Chronology 1 — Religion Clarity Campaign

• [625-38 A.D]  The Roman Catholic Church Condemned Pope Honorius I as a Heretic and Excommunicated Him.  [after he had died.]  

The Roman Catholic Church Condemned Pope Honorius I as a
Heretic and Excommunicated Him

   Roman Catholicism . org <http://­www.­roman­catholicism.­org/honorius-heresy.htm>, Pope's reign was 625-38 A.D. (i.e., C.E.)
   Pope Honorius I (625-38) was posthumously condemned as a heretic and excommunicated from the Church by the ecumenical Council of III Constantinople (680-1). He promoted the heresy of the Monothelites, who taught that there is only one will in Christ; the orthodox doctrine is that Christ has separate wills in his human and divine natures.
   Honorius actively maintained the heresy in official papal letters written to Sergius I, patriarch of Constantinople in reply to a formal consultation and to several other individuals. He did this at a crucial time, when Sergius was backing off before the objections of St. Sophronius. Thus began a tragedy that would afflict the whole Church. The Monothelites were able to argue that all the teachers of the orthodox faith had confessed their doctrine, including Sergius of Constantinople and Honorius of Rome.
  [Picture caption:] The heretic, Pope Honorius I.    Copy this link: and then display it in a separate browser.  
   III Constantinople condemned Honorius in his official papal capacity as the bishop of Rome, not as a private theologian. The council specifically stated that Honorius had advanced heretical teachings, approved of them, and in a positive sense was responsible for disseminating them (and was not merely negligent, as some apologists still lie.) It condemned him by name as a heretic, anathematising him as such and excommunicating him.
   To give a brief summary from the Council’s acts, which are quoted more fully later where it is clear that Honorius is being spoken of:
“We find that these documents [including those of Honorius] are quite foreign to the apostolic dogmas, to the declarations of the holy Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers, and that they follow the false teachings of the heretics there shall be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what we found written by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines To Honorius, the heretic, anathema! [The devil] has actively employed them [including Honorius] we slew them [including Honorius] with anathema, as lapsed from the faith and as sinners, in the morning outside the camp of the tabernacle of God. &c.”
   In order to approve the decrees of the Council, Pope St. Leo II (681-3) wrote to the Emperor that he anathematised Honorius because he “endeavoured by profane treason to overthrow the immaculate faith of the Roman Church”, not because of mere negligence (as some also lie).
“Nec non et Honorium [anathematizamus], qui hanc apostolicam ecclesiam non apostoliæ traditionis doctrina lustravit, sed profana proditione immaculatam fidem subvertere conatus est.” (Mansi, Tom. XI. p. 731)
   The Council of Trullo (692) repeated the condemnation.
   Two succeeding ecumenical councils ratified the sentence, Council II Nicea (787) and IV Constantinople (869-70). Popes approved both.
   From the eighth to the eleventh century all new popes had to swear in their Papal Oath before assuming the office that they accepted that III Constantinople had authoritatively anathematised Honorius. This is found in the Liber Pontificalis and in the Liber Diurnus.
   The lessons in the Roman Breviary for the office of St. Leo II listed until the sixteenth century Honorius among those excommunicated by III Constantinople. [* * * AND the article continues at length.]

   [RECAPITULATION: the orthodox doctrine is that Christ has separate wills in his human and divine natures.   ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: Never heard of that in catechism class!  And most Christians would doubt that Jesus of Nazareth had a split personality.   COMMENT ENDS.]
[reigned 625-38 A.D.]
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• 700s-800s A.D. - Donation of Constantine.   


   Publisher: The Papacy; Authors unknown, ~ 700s-800s A.D.]
   A document fabricated in the 8th-9th cent. to strengthen the power of the Church and esp. of the see of Rome.  In it the Emp. Constantine purported to confer on Pope Sylvester I (314-315), primacy over Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, and dominion over all Italy; the Pope was also made supreme judge of the clergy and was offered the Imperial crown (which he refused).  Its authenticity was challenged and its falsity demonstrated in the 15th cent.
   – The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1977, Elizabeth A. Livingstone (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, ISBN 0-19-283014-7, p 158 b.
   [COMMENT: Notice Antioch city in the list.  Until after the 1960s the Roman Catholic Church in the Latin Rite used to have a religious feastday called "St Peter's Chair at Antioch."  It was a "Greater Double" feast, February 22 (The Missal in Latin and English, Being the text of the Missale Romanum with English rubrics and a new translation, 1949, J.O'Connell and H.P.R.Finberg (eds), Burns Oates and Washbourne, London, page 881). 
   AFTER the 2nd Vatican Council in the 1960s, the same DATE has been retained, but the words "at Antioch" removed, and a similar feast, "St Peter's Chair at (or in) Rome," (January 18) has been deleted!  That shows how important Antioch must have been in the minds of the Christian clerical leaders of the West centuries ago, though Antioch is in the East, from whence Christianity seems to have originated. COMMENT ENDS.]

VALLA, LORENZO (c. 1406-57), Italian humanist.  He proved the spuriousness of the 'Donation of Constantine' in a work which contained a bitter attack on the temporal power of the Papacy.  He also undertook a critical comparison between the Vulgate and the Greek NT.  ... His De Elegantiis Linguae Latinae (1442) long remained a standard work on humanist Latin. ...
   – Ibid, p 533 a.
PATRIMONY OF ST. PETER, The.  The estates belonging to the Church of Rome. Once an edict of Constantine in 321 had enabled the Church to hold permanent property, the patrimony came to include vast estates in Italy and lands in other countries.  As the further patrimonies were conquered, Popes concentrated on defending the region around Rome.  In 753 Stephen II appealed for protection to Pepin, King of the Franks.  By the Donations of 754 and 756 Pepin gave the Papacy territory in the exarchate of Ravenna, the Duchy of Rome, and elsewhere, and, renouncing the Byzantine authority, founded the Papal States independent of any temporal power.  See also States of the Church.
   – Ibid, pp 384-85.
STATES OF THE CHURCH.  Those parts of Italy and the territory of Avignon and Venaissin in France which formerly acknowledged the temporal sovereignty of the Papacy.  Some of these lands were also known as the 'Patrimony of St. Peter' (q.v.). ... In 1870 Rome itself was lost ... 1929 ... the 'Vatican City' a separate State.
   – Ibid, p 487 a.

   [RECAPITULATION: (Patrimony of St Peter entry) ... and, renouncing the Byzantine authority, founded the Papal States independent of any temporal power. ENDS.]
   [BACKGROUND: "Byzantine" rulers were the successors of Constantine the Great (who became sole emperor of both the Western and Eastern sections of the Roman Empire from 324).  Constantine around 312 had given the Church freedom and in 321 had allowed it to own property.
   But we find that a successor to the Bishop of Rome in the 700s connived with a Frankish king to found the Papal States, disloyally "renouncing the Byzantine authority" which at various times in history had ruled Italy and most other Roman Empire territories. ENDS.]
   [COMMENT: To cover over this traitorousness, some time in the 700s to 800s a forger or forgers prepared a false document that pretended that Constantine the Great had given the Bishop of Rome all of Italy, made him the head clergyman of the world, and head of a few of the most famous Christian cities!  AND had offered him the crown of the Empire!!!
   You know, the leading Western clergymen actually quoted this fake document for centuries, using it to get armies fighting and dying to protect the Pope's lands or to conquer lands for him.  Yes, for about 700 years until Lorenzo Valla in the 1400s exposed the fake, people actually believed that a warrior emperor in the 300s had agreed to hand the crown over to a clergyman!!! 
   Also, anyone who doubted that the Bishop of Rome was the ruler of all Christians could be referred to this forged document, which declared he was the supreme judge of all clergy.
   But then carefully re-read the first entry, "... primacy over Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem ..." and ask yourself why were these eastern cities named.  Answer:  Antioch had been an important Christian centre (St Peter had gone there, before he moved to Babylon) years before Rome's and Constantinople's Christian populations grew.  It's clear that the forgers in the 700s to 800s must still have believed that Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem still had claims to be of superior seniority (as Christian cities) and importance to Rome.  And Constantinople (modern name, Istanbul) had been the premier city of the Empire at the time of Constantine.
   So at the time of the forgery Rome was not the comfortable ruler of the whole loyal parts of the Christian flock that faithful little Roman Catholics are led to believe she was.
   To name these patriarchates, AND to insert a claim that the Roman bishop was the supreme judge of all the clergy, is surely proof of the insecurity of the Romish position when the forgery was made. COMMENT ENDS.]
   [SCRIPTURE: Jesus said, My kingdom is not of this world. – John's gospel 18:36. ENDS.]
   [NOTE: A brief notice "Donation of Constantine" is in date order of the publication of the Concise Dictionary, 1977. ENDS.]
[~ 700s-800s A.D.]

• 897 A.D.:  Cadaver Synod. Pope Formosus disentombed, put on trial, condemned ! 

Cadaver Synod

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia, , (This Wikipedia page was last modified on 30 May 2010 at 16:20; Sighted July 02, 2010)
   The Cadaver Synod of 897 A.D. (also called the Cadaver Trial or, in Latin, the Synodus Horrenda) is the name commonly given to the posthumous ecclesiastical trial of Catholic Pope Formosus, held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome during January of 897.[1] orig. 250x166px; Jean-Paul LAURENS, Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII (Pope Formosus and Stephen VII), 1870.
   Before the proceedings the body of Formosus was exhumed and, according to some sources, seated on a throne while his successor, Pope Stephen (VI) VII [2], read the charges against him (of which Formosus was found guilty) and conducted the trial. The Cadaver Synod is remembered as one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the medieval papacy.
Remote context
   The Cadaver Synod and related events took place during a period of political instability in Italy. This period, which lasted from the middle of the ninth century to the middle of the tenth century, was marked by a rapid succession of pontiffs. In the years surrounding the Cadaver Synod (872-965) there were 24 popes. Often, these brief papal reigns were the result of the political machinations of local Roman factions, about which few sources survive. [***]
The synod
   Probably around January 897, Stephen (VI) VII ordered that the corpse of his predecessor Formosus be removed from its tomb and brought to the papal court for judgement. With the corpse propped up on a throne, a deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff.
   Formosus was accused of transmigrating sees in violation of canon law, of perjury, and of serving as a bishop while actually a layman. Eventually, the corpse was found guilty.
   Liutprand and other sources say that Stephen had the corpse stripped of its papal vestments, cut off the three fingers of his right hand used for benedictions, and declared all of his acts and ordinations (including his ordination of Stephen (VI) VII as bishop of Anagni) invalid. The body was finally interred in a graveyard for foreigners, only to be dug up once again, tied to weights, and cast into the Tiber River.
   According to Liutprand's version of the story, Stephen (VI) VII said: "When you were bishop of Porto, why did you usurp the universal Roman See in such a spirit of ambition?" [16] [Formosus had become Cardinal Bishop of Portus (equivalent to spelling "Porto") in 864, according to the personal Wikipedia entry]
   The macabre spectacle turned public opinion in Rome against Stephen. Rumors circulated that Formosus' body, after washing up on the banks of the Tiber, had begun to perform miracles. A public uprising led to Stephen being deposed and imprisoned. While in prison, in July or August of 897, he was strangled.
   In December 897, Pope Theodore II (897) convened a synod that annulled the Cadaver Synod, rehabilitated Formosus, and ordered that his body, which had been recovered from the Tiber, be reburied in Saint Peter's Basilica in pontifical vestments. In 898, John IX (898-900) also nullified the Cadaver Synod, convening two synods (one in Rome, one in Ravenna) which confirmed the findings of Theodore II's synod, ordered the acta of the Cadaver Synod destroyed, and prohibited any future trial of a dead person.
   However, Pope Sergius III (904-911), who as bishop had taken part in the Cadaver Synod as a co-judge, overturned the rulings of Theodore II and John IX, reaffirming Formosus' conviction,[17] and had a laudatory epitaph inscribed on the tomb of Stephen (VI) VII. [***]
Further reading
  • Girolamo Arnaldi, "Papa Formoso e gli imperatori della casa di Spoleto," Annali della facoltà di lettere e filosofia di Napoli 1 (1951), discusses the political circumstances of the synod, and argues that Stephen (VI) VII may have convened it at the impetus of Guido IV.
  • Robert Browning's lengthy poem, The Ring and the Book, devotes 134 lines to the Cadaver Synod, in the chapter called The Pope.
  • Joseph Duhr, "La concile de Ravenne in 898: la réhabilitation du pape Formose," Recherches de science religieuse 22 (1932), pp. 541ff, discusses Ravenna council acta of 898, an important source and political circumstances; argues Lambert could not have been its architect
  • Ernst Ludwig Dümmler, Auxilius und Vulgarius (Leipzig, 1866), edits the works of two tenth-century Italian clerics who provide important evidence for the Synod, its circumstances and aftermath. Also includes an important historical discussion of the synod in his introduction.
  • Peter Llewellyn, Rome in the Dark Ages (London, 1970), narrates the history of Rome at the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth centuries. Llewellyn discusses both Formosus and the Cadaver Synod.
  • Démètre Pop, La défense du pape Formose (Paris, 1933), analyzes posthumous defense of Formosus put forth by Auxilius and Vulgarius
  • Donald E. Wilkes, Jr., The Cadaver Synod: The Strangest Trial in History (2001). #

  •    [PICTURE : French painter and sculptor Jean-Paul LAURENS (1838-1921), painting Le Pape Formose et Étienne VII ("Pope Formosus and Stephen VII"), 1870. (Picture from Wikepedia webpage.) ENDS.]
       [RECAPITULATION: Formosus was accused of transmigrating sees in violation of canon law, ... ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The Roman Catholic apologists talk about this accusation of Pope Formosus changing from one diocese to the Roman see as if the RC law at the time was something that could be changed.  And well they might – for hundreds of years the Roman bishop has been chosen from among other bishops, and so the chosen one "transmigrates" from his see to the Roman see.  So, there is no "unchanging doctrine" in the RCC.  And this charge was a disgrace to humanity and supposed Christians, as was the whole trial. ENDS.]
       [ALSO SEE: "Pope Formosus," (in Wikepedia), ; "Pope Formosus," (in New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, internet ed. Kevin Knight), cathen/ 06139b.htm ; "Pope Formosus," (in NNDB Tracking the Entire World), people/505/ 000095220 ; "The Strange Case of Pope Formosus," (in Catholic Answers), by O.S.Matthew thisrock/ 1998/9801 fea4.asp   ENDS.]
       [STEPHEN (VI) VII:  Why?  So confused were some periods that the very NUMBERING of the Popes has been altered by the Vatican, hearkening to some scholars. ENDS.]
       [FORMOSUS: In Latin, it means "beautiful," according to A New Latin-English, English-Latin School Dictionary, page 105 a, 1939 edition, complied by Millicent Inglis Thomas; Cassell and Company Ltd., London. ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Webmaster first read of this in mid-2010 in Catholica, a vigorous internet discussion website, . ENDS.] religion/religchron.htm#cadaver_synod_pope_formosus
    [897 A.D.]

    • 1084 A.D.: Final Fall of Babylon: Babylon fell and was sacked several times in history, but the final fall was in 1084 A.D.  The main Judaic schools of the Law, which had been teaching the Babylonian Talmud and issuing global judicial decisions, closed soon after this final fall. 
       Babylonian Rabbis had helped the Khazar (Chazar) leaders in their desire to convert their subjects to Judaism, according to some ancient writings.  This empire of Jewish converts occupied much of what we now call the Ukraine, Crimea, and southern Russia, and by authors like Arthur Koestler are said to be the ancestors of one of the main bodies of Jews, the Ashkenazim, in the centuries since.  They had resisted the Muslims for years, until the "Christian" Russians gradually bit by bit took their land, thus exposing themselves to Muslim raids, and later losing their own independence to fresh waves of invaders, the Mongols.
       Many people believe that because a certain bible text in the book of Revelation (Apocalypse) says "Babylon is fallen, is fallen," that the city fell before the time of Jesus of Nazareth.  These words had been written in prophetic style, but the misunderstanding has warped the historical judgement of most of those who parrot what they think they know of theology and related subjects. religion/religchron.htm#final_fall_of_babylon
    [1084 A.D.]

    • 1203 / 1204 A.D.: Constantinople seized by "Catholic Christian" Crusaders, who sacked the city and held it for a time.  It was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, whose religion was Orthodox Christian. [1203 / 04]
    • 1453 A.D.: Muslims seize Constantinople: The shining light of the Orthodox Christian faith fell to the Mohammedans on a Tuesday.  The leaders of the Catholic "Christians" had refused to help unless the Orthodox people apostacised to Roman Catholicism.  Muslim Turks renamed it Istanbul. [1453]
    • 1600: Executed for denying that the earth was central.  -- Giordano Bruno was burnt to death.

    Executed for denying that the earth was central

       Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake on the orders of Roman Catholic leaders in Italy on February 17, 1600.
       He had been found guilty of no longer believing (as seemingly shown in the Hebrew scripture book Joshua, 10:12-13) that the earth was the centre of the universe, around which the sun rotated.
       Bruno based this belief on the discoveries of Copernicus (Polish), Kepler (German), and Galileo (also Italian).
       Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) himself avoided execution by denying what he be­lieved.  It was not until 1991, decades after space travel from the 1950s onwards seems to have proved that these and other astronomers were right, that the Roman Catholic Church finally admitted publicly that it had been wrong to condemn Galileo.
       That's about 350 years of deliberate ignorance, foisted on the masses.  What a contrast to the quick rehabilitation of the (executed) warrior-girl Joan of Arc, in territories we now call France.
       ACKNOWLEDGEMENT for the Bruno execution and some Galileo details: A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith Is Dying & How a New Faith Is Being Born.  2002, Bishop John Shelby SPONG; HarperCollinsPublishers Australia; Sydney and Auckland; ISBN 0 7322 7460 5, pp 221-2.
    [1600 A.D.]

    • [1910: Limbo taught for centuries after the deviation.] 

    [Limbo taught for centuries after the deviation. 1910]

       New Advent, quoting The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910; www. newadvent. org/cathen/ 09256a. htm , article "Limbo," by Patrick Toner, 1910
       (Late Latin limbus) a word of Teutonic derivation, meaning literally "hem" or "border," as of a garment, or anything joined on (cf. Italian lembo or English limb).
       In theological usage the name is applied to (a) the temporary place or state of the souls of the just who, although purified from sin, were excluded from the beatific vision until Christ's triumphant ascension into Heaven (the "limbus patrum"); or (b) to the permanent place or state of those unbaptized children and others who, dying without grievous personal sin, are excluded from the beatific vision on account of original sin alone (the "limbus infantium" or "puerorum").
       In literary usage the name is sometimes applied in a wider and more general sense to any place or state of restraint, confinement, or exclusion, and is practically equivalent to "prison" (see, e.g., Milton, "Paradise Lost," III, 495; Butler, "Hudibras," part II, canto i, and other English classics). The not unnatural transition from the theological to the literary usage is exemplified in Shakespeare, "Henry VIII," act v, sc. 3. In this article we shall deal only with the theological meaning and connotation of the word.
    Limbus patrum
       Though it can hardly be claimed, on the evidence of extant literature, that a definite and consistent belief in the limbus patrum of Christian tradition was universal among the Jews, it cannot on the other hand be denied that, more especially in the extra-canonical writings of the second or first centuries B.C., some such belief finds repeated expression; and New Testament references to the subject remove all doubt as to the current Jewish belief in the time of Christ. Whatever name may be used in apocryphal Jewish literature to designate the abode of the departed just, the implication generally is    In the New Testament, Christ refers by various names and figures to the place or state which Catholic tradition has agreed to call the limbus patrum. In Matthew 8:11, it is spoken of under the figure of a banquet "with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of Heaven" (cf. Luke 8:29; 14:15), and in Matthew 25:10 under the figure of a marriage feast to which the prudent virgins are admitted, while in the parable of Lazarus and Dives it is called "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22) and in Christ's words to the penitent thief on Calvary the name paradise is used (Luke 23:43). St. Paul teaches (Ephesians 4:9) that before ascending into Heaven Christ "also descended first into the lower parts of the earth," and St. Peter still more explicitly teaches that "being put to death indeed, in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit," Christ went and "preached to those souls that were in prison, which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noah" (1 Peter 3:18-20).
       It is principally on the strength of these Scriptural texts, harmonized with the general doctrine of the Fall and Redemption of mankind, that Catholic tradition has defended the existence of the limbus patrum as a temporary state or place of happiness distinct from Purgatory. As a result of the Fall, Heaven was closed against men. Actual possession of the beatific vision was postponed, even for those already purified from sin, until the Redemption should have been historically completed by Christ's visible ascendancy into Heaven. Consequently, the just who had lived under the Old Dispensation, and who, either at death or after a course of purgatorial discipline, had attained the perfect holiness required for entrance into glory, were obliged to await the coming of the Incarnate Son of God and the full accomplishment of His visible earthly mission. Meanwhile they were "in prison," as St. Peter says; but, as Christ's own words to the penitent thief and in the parable of Lazarus clearly imply, their condition was one of happiness, notwithstanding the postponement of the higher bliss to which they looked forward. And this, substantially, is all that Catholic tradition teaches regarding the limbus patrum.
    Limbus infantium  [Part of the article "Limbo," in The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910; www. newadvent. org/cathen/ 09256a. htm , by Patrick Toner, 1910]
       The New Testament contains no definite statement of a positive kind regarding the lot of those who die in original sin without being burdened with grievous personal guilt. But, by insisting on the absolute necessity of being "born again of water and the Holy Ghost" (John 3:5) for entry into the kingdom of Heaven (see BAPTISM, subtitle Necessity of Baptism), Christ clearly enough implies that men are born into this world in a state of sin, and St. Paul's teaching to the same effect is quite explicit (Romans 5:12 sqq.). On the other hand, it is clear from Scripture and Catholic tradition that the means of regeneration provided for this life do not remain available after death, so that those dying unregenerate are eternally excluded from the supernatural happiness of the beatific vision (John 9:4, Luke 12:40, 16:19 sqq., 2 Corinthians 5:10; see also APOCATASTASIS). The question therefore arises as to what, in the absence of a clear positive revelation on the subject, we ought in conformity with Catholic principles to believe regarding the eternal lot of such persons. Now it may confidently be said that, as the result of centuries of speculation on the subject, we ought to believe that these souls enjoy and will eternally enjoy a state of perfect natural happiness; and this is what Catholics usually mean when they speak of the limbus infantium, the "children's limbo."
       The best way of justifying the above statement is to give a brief sketch of the history of Catholic opinion on the subject. We shall try to do so by selecting the particular and pertinent facts from the general history of Catholic speculation regarding the Fall and original sin, but it is only right to observe that a fairly full knowledge of this general history is required for a proper appreciation of these facts.
    Pre-Augustinian tradition 
       There is no evidence to prove that any Greek or Latin Father before St. Augustine ever taught that original sin of itself involved any severer penalty after death than exclusion from the beatific vision, and this, by the Greek Fathers at least, was always regarded as being strictly supernatural. Explicit references to the subject are rare, but for the Greek Fathers generally the statement of St. Gregory of Nazianzus may be taken as representative:
    It will happen, I believe . . . that those last mentioned [infants dying without baptism] will neither be admitted by the just judge to the glory of Heaven nor condemned to suffer punishment, since, though unsealed [by baptism], they are not wicked. . . . For from the fact that one does not merit punishment it does not follow that one is worthy of being honored, any more than it follows that one who is not worthy of a certain honor deserves on that account to be punished. [Orat., xl, 23]
    Thus, according to Gregory, for children dying without baptism, and excluded for want of the "seal" from the "honor" or gratuitous favor of seeing God face to face, an intermediate or neutral state is admissible, which, unlike that of the personally wicked, is free from positive punishment. And, for the West, Tertullian opposes infant baptism on the ground that infants are innocent, while St. Ambrose explains that original sin is rather an inclination to evil than guilt in the strict sense, and that it need occasion no fear at the day of judgement; and the Ambrosiaster teaches that the "second death," which means condemnation to the hell of torment of the damned, is not incurred by Adam's sin, but by our own. This was undoubtedly the general tradition before St. Augustine's time.
    Teaching of St. Augustine 
       In his earlier writings St. Augustine himself agrees with the common tradition. Thus in De libero arbitrio III, written several years before the Pelagian controversy, discussing the fate of unbaptized infants after death, he writes: "It is superfluous to inquire about the merits of one who has not any merits. For one need not hesitate to hold that life may be neutral as between good conduct and sin, and that as between reward and punishment there may be a neutral sentence of the judge." But even before the outbreak of the Pelagian controversy St. Augustine had already abandoned the lenient traditional view, and in the course of the controversy he himself condemned, and persuaded the Council of Carthage (418) to condemn, the substantially identical Pelagian teaching affirming the existence of "an intermediate place, or of any place anywhere at all (ullus alicubi locus), in which children who pass out of this life unbaptized live in happiness" (Denzinger 102). This means that St. Augustine and the African Fathers believed that unbaptized infants share in the common positive misery of the damned, and the very most that St. Augustine concedes is that their punishment is the mildest of all, so mild indeed that one may not say that for them non-existence would be preferable to existence in such a state (De peccat. meritis I, xxi; Contra Jul. V, 44; etc.). But this Augustinian teaching was an innovation in its day, and the history of subsequent Catholic speculation on this subject is taken up chiefly with the reaction which has ended in a return to the pre-Augustinian tradition.
    Post-Augustinian teaching 
       After enjoying several centuries of undisputed supremacy, St. Augustine's teaching on original sin was first successfully challenged by St. Anselm (d. 1109), who maintained that it was not concupiscence, but the privation of original justice, that constituted the essence of the inherited sin (De conceptu virginali). On the special question, however, of the punishment of original sin after death, St. Anselm was at one with St. Augustine in holding that unbaptized children share in the positive sufferings of the damned; and Abelard was the first to rebel against the severity of the Augustinian tradition on this point. According to him there was no guilt (culpa), but only punishment (poena), in the proper notion of original sin; and although this doctrine was rightly condemned by the Council of Soissons in 1140, his teaching, which rejected material torment (poena sensus) and retained only the pain of loss (poena damni) as the eternal punishment of original sin (Comm. in Rom.), was not only not condemned but was generally accepted and improved upon by the Scholastics. Peter Lombard, the Master of the Sentences, popularized it (Sent. II, xxxiii, 5), and it acquired a certain degree of official authority from the letter of Innocent III to the Archbishop of Arles, which soon found its way into the "Corpus Juris". Pope Innocent's teaching is to the effect that those dying with only original sin on their souls will suffer "no other pain, whether from material fire or from the worm of conscience, except the pain of being deprived forever of the vision of God" (Corp. Juris, Decret. l. III, tit. xlii, c. iii -- Majores). It should be noted, however, that this poena damni incurred for original sin implied, with Abelard and most of the early Scholastics, a certain degree of spiritual torment, and that St. Thomas was the first great teacher who broke away completely from the Augustinian tradition on this subject, and relying on the principle, derived through the Pseudo-Dionysius from the Greek Fathers, that human nature as such with all its powers and rights was unaffected by the Fall (quod naturalia manent integra), maintained, at least virtually, what the great majority of later Catholic theologians have expressly taught, that the limbus infantium is a place or state of perfect natural happiness.
       No reason can be given -- so argued the Angelic Doctor -- for exempting unbaptized children from the material torments of Hell (poena sensus) that does not hold good, even a fortiori, for exempting them also from internal spiritual suffering (poena damni in the subjective sense), since the latter in reality is the more grievous penalty, and is more opposed to the mitissima poena which St. Augustine was willing to admit (De Malo, V, art. iii). Hence he expressly denies that they suffer from any "interior affliction", in other words that they experience any pain of loss (nihil omnino dolebunt de carentia visionis divinae -- "In Sent.", II, 33, q. ii, a.2). At first ("In Sent.", loc. cit.), St. Thomas held this absence of subjective suffering to be compatible with a consciousness of objective loss or privation, the resignation of such souls to the ways of God's providence being so perfect that a knowledge of what they had lost through no fault of their own does not interfere with the full enjoyment of the natural goods they possess. Afterwards, however, he adopted the much simpler psychological explanation which denies that these souls have any knowledge of the supernatural destiny they have missed, this knowledge being itself supernatural, and as such not included in what is naturally due to the separated soul (De Malo loc. cit.). It should be added that in St. Thomas' view the limbus infantium is not a mere negative state of immunity from suffering and sorrow, but a state of positive happiness in which the soul is united to God by a knowledge and love of him proportionate to nature's capacity.
       The teaching of St. Thomas was received in the schools, almost without opposition, down to the Reformation period. The very few theologians who, with Gregory of Rimini, stood out for the severe Augustinian view, were commonly designated by the opprobrious name of tortores infantium. Some writers, like Savonarola (De triumbpho crucis, III, 9) and Catharinus (De statu parvulorum sine bapt. decedentium), added certain details to the current teaching -- for example that the souls of unbaptized children will be united to glorious bodies at the Resurrection, and that the renovated earth of which St. Peter speaks (2 Peter 3:13) will be their happy dwelling place for eternity. At the Reformation, Protestants generally, but more especially the Calvinists, in reviving Augustinian teaching, added to its original harshness, and the Jansenists followed on the same lines. This reacted in two ways on Catholic opinion, first by compelling attention to the historical situation, which the Scholastics had understood very imperfectly, and second by stimulating an all-round opposition to Augustinian severity regarding the effects of original sin; and the immediate result was to set up two Catholic parties, one of whom either rejected St. Thomas to follow the authority of St. Augustine or vainly try to reconcile the two, while the other remained faithful to the Greek Fathers and St. Thomas. The latter party, after a fairly prolonged struggle, has certainly the balance of success on its side.
       Besides the professed advocates of Augustinianism, the principal theologians who belonged to the first party were Bellarmine, Petavius, and Bossuet, and the chief ground of their opposition to the previously prevalent Scholastic view was that its acceptance seemed to compromise the very principle of the authority of tradition. As students of history, they felt bound to admit that, in excluding unbaptized children from any place or state even of natural happiness and condemning them to the fire of Hell, St. Augustine, the Council of Carthage, and later African Fathers, like Fulgentius (De fide ad Petrum, 27), intended to teach no mere private opinion, but a doctrine of Catholic Faith; nor could they be satisfied with what Scholastics, like St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, said in reply to this difficulty, namely that St. Augustine had simply been guilty of exaggeration ("respondit Bonaventura dicens quod Augustinus excessive loquitur de illis poenis, sicut frequenter faciunt sancti" -- Scots, In Sent., II, xxxiii, 2). Neither could they accept the explanation which even some modern theologians continue to repeat: that the Pelagian doctrine condemned by St. Augustine as a heresy (see e.g., De anima et ejus orig., II, 17) consisted in claiming supernatural, as opposed to natural, happiness for those dying in original sin (see Bellarmine, De amiss. gratiae, vi, 1; Petavius, De Deo, IX, xi; De Rubeis, De Peccat. Orig., xxx, lxxii). Moreover, there was the teaching of the Council of Florence, that "the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alone go down at once (mox) into Hell, to be punished, however, with widely different penalties."
       It is clear that Bellarmine found the situation embarrassing, being unwilling, as he was, to admit that St. Thomas and the Schoolmen generally were in conflict with what St. Augustine and other Fathers considered to be de fide, and what the Council of Florence seemed to have taught definitively. Hence he names Catharinus and some others as revivers of the Pelagian error, as though their teaching differed in substance from the general teaching of the School, and tries in a milder way to refute what he concedes to be the view of St. Thomas (op. cit., vi-vii). He himself adopts a view which is substantially that of Abelard mentioned above; but he is obliged to do violence to the text of St. Augustine and other Fathers in his attempt to explain them in conformity with this view, and to contradict the principle he elsewhere insists upon that "original sin does not destroy the natural but only the supernatural order." (op. cit., iv).
       Petavius, on the other hand, did not try to explain away the obvious meaning of St. Augustine and his followers, but, in conformity with that teaching, condemned unbaptized children to the sensible pains of Hell, maintaining also that this was a doctrine of the Council of Florence.
       Neither of these theologians, however, succeeded in winning a large following or in turning the current of Catholic opinion from the channel into which St. Thomas had directed it. Besides Natalis Alexander (De peccat. et virtut, I, i, 12), and Estius (In Sent., II, xxxv, 7), Bellarmine's chief supporter was Bossuet, who vainly tried to induce Innocent XII to condemn certain propositions which he extracted from a posthumous work of Cardinal Sfrondati and in which the lenient scholastic view is affirmed. Only professed Augustinians like Noris and Berti, or out-and-out Jansenists like the Bishop of Pistoia, whose famous diocesan synod furnished eighty-five propositions for condemnation by Pius VI (1794), supported the harsh teaching of Petavius. The twenty-sixth of these propositions repudiated "as a Pelagian fable the existence of the place (usually called the children's limbo) in which the souls of those dying in original sin are punished by the pain of loss without any pain of fire"; and this, taken to mean that by denying the pain of fire one thereby necessarily postulates a middle place or state, involving neither guilt nor penalty, between the Kingdom of God and eternal damnation, is condemned by the pope as being "false and rash and as slander of the Catholic schools" (Denz. 526).
       This condemnation was practically the death-knell of extreme Augustinianism, while the mitigate Augustinianism of Bellarmine and Bossuet had already been rejected by the bulk of Catholic theologians. Suarez, for example, ignoring Bellarmine's protest, continued to teach what Catharinus had taught -- that unbaptized children will not only enjoy perfect natural happiness, but that they will rise with immortal bodies at the last day and have the renovated earth for their happy abode (De vit. et penat., ix, sect. vi, n. 4); and, without insisting on such details, the great majority of Catholic theologians have continued to maintain the general doctrine that the children's limbo is a state of perfect natural happiness, just the same as it would have been if God had not established the present supernatural order. It is , on the other hand, that some Catholic theologians have stood out for some kind of compromise with Augustinianism, on the ground that nature itself was wounded and weakened, or, at least that certain natural rights (including the right to perfect felicity) were lost in consequence of the Fall. But these have granted for the most part that the children's limbo implies exemption, not only from the pain of sense, but from any positive spiritual anguish for the loss of the beatific vision; and not a few have been willing to admit a certain degree of natural happiness in limbo. What has been chiefly in dispute is whether this happiness is as perfect and complete as it would have been in the hypothetical state of pure nature, and this is what the majority of Catholic theologians have affirmed.
       As to the difficulties against this view which possessed such weight in the eyes of the eminent theologians we have mentioned, it is to be observed: About this page
    APA citation. Toner, P. (1910). Limbo. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www. newadvent. org/cathen/ 09256a.htm
    MLA citation. Toner, Patrick. "Limbo." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. http://www. newadvent. org/cathen/ 09256a.htm >.
    Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Simon Parent.
    Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
    Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is feedback732 at . (To help fight spam, this address might change occasionally.) Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback – especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.
    Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

       [RECAPITULATION: We must not confound St. Augustine's private authority with the infallible authority of the Catholic Church. ENDS.
       [COMMENT: Confound it, neither has proved infallible!  Much ado about -- nothing!  This article did not tell the faithful that there had been an original Jesus teaching that the children's angels see the face of Jesus' Father in Heaven (Matthew 18:10) and "for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16); and see Matthew 18:6 and Mark 9:37 and 42.
       Gentiles too: According to Romans 2:14-16, Gentiles (by definition not circumcised) will be accounted to have obeyed God's law if they obeyed the law written in their hearts. (discovered by Keith Massam, of Perth, Western Australia, on Nov 23, 2004)
       The so-called "Fathers," who quoted texts seemingly contradicting the above, evidently refused to see that if it says "a man" it does not mean a baby! 
       Baptism for the dead: But the text that really clinches it for anyone trying to avoid scribe-like pharisaistic legalism, and who is instead trying to follow the Good Shepherd, is in an epistle's discussion of the future resurrection of the dead:  "Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?" (1 Corinthians 15:29).  Unless you were a Latter Day Saint (Mormon) or other such sect, your pastor probably never read this out at church, and did not encourage the flock to obey the custom of being baptized for the dead!
       Why can't people grieving for their dead infants follow that scripture if they can't fully believe the gospel stories of the love of Jesus for children, and other texts that he desires that everyone be saved, and that by grace we are saved?
       Reversal: The teaching of God's lovingkindness was reversed (through such as St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St Augustine of Hippo and St Fulgentius, someone called Petavius, and the Council of Carthage, and perhaps the Council of Florence), and Churchmen taught that unbaptised children went to burn in hell forever.
       Centuries later, as mentioned above, the R.C. "theologians" softened it off to the Limbo compromise,  This is still the blind leading the blind.
       It took until around 2005 for the R.C. theologians to partly give up Limbo.  The worst feature was a newsitem saying it had never been doctrine, and had only been "a theory." 
       That untruth even brought a parish priest in Perth, Western Australia, to risk his future by saying it had been taught as doctrine, and he criticised the R.C. Church.
       The "infallible Church," sort of unofficially, says around 2005 that nobody knows for sure where the babies' souls are!  That is a true word!  (Reformed Christianity centuries ago had consigned the man-made doctrines of Limbo and also Purgatory to the dustbin of history.)  Sensible parents all along knew that their dead unbaptised babies were in the same place that Jesus is. COMMENT ENDS.]
    [Approved 1910]

    • 1934: [Limbo teaching in the Roman Catholic Church.] 
    Radio   REPLIES         FIRST SERIES

    [Limbo teaching in the Roman Catholic Church. 1934]

       Radio Replies, First Series, Australian Edition, also called "Dr. Rumble's Radio Replies in Defence of Religion -- Vol. 1", by Rev. Dr. Rumble, M.S.C., (on Radio Station 2SM, Sydney, NSW, Australia), publishers: Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Kensington, NSW, p 229, © 1934
    805. Then an unbaptised infant cannot attain Heaven?
       An unbaptised infant cannot attain Heaven. Christ has said very definitely, "Unless one be born again … he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Jn. III., 3. I am not more severe than Christ in my denial. He declares that the ordinary principle of life received by human generation is insufficient. We must receive an additional life of grace by baptismal rebirth. An unbaptised infant has received natural life only and had one birth only. If it dies without Baptism it has no claim to the supernatural happiness of Heaven.
    806. Is it not unjust that such a child should be lost through no fault of its own?
       Injustice is not involved in this question. When treating of original sin I explained how such a child lacks that supernatural grace which is not due to human nature, and without which no one can enter Heaven. Christ offers that supernatural grace to such of Adam's children as receive Baptism. It is His sheer goodness that He does so, and those who have been baptised have but to congratulate themselves. Unbaptised infants, who have never committed any personal sins, will never endure any actual and positive suffering. But they will be content with natural happiness only, and will not be able to complain that they do not possess the supernatural happiness of seeing God face to face, and being happy with His own supreme happiness. If I bestow a gift upon a beggar in the presence of another, that other cannot tell me that I am obliged in justice to give him a gift also. Since the fall of the human race, we are all beggars before God as regards supernatural happiness. I admit that it would be unjust if a child innocent of any personal sin had to suffer the miseries of Hell. But such is not Catholic doctrine, as I have explained.
    807. Do you suggest a special state for unbaptised infants?
       Yes. We call it the Limbo of unbaptised children. The word Limbo is derived from the Latin word Limbus, which means a bordering place. Limbo is an intermediate state of purely natural happiness. In that state unbaptised children will receive all the happiness proportionate to their natural capacity.
    808. Why does not the Catholic Church baptise by immersion?
       Such a method of Baptism, though valid, is not necessary. From the very beginning Baptism was administered both by immersion and by infusion or pouring water upon the forehead.
       (Volumes I and II were a selection of Radio Replies given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM, Sydney, by Dr Rumble. The frontispiece states there had been 50 printings in the U.S.A., 4,000,000 circulation. Copies were available from the Annals Office, Kensington, NSW.)
       (AUTHORISATION: Nihil Obstat: P.C.Cregan, D.D., Censor Deputatus; Imprimatur: + Michael, Archiep. Sydneyensis; Die 20, Dec. 1933.)  [To this website 27 July 06] [Adding to a reply of Dec 20, 05.] [1934]

    • 1938: Catechism [Australian].   


       Catholic Bishops of Australia, issued with episcopal authority on the occasion of the 4th plenary council, 1937. Publishers: Australian Catholic Truth Society. Question 170, Page 42, 1938
    170.   What happens to infants who die without Baptism?
              Infants who die without Baptism go to a place of happiness, but they will never see God in heaven.
    Catechism, Roman Catholic, 1938 Infants unbaptised never see God

       [NOTE: 1938 was the year of publication.  The ecclesiastical approval was given in the previous year. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Although the word "Limbo" is not used, that is the name that RCs gave (for centuries until around 2005) to the place or state where the souls of unbaptised people supposedly went after death, if they had not committed mortal sins. ENDS.]
    [To this website 14 Oct 2008] [1938]

    • 1950, in 1992 book: [Irish bishops said free mother and child care sinful.]    See below for the evidence.
    • 1951 / 54: Limbo of Children; What happens after death?  (orig 1951), 1954    
    · XXXVI ·
    What Happens After Death? (2)

    Limbo of children

       This is the Faith, 1954, by the Rev. Father Francis J. Ripley (priest of the Catholic Missionary Society), published by Catechetical Guild Educational Society, St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.; part of chapter XXXVI "What Happens After Death," pp 359-60, (approved in England 1951), 1954
       Turning now to the lot of those who die in original sin without being burdened by serious personal guilt, we can find no definite statement of a positive kind in the New Testament.  Still, remembering our instruction on the necessity of Baptism, we are forced to the conclusion that those who die without it, yet not having grievous personal sin on their souls, while not meriting eternal damnation, are excluded from eternal bliss in heaven.  Throughout the centuries there has been much speculation as to the fate of these souls, but all now agree that they will enjoy a state of natural happiness forever. [...]
       Of course, there is no question of injustice in regard to Limbo.  Grace is, by definition, something which is not due to us – a free gift, which God gives to whom He wills. ...
    Nihil Obstat:
    Liverpolii die 25a Januarii 1951

       P. 211: The law of the Western Church now states ... pour the water three times ... in the name of the Father ... Son ... Holy Ghost.  It is true that for twelve centuries immersion was the common practice in the Catholic Church.
       P. 214: (teachings that the unbaptised babies go to Limbo) Council of Trent ... St. Augustine ... St. Ambrose.
       P. 215: ... adults who die without even hearing of Christ ... are saved ... if they die in perfect charity or are perfectly contrite for their sins.  Children who die without Baptism are deprived of the direct vision of God in heaven ...St Thomas Aquinas says of them:  "They are free from pain and sorrow, and even enjoy a certain inward peace and happiness ..."
       P. 366: ... infants ... the unbaptized will realise the justice of their eternal loss of the beatific vision. ENDS.]
       [ARGUMENT AGAINST: Jesus said of children "of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16).   But then, He did not have a degree in theology, did He? ENDS.]
       [IN WHOSE NAME?  Matthew 28:19 says disciples are to be baptised in the name (singular) of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (three).  However, The Acts of the Apostles in two places says to baptise in the (single) name of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:41, and 10:47).  So, isn't it fair to ask, in the three-name formula, is the singular form of the word "name" retained as a relic of the original formula which had a single name? ENDS.]
       [CHANGING CHURCH or CHANGELESS CREED?  In spite of the book itself showing that the teachings had changed (for example, on p 211, immersion changed to pouring), on page 416 a quote from John L. Stoddard in "Rebuilding a Lost Faith" includes this sentence:  "When I reflect upon that Church's long, unbroken continuity, ... her changeless creed ... I feel that this One, Holy, Apostolic Church has given me certainty for doubt, order for confusion, sunlight for darkness and substance for shadow."  If only! ENDS.]
       [LIMBO ABANDONED ~ 2005!  Around December 8, 2005 or earlier newsitems began emanating from Vatican sources that theologians were abandoning the Limbo teaching, and had the temerity to state it was not a doctrine, only a "theory."  It would seem that these learned men were practising that other teaching, "mental reservation," which elements of the Church have been talking about for 700 years but, presumably, is only a theory still! ENDS.]
    [(approved 1951) 1954]

    • 1977: Donation of Constantine.   


       The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Elizabeth A. Livingstone (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, ISBN 0-19-283014-7, p 158, 1977.
       A forgery fabricated in the 8th-9th centuries purporting to be a document by which Constantine the Great donated all Italy to Pope Sylvester I (314-315), etc., etc.  Falsity demonstrated in the 15th century by Lorenzo Valla.
       [MAIN ENTRY: Check fuller entry listed above at 700s-800s A.D. ENDS.] [p 158; 1977]
    • 1977: Mental reservation.  [Seemingly Roman Catholic Church teaching.]
       The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Elizabeth A. Livingstone (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, ISBN 0-19-283014-7, pp 332-33, 1977.


