this final post ready on the eve of a very special day for me. It is the day on which I was received into the Church and a day that draws our hearts to the most holy disciple of Christ, our Blessed Mother, along with the most sublime instructors of prayer that God has given to the Church, the great Carmelite Doctors. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us and show us the way to Christ amidst the stormy seas of heresy and unbelief to our only true haven of rest in Christ.
The final and most dangerous aspect of modern popular teaching on prayer is depersonalization. The danger here lies in an essential denial of two central doctrines of Christianity: first, the Incarnation (Christ really did come in the flesh) and second, the distinction between Creator and creature (I am not God and he is not me).
The historical reality of the incarnation of Christ leads us to the critical understanding that God is person and we can commune with him as such. This is similar to saying, “My wife is a person, and I am a person, and therefore we can commune most fully as persons.” Now, if I were to treat my wife not as a person but as an ethereal cosmic being, communication would break down in short order.
We can envision two contrasting scenarios that illustrate this point.
1. In the non-person prayer orientation, the husband claims to love his wife and yet stares past her in a self-entranced muttering while she stands ignored. It doesn’t matter that he intends or wants to love her, or is open to loving her; his approach is self-centered rather than other-centered.
2. In a person-oriented understanding of prayer, the adoring husband kneels before his spouse and recites poetry rooted in an exalted language of love and adoration. As he offers his love, all his attention is focused on her. She receives his love, as it is clearly for her alone. This is true intimacy, even if only the beginning of a more complete intimacy of the marital embrace.
God is not a distant idea or cosmic force to be communed with in some dazed stupor or blank mind created by the misuse of a mantra-centered method. These distant, ephemeral and spiritual sounding descriptions of God and their related ideas are acid to the soul. They radically misrepresent who God is, how he has chosen to reveal himself to us, and what it means to be in a personal relationship with him.
If God is in any way depersonalized, then his incarnational essence and personhood can easily be morphed into some kind of cosmic force to be harnessed or absorbed into. Even worse, this can and does lead unsuspecting Catholics into the pseudo-faith of pantheism: “He is everything, and thus I am he.” In the end, the gurus of this false gospel seek to lead the naive practitioner to the center of their being where they then discover who they really are. The great triumph of this false prayer is the “realization” that we are God because there is no substantive distinction between us (they call this “non-dual thinking). Clearly, this idolatry will in no way lead us to heaven and is most definitely leading many down the broad path to spiritual destruction.
How Can I Protect Myself?
The key to avoiding these errors is to be aware of them but not to focus on them. Instead, we need to immerse ourselves in the truth. How? Begin with spiritual reading and meditation on the Catechism, and the Compendium of the Catechism, on the topic of prayer. These treatments are far from dry and, word for word, are the most valuable teachings on the topic in all of the Church aside from the words of Christ Himself. Second, we should immerse ourselves in the writings of the doctors of the Church, particularly those who have come to bear significant influence on how the Church understands what it means to commune with God (like Sts Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux). Modern writers like Fr. Thomas Dubay and Fr. Jacques Philippe provide fantastic resources on prayer that are faithful to this profound and rich Catholic tradition.
Read more: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2013/08/02/how-can-i-avoid-false-teachings-on-prayer-part-iii-of-iii#ixzz2aqQOvPi4
Duncan is morose, deeply depressed by the situation he finds himself in. Trent bullies him. He demands that Duncan rate himself between one and ten. Humiliated, Duncan finally mumbles “six.” “No, you’re a three,” says Trent. And that’s the remarkable opening scene as they drive to the beach....
In one of the revealing moments in the movie Duncan finds the dinner table festooned with dirty plates after the adults have stumbled to the beach, this after Trent had ordered the boy to remove his own plate since “that is what we do in this house.” Trent is not only a bully, he is a hypocrite, too. But this becomes painfully clear when Duncan sees Trent making out with one of the married neighbors and that tees up one of the more dramatic and confrontational moments in the movie.
One of the film’s writers says the movie came from his own experience growing up in a divorced family and that the opening humiliating scene was almost verbatim from his own experience. Clearly the makers want us to see the children as victims of their parents’ sad “happiness” and the easy divorce culture that remains so much a part of our fraying social fabric. All the fathers are gone away to some mystical place where fathers get younger wives, spoken of only sotto voce. The only men left are the philandering boy friend who is no kind of father, and the feckless husband who knows his wife is canoodling with the boy friend but who cannot muster himself to do anything about it. The women are weak or drunk or both. There is a man-child at a local water park who befriends the boy and even cares for him but even he is a nearly hopeless case.
How could these kids not be disgusted and damaged almost beyond repair?
We were told at the dawn of easy divorce that it would be good for families, children and society. We were told children would be better off bouncing between happily divorced parents rather than living with unhappy ones. The important thing for children was the happiness of their parents.
Almost immediately after the divorce culture set in, we discovered something quite different. Entire generations have been harmed.
One of the best books on this topic remains Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown, 2005) by Elizabeth Marquardt, which reported “the first national study in the United States of grown children of divorce.” Marquardt and her colleague Norval Glenn performed 1500 telephone interviews of young adults, half from divorced families, half from intact families, in addition to 70 face-to-face interviews.
The first thing to understand is that of the one in two marriages that now end in divorce, overwhelmingly most were from low-conflict marriages. These are not couples that spent their days fighting and throwing things. These are couples that have simply grown bored, feel they now lack communication, having mid-life crises.
It is likely they never knew what marriage was in the first place.
A trick was played on kids from these low-conflict divorces and that is the myth of the happy divorce, a notion that Marquardt easily dispels with her research.
Divorce in a low-conflict marriage comes as a total surprise to the children. Out of nowhere a child’s world is ripped apart. The child may spend years or even his whole life trying to figure this out. Trying to figure this out is a huge and profoundly unfair burden to place on small shoulders. It traumatizes for life....
Marquardt writes, “Most startling, two-thirds said their divorced parents seemed like polar opposites, compared to one-third of those with married parents, even though few said their divorced parents conflicted a lot.” Consider that these types of interior conflicts begin when children are 4 or 8 or 12.
Marquardt’s cites a book called The Good Divorce by Constance Ahrons who tells the story of two little girls—4 and 7—who spend half the week with mom and half with dad but when the switch is made the four-year-old “regresses” and begins sucking her thumb, clings to her mother and whines, while the seven-year-old starts “to let go even before she left.” She becomes more independent and “ornery.” And these poor troubled girls are presented as a success story.
It is likely these poor girls are suffering and will suffer their whole lives because their parents went through a bored patch in their marriage, maybe had a wandering eye, decided they would be happier without their spouse and because of no-fault divorce there was nothing to stop them or even to slow them down.
The result of all this mess is that children of divorce, including children of “happy divorce,” have much higher incidents of deeply harmful pathologies including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, an inability to form relationships, and much more.
This is the true face of happy divorce in America.
The odious homosexual agitator Dan Savage makes an excellent point, one we should pay attention to. We marriage proponents wag our fingers at the homosexual penchant for multiple sexual partners even within “committed relationships.” Savage admits homosexuals do this and is unrepentant. And he wonders how we can criticize homosexuals for not being Ozzie and Harriet when we are so far from it ourselves.
In the coming months and years if we lose the marriage debate, if marriage is redefined to include homosexual couples, we should know we lost it a long time ago. We lost it when we devalued marriage to such an extent that it became easily disposable and we irreparably harmed our children for our own convenience and “happiness.”