       The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1977, Elizabeth A. Livingstone (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, pp 332-33.
       The conflict which may arise between the duty of telling the truth and that of keeping a secret has led to the development of the doctrine of mental reservation.  RC moral theologians distinguish between 'strict' and 'wide' mental reservation.  In the former a qualification is added mentally which alters the statement pronounced, so that the hearer is necessarily deceived;  it is justifiable when the person putting the question has no right to the truth or where a professional secret is involved.  In the 'wide mental reservation' words are used which are susceptible of more than one interpretation, without the speaker's giving an indication of the sense in which he uses them. #

       [DISCUSSED in THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: This must be understood of all mental restrictions which are lawful.  The virtue of truth requires that, unless there is some special reason to the contrary, one who speaks to another should speak frankly and openly, in such a way that he will be understood by the person addressed.  It is not lawful to use mental reservations without good reason. -- www.newadvent. org/cathen/ 09469a.htm . ENDS.]
       [CITED in a court case about clergy child sex abuse (doctrine 700 years old): "Lawyers grapple with Catholic doctrine," Los Angeles Times, <www.latimes.­com/news/print­edition/­california/­la-me-priest 26mar26,1,­2982832.story?­coll=la-­headlines-­pe-california>; By John Spano, Times Staff Writer, March 26, 2007.
       "Clergy sex abuse: Lawyers face truth avoidance that shields church," Santa Fe New Mexican, <www.santafe­newmexican.­com/news/­59298.html>, by John Spano | Los Angeles Times. March 28, 2007
       "Doctrine licence to lie: abuse lawyers; Catholic clergy accused of hiding behind ancient principle to protect Church members in child sex cases. The West Australian, p 39, Thursday, March 29, 2007. ENDS.]
       [DENIAL reported (x3) in LA Observed, Catholic League, and News Busters, April 02, 2007. ENDS.]
    [(To webpage 09 Aug 08) pp 332-33; 1977]

    • 1982: [Modern Bible changes put aside 99%, accept a handful of manuscripts.]

    Which Bible Can we Trust, Les GARRETT 20.8kb
       Which Bible can we Trust? 1982, Les Garrett (compiler), Christian Centre Press, Gosnells (Western Australia), pp 148-151, March 1982.
       PERTH (W. Australia): Modern Bible revisers rely mainly on a handful out of more than 1000 manuscripts, which differ; there are 10 different correctors of the Codex Sinaiticus.
       In enumerating and describing the five ancient Codices now in existence, Dean Burgon remarks that four of these, and especially the Vatican and Sinaitic Mss. "have, within the last twenty years, established a tyrannical ascendancy over the imagination of the critics which can only be fitly spoken of as blind superstition."
       Those ancient Codices have indeed been blindly followed, notwithstanding that they differ "not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant Mss. besides, but even from one another. This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. As said of the two false witnesses that came to testify against Christ, so it may be said of these witnesses who are brought forward at this late day to testify against the Received Text, "But neither so did their witness agree together."

    148                               WHICH BIBLE CAN WE TRUST
    * * *
       The principle which the modern editors have adopted, namely, that of following the oldest manuscripts in settling all questions of doubtful or disputed readings, throws us back upon the two Codices (Vaticanus and Sinaitic) which, though not dated, are regarded by all competent antiquarians as belonging to the fourth century; and its practical effect is to make those two solitary survivors of the first four Christian centuries the final authorities, where they agree (which is not always the case), upon all questions of the true Text of Scripture.
       Therefore it behoves us to inquire with the utmost care into the character of these two ancient witnesses, and to acquaint ourselves with all available facts whereby their trustworthiness may be tested. And this inquiry is necessary, regardless of what may be our opinion concerning the principle of "ancient evidence only," which we propose to examine later on. For what now confronts us is the fact that those two fourth century Codices have had the deciding voice in the settling of the Greek Text of the R.V. and are responsible for practically all the departures from the Received Text to which serious objection has been made. Thus, Canon Cook in his authoritative work on "The Revised Version of the First Three Gospels" says:
       "The two oldest Mss. are responsible for nearly all the readings which we have brought under consideration - readings which, when we look at them individually, and still more when we regard them collectively, inflict most grievous damage upon our Lord's words and works."
       And again:
       "By far the greatest number in innovations, including those which give the severest shocks to our minds, are adopted on the testimony of two manuscripts, or even of one manuscript, against the distinct testimony of all other manuscripts, uncial and cursive …. The Vatican Codex, sometimes alone, but generally in accord with the Sinaitic, is responsible for nine-tenths of the most striking innovations in the R.V."
       Dean Burgon, whom we shall have occasion to quote largely because of his mastery of the entire subject, after having spent five and a half
    years "laboriously collating the five old uncials throughout the Gospels," declared at the completion of his prodigious task that -
       "So manifest are the disfigurements jointly and exclusively exhibited by the two codices (Vatican and Sinaitic) that, instead of accepting them as two independent witnesses to the inspired original, we are constrained to regard them as little more than a single reproduction of one and the same scandalously corrupt and comparatively late copy."
    The Many Corrections of the Sinaitic Ms.
       Turning our attention first to the Codex Sinaiticus, we would lay stress upon a matter which, in our judgment, has a decisive bearing upon the all-important question of the trustworthiness of that ancient manuscript. And we are the more urgent to impress this particular matter upon the consideration of our readers because - notwithstanding its controlling importance - it has been practically ignored in such discussions of the subject as have come under our eye.
       What we now refer to is the fact that, since this document was first inscribed, it has been made the subject of no less than ten different attempts of revision and correction. The number of these attempts is witnessed by the different chirographies of the revisers, and the centuries in which they were respectively made can be approximated by the character of the different hand-writings by which the several sets of corrections were carried out.
       Dr. Scrivener published (in 1864) "A Full Collation of the Codex Sinaiticus," with an explanatory introduction in which he states, among other facts of interest, that "the Codex is covered with such alterations" -i.e., alterations of an obviously correctional character - "brought in by at least ten different revisers, some of them systematically spread over every page, others occasional, or limited to separate portions of the Ms., many of these being contemporaneous with the first writer, but for the greater part belonging to the sixth or seventh century."
       We are sure that every intelligent reader will perceive, and with little effort, the immense significance of this feature of the Sinaitic Codex. Here is a document which the Revisers have esteemed (and that solely because of its antiquity) to be so pure that it should be taken as a standard whereby all other copies of the Scriptures are to be tested and corrected. Such is the estimate of certain scholars of the 19th century. But it bears upon its face the proof that those in whose possession it had been, from the very first, and for some hundreds of years thereafter, esteemed it to be so impure as to require correction in every part.
       Considering the great value to its owner of such a manuscript (it is on vellum of the finest quality) and that he would be most reluctant to consent to alterations in it except the need was clearly apparent, it is plain that this much admired Codex bears upon its face the most incontestable proof of its corrupt and defective character.
    150                               WHICH BIBLE CAN WE TRUST
       But more than that, Dr. Scrivener tells us that the evident purpose of the thorough-going revision which he places in the 6th or 7th century was to make the Ms. conform to manuscripts in vogue at that time which were ''far nearer to our modern Textus Receptus."
       The evidential value of these numerous attempts at correcting the Sinaitic Codex and of the plainly discernible purpose of the most important of those attempts is such that, by all the sound rules and principles of evidence, this "ancient witness," so far from tending to raise doubts as to the trustworthiness and textual purity of the Received Text, should be regarded as affording strong confirmation thereof.
       From these facts, therefore, we deduce: first that the impurity of the Codex Sinaiticus, in every part of it, was fully recognized by those best acquainted with it, and that from the very beginning until the time when it was finally cast aside as worthless for any practical purpose; and second that the Text recognized in those days as the standard Text, and by which the defective Codex now so highly rated by scholars was one that agreed with our Textus Receptus.
       It is most surprising that facts which affect so profoundly the evidential value of the Codex Sinaiticus, facts which indeed change it from a hostile to a friendly witness (as regards the Received Text) should have been so completely disregarded.
    The Work of an Incompetent Scribe
       There are other characteristics of this old Ms. which have to be taken into consideration if a correct estimate of its evidential value is to be reached. Thus, there are internal evidences that lead to the conclusion that it was the work of a scribe who was singularly careless, or incompetent, or both. In this Ms. the arrangement of the lines is peculiar, there being four columns on each page, each line containing about twelve letters - all capitals run together. There is no attempt to end a word at the end of a line, for even words having only two letters as en, ek, are split in the middle, the last letter being carried over to the beginning of the next line, though there was ample room for it on the line preceding. This and other peculiarities give us an idea of the character and competence of the scribe.
       But more than that, Dr. Scrivener says: "This manuscript must have been derived from one in which the lines were similarly divided, since the writer occasionally omits just the number of letters which would suffice to fill a line, and that to the utter ruin of the sense; as if his eye had heedlessly wandered to the line immediately below." Dr. Scrivener cites instances "where complete lines are omitted," and others "where the copyist passed in the middle of a line to the corresponding portion of the line below."
       From this it is evident that the work of copying was done by a scribe who was both heedless and incompetent. A careful copyist would not have made the above and other mistakes so frequently; and only the most incompetent would have failed to notice, upon reading over the
    page, and to correct omissions which utterly destroyed the sense.
       Dr. Scrivener's judgment on this feature of the case is entitled to the utmost confidence, not only because of his great ability as a textual critic, but because, being impressed, as all antiquarians were, with the importance of Tischendorf s discovery, it was solely from a sheer sense of duty and honesty, and with manifest reluctance, that he brought himself to point out the defects of the manuscript. Therefore, the following admission made by him carries much weight:
       "It must be confessed indeed that the Codex Sinaiticus abounds with similar errors of the eye and pen, to an extent not unparalleled, but happily rather unusual in documents of first rate importance; so that Tregelles has freely pronounced that 'the state of the text, as proceeding from the first scribe, may be regarded as very rough.' "
       Speaking of the character of the two oldest Mss. Dean Burgon says:
       "The impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question of opinion but of fact …. In the Gospels alone Codex B (Vatican) leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times. It bears traces of careless transcription on every page. Codex Sinaiticus 'abounds with errors of the eye and pen to an extent not indeed unparalleled, but happily rather unusual in documents of first-rate importance.' On many occasions 10, 20, 30, 40 words are dropped through very carelessness. Letters and words, even whole sentences, are frequently written twice over, or begun and immediately cancelled; while that gross blunder, whereby a clause is omitted because it happens to end in the same words as the clause preceding, occurs no less than 115 times in the New Testament."
       In enumerating and describing the five ancient Codices now in existence, Dean Burgon remarks that four of these, and especially the Vatican and Sinaitic Mss. "have, within the last twenty years, established a tyrannical ascendancy over the imagination of the critics which can only be fitly spoken of as blind superstition."
       Those ancient Codices have indeed been blindly followed, notwithstanding that they differ "not only from ninety-nine out of a hundred of the whole body of extant Mss. besides, but even from one another. This last circumstance, obviously fatal to their corporate pretensions, is unaccountably overlooked. As said of the two false witnesses that came to testify against Christ, so it may be said of these witnesses who are brought forward at this late day to testify against the Received Text, "But neither so did their witness agree together."
    * * *
       [COMMENT: Well, many Christians have been and are being told that the body of believers, and the holy books, are under the inspiration of God. If so, and if the argument of this writer is correct, how did it happen that "Codex Sinaiticus abounds with similar errors of the eye and pen"? Why didn't God either prevent this, or incite his followers to correct, or destroy, such an error-filled copy? Should Church leaders be so cocksure of doctrine, when our forefathers could not even keep the scriptures straight?
       Notice there was no question mark after the page main title headings "WHICH BIBLE CAN WE TRUST" That's the way the book came out. Except for the front cover, that's the way the book's name appeared throughout.
    Compiler: Pastor Les Garrett, Christian Family Centre, Perth, Western Australia; Publisher: Christian Centre Press, PO Box 77, Gosnells, W.A., 6110; Foreword: David Otis Fuller, DD, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; Introduction: Pastor Frank Hultgren, Shiloh Faith Centre, Perth, W.A. Publication date March 1982. - jcm 07 and 24 Jan 05. COMMENT ENDS.] [March, 1982]

    • 1985: Women Devil's Gateway, and, The Most Shameful Activity.
       Some time after the balanced views of the original Apostles were no longer available, adherents of the new religion soon developed an obsessional horror of sex, a desperate fear of the body, and a bitter intense hatred of womenkind. - based largely on The late great book, the Bible, Nicholas Carter, 1985, Truth Missions, (PO Box 3849), Manhattan Beach (California 90266 USA), pp 11-12. (to this website 26 Jul 03) [Book published 1985]

    • 1988 ©; JONES, E. Michael;   Medjugorje: The Untold Story  

       Has Mary, the mother of Jesus, been appearing to six Yugoslav teenagers ever since 1981? (see page 101)  Do you believe that everyone in Heaven will be wearing clothes of grey, pink, and yellow?   Well, that is what one of the "seers," Vicka, said in a filmed interview (page 7). Medjugorje: The Untold Story. E. Michael JONES
       Do you think that every good Christian should fast two days every week on bread and water? (p 14)  And pray for four hours every day? (pp 13-14)  This book, by American journalist E. Michael Jones, is full of surprises about the supposed apparitions of Mary since 1981 at Medjugorje in Croatia-Herzegovina, which was part of Yugoslavia until that country broke up.
       Hundreds of thousands of Roman Catholics, and a few others, visit this area every year, in spite of the strangeness of the supposed statements of Mary, whom the youngsters call "Gospa."  By the time Mr Jones went investigating around 1988, so much fabrication, fanaticism, and disobedience to Roman Catholic Church leaders had occurred that sensible Church leaders would have banned the devotion.
       Some of the important actors include the U.S. R.C. teacher Mr Denis Nolan (p 49), R.C. charismatic-movement Franciscan priests Frs Jozo Zovko and Tomislav Vlasic (p 60), and a Lutheran enthusiast Wayne Weible (p 34).
       One of the "seers" did not know what the Annunciation was (pp 9-11), and another mixed up the apostle Judas with Thomas, and a priest altered the written report later.
       Rosary beads were being turned into gold, a tour leader said, showing one (p 30), and a medal had been miraculously attached at the beginning of "the eighth decade," a pilgrim said (pp 30-31).  But, there are only five decades in a rosary beads.  The "miracle of the sun" was being repeated in a U.S. classroom (pp 71-72).
       The "appearances" which started in the open air, were going to end in the village church on 3rd July, 1981 (p 115), but they have been going on ever since, the R.C. world is told.  According to then-teacher Denis Nolan, "Our Blessed Mother's real birthday was on August 5 and not September 8 as fixed by the Church." (p 64)
       Healings are alleged, but are disproved (pp 31-33).  Manda (Sister Rufina, a Franciscan nun) appealed for support for her and a priest's son, Toni (Tony) (born January 25, 1977; see page 87).  This birth was some years before that priest, Fr Tomislav Vlasic (pp 83-88), arrived at Medjugorje.  Another nun got pregnant, allegedly to Franciscan Father Ivica Vego (p 28), who had been manipulating the "messages" (p 95).  And one of the "seers," Marija Pavolic, recanted one of her statements on July 11, 1988 (pp 139-40).
       Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later to become Pope Benedict XVI), prefect of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, had been indecisive (pp 77-80).  Archbishop Frane Franic of Split tried to override the bishop supposedly in charge of the area (p 78).   Catholic editors can get a free trip to Medjugorje if they sign up 15 pilgrims (p 5).  But, is it only a teenage prank that became a world-wide religious phenomenon? (p 122)
       None of the contradictions, the two pregnancies, the disobedient suspended priests administering the sacraments, the expulsions from the Franciscan Order, the condemnation of the Mosta Bishop Pavao Zanic, and two inquiries by the Yugoslav hierarchy, has stopped the tourist-pilgrims coming.  Neither has the publication of this book and other exposés of this big hoax.
       (Review written July 24-27, 2010, expanded August 5, 2010.)
       DETAILS: Fidelity Press, (© 1988) 1989 updated second printing, 206 Marquette Avenue, South Bend, Indiana 46617, United States of America; Printed in the U.S.A. by the Saint Martin de Porres Dominican Community.  ISBN 0-929891-00-7; Dewey shelf number 232.917, 146 + xxii pages, paperback, 10·5 x 18 x 1·2 centimetres (4 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 1/2 inch), contents, index, foreword by Fr Robert J. Fox (Director, Fatima Family Apostolate, Alexandria, South Dakota), preface, sources cited as they are referred to, index. US $6.95 (AUD $4.95 second-hand from Warwick Book Exchange, Perth, Western Australia ~ 2010).
       [AUTHOR was Mr E. Michael Jones, editor of Fidelity Magazine, South Bend, Indiana, USA. ENDS.]
       [ON INTERNET: this book on Amazon Books.
       "The Marian Catholic Apostasy," by David Hughes, AND
       "The Truth About Medjugorje," by Msgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar.  Bishop Pavao Zanic presided over the Diocese of Mostar, from 1971-1993.  He exercised full ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the parish of Medjugorje, which is located in the region of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  He published the article in 1990.  Read these articles at: . ENDS.]
       [STILL WAVERING: The Vatican, in spite of various articles and books such as this, plus the opposition of the RC Mostar diocesan bishop, and negative reports from the other bishops, seems to be STILL hoping against hope in 2010.  Read "Medjugorje seers to reveal 'secrets' to Vatican: report," The Record, p 16, Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at: religion/ religchron4. htm#medjugorje_ seers_to .  How sad!  ENDS.]
    [© 1988]

    • 1992 re 1950: [Irish bishops said free mother and child care sinful.]  - RCC. Ireland, Republic of / Eire, flag;  

    [Irish bishops said free mother and child care sinful.]

       The Growth Illusion; How economic growth has enriched the few, impoverished the many, and endangered the planet, by Richard Douthwaite, pp 269-270, published 1992.
       [~ 1948-50] When [Noël] Browne pointed out that only 10 per cent of children got any secondary education and that there were only thirty-five free scholarships to university, de Valera defended the system and denied that it needed to be improved.
       Similarly, when Browne proposed a mother-and-child health service in 1950 that would have given all children free health care until they were sixteen and looked after mothers before, during and after childbirth, he was called before the archbishop and read a letter the bishops had sent to the Taoiseach that attacked his proposals on several grounds.
       Among the objections were that the scheme infringed the rights of the family and the individual to provide their own health care; that only the church was competent to give instruction about sexual relations, chastity, and marriage, and that if the state got involved, 'doctors trained in institutions in which we no confidence … may give gynaecological care not in accordance with Catholic principles,' leading to the introduction of abortion and contraception.
       When Browne tried to put his case, the Bishop of Galway told him it was unfair to tax the rest of the community to give the poor a free health service, a view most of the hierarchy held.  Browne was later described from the pulpit of the church in the village where he spent his weekends as one of those who 'come amongst us disguised as friends when meanwhile their real [objective] is to poison the wells and so kill off our stock,' while the Bishop of Galway preached that the health scheme advocated euthanasia for the unfit and aged, and that Browne's beliefs came from Nazi Germany.
       A Dominican magazine said it was a mortal sin to introduce a mother-and-child health that was not means-tested; communist countries had a free health service, it carefully pointed out.  All this was too much for the government members would never have dreamed of going against the church anyway.  The mother-and-child scheme was dead and Browne's party forced him to resign as minister.
       Browne did, however, manage to get an amazing number of things done during his three years in office, showing just how much more a self-reliant Ireland could have accomplished had it had the vision.
       [DETAILS: Publisher: Green Books, Bideford and Dublin; 1992; ISBN 0 870098 41 2; Dewey shelf number 338.9] [1992]

    • 1993: When Women Were Priests: Women's Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity.

    When Women Were Priests:
    Women's Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity

       Sunshine for Women,­sunshine/main.html , sunshine § pinn net, Book,­~sunshine/­book-sum/­wmnprst.html , by Karen Jo Torjesen, Publisher: Harper San Franscisco, 1993
       1) The Catholic Church knows that it is lying when it says women were not priests in the early church: "Giorgio Otranto, an Italian professor of church history, has shown through papal letters and inscriptions that women participated in the Catholic priesthood for the first thousand years of the church's history." page 2
       2) "He [Jesus] addressed women as equals, gave honor and recognition to children, championed the poor and the outcast, ate and mingled with people across all class and gender lines, and with bold rhetoric attacked the social bonds that held together the patriarchal family. When Jesus gathered disciples around him to carry his message to the world, women were prominent in the group. Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, and Mary his mother are women whose names survived the retelling of the Christian story in the language and literary conventions of Roman patriarchal society. Paul's letters reflect an early Christian world in which women were well-known evangelists, apostles, leaders of congregations, and bearers of prophetic authority." page 4
       3) "If prophets, speaking under the influence of the Spirit, asked for food or money for themselves, then the community would know that they were not true prophets. (What would happen if televangelists today were evaluated as authentic Christians in this way?)" page 25
       4) "Yet up until the mid-third century, only occasional sparks were generated by this clash between the social strictures on women's roles and the freedom women found in Christianity. For more than two hundred years Christianity was essentially a religion of the private sphere, practiced in the private space of the household rather than the public sphere of a temple. Its concerns were the domestic life of its community rather than the political life of the city.
       But during the third century Christianity began evolving toward its eventual form as a public religion. The burgeoning numbers of adherents and the new formality and dignity of the Christian liturgies meant that Christian participation was increasingly a public event. By the fourth century Christians were worshiping [sic] in their own public temples, called basilicas. During this period the friction between the social conventions about women's place and women's actual long-standing roles as house church leaders, prophets, evangelists, and even bishops precipitated virulent controversies.
       As Christianity entered the public sphere, male leaders began to demand the same subjugation of women in the churches as prevailed in Greco-Roman society at large. Their detractors reproached women leaders, often in strident rhetoric, for operating outside the domestic sphere and thus violating their nature and society's vital moral codes. How could they remain virtuous women, the critics demanded, while being active in public life?" pages 37-38
       5) "One [Celsus] second-century detractor of Christianity attacked and dismissed the religion as a woman's movement." page 81
       6) "But in the earliest Christian communities, which - inspired by Jesus' radical teaching and example - were much more egalitarian than the society at large, such ideological perspectives remained muted and their influence on social roles limited." page 82
       7) "So long as church leadership continued to model itself on the familiar role of household manager, there was no cultural barrier to women assuming leadership roles." page 82
       8) "Origen of Alexandria, who ironically, as noted in Chapter 3, would never have become a theologian without the sponsorship of a woman patron, appealed to this gender system [the dual public-private system with conflicting expectations] in his polemic against the Montanist woman prophets." pages 113-114
       9) "Modern church scholars have invariably assumed that the condemnation of women's leadership by these ancient Christian writers was based on theological arguments. When Tertullian and his ilk bar women from teaching and baptizing, scholars have tended to see divine, and therefore unassailable, justification behind it. But such interpretations are guilty of a serious oversight: They fail to take into account the enormous extent to which the Christian church allowed Greco-Roman social dogma to pervade its teachings - in this case, the secular circumscriptions on women's activities.
       They have also somehow missed an important implication in these ancient denunciations: that women actually held significant positions of leadership in the churches. Otherwise, there would have been no need for these fulminations, which convey the unmistakable tone of threatened authority." page 114
       10) "The era and its institutions were virtually saturated by contradictions between the codes that purported to limit women's roles and the obvious fact of women's influence in every sector, including the public." page 115
       11) "Gerda Lerner shows in The Creation of Patriarchy, 123-41, that part of the evolution of the patriarchal system involved dividing women into two classes, women whose sexuality was available to one man and women whose sexuality was available to all men. This is the basis here for the distinction between good women and bad women. The distinction between good widows and bad widows follows this same typology." page 152
       12) "As the architectural space in which Christians worshipped [sic] became a more public space, and as the models for leadership were drawn increasingly from public life, women's leadership became more controversial. Because the public-versus-private gender ideology restricted women's activities in public life, the new leaders of the church were not as comfortable with women's leadership in the churches." page 157
       13) "From Tertullian's hostility to women leaders we learn that in the congregations familiar to him women were teaching, baptizing, exorcising, and healing." page 158
       "Tertullian represents the attitude of the conservative Roman aristocracy that the only proper roles for women lay within the private sphere. And it is Tertullian's innovative vision of the church as a political body rather than a household or private association that made women's leadership roles in the church particularly odious to him.
       His paradoxical positions resulted from his recasting of Latin Christianity into a juridical or political mold. Tertullian offered the first consistent articulation of Christianity to draw its language, metaphors, and paradigms from institutions of public political life. Tertullian's rejection of women's leadership in the church was therefore determined by Roman society's relegation of women's activities to the private domestic sphere and its insistence that the public woman was a promiscuous woman." page 160
       "Tertullian's first line of argument was designed to convince Christian women that pagans did not really possess the virtue of chastity. He did this by creating a new definition of Christian chastity that made the Christian woman responsible for male sexuality." page 170 (my emphasis)
       14) "The Romans inherited their views about the proper roles of men and women in public and in private from ancient Greece. Christianity, in turn, absorbed these views from the Roman Empire, its cultural home. As Christianity spread, it transmitted this Greco-Roman gender system throughout the West and succeeded in shaping cultural attitudes about women and sexuality that continue to prevail." page 179 [***]
       [COMMENT: Downgrading women's ministries occured in the Eastern Churches (now including the Orthodox), under the sway of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, as well as the Western part (now called the Roman Catholic Church, and its breakaway successor Churches).  So don't read the first paragraph's attack on the RCC through 20th and 21st century eyes.  Reformist Churches such as the Protestant and Anglican copied these practices.  So remember, when the Roman Empire (both the Latin- and Greek- speaking parts) adopted Christianity, it ADAPTED Christianity, in spite of the denials of "Churchianity" supporters and apologists, moving away from the various Jesus groups' practices and beliefs. ENDS.] [1993]
    • 1996: Can ISRAEL break away from ISRAEL? Religious puzzle.
    Religious puzzle:

    Can ISRAEL break away from ISRAEL?

       William D. Rinzy, by Wm. D. Rinzy, August 19, 1996
       On Sunday, August 18, 1996, I heard a sermon in a mainstream Australian church, in which the preacher said that long ago, before Christ, 10 tribes had broken away from ancient Israel.  I deny that, though it is a popular belief among churchgoers.  (The 10 tribes, who were the northern kingdom, are the fact behind the legends of the Ten Lost Tribes.)  He also said that the people of Israel, the 12 tribes, were descended from the 12 sons of Jacob.  I doubt this.
       The preacher was backgrounding the oft-criticised "exclusivism" of the people he called Jews, but which are more accurately called Judaists, that is, followers of Judaism.  The preacher's message was that the three scripture readings that day, the 20th Sunday in ordinary time, taught us not to copy the alleged behaviour of the "Jews," nor to be racist nor excessively nationalistic.  Nor even to be so bound to, say, a football club, that we forgot that we should see ourselves as partners in the world and in such things as football.  (The three scripture readings that day were: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28.)
       He did not explain whether if, like Judaists, Christians practised exclusivism, they might become excessively racist or nationalistic!
       The preacher did explain that one reason for the ancient "Jews" keeping apart from their pagan neighbours was that experience had shown them that intermarrying and otherwise mixing had, too often, led to them adopting the morals and beliefs of the pagans around them.  He pointed out that Christians have the same problem; and present-day parents see their young people falling into the ways of the people of different beliefs and no beliefs around them.
       But, can good come from error?  Why do the mainstream Churches, in discussing the civil and religious relationships of the centuries leading up to the time of Jesus Christ, say that the northern kingdom (based for most of its history on Samaria) BROKE AWAY from the southern kingdom, with Jerusalem as capital?
       THE OPPOSITE is clear from the documents, and is now recognised by many scholars.  But first, let's look at it simply:
       1. Who broke away?  If there are TEN groups becoming separate from TWO groups, isn't it normal to say that 2 broke away?  Otherwise, should we ask "Does the tail wag the dog?"
       2. If the united kingdom of Saul, David, and Solomon was called ISRAEL, would the true kingdom keep the name Israel, and the breakaway be called something else?  Probably yes.  Well, the truth is that the northern kingdom continued to be called Israel.
       In other words, it was the southerners, Judah, with the city of Jerusalem, that broke away, not what your Sunday School might have told you!  The southern kingdom, based on the comparatively new capital Jerusalem, was called Judah, and the region was, years later, called Judea; the inhabitants were called Judeans, which got corrupted later by bad Bible translators or publishers into "Jews."
       Does all this old history matter?  Well, yes it does.  Forty-eight years ago a group that most people call "Jews" used guns to grab Palestine/Canaan on May 14, 1948, and millions around the world believe the "Jews," now calling themselves "Israelis," own it because of Bible writings.  And, using ample funds from the United States, they prevent the Indigenous People of the Holy Land from returning to their homes and workplaces.  So this religious matter does cause deaths, injuries, hatred, loss of homes and incomes, and some risk of a Third World War, therefore it is important.
       J.L.McKenzie in his Dictionary of the Bible wrote that Judah probably was not part of the group that left Egypt under Moses, and that both David and Solomon ruled a dual monarchy of Judah (south) and Israel (north); he claims that relations between the two groups were not close during the monarchy (page 462 a).  My readings are that David was first anointed king of Judah (Bible, 2 Samuel 2:4).  It was only after the murder of the king of Israel, Saul's son Ishbaal (pagan type of name), and when the leaders of Israel came to his capital at Hebron about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, that David made a covenant with them, after which the leaders anointed David king of Israel (see Bible, 2 Samuel 5:1-4).  Verse 5 states he ruled over Judah in Hebron for seven years six months, and over all Israel 33 years, and that he captured the stronghold in Jerusalem.
       McKenzie also has written:
    The origins of the schism between Jews and Samaritans lie deep in early Israelite history; indeed, it probably reflects the fact that Judah and Israel were never really one. … divisions appear both before the reigns of David and Solomon and after … It is clear that the schism occurred before the Jews [? Judahites, or general followers of Yahweh ?] accepted the prophets and the writings as canonical … the Samaritans accept only the Pnt [= Pentateuch].  The MS now to be seen at Nablus is thought by scholars to belong to the 12th century AD [after Christ}.  The text has some minor differences from the MT [Masoretic Text = Judaists' accepted version] … and has an added verse which identifies Gerizim as the [divine] temple mountain.  Some readings of the Samaritan Pnt appears [sic] in the MSS of Qumran*. … (p 766 a)
    (* Manuscripts of Qumran, i.e., the Dead Sea Scrolls.)

    … The [theory of the] 12-tribe system is itself, however, not free of difficulties.  Ephraim and Manasseh are always counted as separate tribes, which raises the number to 13; where 12 are counted, Levi as a landless tribe is not counted. … A difference between Israel and Judah appears even in David's reign (2 S 19:42; 20:1 ff). … The name Israel is used after the schism of Jeroboam of the northern kingdom.  This, despite the fact that the historical books must have been finally edited by Judahite scholars, [actually, by Talmudic scholars mainly based in Babylon, Iraq] shows that both northern and southern Israelites accepted the northern kingdom, which included the majority of Israelites, as the true Israel and Judah as the seceding party.  This usage is found in the writings of Hosea and Amos and in those parts of Is [Isaiah] which precede the fall of Samaria in 722.  After the collapse of the northern kingdom in 722 the name Israel passes to Judah. (p 404 b; McKenzie,J.L.: Dictionary of the Bible, 1968, London, Geoffrey Chapman)
       Is the northern kingdom based on the Samarian area the "true Israel," and the south, Judah, "the seceding party"?  Does the Bible have evidence of this?
       Firstly, we see in the Bible 1 Kings 9:15-20 [[Douay: 3 Kings 9:15-20]] that Solomon forced the conquered peoples to labour on building the Temple of Yahweh, his palace, the Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, Gezer, Lower Beth-horon, Baalath, Tamar, the towns for garrisons, chariots and horses, and all it pleased him to build in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and all the countries subject to him.  Verse 23 says there were 550 officials in charge of the forced labour.
       In 1 Kings 11:5-8 (and see same book 11:33) [[Douay: 3 Kings 11: 5-8 and 33]] we read that Solomon (961-922 BC) began following the false goddess Ashtoreth or Astarte of Sidon, and Milcom of Ammon.  Solomon also built on the mountain east of Jerusalem a place to worship Chemosh of Moab, and a place to worship Milcom.  These sanctuaries evidently kept going MORE THAN 300 YEARS until the reign of Josiah (640-609 BC) who demolished them, see 2 Kings 23:13 [[Douay: 4 Kings 23:13]], where three altars are mentioned as being built east of Jerusalem south of the Mount of Olives, honouring all three divinities quoted above.  And Solomon built places for his pagan wives to burn incense and offer worship to their pagan gods (1 Kings 11:8) [[Douay: 3 Kings 11:8]].  Do you doubt that the people paid taxes for all this?
       In the same book 11:11: "Jehovah now said to Solomon: 'For the reason that this has taken place with you and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I laid in command upon you, I shall without fail rip the kingdom away from off you, and I shall certainly give it to your servant'."
       The prophet Ahijah of Shiloh spoke to a military man, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat and Zeruah, an Ephraimite (Joshua's tribe which had led Israel for some time) from Zeredah:
       "… for thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, speaks: I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon's hand and give ten tribes to you." (1 Kings 11:31, Jerusalem Bible translation) [[Douay: 3 Kings 11:31]].
       I presume that some honest folk of both Judah and Israel must have been angry that the forced labour of the conquered peoples had been wasted on altars for idols, "all it pleased him to build" (1 Kings 9:19) [[Douay: 3 Kings 9:19]].
       Anyway, after Solomon died (1 Kings 11:43) [[Douay: 3 Kings 11:43]], his son Rehoboam had to go to Shechem (about 64 km north of Jerusalem) to where "all Israel came to make him king." (1 Kings 12:1) [[Douay: 3 Kings 12:1]]  But it wasn't as simple as that.  The northerners had really come to discuss who THEY would choose as king; and they had wisely sent for the warrior Jeroboam (see above) to come from exile in Egypt.
       Note that, although in the days of his grandfather the Israelite elders had come south to Hebron to negotiate with David, the young Rehoboam had to go about 40 miles north of Jerusalem to Shechem to meet the Israelite elders for their deliberations.
       When the negotiators started, they told Rehoboam that Solomon had made their yoke hard, and they wanted him to lighten it.  The king's old counsellors, who had presumably advised Solomon how to get away with loading the people with taxes and burdens, told him to "speak to them with good words," in other words, make a pre-election promise.  The young king turned to the young men, and they advised him to say the opposite (in other words, to tell the truth).
       The young king told the truth, that he would increase the people's burdens and whip them with scorpions (see 1 Kings 12:14) [[Douay: 3 Kings 12:14]].  But, the Israelites, instead of accepting this, decided not to continue with the royal line of David, saying "To your tents, oh Israel."  When Rehoboam sent his work gang leader to them, they pelted him with stones, and the young king needed a chariot to flee back to Jerusalem (same book, 12:18).  In other words, Israel had decided to elect a more suitable king than the son of the hard taskmaster and semi-pagan Solomon.  The two southern tribes evidently did not have the sense to follow suit, and so the dual monarchy ended for ever.
       When Judah's king later planned to fight Israel (1 Kings 12:22-24) [[Douay: 3 Kings 12:22-24]] "Then the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God saying: 'Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon the king of Judah and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and the rest of the people, this is what Jehovah has said: "You must not go up and fight against your brothers the sons of Israel.  Go back each one to his house". ' "
       Did you know there had been a temple in Bethel (about 14 miles = 22 kilometres north of Jerusalem), which was part of the northern kingdom?  Alice Parmelee, in her book A guidebook to the bible, 1967, London, Teach Yourself Books, English Universities Press, p 21, knew there was one; a quick read of these will help you: Early sacredness of the site Genesis 12:8; 13:3; 28:10 ff; 35:1-13; prophets reported in Bethel: 1 Kings 13 [[Douay: 3 Kings 13]]; 2 Kings 2:2 f, 23 [[Douay: 4 Kings 2:2 f, 23]].  But Alice didn't want to tell us this next bit: King Jeroboam (922-901 BC) of Israel (i.e., the northern kingdom) told his subjects they had been going long enough to Jerusalem, and he set up golden bulls in Bethel, and at Dan in the far north of Israel (1 Kings 12:28-29) [[Douay: 3 Kings 12:28-29]] and offered a sacrifice to the bull at Bethel (same, 12:33, and 13:1-6).  (It is possible he knew that the Jerusalem monopoly was not the original doctrine, and also possible that his teachings were that Yehovah / Yahweh was invisibly standing on the bulls.)  And, a later king Jehu (842-815 BC) kept up the golden calves (2 Kings 10:29) [[Douay: 4 Kings 10:29]].  So, the northern kingdom of Israel had adopted unauthorised worship, just as Judah had been doing on and off for a long, long time.
       It's not comforting to think of pagan shrines in the Holy Land.  But, is it true that nearly all Western Christians are taught that the true Israel was the southern kingdom with Jerusalem as capital, and that the 10 tribes of the north broke away?
       Dr Clifford A. Wilson, former director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, and area supervisor in Gezer, Israel, in 1969, honorary director of Word of Truth Productions Ltd., and a former professor of education, University of South Carolina, in his book That incredible book … the bible, 1973, Melbourne, Hill of Content, ISBN 85572 051 4, page 120: "… Jeroboam … led a revolt of the ten northern tribes against the two tribes in the south."  Protestants wrong!
       Rev. Ignatius Schuster, D.D., in his Illustrated Bible History of the Old and New Testaments, 1951, Brisbane, E.J.Dwyer (Catholic Bookseller and Publisher), page 115: "And ten of the tribes, throwing off his [Rehoboam's] authority, chose for their king Jeroboam. … [etc., etc.] … the defection of the ten tribes …"  Roman Catholics wrong!
       The American Bible Society, in its The Bible in Today's English Version, often called the Good News Bible, 1976, Canberra, the Bible Society in Australia, page 351, a subheading: "The Northern Tribes Revolt"   Mixed-faith publishers wrong, too!
       In fact, this last one was "the most unkindest cut of all."  Surely Bible translators ought to have noticed that the Bible says GOD HIMSELF prevented Solomon's son from inheriting the throne of Israel, and therefore no matter what the young king had answered, he was going to lose Israel!
       Error is evidently more attractive than the truth.  Much of the preaching in the Christian Churches about the background of Judaism is erroneous.  If you want your church enlivened, ask your clergyperson to do cover to cover readings of some of the Judaic "holy" books called the Talmud, such as the book Sanhedrin.  In the Babylonian Talmud, the "New Testament" of Judaism that overrides the Old, you will find lots of violent attacks on non-Judaists, us!
       Can the 10 Israel tribes break away from Israel?  NO.  Preachers should learn a lot more from the Bible, and less from "potted" histories.  Does your preacher have a copy of the 63 books of the Talmud; or the Kabbala or the Zohar?  Your clergy would be surprised to hear that Babylonian Talmud colleges controlled Judaism from before 626 BC until around 1084 AD.  Rabbis from Babylon converted the non-Semitic Khazar empire in the Black Sea area in the 7th or 8th Century after Christ and the Khazar empire continued until the 13th Century AD.
       Recommended reading:
    Freedman, Benjamin , Facts are facts, 1954, New York, self-published.
    Gabler, Neal , An empire of their own, 1988, New York, Doubleday: ISBN 0-385-26557-3
    Griffin, Des , Anti-Semitism and the Babylonian connection, 1992, Clackamas (Oregon), Emissary Publications: ISBN 0-941380-05.
    Koestler, Arthur, The thirteenth tribe, 1976, New York, Random House: ISBN 0-394 402847-7, Dewey shelf number 947.9'01.
    Luther, Martin (1483-1546) , The Jews and their lies, in Luther's collected works.
    Reed, Douglas , The controversy of Zion, 1987, Durban, Dolphin Press: ISBN 09499667 27 7
    Ross, Malcolm , Christianity vs Judeo-Christianity, 1987, Moncton (Canada). Stronghold. #
       [RECAPITULATION: Forty-eight years ago a group that most people call "Jews" used guns to grab Palestine/Canaan on May 14, 1948, and millions around the world believe the "Jews," now calling themselves "Israelis," own it because of Bible writings. […]
       The prophet Ahijah of Shiloh spoke to a military man, Jeroboam, the son of Nebat and Zeruah, an Ephraimite (Joshua's tribe which had led Israel for some time) from Zeredah:
       "… for thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, speaks: I am going to tear the kingdom from Solomon's hand and give ten tribes to you." (1 Kings 11:31, Jerusalem Bible translation) [[Douay: 3 Kings 11:31]]. ENDS.]
       [EXPLANATION: The purpose of this paper was twofold: 1. To show the weakness of modern Israel's claim to Palestine/Canaan, and 2. To encourage Christian promulgators to correctly give Bible history in their sermons and writings, and stop telling people that there was one united "Israel" in ancient times, all worshipping one god, when really a number of gods were honoured by the "Chosen People." ENDS.]
       [DOUBLE BRACKETS: Single brackets "[" and "]" were in the original paper in 1996, to show the author's additions to material that he quoted.  But, when this paper was published again, this time for the World Wide Web on March 18, 2008, double brackets "[[" and "]]" were used to show Roman Catholics the names or numbers of Bible books in the Douay translation of the Bible.  For example (1 Kings 11:31 [[Douay: 3 Kings 11:31]]. ENDS.] [Aug 19, 1996]

    • 1999: Old threat to 20th century Jewish state.   Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Palestine Authority flag; Palestine Authority website 

    Old threat to 20th century Jewish state

       The West Australian, www.thewest. , The World section, THE TELEGRAPH GROUP, LONDON, and ASSOCIATED PRESS, p 24, Saturday, October 30, 1999
       JERUSALEM -- AN ISRAELI archaeologist has angered Jewish traditionalists by claiming that the best-known Bible stories are myths.
       Professor Ze'ev Herzog, of Tel-Aviv University, said 70 years of intensive digging in the region cast doubt on the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, the 40 years of wandering in the desert, the military conquest of Canaan, and the division of the Promised Land among the 12 tribes.
       "These things did not happen in the way they are described," he told Israel Radio.
       More controversially, Professor Herzog argued that the seeds of the Jewish state are to be found in the ninth century BC when groups of shepherds who had settled in hilltops established two rival states, Judah and Israel.
       Excavations of cities from the supposedly majestic time of Kings Dayid and Solomon a century earlier revealed that the cities consisted of scattered buildings and the kingdoms were small, provincial dynasties that exercised no real claim over the land.
       Professor Herzog said Jerusalem, the majestic capital built by King David to rule over an empire that spanned much of the Middle East, was at best a small fiefdom.
       Fellow archaeologist Amnon Ben-Tor of the Hebrew University and a critic of Professor Herzog and his post-modernist school of thought, said the Tel Aviv professor used archaeology to satisfy a political agenda, namely debunking the legends upon which the Jewish state was founded.
       Israeli MP Tommy Lapid, a secular rights champion who believes humans, not God, wrote the Bible, accused Professor Herzog of trying to undermine the educational and ideological basis of the state.
       The professor was "feeding propaganda to Israel's enemies who want to negate our right to be here," Mr Lapid said. #
       [RECAPITULATION: … in the ninth century BC when groups of shepherds who had settled in hilltops established two rival states, Judah and Israel. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: This and other research puts extreme doubt on the Bible stories of the glories of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.  The memory of their being TWO NATIONS is preserved in the biblical accounts, as they are carefully enumerated in many of the books.  One dramatic example arose after the death of Solomon; "To your tents, O Israel" was evidence that the leaders of the northern group, Israel, had an independent part to play in accepting or rejecting the king of Israel-Judah.
       It is quite dishonest for the preachers, Sunday School leaders, religious education teachers, and hymns to give children and adults the idea that there was ONE united "People of God" in those days.
       The main thrust of the above newsitem (that the grand kingdom ruled by David and then Solomon was more like a fairytale than history) has been known to careful bible scholars for some centuries, and has been guessed at by many sincere truth-seekers and authors.  A careful scholar writes: "… Judah was most probably not a part of … the Egyptian sojourn … Judah and Simeon are not mentioned among the tribes in the song of Deborah (Jgs 5)" (McKenzie, John L., 1968, page 462, Dictionary of the Bible, London, Geoffrey Chapman.)
       In fact, there is more serious doubt about the actual exodus from Egypt!  But more research might surprise the Doubting Thomases!
       Additional facts are that many or most modern Jews and the bulk of the modern Israelis are largely descended from the converted empire of Khazaria (southern Russia and Ukraine), so have even less ethnic claim to Palestine than the ARABS who stole the country off its rulers shortly after the death of Mohammad!  The other peoples of Palestine, such as some of the eastern Christians and the Samaritans, do probably have a centuries-old claim to keep living in their ancestral lands. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 30, 1999]

    • 2001: Leavened or unleavened bread? United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    Leavened or unleavened bread?

       "Revising the Practice of the Lord's Supper at Faith Presbyterian Church No. 6: The Bread of the Lord's Supper," < www.faithtacoma. org/ sermons/ Revising%20 Communion/ Revising_FPC_ LordsSupper_ No.6_Bread_ Mar.04.2001.htm > , March 4, 2001

       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Early Christianity, so far as we can tell, used leavened bread in the Lord's Supper - Justin Martyr refers to it as "common bread" (koinos artos; First Apology, LXVI) - though there were some sects that argued for unleavened bread. Interestingly, one technical term for the consecrated bread of the Eucharist in early Christianity was "fermentum", the Latin word for "yeast." [The Study of Liturgy, 233; The Shape of the Liturgy, 25 and passim] In early Christianity, the bread and wine used in the sacrament was brought by the people out of their own pantries. It was, thus, ordinary bread and ordinary wine. The Western church went to unleavened wafers in the Middle Ages. The Eastern church continued to use leavened bread. Predictably, the difference in practice became controversial. The one side was called "fermentarians" the other "azymites" (from the Greek word used in the NT for "unleavened"). [Turretin, Institutes, vol. 3, 430] Many of you have at one time or another received the little paper thin wafers used by Roman Catholic, some Anglican, and some other Protestant churches for the communion bread. The old joke is that it takes more faith to make Roman Catholic school children believe that communion wafers are bread than it does to make them believe that the bread becomes Christ's body. [J.F. White, Introduction to Christian Worship, 252] […]
       There is no teaching in the Bible to suggest that the remembrance of the flight from Egypt is brought into the Lord's Supper. Bread and Wine in the Supper serve what seem to be very different purposes. Another redemption is being remembered in the Lord's Supper, that of ourselves from sin and death through the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. Unleavened bread does not in any obvious way contribute to that symbolism. It is not anywhere in the NT said to be the kind of bread used in the Lord's Supper - while the text of the institution of the Lord's Supper makes a point of mentioning wine ("the fruit of the vine"), bread is referred to simply as "bread" not as "unleavened bread." The lack of yeast was a detail belonging to the old ceremony, not the new, it seems. Remember, it is bread in each case. The Lord took bread, we are told. That it happened to be unleavened is neither mentioned nor hinted at. What is significant is that it is bread, not unleavened bread. What is more, when the church moved into the Gentile world, a world that had no recollection of the Passover, "bread" would mean for them the ordinary bread that was the staple of life. So, in other words, as the scholastic theologians put it, that the bread was unleavened in the first Lord's Supper belonged to the "accidental circumstances" of that first feast, not to the necessity of it. [Turretin, 430]
       b. The early church, so far as the evidence goes, did not receive from the apostles the practice of using unleavened bread in the Lord's Supper. The Jews were used to having unleavened bread in the Passover just once a year. Usually they made their bread, as everyone else did, with yeast. It would have been a great change to begin using unleavened bread every week for the Lord's Supper and there is no evidence that this change was ever made.  …
    [Mar 4, 01]
    • 2001: [Pope apologises for attacks such as on Orthodox capital Constantinople, seeks Christian unity] Greece flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Vatican City flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Turkey flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Vatican City website, "Address Of John Paul II to His Beatitude Christodoulos, Archbishop of Athens and Primate of Greece," www.vatican. va/holy_father/ john_paul_ii/ speeches/ 2001/ documents/hf_j p-ii_spe_ 20010504_ archbishop- athens_en.html , Friday, 4 May 2001
       Your Beatitude,
    Venerable Members of the Holy Synod,
    Most Reverend Bishops of the Orthodox Church of Greece

    Christòs anèsti!

       1. In the joy of Easter, I greet you with the words of the Apostle Paul to the Church in Thessalonica: "May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way" (2 Th 3:16).
       It gives me great pleasure to meet Your Beatitude in this Primatial See of the Orthodox Church of Greece. I offer heartfelt greetings to the members of the Holy Synod and all the hierarchy. I salute the clergy, the monastic communities and the lay faithful throughout this noble land. Peace be with you all!
       2. I wish first of all to express to you the affection and regard of the Church of Rome. Together we share the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour; we have in common the apostolic heritage and the sacramental bond of Baptism; and therefore we are all members of God's family, called to serve the one Lord and to proclaim his Gospel to the world. The Second Vatican Council called on Catholics to regard the members of the other Churches "as brothers and sisters in the Lord" (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3), and this supernatural bond of brotherhood between the Church of Rome and the Church of Greece is strong and abiding.
       Certainly, we are burdened by past and present controversies and by enduring misunderstandings. But in a spirit of mutual charity these can and must be overcome, for that is what the Lord asks of us. Clearly there is a need for a liberating process of purification of memory. For the occasions past and present, when sons and daughters of the Catholic Church have sinned by action or omission against their Orthodox brothers and sisters, may the Lord grant us the forgiveness we beg of him.
       Some memories are especially painful, and some events of the distant past have left deep wounds in the minds and hearts of people to this day. I am thinking of the disastrous sack of the imperial city of Constantinople, which was for so long the bastion of Christianity in the East. It is tragic that the assailants, who had set out to secure free access for Christians to the Holy Land, turned against their own brothers in the faith. The fact that they were Latin Christians fills Catholics with deep regret. How can we fail to see here the mysterium iniquitatis at work in the human heart? To God alone belongs judgement, and therefore we entrust the heavy burden of the past to his endless mercy, imploring him to heal the wounds which still cause suffering to the spirit of the Greek people. Together we must work for this healing if the Europe now emerging is to be true to its identity, which is inseparable from the Christian humanism shared by East and West.
       3. At this meeting, I also wish to assure Your Beatitude that the Church of Rome looks with unaffected admiration to the Orthodox Church of Greece for the way in which she has preserved her heritage of faith and Christian life. The name of Greece resounds wherever the Gospel is preached. The names of her cities are known to Christians everywhere from the reading of the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of Saint Paul. From the Apostolic era until now, the Orthodox Church of Greece has been a rich source from which the Church of the West too has drawn for her liturgy, spirituality and jurisprudence (cf. Unitatis Redintegratio, 14). A patrimony of the whole Church are the Fathers, privileged interpreters of the apostolic tradition, and the Councils, whose teachings are a binding element of all Christian faith. The universal Church can never forget what Greek Christianity has given her, nor cease to give thanks for the enduring influence of the Greek tradition.
       The Second Vatican Council stressed to Catholics the Orthodox love of the liturgy, through which the faithful "enter into communion with the Most Holy Trinity and become sharers in the divine nature" (Unitatis Redintegratio,15). In offering liturgical worship pleasing to God through the centuries, in preaching the Gospel even in dark and difficult times, in presenting an unfailing didaskalia, inspired by the Scriptures and the great Tradition of the Church, the Orthodox Church of Greece has brought forth a host of saints who intercede for all God's People before the Throne of Grace. In the saints we see the ecumenism of holiness which, with God's help, will eventually draw us into full communion, which is neither absorption nor fusion but a meeting in truth and love (cf. Slavorum Apostoli, 27).
       4. Finally, Your Beatitude, I wish to express the hope that we may walk together in the ways of the Kingdom of God. In 1965, the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI by a mutual act removed and cancelled from the Church's memory and life the sentence of excommunication between Rome and Constantinople. This historic gesture stands as a summons for us to work ever more fervently for the unity which is Christ's will. Division between Christians is a sin before God and a scandal before the world. It is a hindrance to the spread of the Gospel, because it makes our proclamation less credible. The Catholic Church is convinced that she must do all in her power to "prepare the way of the Lord" and to "make straight his paths" (Mt 3:3); and she understands that this must be done in company with other Christians - in fraternal dialogue, in cooperation and in prayer. If certain models of reunion of the past no longer correspond to the impulse towards unity which the Holy Spirit has awakened in Christians everywhere in recent times, we must be all the more open and attentive to what the Spirit is now saying to the Churches (cf. Rev 2:11).
       In this Easter season, my mind turns to the encounter on the road to Emmaus. Without knowing it, the two disciples were walking with the Risen Lord, who became their teacher as he interpreted for them the Scriptures, "beginning with Moses and all the prophets" (Lk 24:27). But they did not grasp his teaching at first. Only when their eyes were opened and they recognized him did they understand. Then they acknowledged the power of his words, saying to each other: "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" (Lk 24:32). The quest for reconciliation and full communion means that we too must search the Scriptures, in order to be taught by God (cf. 1 Th 4:9).
       Your Beatitude, with faith in Jesus Christ, "the firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18), and in a spirit of fraternal charity and lively hope, I wish to assure you that the Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to the path of unity with all the Churches. Only in this way will the one People of God shine forth in the world as the sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of the entire human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1). (By courtesy of [Emphasis added] [Sack occurred AD 1204] [Speech May 4, 2001]

    • [Downgrading widows from apostolic clerical or semi-clerical status in the Early Syrian Christian Communities]

       Hugoye: Journal Of Syriac Studies, "Bold and Having No Shame: Ambiguous Widows, Controlling Clergy, and Early Syrian Communities," http://syrcom. hugoye/ Vol4No2/ HV4N2Penn. html , by Michael PENN, , Haverford College, 109 Ardmore Ave, 3rd Floor Ardmore, PA 19003, U.S.A., July 2001
       ABSTRACT: An examination of the church order the Didascalia and its successor The Apostolic Constitutions illustrates different strategies early churches used to regulate Christian widows. These documents represent attempts by Christian leaders to resolve the widow's ambiguous status in early Christianity and to consolidate the clergy's power. They provide an important witness to the institutionalization of early Christian communities and the solidification of hierarchies based on divisions between men, women, clergy, and laity.
       Throughout antiquity, early Christianity communities vacillated between helping widows and regulating widows' power and behavior. Early Christian leaders saw widowhood as an honored position that needed support, yet widows were also a potential threat to the church that needed to be controlled. Early Christian writings simultaneously portrayed widows as respected members of the church and subversive elements prone to misconduct;  1 they spoke of the power of a widow's prayer, but then claimed widows were not different from any other church member;  2 some considered widows to be part of the clergy, others argued that widows were lay members and should never be ordained;  3 church leaders constantly battled over the very definition a widow and, once identified, how properly to regulate her behavior.  4 [***] [July 2001]
    • [2003: Rockingham statue of Mary didn't weep when put under close check] Feb 27, 2003 Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       PERTH, Western Australia: During the time Rockingham's weeping statue of Mary was under the control of a commission set up by the Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey, and while in a safe place in the care of the parish priest for a full month, the statue did not weep. [summary; and much more wording, plus a page 1 picture of the face of the statue] -- The Record, , "Commission findings: What it all means. Archbishop's statement," p 1, and "Miracle was not proved," "Archbishop faces barrage of cameras, microphones," by Neil Smith, p 4, and "The following statement was made by the owner of the weeping statue, Patty Powell," " 'Cured' woman still 'hale and hearty'," by Neil Smith, "What are the implications of the decision?" p 7, Feb 27, 2003
    • 2003: Spurious changes to the Bible, Bible Text Spurious Intrusions, Falsifications (and Contradictions); started Apr 7, 03
    The Bible has had spurious additions and changes, knowingly reproduced for centuries.
    So are we sure of what seems to be authentic scriptural sex and marriage teachings, etc.?
    What about the anti-women and anti-sex readings, leaders and teachers in Christianity?
    There are disputes about ordaining homosexuals and "marrying" "gays".
    [Apr 7, 03]
    • 2003: Catholic Church's official Bible had "she" instead of "he" for hundreds of years. In the first book of the Bible, at Genesis 3:15, in the passage where God condemns the serpent for tempting Eve to eat the fruit, the Catholic Latin Vulgate translation has "she" instead of "he." From Apr 22, 2003 four levels of the Catholic Church in Australia, including Sydney Archbishop Dr George Pell (in October 2003 to be made a cardinal) did not apologise for this, and had variant explanations. The international headquarters in Rome has not replied up to 07 Apr 05. -- "'She' Instead Of 'He' For More Than 1500 Years," Anonymous, (replies dating to Sep 22, 03) April 22, 2003
       [COMMENT: The critic responded to the replies received up to Sep 22 2003, and sent other explanatory mail to all levels of the RC Church, from the parish level upwards, and to RC publications and to others including Perth Anglicans, to no avail. In February 2004 another round of mail was sent, but no response was received. On April 2, 2004, mail was sent to the Bible Society in East Perth requesting that it cease stocking the forgery-speckled Authorised Version of the Bible, and a letter went to Gatto Bookshop in Tuart Hill (Perth suburb) asking that the shop cease stocking the forgery-speckled Douay Bible and the heretical Mary treading on the Serpent statues. No response had been received by January 11, 2005, nor by June 20, 2009, nor by 30 Mar 2010. COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 22, 03]
    • 2003: Is the Bible the letters of the Father to his own children, and from the seat of God's Majesty; or is it the product of human tradition? Let us compare what earlier Catholics said, with one of today's. According to Cardinal Bernard Griffin, Archbishop of Westminster, England, writing in 1955, the First Vatican Council declared that the Scriptures "being written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost they have God as their author and, as such, have been delivered to the Church herself."
       In the words of Pope Pius XII, he continues, Almighty God has "most providently sent us these books from the seat of His Majesty, as the letters of a Father to His own children." -- The Holy Bible, Douay Version, 1956, Catholic Truth Society, London, Preface by + Bernard Cardinal Griffin, 1st page, 2nd paragraph.
       But what does Australia's premier Catholic Archbishop, being elevated to a Cardinal, think of the Bible? In a letter of May 7, 2003, he writes: "I think it is important to be clear that the bible is the product of tradition, . . ." -- + George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, letter regarding a scripture translation alteration brought to his attention by letter. [May 7, 2003]
    • 2003: Bible Gateway for a searchable website with several Bible translations. For instance, you can check that Luke 7:28 does NOT have the word "prophet" in most all-new translations, even though it is in the King James version and its "descendants," and had worked its way even into Dr John Wycliffe's translation of 1388. (Inserted originally on religion/ religcont.htm on 04-08 Aug 03) And try Bible Crosswalk at http://bible. . [Aug 04-08, 2003]
    • 2004: Celibacy Pledge; Child Abuse; Only by restoring, defending revealed truths, upholding natural law … U.S.A. flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Record (Western Australian Catholic newspaper), Perth, "Celibacy pledged," Zenit, p 2, Sep 25, 2003
       UNITED STATES: More than 600 US Catholic clergy publicly stood behind their promise of celibacy early in September in the wake of a letter by some Milwaukee priests who asked that celibacy be optional.
       Members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy wrote their own letter (see to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the US episcopate, after the Milwaukee petition made headlines. The Milwaukee letter was backed by 163 priests.   …
       Confraternity president Fr John Trigilio wrote: "Optional celibacy is not the answer, nor is it the panacea; it is a placebo.  … Bad theology, bad liturgy and bad morality have done the damage and … need to be excised."
       … "Only by restoring the sacred, by defending the revealed truths and by upholding the natural moral law can we achieve any victory over the current crisis of faith now affecting the Church."
       [COMMENT: But, with the quantity of spurious (that means "fake" or "non-genuine" or "not real") scripture additions and changes, might we ask what exactly are "the revealed truths" he wants the Church members and leaders to defend? The Church authorities won't even retract their falsified Bibles that they've been issuing for centuries, so how can ordinary people discover the mind of Jesus? What would be a prudent policy? -- Religion Clarity Campaign, 22 Oct 03. COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 25, 03]

    • 2003: [Church paper repudiates work of pro-freedom union leaders, and martyrs to Marxism and Islamic extremism.] PERTH: Now I've seen it all! Anti-Communism in the 1950s was hysteria, and the Muslims could be our best friends for family-friendly policies! Your last issue had it all! Presumably the martyr-like figures of Archbishops Stepinac and Mindzenty and the Rev. Richard Wurmbrand were wrong.  … Also, presumably, the women being stoned to death for nothing, the people being martyred, and churches being blown up, by Islamic zealots, don't exist, and any canonisations being considered ought to be dropped! … Do we really have to re-educate the faithful about godless materialism and paganism? -- The Record Catholic newspaper, Perth, "Now I've seen it all," letter, p 11, Sep 25, 2003
    • 2003: Is Islam paganism? Or related to Christianity somewhat like Judaism? or a Heresy?
        PAGANISM? The first Crusade "did free from the filth of the pagans" the city of Jerusalem, according to Pope Eugene III issuing a summons to a second crusade against the Muslim rulers of parts of Palestine on December 1, 1145. -- The Papal Encyclicals in their Historical Context, Anne Fremantle (ed), 1956, Mentor Books, New York, p 67. (In other parts of the summons the words "pagan" and "infidel" were applied to the enemies to be fought in those formerly Christian areas.)
       "It has been already stated that there are three kinds or species of unbelief, viz., Paganism, Judaism, and Heresy. By Paganism we understand the state of those who are altogether without faith, both in reality and profession. To this class belong Atheists, who deny the existence of God ; Idolaters, who worship false gods ; Deists, who believe the existence of God but deny His providence and reject all revelation ; and Mohametans, or the disciples of Mohamet." -- A manual of instructions in Christian doctrine, 1909, 24th edition, Provost Wenham (ed), St Anslem's Society, London, p 11. (Imprimatur: + N. Card. Wiseman, Westm, Aug. 1, 1861; Imprimatur Editio Tertiadecima, Herbertus Card. Vaughan, Archiep. Westmonast., West., die 14 Maii, 1898.)
       KINDRED? The Catholics' Second Vatican Council deviated from the above teaching, and stated: "There is first [the Judaists] . . . But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church," 21 Nov 1964, section 16, p 367 in the Austin Flannery 1977 paperback edition.) See also Vatican II Nostra Aetate, 28 Oct 1965, section 3, p 739, which says the Church "has also a high regard for the Muslims …" and "pleads with all to forget the past."
       Are these variations all supposed to be God's word, that is supposedly "The same yesterday, today, and forever." (?!?!)  (In fact, some modern writers list Mohametanism as an Abrahamic religion along with Judaism and Christianity. Past Papal teachings such as the "filth of the pagans" we are, evidently, to forget!)
       HERETIC? In parts of the Koran there is a rewriting of Hebrew history and the story of Jesus and Mary. Some old-fashioned Christians might call Islam a Heresy! -- Religion Clarity Campaign, possibly on or after Sep 28, 2003
    • 2003: Refugees: Does Christianity have a coherent policy on refugees?
    Refugees: Does Christianity have a coherent policy on refugees?

    Jesus and Mary on donkey being led by Joseph.  Microsoft Clip Art, mirror-reversed. Well, Community Support for Refugees (CSR) in a leaflet distributed Sep-Oct 2003 in Perth, Western Australia, quotes the following:
       "Then I am going to take you from among the nations and gather you together from all the foreign countries, and bring you home to your own land." Ezekiel 36: 24-25 [Hebrew Scriptures, i.e., Old Testament.]
       "I was a stranger and you made me welcome." Matthew, 25: 35 [Christian Greek Scriptures, i.e., New Testament.]
       First of all, read Ezekiel again - God is supposedly saying he will gather the Hebrew people back to their land, NOT to scatter them or any people of various cultures all over the place!  This scripture has quite a different meaning to what the good people who help refugees think it means!
       If you have an Old Testament, look a verse back at Ezekiel 36: 23, which claims to be quoting the Lord:  "23. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the Gentiles, which you have profaned in the midst of them; …" (Douay Version, 1609, Roman Catholic, Ezechiel 36:23)
      Well, verses 16 to 19 say the Israelites had been scattered among the nations because they shed blood and defiled their land with idols.  Reading the verse above it looks as if the Hebrews also had been profaning the Lord's name, so living in a multicultural society mixed with the Gentile heathens had not improved them religiously.
       Read Matthew's gospel again.  "Making welcome" doesn't mean selling him/them part of your farm, or giving it away, and giving him/them permanent occupation of a room in your house!
       Boundaries appointed by God:  Furthermore, this song by Moses in the Hebrew scriptures says that the boundaries of nations are God-given:
    "When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam : he appointed the bounds of people according to the number of the children of Israel." (Deuteronomy 32: 8; Douay translation 1609, Catholic)
       And didn't a Christian scripture say that God had set bounds to where each nation dwelt?
       "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." (The Acts 17: 26, Authorised Version, i.e., King James translation, 1611, English reformers' translation).
       The meaning of The Acts passage still comes through in the newer translations, e.g.: Ronald Knox, R.C., N.T. 1945; Good News Bible, reformers, 1966; New World Translation, literalists, 1984; New Jerusalem Bible, R.C., 1985; and Contemporary English Version (CEV), The Bible for Today, Amer­ican Bible Society, reformers, © 1995.
       [COMMENT: Isn't it strange that these various Christians' different translations all say the same, but supposed "Christian rulers" invaded parts of Africa, then the Americas, Asia, Oceania, Australia, and later nearly all the rest of Africa, often with the cross of Christ as a banner, pretext, or "feel-good" partial explanation?  And, now that The World's fashion has swung towards multiculturalism and the facilitation of a kind of "reverse invasion" wave into Christian lands, the Christian leaders have done a U-turn, but still disobey this sacred text, nowadays in a different way. ENDS]

       Jesus, Mary and Joseph were refugees!  Some Christian Scriptures tell us that after Mary had her firstborn son, to avoid the murderous intention of the current King Herod they were given heavenly direction to go to Egypt.  They fled there.  Later, hearing that Herod had died, the family left Egypt and returned to the Palestinian area.  History and scripture do NOT record that the Joseph family became Egyptian citizens, or insisted that the residents of Egypt adopt Joseph's manner of dress, food rules, and lawcourt system, or face discriminatory taxation and/or execution!
       Vilification? Defamation?  And as a grownup, did Jesus of Nazareth completely depart from a traditional way of thinking of the good people as a select band, and that it was wise to avoid people of other cultures or moral codes if they did not adapt to his kindly teachings?
       "If your brother sins, reprove him … if he does not listen take along with you one or two more … if he does not listen … tell the Church … if he does not listen even to the Church, let him be to you as the Gentiles and the tax-collectors." (Matthew 18: 15-18)
       Well, the "Gentiles" were of different religion and race to the Judeans.  So, would this teaching breach the present-day man-made laws against religious and racial discrimination and/or vilification (and even the old defamation laws), or was it based on common sense?  Or, dare we say it, was it part of the divine plan? - Anonymous response, Perth, 21 Oct 2003, expanded 02 xi 03, 08 xii 03, and 25 i 06, revised 13 vi 2011.
    [Oct 21, 2003]
    • 2003: Did Christianity derive from Africa, and Islam from Judaism?  Christianity will say that it is pure, yet Christianity was born in Africa.  Still, today you see no signs of Africa in Christianity.  Judaism may say that it is pure, yet it derived from Zoroastrianism, just as Buddhism originated out of Hinduism.  Islam will say that is pure, but Islam derived from Judaism.  There are many signs of disunity among religions and each religion puts the other under a microscope and dissects it.  But they all believe in God and consider their religion to be highly spiritual and sacred. - Le Peristyle Haitian Sanctuary (© 1997), www.leperistyle haitiansanctuary. com/nuedit.htm , (found Oct 18, 2003)
    • 2003: Because the Bible tells us so. AUSTRALIA: In a roguish article, Phillip Adams starts off seriously discussing the dangers of "fundamentalism" in religions and philosophical or pseudo-scientific cults, and political extremist organisations such as Mao's Red Guards and the Nazi Party.  Then he quotes an e-mail from his magician friend James Randi who says there are newsitems on how a presidential prayer team is urging Americans to "pray for the President."  President George W. Bush evidently is expected to legally codify the definition of marriage, because of the variant definitions many forces are seeking.  So James looks into the Old Testament, and proposes that its marriage laws become part of the U.S. Constitution.  There would be no divorce, execution of brides who were not virgins, concubines would be permitted, no non-believer could marry a believer, etc., etc. - The Weekend Australian Magazine, "Because the Bible tells us so," by Phillip Adams, p 11, October 11-12 2003
       [COMMENT: This article exposes part of the problem Christians have had ever since the defeat of the early moves to deny "scriptural authority" to the Judaic Hebrew Scriptures.  It has been like trying to sew new cloth to an old garment. (Matt 9:16, Mark 2:21, Luke 5:36) COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 11-12 03]
    • 2004: Nuns discover low-gluten bread for hosts. United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW, Australia), by Dan Madden, CNS, pp 12-13, May 30, 2004
       UNITED STATES: After more than a decade of trial and error, an order of nuns in the United States has developed an altar bread that is safe for consumption by those with coeliac disease and also complies with canon law's strict guidelines.
       Coeliac disease is a digestive disorder triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and other grains.  When gluten is consumed by coeliac sufferers, it can cause severe damage to the intestines and other complications.
       The Vatican requires Communion wafers to contain some gluten, but no-one had discovered how to make an edible host with a gluten level low enough to be considered safe for coeliac sufferers until the Benedictine sisters in Clyde, Missouri, came up with a recipe just about a year ago. […]
       … Benedictine Sr Jane Heschmeyer kept working, experimenting with recipes and conducting exhaustive research. […]
       Five years ago, Sr Jane gained a study partner … Sr Lynn Marie D'Souza … degree in biomedical science […]
       At one point … working with two different starches … perfect bread … .01 per cent of gluten. […] [Emphasis added]
       [COMMENT: Did the God who made the heavenly spheres really want such detail?  Much ado about nothing. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CONTACT: Level 8, Polding Centre, 133 Liverpool St, Sydney, NSW 2000; Tel 02 9390 5400, Fax 02 9390 5401, E-mail . The Catholic Press Newspaper Company Pty Ltd. ENDS.] [May 30, 04]

    24 A.D. approx.: Adultery and longing for it forbidden: Jesus Christ said: "You have heard that it was said, 'You must not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who keeps looking at a woman so as to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Bible, Matthew 5:28)
    1st Century A.D.: Fornication banned: The New Testament writers forbade fornication, which is understood by many people to be sex between a person and an unmarried person of the opposite sex. Read: The Acts of the Apostles 15:20, 29; 21:25, Romans 1:29, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, 18; 7:2; 2 Cor 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, and Jude 7.
       Homosexual behaviour condemned: The early Christians also forbade homosexual and similar behaviour. Read the Letter to the Romans 1:24-27, which in the original Greek condemned "uncleanness," "bodies dishonoured," "passions of dishonour," "females changed the natural use into the one beside nature," "the males, having left the natural use of the female, became burning with lust toward one another, males in males," calling it "indecency," and "error". In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 it says that many kinds of sinners will not inherit God's kingdom, and the list includes "soft men" (which has been interpreted as being "men kept for unnatural purposes") and "liers with males." Jude verse 7 condemns Sodom and Gomorrah people for going out "after different flesh," which is interpreted as homosexual activity.
       Prostitution forbidden: "… shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh." (1 Cor 6:15-16, Authorised Version, i.e., King James)
       The positive recommended standard was outlined in the early writings: " . . . to avoid fornication every man ought to have his own wife and every woman her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2) Read verses 3 to 5 to gain greater understanding that the authentic early Church, while opposed to incontinence in sexual matters, at the same time wanted married couples to be generous with each other.
       2nd Century A.D. document: The Didache, the oldest existing commentary on the gospels, early second century, commands in item 2.2: "Thou shalt not seduce young boys." (pronounce Didache "di dah KAY".) - adapted from Dr Barry Coldrey's book, Religious Life Without Integrity, 2002, P & B Press, Como (W.A.), page 27.  (A check after the death of Bruce Blyth makes it appear that P & B Press is no longer in business.  Its website used to be: .)
       (Some years after he wrote the above book, Barry Coldrey started a website: http://www. BarryColdrey. com . Checked in 2010)
    Find online Didache translations list through: www. earlychristian didache.html .
       • Compulsory celibacy crept in from the outside [slowly to the Latin-rite clergy at all levels, but earlier for bishops in some Oriental rites], i.e., from antiquated and partly pagan notions such as from the religions of Thebes, Astarte, and Dodona, and the Vestal Virgins of Rome, according to Thomas Lederer 1992 at 1993.html quoting Richard Sipe and David Rice. - Faith Purification Programme, Oct 7, 2002
    Pell not good choice for cardinal. PERTH, W. Australia: Letter to the Catholic Church's official Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano. I respectfully suggest that Dr George Pell be NOT admitted to the College of Cardinals, because:
    • He made erroneous statements about clergy child sex abuse when being videotaped for television's "60 Minutes" on June 2 2002, yet for 10 days denied the truthful statements he had made to that programme,
    • He failed to correct the perception that he had given incorrect information, even after reviewing his own denial and then admission about the parents of the two girls, and after Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby explained around June 3, 2002 that some victims were signing secrecy clauses, and other cases around Australia were being publicised.
    • All along he knew that the Australian Catholic Bishops' document "Towards Healing," saying that confidentiality would not be required from victims, was directly contrary to traditional Church practice and has virtually no status at the Vatican, and is unenforceable in Canon Law,
    • He knew, or ought to have known, that secrecy is at the heart of the policy of sex-abusing clergy being transferred by their superiors, because of the waste of time in holding diocesan trials, with the strong possibility that the Vatican will overturn the expulsion of sinful clergy, and
    • Promotion will be perceived as approval of the Church's traditional sex-abuse practices that have harmed so many thousands of lives, plus the officially sanctioned secrecy and dishonesty.
       I'll pray for the Pope to get well soon.. - "Pell not good choice for cardinal" letter, Oct 11 2003
    Why promote leaders who paid parents not to prosecute? PERTH: Letter to traditional Catholic Church magazine AD2000, Melbourne: Has anyone thought, "What might have been" in relation to Michael Charles Glennon, 59, Australia's "sex monster" who around October 10 to 13 was being attacked in the Victorian and some other States' news media?
       Are we still promoting the monsignors and bishops who were telling parents of his victims in Victoria not to tell the police or anybody else, and who were offering them $20,000 to $50,000 compensation, which included a silence clause?
       One name, publicised last year on television, springs immediately to my mind. Do readers have other names to share? . . .
       But, "what if," when the bishops first learnt that he was sexually-abusing children, they had tried hard to break through the Vatican "red tape" and dismiss him from the priesthood?
       And "what if" the decent 90% of clergy from high to low had encouraged the victims and their parents to go to the police, so that he would be prosecuted and gaoled, thus being removed from the areas of temptation for a time?
       Isn't it possible Glennon might not have wasted years (not to mention public funds), in and out of courts and prisons? He has been let down by those supposed to lead him. . . . - "Why promote leaders who paid parents not to prosecute?" letter, Oct 14, 2003
    Transgender Scriptures! PERTH, W. Australia: This can serve as an open letter to the Catholic Church dignitaries I have addressed regarding a simple Scripture question I first raised by letter on April 22, 2003, with the premier Australian Archbishop, Most Rev. Dr George Pell (about to be made a cardinal), and continuing up and down the hierarchy.
       Sex change operation? In Genesis 3:15, the Catholic bible translations say:
       "15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." (Catholic Douay)
       The correct translations from the Hebrew are "he" and "his."
       None of the answers, from Apostolic Nuncio in Sydney to local parish priest, admitted that a misleading change had been made, leading to the innovative doctrine, with sermons, pictures and statues, of Mary trampling on the serpent's neck, and the serpent trying to strike her heel.  . . .
       How can we can expect the world community to take us seriously when we pontificate against homosexual ordinations and "marriages", contraception, and celibacy, but we can't even separate the He's from the She's in scripture?
       Trinity trick: A whole Greek manuscript was forged in England around 1520, with an "inserted" verse, to induce the great Continental scripture scholar and debunker Erasmus Desiderius (1466-1536) to insert a bogus verse, which had been unheard of before about 800, in his third edition Greek Bible. It is in the 1st Epistle of John, 5:7:-
       "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one."
       This trick, in the Latin, could not deceive the Eastern Churches; but because of this bogus Greek "manuscript" deceiving Erasmus, the forged verse has been printed in Protestant (as well as Catholic) Bibles to this day! - "Transgender Scriptures!" Letter to Catholic Church international newspaper Osservatore Romano as an Open Letter through the chain of comand from the local Parish Priest to the Pope, Oct 16, 2003


    • 1926: Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless. To receive a free zip copy e-mail . An exposition, see , of the fables and mythology of Christian scripture scholars, and of the impostures of theology, By Joseph Wheless, 2nd revised edition, of 1926

    • 1990: Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: From Nicea I to Vatican II book, Norman P. Tanner (Editor).
       Some facts that might be found:
    Council of Nicæa, A. D. 325
    Canon 1. Self-mutilation incompatible with clerical office.
    Canon 3. 'Sub-introduced' women not to dwell with clerics.
    Canon 17. Clerics are forbidden to take interest or devise other schemes of dishonest profit. Schroeder tells us the bishops were demanding 50% interest.
    Council of Constantinople, A. D. 381
    Canon 6. On accusation against bishops. Due to the growing number of accusations of evil doings directed toward the ruling bishops by the general populace, certain rules were instituted for the purpose of suppressing truth.
    Council of Chalcedon, A. D. 451
       Canon 2. Against simoniacal ordinations The Dominican Schroeder informs us, "When over and above the ecclesiastical power, the bishops began to exercise also considerable civil power in the community, a power that increased rather than diminished with subsequent centuries, the way was opened for the worst kind of ecclesiastical venality and intrigue."
       Canon 3. No bishop, cleric or monk shall engage in secular business. Schroeder quotes Cyprian: "Many bishops … abandon their Churches, desert their people, and wander up and down through foreign provinces scanning the markets for profitable merchandise ; while their brethren in the Church hunger, they covet money in abundance, seizing lands by deceit and fraudulent practices and increasing their capital by compound interest." [De lapsis, 6].
       Canon 4. Against disorderly conduct in monks. Promiscuity is denounced to those religious who, rather than "embrace a quiet life and attend to fasting and prayer only," continue to attend those places, in secrecy, which they publicly renounced. - and on and on - (Extracts from various books on Church ecumenical councils, by courtesy of an article by Rand Windburn on Iconbusters webpage
       Review of the Tanner book Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: Mike, Doctoral student studying theology, July 25, 2002, 5 out of 5 stars: One of the best collections for any scholar.
       These two volumes represent one of the best collections of the ecumenical documents of the Church from the first councils to the present day.
       Having a critical edition of the works has been long overdue and this is truly one of the best. I can recommend this to any scholar from the beginner to the established scholar.
       The introductions are informative and the source documentation is very valuable. A bit pricey but well worth it.
       Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils: From Nicea I to Vatican II, Norman P. Tanner (Editor). ISBN: 0878404902, Hardcover, 2498pp, Pub. Date: July 1990, Publisher: Georgetown University Press, Barnes & Noble Sales Rank: 167,079, New Book Price: $US 175.00

       See also: Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, by Rev. H. J. Schroeder, O. P.; [St. Louis, MO and London: B. Herder Book Co., 1937]; and Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, Vol. IV., Canons and Creeds of the First Four General Councils, [Philadelphia: University of PA Press, circa 1900.] [For a mere skeleton of all Church "ecumenical" councils, visit]. Tanner book published: July 1990
    Church paper repudiates work of pro-freedom union leaders, and martyrs to Marxism and Islamic extremism. Sep 25, 2003
       PERTH: Now I've seen it all! Anti-Communism in the 1950s was hysteria, and the Muslims could be our best friends for family-friendly policies! Your last issue had it all!
       Presumably the martyr-like figures of Archbishops Stepinac and Mindzenty and the Rev. Richard Wurmbrand were wrong.  …
       Also, presumably, the women being stoned to death for nothing, the people being martyred, and churches being blown up, by Islamic zealots, don't exist, and any canonisations being considered ought to be dropped! …
       Do we really have to re-educate the faithful about godless materialism and paganism? - The Record Catholic newspaper, Perth, "Now I've seen it all," letter, p 11, Sep 25, 2003
    • Celibacy Pledge; Child Abuse; Only by restoring, defending revealed truths, upholding natural law … UNITED STATES: More than 600 US Catholic clergy publicly stood behind their promise of celibacy early in September in the wake of a letter by some Milwaukee priests who asked that celibacy be optional.
       Members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy wrote their own letter (see to Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the US episcopate, after the Milwaukee petition made headlines. The Milwaukee letter was backed by 163 priests. […]
       Confraternity president Fr John Trigilio wrote: "Optional celibacy is not the answer, nor is it the panacea; it is a placebo. […] Bad theology, bad liturgy and bad morality have done the damage and … need to be excised."
       … "Only by restoring the sacred, by defending the revealed truths and by upholding the natural moral law can we achieve any victory over the current crisis of faith now affecting the Church." - The Record Catholic newspaper, Perth, "Celibacy pledged," Zenit, Sep 25 2003, p 2
       [COMMENT: But, with the quantity of spurious (that means "untrue" or "non-genuine" or "not real") scripture additions and changes, might we ask what exactly are "the revealed truths" he wants the Church members and leaders to defend? The Church authorities won't even retract their falsified Bibles that they've been issuing for centuries, so how can ordinary people discover the mind of Jesus? What would be a prudent policy? - Religion Clarity Campaign, 22 Oct 03. COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 25 03]

    • Cardinal-elect questions Church stance on controversial issues. ABERDEEN, Scotland, Oct. 01, 2003 ( Archbishop Keith O'Brien of St. Andrews-Edinburgh, Scotland, who was named by Pope John Paul II (bio - news ) to become a cardinal, used a Mass of thanksgiving as an occasion to question Church teaching and discipline regarding contraception, homosexuality, and clerical celibacy.
       Archbishop O'Brien, who is to become only the third Scottish cardinal since the Reformation, said that the Church should re-examine her teaching regarding contraception.
       He said that he assumed a large number of Catholic priests are homosexual, and is not troubled by that fact if they maintain their vows of celibacy.
       But he also questioned whether the discipline of priestly celibacy is necessary, pointing out that "throughout the world there are married priests and in England there are a number of converts from Anglicanism who are married and who became Roman Catholic priests."
       The archbishop's public statements - delivered just one day after the announcement that he would soon receive a cardinal's red hat - stood in sharp contrast to the stands taken by the late Cardinal Thomas Winning, Scotland's most recent representative in the College of Cardinals. They also contrasted with the stated views of Scotland's other leading prelate, Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow.
       A spokesman for the Glasgow archdiocese declined to comment on the statements by Cardinal-elect O'Brien, but announced that Archbishop Conti would release his own public statement this coming Sunday, underlining his own "more traditionally Catholic" teachings regarding marriage.
       - Catholic World News, online, "Cardinal-elect questions Church stance on controversial issues," news/viewstory. cfm?recnum =25029 , Oct 1, 2003
    • [Reverting to male-dominant language in Catholic formal divine service books.] VATICAN CITY: Amidst the packed schedule of celebrations in Rome during the week of the papal jubilee, a vital gathering went virtually unnoticed.
       On 23 October all the presidents of the English-speaking bishops' conferences met at the Vatican to discuss the vexed issue of translating liturgical texts.
       Participants spoke afterwards of their relief that work can now proceed on a new translation after years of unsightly wrangling. The "show is now back on the road", in the words of the coadjutor Bishop of Leeds, Arthur Roche, who is president of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, ICEL.
       . . . Soon after he was appointed as ICEL executive secretary, Fr Bruce Harbert - a patristics Latin scholar rather than a trained liturgist - told this paper that he wanted to see a more "elevated" and "sacral" translation which "moves the reader towards the original rather than the original towards the reader".
       One consequence would be to render the Latin homines as "man" or "men" rather than to take the more gender-inclusive options which are now preferred by the media and contemporary linguistic scholarship.   […] - The Tablet, independent British Catholic paper, "Progress on liturgy - at a cost," www.thetablet. archive_db.cgi ?tablet-00799 , Saturday, November 1, 2003
    • Conception shepherds, or should they care for sex-abuse victims? PERTH: The Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Perth, disputing about whether human life begins at conception or 14 days after, remind me of the mediaeval disputes about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.
       A more down-to-earth consideration is how are those two Churches going to compensate sex-abuse victims of brothers and clergy.
       And how explain the continued exposure, such as about the Hobart Catholics this week, [of] institutions that early leaders called to be "holy and unspotted".
       (The internet and national media reveal these grubby dealings, including an admission that a previous public statement about a Monsignor [sic] was untrue, even if local news media don't have space to publish them all.)
       REFERENCE: The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, "Doyle fears plot on job," ( www.themercury. common/story_ page/0,5936, 7773795% 255E921,00. html ) By Ellen Whinnett, Chief Reporter, Nov 5, 2003 (By courtesy of: Broken Rites and Poynter Abuse Tracker)
       - Sent to The Sunday Times, "Conception shepherds, or should they care for sex-abuse victims?" UNPUBLISHED letter sent Nov 7 03
    • [Exact moment of conception defined - but wrong on Galileo for centuries.] WEST PERTH, Western Australia: With the Catholic Church now declaring the exact moment at which a fertilised egg [ovum] becomes a human being, it is worth examining how qualified the Church is to make such a claim.
       It has urged us to believe in virgin birth, creation of the world in seven days, walking on water, turning water into wine and returning from the dead. This amounts to a D minus on a science report card.
       I must concede that in 1991, only 400 years [sic] after Galileo, the Vatican officially accepted his evidence that the Earth revolves around the Sun. - The West Australian, "Galileo vindicated," letter from Chris Bond of West Perth, p 19, Mon Nov 10 03
       [COMMENT: Galileo lived 1564-1642, and was condemned by the Inquisition, but saved his life by outwardly recanting. The Anglican Archbishop of Perth (Very Rev Dr Carnley) got into print first, solemnly telling us that human existence begins 14 days after conception (or something). Next day the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth (Most Rev Barry Hickey) was reported as saying that the foetus was human from the very moment of conception.
       Although readers might not know it, there is a Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Perth, and there might be other archbishops there. Here's a tip to them - keep out of the argument. The early Christians argued about it, proving they had no "Jesus teaching" to guide them, so there was no divine help there.
       The two religions who have already spoken have a poor record of not stopping their own clergy from sexually abusing children, youths, and women, and have a set practice of hiding and promoting such clergy, and not reporting them to the police.
       The Hobart R.C. Archbishop is at the moment fighting to hang on to his job because of such practices being revealed to public gaze. - Religion Clarity Campaign, Nov 11 03. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 10, 03]

    • No right to judge us. PERTH: As an IVF patient of 10 years I would like to respond to the letters about when life begins (7/11). Thank you, Dr Carnley, your speech gave IVF patients like me great comfort in what is one of the most stressful times that a couple can experience.
       As a carrier of muscular dystrophy who underwent four terminations of infected boys I also took great comfort in the words of Pope John Paul II in May 1981 in reference to testing 12-week-old foetuses. He said: " . . . that for such a serious disease every mother should act according to her conscience and that the church had decided many years before to sanction the course of least harm in unhappy circumstances such as these."
       I am disgusted that in 2003 we are still defending our rights to make informed choices . . . These embryos belong to us
       . . . future … medical treatment … feel free … to choose not to have that treatment. - The West Australian, "No right to judge us," letter from Sonja Jenkins, Woodlands, p 22, Thur Nov 13 03.
    • [Only God knows about homosexuality.] PERTH: Finally, a voice of reason in the midst of a cacophony of emotion and innuendo about homosexuality and the Church. Gavin Simpson [the paper's religion writer] spoke the truth in reminding us that we are fickle human beings when it comes to our interpretation of what God thinks (God willing? Weekend Extra, 8/11).  . . .
       Whether or not homosexual behaviour offends God more than adultery, or greed, pride, arrogance or any other human condition, is for God alone to know.
       . . . We should spend the greatest energy in loving our neighbour as we do ourselves. - The West Australian, "Only God knows," letter from Steve Broadway, Dianella, p 23, Thur Nov 13 03.
    • [Human embryos and Galileo.] PERTH:
       Well done, Chris Bond (10/11) who wrote that the Catholic Church's sad mistake with Galileo makes it unqualified to offer opinions on the exact moment at which a fertilised egg becomes a human being.
       If both the Catholic and Anglican archbishops, who gave conflicting views, want to give advice about sexual matters, perhaps they ought to ensure they aren't hiding and promoting sex-abusing clergy, and denying they are doing so.
       Two notable leaders of their Churches were doing so in 2002, and one is fighting for his career in Hobart right now.
       LETTER AS PUBLISHED Nov 13 2003
       WELL done, Chris Bond (Galileo vindicated, 10/11) who wrote that the Catholic Church's sad mistake with Galileo makes it unqualified to offer opinions on the exact moment at which a fertilised egg becomes a human being.
       If the Catholic and Anglican archbishops, who gave conflicting views, want to give advice about sexual matters, perhaps they ought to remember that two notable leaders of their Churches were denying knowledge of sex-abusing clergy in 2002, and one is fighting for his career in Hobart. - The West Australian, "I agree," letter, p 23, Thur Nov 13 03.
    [MORE INFORMATION (Not published): The government inquiry in Ireland is moving to Britain to take evidence. Malta and the Philippines clergy are in turmoil as the secrecy barrier breaks down. ENDS.]
    Neither repentance nor scholarship in Church leaders' responses about Bible. AUSTRALIA: Church leaders challenged since April 2003 about contradictory translations of Genesis 3:15 gave four conflicting answers, with no expression of regret for centuries of wrong teaching, including sermons, pictures and statues of Mary treading on a serpent, and quotations in religious teaching books.
       When given more documentation and other examples, including the fictitious verse 1 John 5:7, ("For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.") not one responded. (The letter implied that this verse found its way also into the Church of England's King James Version because of centuries-long fraud in certain circles of the Catholic Church before the C. of E. was formed.) The Catholic Church's head office did not reply at all.
       The writer wonders whether the ease with which Church leaders dissemble and lie about clergy child sex and other abuse is related to a kind of split personality developed through learning, while in seminaries, that Bible translations are contradictory, that various hands other than the supposed authors have contributed to most of the various books, and that spurious additions and false changes have been made for centuries. (He did not quote the worrying "lying pen of the scribes" verse, Jeremiah 8:8)
       The reference notes provide a brief introductory "reading course" for those interested in the falsification of Scripture, and a key document or two about the entrenched dishonest denial of clergy child abuse.
       The writer ends with a call to public repentance and retraction prayers in churches at weekends. - Religion Clarity Campaign, Australia, Nov 21 03
    • An Open Letter To The Hierarchy Of The Roman Catholic Church Regarding The Pastoral Care Of Gay And Lesbian Persons. Posted January 5, 2004
       CHICAGO, Illinois, USA:
    National Catholic Reporter , The Independent Newsweekly, USA; ,
    Posted January 5, 2004

       As Catholic pastors, we have become increasingly disturbed by the tone and, in some cases, content of documents and statements from the Vatican, bishops' conferences and individual bishops on issues categorized under the heading of "homosexual" or "gay/lesbian." We respect the teaching authority of the Church. Because of this, we find particularly troubling the increase in the use of violent and abusive language directed at any human person. Such language is inappropriate. This is especially so when addressing members of the community of the faithful. These divisive and exclusionary statements from the Church are contrary to sound pastoral practice.
       The life journey in faith is unique and sacred, including the personal integration of sexuality and spirituality. Condemnations leveled at sincere Catholics attempting to make sense out of their journey are inappropriate and pastorally destructive.
       As priests and pastors we are speaking out to make clear that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters are all members of God's family, brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and deserving of the same dignity and respect owed any human being. Recognition of the inalienable dignity of the human person is the only path toward justice and reconciliation. We affirm the goodness of all homosexual persons. We root ourselves in the U.S. Bishops' statement "Always Our Children." Additionally, we re-affirm the understanding of the goodness of the human person as put forth throughout the papacy of Pope John Paul II. Further, we want to state clearly that ministering to and with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters is mutually beneficial, as is all ministerial activity. Pre-judging where any believer's journey will take them is inappropriate. Walking with them, as we do with our heterosexual brothers and sisters, is the appropriate Christian response.
       In the recent past, individual bishops, bishops' conferences and the Vatican have assumed a tone of such violence and abusiveness toward these sons and daughters of the Church, we can no longer remain silent. Has any other group of people within the Body of Christ been so assaulted and violated by such mean-spirited language? Examples from the most recent Vatican document show all too clearly the demonization of these children of God, referring to homosexuality as a "troubling moral and social phenomenon," "a serious depravity," "the spread of the phenomenon," "approval or legalization of evil," "grave detriment to the common good," "harmful to the proper development of human society," "intrinsically disordered." Does anyone consider this vile and toxic language invitational?
       For many gay and lesbian Catholics, this most recent series of attacks has forced them, out of self-respect and self-love, to withdraw from active participation in the Church and question how they can remain members of a Church they experience as abusive. It is not possible to minister to and with the needs of our homosexual brothers and sisters with language of this tone as a foundation.
       The Catholic Church is most catholic when it is inclusive and embracing, and least reflective of the gospel of Jesus when it is exclusive and rigid. For this reason, we also want to affirm the many pastoral and positive statements by certain bishops and bishops' conferences (e.g. "Always Our Children").
       The Church's theology, including her moral teaching, is always in dialogue with the broader lived experience of her members, which shapes and rearticulates the ancient deposit of faith. We encourage a new atmosphere of openness to dialogue which includes the lived experience of many Catholic members. We recognize the blessings of countless homosexuals in a variety of relationships. We believe their experiences must be listened to respectfully.
       While we do not know the reasons for the increasingly violent and abusive language, we deplore it as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ and ask that it stop immediately. Furthermore, we request that all those in official positions of teaching authority in the Church refrain from any more statements directed AT the gay and lesbian members of the Body of Christ, and instead begin an earnest dialogue WITH those same members of the Body of Christ.
       For our part, we pledge to treat all who seek to continue their faith journey with us with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation.
       We join the countless men and women, heterosexual and homosexual, who seek justice, mercy and compassion in and through the Catholic Church.
       We extend an invitation to all who share our concern to duplicate this letter, sign it, and send it to their pastor, local bishop, National Bishops' Conference or the Vatican.

    (Parish names are listed for identification purposes only.)
    Rev. David Baldwin, St. Benedict the African-East, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Daniel Cassidy, St. Mark, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Dennis Condon, St. Marcelline, Schaumburg, IL
    Rev. Lloyd Cunningham, S.V.D., Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Nicholas Desmond, St. Aloysius, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Brian Fischer, St. Gregory the Great, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Donald Headley, St. Mary of the Woods, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Robert P. Heinz, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Prospect Heights, IL
    Rev. Michael Herman, St. Sylvester, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Thomas Hickey, St. Clement, Chicago, IL
    Rev. John Hoffman, St. Teresa of Avila, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Richard Homa, Sacred Heart, Palos Hills, IL
    Rev. Terry Johnson, St. Francis Xavier, LaGrange, IL
    Rev. Patrick Lee, Immaculate Conception, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Robert McLaughlin, Mary Seat of Wisdom, Park Ridge, IL
    Rev. Dennis O'Neill, St. Martha, Morton Grove, IL
    Rev. Thomas Pelton, Maternity BVM, Chicago, IL
    Rev. Richard Prendergast, St. Mary of Celle, Berwyn, IL
    Rev. Michael Shanahan, St. Mark, Chicago, IL
    Rev. William J. Stenzel, St. Francis Xavier, LaGrange, IL
    Rev. Patrick Tucker, St. Bernardine, Forest Park, IL
    Rev. Daniel Whiteside, St. Catherine of Siena/St. Lucy, Oak Park, IL
    Rev. Bart Winters, St. Gregory the Great, Chicago, IL
    Distributed by: Religion Clarity Campaign,
    with no endorsement of the views expressed therein
       [COMMENT: Religion Clarity Campaign publishes the above so that the public, who might not otherwise obtain this news, will know what is happening. The New Testament, as we now have it, seems to oppose homosexual and lesbian sex, as shown elsewhere on this website. However, as is shown elsewhere in the Religion Clarity Campaign section, there are so many important additions, changes, mistranslations, and unworthy interpretations, of both Old (see Jeremiah 8:8, read N.Carter 1985) and New (read Origen, and B.M. Metzger 1992 et al) Testaments, that pronouncements about these matters might be best carried on in a temperate manner. Copying this "open letter" here ought not to imply an endorsement of the views expressed by these clergymen. - Religion Clarity Campaign, Jan 23, 2004. COMMENT ENDS.] [Posted Jan 5, 04]

    • Cardinal's second cousin, former nun, takes lesbian stance, .
       CathNews (Australia), "Cardinal's cousin, former nun, takes gay stance," www.cathnews. com/news/ 401/50.php , Monday, Jan 12, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: The main religious news story in Australia this morning concerns an open letter to Cardinal Pell from his second cousin, Monica Hingston, critical of the Church's position on gays.
       A response from Dr Pell has been obtained by the media and is published also. The issue is drawing headlines because of her relationship to the Cardinal, because she is a former religious sister, as well as because of the innate controversial aspects of this issue in the Churches at the moment.
       The subject of sex was also the focus of attention on the ABC's prime religious affairs television program on Sunday night. Entitled "The Trouble with Sex" the program was principally a panel discussion on the challenges facing the churches because of changing lay expectations and mores concerning human sexuality.
       SOURCE: The Age - Pell cousin takes issue on gay stance, articles/2004/01/11/ 1073769452833. html
       LINK: The Open Letter
    SMH - Cry from the heart by a cardinal's cousin articles/2004/ 01/11/ 1073769 454887. html
    West Australian - Challenge to Pell by lesbian cousin 20040112/news/general/ tw-news-general-home- sto118282.html
    CathNews story from last Friday - U.S. priests protest to hierarchy on Church language against gays news/401/43.php
    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Considerations regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (English official text) roman_curia/congregations /cfaith/documents/ rc_con_cfaith_doc_ 20030731_homosexual- unions_en.html
    ABC Television, Compass - The trouble with sex compass/s1023992.htm
       (Illustration is that used by the SMH for its story with the caption: "On one level, he's a personable and caring sort of man" . . . Cardinal Pell's cousin, Monica Hingston, left, with her partner, Peg Moran, in Torquay. Photo: Shaney Balcombe.) [Jan 12, 04]
    • Bible forgery quoted to oppose lesbianism. From Faith Purification Programme, Australia, January 12, 2004:
       AUSTRALIA: In defending the traditional Catholic opposition to lesbianism (women in same-gender love affairs), Cardinal George Pell has blundered (news report 12/1). [1]
       He quoted the well-loved story of the "Woman Taken in Adultery" whom a Judean group wanted to execute, which includes "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone," "Neither do I condemn you," and "Go and sin no more", supposedly in John's gospel 8:1-11, but the story is one of several bible forgeries.
       This has been known for hundreds of years. Knox's 1945 Catholic translation warned of it (NT page 96), and the Good News Bible 1966 translators noted that this incident does not appear in several good Greek manuscripts and early translations, and in others it can appear at any of three locations in John, and even after Luke 21:38 (1976 ed., page 129). Multiplicity of locations is an almost certain sign of an "addition". [2]
       Once the forgery is known, a little reflection about how Jesus supposedly saved the woman from execution, leads to asking how the same gospel at 18:31, in relating Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate, could contain these words: "Pilate said therefore to them Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law. The Jews said to him It is not lawful for us to execute anyone .[3]" [4]
       To oppose lesbianism, Christian leaders perhaps could quote Romans 1:26 or 27 " … their women changed the natural use into the one beside nature …" Then, if we decide what behaviour is "sin," there is a "go and sin no more" line to use at John 5:14.
       Cardinal Pell ought to concentrate more on eradicating the causes of child abuse among his own sex-starved clergy, one of whom, during the trial of Father John Barry Gwillim, 71, of Coburg, Victoria, said in December it was an "occupational hazard." [5] He received a suspended sentence of two years and eight months on nine charges. [6]
       In January it was revealed that a Queensland priest, Michael Joseph McArdle, wrote in an affidavit that he went to confession to other priests countless times, telling them he was a child abuser, but was told to go home and pray. Fr McArdle says he was twice summoned by different Catholic bishops but was simply moved to another parish after allegations arose. [7]
       McArdle is serving a six year prison term on more than 60 child abuse charges. [8]
       Surely a genuine Christian child protection policy would have seen Fr McArdle counselled to surrender himself to the police, and to leave the "celibate" priesthood, before the harm he did warranted a long prison sentence.
    (1.) The West Australian, "Lesbian cousin defies Cardinal," The Age, page 1, Mon Jan 12, 2004
    (2.) John 8:1-11 and 7:53: See also The New Jerusalem Bible, RC version, Notes ©1990, footnote page 1254
    (3.) John 18:31: "anyone": The Douay and King James translators used "any man" instead of "anyone," presumably to quell students' dissent about this contradiction - the "woman" was not a "man," you see, if you argue like a theologian - but they can't fool anyone who studies a good concordance giving the meanings of the original Greek words.
    (4.) John 18:31: See New Jerusalem Bible (NJB), 1990 ed., p 1268, and, Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT), 1969, International Bible Students, Brooklyn, New York, p 517.
    (5.) Herald Sun, Melbourne, "Catholic priest blames celibacy for assault," www.heraldsun. common/story_ page/0,5478,8105583% 255E662,00.html , Dec 9, 2003
    (6.) Catholic News, "Melbourne priest freed on sex assault charges," www.cathnews. com/news/312/ 92.php , and, Herald Sun, "No jail time for priest, 71," www.heraldsun. common/story_ page/0,5478, 8174343%255E2862, 00.html , by Philip Cullen, Dec 16, 2003,
    (7.) The Sunday Mail, Australia, "Go home and pray," by Chris Taylor, Jan 11, 2004, www.thesundaymail. story_page/0, 5936,8365148% 255E902,00.html , A priest who confessed his child abuse every week or fortnight for years was just told to go home and pray, an affidavit just reported says.
    (8.) Australian Broadcasting Corportion (ABC), "Bishop involved in abuse mediation," au/westqld/ news/200312/s 1013451.htm, Friday, December 19 2003.
       - issued by Faith Purification Programme, Australia, Jan 12, 2004.
    • The Dysfunctional Church exposed in a friar's 1991 book.
       The Dysfunctional Church; Addiction and codependency in the family of Catholicism, by Michael H. Crosby, 1991, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. (bought Jan 22, 2004)
       UNITED STATES: In this book the Rev. Michael Crosby argues that the Roman Catholic Church is dysfunctional because it is addicted to power and control plus the unmarried clergy method of working. Using modern writers' theories as a framework, he then uses parts of St Matthew's Gospel as a corrective.
       [On p 43 he mentions the Jewish war of liberation of 66 to 70 AD which finally was overcome, but he does not seem to know of the authoritative age-old rabbinical colleges in Babylon, which actually continued for about another 1000 years.]
       Some extracts:
       It is my contention that the "deadly disease" undermining the church in our day is the addiction of the papacy and its extension in the hierarchy to the preservation of the male, celibate, clerical model of the church.  … disease … progressive … addiction … codependency … (p 7-8)
       [He discusses on pages 50-51 the contrast between the authoritarian model of the Christian community proposed in Matthew's Gospel chapter 16 (like the present-day RC Church), and the collegial and affirmation model that seems to be implied in chapter 18.] (pp 50-51)
       [He discusses the way the early Christian community made decisions by consensus after conferring with members, citing The Acts 15:1-29 and Galatians 2:1-10] (p 66)
       [COMMENT: Did Fr Crosby also know of this text, that suggests the early Christians had a non-dictatorial co-operative method of working? In The Acts 8:14 we read: "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them". COMMENT ENDS.]

       Despite Rome's increasing efforts to control the election of bishops, as late as 1829 popes appointed only a limited number of bishops outside the papal states. Two principal methods of choosing candidates for the episcopacy [rank of bishop] were election by cathedral chapters and royal or imperial patronage. (p 73)
       Adolph Guggenbühl-Craig has noted that people often enter the helping professions to control others. This can be especially true of clerics. "The power drive is given freest reign when it can appear under the guise of moral rectitude and good." 35 (p 89)
    [ENDNOTE] Ch 5, 35. Adolph Guggenbühl-Craig, Power in the Helping Professions, trans. Myron Gubitz (Dallas: Spring Publications, 1986), p. 18 (p 246)
       First of all there is a no-talk rule. Silence and secrecy characterize curial transactions. (p 102) ["Curial" means relating to the Curia, i.e., the Church's bureaucracy.]
       Besides a no-talk rule, there is a don't-feel rule, especially in terms of sexuality.  … sublimate … even more if, … homosexual orientation … loneliness … (p 102)
       Yet church leaders seem obsessed with leaving the impression that papal teachings never change. A good case in point is the way papal social teachings adapt to changes in the culture. For instance … Pope Pius X condemned … cooperatives … declared: "It is in accordance with the pattern established by God that human society should have rulers and subjects, employers and employees, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, nobles and common people." 16 Today cooperatives are praised.(p 103)
    [ENDNOTE] Ch. 6, 16. Pope Pius X, Motu proprio: Fin dalla prima, December 18, 1903 Acta Sanctae Sedis 36 (1903-04), p. 341 (p 247)
       At one particularly difficult meeting of our [Capuchin Franciscans] General curia with a major official … one councillor after another presented theological, historical, textual, conciliar and other reasons why we should not put in our Constitutions the statement that we are a clerical order. The only response from the official was "You're going to be a tough group to convince." (pp 103-4)
       In 1963 Pope John XXIII … birth control question … Paul VI … just over twenty percent of the members agreed with the traditional teaching [banning artificial birth control]. Despite this overwhelming opposition … on July 29, 1968, Humanae Vitae reiterated the traditional stance … (p 104)
       … large percentages of gay men in seminaries and the clerical state. North American data suggests that among the clergy at least thirty percent are homosexual in their orientation. 21 (p 107)
    [ENDNOTE] 21. The Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy (Winter Commission Report) (St. John's, Newfoundland: Archdiocese of St. John's, 1990), pp. 35-36. See also, James G. Wolf, Gay Priests. (San Francisco, Harper & Rowe, 1989). (p 247)
       Another public manifestation of confusion around sexual roles of celibates, especially in Canada and various parts of the United States, is found in the highly publicized indictments and convictions of priests for the sexual abuse of children.
       … the Canadian Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Sexual Abuse of Children by Members of the Clergy (the "Winter Commission Report") … clergy … deviant behaviour. 22 … factors of power abuse related to the church "had a direct bearing on the occurrence of child abuse by priests of the Archdiocese." In Newfoundland clerical power had reached "a position of nearly absolute authority in everyday life." 23 "A patriarchal (adult-male dominated) system has been reinforced by the authoritarian Roman Catholic church.  … they provided a strong cultural and social support for oppression, where one person or group dominates those without power. 24  … the Archdiocesan leadership did, in fact, have knowledge, since the mid-1970s, of deviant or sexually inappropriate behaviour among some Roman Catholic clergy in this Archdiocese. This was long before the victims publicly disclosed that they had been abused as children. 25 " (p 108)
    22. The Winter Commission, p. 1
    23. Ibid, p. 13
    24. Ibid, p. 2
    25. Ibid.
    (p 247)

       … they "denied the problems." 26 Denial is at the heart of the patriarchal clerical system, which is self-destructing (at least in North America) because of the addiction to the preservation of a male celibate clergy. (p 109)
    [ENDNOTE] 26. Ibid (p 247)
       [In the Capuchin Franciscan novitiate] In the name of being mindful of the passion [sufferings and death] of Jesus we "took the discipline" - a thrice-weekly practice of beating our bare behinds with a chain as we recited the penitential psalms. While I know now that this was physical abuse forced on us by the institution, I never questioned it. However, the abuse I did know I was experiencing - emotional and psychological pain - came from one of the superiors. But this was one of the things we didn't talk about.
       I know now that this man abused and invaded our sexual boundaries with his persistent questions about our practice or non-practice of celibacy before and during novitiate. (p 170)
       … it seems issues related to sex and the role of laypeople, and especially women, are the real obsessions of the present pope. (p 229)
       And, from back cover:
       The Dysfunctional Church maintains that
    • The Catholic Church is an addict, an institutional addict.
    • It's addicted to preserving the male, celibate, clerical model of the church.
    • Many Catholics exhibit patterns of codependency which reinforce this addiction.
    • The result is a dysfunctional church unable to confront a problem many members know is there.
       Michael Crosby breaks the silence to talk openly about the abuse of authority in the Catholic Church. He does this in a way that offers comfort, hope and challenge to the frustrated but caring members of its family.  . . .
       The Dysfunctional Church is a clear, loving and unequivocal intervention. The author calls on church leaders and all other codependents in the church to face their addiction and seek recovery through spiritual conversion. Acknowledging that he himself is a recovering codependent, he invites us all to turn to God to fill the "hole" in our wholeness.  …
       Michael H. Crosby is a member of the Midwest Province of the Capuchin Franciscans [which the pope's underlings had been ordering to change from its historical brotherhood status to be "clerics"]. He is in wide demand as a speaker and retreat leader. Other books include The Spirituality of the Beatitudes and House of Discipline. He is a Master of Economics and Doctor of Theology.
       The Dysfunctional Church; Addiction and codependency in the family of Catholicism, by Michael H. CROSBY, 1991, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana; 256 pp, 15 x 22.5 cm (6 x 9 inches), soft covers, no index, endnotes (chapter by chapter), International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 0-87793-455-x (pbk.), Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 91-71250
    (bought Jan 22 2004) Comments typed Jan 24-25 2004

    • [Another view about naughtiness of child behaviour.]
       The Record, Perth RC weekly, "Another view," letter from Mrs C.V.Phillips, p 7, January 22, 2004
       PERTH: The Record of the 8th Jan, 2004 has another excellent Editorial, but I must disagree with it, in part, where the author essentially states that children are good, and should never be told that they are bad or naughty.
       Whilst I agree that young children cannot be bad, they can be naughty. This means that they misbehave. The Oxford Compact English Dictionary defines naughty as "(especially of a child) disobedient; badly behaved", an excellent working definition.
       From the age of about two or three years, children test the limits of the boundaries set for them. They are quite capable of learning what to do and what not to do, even though they are not making fully informed moral choices. Children can hardly be expected to know right from wrong at about the age of seven (the 'age of reason') unless in the previous years they have been taught when something is actually wrong.
       This is usually done by being told, "No, naughty!" if they misbehave. Sometimes a smack is required, especially when the behaviour is potentially dangerous, such as touching the stove or running onto the road.
       Yes, babies cannot be naughty, and yes, praise and encouragement should be used abundantly, but even very young children can, and must, learn right from wrong behaviour. This can be quite appropriately achieved by the judicious use of the words "no", "naughty", "don't touch", etc.
       Ed: The point of the editorial was that any sense of naughtiness or badness must be attached to the behaviour, not the child. Speak of what's wrong with that, not what's wrong with the child. [Jan 22, 04]
    Pronouns in Genesis not altered by missing Latin word stirps, and can't affect the original which was in Hebrew
       "Pronouns in Genesis not altered by missing word stirps,"
       Letter to Archbishop Francesco Canalini, H. E. The Apostolic Nuncio, PO Box 3633, Manuka, (Canberra) ACT, Australia, February 3, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: It was with disbelief I studied the Latin Vulgate, Genesis chapter 3, and was unable to trace the Latin word stirps that you had quoted in your 25th August 2003 letter as the reason that the pronoun "he" changed to "she" in the Latin Rite's Genesis 3:15. … Again I request that you study this matter, and obtain an answer to my questions. Who, what, when, where, and why was this heretical translation made? … (The Latin Vulgate, according to an internet version, reads for Gen 3:15: "15 inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem et semen tuum et semen illius ipsa conteret caput tuum et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius") In a background section, a fact that was new to the writer was uncovered:    The RC Confraternity Bible, U.S., 1953, uses the masculine pronoun "he" and the term "his heel". (This was quoted to demonstrate that for centuries the meanings of the Hebrew originals have been known to be masculine, but the RC leadership stubbornly refused to correct their official bible, the Latin Vulgate.) All four RC levels that did reply eventually in 2003 did not reply to the return letters demolishing their differing responses. Pray for them. [Feb 3, 04]
    • "She" of Gen 3:15 changing back to "he" or "it"
       E-mail, February 5, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Can anyone please tell me why the Douay Bible reads that in the Garden of Eden, God told the Serpent that a "she" would crush its head, but in the other translations at 3:15 it is "he" or "it", meaning the Messiah or Eve's descendants, one presumes.
       Some months ago I received an ecclesiastical answer that the Latin word "stirps" affected the pronouns, but there is no such word in the Vulgate chapter 3, the word "semen" being used instead.
       Why can't we be told why this change was made, and why RC Bibles including the New Jerusalem are now changing back to what was in Genesis 3:15 in the first place?
      Why did RCs have statues and sermons about this myth, of Mary crushing the Serpent's head (depicted as its neck usually)?
       For more background, please visit www.multiline. religion/ pronoun.htm [Feb 5, 04]
    • Latin word "semen" meaning "seed" is neuter, so can't make the pronouns feminine.
       From a Ph. D. of England, E-mail, February 5, 2004
       ENGLAND: Thank you for your e-mail regarding the use of 'she' in Genesis 3.15.  The Douay and other Roman Catholic versions of the Scriptures have 'she will crush' because they were translated from the Latin Vulgate, which has the feminine pronoun 'ipsa'.  Versions translated from the Hebrew text normally have the masculine 'he' or neuter 'it' - the pronoun is masculine in Hebrew.
       The word 'semen' (which is neuter) in Latin means 'seed', which is a valid translation of the Hebrew word 'zara'.  'Stirps' means 'race' or 'family', which would not, in my estimation, be the best rendering of 'zara', although it is possible.  The editions of the Vulgate that I have to hand have 'semen', but it is possible that other editions, particularly those before the production of the Clementine and Sistine editions, could have had 'stirps'.  If 'stirps', which is feminine, was used, the pronoun 'she' would be valid (just as we tend to think of the earth as 'she').  However, that does not mean that it would properly be translated 'she' in English, since 'seed' is neuter in English; the gender of the pronoun needs to match that of the noun in the receptor language.  The use of 'she' would be particularly problematic since 'she' has strong theological connotations.
       For information on why the editors of the New Jerusalem Bible have done what they have done, it would be best to contact them directly.
       The belief in a superhuman Mary goes back many centuries, and has grown from a high consideration of her as a woman to the Mariolatry that has pervaded Roman Catholicism since the Middle Ages.  It is just one of the problems in this church that stems from a misunderstanding of Scripture or an alteration of it.  We must continue to pray that the truth of God's Word will open the eyes of those caught up in this system of doctrine.
       Best wishes in your service for our Lord. [Feb 5, 04]
    • Violent ruler changed Sabbath to Sunday, not the Church
       Letter to The Editor, The West Australian, but seemingly not published, "I disagree," 9.02 am e-mail, Friday, February 6, 2004
       PERTH: The Catholic archbishop of Perth, Barry J. Hickey (letters 5/2), wrote that the Church used the authority it got from Jesus to change the main worship day from Saturday to Sunday.
       While he is commendable for faithfulness to the "official line," really it was the warrior Roman emperor Constantine the Great (280-337 AD) who caused the change [it] by declaring every Sunday, a pagan observance, a public holiday. [1]
       The Church leaders of the time conformed, although not without opposition. Branches outside the emperor's control kept up observances on the traditional Saturday, plus the traditional Passover to commemorate the Resurrection, for centuries.
       From about 313 Constantine interfered vigorously in Church affairs, even calling the famous 325 Church council of Nicaea about doctrine, although he was still officially a pagan until shortly before his death. [2]
       Conforming to outside influences has been a regular habit of Church people, although sternly foresworn. The fight to forbid statues was lost in the West but won in the East. Similarly, the battle to forbid clergy to marry took more than 1000 years to win, but only in the West, with harmful results to clergy and children.
       In modern times, several of the current "politically correct" stances of mainstream Christians are reversals of long-held beliefs and customs.
    1. Funk & Wagnalls 1979, Vol 22, p 316
    2. Ibid, Vol 6, p 448
       [FOOTNOTE: There was another oriental religion taking hold in the empire's dominions, the worship of Mithra, whose special day was Sunday. Constantine evidently saw the chance to unify his subjects by declaring Sunday a "no-work" day, and the Christians then looked around for reasons to conform, stating they acted with the power given to them by Jesus, and quoted a few scriptures.
       Modern conformity to "the world" and to the fashions of the day include the major Churches' switch from supporting the death penalty, to opposing it.
       Another reversal, in Australia, is in immigration policy. Major Churches up to about the 1950s used to condone the right of Australia to have and enforce its Immigration Restriction Act largely because it meant that Australia would be a Christian "beacon" to Asia, sending missionaries. The reversal followed the adoption of non-discrimination ideas, first taken up by Churches like the Methodist, and gradually permeating all the Churches. Some Churches now have an "open door" policy, welcoming all comers whether with documents or not.
       An amusing sight is to see a semi-political poster, a sort of holy picture, of the Holy Family with a donkey; the baby Jesus is being taken to Egypt to escape from murderous Herod's soldiers. "Jesus was a refugee," is the wording. Nobody adds the words, "but he did not become an Egyptian citizen, nor did he tell the Egyptians to change their form of government, their clothing, their religion, and their laws so they would be stoning victims of seduction or rape to death." FOOTNOTE ENDS.] [Feb 6, 04]

    • Pope orders Queen Elizabeth off the throne. Vatican City flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  England flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Magnum Bullarium Romanorum, Rome, February 25, 1570
    Pope orders Queen Elizabeth off the throne
    Cancels oaths, allegiance, and excommunicates those who obey her

    Papal Bull Regnans in excelsis, Pope Saint Pius V, February 25, 1570.
    Pius the Bishop, servant of the servants of God, for a perpetual memorial of the matter.
       He who reigns on high, to Whom is given all power in Heaven and on earth, has entrusted His holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which there is no salvation, to one person alone on earth, namely to Peter the Prince of the Apostles, and to Peter's successor, the Roman Pontiff, to be governed (by him) with plenitude of power. Him alone He appointed Prince over all nations and kingdoms, to root up, pull down, waste, destroy, plant and build, so that he might preserve his faithful people linked together by the bond of mutual charity in the unity of the Spirit, and might present them, saved and blameless, to their Saviour.
       In the fulfilment of this office, we, called by the goodness of God to the government of the aforesaid Church, spare no labour, striving with all zeal to preserve intact that unity and Catholic religion which its Author has allowed to be disturbed with such great tribulations for the proving of His people's faith and for our correction. But the number of the ungodly has grown so strong in power, that no place is left in the world which they have not tried to corrupt with their abominable doctrines; among others assisting in this work is the servant of vice, Elizabeth, pretended Queen of England, with whom, as in a place of sanctuary, the most nefarious wretches have found refuge. This same woman, having acquired the kingdom and outrageously usurped for herself the place of Supreme Head of the Church in all England and its chief authority and jurisdiction, has again plunged that same kingdom back in to wretchedly unhappy condition, after it had so recently been reclaimed for the Catholic Faith and prosperity.
       For having by force prohibited the practice of the true religion (which had been formerly overthrown by Henry VIII, an apostate from it, and restored by Mary, the legitimate queen of famous memory, with the help of this See) and following and embracing the errors of heretics, she has altered the composition of the royal Council representing the nobility of England and has filled it with obscure heretical men; she has suppressed the followers of the Catholic Faith, appointed shameful preachers and ministers of impieties, and abolished the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers, fastings, choice of meats, celibacy and Catholic ceremonies; and she has commanded that books containing manifest heresy should be distributed throughout the whole kingdom and that impious rites and institutions (accepted and observed by herself according to Calvin's precept) should be observed by her subjects also. She has dared to eject bishops, rectors of churches and other Catholic priests from their churches and benefices and to bestow these and other ecclesiastical things upon heretics and she has also presumed to decide legal cases within the Church. She has forbidden the prelates, clergy and people to acknowledge the Roman Church or to obey its orders and its canonical sanctions. She has forced most of them to assent to her wishes and laws, to abjure the authority and obedience of the Roman Pontiff and to recognize her by oath as sole mistress in temporal and spiritual affairs; she has imposed pains and penalties on those who would not obey her commands and has exacted them from those who persevered in the unity of faith and the aforesaid obedience; she has cast Catholic bishops and rectors of churches into prison, where many of them, worn out with long weariness and sorrow, have miserably ended their span of life. All these things are clear and notorious to all nations and proved by the most weighty testimony of so many that there is no room whatever for excuse, defence or evasion.
       We have seen that the impieties and crimes have been multiplied, one upon the other, and that also the persecution of the faithful and the affliction of religion through the pressure and action of the said Elizabeth grow greater every day, and since we understand her spirit to be hardened and obstinate -- so that she has not only set at naught the pious prayers and warnings of Catholic princes concerning her soundness of mind and conversion, but she has not even allowed the Nuncios of this See to cross into England for this purpose -- we are necessarily compelled to take up against her the weapons of justice, although we can not disguise our sorrow that we are thus forced to proceed against one whose ancestors have deserved so well of the Commonwealth of Christendom. But being strengthened by the authority of Him, Who willed to place us on the supreme throne of justice though unequal to so great a burden, out of the plenitude of our Apostolic power we declare the aforesaid Elizabeth to be heretic and an abetter of heretics, and we declare her, together with her supporters in the abovesaid matters, to have incurred the sentence of excommunication and to be cut off from the unity of the Body of Christ.
       Furthermore we declare her to be deprived of her pretended claim to the aforesaid kingdom and of all lordship, dignity and privilege whatsoever.
       Also we declare that the lords, subjects and peoples of the said kingdom, and all others who have sworn allegiance to her in any way, are perpetually absolved from any oath of this kind and from any type of duty in relation to lordship, fidelity and obedience; consequently we absolve them by the authority of our present statements, and we deprive the same Elizabeth of her pretended claim to the kingdom and of all other claims mentioned previously. And we command and forbid all and sundry among the lords, subjects, people and others aforesaid that they have not to obey her or her admonitions, orders or laws. We shall bind those who do the contrary with a similar sentence of excommunication.

       Because it would be too difficult for the present words to be conveyed to those who need them, we desire that copies of them bearing the signature of a public notary and the sign of a prelate of the Church or his office, should have the same authentic strength before justice and extrajudicially and produce everywhere the same effect as this present document would produce, if submitted and shown.
       Given at Rome at St. Peter's, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 1570, on the fifth day (before the) Kalends of March, in the fifth year of our Pontificate.
       [Emphasis added] SOURCE: Magnum Bullarium Romanorum, ed. Cherubini (2nd ed.), II, 303, translation in Sidney Ehler and John B. Morrall, pp. 181-83
       QUOTED IN: The Papal Encyclicals in their historical context, Part of Chapter 6, "The Church and the Reformation," by Anne Fremantle, 1st edition, 1956, Mentor Books, New York, published by The New American Library. Introduction by Gustave Weigel, Society of Jesus, of Woodstock College, Woodstock, Md, USA; pages 82-85
       [AUTHENTICATION: Nihil obstat, John A Goodwine, J.C.D., Censor Librorum; Imprimatur, + Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York. [Undated.] © 1956 by Anne Fremantle. AUTHENTICATION ENDS.]
    See it also at:
       [ANNE FREMANTLE'S COMMENT: The popes often had excommunicated emperors, kings and queens, but the excommunication and deposition of Queen Elizabeth [1st] of England by the pope, St. Pius V, also absolved her subjects from their allegiance, and was followed by one of the bitterest persecutions the Church has ever endured. To say Mass, be a priest or to shelter one, was punished by death, and the most ghastly of deaths, accompanied by torture. Catholics were not freed from some of these penalties until 1829.
    -- The Papal Encyclicals in their historical context, from Chapter 6, "The Church and the Reformation," by Anne Fremantle, 1st edition, 1956, Mentor Books, New York, published by The New American Library, page 82. COMMENT ENDS.]

       [RELIGION CLARITY CAMPAIGN'S Comment: A Bull that says it can absolve people from their oaths is, surely, an immoral document. A Bull that helps cause a persecution to rage from 1570 to 1829 is, surely, a notable document. The bull virtually declared that all Catholics were to be treasonous, their promises and oaths could not be trusted, and they were bound by Vatican law to attack the Queen. Whether it was the "bitterest" persecution is open to question, because the persecutions of other groups have been bitter, and long-lived, too.
       Note the complaint about the abolition of celibacy. Alone among Christian Churches, the RCs keep on following (with exceptions when it suits, and with concubinage in some cases to substitute for natural and divine needs) this man-made rule which seems to be in opposition to the New Testament, the practices of the followers of Jesus, and natural law. It's all so unnecessary.
       For an earlier example of the sort of "overlord" thinking shown in the Papal Bull of Pius V in 1570, read pp 61-65 in Anne Fremantle's book:- Pope St. Gregory VII writes on March 15, 1081, to the bishop of Metz, claiming (1) the spiritual power is superior to the temporal power, (2) kings and emperors like others can be punished by Church penalties including excommunication; (3) the spiritual power can judge the rulers for their temporal activities, and (4) the papal power includes the right to absolve the subjects from allegiance to a guilty ruler.
       Pius V's side-comment on the Roman Church, "outside which there is no salvation," was standard RC teaching for many centuries, but was seemingly reversed by some of the out-of-character decisions of the 20th century, for example the 1952 excommunication of Father Leonard Feeney, of Harvard University, for upholding it, and the reversal shown by the 1965 declaration of the Second Vatican Council that others "who sincerely search for God and who strive to do His will can win eternal salvation." (Refer The West Australian, "Theological somersaults," by Gavin Simpson, p 52, Saturday May 30 1987) -- Religion Clarity Campaign, February 16, 2004. NOTE ENDS.]

    • Spurious adulterous woman quote doesn't help in battle with anti-truth laws
       To The Record, Perth, and other RC serials, from Religion Clarity Campaign, February 20, 2004; AUSTRALIA: It is no good quoting a clumsy forgery, hinging around a supposed attempt in the Temple to get Jesus to agree to the woman's execution, in trying to oppose anti-truth laws.
       To The Record, Perth, and other RC serials, from Religion Clarity Campaign, February 20, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: I applaud The Record, editorial "Neither will I condemn you," (19/2) about how a Christian in Canada is being punished for proclaiming sound doctrine, due to the anti-discrimination laws.
       But it is no use quoting words from the forged episode from St John's Gospel, of the woman taken in adultery, although it is one of several forgeries so well-loved and so parallel with the "official line," that it is described as part of the "tradition." It was unknown to authentic Christians for the first 1000 years or so. (1) That's about 1000 years too late to be Christianity!
       The whole episode is a clumsy forgery, hinging around a supposed attempt in the Temple to get Jesus to agree to the woman's execution. Later in John's gospel, the accusers of Jesus told Pilate they were not allowed to execute anyone. (2)
       Knox's 1945 Catholic translation warned of it (NT page 96), and the Good News Bible 1966 translators noted that this incident does not appear in several good Greek manuscripts and early translations, and in others it can appear at any of three locations in John, and even after Luke 21:38 (1976 ed., page 129). (3) Multiplicity of locations is an almost certain sign of an "addition".
       The bad judgement of Mr Justice Holmes of the British Columbia Supreme Court in Canada, against a teacher stating that homosexuality is not as worthy as heterosexuality, has arisen from a long gradual process of reversing the decency laws of the former British Empire.
       Alert Christians saw the danger at each step in the anti-discrimination programme, but many having a warped understanding of doctrine, their arguments lacked conviction. You see, Jesus isn't just spraying forgiveness everywhere. He came "for a sign which shall be contradicted," (4) "not to send peace," (5) and commanded people he forgave to reform, "sin no more". (6)
       While we still print Bibles with forgeries such as the much-loved story quoted, we cripple ourselves.
       The Record must not feel too badly about quoting a forgery. It was quoted by a high official in the Church [Cardinal George Pell, the denier] in January as part of telling the public about the sinfulness of practising lesbianism. (7)
    (1.) McKenzie, John L., SJ, 1968, Dictionary of the Bible, London, Geoffrey Chapman; page 447 a, regarding Gospel of John, 7:53-8:11:- "The passage of the adulterous woman … is missing in most MSS; it is cited by no Gk writer earlier than the 11th century; the style is not that of Jn; and Papyrus Bodmer, dated about 200, does not contain it." Imprimi Potest: John R. Connery, SJ, Praepos. Provin.; Nihil Obstat: John B. Amberg, SJ, Archdiocesan Censor; Imprimatur: + Cletus F. O'Donnell, JCD, Vicar-General, Archdiocese of Chicago, February 18, 1965.
    (2.) John 18:31
    (3.) John 8:1-11 and 7:53: See also The New Jerusalem Bible, RC version, Notes ©1990, footnote page 1254
    (4.) Luke 2:34
    (5.) Mathew 10:34
    (6.) John 5:14
    (7.) The West Australian, "Lesbian cousin defies Cardinal," (The Age), page 1, Mon Jan 12, 2004

    PS: A picture published as part of the recent coverage of "The Passion of the Christ" showed the inscription above the cross in Latin and Hebrew. Read John 19:20, "written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin." (Similar words in Luke 23:38 verse are a cross-copied forgery.) The film dialogue is reported as being in Latin and Hebrew. It is more likely that the main languages used during the trial and crucifixion were Aramaic and Greek.
       SpuriousAdulterousWoman HomosexualityCanada Record 20Feb04.doc [Feb 20, 04]
    • Cardinal thanks Federal Government for millions of school aid.
       The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, "Remarks in response to the Prime Minister's announcement," au/Archbishop/ Statements/ 2004229_115. shtml , By + Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, February 29 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Remarks in response to the Prime Minister's announcement
       Prime Minister, Minister Nelson, Distinguished Guests,
       Your announcement today, Prime Minister, is great news for Catholic schools in Australia and for the Catholic community. It is particularly good news for parents of children in Catholic schools who make considerable sacrifices to ensure their children can have a Catholic education. On behalf of the Catholic community I thank you Prime Minister, Dr Nelson, and the Federal government for this significant increase in general recurrent funding for the Catholic school system.
       We are grateful to the Government for its continuing recognition of the systems of local parish and regional secondary schools. The socio-economic funding model fits in well with the Church's concern to make education available to all Catholics and especially to families on low incomes who make up the bulk of our schools' clientele. The additional funding this package provides will help ensure access for all Catholic families.
       The support of the major political parties for funding for non-government schools is something that I deeply appreciate. The primary responsibility for educating children lies with parents. Governments recognise this by supporting the right of parents to choose how their children are educated, and by recognising that parents are entitled to this support by virtue of the taxes they pay.
       At the same time, the important financial contribution parents make to the funding of Catholic schools reflects the fact that we do not expect a free ride. The total fees and building levies Catholic school parents pay in NSW alone are currently more than $300 million. Catholic parents across NSW are also servicing loans on school buildings in excess of $360 million.
       On this particular site at Marrickville in inner western Sydney, parents with children at Casimir College and St Brigid's in 2003 paid $1.5 million in fees, building levies and other charges. This is a real sacrifice -- and a great achievement.
       The extra funding the Government has provided is targeted at the poorest Catholic schools. For example, in NSW, this means the 225 Catholic schools that rate lowest on externally determined socio-economic factors. It will in particular direct extra support to the small Catholic schools in rural areas that are struggling with the impact of drought, rural decline and isolation. The areas which will benefit most include the economically disadvantaged districts of south-west Sydney and the small rural towns in the Armidale, Wilcannia-Forbes, Wagga and Lismore Dioceses. The Wilcannia/Forbes Diocese, for example, covers the western one-third of NSW.
       The increased funding to the Catholic systems will assist schools to provide necessary extra support for the integration of special education students into mainstream schooling and in providing for students from non-English speaking backgrounds. These are two areas where Catholic schools have been struggling to take in all the students who wish to enrol and to provide them with adequate levels of assistance.
       At present in NSW, the state and commonwealth governments contribute annually $7,832 per student to government schools, and $5,506 per student to Catholic systemic schools; a difference in favour of NSW government schools of $2,326 per student.
       The bulk of government funding for Catholic schools comes from the Federal government, although state governments also make a significant contribution. For government schools the opposite is the case, with the bulk of funding coming from state governments. Recognising the importance of parental choice in education means that we all need to work for the best possible government and non-government schools, all well-resourced, especially in areas which are socially and economically disadvantaged.
       Catholic schools are not in competition with government schools, and the Catholic community is committed to working for an excellent education for all Australian children, whatever choices their parents make about their education.
       So, thank you once again Prime Minister, and thanks especially to your Minister for Education, Dr Nelson, for this announcement today and for this enormous boost to Catholic schools and education in Australia.
       [COMMENT: Funding Roman Catholic and other Christian schools has spread to the funding of schools that teach that Christians are "unclean".  It is a departure from the principles of good government that leads to such contrary results. (Comment added Feb 23, 2007)   COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 29, 04]

    • Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin
       CathNews by Church Resources, Australia, "Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin,", Mar 4 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Cardinal George Pell has told The Bulletin magazine that he failed to reply to letters seeking acceptance from his lesbian second cousin Monica Hingston because he felt cornered and wanted to avoid an argument.
       "I thought I had nowhere to go," he said. "I thought the letter was crafted so I had nowhere to go."
       Ms Hingston, a 63 year old former nun, failed to receive a reply from the cardinal after she wrote to him expressing feelings of hurt over the fact the Vatican considers her a "seriously depraved person" because she has lived with a lesbian partner for 19 years. After receiving no response to the letter sent a second time, she handed the text to the Sydney Morning Herald. Publication led to widespread public discussion, and celebrity status within the gay community.
       Cardinal Pell told interviewer Jennifer Byrne that the reason for his lack of response -- apart from inertia -- was that: "I couldn't think of anything I might say that could placate her or make the situation better. Sometimes, rather than have an argument, it's better to say nothing, and I didn't want an argument."
       Ms Hingston's celebrity status was confirmed with yesterday's announcement that she and partner Peg Moran will lead this Saturday's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade down Sydney's Oxford Street.
       She said she decided after "some hesitation" to join the festival, which she considered a "political statement".
       "We want the church and the state authorities to listen to us … to hear what we're saying about our second-class citizenship," Ms Hingston said in a statement.
       The publicity surrounding Ms Hingston is considered to provide fresh political impetus to the newly resurrected Mardi Gras, which began as a gay rights demonstration in 1978.
    Thou shalt not (The Bulletin 3/3/04)
    Pell cousin to lead Mardi Gras (The Australian 4/3/04)
    Dear George, are we depraved? (text of letter as published in The Age)
    Cardinal Pell's cousin to lead Mardi Gras (The Age 4/3/04)
    Pell's lesbian cousin in Mardi Gras (The Age 4/3/04)
    Pell's gay cousin out up front (Sydney Morning Herald 4/3/04)
    Cardinal's gay cousin to lead mardi gras (AFP/ 3/3/04)
    Cardinal's cousin, former nun, takes gay stance (CathNews 12/2/04)
    'Look me in the eye and tell me' (National Catholic Reporter 30/1/04)
    Cry from the heart by a cardinal's cousin (Sydney Morning Herald 12/1/04)
    Archdiocese of Sydney | Cardinal George Pell
    Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2004
      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here   [Mar 4, 04]
    • Re: Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin.
       To CathNews from Church Resources, Australia, "Re: Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin," March 4, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Posted on webpage on March 4, 2004, 3:06 pm, in reply to "Re: Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin 123033.html "
       The Church cannot answer these people, in spite of talking about the magisterium and the traditions handed down by the apostolic succession, because of the forgery-speckled bibles it and other Churches have been issuing for centuries.
       For example the Adulterous Woman episode in St John's Gospel 8:1-11 is a forgery, with its "Let he who is without sin … cast the first stone."
       Some books claim that it appeared around the year 1000 AD, but others claim it was quoted earlier. But, Think: The crowd wanted to execute the woman, but later in John we read that the pro-crucifixion crowd told Pilate they weren't allowed to kill anyone.
       Cardinal Pell, who used a line from that episode in a previous reported statement about the lesbian cousin, has had such scripture problems pointed out to him previously, but after one answer he and the others do not reply.
       He was right when he told the media he felt cornered. But he is not right for overlooking the fact that the whole Church has a lot of repenting to do!
       Link: Pell explains no reply to lesbian cousin, [Mar 4, 04]
    • No reply is possible.
       To The Editor, The Bulletin, Australia, "No reply is possible," March 4, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Your article "Thou shalt not" (3/3) about Cardinal George Pell does worry me. His reported remarks that "the Church … must follow, precisely, the teachings of the Pope" create nervousness in me, too.
       I used to have some admiration for such fortitude, until I stumbled across a forgery in the bible, and his answer was that the bible was the product of tradition.
       After his arguments, and those of three other levels in the RC Church, were refuted, he and the others did not reply. More facts and quotes receive no answer, either.
       A bit of reading showed forgeries -- probably whole books, and certainly chapters, verses, and words in strategic places.
       For example, one he recently quoted from in relation to his lesbian ex-nun second cousin, was the Adulterous Woman episode in John's Gospel 8:1-11 (first written around 1000 AD).
       I sent the bookish references to him, but no answer did I get! He doesn't reply, because no reply is possible unless the central authority which he wants to follow agrees it is sorry that past Church leaders forged bible sections, confesses to the world, makes amends, and seeks forgiveness.
       Why, they are similar to the four steps in the RCC's Confession formula! Now we know why the US Church last Friday listed its 10,000-plus complaints of clergy sex abuse. The RC leaders there are are trying to repent! When will Australia follow suit? -- Religion Clarity Campaign, March 4, 2004
    !!!: ['Weeping' Rockingham madonna makes footprints on paver, has website.]
       The Sunday Times, Perth, W. Australia, "Tears in time for Easter," By Catherine Madden, p 13, April 11, 2004
       PERTH: The Rockingham statue of the Virgin Mary, which attracted global attention when it began crying rose-scented tears in 2002, is weeping again.
       Now the statue's custodian, Patty Powell claims that Mary has appeared in a vision to several pilgrims, leaving messages of love and an imprint of her footprints in a garden paving slab.
       People cannot see the statue in Ms Powell's home today. Visitors are allowed four days a week but today Ms Powell has to attend to private church business.
       Thousands of pilgrims, many seeking relief from illnesses, still flock to see the 80cm figurine housed in a grotto at Ms Powell's home, renamed the Holy Family House of Prayer.
       The weeping Virgin was moved from Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Rockingham in February last year on the orders of Archbishop Barry Hickey after an investigation concluded that it was unlikely to be a phenomenon of divine origin. Until recently, the statue's eyes have been dry for several months. It was during this time that the Virgin appeared to visitors. […]
       Ms Powell has not seen the vision but says she does not "need to see to believe." […]
       The statue's website is at www.weeping .
       [COMMENT: See Feb 27, 2003, for previous newsitem on this website. Look up Bible, John 11:35 !  In the next couple of years, supposed miracles occurred and a stigmata supposedly appeared on some person.  COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 11, 04]
    • [Orthodox Patriarch accepts Pope's apology for 1204 sack of Christian empire's capital Constantinople.] Turkey flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Vatican City flag; Mooney's MiniFlags
       Catholic World News, "Orthodox Patriarch accepts Pope's apology for sack of city," www.cwnews. com/news/ viewstory.cfm? recnum=28935 , Apr. 14 2004
       ISTANBUL, Apr. 14 ( - The leader of the Orthodox Churches on Tuesday formally accepted a 2001 apology offered by Pope John Paul II for the sacking of Constantinople 800 years ago by Catholic Crusaders.
       The Pope offered the apology during a trip to Greece, and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, today's Istanbul, formally accepted it on the 800th anniversary of the city's capture.
       "The spirit of reconciliation is stronger than hatred," Patriarch Bartholomew said during a liturgy, attended by Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France. "We receive with gratitude and respect your cordial gesture for the tragic events of the Fourth Crusade." [Apr 14, 04]
    • Fewer priest candidates in Ireland Ireland, Republic of / Eire, flag; 
       The Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW, Australia), "Fewer candidates," ; p 7, May 30, 2004
       IRELAND: Only eight students from Ireland's national seminary will be ordained to the priesthood this year, says the Irish Independent.
       Last year St Patrick's in Maynooth, Ireland's only remaining Catholic seminary, produced 27 new priests.
       Although other candidates for the priesthood study at the Irish College in Rome, the total number of men ordained this year for service in Ireland's 26 dioceses will be no more than 10.
       The Dublin archdiocese will ordain only one new priest.
       [COMMENT: "St Peter's Major Seminary, in Baghdad, and the city's minor seminary are packed with more than 80 students in total." -- The Catholic Weekly (Sydney, NSW, Australia), "Bishops welcomed 'like heroes' in Iraq," p 7, May 30, 2004 . COMMENT ENDS.] [May 30, 04]
    • Atheist pastor suspended. [Grosboll] Lutheran. Denmark flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, Associated Press, p 46, Saturday, June 12, 2004
       COPENHAGEN, Denmark: The Danish Lutheran minister who proclaimed last year that there was no God or afterlife was suspended for a second time yesterday for ignoring Church orders not to repeat those beliefs from the pulpit.
       Helsingoer Bishop Lise-Lotte Rebel suspended the Rev. Thorkild Grosboll, pastor of Taarbaek, and handed his case to the Government requesting that it take the necessary steps.  . . .
       Mr Grosboll … suspended for saying … last year: "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." [Jun 12, 04]
    • Convent laundry was a place of punishment, hard work. Australia flag; /  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       The West Australian, "Airing the dirty linen: For girls who had nowhere to go, the Home of the Good Shepherd was a sanctuary. Or was it? Pam Casellas speaks with some women who lived and worked at the Catholic Church home." By Pam Casellas, Weekend Extra section pages 2-3, Saturday, July 24, 2004
       PERTH: … Mary de Sales … "It was a bu**er of a life," she says robustly. "The nuns were cruel. They belted us, hit us with bunches of keys and put us in straitjackets like Chinese dolls.
       "I'm still deaf in one ear after a belting. I cut my plaits off so they couldn't pull me up by them." [This is only a small sample.] [Jul 24, 04]
    • Inquiry into 'care' residents extended to August.
       The West Australian, "Traumatic legacy of 'care'," Weekend Extra section page 3, Saturday, July 24, 2004
       PERTH: Australians who have spent part of their life in institutional care are increasingly finding voice. Many believe the experiences of their unhappy childhoods have left them ill-equipped for life.
       A national organisation called CLAN (Care Leavers of Australia Network) has been formed to represent what it believes to be up to 5500,000 Australians -- more, it points out, than the Aboriginal Stolen Generation and the child migrants.
       Joanna Penglase … has a PhD on her experience in institutional care. Her book, Orphans of the Living, will be published in February by Curtin Books. […]
       CLAN was instrumental in setting up a Senate inquiry .. extended until the end of August.  … making a submission or telephone CLAN on (02) 9709 4520.
       Democrats Senator Andrew Murray has been a leading campaigner for CLAN. A child migrant himself … [Jul 24, 04]
    • Statue "weeping" possibly by human agency; red on statue not blood. Australia flag; /  Queensland (Australian State) flag; 
       Catholic World News, Australia, "Weeping" statue a fraud, Australian prelate says, , Jul. 29, 2004
       BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia ( An Australian bishop has announced that reports of a weeping statue of the Virgin Mary, which had drawn enormous crowds to a chapel near Brisbane, are based on fraud.
       After a two-month study of a statue located in the Inala Vietnamese Catholic Center, Archbishop John Bathersby reported that investigators were "not satisfied the phenomenon was, within the proper meaning of the word, a miracle."
       Observers had reported seeing the statue weep, shed blood, and issue an oily aromatic substance. These reports had drawn thousands of people to the Vietnamese chapel, many of them purchasing rosaries and other items associated with the chapel. The archbishop said that he had asked for a full accounting of the revenues received from visitors since the reports of the weeping statute had begun.
       But Archbishop Bathersby, in his July 29 announcement, said that "human agency could produce the phenomenon," and that he had concluded it "cannot be said to be of supernatural origin." The archbishop ordered the statue removed from public display.
       Father Joseph Nguyen Thanh Liem, the rector of the chapel, had been convinced that the weeping statute was an authentic supernatural phenomenon. But Archbishop Bathersby said that the priest had accepted his verdict.
       The archbishop told an Australian television audience that he was not sure how the "weeping" had been caused, but "I do think that there was some human intervention." The archbishop's investigating committee had found that the aromatic oil on the statue was "very likely one that is commercially available." The traces of red found on the statute were not blood, the investigators added. # [Jul 29, 04]
    • Irish cardinal says action needed to prevent environmental disaster. Ireland flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Catholic News Service, data/briefs/ cns/20040827. htm#head10 , News Briefs, Aug 27, 2004
       DUBLIN, Ireland (CNS) -- Effective action must be taken soon at the international, national and local levels to prevent an environmental catastrophe and growing interracial conflicts, said retired Cardinal Cahal Daly of Armagh, Northern Ireland.
       Speaking at the launch of his new book, The Minding of Planet Earth, in Belfast Aug. 23, the cardinal said: "Much of what has been done up to now is mere tokenism, given the scale of looming crisis. There must be changes of life and lifestyle, and these do not come without cost.
       Life in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is relevant to the survival of life on this planet, as much as it is relevant to the salvation of souls. Christian conversion and ecological 'conversion' converge."
       The book, published by Veritas, has been in development for a long time, the cardinal said in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service.
       He said his interest began while teaching philosophy and grew after he became a bishop. "I was very concerned during my ministry about the problem of poverty and the link between poverty and violence in Northern Ireland," he said. # [Aug 27, 04]
    • Praise for 'God' issue.
       To The New Internationalist, August 19, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Might I praise the "In the name of God" August issue, which has dealt fairly well with the religion itch.
       Having been brought up as a churchgoer, up to a few years ago I would have squirmed to read it, but since 2002 when I started to become a recorder of the clergy sex abuse betrayal I have started to look closer at the "Faith of our Fathers."
       The clergy forgiving each other for seducing children into sex gave me the clue that perhaps they didn't understand what Jesus meant by forgiveness. Closer study revealed they don't -- the early Christians taught that once a person was baptised they had to lead a blameless life. The clues are in the New Testament.
       Just recently I have discovered that the early Church had quite a problem with this teaching, until some centuries later someone invented Penance. It could only be received once. Later a genius or genii decided that it could be received more than once, and so began the slide towards inventing Purgatory and Limbo, and selling Indulgences, and so came the Protestant Reformation.
       But to go back. When I detected a mistranslation in the Roman Catholic Douay Bible (Genesis 3:15), I could not get a straight answer. Then, reading Carter's book about the Bible, and studying more, I discovered that the contradictions in the New Testament are clues of the early disputes ranging over at least a couple of hundred years, with people writing fake scriptures to support their points of view.
       So the television series and 1995 book "Who wrote the New Testament" by Burton L. Mack was really telling the truth, I now realise.
       I suppose that the leading clergy can't admit that Christianity "under heaven's direction" has been so dishonest.
       Ordinary citizens, and the leading Australian RC cleric, Cardinal George Pell, readily quote "Let he who is without sin among you cast the first stone" -- but it's in a forged section (John 7:53 - 8.11), unknown in the original Greek language, and only appearing in the Latin around 1000 AD [sic]. He didn't reply when this was pointed out to him.
       Reading about another forgery in the West, around 800 AD, I realised (much later than most reformers) that the reason there was no straight answer was that the organisation was crooked. The sad part is that the supposed "Reformed" Churches won't face up to the fact that the New Testament has been so distorted.
       As for the Old Testament, with its bloodthirsty parts and its mercy parts, your writers have exposed it beautifully. I had not realised that perhaps El and Jehovah (Yahweh) were possibly two gods. What about a third one, El Shaddai?
       Regarding Islam, your issue covered it fairly well. My own studies suggest it has more of "strike off the heads of the disbelievers, crucify them, cut off their hands and feet on opposite sides" than your writer had discovered. Besides the Koran, the inquirer must read the Hadith (aka Sunnah), and a good life of Mohamed, to get the full warrior flavour of the faith.
       We certainly live in a frightening world! [Aug 19, 04]
    • Vatican backs conservative priest; Australian bishop to appeal? -- RCC. Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       Catholic World News, , Aug. 25 2004
       SYDNEY, NSW, AUSTRALIA ( - An Australian bishop is reportedly planning to appeal a Vatican decision in favor of a conservative priest he suspended. In September of last year Bishop Jeremiah Coffey of the Sale diocese in Victoria suspended Father John Speekman, who had been charged with "bullying" and causing divisions in his parish and the Catholic schools under his direction. Father Speekman said that the problems arose because of his insistence that students at the Catholic schools should attend Sunday Mass regularly.
       The priest appealed his suspension to the Vatican, and the Congregation for Clergy has upheld his cause, in a statement signed by the congregation's prefect, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos. But Bishop Coffey has not reinstated Father Speekman as pastor, indicating that he plans to ask for a review of the Vatican decision before a higher ecclesiastical court, the Apostolic Signatura. [By courtesy of Kathy Shaw, CSAT, USA]
    • Bishop considering options on Rome support for "bullying" priest -- RCC.
       Catholic News, , Aug 25, 2004
       AUSTRALIA: Bishop Jeremiah Coffey of the Victorian Diocese of Sale is said to be "considering his options" after the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy overruled his suspension of a priest of whom school employees had accused of harassment and bullying.
       Today's Online Catholics reports that the case of Fr John Speekman has caused unrest in the Diocese for some time, from both his supporters and his detractors. The publication says that employees of the Schools made charges of harassment and bullying against Fr Speekman following meetings between the School, parents and the priest. There is no suggestion of abuse.
       Bishop Coffey decided to remove Fr Speekman from his pastoral duties, and installed Fr Tom Cleary last September. Fr Speekman refused to step down.
       Fr Speekman indicated to Online Catholics that he has a conscientious objection to celebrating school masses for Catholic school students who "are no longer connected to the Church through the Sunday Eucharist".
       The Confraternity of St Michael, a group active in the Diocese, sent a petition with 300 signatures protesting against Fr Speekman's removal to the Congregation for Clergy. The Congregation recently over-ruled Bishop Coffey's decision.
       Online Catholics says Bishop Coffey is thought to have appealed to a Roman 'higher court', the Signatura, over the Congregation's ruling. Sources say that once a further decision is made, the Bishop will comment publicly on the matter.
       It quotes unnamed sources that suggest the Bishop's appeal will address concerns that the original petition supplied by the Confraternity of St Michael in support of Fr Speekman contained many names of people not resident in Morwell parish, many different signatures apparently in the same handwriting, and signatures of people known to be not fluent in English.
       SOURCE: Rome overrules Aussie Bishop (Online Catholics 25/8/04)
    Confraternity of St Michael | Letter-writing campaign for Fr Speekman
    Into the Deep newsletter
    Church people protest for priest in Sale (ABC Gippsland 1/5/03)
    Fr John Speekman: Forgotten teachings
    Fr John Speekman: Evangelize Families First
    Catholic Diocese of Sale
    Sacred Heart Primary School, Morwell
    Morwell Catholic Parish
    Congregation for the Clergy #
      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here    [By courtesy of Kathy Shaw, CSAT, USA]
    • Rome, Orthodox faith, and Our Lady of Kazan. Russia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Vatican City flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Catholic World News, , ? August 28, 2004
       Russian Patriarch rips Catholic attitude: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has repeated his condemnation of Catholic "proselytism," on the eve of a dramatic ecumenical gesture by Pope John Paul II. On Saturday, August 28, …
       Icon shows East-West union, Cardinal Kasper says: Cardinal Walter Kasper, who heads a Vatican delegation in Moscow to present the icon of Kazan to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II, believes that the icon is "a symbol of the new Europe … [? Aug 28, 04]
    • Unholy row over Holy Communion wafers. Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       The West Australian, by Dawn Gibson, Page One, Tuesday, August 31, 2004
       PERTH, W. Australia: The Holy Communion Host, a wafer central to Christian services, is at the heart of an unholy row among Catholic congregations.
       Thousands of Australian Catholics with a wheat allergy are angry the Vatican has directed that churches cannot celebrate the Eucharist ceremony properly unless they use wheat-based wafers. (And other articles on this.)

    Unholy row over Holy Communion wafers

       The West Australian, by Dawn Gibson, Page One, Tuesday, August 31, 2004
       PERTH, W. Australia: The Holy Communion Host, a wafer central to Christian services, is at the heart of an unholy row among Catholic congregations.
       Thousands of Australian Catholics with a wheat allergy are angry the Vatican has directed that churches cannot celebrate the Eucharist ceremony properly unless they use wheat-based wafers.
       Previously, the Church provided gluten-free wafters for people with coeliac disease, an intolerance to the gluten contained in wheat.
       Catholic churches will now offer low-gluten wafers, which the Coeliac Society of Australia believes could still be harmful to some sufferers.
       Monica Elphick, of Parmelia -- diagnosed with coeliac disease 10 years ago -- said the directive had forced her to question her life-long allegiance to the Catholic Church.
       Ms Elphick was weighing up whether to continue attending a Catholic church and had already decided she and her fiance would marry elsewhere because of the issue.
       About one in 200 people are affected by coeliac disease.
       Symptoms include diarrhoea, constipation and vomiting. Infertility and anaemia are also possible, particularly in undiagnosed people.
       The Eucharist is based on the Last Supper, when Christ told his disciples that bread and wine represented his body and blood.
    (Picture-- A question of faith: Monica Elphick, who has a wheat allergy, disagrees with a Vatican rule that wheat-based Hosts be used for the Eucharist. Picture: Don Palmer.) [Aug 31, 04]
    • Unholy orphanages, yet ruling on Holy Communion: Regarding Editorial on Communion Bread.
       Letter to The West Australian, sent September 1, 2004
       PERTH: Well done for the editorial "Churches need a grain of truth" (1/9) about the problem that gluten-intolerant coeliac sufferers are having with the Vatican pedants about receiving Holy Communion.
       This dispute broke out during a week when the Churches and others ought to be apologising for the cruelty and sex abuse in orphanages and children's care shelters, exposed this time by a Senate Committee report.[1]
       As the editorial points out, the insistence on "wheat-based wafers smacks of stubbornness and pedantry." It also smacks to me of a basic error, because the ordinary bread of Palestine 2000 years ago was made from barley.[2]
       The Vatican position reminds me of the saying that some religious leaders "strain at a gnat and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:24)
       The Orthodox Churches use bread containing yeast,[3] while the Vatican strictly orders no-yeast bread, and there have been disputes [4] over which of these ideas was right. Also, the scriptures show that in the early days they used a loaf [5] of bread, not wafers.
       Some Asian Christians prefer rice, which I am told is gluten free. If so, this would suit the coeliac bowel sufferers, and would probably be suitable to everyone else.
       The Roman Catholic leadership ought to move away from relics of magic and copying the priestly ritual purity of ancient faiths, apologise for past abuses, and meditate daily on the quote that "pure religion and undefiled" is visiting the fatherless and widows (James 1:27).
    1. Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children (Parliament of Australia - Senate - 30/8/04) | PDF download | HTML version Senate/committee/ clac_ctte/inst_ care/report , August 30, 2004
    2. McKenzie, John L., Dictionary of the Bible, 1968, Geoffrey Chapman, London, article "Bread", p 105 b
    3. Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (ed.), The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1977, Oxford University Press, Oxford, article "Bread, Leavened and Unleavened", pp 73-74.
    4. Livingstone, op. cit., and article "Azymites", p 44 b
    5. Strong, James, The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 1996, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Greek page 13 c,
    Item 740 αρτος artos. …, from 142; bread (as raised) or a loaf:-- (shew-) bread, loaf. FOOTNOTES END.]
       [DEFINITION: Coeliac disease is caused by an interaction between gluten (the protein portion of wheat, rye, barley, triticale and possibly oats) and the small bowel lining in people susceptible to the disease. […] Coeliac disease is predominantly a disease of Caucasians. In the past, it was regarded as only a childhood condition, which produced symptoms in very young children when gluten was introduced to their diet. It is now known that it can affect a person at any age from infancy to senior years. -- The Coeliac Society of Australia website,, accessed Sep 7, 2004. DEFINITION ENDS.] [Main item Sep 1, 04]

    • Holy Communion not merely a symbol, but real presence: RC Archbishop.
       The West Australian, "Holy Communion" (1), by Archbishop Barry Hickey, Catholic Archbishop of Perth, p 18, Friday September 3, 2004
       PERTH: In your report (Unholy row over Holy Communion wafers, 31/8) it was stated: The Eucharist is based on the Last Supper, when Christ told his disciples that bread and wine represented his body and blood. In an editorial the following day (Churches need a grain of truth, 1/9), you said: "Communion is, after all, a highly symbolic event."
       Neither of these statements express Catholic belief about the Eucharist. At the Last Supper, speaking about the bread and wine, Jesus said: "This is my body -- this is my blood." Ever since then, the Catholic Church has believed that the Eucharist is not merely a symbol or representation, but the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the form of the consecrated bread and wine.
       It is a miracle and a mystery, but we have a lot of experience to support our faith. This belief is shared by the Orthodox churches and other ancient branches of Christianity, but not by most, or possibly all, Protestant churches.
       I do not ask The West Australian to take sides on this issue, but could I suggest that when writing about Catholic matters you use an expression such as "Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Blessed Eucharist". Anything else could mislead your readers.
       [COMMENT: Well, then, if the substance of gluten-containing bread is changed by "a miracle and a mystery" to the real presence of Jesus Christ, taking the bread would not harm the coeliac sufferers -- or would it? COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 3, 04]
    • Church not free to change what Jesus did.
       The West Australian, "Holy Communion" (2), by Richard Egan, West Perth, p 18, Friday September 3, 2004
       PERTH: Your editorial (Churches need a grain of truth, 1/9) proposes that the Catholic Church changes its rules to allow not just gluten-free Communion wafers for coeliac sufferers but also rice wafers for Asians. In part your plea is based on Communion as a "highly symbolic event".
       That is precisely what Catholics don't believe. Rather, basing our belief on the words and actions of Jesus, we obey him by "taking bread" and repeating his words "this is my body". The fact that God became man in a particular time and place resulted in the use of wheat bread by Jesus.
       The Church is not at liberty to change this. Catholic belief is that saying the same words over rice bread or potato crisps (as some radicals tried in the 1960s) simply wouldn't work. Coeliacs should be catered for by provision of specially prepared low-gluten Communion wafers and, for those for whom even this very low concentration is still health threatening, routine reception of Holy Communion from the chalice.
       It would be discriminatory, as well as sacrilegious, to offer coeliacs pseudo Holy Communion by using a substance other than that used by Jesus himself.
    1. "Wheat bread" in that time and place? Possibly, but barley bread was in general use by most people, wheat bread being much dearer (McKenzie, John L., SJ, Dictionary of the Bible, 1968, Geoffrey Chapman, London, article "Bread", p 105 b).
    2. "Not at liberty to change this." On the contrary, Rome has changed from giving communion as both bread and wine (up to the 12th century) to giving the people only bread. -- Livingstone, article "Communion in both kinds," p 121 b.
       Christians in most places followed Constantinople in using ordinary bread with yeast in it, "fermentum" as it was described, until the Middle Ages, when Rome switched to unleavened bread. (see article "Revising the practice …" by a Presbyterian writer, March 4, 2001, on this website.) "The Western Church had used leavened bread until the eleventh century." -- The Record (Western Australian RC newspaper), "The Divine Orthodox Liturgy," p 16, January 1, 2004
       And Rome changed baptism from immersion to pouring. Another change is Confirmation (an oil anointing), the second sacrament by RCC reckoning. It was "considered in the primitive Church to be a part of the rite of baptism" (McKenzie, op cit, article "Confirmation", p 147 a.)
       The Greek division (Orthodox) gives the oil anointing still at baptism, plus Holy Communion. These are evidences of substantial divergence by the West. There have been many other changes in Latin Christianity, and some are so recent as to be in people's memories, including a landmark decision on weddings of RCs outside the Church.
    3. Routine reception from the chalice. Indeed, what divine revelation stopped it from being routine to everybody all the time? See note 2.
    4. The Vatican order about wheaten bread and gluten content, and the centuries-old differences over leavened or unleavened (the Anglicans allow either), leads one to recommend that the Vatican and similar people meditate on 2 Corinthians 3:6 "… for the written letters kill, but the spirit gives life." Also, 2  Cor. 3:17 "… where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
    5. For the RCC position as it was in 1994 read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1333-36, page 336, http:// archive/ccc_ css/archive/ catechism/ p2s2c1a3. htm#1333 and sections 1412-13, pp 355-56. Page numbers are for the Official edition for Australia and New Zealand, Pocket Edition, 1995 (orig. 1992 and 1994), Society of St Paul, Homebush, NSW, Australia. COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 3, 04]

    • Ruling brings host of problems.
       The West Australian, "Belief & Beyond" column, by Gavin Simpson, Weekend Extra section p 14, Saturday, September 4, 2004
       PERTH, W. Australia: When is communion not communion? Well, when the communion wafer is gluten-free, apparently. Which was bad news for an eight-year-old girl in the American diocese of Trenton who suffers from coeliac disease and made her first communion by consuming a gluten-free host, which meant it was also wheat-free. [?]
       Except that she didn't according to the Vatican, which declared her first communion invalid because there was no wheat in the host.
       The rules say that communion wafers, like the bread served at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat flour. [Evidence about the Last Supper menu?]
       What's more, Haley Waldman won't be able to take communion again -- at least not with the host, though she may, apparently, be able to take the wine instead. […]
       The coeliac controversy is causing a fuss in Australia, as well, with a Sydney priest taking the hierarchy to task over a similar situation in his parish.
       Father John Crothers is the parish priest of Peakhurst and Penshurst in Sydney's south-west. He was so concerned by a case of one of his parishioners suffering from coeliac disease that he took the unusual step of taking the situation to the internet on the independent Catholic website Online Catholics .
       "Anne" also suffers from severe depression. When she came to communion at Father Crothers' parish masses she was always given a gluten-free host. Until he was told by the Vatican that gluten-free hosts were "invalid matter for the celebration of the eucharist".
       "Anne was devastated," Father Crothers wrote. "She will no longer be able to receive communion in the normal way. She will not be able to receive communion when she is sick. She will no longer be able to receive communion at the service that she attends regularly. She was extremely upset and angry.
       "I knew at that moment that something had gone seriously wrong with our Church. This was the very criticism Jesus constantly levelled at the Scribes and Pharisees, letting religion become an end in itself. I knew in my heart that I had to take a stand, not just about the banning of gluten-free hosts, but about a growing tendency in our Church to ignore the rights and needs of faithful Catholics, in the name of religion."
       Father Crothers … tackling the lurch to the Right led by Sydney's Cardinal George Pell … changing the Sydney archdiocese to fit his own particular model of the Church … hundreds of thousands of dollars … remodel the relatively-new seminary chapel along very traditional lines. There was no consultation […]
       … making public statements … inappropriate and unnecessary … divorce tax proposal
       … even more alarming … was the cardinal's decision to set up a second Catholic university in Sydney, alongside the Australian Catholic University.
       … no proper consultation
       … exclusive and inflexible …
    (Picture -- The pope is pictured giving a Communion Host to a woman. "Many Catholics have taken a brave stand over the contentious issue of the communion wafer.") [Emphasis added] [Sep 4, 04]
    • Keating lashes Sydney Archdiocese over heritage threat.
       CathNews from Church Resources, Australia, , Oct 20, 2004
       SYDNEY, NSW, Australia: Extract: Mr Keating criticised the style of Church leadership that was going to build Notre Dame University medical school threatening a precinct that was as an "extremely exceptional institutional one". [The Archbishop of Sydney is Cardinal George Pell. He is not mentioned in the newsitem.] "These important buildings of the neo-grecian former High Court, the Hospice and the Church itself along with St. Vincent's Private Hospital, have a civility of a kind that would be dramatically altered by a campus and any retail and commercial development, let alone the added traffic and parking."
    Keating lashes Sydney Archdiocese over heritage threat
       CathNews from Church Resources, Australia, , Oct 20, 2004
       SYDNEY, Australia: Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has criticised the style of Church leadership "which makes unilateral decisions without reference to its own people and other stakeholders".
       The journal Online Catholics today reports on the message Mr Keating sent to last Saturday's rally against the proposed re-development of the Sacred Heart Darlinghurst site for the medical school of Notre Dame University.
       "A development of this kind pays scant regard to the body of the Church community of the Sacred Heart," he said. "It is typical of the kind of 'railroading' over which some Diocesan administrators have earned a bad name."
       He declared: "If it's a case of God or dollars, let's have God without the dollars."
       Mr Keating described the threatened precinct as an "extremely exceptional institutional one".
       "These important buildings of the neo-grecian former High Court, the Hospice and the Church itself along with St. Vincent's Private Hospital, have a civility of a kind that would be dramatically altered by a campus and any retail and commercial development, let alone the added traffic and parking."
       Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore told the Rescue Rally that from a heritage point of view, the Sacred Heart Church was 'easily a winner'. Council is likely to consider listing the 1850 Church at its November meeting. Other stakeholders present at the rally were the Darlinghurst Residents' Action Group and the Darlinghurst Traders Association, as well as Councillor Phillip Black and other members of the Sydney City Council.

    God not dollars - Keating (Online Catholics 20/10/04)
    Uni backs down in unholy row (The Sun-Herald 17/10/04)
    The University of Notre Dame Australia's Proposed Health Campus in Darlinghurst (University of Notre Dame Australia 15/10/04)
    Sacred Heart Rescue
    Notre Dame becomes a 'public' University (CathNews 22/9/04)
    There's nothing like a Dame (Online Catholics 22/9/04)
    University of Notre Dame Australia
    Higher Education Funding Act 1988 | Notre Dame Amendment
    Higher Education Funding Policy (Parliamentary Library)
    Changing heritage status of inner Sydney church (CathNews 25/8/04)
    Pell under fire from canon law (The Australian 25/8/04)
    St Vincent's doctors say Notre Dame link will require consultation (CathNews 19/8/04)
    Prime Minister announces Sydney Campus of Notre Dame (Transcript of Speech 1/8/04)
    Cardinal Pell visits Notre Dame (University of Notre Dame Australia 6/8/04)
    Notre Dame welcomes support for Sydney Campus (CathNews 2/8/04)
    Turf wars sours these holy gates (Sydney Morning Herald 1/8/04)

      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here
    [Oct 20, 2004]
    • Is there only secular democracy?.
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "Is there only secular democracy; Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, recently addressed the Acton Institute's annual dinner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on the nature of democracy. A summary follows," p 6, Oct 28, 2004
       GRAND RAPIDS, Mich, USA: [Extract only, 11th and 12th paragraph] From outside Western culture, of course, come other possibilities. The small but growing conversion of native Westerners within Western societies to Islam carries the suggestion that Islam may provide in the 21st century the attraction which communism provided in the 20th, both for those who are alienated or embittered on the one hand, and for those who seek order or justice on the other.
       Intolerant religion is not a problem that secular democracy can resolve, but rather a problem that it tends to engender. The past century provided examples enough of how the emptiness within secular democracy can be filled with darkness by political substitutes for religion. Democratic personalism provides another, better possibility; one that does not require democracy to cancel itself out.
       [COMMENT: Oh, so secular democracy tends to engender "intolerant religion". Does that really mean that Cardinal Pell is waking up that all is not sweetness and light in our "children of Abraham" dream? Does he see that a certain faith is more like a political extremist organisation than a worship community? -- 06 Nov 04. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 28, 04]
    • Vatican-approved sex guide leads the fight against frigidity. Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, Perth, W. Australia, page 1, Monday, November 1, 2004
       ROME: A Vatican-approved sex guide is telling churchgoers to make love more often in an effort to offset "impotence and frigidity" and address papal concerns over declining birthrates among Italian Catholics.
       The controversial book, It's A Sin Not To Do It, written by two theologians, promises the reader answers to "everything you wanted to know about sex but the Church (almost) never dared to tell you".
       In their attempt to galvanise the faithful, Roberto Beretta and Elisabetta Broli, who write regularly for the Italian bishops' magazine Avvenire, have written one of the raciest works ever to deal with the Church and sex.
       "When people think of the Church and sex, they think of prohibitions and taboos," Beretta said. "But there is a very different and positive side to Church doctrine which needs to be emphasised."
       The guide, published earlier this month, marks a radical break with traditional Church pronouncements on physical intimacy. Forty years ago, the Vatican published a notorious set of guidelines for courting Catholics that outlawed even French kissing before marriage.
       The pages of It's A Sin Not To Do It, however, feature a frank interview with Cardinal Ersilio Tonini in which he emphasises that "the Church is not an enemy of the flesh" and that the Vatican has always defended the "nobility of sexuality".
       Another chapter likely to raise eyebrows unearths theological justification for post-coital masturbation for women who fail to achieve orgasm during intercourse.
       "In view of the trivialisation of sex and the rise of impotence and frigidity in consequence, as well as the increasing number of only children, it is better for the Church to promote sex in the right circumstances, instead of just focusing on prohibitions and perversions," Beretta said.
       [COMMENT: He didn't intend the last sentence to be taken the way that those opposing clergy child sex abuse might be tempted to do!
       Such a Vatican statement proceeds from a huge lack of experience of ordinary marital sex, which has arisen because the unscriptural pro-celibacy rules crept into the RC Church from the outside centuries ago.
       The whole set of doctrines leading to the teaching that virginity is superior to the married state are propped up by turning a blind eye to several texts, plus mistranslating some texts, and by quoting a few texts that contradict some pretty basic orders attributed to the God of the Hebrew Scriptures ("increase and multiply and fill the earth") and Jesus of the New Testament.
       The Hebrew scriptures were so pro-marriage that, for example, in a kind of parable God is possibly portrayed as seeming to have two wives! (Ezekiel chapter 23). This is not surprising, as the Judahites/Israelites were polygamous and accepted concubinage for much of their history. Other examples of where Yahweh's love for Israel/Judah is compared to the love of a good husband for his wife are Hosea 2, Isaiah 54:4 and following, 62:4 f, Jeremiah 2:2, 3:20, and Ezekiel 16 (see McKenzie p 550).
       In the New Testament, Colossians 3:19, translated to its basic meanings, is "men love your women." Respectability translates it "husbands love your wives." Whatever the words, the meaning is pro-fidelity and pro-sex. The brain-washing is so complete that even 1 Corinthians 7: 2 onwards, after the right conditioning, is being understood and taught in the RCC as a GRUDGING condoning of marriage because people are too weak to avoid sex!
       Even when the New Testament compares the love and care relationship of Christ to his followers as that of a husband for his wife (Ephesians 5:22-33), the pro-virginity lobby in the RCC can't see that the scripture writer is painting the gender-bond as normal for human beings. Why can't they see that their cosmic image would be destroyed if both Christ and the Church took up celibacy!
       The saying of Jesus at Matthew 19:4-6 probably means that, because God created humans as males and females, on account of this a man will leave his father and his mother and will cleave to his woman, and the two will be one flesh.
       It is so close to an order to bond with a person of the other gender, that it is hard to reconcile this and other pro-marriage scriptures with the apparent contradiction at 19:11-12. One wonders which of these was a "gloss" or "improvement" - nice words for "forgery." COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 1, 04]

    • Religion's unholy influence.

       The West Australian, "Belief & Beyond" column, by Gavin Simpson, gavin. simpson@ wanews. , Weekend Extra section p 10, Saturday, November 20, 2004
       PERTH: Religion might have got George Bush re-elected and maybe even have contributed to John Howard's victory with the Coalition's assiduous courting of the evangelical Christian Right.
       But at least in Australia common sense seems to have prevailed over a push by religious conservatives such as Tony Abbott to change the status quo on abortion.
       Prime Minister Howard put a stop to that by firmly removing abortion from the Federal political agenda and getting back to the serious business of governing.
       The issue is still bubbling along disturbingly in Western Australia, however, with the ructions in the Family First Party -- a political movement that is clearly an arm of the evangelical Right with an agenda to match.
       That much became clear, despite Family First's protestations that this is not the case, with its treatment of Liberal MLA Rod Sweetman, who was dumped first by the Liberals, then by the Christians.
       Mr Sweetman's career with Family First was short and sour. The party gave him an ultimatum to publicly recant his vote cast in favour of abortion law reform in 1998 or be removed as inaugural State leader of the fledgling party.
       In response, he and Alan Cadby, another Liberal MP whose career with the new party was just as short, tipped the proverbial bucket on the party. Mr Cadby said Family First had been boxed into a corner by extreme right-wing Christian groups and Mr Sweetman said the party had been pushed around by the Rev. Fred Nile's Christian Democrats and the Right to Life Organisation.
       "I thought they were going to be different from the religious bigots, the CDP and the Right to Lifers, occupying the high moral vantage point and dispersing judgment across society," Mr Sweetman said.
       Family First launched its campaign for the WA election without the two Liberals, nominating four Upper House candidates, all solid churchgoers with no wider community profile. Two are members of the Assemblies of God, one is a member of Margaret Court's Victory Life congregation and another of the Independent Church.
       It is all too reminiscent of the days of the Democratic Labor Party for comfort. But in the end, as on the Federal scene, common sense should ensure that that sort of religious influence does not extend into the politics of the 21st century.
       And talk of religion and the 21st century brings to mind the recent comments of Sydney's conservative Catholic archbishop, George Pell. Cardinal Pell caused a stir when he likened Islam to the communism of the 21st century in a speech to the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in the United States.
       He said secular liberal democracy was empty and selfish, and Islam was emerging as an alternative world view.
       Taking the chance also to attack his own critics for suggesting conservative Christians were a danger to democracy, Dr Pell said communism had showed [? shown] how the emptiness of the secular approach could be filled with something darker.
       It is difficult to know what the cardinal could have been thinking. However, with the demise of communism and the defeat of Ronald Reagan's Evil Empire as represented by the Soviet Union, it seemed only a matter of time before conservatives started casting around for a new force of darkness to battle.
       Fundamentalist Islam is clearly a threat to democracy, not least because it is based on a very different principle -- theocracy. And when you see what sort of State that produces when that philosophy is put into practice, as in Iran, for example, it is not an attractive picture.
       However, fundamentalist Christianity, as in George Bush's America, is also clearly a threat to the ideals of a free and secular democracy.
       And demonising Islam does not seem to be a particularly helpful way to negotiate a new world order of freedom for all.
       The multicultural world in which we live is more fragile than it once seemed -- as evidenced by the unexpected rise of Pauline Hanson.
       And it can all shatter very quickly.
       You only have to look at what has happened in the Netherlands, a beacon of tolerance in the modern world, to see how quickly things can change when the forces of intolerance are unleashed by either side, fundamentalist Muslim or liberal Christian.
       The shocking killing of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, allegedly by an Islamic extremist, sparked a wave of anti-Muslim incidents in the Netherlands, including attempts to burn down mosques.
       Van Gogh had earlier this year released a graphic film critical of how women are treated under Islam. The film was undoubtedly provocative, featuring a Muslim woman in a see-through burqa telling how her husband violently abused her. Koranic texts condoning family abuse were painted on her naked body.
       Though mainstream Muslim groups condemned the killing, it caused unprecedented outpouring of anger in the Netherlands. In a poll taken after van Gogh's murder, 80 per cent of respondents, aged between 15 and 80, called for harsher measures to force immigrants to integrate into the rest of society.
       In this world it might be wise for politicians and religious leaders to think carefully before they speak. And it might be wise also for religious groups to think just as carefully about how far they should go in trying to push narrow agendas into politics, especially concerning issues cloaked with the terminology of "family values".
      (Picture -- Forensic police examine the body of controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh. His murder shocked the Netherlands.)   [Emphasis added]
       [COMMENT: At the time it seemed to me to be a disgrace for the article "Religion's unholy influence" in the November 20 The West Australian to say that it was only a matter of time before "conservatives started casting around for a new force of darkness to battle." I wrote that George W. Bush's hypocritical support of two-gender marriage etc is not "fundamentalist Christianity," but Big Business working out how to harness those votes.
       Change of mind. But now I see what the journalists and other writers have seen before I did. I have met two fundamentalist "Christians" in the period around January 17 to 24, both of whom said that it was RIGHT to lock up and not bring to trial those suspected of being terrorists. One I met through visiting him to congratulate him for his pro-family activities. He had spoilt it by saying that the victory of George W. Bush in the US elections and of John Howard in the Australian elections were victories for pro-family policies, and he flared up when I said it was wrong to wage war on suspicion, and to deny people their constitutional rights. The other fundamentalist had noted some good action I had taken, and came a long way to meet me by appointment. He too said those at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib had no rights to due process (that is, freedom from torture, and the right to be tried or released).
       The other main problem is not "demonising Islam", but for the soft Westerners and others to learn how to distance other cultures from Islam's warlike world-conquering position.
       And the "multicultural world" the author espouses is largely a creation of the Self-Guilt Industry since 1945, plus the Arms Trade, which has sold arms to every rebellion and every dictator who can pay, thus causing countless millions to be oppressed and seek to escape. For centuries multiculturalism has been another way of describing a society of persecution, as can be seen for example by the genocide of the Christian Armenians by the Muslim Turks about 100 years ago, and the hatred in Lebanon, not to mention Europe before, during, and after the Nazis.
       Truly the author writes that multiculturalism can "shatter very quickly." That's why sensible rulers in the past, including Elizabeth I of England, tried to stop infiltration by other national, religious, ethnic, or cultural groups.
       The rise of, and the number of people recruited to spoil and the money spent to sink, Pauline Hanson's groups, deserves an article to itself.
       "… including attempts to burn down mosques." Mosques are used by the Muslim resistance as military bases in Iraq, similar to the Nazi German use of Monte Cassino Abbey in Italy as an observation post during World War II. Van Gogh's film was "provocative," it seems. Videos of kidnapped civilians pleading for the Coalition of the Killing to withdraw, and later being beheaded or shot are, perhaps, not provocative?
       The Dutch poll had 80% calling for forcing immigrants to integrate. The jelly-minded (and the strongly observant Muslims) will ask why doesn't society integrate with Islam. After all, Allah's laws MUST be obeyed (just as Yahweh's and Jesus's in history). How can the Dutch integrate with Muslims who believe they are compelled by Heaven's Orders to use force to ban women resisting husbands or seeking divorce, and to stamp out liquor, betting, interest, dogs, mixed bathing, handholding in public, public kissing, statues, images of the cross, etc., etc.
       The last paragraph is an invitation to surrender to the rule of violence. As one of the Indonesian bombing suspects, religious leader Abu Bakar Bashir, said on televised news late in October 2002, "Become a Muslim, so you will be safe in this world and in the next."
       The Weekend Australian editorial "Rule of law or law of the gun," (p 18, Nov 20-21, 2004) summarises what is being attempted in Iraq by the terrorists, the so-called resistance. The US marine who killed his injured enemy will face a court. Mrs Margaret Hassan's murderers will probably receive praise from their peers. "Because in the Iraq they wish to rule, the law would belong to those willing to kill anybody in their way."
       As the Thais are finding out, the Muslim stirrings move, like a macabre dance, ever closer to chaos. Each little bit of violence or supposed insult is met with violence, then follows a reaction, then that leads to more trouble -- the classic "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth". COMMENT ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE: 4.34 - "… good women are therefore obedient, … and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them …" ( dept/MSA/quran/ 004.qmt.html #004.034 ).
       5.33 - "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides …" ( dept/MSA/quran/ 005.qmt.html #005.033 ).
       5.45 - "And we decreed for them in it that: the life for the life, the eye for the eye, the nose for the nose, the ear for the ear, the tooth for the tooth, and an equivalent injury for any injury." ( dept/MSA/ quran/ 005.qmt. html#00 5.045 ) .
       8.12 - "I shall strike terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!" ( dept/MSA/quran/ 008.qmt.html #008.012 ).
       22.19 - "As for the disbelievers, for them garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods" ( dept/MSA/quran/ 022.qmt.html #022.019 ). DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Nov 20, 04]

    • United doctrines need clearer basis.

       Letter e-mailed to The West Australian, January 3, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Many will be sympathetic to the RC Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey's call for unity among the Churches on doctrine, and it has the ring of a genuine Jesus teaching in it.
       However, the two most worrying aspects of Archbishop Hickey's call were:
    • The kind of morals he used as examples were "pubic" -- dealing mainly with sex, marriage, foetuses, and similar. The world's main immorality at present is the waging of a kind of unmerited war of revenge on Iraq, which had attacked not the West but any available Orientals inside and outside its borders plus Oriental Israel, and the permitting of genocides and persecutions in countries such as Sudan and China.
    • His listing in the RC paper of the doctrinal discussions that had occupied the minds of churchmen in the early days of ecumenical debates, almost as if they had all been solved. In reality, no headway at all has been made on doctrines such as authority, redemption, and the status of scripture, in spite of softly-worded declarations.
       At the beginning, the many rifts and doctrines in the newly-minted Christianity were a cause of amusement to the Greco-Roman world. A close examination of the contradictions in scripture and early writings reveals much of the reason for this. Some of the Fathers of the Church stoutly defended the right to divorce and debated when a foetus became human, thus showing there was no clear guideline then.
       As your editorial said, the Catholic Church might have to give way on some of its long-held beliefs, if common ground was to be found. To continue as if the Church knows everything and never makes a mistake is no basis for reaching consensus, and is not following Jesus, "meek and humble of heart."
       Recently we had the unnecessary dispute over whether Holy Communion without wheat can be given to gluten-intolerant coeliac sufferers. The RC ruling was that it had to have wheat, in spite of the fact that barley bread was just as likely to have been used by Jesus and his friends. And Rome rules that it has to be unleavened bread, in spite of the quite strong witness of the old Greek-based Churches that leavened bread is correct.
       These sorts of disputes over unimportant details, more akin to the requirements of magic and voodoo, are what drives today's more questioning world away from faith.
       The essential belief, fairly lonely among religions, is to treat other people as you would like them to treat you, and to love your enemies. Jesus also spent a good deal of time criticising undue adherence to ceremonial details, and hypocrisy. Ouch! -- that hurts us in the Churches. [Jan 3, 05]
    • Spanish Church acknowledges role of condoms in AIDS fight. Spain flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       CathNews (from Church Resources, Australia), http://www. cathnews. com/news/ 501/101.php , Jan 20, 2005
       SPAIN: A spokesman for Spain's Bishops' Conference, Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, said on Tuesday there was scientific evidence that condoms could combat the propagation of AIDS.
       Reuter's is carrying a report that Spain's Catholic Church acknowledged on Tuesday that condoms had a place in a broader strategy to halt the spread of AIDS, based primarily on sexual abstinence and fidelity. The News agency says that "in an apparent shift from traditional Church teachings, the spokesman for Spain's Bishops' Conference, Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, said there was scientific evidence that condoms could combat the propagation of the disease."
       After meeting Health Minister Elena Salgado, the cleric said a recent study in medical journal The Lancet had supported an integrated approach to tackling AIDS, including the use of condoms and the practice of sexual restraint.
       "The Church is very worried and interested by this problem, and its position is backed by scientific proposals such as the one published in the prestigious magazine The Lancet," Martinez Camino said.
       "The time has come, The Lancet magazine says, for a joint strategy in the prevention of such a tragic pandemic as AIDS, and contraception has a place in a global approach to tackling AIDS," he said.
       The news agency says "the remarks by Martinez Camino avoided another clash between the Church and Spain's Socialist government, which is promoting the use of condoms to fight AIDS. The Church, which remains a powerful voice in Spain, has criticised the government for a new law allowing homosexual marriage as well as legislation to make divorce and abortion easier and permit stem cell research. The Vatican has not issued a definitive statement on the use of condoms in limited cases to stop AIDS, but most Vatican officials who have spoken out on the issue are against campaigns promoting their use."
    SOURCE -- FULL STORY: Spain's Catholic Church backs condoms to fight AIDS (Reuters 18/1/05)
    Priest says AIDS fight must tackle 'sex object' culture (CathNews 31/12/04)
    Australian charity targets poverty in PNG AIDS fight (ABC News 30/11/04)
    World AIDS Day 1st December 2004 (Caritas Australia)
    Australian Government New Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis
    World AIDS Day 1 December 2004
    Australian AIDS Fund Inc
    Drugs won't rid world of AIDS, says agency (Church Times 26/11/04)
    Women more vulnerable to AIDS, Vatican official says (Catholic World News 30/11/04)
    Churches sign AIDS code (Ekklesia 30/11/04)
    Little Joyce: AIDS survivor (Catholic Mission 29/11/04)
    Experts now say abstinence and fidelity key to stopping AIDS (Catholic News Agency 29/11/04)
    Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care: Message for World Aids Day, 1 December 2004 (African Jesuit AIDS Network)
    Vatican Message for World AIDS Day (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 24/11/04)
    1 in 4 centers dedicated to treating HIV/AIDS in the world are Catholic, says Cardinal (Catholic News Agency 25/11/04)
    Holy See calls for banishing of "social stigma" against AIDS victims (Catholic News Agency 25/11/04)
    Vatican Message for World AIDS Day (Catholic Bishops Conference of India 24/11/04)
    Cardinal calls for reduction in price of AIDS medicines (Ekklesia 25/11/04)
    "Reduction of the price of the anti-viral drugs needed to treat HIV/AIDS patients; intensification of information campaigns in order to avoid mother/child transmission of the virus; greater attention for most vulnerable social groups." Message for World AIDS Day from the President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Health workers and the Sick (Fides 24/11/04)
    Vatican calls for cheaper drugs to treat HIV/AIDS patients (Independent Catholic News/Fides 25/11/04)
    AIDS Hits Women Harder, Warns Vatican (Zenit 24/11/04)
    Vatican Message for World AIDS Day (Zenit 24/11/04)
    Amid changing attitudes, Thai Catholics lead way in AIDS awareness (Catholic News Service 23/11/04)
    Catholic-run center in Thailand helps AIDS patients survive, thrive (Catholic News Service

    Christian Aid calls for urgent action in fight against AIDS (Independent Catholic News 24/11/04)
    Australian charity targets poverty in PNG AIDS fight (ABC News 30/11/04)
      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here   
       [COMMENT: That set the cat among the pigeons! The old men in the Vatican in centuries past made rulings on whether Joan of Arc was a heretic, a witch, or a saint, and if so whether burning to death had been properly authorised; on whether the earth went round the sun or vice-versa (Galileo); and argued with Anglicans and others whether Holy Communion was turned into Jesus Christ by transubstantiation, consubstantiation or something else -- or was only a memorial celebration, with no change taking place.
       These days they are still fighting about such things, for example, whether the Communion Bread must have gluten in it, and still trying to command that it must be bread without yeast, so defying the ages-old traditions from the Holy Land Churches; what is improper at funerals; and telling modern people that the use of condoms and the Pill are all intrinsically evil, and population pressure is NOT partly to blame for some of the world's catastrophes.
       All this while the biggest Western Churches have a clergy child sex abuse problem that is costing millions and millions of dollars, not to mention a loss of respect, and helping to cause the Western degradation of sex, loss of respect for the mystery of femininity, disdain for marriage, and a turning away from worship.
       Many Westerners are refusing to baptise their children, to be married in a church, or to be buried with Church funeral rites, so why haven't the leaders repented?
       Jesus did not wear special clothes, occupy special buildings, or teach any of those restrictive "Pubianity" doctrines. He said "Do unto others as you would they do unto you." COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 20, 05]

    • Mexican bishops also challenge Church condom ban.

    Mexico flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Spain flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "Bishops challenge Church over condoms," Knight-Ridder Tribune, p 34, Saturday, January 22, 2005
       MEXICO CITY: A Mexican Catholic bishop yesterday joined a Spanish counterpart in challenging Church teaching and endorsing the use of condoms to prevent HIV infection.
       Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said that under some circumstances the use of a condom to prevent the spread of AIDS should be tolerated as a lesser evil. This contradicts the official position of the Catholic Church against all artificial birth control.
       Bishop Arizmendi, whose diocese is in San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, said his comments did not contradict the Church's promotion of abstinence and fidelity.
       "But we know how to respect the decisions of people, in such a way that if someone is incapable of controlling their instincts, is not developed in their personality, then they should use whatever is necessary in order not to infect others and not to infect themselves, because for these types of people there is no other alternative," the bishop said.
       On Tuesday, Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, spokesman for the Catholic Bishops Conference in Spain, said condoms had a place in the global prevention of AIDS.
       But the Bishops Conference subsequently backed away from his statement, saying Catholic doctrine held that use of condoms was immoral sexual conduct.#
       [COMMENT: Immoral sexual conduct includes seducing children, which has been at the forefront of some of the clergy's minds for decades. Covering it up has played a big role in the thinking of most of the bishops in some Churches. Unacceptable social conduct includes failing to take part in normal life activities.
       A spokesman for the Spanish bishops, Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, was the man who made headlines on Janury 18 and 20. COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 22, 05]

    • Desire for family drives priests out of Church. Australia flag; Aust. National Flag Assn. 
       The West Australian, By MELISSA KENT, p 11, THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2005
       PERTH: Anglican Canon Frank Sheehan knows firsthand the difficulties faced by Catholic priests in taking a vow of celibacy. He used to be one.
       Canon Sheehan left the priesthood after 13 years at the age of 30 and converted to Anglicanism in order to marry and have children.
       Yesterday, he spoke out in support of the National Council of Priests' controversial submission to the Vatican calling for an end to compulsory celibacy within the clergy.
       Canon Sheehan said the Catholic Church's rigid stance on celibacy was alienating devoted priests and turning young men away from the priesthood.
       "For me there was crippling loneliness and in the end I needed to live a much more normal life," said Canon Sheehan, 54, now head of the Centre for Ethics at Christ Church Grammar School.
       "I felt the Roman Catholic Church was just wrong about the question of sexuality. It seemed very closed-minded and very unfair.
       "Celibacy is not a gift. Marriage is a gift, close relationships and families are gifts."
       The council has written to the Vatican's Synod of Bishops arguing that marriage should not be a bar to ordination and asking the Church to consider readmitting priests who had left the clergy to get married.
       Only married Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism are allowed to enter the clergy as married men.
       The celibacy issue is seen as a major contributing factor to a chronic shortage of ordained Catholic priests in Australia.
       Geraldton's St Francis Xavier Cathedral administrator Father Michael Morrissey said isolated parishes relied on foreign priests because young Australians were rarely interested in the vocation.
       But there was still a shortage that led elderly priests to take on bigger workloads.
       "An end to compulsory celibacy could be the solution but I know that given how the Church process works it probably won't happen in the foreseeable future," Father Morrissey said.
       Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton said Perth had an excellent rate of ordination, with 56 men entering the priesthood in the past 10 years. He said isolation and a lack of services, not celibacy, was the issue in finding priests for rural parishes.#
       [COMMENT: It's strange that the New Testament scriptures favouring a married ministry, and showing that the apostles went on their missionary journeys with their wives, and saying that it is better to be married than burnt, don't feature in such newsitems. Perhaps modern Churchmen think the Bible is out of date? COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 27, 05]

    • Exodus from holy orders. Philippines flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 11,THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2005
       MANILLA: More than 200 Filipino Catholic priests had left the ministry in the past two decades to get married, a Church official said yesterday.
       Last year, 20 priests left the priesthood to start a family, according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
       "They have found more peace of mind having a family," said Archbishop Oscar Cruz, a member of a committee investigating dispensation for priests.
       He stressed there was nothing wrong with clergymen leaving the ministry to marry because priests were moral [? ought to be "normal"] human beings.
       "When a priest can no longer keep his commitment to celibacy, it is incumbent upon him to ask for dispensation from his sacred obligations," he said.
       But Archbishop Cruz said only priests aged 40 and older could file for dispensation under Church rules.
       Stung by accusations of sexual misconduct by priests, the conference was set to impose stringent sanctions, including expulsion, against prelates found guilty of immorality.
       [COMMENT: How "sacred" is the celibacy "obligation," when it contradicts several important Bible passages, and does seem to be in direct contrast to an epistle teaching that there would arise bad teachers "forbidding to marry"? Instead of waiting for clergy who "can no longer keep his commitment to celibacy" to then seek a wife, why not obey the (disputed) scripture "a minister shall be a husband of one wife"? In this way, the potential clergyman would have found a wife while still young enough to be a suitable father to any children that might be born. COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 27, 05]

    • Vatican aide supports use of condoms. - RCC. AIDS crisis. Cardinal Cottier speaks up. Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Spain flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, THE GUARDIAN, p 14, Wednesday, February 2, 2005
       ROME - A senior Vatican official has supported the use of condoms to fight Africa's AIDS pandemic, contradicting the Catholic Church's official position.
       Cardinal Georges Cottier, theologian of the pontifical household, told the Italian news agency Apcom that the use of condoms was "legitimate" to save lives in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia, where there was no time to teach abstinence or faithful conjugal love.
       He is the most senior figure so far to argue that condoms should be admissible in exceptional circumstances. Contraception is officially forbidden by the Church and the Vatican has argued that condoms are full of "tiny holes" and do not guarantee protection against the transfer of the AIDS virus.
       Reiterating the Church's official line, Cardinal Cottier said condoms should not be used as contraceptives, could encourage immoral sexual conduct and were not the best way to stop the spread of HIV. But the threat of AIDS was so immediate that "the use of condoms in some situations can be considered morally legitimate".
       "The virus is transmitted during a sexual act, so at the same time as (bringing) life there is also a risk of transmitting death," he said. "And that is where the commandment thou shall not kill' is valid."
       The cardinal's comments come days after a Spanish bishops' conference was forced to retract similar statements in favour of condoms. Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, a spokesman for the Spanish bishops' conference in Madrid, had said: "The time has come for a joint strategy in the prevention of such a tragic pandemic as AIDS and contraception has a place in the context of the integral and global prevention of AIDS." He suggested every method to help prevent the spread of the disease should be used.
       Cardinal Cottier's comments signal a growing swell of realism within the Church, with more and more prominent figures supporting the use of condoms to save lives, despite misgivings.
       Growing numbers, including Cardinal Godfried Daneels, tipped as a possible future pope, have taken this stance publicly in recent years, but experts say the Vatican is unlikely to change its line under the current Pope. [Also shown in ethics/ethcont109.htm ] [Feb 2, 05]
    • Pregnancies the aim. Bad Latin and following versions 'multiply' Eve's PREGNANCIES (though she had probably not had one before!)
       Religion Clarity Campaign, by "Demi-Griffin", February 6, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Did you know that the RC Douay Bible and to a lesser extent the Church of England Authorised Version claim that God punished Eve by saying that her pregnancies would be multiplied or increased (Genesis 3:16), but nearly all other translations do NOT say this?
       This is possibly a "high population" and "if you have fun, suffer more" twist put on the words by sex-turned people of about 1600 years ago. …
       The Hebrew original, and the ancient Greek translations don't say what the RC and C of E translations say. Modern translations don't seem to give Eve (or all women?) an INCREASE in pregnancies. We've referred to Louis Zamenhov's La Sankta Biblio 1927, Ronald Knox's translation 1954, and the New World Translation 1984, PLUS the easily-obtainable Good News Bible 1976, and New Jerusalem Bible 1985. Read the details at: http://www. au/~johnm/religion/ spurious.htm #pregnancy . [Feb 6, 05]

    • [Infiltration of the Catholic Church by outside groups.]

       Fidelity magazine, , Melbourne (Vic) Australia, heading "George Sim Johnston," Letter by R.J.Stove, Gardenvale, Victoria, pp 43-44, March 2005
       AUSTRALIA: In his article "After the Council: Living Vatican II" (Fidelity, December 2004), George Sim Johnston asks: "Traditional Catholics who blame all the Church's recent problems on Vatican II should ponder a few questions: If the Church was in such good shape before the council, why did things fall apart so rapidly in the 1960s?"
       It is hard to believe that Johnston is actually ignorant of the answers to this question, so we are forced to assume that his query is an exercise in disingenuous rhetoric.
       There are several explanations, all humiliating to Pollyanna-style progressives, for the current crisis. Readers are referred (in the unlikely event that they are still unaware of these explanations) to the following testimonies, among others:
       Cardinal Augustin Bea's account of how Nostra Aetate abandoned all calls for conversion of Jews: "Very many Fathers have requested that… we should avoid every appearance of proselytism. Others have asked that the same Christian hope, applying to all peoples, should also be expressed somehow. In the present version of this paragraph we have sought to satisfy all these requests." (Fr Brian W. Harrison, "Skeletons in the Conciliar Closet", The Remnant, June 13, 2004).
       The well-known (except perhaps to Johnston) 1953 confessions of ex-Communist Bella Dodd to the US House Committee on Un -American Activities, as well as her public lectures on the subject. "In the 1930s", Mrs Dodd admitted, "we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within… Right now they are in the highest places in the Church." The Latin Mass magazine's Summer 2001 issue quoted Dr Alice von Hildebrand, widow of theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand, as saying: "Bella Dodd told my husband and me that when she was an active [Communist] party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican 'who were working for us'." Moreover, Prague's Cardinal Beran reported the media boasts of Czech Communists - hardly likely to be misinformed on the matter - that "Communists had succeeded in infiltrating every commission at the Vatican Council." (R. W. Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber [Devon, 1978], p. 273.)
       We could continue by invoking the notorious Annibale Bugnini's Masonic connections, which no Vatican spokesman has ever bothered to deny, mainly because such a spokesman would be an international joke if he did. (See, for instance, Michael Davies, "How the liturgy fell apart: the enigma of Annibale Bugnini", AD 2000, June 1989.)
       But by now the point should be clear even for the likes of Johnston: when Christ promised that he would be with His Church for all time, He never promised that the Church hierarchy would not attract and appease traitors. He did not, unlike Johnston, confuse strictly defined papal infallibility with unending papal impeccability. Our Lord thus left open the frightful hypothesis - which the last four decades have made manifest - that these traitors would be awesomely, though not invariably or eternally, successful.
       [COMMENT: Amazing! RCs ought to wonder how do these infiltrations leave the supposed heavenly guarantees and promises. But another worry is, that this scholarly letter omits the infiltration by the child-abusers! Who are they? They are men who, not wishing to (or able to) love women, join the clergy. Some of them go on to abuse boys, or girls, or older minors; a few break their celibacy vows by having sex with women, or men. These "priests" were protected, and some are still being protected, by their colleagues and superiors, all supported at parishioners' expense. Some are helped to escape prosecution by fleeing overseas, with fares paid at parishioners' expense. When extradition proceedings start, lawyers are provided to defend them, also at parishioners' expense. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE: "We are fools for Christ's sake." (2 - 7 - 4:10) "God loves a cheerful giver." (2 - 8 - 9:7) DOCTRINE ENDS.] [March 2005]

    • PC Australian schools drop 'BC'.
       The Tablet (RC paper, Britain), www.thetablet. citw.cgi/past -00221#AUSTRALASIA , by Mark Brolly, Melbourne, March 12, 2005
       SYDNEY (NSW) Australia: To BC or not to BC? That is the question in New South Wales (NSW) schools after the state Government was accused of dropping the term "BC" ("Before Christ"), in the name of political correctness.
       The NSW Department of Education decided to exchange the term "BC" for "BCE", meaning "Before the Common Era", in the English Language and Literacy Assessment test given to more than 150,000 government school students in early secondary education on 1 March, in acknowledgement of the fact that many students are from non-Christian backgrounds.
       The offending section read: "A government surveyor stood beside the Nile River looking worried. Beside him stood his assistants, carrying his equipment. The year was 590 BCE." It included a note that BCE also was known as BC.
       Even the NSW Education Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, was cautious about the change. "The point I've made to the department is that both terms are in usage," Ms Tebbutt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's PM radio programme.
       [COMMENT: When the years are counted from the Hegira / Hejira (622 AD), then the harried remnants won't be able to remember, or even look up, the first steps that led to their plight. For several decades "BCE" has been favoured by other groups moving Western society towards Misrule. COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 12, 05]

    • Who killed Jesus? The Jews, or the Romans?
       AUSTRALIA: The "Jews" reference was queried by Keith J. J. M., of Perth, W. Australia on April 4, 2005, when he read 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15.
       " 14 … the Jews, 15 who put the Lord Jesus to death, …" (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, New Jerusalem Bible)
       A check of concordances and the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) revealed a contrary text.
       " 27 Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus … 31 and when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucifixion. … 54 The centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus … had seen the earthquake … and they … said, 'in truth this man was son of God'." (Matthew 27:27, 31, 54, NJB)
       [COMMENT: The governor was the Roman, Pontius Pilate. A "centurion" was a rank in the Roman army of a man commanding 100 soldiers. So, whoever wrote 1 Thess 2:14-15 seemingly contradicts whoever wrote the part of Matthew quoted above. COMMENT ENDS.] [April 4, 2005]

    • Does the scripture say that the Jews are the enemies of the whole human race?
       AUSTRALIA (April 4, 2005): Well, Yes -- and No.
       " 14 … the Jews [Judeans], … 15 … Their conduct does not please God, and makes them the enemies of the whole human race." (1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, NJB)
       Contrast with: " 2 God never abandoned his own people. … 26 and this is how all Israel will be saved. … 28 … they are still well loved for the sake of the ancestors." (Romans 11:2, 26, 28, NJB)
       [COMMENT: They can't both be right. The Romans passage states that the Judeans (we translate it "Jews") will be saved by being converted to the new faith.
       (I grant that a small number of people say, truly, that "Judea" is not the same as "Israel", but in the above scriptures it is possible to confuse them somewhat, because the scripture writers wrote around that era as if the word "Judeans" was both a regional description and a religious sect, the followers of the worship of Yahweh (Jehovah), which had adopted the appelations "Israel" and "Israelites".)
       Anyway, those who protest against the idea of taking a bishop or other leader as the God-given guide to faith, and others who say that a set of ancient copied books is the sole rule of faith, have some explaining to do to civil society.  COMMENT ENDS.] [April 4, 2005]

    • Was Paul the apostle to the Gentiles? Or was Peter?

       Part of letter to The Editor, The Word, , wordeditor sect; eircom net , Divine Word Missionaries, Maynooth, Co Kildare, Ireland; Tel 01 5054467. Sent Thursday, April 7, 2005
       Your November issue had an interesting article about 1st Corinthians, somewhat spoiled for me by the heading "St Paul - Apostle to the Gentiles." (pp 26-27)
       The trouble is that, in spite of Romans 11:13 "… as I am the apostle of the Gentiles" and Galatians 2:2, plus the disputed book 2 Timothy 1:11, I keep doubting this.
       At Acts 15:7, 8 it states: " 7 … Peter … addressed them. 'My brothers,' he said, 'you know perfectly well that in the early days God made his choice among you:  the gentiles were to learn the good news from me and so become believers.  8 And God … showed his approval of them by giving the Holy Spirit to them just as he had to us." (New Jerusalem Bible)
       [1st COMMENT: The texts quoted above are contradictory.  Who knows where the truth is?  ENDS.]
       [EXPLANATION: Romans 11:13 is ascribed to Paul.  The wording is: "Let me say then to you gentiles that, as far as I am an apostle to the gentiles, I take pride in this work of service; …" (NJB)
       In Galatians 1:15 Paul claims to have chosen by God to preach the Son to the Gentiles. 
       Paul is supposed to have visited Jerusalem and talked with Cephas and James, but no other apostles.
       Galatians 2:2 (mentioned above), also ascribed to Paul, states that after 14 years, acting under a revelation, he went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus, and we read: "… in a private session with the recognised leaders, I expounded the whole gospel that I preach to the gentiles, …"  In 2:7 and 8 we read that Peter had been entrusted/empowered with the gospel to the circumcised, just as Paul's to the uncircumcised.  James, Cephas and John offered their right hands to Barnabas and Paul as a sign of partnership, and once again the work is delineated. 
       Methinks it is repeated too much!  What's more, the writing is very loose -- why would Peter be singled out in 2:7 and 8, but then mentioned (as "Cephas", presumably) SECOND in verse 9 ? 
       Ponder 1:16 "I was in no hurry to confer with any human being" or to consult the original apostles.  Think of 1:18 when he delayed visiting Cephas for three years.  Do you get the impression of a "loose cannon" who went about as he pleased, claiming that God was giving him private revelations?  Paul does not seem to write as if the original apostles deserve much respect, let alone have authority over him.  This is quite different to what the Roman See and other Christians preach, that Peter acting with the original apostles was ruling the new religion.
       Perish the thought -- but is the Galatians passage genuine, or a forgery?
       This is part of the confusion in the New Testament.  The Acts of the Apostles clearly gives the Gentiles job to Peter, proven with a miracle, but the epistles of Paul try to give the job to Paul.   COMMENT ENDS.]
       [EPILOGUE: Need I add that no word has come back from The Word? - 01 Mar 2007.  Nor up to 20 June 2009. ENDS.] [April 7, 2005]

    • Did the Apostles have an overall boss? Apr 7, 2005
       Was there an overall leader of the newly-formed group following the teachings of Jesus after he left? In Acts 8:14 we read: "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them …" and after prayer and the laying on of hands the Samaritans received holy spirit.
       It is quite important to read "they sent Peter and John". This is quite a contrast to the established view of Roman Catholics and many other Christians that Peter was the ruler of the apostles. [Apr 7, 05]
    • [Care money changed to switch-off usage]
       The Sunday Times, Perth, W. Australia, Letter from C.V. PHILLIPS, Queens Park (Perth suburb), p 66, April 10, 2005
       PERTH: Is H. Christopher ("Dying with dignity", your voice, April 3) aware of all the details of the fight for Terri Schiavo's life?
       Is he or she aware that Terri's husband fought a legal battle to help him care for Terri for the rest of her life and won at least $1 million in compensation to do so?
       Is he or she aware that Michael Schiavo used this payout to fight to have his wife killed instead? Why couldn't he have just left her family to look after her?
       [COMMENT: He didn't want her "killed." He just wanted the artificial life-support method of feeding and giving water removed, after years and years of vegetative existence. Old saying:
    "Thou shalt not kill,
    "Yet need not strive,
    "Officiously to keep alive." COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 10, 05]

    • Why help from on high can make life hell. [Bribes, killings, teenager appointments, courtesan, building unroofed, bread and water, had roles in pope selections.] Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Rodrigo Borgia became Alexander VI in 1492 [Yes, the year of Columbus sailing, and Spain expelling the Muslims and the Jews] only after bribing 16 of the 21 voting cardinals.
       … Benedict IX (1032-1044), seemed less than dedicated to the job. Elected at the age of 14, he soon abdicated in order to get married. He won the job back after six months but stepped down again seven weeks later after selling the job to his godfather. Benedict made yet another comeback, becoming the only person ever to hold the job three times.
       In the 10th century Marozia, the mistress of Sergius III, helped him become pope from 904 to 911, and John X (914-928), and had a hand in the appointments of Leo VI and Stephen VII and, stage-managed the election, in 931, of John XI.

    Why help from on high can make life hell

       The Weekend Australian, by Peter Wilson, p 16, April 16-17, 2005
    Cardinals through the ages have relied on the help of a third party to choose a pope, not always with favourable results, writes Peter Wilson.
       POPES are infallible on matters of doctrine, according to the Catholic Church, while, Jesus is all-knowing and the Holy Father [sic] omnipotent. And yet the 115 cardinals who will meet on Monday to select a new pope believe it is the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Holy Trinity, who will guide them towards a holy and wise leader.
       The conclave in the Sistine Chapel will begin with prayers to the Holy Spirit asking for guidance, and the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Roger Mahoney [Mahony is his usual spelling], was just one of many cardinals who admitted this week that they were banking on the Holy Spirit's help in making the most important choice of their careers.
       "I approach this decision with personal unworthiness and trepidation, and with extraordinary reliance upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit," Mahoney wrote to his archdiocese.
       What a pity, then, that the Holy Spirit has a very ordinary track record. In fact, when it comes to guiding the selection of worthy popes, the Holy Spirit has put in some shockers.
       There was the selection of Boniface VI, who died of gout after a fortnight, and Stephen II, whose death came so quickly - just three days after his election in March 752 - that he did not even have time to be consecrated as pope.
       There was also the election of dozens of brutal, corrupt or vindictive popes who were more interested in pursuing their own power and wealth than in advancing the theosophical state of their followers.
       Rodrigo Borgia became Alexander VI in 1492 only after bribing 16 of the 21 voting cardinals. Pius II was appointed a few decades earlier despite a bribery deal among his rivals which he said was made in the latrines and smelled of them.
       Some popes were more bloodthirsty than corrupt, for example Damasus I, whose supporters killed more than 150 people in the fourth century so he could win the job, and Leo III, who sentenced more than 300 opponents to death so he could keep it.
       Others, such as Benedict IX (1032-1044), seemed less than dedicated to the job. Elected at the age of 14, he soon abdicated in order to get married. He won the job back after six months but stepped down again seven weeks later after selling the job to his godfather. Benedict made yet another comeback, becoming the only person ever to hold the job three times.
       In the 10th century a well-connected courtesan, Marozia, had more clout than the Holy Spirit in guiding papal appointments. The mistress of Sergius III, she helped him become pope from 904 to 911 and then orchestrated the election of one of his successors, John X (914-928), who was eventually imprisoned and suffocated with pillows.
       Marozia then had a hand in the appointments of Leo VI and Stephen VII and, according to papal author John Allen, she next stage-managed the election, in 931, of John XI, who was her son from Sergius III. He was deposed four years later and died in prison but, undaunted, she ensured in 955 that her 18-year-old grandson was elected as John XII.
       John XII died eight years later, with some accounts saying he died in bed with his married mistress, while others insist he was beaten to death by her furious husband.
       The intrigues of noble families and ambitious governments eventually made the selection process so unwieldy that in 1241 the cardinals were locked up in a crumbling palace by Roman noble Matteo Orsini and took 70 long days of a humid summer to elect Celestine IV.
       "At one point the leading candidate, cardinal Roberto di Somercotes, died," says Allen. "The new pope himself survived the conclave by only 17 days."
       Things did not improve over the next three decades, culminating in 1268 with the longest conclave ever, which lasted two years, nine months and two days.
       Frustrated citizens eventually tore the roof off the building where the cardinals were housed and put them on a diet of bread and water. Conditions were so harsh that two cardinals died and a third had to leave due to ill health.
       The resulting pope, Gregory X, took draconian steps to avoid a repeat. He decreed that at future conclaves, after just three days the cardinals' rations would be cut to one course for lunch and dinner rather than the customary two, and after another five days they would be reduced to bread, water and wine. The result was striking - when Gregory died in 1276 it took just 11 days to elect his successor, Innocent V.
       By the 20th century the church had banned bribes and deal-making, including the tradition of promising certain policies and promotions in return for votes, but the princes of the church could still play it rough.
       One of the reasons that cardinal Pietro la Pontaine, the patriarch of Venice, missed out in 1922 was that one of his fellow cardinals started a rumour inside the conclave that there was a history of mental instability in his family.
       Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the top doctrinal interpreter for John Paul II, conceded in a 1997 television interview that many popes had not had the mark of the Holy Spirit. [Card. Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI after this article was published.]
       Asked, "Do you really believe that the Holy Spirit plays a role in the election of the pope?", Ratzinger was blunt. "I would not say so in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope, because there are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit would obviously not have picked," he said.
       Attempts by some popes to choose their successors led to cardinals being banned from even discussing the matter while a pope is alive, so the real number-crunching, coalition-building and sounding out of candidates is going on now, after the pope is dead and before the actual casting of ballots begins next week.
       Michael Walsh, a British expert on the papacy and author of The Conclave, believes that somebody other than the Holy Spirit has the past week been hovering above the 115 cardinals who will vote - two others are eligible but are too ill to travel to Rome - as they have been visiting each other, sharing information and reporting back to colleagues.
       "I think it is the late pope, John Paul, who is manipulating this conclave from behind the scenes," Walsh said yesterday.
       Walsh is not referring to the unprecedented scenes of devotion sparked by John Paul's funeral, which have heartened conservatives who want the next pope to follow his firm doctrinal path. He believes that John Paul's influence has been more deliberate and came through important personnel appointments and rule changes he made in 1996.
       By that stage, John Paul knew that his lengthy tenure had allowed him to appoint the great majority of the cardinals who would vote for his successor. In the end, he had chosen all but two of next week's electors.
       But he also knew that the traditional requirement for a two-thirds majority, or in this case 77 votes, could lead to a compromise candidate rather than a like-minded successor.
       In 1996 he decreed that after 30 rounds of voting a simple majority would carry the day. Supporters of the leading candidates next week will know from the start that if they keep voting for their man they will eventually need only 58 votes rather than 77.
       John Paul then made crucial staff decisions which have shaped next week's conclave. In April 2002 he rejected the retirement of his close theological ally Ratzinger, who had reached the standard retirement age of 75.
       Later that year he did accept the retirement of Bernardin Gatin as dean of the College of Cardinals, clearing the way for Ratzinger to take that job, which entails summoning the cardinals to Rome for the conclave, convening their pre-conclave meetings, playing the central role in the widely-watched funeral mass and then chairing the conclave itself.#
       [COMMENT: See the first sentence: "The Holy Father" is not omnipotent in RC theory, but God is. The author might have been meaning to write the Pope is infallible, or "The Father" or "God the Father" is omnipotent. The Creed in Latin puts it: "Credo in Unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem" (I believe in one God, Father almighty), which might be one of the original statements of Jesus followers, before the later elaborations of divinity. "The Holy Father" in RC terminology means the Pope.
       Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles was reported to have given shelter to a fugitive Franciscan friar, wanted for abuse (Reported July 11, 2004). Abuse victims at one stage in 2004 were asking the authorities to prosecute him for alleged perjury.
       Alexander VI (a Borgia pope from 1492 to 1503) besides bribing himself into the job, was a man of immoral life. He gave a licence (1493-94) to Spain and Portugal to steal and divide the lands of the anyone they found in their explorations to the west, including the peoples of Cathay (China), India and nearby. As it turned out, its main use was as a licence to steal the lands of the Amerinds (American Indians), plus the East Indies and the Philippines. He also caused the prosecution and execution of the theocratic abuse-breaking despot though quasi-democrat Girolamo Savonarola of Florence (1498), and summoned a Crusade against the Moors (1499-1500). -- see Elizabeth A. Livingstone, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1977, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, p 14. COMMENT ENDS.
       BACKGROUND: The corruption and money-hungry nature of the Borgia and similar popes helped lead to the atmosphere in which Dr Martin Luther posted his 95 theses at Wittenberg on All Saints' Eve 1517. These theses did not show a single doubt on the authority of the bishop of Rome, but they protested against abuses including the sale of pardons for sin and granting of indulgences. Pope Julius II had amassed a fortune, and his high-spending successor Leo X (pope 1513-1521) strongly opposed Dr Luther's appeals to scripture to cease selling indulgences, and seeking other reform.
       By 1518 Luther won over many members of the Augustinian order, but was being summonsed by Church leaders to recant. He was under the protection of Frederick III of Saxony. -- Livingstone, Elizabeth A. (ed.), p 312 b.
       Luther had been surprised when he studied the weakness of the papal claims to rule all Christians. In 1519 Luther denied the primacy of the pope (that is, that the pope was divinely appointed to rule all Christians). -- Livingstone p 312 b.
       On June 23, 1520 he issued an appeal for the reformation of Christianity, and was excommunicated that same year.
       On October 6, 1520, Luther issued a book The Babylonian Captivity of the Church. On November 4, 1520 he issued Against the Bull of Antichrist. On November 17 Luther appealed to a general council of Christianity, declaring pope Leo to be tyrannical, an apostate, an antichrist, and an oppressor of Holy Scripture.
       On December 10 a placard invited Wittenberg people to a scaffold, on which university doctors helped Luther burn books of canon law, the decretals, the Clementines, etc., and then the Pope's bull (formal document) excommunicating and condemning Luther.
       About that time he declared that all the doctrines of John Huss (betrayed at the Council of Constance, and burnt to death 1415) were wholly Christian, thus retracting his previous belief that some were not. He repeated that St Peter was not pope by divine appointment.
       It was some years before Luther and many others, possibly through reading the Bible which he had translated into German, came to believe that the human invention, monastic life, ought to give way to God's appointment, domestic life. He gave up his Augustinian robes on October 9, 1524, the last of the rest of the monks left the monastery soon after, and he married ex-nun and noblewoman Katherine von Bora on June 11, 1525, the new family living in the former monastery. "The marriage of the clergy put an end to an immense number of secret crimes."   His old father approved of his change of status. -- Jean Henri Merle d'Aubigné (1794-1872), The Triumph of Truth; A Life of Martin Luther, ©1996, (tr. Henry White, ed. Mark Sidwell), Bob Jones University Press, Greenville (South Carolina), ISBN 0-89084-976-9, p 414.
       Luther said in 1525 that rulers ought to use violence against the Peasants' Revolt (1524-26) because it had led to brutality and excesses. -- Livingstone p 389 a. Some people believe this is a blot on his character.
       He died February 18, 1546. -- d'Aubigné p 415.
    -- Much material above is from: d'Aubigné. BACKGROUND ENDS.] [Apr 16-17, 2005]

    • Fleeing the grip of a spiritual black hole. [Special underclothes official, child abuse unofficial; theocracy cracked open.] - Mormons. United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Weekend Australian, R insert, Books section, "Fleeing the grip of a spiritual black hole," by Antonella Gambotto, page R13, April 16-17, 2005
       UNITED STATES: IN the acknowledgments of Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith, 42-year-old sociologist Martha Beck admits that to produce "this sort" of book, she "needed the kind of maintenance an emergency medical team might give the survivor of a plane crash - for years on end". Reader, she ain't saying nothing. The theocratic patriarchy of Mormonism has been cracked open by her memoir. A Harvard alumna and Latter-Day Saint aristocrat, Beck has written one of the most absorbing, ferocious and incendiary books published in recent years.
       The scandal? Beck accuses her father, professor emeritus Hugh Nibley, of raping her when she was five. With filigree wit she then documents the spectacular personal, and public, fallout.
    Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith
    By Martha Beck, Crown, 306p, $49.95
    Beck has always been defined by the men in her life. Her Down syndrome son inspired the best-selling memoir Expecting Adam, and her father was once described by The New Yorker as the "most venerable scholar in Mormonism". With characteristic crackle, Beck remarks: "I know a lot of people who claim their families are weirder because of Mormonism, but I am one of a much more select group who can justifiably claim that Mormonism is weirder because of my family."
       An arguable point. Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, likened the micro-theocracy of Colorado City to the Taliban. In his recent exposé of Mormonism's "pruning" of 400 young men to make young women available to old polygamists, Jeff Gordinier writes that "stories of incest" continue to radiate, concluding that "some kind of intrusion might be inevitable".
       The fifth-largest denomination in the US, Mormonism involves angels endorsing polygamy, golden plates and magical spectacles. The impact of such rapturous mythological imagery is somewhat curtailed by mulish homogenisation. Beck explains that all Latter-Day Saints must wear demon-repelling "regulation temple garment" underpants ("once you put them on you take them off at your peril") and that LDS fundamentalists believe each of the truly righteous - that is, male polygamists - gets to rule a planet of their own after death.
       Hallucinatory delusions aside, Mormons have never been renowned as spark plugs. Mark Twain described the Book of Mormon as "chloroform in print", and Beck writes of its lay ministry: "You never know if the sermon will be delivered by a fascinating word master (not likely) or by some poor schmuck with the vocabulary of a sea cucumber."
       She organises a meeting with her alert nonagenarian father, which calcifies into the book's skeleton. Cornered, Nibley takes refuge in the usual allusion and self-aggrandising solipsism. "This is how Satan works," he mutters. He has "always taken a special interest in me… It's the price you pay for defending the Gospel" And then he turns on her with gas-blue vehemence. "You and your trendy illnesses … Depression, that anorexia thing. Very fashionable, aren't you?… And now you have this false-memory syndrome … To think that my own child would act in league with Satan," His voice, she notes, quivers with fury.
       Beck is reminded of a typo in a Mormon brochure: "[T]hey left one letter out of the word Satan and handed out thousands of leaflets informing the confused Japanese that someone named Stan was trying to drag them down to hell" This levity is brief; Nibley's response has floored her. Does he believe Lucifer to be an actual being and, if so, one with whom Beck consorts? Can this be classified as a psychotic fugue state? Is he a liar, certifiably insane, or could he be empirically correct?
       Predictably, Leaving the Saints has caused a firestorm. Beck and her publisher have received death threats. Thousands of complaints were emailed to Oprah Winfrey, who features the book on her website and in the latest issue of her magazine (Beck contributes a monthly column). The Mormon Church has officially damned the book as "seriously flawed in the way it depicts the church, its members and teachings". Beck's six siblings have hired a psychologist and lawyer specialising in false-memory syndrome, and have set up a website ( ) denying her claims. Readers get to subsidise their campaign. ("Click here to use your credit card to donate")
       Beck's detractors attack her with ignorance and spite, and do not consider the possibility that she may be telling the truth. How can they know? Her history of anorexia, depression and suicidal ideation is irrefutable evidence of the suppression of profound suffering. ("I'd been considering suicide on and off since the age of six. I remember eating a bowl of Alpha-Bits and wondering how to kill myself when my legs were still too short to reach the kitchen floor") There is no question of abuse. The only question is to what degree and by whom.
       Beck writes that trauma survivors recover by telling their stories "outside the dangerous system - in the case of child abuse, the family - that inflicted the damage". The Mormon community "seemed to be part of one huge dysfunctional family, heavily invested in protecting my father". She describes it as "institutionalised madness" founded on the belief "that God had ordained a pattern of secrets and silence, that religious authority always trumped one's individual sense of right and wrong, that the evidence of the senses must bow to the demands of orthodoxy, no matter how insane".
       Until recently, Beck believed that her father lived in a web of lies, "a craziness so pervasive, it pulls other people into it like a spiritual black hole". This did not stop her trying to elicit from him some healing acknowledgment "If we can't tell each other the truth, there can't be any real love between us," she pleads. "If we do tell the truth, we can get over anything. Anything."
       Beck's father died denying her allegations on February 24, the day Leaving the Saints was featured in The New York Times. She did not attend his funeral.# [Bolding added]
    Ideation = The process of forming ideas or images.
    Solipsism = The philisophical theory that only the self exists or can be proved to exist. ENDS.] [April 16-17, 2005]

    • Benedict 'covered up abuse claim'. [1940s-60s Maciel; 1998-2005 Vatican] - RCC. Seminary males. Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Mexico flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Germany flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 9, Thursday, April 21, 2005
       VATICAN CITY: A former trainee priest who has accused the founder of an influential Catholic order of sexual abuse now claims the new Pope deliberately shelved an inquiry into his claims for six years.
       Jose Barba is one of eight former members of the Rome-based Legion of Christ, most of them Mexicans, who accuse the order's founder, Marcial Maciel, of sexually abusing them from the 1940s through the 1960s.
       They brought a suit against Father Maciel, 84, under the Vatican's canonical law in 1998. The case was filed at the Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. [now Pope Benedict XVI]
       Mr Barba says the claims were hushed up because Father Maciel and his ultra-conservative order were close to Pope John Paul II. He said Cardinal Ratzinger [German-born] was responsible. Father Maciel stepped down a month after the Vatican announced last December it would take up the claims. [Emphasis added]
       [LINKS: This newsitem is also on this website at Ethics / Ethics Cont. 111 in date order. To read more about accusations against the Rev. Fr. Maciel, visit The paradoxical pope, The Boston Globe,, news/globe/ editorial_opinion/ oped/ articles/ 2005/04/04/the _paradoxical_pope ; by Jason Berry | April 4, 2005, or click Paradox on this website, and/or visit Search This Website for Marcial Maciel.] [Apr 21, 05]
    • [Papacy Doctrines emerged over the centuries] Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Weekend Australian, by Peter Wilson, Europe Correspondent, pp 19 and 29, April 23-24, 2005
    FOR all the cheering in St Peter's Square, there was an underlying sense of anticlimax when the new leader of the world's largest religious denomination walked out on to that Vatican balcony for the first time.
       The Catholic faithful who had rushed through the streets of Rome on Tuesday in response to white smoke and the ringing of a giant bell were delighted simply to have a new Pope, and to be on hand to witness the first such announcement in 26 years.
       But Italians, Latin Americans, Africans and Asians had hoped the new Pope would be one of their own, while liberals and moderates from the developed world were openly disappointed that the that the secret men's business of the papal conclave had produced the most doctrinaire of all the leading candidates. …
       The German cardinal, who had tried for three years to retire from his old Vatican job but was repeatedly asked by John Paul to stay on, suffered a stroke in 1991 and was recently ordered to give up drinking beer, his brother said. […]
       In an address at the end of his first mass as Pope, Benedict [Ratzinger]sought to reassure those worried by his conservative track record by vowing to continue working for closer relations with other religions and to continue the Second Vatican Council reforms that dragged many church practices forward into the 20th century, for instance allowing the use of native languages rather than Latin in church services.
       His message was that he would try to be like John Paul II but that would not mean freezing the church in its practices and thinking at the time of John Paul's death. Instead it would mean consolidating John Paul's approach - theologically conservative but progressive on economics and social justice - while continuing the reforms John Paul had already launched, such as reaching out to other churches more than any previous pope.
       The first hint of Benedict's priorities came with his selection of a papal name but it continues to be misinterpreted by many analysts.
       In choosing the name Benedict it was always clear that he was not styling himself on popes such as Benedict XIII (1724-30), whose most lasting contribution was to give his name to his favourite breakfast egg dish. Instead many analysts assumed that he was looking at least in part to St Benedict, who founded the church's monastic tradition in the sixth century and helped to evangelise Europe when it was suffering moral decay at the end of the Roman Empire.
       St Benedict is a patron saint of Europe and many analysts assumed that having been elected ahead of Third World candidates the new Pope was planning to concentrate on regaining ground on the continent that has been the church's traditional base but now stands as the most secular continent on Earth, with dwindling congregations, empty seminaries and the greatest ever gap between the teachings of the church and the beliefs of its members on issues such as sexuality and contraception.
       Indeed the new pope told his fellow cardinals on the night he was elected that when he chose the name he was actually thinking of the pope during World War I, Benedict XV, from whom he wanted to take the themes of peace and reconciliation. That pope - Giacomo della Chiesa, archbishop of Bologna - was a cardinal for only three months before being elected in 1914 but he had extensive diplomatic experience which he applied - unsuccessfully - to searching for an end to that war.

    'He is a man of enormous intellectual resources and a man who cannot help but leave a mark' John Allen, Biographer

       Benedict XV also reached out to Christian churches of the east, both Orthodox and Catholic Eastern Rite, for instance founding the Oriental Institute, which still operates in Rome as a teaching centre devoted to better understanding between eastern and western Christian churches.
       Advocating peace and reaching out to other religions were also important themes of John Paul II's rule, even though he was ignored by the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq, and many of his attempts to promote Christian unity stalled.
       Formal talks with the Anglican Church on areas of doctrinal agreement, through a commission chaired by an Australian Anglican archbishop, Peter Carnley, lost momentum before John Paul's final decline, and the Russian Orthodox Church also maintained a stubborn refusal to let him visit Russia because of its fear that he was trying to "poach" its flock. Benedict XVI has already received encouraging signs of progress on both fronts, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams announcing that he will be in Rome tomorrow as the first head of the Anglican Church to attend a pope's inauguration mass, and his Russian Orthodox counterpart indicating a desire to improve co-operation.
       Instead of concentrating on Europe and trying to fashion a Catholicism aimed to win over more believers in Europe and the rest of the liberal leaning developed world, including Australia, Benedict XVI's papacy is much likelier to follow the historic trend of John Paul's term -- decline in the developed West and strong growth in the more populous and socially conservative recruiting grounds of Latin America, Africa and Asia.
       While policing doctrine as head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger as cardinal often made it clear that he was quite happy to see a smaller church if that was the price of having a theologically pure church. As Pope he will not be watering down core beliefs simply to boost numbers.
       As recently as Easter Sunday the then cardinal Ratzinger denounced a "dictatorship of relativism" in modern society, insisting that the church was the guardian of an absolute truth that could not be fudged or softened to suit modern secular values. The church would be abandoning its role, he believes, if it contemplated significant changes on bedrock beliefs such as papal infallibility, a celibate and male-only priesthood, and its bans on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and stem-cell research.
       Advocates of reform argue that most of those absolutes have changed over the years, and that instead of representing an immutable 2000-year-old truth, the church's interpretations of them have been gradually developed over the centuries.
       Even the role of pope, or bishop of Rome, did not exist as we know it during St Peter's lifetime, let alone the idea of infallibility. Indeed Rome did not even have an overall bishop until about the middle of the second century, records papal historian Michael Walsh in his book The Conclave.
       "Instead there were a number of different Christian communities, representing diverse immigrant groups who have been governed more by a council [of members] than by a single individual."
       The worship and exaltation of Mary did not begin until the fifth century, the title of pope or universal bishop was first awarded in 607, attending mass did not become mandatory until the 11th century and the celibacy of priests was decreed by Gregory VII only in 1079. The immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary was not proclaimed until 1854, papal infallibility was only defined in the 19th century and contraception, let alone stem-cell research, is an issue sharpened by modern technology.
       Amid the modern AIDS pandemic, they argue, it should at least be possible to see the use of condoms in AIDS-struck regions as part of a "culture of life" given that the church's ban on condoms is contributing to thousands of deaths.
       One area in which the Pope just might differ from his predecessor is hinted at by the record of Benedict XV. While failing to mediate between the Catholic rulers who were lined up on both sides of World War I, he had more success bringing peace to his own church, ending a harsh crackdown on liberal thinkers.
       John Paul II and his doctrinal enforcer, then-cardinal Ratzinger, rarely hesitated to punish liberals who stepped out of line. As Pope, he may be more tolerant, especially if he gives his old job to a man who is less zealous than himself.
       "I think Cardinal Schonborn will be the top of the list for that job, although there are other good candidates," says Father Gerald O'Collins, a prominent Australian theologian in Rome.
       "An even more important job he has to fill is the secretary of state." The Pope yesterday announced that the incumbent, Angelo Sodano, would stay on in that role, the No. 2 post in the Vatican, but O'Collins says that was only an interim move.
       "Sodano is 77 and he's tired and wants to go," he says. "He has done his bit and worked very hard."
       Benedict XVI has also served his time - he is the oldest man elected Pope for 275 years - but despite his brother's fears about his health there is little respite ahead for the new leader of an organisation with 4000 bishops, 400,000 priests and a claimed 1.1 billion followers around the globe.# [Emphasis added]
       [COMMENT: There are a few errors in the above discussion on the changes to Roman Catholic teachings. It is likely, for example, that Mary was not "worshipped," but was venerated as superhuman in some places a good deal earlier than the 5th century. Also there are omissions, such as the 1950 Papal innovation of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. Look elsewhere on this website and the Web and bookshops for more information.
       The article's list of "bedrock beliefs" -- infallibility, a celibate and male-only priesthood, and the RC bans on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and stem-cell research -- quoted above are for the most part, some scriptural and historical purists will say, manmade aberrations and departures from, or at least additions to, the Jesus message. Five of the above list could be termed "pubianity" - undue emphasis on matters connected to the pubic area. Many RCs fully accept the doctrines only on abortion, and some those on euthanasia or homosexuality, but privately (and sometimes publicly) reject the rest of that list.
       Add to these beliefs the disputed hypothesis of Peter being in charge of the early Church. It is not proved that he went westwards to Rome, Italy. It is scriptural that he operated with others, seemingly as part of the leadership team, in Jerusalem, and worked to the east in Antioch, modern Syria, and a disputed epistle could be interpreted to infer that he was at one time away farther to the east at Babylon, modern Iraq. (The above article suggests that there were several leaders in Rome, anyway, not just one.)
       The spirit makes up a trinity: Or rather, people "made up" stories and texts so that references to the spirit of God or the spirit of Jesus could be used to promote "spirit" to become a "Holy Ghost" or "Holy Spirit"  Such doctrines seem to be unknown to Jesus and his inner circle, or are contradicted.  The unity of God seems to permeate their beliefs, contradicting the many gods of the idolaters all around them.  Search the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse to older RCs) for any hint of the Holy Spirit in that panorama of a fanciful fantastic Heaven.  On the same point, look through a good concordance (an index to every word in the bible) for the number of times Jesus talked about his Father, without reference to or hint of a Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is not defined as a person, let alone as part of a trinity (three persons in one God).
       Regarding Jesus's attitude, read this: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).  If he was part of a three-person God, why didn't that get written down in this saying? 
       An epistle says: "… for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live, and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live."  (1 Corinthians 8:6, NIV).  Well, that text looks like a step in "development of doctrine," with Jesus of Nazareth now promoted from preacher to someone who was Lord (boss), and Christ (the anointed one), helping in the creation of the universe and "through whom we live."  Whoever wrote that had not thought of a THIRD "co-creator" to fit into the "trinity", had he?
       Wherever you see "Spirit" with a capital "S" in a bible or religious document, remember that in Bible Greek, in which the oldest documents were written, there was no distinguishment between capital letters and others.  Read for the sense, without the capital "S", and think!  Also, there is no "God the Son, God the Holy Spirit" in the New Testament.  In spite of the omission of it from the bible, most Christian sects have the Trinity as a touchstone of faith.
       Therefore it would be wrong to blame only Rome.  It would seem that doctrine-making was occurring in the early Greek-speaking Churches led (after a long time) by Constantinople.  For example, the expression "mother of God" supposedly arose in Greek-speaking times.  It is asserted that Mary was barely mentioned in the earliest patristic writings.-- Elizabeth Livingstone p 325 a.
       Even as late as the time of Bishop Claudius of Turin, Italy (? 817-? 835) teachings were fluid.  He attacked image worship, relics, veneration of the Cross, pilgrimages, and praying for the intercession of the saints. -- Elizabeth Livingstone, p 113 a.
       Most of these beliefs are held also by the Eastern and Orthodox Churches, and occur in non-Christian religions.
       Can a pope override the councils?
      Regarding the popes claiming to override councils, when the Latin Church had three popes at once, the council of bishops known as the Council of Constance in 1415 passed the decree Haec sancta that the Council held its power direct from Christ.  This council then deposed John XXIII (not the modern one!), Gregory XII abdicated, and in 1417 the third "pope" Benedict XIII was deposed.  This council appointed Oddo Colonna as Martin V.  Betraying an imperial safe conduct, this same council had burnt the Bohemian reformer John Huss in 1415, and dealt a similar fate to another Bohemian reformer, Jerome of Prague, in 1416. -- see Elizabeth Livingstone, p 127, etc.
       The Conciliar Theory (theory that supreme authority in the Church lies with a General Council) had been used as above to end the three-pope problem.  The theory was supported in 1440 by Pius II before he became pope, when he was supporting the antipope Felix V (Yes, plural popes so soon after the Council of Constance had seemingly solved that problem!).  As pope, however, in 1460, he reversed himself and condemned the practice of appealing to a general council of the Church! -- Elizabeth Livingstone, p 403 b.  It was made a sin! And the bishops and others have capitulated ever since -- or left to form new Churches.
       The supposed infallibility of Peter and his supposed successors the Popes, even as restrictively defined in 1870, was not an original teaching of Jesus and the apostles.  Galatians 2:11-21 (Cephas/Peter reverting to Judaic "purity laws" and exclusivism, not eating with Gentile converts) ought to start students on the road to doubting the correctness of Petrine theories.  For more enlightenment about the supposed authority of popes and councils, consult articles about: Acton (Baron John, 1869), Chalcedon (Council of, 451), Conciliar Theory, Constantinople (Third Council of, anathematised former Pope Honorius I in 681), Cyprian (Bishop of Carthage, died 258), Döllinger (1799-1890), Errington (1804-86), Gallican Articles (1682), Heferle (1809-93), Honorius I (Pope 625-38), Infallibility of the pope (RC decree 1870), Ireland (conquest by Norman-English 1172 supposedly approved by Pope), Jesuits (approved 1540, suppressed 1733, restored 1814), John XII (in 962 confirmed the Emperor's rights in papal elections), Liberius (Pope, 352-66), Magna Charta 1215 (repudiated the same year by the Pope of the time), Monothelitism (accepted by two councils and successive popes, but in 681 rejected by a council and the then pope), Norman Conquest of England 1066 (blessed by Pope Alexander II -- Livingstone, pp 13-14), Strossmayer (Bishop Joseph of Yugoslavia, 1869-70), Templars (suppressed though innocent 1312), Vatican Council (the first, 1869-70), Vienne (Council of, 1312), and, Vigilius (Pope; in the Three Chapters controversy he reversed himself more than once up to 553). -- see most in Elizabeth A. Livingstone (ed.), © 1977, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [FRAUDULENT SUPREMACY DOCUMENTS: The False Decretals – The most shattering blow to genuine RCs is the discovery of historical facts that the Roman Papacy used "manufactured" documents to "prove" its claims to universal rulership, and to claim rents and taxes from lands.  In the Elizabeth Livingstone dictionary quoted above, the item "False Decretals" states that they were falsely drawn up to defend the rights of diocesan bishops against their metropolitans, and to claim early authority for Papal supremacy.  (See the plan in this?  Separate the smaller bishops from their national leader.)  However, although ascribed to St Isidore of Seville who died in A.D. 636, they had really been compiled in France around 850.  Of the supposed letters of the Bishops of Rome in the Decretals, about 35 are spurious (p 189). 
       (Among the Rome-leaning documents that Martin Luther burnt were "The Decretals."  Scholars are asked to e-mail the Webmaster with more details, please.)
       French scholar David Blondel finally discredited the Decretals in a 1628 book (p 68).  From 850 to 1628 – that's a long time for a supposedly infallible organisation to be quoting from forged documents!  ENDS.]
       [LAND, IMPERIAL CROWN, and RELIGIOUS PRIMACY FORGERY:  The Donation of Constantine – This document was "proof" that Constantine the Great (died 337), Emperor of both the West and the East, had donated all of Italy to the Bishop of Rome to rule as a civilian ruler would, and that he was religious primate over the ancient bishoprics of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, plus Constantinople, and that he was supreme judge over all the clergy.  The forgery declared that Constantine had offered the Bishop of Rome the Imperial Crown, which he had refused (p 158).
       Italian scholar Lorenzo Valla (1406-57) proved the spuriousness of this document in a book in which he strongly attacked the fact that the Pope was ruling parts of Italy (p 533) like an earthly duke or king.  From 337 to the 1400s – that's a long reign of profitable dishonesty by the Bishop of Rome, holding and taxing lands illegally!  And claiming universal dominion over more ancient bishoprics, and that the Roman Bishop had a right to civil rulership over the Empire and its later imitations!  ENDS.] [Head article: Apr 23-24, 2005]

    • New Editor of America Magazine Named. - RCC. Thomas Reese going. United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       America (U.S. R.C. magazine), www.america , May 6, 2005
       UNITED STATES: Father Drew Christiansen, S.J., associate editor of America, has been named editor of the national Catholic weekly magazine, effective June 1. Father Christiansen follows Father Thomas Reese, S.J., who has been editor of America magazine for the past seven years.
       "Father Christiansen is an ideal candidate to take over the reins at America magazine," says Father Thomas Reese, S.J., who recruited Father Christiansen for the staff in 2002. "He has wide experience, editorial expertise and a deep spiritual witness that will serve our publication well."
       Father Reese said "I am proud of what my colleagues and I did with the magazine, and I am grateful to them, our readers and our benefactors for the support they gave me. I look forward to taking a sabbatical while my provincial and I determine the next phase of my Jesuit ministry."
       America magazine increased its circulation and gained national prominence during the time Father Reese was editor.
       "I know I am speaking for all the editors in saying that we are sorry to see Tom go," said Father Christiansen. During his tenure as editor, "Father Reese greatly improved the magazine, adding news coverage, color and the Web edition.  His technical expertise, in this age of new media, will be greatly missed. I know I will be calling on his guidance in that and other areas. By inviting articles that covered different sides of disputed issues, Father Reese helped make America a forum for intelligent discussion of questions facing the Church and the country today."
       Before coming to America, Father Christiansen was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University . He is former director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Catholic Conference (1991-1998) and served as counselor for international affairs for the bishops until December 2004.
       In addition, he has been associate professor of theology and staff fellow of the Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame (1986-1990); assistant professor of social ethics, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and Graduate Theological Union (1981-86) and director, Center for Ethics and Social Policy (1982-86). He received his Ph.D. in religious social ethics from Yale University in 1982.
       Father Christiansen's staff work for the U.S. bishops included their 1991 environmental pastoral, Renewing the Earth, and the design and implementation of the bishops' environmental justice program. He also served as the lead staff person in the drafting of the 1993 tenth anniversary peace pastoral, The Harvest of Justice Is Sown in Peace, which has provided the basis for USCCB's post-Cold War policy. As director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, he traveled frequently on missions to world trouble spots, including the Balkans and the Middle East .
       He is author of more than 100 articles on moral theology, ethics and international affairs, just war and nonviolence, Catholic social teaching, and family care of the elderly. His most recent book is Forgiveness in International Politics: An Alternative Road to Peace (USCCB, 2004), co-authored with William Bole and Robert T. Hennemeyer . [May 6, 05]
    • [America editor seems to have been forced out]. - RCC.
       Yahoo! News, "Editor of Jesuit Magazine Leaving," com/s/ap/20050506/ ap_on_re_eu/vatican _jesuit_magazine _1&printer=1 , By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer, 5:35 PM ET, Fri May 6, 2005
       UNITED STATES: The editor of the Jesuit weekly America is leaving the magazine after the Vatican received complaints about articles he published on touchy issues such as same-sex marriages and stem cell research, Jesuit officials said Friday.
       The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a widely respected expert on the Catholic Church and the Vatican who was editor for seven years, is being replaced by his deputy, the Rev. Drew Christiansen, the magazine said in a statement.
       Jesuit officials in Rome and the United States, who spoke on condition they not be identified, said some American bishops had contacted the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about articles in the magazine over the years that had presented both sides of controversies over sensitive church issues.
       The Vatican has had a sometimes tense relationship with the Jesuits, some of whose members in the past have questioned papal pronouncements on birth control, priestly celibacy and the ban on women priests.
       The magazine had made a point of publishing broad points of view -- including some that clashed with church teaching -- irking some Catholics in the United States and Rome, the officials said.
       Some of the hot-button issues included gay priests, stem-cell research, whether Catholic politicians can be denied communion if they support abortion rights, and same-sex unions.
       The magazine also wrote about a Vatican document that outlined the idea that divine truth is most fully revealed in Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular.
       The document "Dominus Iesus" was issued in 2000 by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith -- the office that was headed by German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope Benedict XVI last month.
       Critics complained the document could set back Church efforts to reach out to other Christians and believers outside the Church.
       Reese is based in New York where the magazine is edited. He was in Rome for the election of Benedict, who had enforced a hard line on church doctrine and silenced theologians who diverged from it in his 24 years as Pope John Paul II's orthodoxy watchdog.
       While in Rome, Reese met with his superior who mentioned there had been complaints about a couple of articles, a Jesuit official in Rome said. The official said Reese had left Rome with the idea he would resign.
       Any response to complaints from U.S. bishops or Vatican officials would be made by the Jesuit General in Rome, the Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, and the 11 Jesuit leaders in the United States.
       In the statement from newly named editor Christiansen, he noted that under Reese, the magazine often gave two sides of the debate on sensitive church issues -- and that made it more relevant.
       "By inviting articles that covered different sides of disputed issues, Father Reese helped make America a forum for intelligent discussion of questions facing the church and the country today," Christiansen said.
       When contacted Friday, Reese said only that his tenure ends on June 1 and that he would move immediately to California and continue in his Jesuit ministry. He referred other comment to his news release.
       In that release, Reese praised Christiansen, whom he had recruited in 2002.
       He said he was "proud of what my colleagues and I did with the magazine, and I am grateful to them, our readers and our benefactors for the support they gave me. I look forward to taking a sabbatical while my provincial (regional boss) and I determine the next phase of my Jesuit ministry."
       An official at the Jesuit headquarters in Washington, the Rev. Albert Diulio, said Reese and his provincial supervisor had reached the decision together, and noted that Jesuits tend to rotate jobs every six or seven years.
       Diulio said he could not comment on any other reasons behind the change.
       An official with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declined to comment on the matter. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said she had no information.
       The Jesuit order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1540 is renowned for its intellectual rigor and its excellent teachers, scholars and scientists. The Vatican has at times taken aim at its independence.
       In the most recent publicized incident, John Paul named a temporary replacement to lead the order after the Rev. Pedro Arrupe suffered a crippling stroke in 1981, brushing aside Arrupe's choice for an interim leader in an unprecedented change-of-command.
       Arrupe, who died in 1991, had pushed for the church to move for a more socially just world while remaining faithful to papal authority. But during his tenure, some Jesuits especially in the United States and the Netherlands challenged Vatican pronouncements on birth control, priestly celibacy and the ban on women priests.
    Associated Press writer Frances D'Emilio contributed to this article.#
       [COMMENT: See if the emphasis on the complaints centres on the pubic region. Do they preach Christianity, or Pubianity? Ponder whether they practise what they preach. COMMENT ENDS.] [May 6, 05]

    • US Jesuit magazine editor resigns amid Vatican pressure . - RCC.
       Catholic Online, cathcom/national _story.php?id=14392 , May/7/2005
       WASHINGTON (AFP) - A prominent Jesuit priest who often appears on US television as a religion expert was pressured by the Vatican to resign from his post as chief editor of a US Roman Catholic magazine, US newspapers said.
       Father Thomas Reese, who edited America magazine for the past seven years, was forced to resign Friday for publishing articles critical of Roman Catholic church positions, according to The New York Times, which cited American Catholic officials.
       America magazine released a statement announcing that Reese, 60, would be replaced on June 1, but the publication did not explain the reasons for his departure.
       "I look forward to taking a sabbatical while my provincial and I determine the next phase of my Jesuit ministry," Reese said in the statement.
       According to the independent National Catholic Reporter, the resignation came after five years of pressure from the Vatican's top doctrinal authority, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger until he became Pope Benedict XVI last month.
       The order to dismiss Reese was given in mid-March, when Ratzinger still headed the congregation, according to the Times.
       The articles that prompted Vatican scrutiny had offered more than one side on controversial issues such as same-sex marriage, condom use to combat AIDS and whether communion should be given to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, US newspapers said.#
       [COMMENT: The emphasis on the pubic region, still! COMMENT ENDS.] [May 7, 05]

    • Rebel priest loses job after Pope's elevation. - RCC. America Editor Father Thomas Reese (Jesuit) wanted clergy liberation. United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 24, Monday, May 9, 2005
       WASHINGTON - A liberal Jesuit has been forced to resign as editor of a Catholic magazine in the United States after several years of tense relations with the Vatican doctrinal office that was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elected Pope Benedict XVI last month.
       Father Thomas Reese, 60, lost the editorship of the magazine America after pressure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to The National Catholic Reporter.
       His clashes with the Congregation began four years ago when America ran articles critical of "Dominus Iesus", a document produced by Cardinal Ratzinger's office which outlined the supremacy of Catholicism over other faiths and denominations.
       At one stage, the Congregation threatened to appoint censors to oversee the magazine's contents if the Jesuits did not rein it in.
       After Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope, Fr Reese argued that the Vatican should consider scrapping celibacy for priests and ordaining women.
       "A church that cannot openly discuss issues is a church retreating into an intellectual ghetto," he wrote in an editorial.
       US Jesuit leaders are understood to have decided that they could not carry on defending Fr Reese's position after Cardinal Ratzinger's election to the papacy.#
       [COMMENT: If only these Christians would concentrate for a few reforms that are soundly based in scripture, such as returning to having a married clergy, and enforcing a complete ban on clergy child abuse, and so on! Informed people cannot abide the hypocrisy of sex-abusing clerics preaching that HIV-AIDS can best be stopped or minimised by abstinence from sex, and that male-male sex is evil, while a lamentable percentage practice it themselves, and a larger percentage condone it by "winking" at it in colleagues and underlings. COMMENT ENDS.] [May 9, 05]

     • America editor resigns  Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), The world in brief, p 9, May 12, 2005
       VATICAN CITY: Jesuit officials in Rome said Father Thomas Reese resigned as editor in chief of America magazine after repeated complaints from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who objected to the magazine's treatment of sensitive Church issues.
       Jesuit Father Jose M. de Vera, spokesman for the Society of Jesus in Rome, said Father Reese decided to resign after discussing the situation with his Jesuit superiors, following Cardinal Ratzinger's election as Pope Benedict XVI. Father de Vera denied reports that Father Reese was forced to resign, but he acknowledged that pressure had been coming from the Vatican for several years.
       "He tendered his resignation. It was not imposed, contrary to what was written," Father de Vera told Catholic News Service on May 9.
       "With Cardinal Ratzinger elected Pope, I think Father Reese thought it would be very difficult to continue his line of openness, without creating more problems.
       "He had been at America magazine seven years and he improved it tremendously, so I think he understood it was time to go," the Jesuit spokesman said. [May 12, 05]
     • Media can ease hostility  (same date and page as above)
       VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict XVI called on the world's news media to help "tear down the walls of hostility that still divide humanity" by reporting objectively and in a way that respects human dignity.
       Speaking at a noon blessing on May 8, World Communications Day, the Pope said news media represent an extraordinary resource in the modern age, capable of bringing people together.[…] [May 12, 05]
    • Jensen's Crusade Australia flag; 
       The Weekend Australian Magazine, by Greg Callaghan, photography Nick Cubbin, pp 22-25, May 14-15, 2005
       SYDNEY (NSW) Australia: The hardline approach of Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen has seen congregation numbers rising. But does his refusal to ordinate [? ordain] women and homosexuals threaten the church's future? Greg Callaghan reports.
    Nobody can accuse Peter Jensen of being a shrinking violet. Since he was consecrated as the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney four years ago, the 62-year-old father of five has been accused of being a nepotist, a misogynist and a homophobe.[…] (p 22 a)
       Women and homosexuals cannot hold positions of leadership in the church, he insists, because it tells him so in The Bible and is contrary to the traditions of the church.[…] (p 22 a)
       … At a time when only one in seven Australians attends church, it is the liberal churches that are withering and the evangelical wings that are thriving, say observers. "Things are going well for me," Jensen remarks with some understatement.[…] (p 22 c)
       But what about these charges of nepotism? "Brand Jensen" is how his many critics describe his appointment of his brother Phillip - notorious for once calling Mother Teresa an instrument of the devil and Prince Charles an adulterer - as the Dean of St Andrew's Cathedral, the mother church of Anglicanism in Australia. This was quickly followed by the appointment of his wife, Christine, as deacon in an important women's ministry, and finally of his son Michael as a lecturer at Moore Theological College. Not to forget the cabal of old school friends who now surround him on the Sydney diocese Standing Committee, and his über media adviser and old friend Margaret Rodgers, a buttoned-down, sensible-looking woman who sits in on one of our interviews. All of the above form what one wit describes as the buckle of the Anglican bible belt. (pp 22-23)
       Jensen's stock response to demands for equality in the church is that "we cannot become culturally captive to the fashions of the day. We can't choose the parts [from The Bible] that fit in with our current culture." But a quick flick through the history books shows that the Church of England has recanted its position on a host of contentious issues, as we have already seen, from slavery to women being ordained as priests. To its credit, the Anglican Church did an about-face on contraception in 1958, backing for the first time the use of condoms, unlike the Roman Catholic Church […] (p 24 c)
       Even Jensen's most bitter opponents applaud his "rock-like" stance against sexual abuse in the church. For more than six months, he devoted an afternoon a week to listening to the harrowing tales of victims, and to his credit set up protocols for screening potential ministers before being ordained - a particularly rigorous one for those headed into the children's ministry. "It's horrifying meeting the victims of sexual abuse," says Jensen. "They have taught me about real suffering, and about sin."
       It has to be said there's not a hint of hypocrisy about Jensen, no whiffs of sleaze, no hint of corruption. He is, from all accounts, a man of his word. "He'll tell you straight to your face what he thinks of you," says the Rev Bill Lawton. Echoes Michael Horsburgh, an honorary associate professor at the University of Sydney, and perhaps Jensen's most significant opponent on the Anglican synod: "He's a morally upright person. He's never offensive or rude."
       He does, however, seem to have a narrow world-view, according to some friends and foes. Like many ultra-conservatives, Jensen blames feminists and homosexuals for the decline of the family since the 1960s, the decade when, in his view, society started to go helter-skelter.
       It's a terribly simplistic attitude, says Caroline Miley, one that overlooks the release of the contraceptive pill in 1961, which gave women control over their fertility for the first time in human history and helped reduce family sizes; and one that ignores the large-scale entry of women into the workforce, which brought unprecedented demands for equality, changing gender relations forever. (p 25 a)
       Horsburgh, who is also a spokesperson for the moderate group Anglicans Together, describes Jensen as a religious radical in his attitude towards women: "He believes the subordination of women is part of the ways of Christ." Anglican academic Dr Muriel Porter, who has been at the forefront of the women's ordination movement, says she is amazed Sydney is so far behind other cities such as Melbourne, where one-fifth of the Anglican clergy are now women. "He's holding the rest of the country back," she says. "It's frightening that conservative women buy this line from Jensen. It's a fundamentally dishonest stand that assumes there is only one biblical position [on women becoming priests and bishops], when there are tensions throughout the scriptures."
       While Jensen has done his darnedest to stymie women's ordination, he has almost fallen over himself trying to convince them to take up roles such as those of deacons, even if these roles don't wield any real power. … (p 25 b) […] [Bolding added] [May 14-15, 2005]

    COALITION FOR THE DEFENCE OF HUMAN LIFE                                         May 2005

    The Coalition for the Defence of Human Life

    invites you to join us in marking the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998 by giving public witness to:

    • our grief at the killing with the official sanction of the State of Western Australia of some 57,000 children before birth since the Act was passed;
    • our determination to reverse this heinous "law";
    • our resolve to stop Medicare funding of the majority of the over 90,000 abortions carried out in Australia each year
    • our opposition to human embryo research, search-and-destroy genetic screening and euthanasia; and
    • our support for the right to life for all human beings from fertilisation to natural death.

    Thursday, 26th May 12 noon-l:15 pm

    We will be joined by pro-life members of Parliament.
    Speakers include RC Archbishop Barry Hickey who will reflect on the legacy of the late Pope John Paul II and the culture of life.

    Enquiries: Coalition for the Defence of Human Life 9321 2822
    [for May 26, 2005]
    • Eucharistic miracle. The miracle at Gona. Priest recalls Dardanup chaplain's war experience. - Mons. Cunningham war story. Papua New Guinea flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), pp 1 and 12, August 11, 2005
       PAPUA NEW GUINEA / AUSTRALIA: A publication for Australian soldiers who fought in New Guinea in World War II has revived memories of a war-time eucharistic miracle associated with a former Parish Priest, Mgr Charles Cunningham, who was a famous WW2 padre with various Army units, but particularly the 2/16 Battalion, AIR.
       The chalice associated with the miracle was presented to the 2/16 Battalion (AIF) Association last year by Fr Noel Fitzsimons and Fr Bernie Dwyer, in accordance with Fr Cunningham's wishes.[…]
       The story was published in the Associations journal "Pigeon Post" in June 2004. It reads:
       "Before the assault on Gona Beach, November 1942, Padre Cunningham […] selected a site for the Mass nearby where the battalion were stationed and about 120-150 soldiers followed him to the Mass site. He … began the Mass setting aside the approximate number of hosts for the men who had followed him.[…]
       In those days, the priest celebrated Mass with his back to the congregation.
       "He turned to give the absolution before Communion and noticed all too late that the number of soldiers assembled seemed to have grown considerably.[…]
       "He began to distribute the consecrated hosts, but the line of men coming to Communion seemed endless.[…]
       The hosts continued to multiply. He avowed later on that he would have distributed Communion to more than 450 men.
       "When the line of soldiers came to an end, he found that he still had three hosts in the chalice. …
       "He looked around and, out of the corner of his eye, he saw three men, overcoming their diffidence, making their way from the perimeter of the crowd.[…]
       "He finished the Mass with great emotion, for clearly God had intervened to give each of these men the consolation of His presence in the Eucharist. They felt their need of Him and He would not deny them.
       "The chalice was used after WW2 in the Mass kit in Albany when Mass was said at the out-stations, like Lower Kalgan and Mount Manypeaks. It was finally entrusted to Terry Flanagan who in turn donated it, in accordance with the Padre's wishes, to the 2/16th Battalion with whom he served.
       Fr Fitzsimons told The Record that another Mass kit used by Padre Cunningham during WW2 was in the Canberra War Memorial museum.[…]
       On his [Mgr Cunningham's] return to WA, he served in various places, but is particularly remembered as parish priest at Dardanup in the 1950s and later at Albany.#
       [COMMENT: This is the 21st century. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 11, 05]

    • Signposts on Rome's papal trail Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; 
       The Weekend Australian, adapted from God's New Man by Paul Collins, pp 26-27, September 10-11, 2005
       AUSTRALIA / VATICAN CITY: POPE Karol Wojtyla's long-term private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz (pronounced gee-vish), whose title was adjunct-prefect, was the real power behind the papal throne.
       Dziwisz was sitting just behind John Paul in the Popemobile as it was driven around the crowd in the piazza of St Peter's when the pope was shot in the stomach by Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca.
       For instance, Dziwisz certainly made sure that several of the conservative new religious movements such as Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ and the Neo-Catechuminate had ample access.
       At the same time, the representative leaders of the long-established mainstream religious orders with a membership of over a million committed sisters, priests and brothers, the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General, were left out in the cold, not meeting the pope from 1995 to 2003.
       Many of the bishops appointed by John Paul have been of poor leadership quality. Quite a few of them obviously lack pastoral sensitivity, mature spirituality, and even a sound knowledge of Catholic teaching and theology.

    Signposts on Rome's papal trail

       The Weekend Australian, pp 26-27, September 10-11, 2005
    Paul Collins, the local Vatican expert, reports on those who exercised power in the last years of John Paul II's papacy, and analyses the victory and promise of Benedict XVI
    POPE Karol Wojtyla's long-term private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz (pronounced gee-vish), whose title was adjunct-prefect, was the real power behind the papal throne.
       Born of a rural family in the hills near Rabka to the south of Krakow in 1939, and ordained priest in 1963, he had been with Wojtyla as his secretary since 1966.
       He is a modest, taciturn man, short of stature, his black, curly hair now disappearing, with a slightly plump face, a prominent nose and classic Slavic features. Until his appointment as an archbishop, he was known in the Vatican simply as "Don Stanislaw" or to close friends as "Stas".
       When Wojtyla was elected pope in October 1978, Dziwisz came to Rome with him and from then onwards dominated the appartamento through his constant close contact with the pope, known to most as John Paul II. His bedroom was next to that of the pope and, in many ways, their relationship was that of family; they acted as if they were father and son. He was present beside the pope almost all the time to help him in every detail, he went on all the papal travels, was completely devoted to John Paul and, as the pope's health declined, acted more and more as his proxy. By 2003, cynics had dubbed him "Pope Stan I".
       Even in Krakow, Wojtyla was never one for the boring details of diocesan administration. In Rome he found the endless minutiae that was sent up to him from the Roman curia, the central Vatican bureaucracy, irrelevant to what he felt was his real mission: a kind of globetrotting papacy engaged in worldwide evangelisation. Because of security and papal tradition, the appartamento was enclosed and claustrophobic, and pope Wojtyla had always been a man of the mountains and the outdoors. He felt the Vatican was a "golden cage". Protecting him meant that this sense of lock-down and imprisonment increased after the assassination attempt on May 13,1981.
       Dziwisz was sitting just behind John Paul in the Popemobile as it was driven around the crowd in the piazza of St Peter's when the pope was shot in the stomach by Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca. Dziwisz cradled him in his arms until the pope was put in an ambulance. Given this relationship, it was Dziwisz who for most of the last years of the Wojtyla papacy really decided who had access and who did not. While Dziwisz was no fool, his instincts were deeply conservative, and he was not theologically sophisticated.
       But he knew well who John Paul really wanted to see, and particularly the people he wanted to avoid.
       … Given that John Paul was a social person and had always learned more from talking to others than reading reports, those with his ear were the most influential.
       For instance, Dziwisz certainly made sure that several of the conservative new religious movements such as Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ and the Neo-Catechuminate had ample access.
       At the same time, the representative leaders of the long-established mainstream religious orders with a membership of over a million committed sisters, priests and brothers, the Union of Superiors General and the International Union of Superiors General, were left out in the cold.
       In November 2003 the former president of the Union of Superiors General, the Mexican Father Camillo Matisse, reported in the Catholic newspaper The Tablet that his organisation had not had a meeting with the pope since 1995. This was an extraordinary exclusion of the leadership of some of the most long-established pastoral and influential organisations in the church.
       The same applied to the Roman curia: some officials were preferred over others.

    Many of the bishops appointed by John Paul have been of poor leadership quality. Quite a few of them obviously lack pastoral sensitivity, mature spirituality, and even a sound knowledge of Catholic teaching and theology.
       … The influence of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - formerly the Roman Inquisition - was profound on doctrinal matters throughout the Wojtyla papacy and continued right through to the end.
       Also very influential in Wojtyla's last years was Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, writer of many of the pope's speeches. But as Parkinson's disease increasingly took over John Paul's body from about the 2000 Jubilee year onwards, fewer and fewer people had regular access to him. … […]
       Dziwisz became the real gatekeeper. He was the one who filtered the information and the questions that needed decisions to the pope. It was he who advised Wojtyla, and even acted for him, and it was he who funnelled back the replies. There was a sense in which Dziwisz became the de facto vicar of the pope. […]
       It was also during this last period of the Wojtyla papacy that the influence of the reactionary Spanish organisation Opus Dei increased considerably around the Vatican. The Opus had always had a man very close to the pope and much "liked by the appartamento", the medical doctor and former bullfighter Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who was the papal media spokesman. …
       Another friend of Opus Dei was the Camerlengo, or Chamberlain of the Holy Roman Church, the Spanish Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, …
       By early 2003, Dziwisz's influence on appointments to the College of Cardinals was considerable. … […]
       … The Vatican bureaucracy is not very large (all up it employs just over 3000 people), but being Italian in inspiration, it tends to work very much on personal relationships, patronage, ambition, saving face, vituperation and a torrent of gossip. […]
       … In fact, one of the mysteries of the April conclave is where were the moderates? … There just seemed to be no political nous, … totally disorganised … […]
       As with the majority of the college of cardinals, many of the bishops appointed by John Paul have been of poor leadership quality. Quite a few of them obviously lack pastoral sensitivity, mature spirituality, and even a sound knowledge of Catholic teaching and theology. […]
       … First, the simple fact of Benedict's age means that this will not be a long papacy. […]
       Third, this pope brings a lot of baggage to the papacy … Leopards do not change their spots, although they might fade a bit with age. […]
       … So I suspect that this will not be a comfortable papacy for those perceived as dissenters of any sort … […]
       Fifth, he probably will be more consultative, more open to the bishops, more prepared to listen, especially to those he respects. … there will be a call for a better celebration of the liturgy, a greater sensitivity to the presence of God in Christ at mass and in the sacraments … joyful, with beautiful music and colour. […]
       Adapted from God's New Man: The Election of Benedict XVI and the Legacy of John Paul II by Paul Collins (Melbourne University Publishing, $32.95). Collins, a theologian and commentator, left the priesthood in 2001 after the Vatican criticised his writings.

    [Pictures] Inside the Vatican: Paul Collins's new book.
    Devoted: John Paul II and his long-serving private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.
    Waiting: Cardinals gather at the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican before the conclave that elected Joseph Ratzinger, the new Pope Benedict XVI.
    Backing Benedict: Cardinal Camillo Ruini
    Sainted: Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva
    Conservative: Australia's Cardinal George Pell
    Blessing: Benedict XVI in Rome this week.
    [Sep 10-11, 2005]
     • No war criminals here  Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Croatia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "The world in brief," p 9, September 22, 2005
       VATICAN CITY: Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls on September 20 denied reports that the Vatican Secretariat of State has attempted to help hide a Croatian general accused of war crimes.
       Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the UN international tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, told a London newspaper she believes Gen. Ante Gotovina is hiding in a Franciscan monastery in Croatia.
       In an interview published on September 20 in The Daily Telegraph, she said she had met with Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican foreign minister, in July seeking the Vatican's help in discovering which of roughly 80 monasteries in Croatia was sheltering the general. "They said they have no intelligence and I don't believe that," she told the Telegraph.
       "I think that the Catholic Church has the most advanced intelligence services."
       The prosecutor said, "Mgr Lajolo said to me, 'Let me know in which monastery Gotovina is hiding.' I said, if I knew, I would not be here in Rome." # [Sep 22, 05]
    • [Croatian war crime accused not known to be in RC monastery: Archbishop] Croatia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "Theory accuses Vatican unfairly," by Barry J. Hickey, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth, p 17, Monday, September 26, 2005
       PERTH: Your coverage of the case of former Croatian general, Ante Gotovina, (report, 21/9, Andre Malan, 22/9) has been unbalanced and unfair in its accusation that the Vatican has been complicit in hiding the alleged war criminal.
       On September 20, the Vatican issued a statement denying the claims by a United Nations prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, and this was reported by Catholic News Service. According to the Vatican statement, Mrs del Ponte was asked to explain why she believed that Gotovina was hiding in one of about 80 monasteries in the mountains of Croatia and to give some indication of which monastery it might be, but until the day the statement was issued she had not done so.
       The Vatican spokesman also said previous investigations of rumours the general was hiding in a church building had proved negative. Even without the benefit of the Vatican statement, experienced journalists should have been able to recognise there is something odd about a UN prosecutor finding it too hard to find Gotovina and dumping the case on the Vatican's doorstep.
       Europe is riddled with police and intelligence services which are supposed to co-operate with the UN in these matters. Then there is the Croatian Government.
       You reported: "The Croatian authorities have promised to raid any monastery sheltering Gen. Gotovina." But, of course, it is up to the Vatican to investigate whether there is such a monastery and which one it is. How absurd.
       Andre Malan's belief in the accusations and his attempt to link them to the life of Simon Wiesenthal on the day after his death were inexcusable. He wrote: "At the end of his life, Mr Wiesenthal may have felt dismay that the Catholic Church could still give shelter to someone charged with atrocities."
       If Mr Wiesenthal were aware of the case, he may have been dismayed that an unsubstantiated accusation could be treated as fact, and even more dismayed that a UN tribunal would be so inadequate in its pursuit of someone it believes to be a serious war criminal.
       Finally, if it ever did transpire that a monastery somewhere in Croatia has sheltered Gotovina (wittingly or unwittingly), it would be unfair to accuse the Vatican or the whole Church of sheltering people charged with atrocities. Barry J. Hickey, Catholic Archbishop of Perth. [Bolding added]
       [COMMENT: Oh, no it wouldn't be unfair. Not after the way the Church has shielded paedophilic priests! COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 26, 05]

    • Priests urge Rome to let clergy marry Australia flag;  Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 15, Tuesday, October 4, 2005
       SYDNEY: Australia's National Council of Priests says the Church needs to increase the nation's number of priests by 800 in a submission to a synod of bishops which began in Rome at the weekend.
       The council says the priesthood should be open to married and widowed men and questions whether women should continue to be excluded from it.
       It says Australia's Catholics are in danger of losing their identity due to the shortage of priests available to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments.
       The three-week synod opened with Pope Benedict XVI calling on Catholics to strengthen the Church's influence in public life.
       The 78-year-old German pontiff was greeted with applause as he entered St Peter's Basilica for the synod's opening Mass, preceded by scores of cardinals and 252 bishops from around the world.
       "A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes Him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy," he said in his opening homily.
       "When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule."
       Too many Catholic lives could be compared to "vinegar rather than wine," because of the indifference to God, the pontiff said.
       The biennial synod is the Pope's first major event in Rome since his election and will touch on thorny social problems like abortion and divorce, as well as attendance at Sunday Mass and ecumenism.
       The bishops will also debate how to address falling church attendances in Europe, America and Oceania, where the number of faithful attending Sunday Mass has dropped well below that of Africa and Asia.
       The synod began without the four Chinese bishops whom Benedict had asked to take part. The bishops - three from China's state-controlled church, which is not recognised by the Vatican, and one from the underground Catholic church, which is persecuted by Beijing - were not authorised by Beijing to attend the meeting.
       In a report published at the weekend it was revealed that East German secret police spied on the Pope in his days as a theology professor in Germany, targeting him as one of the Vatican's fiercest opponents of communism. # [Oct 4, 05]
    • Not all the Bible is gospel, say bishops Australia flag;  England flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Wales flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Scotland flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, By REGINA TITELIUS, p 3, Thursday, October 6, 2005
       PERTH: WA's Catholic Education Department has endorsed claims by the Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.
       Catholic Education director Ron Dullard said the Bible should not be viewed as a literal interpretation, the same advice as given to the Bishops' five million UK followers.
       In The Gift of Scripture, the British teaching document instructing the faithful, the bishops say worshippers should not expect "total accuracy" from the Bible.
       "We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision," they say. In The Gift of Scripture, the bishops say the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of Creation are told, are examples of what cannot be regarded as "historical".
       Mr Dullard said in the Catholic Education's own teaching guide, it warned about the hazards of fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible.
       Catholic Education's assistant director for religious education and faith formation, Debra Sayce, said the essence of what was said in the Bible was true, except that it used stories to illustrate morals.
       "It does contain facts but it's about the message that is there," she said.
       [COMMENT: So, the Bible supports the Churches' teaching that Jesus founded a Church, and the Church selected what books comprise the Bible, yet the Bible does not contain "total accuracy". Where does that leave the average RC church-goer? Could it be that they are invited to obey self-selected leaders, interpreting inaccurate texts? Hmmm!
       What about "on this rock I will build my Church," "Keys of the kingdom of heaven," "Feed my lambs … sheep," and "confirm they brethren" ? Are they scripture texts that RCs need not believe, now? COMMENT ENDS.] [A shortened version of this article is given in the Ethics section.] [Oct 6, 05]

    • Marriage not the answer: young priest
       The West Australian, "As Catholics consider married clergy to boost dwindling numbers, one churchman says celibacy is vital to being a priest; Marriage not the answer: young priest;" by Regina Titelius, p 32, Tuesday, October 11, 2005
       PERTH: Allowing priests to marry would not solve the Catholic Church's declining number of clergy, says one of WA's youngest priests, Father Corran Pike … of St Paul's Church in Mt Lawley. …
       The 32-year-old … is admant that celibacy is pivotal to being a great priest. …
       He said he simply would have time to be devoted to a wife and children.
       It would take a "remarkable woman" to live with a priest whose priority was to serve the community first and foremost, he said. …
       The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy disagrees with the National Council of Priests which has called for married men to be allowed into the priesthood. […] [Picture: Nic Ellis] [Also in Ethics section] [Oct 11, 05]
    • Let them marry.
       The West Australian, Letters to Editor, p 19, Friday, October 14, 2005
       PERTH: Priests, like everyone else, should be allowed to have the choice to marry. You say you would not have the time to be devoted to a wife and family. How, then, do married clergy of other religions manage? … The Bible needs to be read.

    Let them marry

       The West Australian, Letters to Editor, p 19, Friday, October 14, 2005
    Father Corran Pike, your dedication and commitment are an inspiration not only for Catholic clergy and parishioners but for many others in our community (Marriage not the answer: young priest, 11/10).
       As a Catholic deeply concerned over declining church attendance and the shortage of clergy, I can only surmise that if there were more young men who shared your views, perhaps my worries would be alleviated. Since the likelihood of you being cloned is almost negligible, the Catholic Church must come up with realistic solutions.
       Priests, like everyone else, should be allowed to have the choice to marry. You say you would not have the time to be devoted to a wife and family. How, then, do married clergy of other religions manage? Our parish lost a dedicated 40-year-old priest a few years ago. As he explained in a letter published in one of our bulletins, he was "taking a break" from the priesthood because he did not know whether his calling to God was as a celibate priest or as a married family man.
       Perhaps there were other issues as well but I can't help wondering what would have happened if he had more choices within the priesthood. I don't know whether allowing priests to marry will help solve the Catholic Church's declining number of clergy but I do think it's worth a try. Mary Pilatti, Collie.
    [Read the Bible] Dean Devenish (Letters, 8/10) says the Bible should be rewritten so that everyone can understand it, in fact, the problem is not that the Bible needs to be rewritten - that has already been done. The problem is that it needs to be read. Peter Lewis, Leeming.
    Today's text
    The lifestyle of good people is like sunlight at dawn that keeps getting brighter until broad daylight. The lifestyle of the wicked is like total darkness, and they will never know what makes them stumble. -- PROVERBS 4:18-19. (The Bible for Today). From the Bible Society.
    [Oct 14, 05]
    • [Lord's brothers and sisters undermine some religions' over-emphasis on 'purity' and virginity]
       Religion Clarity Campaign, "Challenging the over-emphasis on 'purity' in some circles; JESUS' brothers JAMES, JOSES, JUDA, and SIMON, and sisters," October 27-30, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: An over-emphasis on virginity, "chastity", and "purity" crept into the Christian congregations from outside many centuries ago.
       One of the strands crystallised in the Roman Catholic Church as saying that Jesus's mother Mary was always a virgin. This paper will discuss the reasons that most other Christian Churches say that she had other children after she had Jesus. (Most congregations say that she was a virgin before Jesus was conceived.)
       Mark's Gospel 6:3 reads: "This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us? …"
       The RCC, Anglo-Catholics, and some others, teach that Mary remained always a virgin, in spite of several texts about the brothers of Jesus. The RCC lays great stress on sexual purity, but worse, it requires that its clergy have no sex, making a promise of "celibacy." There are exceptions, but that is the mainstream RCC ruling.
       The sorry record of the "celibate" RCC clergy has become notorious at various times over the centuries, with women as concubines or less, and children as abused sex objects drawn into sexual sin. In modern times, the disclosures in Canada and Australia in the 1980s were capped by the Boston exposures from early 2002, spreading to exposures around the United States and in countries like Poland, Spain, Canada, Australia, Malta, and Ireland. These have ripped away the veil of "holiness."
       Arguments against celibacy have been repeatedly written. Besides looking in libraries, readers may get Internet links and ideas for Search Engine searching from this Website at Celibacy Crept in from the Outside and Fathers would make the best 'Fathers'.
       Child abuse is not just an RCC peculiarity. Orthodox and other Christian groups, Muslims, Hindus, and African religions have also featured in such newsitems. Clergy abuse is only a small percentage of total child sex abuse, we are told.

    Challenging the over-emphasis on ‘purity’ in some circles
    JESUS’ brothers JAMES, JOSES, JUDA, and SIMON,
    and sisters

       Many Churchmen claim that Jesus' mother Mary remained always a virgin. However, the people of Nazareth are quoted in Mark's Gospel 6:3 as saying: "This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us? …" (New Jerusalem Bible) 1 . Also read in John's Gospel: "After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, but they stayed there only a few days." (John 2:12, NJB).
       So, many Christians having read this and other scriptures, cannot understand how one of the Roman Catholic Church's standard prayers, the Confiteor (or "I confess") contains these words beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, "to blessed Mary, ever-virgin" 2. Another part of the same prayer is: beatam Mariam semper Virginem 3 , in English: "blessed Mary, ever virgin" 4 . The RCC, some Anglo-Catholics, and others hold to the "perpetual virginity of Mary", and emotively write how fitting this was.
       Trick about "no word": Children in catechism class who asked about this used to be told that the brothers and sisters were probably close relatives, but the Bible's original language, Greek, didn't have a word for that.
       But, there is a word in Greek, συγγενίς (pronounced soong-ghen-eece'), meaning a relative (sometimes translated "cousin"). In Luke's Gospel, Mary was told: "Remember your relative Elizabeth. It is said that she cannot have children, but she herself is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old." (Luke 1:36, Good News Bible; Today's English Version, ©1976, Bible Society in Australia, Canberra, page N.T. 74). See also Luke 1:61.
       Knew her not till … : At the beginning Joseph had figured in more hints that he and Mary had marital relations, i.e., sex. Read Matthew 1:25:  "And he knew her not till she brought forth her firstborn son ; and he called his name JESUS." (Douay version).  Would the Evangelist have put the word "till" or "until" in, if it did not mean that he had sex with her AFTER the birth?  The "firstborn" has high significance in most families and in community and religious culture, but surely the inspired writers ought to have added an explanation if Jesus was the ONLY child, if that had been the fact, oughtn't they?  (See Luke 2:7 for "firstborn".)  Big families are honoured in many cultural communities, so what more natural for Mary and Joseph?  And, didn't they have rights to each other's bodies, as explained in 1 Corinthians 7:4?
       Jesus' family early in his mission thought he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21).  The Lord's brothers (in older translations "brethren", in Greek αδελφοι or adelphoi) did not believe in him (John 7:5).  If his family and brothers aren't such in the ordinary meaning of those words, why isn't this made abundantly clear in scripture?  Some disciples are differentiated as sons of so-and-so, or by their towns of origin.  Would scripture leave a cause for divisive doctrine in following ages?
       During the preaching trips of Jesus, people said that his mother and brothers were waiting for him outside (Matthew 12:46, Mark 3:31, Luke 8:19).  Jesus said that people who obeyed the heavenly Father were his mother and brother/s and sister – but he did not contradict or correct those who had so described his family in those words.
       Married couples not split:  A company of ministering women is mentioned as having followed Jesus from Galilee (Matthew 27:55, Mark 15:41, Luke 8:2-3, 23: 49, 55).  We can guess that a number of these women might have been the wives of the disciples.   Jesus opposed the sundering of married couples (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:9).  And nowhere does Jesus order married couples to abstain from marital relations.  An Epistle mentions couples "defrauding" one another, but limits it to a short time for prayer, in case Satan tempts them to incontinence (1 Corinthians 7:5).  This text provides no exception even for marriages of much-revered leaders.
       Near-death statement:  A favourite argument that Mary didn't have other children is based on the action of Jesus, as death approached, saying to her "Woman, behold thy son," and to the beloved disciple "Behold thy mother."  And from that hour the disciple took her to his own (John 19: 26, 27, Douay version).  The traditional RC explanation is that this showed (a) Joseph had, presumably, died; (b) The beloved disciple was probably not married; and (c) That there was no other suitable person to protect and support Mary, therefore she had no other children.
       Neither of the last two conclusions is compelling.  The disciple "took her to his own," probably meaning into his own household, which might have been most suitable, and possibly had his wife in it.  The next point is that the gospels record that the disciples, who might or might not have included his brothers, had fled away.  Jesus gave the protector's job to the one who was present. Religion Clarity Campaign, http://www. multiline. religion/ religchron. htm#brothers , October 27-31, 2005, p 1 of 2
       Wives of Jesus' brothers and other leaders: Paul, in a part of an Epistle where he is defending his claim to be an apostle, asks the rhetorical question didn't he have the right to take about with him "a sister, a wife" like "the other apostles, like the brothers of the Lord, and like Cephas" (1 Corinthians 9:5). That verse is a "double whammy" against the RCC idea that every holy person, including Mary, is likely to be a virgin.
       Wives accompanying the disciples on long missionary journeys was common sense! What sensible wife would let her man go off alone into different places for long periods, subject to hero-worship or temptations by susceptible women - and men?  And, who would care for his clothes, meals, and health?  Were couples to become near-strangers to each other, and the fathers take no real role in child-training?
       Abandon children? Certainly, it is true that there is a saying attributed to Jesus blessing those who had left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands/fields for his name's sake (Matthew 19:29, Mark 10:29, and Luke 18:29). But do you really think Jesus approved of men or women abandoning their families, leaving them to fend for themselves, starve, or be tempted to fall into sin through loneliness, neglect and poverty? Some contradictory texts ought to be taken with a grain of salt!
       After the Resurrection some of the disciples were at Lake Tiberias, having returned to their livelihood, fishing (John's Gospel, the disputed chapter 21). Isn't it likely that their wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, in-laws, and the hired men (Yes, "hired men." See Mark 1:20) had kept the boats working during the times they were away from home with Jesus? And that previously the disciples had kept up close relations with their wives and children? Or weren't they the saints - and the men - we hoped they were?
       Forbidding to marry: And then there is the oft-quoted prophecy that "in later ages, some people would fall away, having a mind toward errant spirits and the teaching of demons, forbidding people to marry." (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
       Seemingly this prophecy was right. The battle for clergy family rights was partly lost in the East and Orthodox section, but eventually wholly lost in the West or Latin traditional section. The sorry record of the "celibate" RCC clergy and Orthodox bishops has become notorious at various times over the centuries since, with women as concubines or less, and children as abused sex objects drawn into sexual sins. Since the 1980s and again since 2002, with modern methods of news media and communication, the knowledge of worldwide child sex abuse is available to anyone whose eyes, ears and hearts are open (see Clergy Child Molesters - Archive). And the "cover up" includes not just bishops and religious order heads in America, Austria, Ireland, Rome, etc., but also the Sydney Archdiocese in Australia disclaiming responsibility for compensation, because the clergy were not employees, but had "a contract with God". -- Queensland Sunday Mail, "Lawyer sues church after memories surface," www.thesundaymail. common/story_ page/0,5936, 16060650% 255E421,00.html , July 27, 2005. The head of Sydney Archdiocese is Cardinal George Pell, an "enabler" while in Victoria.
       Other religions, also, have an undue emphasis on sexual purity (some cultures covering women in sack-like garments), leading to oppression. To check some current Christian aberrations, try the Internet links and ideas from this Website at Celibacy Crept in from the Outside and Fathers would make the best 'Fathers', http://www.multiline. ethics/ optional.htm, and http://www.multiline. ethics/ makemore.htm for the petitions "Make All Religions Safe" and "More Safety With Married Clergy".
       To summarise, the undue promotion of Mary to be the "Blessed Virgin Mary" is not necessary to salvation. Mary was at Pentecost, and her other sons took leading roles in the early congregations. The Holy Family pictures ought to be repainted to include the other children too. Such pictures ought to please people involved in pro-family and pro-fertility campaigning.
       Child sexual abuse is NOT just an RCC peculiarity. Orthodox and other Christian groups, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and African religions have also featured in such newsitems. Clergy abuse is a small percentage of the total, but its extra evil is that such clergy and their supervisors use "religion as a cloak for malice" (1 Peter 2:16, a disputed book).
    1. In the Authorised Version (King James Bible) the names are "James, Joses, Juda, and Simon." Other variant translations for the second and third names include "Joseph" and "Judas".
    2. The Missal in Latin and English, Being the text of the Missale Romanum with English rubrics and a new translation, 1949, J.O'Connell and H.P.R.Finberg (eds), Burns Oates and Washbourne, London, pages 688-89, 708-09.]
    3. Sunday Missal and Lectionary, 1975, Pellegrini Australia, Sydney, p 722.
    4. Ibid, p 465.
    Religion Clarity Campaign, Greenwood, Western Australia 6024; Tel 08 9343 9532. October 27-31, 2005
    [Oct 27-31, 05]
    • Did Peter remain the leader?
       Religion Clarity Campaign, October 31, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: After the Resurrection, the Acts of the Apostles seem to show that James, a brother of the Lord, was in a leadership role in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13 and 19), and see Galatians 2:9 where he is mentioned first of three.

    Did Peter remain the leader?

       After the Resurrection, the Acts of the Apostles seem to show that James, a brother of the Lord, was in a leadership role in Jerusalem (Acts 15:13 and 19, 1 ) and see Galatians 2:9 where he is mentioned first of three.
       When Peter had been miraculously freed from prison, he told a young girl named Rhoda to tell James and the others.(Acts 12:13-17) (There was another James, the brother of John, probably son of Zebedee, whom Herod had executed. See Acts 12:2. Yet another James was the son of Alpheus; see Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, and Acts 1:13.)
       Read 1 Corinthians 9:5. Note that Cephas / Peter is mentioned last. 2
    1. Acts 15:19: "Hence I am judging not to be troubling those from the nations who are turning to God."  The RCC Douay says "I judge," Church of England Authorised Version "my sentence is," New Jerusalem Bible "my verdict is," Good News Bible "my opinion is," and New International Version "It is my judgment."  Whatever the exact shade of meaning, after the speech of James, the apostles and elders and the whole congregation then made the decision (verses 22 ff) following James's details exactly, forbidding food polluted by idols, the meat of strangled animals, and fornication, but freeing them from the other onerous Judaic laws such as circumcision, that is, cutting off the foreskin of their penises.  The congregation appointed delegates and wrote a letter to the Antiochians (in Syria).  This whole episode suggests that James was the leader in the Jerusalem congregation.  Peter evidently later moved to that city, Antioch, as evidenced by an RCC "Greater Double" feast on February 22, "St Peter's Chair at Antioch" (The Missal …, 1949, page 881).  A similar solemnity, "St Peter's Chair at Rome" on January 18 (p 817) was possibly devised to foster centralism based on that city.  After the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s these feasts seemed to have been amalgamated on February 22 as "The Chair of St Peter, Apostle" (Columban Calendar, Australia, 2005).  A very diplomatic move!  It combines conservatism, keeping the date of what was probably the original sole feast (was there a pre-Christian origin?), with sleight of hand.  The Antioch feast, however, is hard to reconcile with The Acts 11:19-25, in which Paul figures.
       Peter possibly went further eastwards than Antioch, to Babylon, with his son Mark, see 1 Peter 5:13.  Overall, the "primacy of Peter" and "martyred in Rome" doctrines are rather creaky!
    2. Peter-honourers ought to look to see if any other Apostle was told by Jesus "Get thee behind me, Satan." (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33, Luke 4:8).
       Another scripture, that challenges the RCC and the copycat Churches' teaching that Peter was in charge of the Church after the Ascension, is Acts 8:14: "Now, when the apostles who were in Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John." (Douay).
       Note also that in one scripture Peter claims to be the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 15:7), and he pioneered the making of Gentile converts early (Cornelius and family, The Acts 10:1 to 11:18). However, in another book Paul claims that title, and that Peter is the apostle to the Judaists (Galatians 2:7-8). Remarkably, the RCC general teaching is that Paul was the "Apostle to the Gentiles" -- so why did Peter go to a great Gentile city of Rome, to the west?
       If Peter WAS the apostle to those of the circumcision, the probability is increased that he went to the site of the greatest Jewish rabbi schools, Babylon in the east.  It is not beyond reasonable possibility that perhaps Paul, a Pharisee, who had sat at the feet of a committed Talmudist, Gamaliel (The Acts 22:3), also went to Babylon, but the scriptures show that at one stage he planned to go to Rome. [Oct 31, 05]

    • Focuses On The Spiritual Sabotage That Has Devastated Seminaries.

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Fidelity magazine (Australia), by Fr. Eduard Perrone, pp 24-25, November 2005 issue.
       UNITED STATES: […] "Young men entering the seminary usually do not do so to become rebels against the Magisterium and defamers of Catholic Tradition. Rather, this is a thing inculcated in them over a period of years of 'formation'," he wrote.
       "They are tutored in the subtle art of theological ambiguity, of how to conserve a veneer of Catholicism while personally believing and practicing what is contrary to the faith. … they are led to espouse aberrant theological views (for example, to regard the Sacred Scripture as mere literature whose inerrancy is to be debunked; or to doubt that our Lord possessed divine knowledge during His life on earth).
       "They are permitted to hold and sometimes openly express opinions on matters contrary to the defined teaching of the Pope, … They may be taught by word or example to disregard liturgical norms. […]
       "If a candidate is found to be too 'rigid' (a cherished term in their lexicon) because he holds to certain Catholic beliefs and religious practices, he is rejected as one unsuitable for the diocesan priesthood. One may wonder who these expert psychologists are who wield such power in determining priestly vocations. I answer with a single example.
       "The archdiocese employed a woman psychologist who, among her other attributes, regarded [as] unacceptable any candidates who agreed with the Church's mandate of clerical celibacy. Without a doubt, her evaluation caused several candidates to be barred from entering our seminary. […]
       "I believe that we do not have a true vocations problem, but rather a crisis fabricated by those who are depriving the Church of many potentially good priests and unleashing upon the Church some intellectually and morally unfit men to assume the life and work of the priesthood. […]
    Fidelity --November 2005   p. 24

    Focuses On The Spiritual Sabotage That Has Devastated Seminaries

       DETROIT -- As a team of U.S. bishops, including the Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., headed to Detroit to conduct an investigation of the archdiocese's Sacred Heart Seminary, a Detroit priest sounded off with some practical recommendations of what to look for, and where.
       Fr. Eduard Perrone, pastor since 1994 of the renowned Assumption Grotto Church -- known far and wide for its beautiful liturgies and outstanding liturgical music -- and a priest since 1978, wrote in his parish bulletin October 16 that a major area for exploration is the psychological brainwashing that prospective candidates for the priesthood must endure on the path to Ordination, and the inculcation of a cynical attitude that destroys faith.
       The issue of homosexuals in the seminary, he observed, is only a "small if necessary focus of this investigation."
      Fr. Eduard Perrone  
       What the bishops' team must primarily do, he suggested, is examine the teaching of professors who have been "dizzying the brains of seminarians with confusing accounts of some pivotal teachings of the Catholic Church."
       "Young men entering the seminary usually do not do so to become rebels against the Magisterium and defamers of Catholic Tradition. Rather, this is a thing inculcated in them over a period of years of 'formation'," he wrote.
       "They are tutored in the subtle art of theological ambiguity, of how to conserve a veneer of Catholicism while personally believing and practicing what is contrary to the faith. Especially through the technique of an oppressive psychological conditioning, they are led to espouse aberrant theological views (for example, to regard the Sacred Scripture as mere literature whose inerrancy is to be debunked; or to doubt that our Lord possessed divine knowledge during His life on earth).
       "They are permitted to hold and sometimes openly express opinions on matters contrary to the defined teaching of the Pope, such as the moral impossibility of women priests (an issue now forever determined by the definition of Pope John Paul II). They may be taught by word or example to disregard liturgical norms.
       "Much more insidious than these is the infusion of a cynical mental attitude regarding holy things and defined beliefs, an attitude due to years of "formation' in classroom teaching and group discussions, by faculty evaluations, and in psychological counseling. Often there is no single thing that is the cause of this land of malformation. It's rather the cumulative effect of a twisted and persistent conditioning which clouds reason, foments arrogance, stifles the devout life, and, in the end, destroys the faith of the seminarian.
       "Behold the result: the unbelieving, rebellious, impious priest who enters the parish to undo the holy apostolic and Catholic faith and root out any vestige of Catholic piety in the faithful.
       "If someone were to demand evidence for this dire account of some of our seminaries," he continued. "I would call as my witnesses you, the Catholic laity, who, without knowing how it came about, have seen and heard their 'products' operating in our parishes. Malformed priests have endangered or destroyed the spiritual lives of many Catholics, some of whom have stopped practicing the faith altogether.
       "Such priests have led the laity to doubt Catholic doctrines, to denigrate the word of Cod, to neglect Confession, to make light of sinful matter -- even of gravely sinful things. Finally, these priests have attempted to pacify their troubled consciences by assuring themselves and their parishioners that, in the end, all will be saved anyway.
       "Sad to tell, there is yet more to this dismal picture. This concerns not the seminary directly but what precedes it. This is the process of interview and evaluation of the candidates. Here they are screened so that those deemed unsuitable are barred from entry into the seminary.

    Fidelity --November 2005   p. 25
    Rome, Nov. 03, 2005 (CNA) - The document from the Congregation for Catholic Education on the admittance of homosexuals in seminaries will be published this Friday, Nov. 04, 2005. The Document counts on the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, and reaffirms the Catholic position that homosexuals can not be accepted into seminaries. The text referring exclusively to the candidates to priesthood, is based upon the Catholic position regarding homosexuality, and is placed in a context in which the issue has been raised acutely. Moreover, the Church has addressed the issue on numerous occasions.
       In the past months, the Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Archbishop Michael Miller, has been visiting the 220 seminaries in the United States, to verify if the preparation of seminarians is conform [? conformable] to a life of celibacy. The archbishop will publish a document related to these visits.
       "While one might think it a good and necessary thing, one would be shocked to learn that those refused are not those who were found wanting in orthodox Catholic faith or who [fail to] practice traditional forms of Catholic piety but rather those who give evidence of those very things. The special tool employed for this process of exclusion of candidates is psychological testing with a follow-up evaluation by a psychologist.
       "If a candidate is found to be too 'rigid' (a cherished term in their lexicon) because he holds to certain Catholic beliefs and religious practices, he is rejected as one unsuitable for the diocesan priesthood. One may wonder who these expert psychologists are who wield such power in determining priestly vocations. I answer with a single example.
       "The archdiocese employed a woman psychologist who, among her other attributes, regarded [as] unacceptable any candidates who agreed with the Church's mandate of clerical celibacy. Without a doubt, her evaluation caused several candidates to be barred from entering our seminary. She has now left her job, but not on account of her views, but because she took off to marry a priest of the archdiocese.
       "All these and many more shameful and underhanded dealings with seminarians and seminary candidates have been kept from the devout Catholic faithful who have continued to pray -- rightly of course, but naively -- for more vocations to the priesthood.
       "I believe that we do not have a true vocations problem, but rather a crisis fabricated by those who are depriving the Church of many potentially good priests and unleashing upon the Church some intellectually and morally unfit men to assume the life and work of the priesthood.
       "Not all of their efforts have succeeded. There have been some very fine men ordained in recent years. Nor would it be true to say that all our seminary professors have been dissidents. Detroit, in fact, now has many excellent faculty members. But the aforesaid problems in some seminary courses and in the formation department really do exist nonetheless."
       BOOKS: The Homosexual Person; New Thinking in Pastoral Care, John F Harvey OSFS
       This world renowned author addresses the common problems encountered in counselling and assisting homosexual persons in the struggle to lead chaste lives. Special: $29.85 reduced to $22.00 until sold out.
       The Truth about Homosexuality, John F Harvey OSFS
       This book offers not only good advice, wise counsel and intelligent discussion, but also the bright light of hope and fresh insights from some of the most positive Christian thinking. Special: $41.50 reduced to $33.00 until sold out #
       [CONTACT: Fidelity magazine (Australia), , , 443 North Rd, Ormond (Melbourne), Vic, (closed Dec 23, 2005 to Jan 9, 2006), PO Box 22, Ormond, Vic, 3204, Australia, Tel / Facsimile +61 (0) 3 9578 2706. Book orders to John XXIII Fellowship Co-op Ltd, . CONTACT ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINAL COMMENT: In the Christian Scriptures named 1 Timothy and Titus, if read together, it is stated that the clergy ought to be older men, each a husband of one wife, with well-ordered children, not a new convert, of good morals and good report in the community. One sentence is: "For, if a man does not know how to preside over his own household, how can he take care of God's community?" (1 Timothy 3:5)
       The whole idea of unmarried teenagers (even pre-teens) entering schools called seminaries, leading to making a promise repudiating marriage, children, and all sex, would have greatly astonished whoever wrote the above-mentioned Epistles. "Celibacy" still astonishes many present-day Christians, too! And others!
       (Both of the Timothy epistles and Titus have been challenged as possibly written after the death of St Paul. Even if they are not genuinely by Paul, someone somewhere thought it was important to bolster the other pro-marriage Bible teachings such as Genesis 2:18, Hebrews 13:4 and 1 Corinthians 7: 2, 5, 9.)
       Christian leaders and councils have adopted these epistles. So, in spite of the above author's prejudices, celibacy is not essential to be a minister of the flock of Jesus. It seems to be the opposite of what was required for the ministry of Jesus in the mind of those closest in time to him. Therefore, the RCC celibacy dogma saddens the few thoughtful Roman Catholics who see the contradictions in their leaders' doctrines about scripture proving the truth of Catholicism, and Catholicism acting as if scriptural injunctions can safely be put aside.
       To study this interesting subject, follow the links from "Celibacy crept in from the outside," at: Ethics / Celibacy Crept.
       Will the Pope's denial of the possibility of women becoming clergy be eventually reversed, as the Church's teaching that capital punishment was legitimate seems to be getting reversed in recent years? And the Popes' teaching that they had the right to depose emperors and kings? (Pope St. Gregory VII, writing on March 15, 1081) ENDS.] [Nov 2005 issue]

    • [RCC document on homosexuality, seminarians, and the clergy will be published soon.]

       CNA (as quoted in Fidelity magazine (Australia), "Focuses On The Spiritual Sabotage That Has Devastated Seminaries," by Fr. Eduard Perrone, pp 24-25, November 2005 issue), issued Nov 3, 2005.
       ROME, Nov. 03, 2005 (CNA) - The document from the Congregation for Catholic Education on the admittance of homosexuals in seminaries will be published this Friday, Nov. 04, 2005.
       The Document … reaffirms the Catholic position that homosexuals can not be accepted into seminaries. [..] [A fuller version of this is as an insert in the article "Focuses On The Spiritual Sabotage That Has Devastated Seminaries" above, at the top of the reproduction of page 24.] [Nov 3, 05]
    • Celibacy erodes the priestly vocation
       The West Australian, Weekend Extra section page 10, "The Human Spirit" column, by Keith McDonald, , Saturday, November 5, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: … The ratio of priests worldwide has fallen from one for every 1797 Catholics in 1978 to one for every 2677 in 2003 and half of all parishes and missions do not have regular access to the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jane Anderson of Albany has just published her PhD findings in a book, Priests in Love. She claims celibacy is implicated in the resignation of 100,000 priests since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 but many also remain as priests and don't practise celibacy. She cites former Benedictine monk Richard Sipe's findings that half of American priests are engaged in sexual relationships, and believes the figure would be similar in Australia.
    10 • SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2005                                                                 WEELEND EXTRA THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

    Celibacy erodes the priestly vocation

    There is great anxiety in the Catholic Church about the world shortage of priests but the church remains unwilling to make the vocation more attractive by relaxing the rules on celibacy.
       The Annual World Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist - where 250 bishops consult with the Pope - decided last month against allowing married men to be ordained to the priesthood and it reaffirmed "the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy".
       Instead, the Synod called for renewed efforts to encourage priestly vocations.
       Priests in Love - Jane ANDERSON Among those following the celibacy debate keenly is Albany woman Jane Anderson, who this year published a book, Priests in Love, based on interviews with 50 Australian Catholic priests who have had intimate, sometimes sexual relationships.
       Anderson, 47, did the research for her doctorate, which she completed last year, on celibacy and sexual intimacy among Catholic priests.
       She left school in South Australia at 15, became a Catholic at 22, came to WA with her husband to farm in the south and had four children, but her marriage ended in 1993.
       Then she did a social sciences degree - later also a Diploma of Theology - and became interested in compulsory celibacy as a research topic. She knew two women who had been in long-term relationships with priests.
       She was not surprised but disappointed by the synod decision because she sees compulsory celibacy as a major reason for the spectacular decline in the number of priests.
       The ratio of priests worldwide has fallen from one for every 1797 Catholics in 1978 to one for every 2677 in 2003 and half of all parishes and missions do not have regular access to the sacrament of the Eucharist.
       Anderson claims celibacy is implicated in the resignation of 100,000 priests since the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65 but many also remain as priests and don't practise celibacy. She cites former Benedictine monk Richard Sipe's findings that half of American priests are engaged in sexual relationships and believes the figure would be similar in Australia.
       The priests who spoke to Anderson about their clandestine relationships - homosexual and heterosexual - are a lonely, emotionally stunted group of men.
       Among the stories in her book is that of country priest "Fr Jim". Far from family and colleagues, he ended up taking refuge in the arms of "Maria", the local publican.
       At 34 "Fr Ben" admits he was emotionally in his late adolescence/early adulthood when he grew close to a single mother of three whom he was counselling.
       "As she shared her pain, loss and anger, this all set off similar feelings of loss and emptiness within myself," he writes. "I was transferring my personal needs on to hers."
       They had intercourse and the priest was transferred, but a few years later he left the priesthood to marry another woman. It has been "healing" for him.
       "Fr Nathaniel" says celibacy was not a problem early on: "I was totally taken up with my idealism … in those days I would have confidently resisted a 'come on' from Elle McPherson or Meg Ryan!"
       But the idealism doesn't always last "Fr Jethro" says: "Priests who deny their sexuality go sour; they become very strict on others and become very rigid when it comes to doctrine. We priests don't see ourselves as good or beautiful, or as whole. We have a sense of being broken and dis-eased."
       The church will have to act eventually, says "Fr Peter": "The celibate male clergy are dying out So when they reach that stage when they are really low, the church will change. But as with most things, the church changes only when it's forced to."
       Unless the issue can be openly discussed and tensions resolved, warns Anderson, the priesthood and the church itself are increasingly in danger of collapse.
       Anderson explains that the church sees the shared love of human beings as competing with the love of God. "By asserting that celibacy is willed by God and by inculcating this practice into centralist policies,  the papacy is able to exercise enormous control over the church," she writes.
       But she adds: "The tide is turning against the papacy. The modern worldview is seriously undermining the classical worldview."
       Reformers, however, got no support from Pope John Paul II, who, Anderson says, interrupted the unfolding of the Second Vatican Council. "It really challenged Catholicity to engage with the world," she told me. "But compulsory celibacy keeps priests separate from ordinary everyday life."
       Pope Benedict XVI could conceivably reject the synod vote. "He has a fairly neo-conservative attitude but one of the major reasons they elected him is that he has a reputation for listening," Anderson said. "And he is definitely listening. There may be a chance he will reform the curia (church bureaucracy)."
       Beyond that however, Anderson said more radical change was needed. "New power structures have to be worked out" she said, even questioning the future role of a pope.
       "Having the one iconic figure imposing his personality and stance on the church is hugely problematic. That's what Pope John Paul did for 27 years. It's not healthy. We need to have much more breadth of ideas. Why not short terms for the pope? The whole question of leadership has to be reassessed."

    Priests in Love: Australian Catholic Clergy and Their Intimate Relationships (John Garratt Publishing, $34.95).
       [A brief listing of this book is at Ethics / Carnal Books.]
       [RECAPITULATION: Anderson explains that the church sees the shared love of human beings as competing with the love of God. RECAP. ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE: Read 1 Corinthians 7:32, and 7:35. Better to read all of chapter 7, which includes this confusing contradictory advice:
    v. 1-2: "… It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife ; and let every woman have her own husband."
    v. 5: "Defraud not one another, except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, … and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency."
    v. 9: "But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry." v. 28: "But if thou take a wife, thou hast not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. …"
    v.29: "This, therefore, I say, brethren : The time is short. It remaineth that they also who have wives be as if they had none."
    v. 32: "… He that is without a wife is solicitious for the things that belong to the Lord ; how he may please God."
    v. 38: "Therefore, both he that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well ; and he that giveth her not doth better." (Douay version) DOCTRINE ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Surely verse 9, if it stood alone, is a command for RC clergy who find sex and/or love becoming important in their lives, that they ought to marry, isn't it? COMMENT ENDS.]
       [RECAPITULATION: The tide is turning against the papacy. ENDS]
       [COMMENT: How many times has that sentiment been expressed in history! COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 5, 05]

    • [Catholic schools "classes" in religion have left knowledge behind, practise low-content "experiential" method.]

       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "Catholic any longer? Study delivers serious news for Catholic education," by Peter Rosengren, Pages VISTA 10-3 and page 7, November 17, 2005
    November 17 2005, The Record                                                                Vista   |   Page 1

      Catholic any longer?  

    Study delivers serious news for Catholic education
    By Peter Rosengren
    A new study of students emerging from Catholic education in Western Australia has delivered serious news for Church leaders and Catholic educators in WA: almost all students who graduate from Catholic education regard the Church as irrelevant.
       To what degree Catholic schools in WA are fulfilling the reasons for which they were established - the Catholic education, open to question, says the study's author Dr Luke Saker fms.
       Dr Saker's survey of 133 Edith Cowan University students - all of them graduates of Catholic schools in WA - studying units that will enable them to teach in Catholic schools in this State, pose fundamental questions for those trying to teach students religious education. The news comes as a revision of Religious Education texts for all students from Years 1 to 10 is close to completion, while the search has begun for teachers who will teach RE on a full-time basis. (See VISTA 2)
       Only 12.8 per cent of those surveyed attend Sunday Mass regularly, even though most (55.6 per cent) strongly agreed or agreed that their overall religious education program influenced their religious development.
       The Mass-attendance figure appears to be more or less in line with figures discovered in parishes by the National Church Life Survey conducted in 2001 which indicates a serious decline after leaving school.
       Mass attendance among those in the 25-29 age group stood then at just 5.6 per cent, for those in the 30-34 group it was 7.5 per cent and for those aged 35-39 it was 12.1 per cent.
       None of the students regularly avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation; 82 per cent rarely or simply never participate in it. […]
       On the other hand, Dr Saker reported, when students have the reasons for the Church's teachings and position on a number of issues explained to them in university classes, they often express surprise that they have never heard such explanations before. […]
       … So I argue that you need to have a knowledge-based component particularly in senior RE classes. I think we've lost that 'who are we?' factor. [***]
    VISTA Page 2
       In an interview with Record journalist Jamie O'Brien (seeVISTA 3) Dr Saker said he estimates that 90 per cent of students emerging from the Catholic schools system in the state are not practising their faith.
       The Bachelor of Education students had all completed at least their final two years of secondary education in a Catholic school; … and were currently in their first or second year of teaching studies at ECU … with a view to teaching in Catholic schools when they graduated [***]
    VISTA Page 3
    Faith in the Classroom
    University students led to intriguing research
    The Record's Jamie O'Brien interviewed Dr Luke Saker of Edith Cowan University on what his study of graduates of Catholic secondary education found.
       Q. What is your thesis about, and how did it come to fruition? It is on first and second year University students' perceptions of their senior Religious Education classes in Catholic schools. It came about because in all my teaching here at Edith Cowan University - and I've been here 12 years now - I've found that students were coming out of Catholic schools without any basic theology at all - in particular the doctrines and dogmas of the faith - or even anything about their faith. Their knowledge was rather poor. Basically, there was none.
       So I decided that what I would like to do is investigate the perceptions of their senior religious education classes from the area of their spirituality, their morality and their practice of Catholicism.
       The condition of them participating in the survey was that they were Catholic and that they had spent at least the last two years in Catholic schools and attended religious education classes.
       Q. What are the key findings of your research?
       There are a number of findings:
       1. That Catholic schools are not carrying out the mandate given to them by the Bishops of Western Australia. -
       2. That the students did not perceive their religious education classes as in any way an aid to their religious development.
       3. Students are rejecting important doctrinal teachings of the Catholic Church; their lived experience was opposed to Catholic teachings on morality.
       4. Students generally saw that Catholic teachings were out of date with modern society and no longer applied to their lives.
       Q. What are some of the most alarming statistics that you came across?
       My thesis is comprised of surveys as well as interviews, so there was qualitative and quantitative study. In both the surveys and the interviews the results matched each other fairly consistently.
       The most disturbing findings, I thought, were that 90 per cent of them aren't practising the Catholic faith - for example, going to Mass on Sunday. [***]
       Experiences are important and that's where we've gone with RE classes. We've gone to the experiential side of RE, and that's OK. But in doing that, we're neglecting the knowledge side.
       But if I reject something, I believe I have to know why I'm rejecting it.
       My experience here with University students and what they say on abortion or contraception - particularly contraception - is that they're rejecting the Church's teaching. But then you ask them why they are rejecting the Church, and they don't know.
       And when you tell them the Church's teaching on contraception - again they don't know.
       The religious education guidelines that are around Western Australia are mostly based on experiential methodology, and it's not working.
       So my argument and my conclusion from the thesis is that somehow you have to take the experiential, but also introduce the knowledge component.
       I run a unit here at ECU that looks at the moral teachings of the Catholic Church such as contraception, abortion, masturbation and homosexuality amongst others.
       At the end of the unit students will invariably come up and say 'thank you' because they now understand why the Church teaches what it does about these issues. [***]
      [Pictures] 1. Picture of girl at school desk (Photo: Derek Boylen). 2. Dr Luke Saker
    [RECAP: Dr Saker's survey of 133 Edith Cowan University students - all of them graduates of Catholic schools in WA - studying units that will enable them to teach in Catholic schools in this State, … We've gone to the experiential side of RE …
       … contraception, abortion, masturbation and homosexuality amongst others. END.]
       [COMMENT: The second recapitulation first -- surely his emphasis is on the "pubic" part of the teaching. This could be called "Pubianity," rather than "Christianity."
       They are training to give Religious Education in a Christian Catholic school system, but don't know the teachings!! And they have had "experiential" teaching, so have hardly any "content."
       This seems similar to the decades that schools generally have been trying to teach reading and writing without teaching the alphabet or phonics, and arithmetic without teaching the Times Tables. A "No Content" course yields a "no content" brain!
       No rote-learning, thanks! We learn HOW to find knowledge, not knowledge itself! As my ship nears the rocks, pass me the Master Mariners' Emergency Guide, or my laptop -- I didn't need to repetitively practice any ship-handling skills!
       It was a blessing, one supposes, that some of the worst of the "Pubianity" type RC teachings were not and are not being taught. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 17, 05]

    • Lecture by Fr Henry Wansbrough at The Gift of Scripture Launch  England flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Wales flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Catholic Communications Network, of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, press release issued Nov 21, 05, cn/05/051 121.htm , by Fr Henry Wansbrough, lecture November 18, 2005
       LONDON: [The Catholic hierarchy of England and Wales have stated that the Bible is not "gospel." This seems to be a scholarly explanation of that point of view.]
    Press release from the Catholic Communications Network issued on November 21st, 2005

    Lecture by Fr Henry Wansbrough at The Gift of Scripture Launch

       This is the lecture delivered by Father Henry Wansbrough at the launch of The Gift of Scripture at the British Library on November 18th 2005
       LONDON: This day marks an important fortieth anniversary. Forty years ago today there took place in Rome an event which will always be important for me personally, and which I may without exaggeration say has marked my life. Those who have read the Foreword to The Gift of Scripture, and certainly their Eminences who wrote it, will be thinking I am referring to, and perhaps even a little overplaying, the publication of the Conciliar decree on Revelation, Dei Verbum, promulgated on 18th November, 1965. However, on that day, in another part of the Vatican, another event was taking place: I was sitting my final examination for the Licence in Sacred Scripture. I dare to mention this comparatively trivial event because the examination itself marks how far we have come since then. The exam was in biblical history. Biblical history was, for this purpose, divided into 30 periods, of which one was to be set for the 3-hour exam, written of course in Latin. It was received wisdom that one of those subjects could not be set and need not be revised.
       Accordingly, I revised only the 29 other topics, and inevitably found myself obliged to write for three hours on the one I had not revised: 'The historical and geographical order of the ministry of Jesus'. Presumably candidates were expected to harmonise the divergent chronologies of the gospels, to describe the routes taken by Jesus on his journeys, the order in which his miracles occurred and the exact location on the hill above the Lake of Galilee where he preached the Sermon on the Mount. To complete the picture of how far we have come I dare also to say that a few days previously I had lunched at the English College with the Bishops assembled for the Council. In the course of the lunch my episcopal neighbour remarked, 'Oh, you are a student of the Bible, are you? I suppose that means you don't believe in it.' In the 40 years which have passed since the promulgation of Dei Verbum we have come a long way, both in the academic approach to the Bible and in the value we put upon it. In both those ways I think I may say without exaggeration that The Gift of Scripture marks a coming of age.
       Such an assessment demands some detailed praise for the document, and it is my pleasure to give this. First I would say that it is a highly Catholic document. It is built on and really grows out of authoritative Catholic teaching at four levels. These authorities are not merely frequently quoted, but do genuinely inform the thinking.
    1. The full magisterium of the Church in the form of the Council decree on Revelation and Papal Encyclicals.
    2. Documents of the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the historical truth of the gospels, on the interpretation of the Bible and 27 quotations from the latest document on the Jewish people and their sacred scriptures in the Christian Bible.
    3. Two addresses of Pope John Paul II.
    4. The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
       This is a comprehensive range of Catholic documentation, authoritative, academic and pastoral, and the thought of the document genuinely grows out of them. But the document is also catholic in another most important sense, ecumenical. From the beginning of the concept of this teaching document ecumenical representatives have been closely involved, and the agreed statements between Catholics and Anglicans, and between Catholics and Methodists are quoted from the first few paragraphs. One of the joys of biblical study has been that confessional boundaries play little part, and it is especially good to see this put into practice in an official teaching document of the Church. Particularly encouraging is the handsome admission of the debt to Christian scholars of other traditions than Catholic, and to Jewish scholars, when Catholic biblical scholarship was – as it is delicately understated – 'hesitant about the wisdom of modern biblical methods' (#82). The reference is, of course, to the gagging of biblical scholarship in the Catholic Church – with almost the solitary exception of Baron von Hügel in this country – in the first half of the twentieth century, between the Modernist Crisis and Divino Afflante Spiritu in 1943.
       As my opening story shows, Catholic biblical scholarship, and indeed Catholic use of and reverence for the Bible, hung well behind that of our non-Catholic contemporaries. After Divino Afflante Spiritu there was a good half-century of catching up to be done. Only after that can this document say, confidently and fairly at the beginning of the twenty-first century, that the Catholic Church 'offers a valuable and distinctive contribution to the continuing work of scholarship and of biblical formation' (#82). It was only after this catching up that the Bishops, led and inspired, I would like to say in honour of his memory, by our beloved Jack Brewer, Bishop of Lancaster, were ready to follow up their teaching document on the Eucharist, One Bread, One Body, with another on the other great source of nourishment for the Church, the Bible.
       The document is also comprehensive in that it ranges widely over the history of the Church. To begin with, the first Papal quotation is from Pope John Paul's allocution Ecclesia in Europa, reminding the reader that, at any rate ecclesiastically, Britain is part of Europe. Secondly, hardly have we turned the first page when Ireland is linked to England by St Patrick's use of the Bible in the earliest extant 'documents which have survived in these lands', closely followed by St Ninian for Scotland. Both of these made their contributions to the culture which produced those visual treasures, the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, of which we shall no doubt soon hear more. The authors might have added that the earliest complete Latin Bible MS surviving anywhere in the world, the Codex Amiatinus, was penned in St Bede's monastery.
       Then a further link to Europe in St Boniface's mission to Germany. How apt! The letters of that great missionary are full of his love for the Bible, his persevering request in old age for a large-print Bible to be sent from Winchester for his lectio divina in the badly-lit motels of the Rhineland, his pestering the monks of Jarrow for a copy of the commentaries of Bede on the Bible. The comprehensiveness of the range of The Gift of Scripture is important, with its survey of use of the Bible by such great exegetes as Jerome, Chrysostom and Origen. One of the primary achievements of the Vatican Constitution on Divine Revelation was to overcome the dichotomy between scripture and tradition, by insisting that scripture must be viewed through the lens of the tradition of the Church.
       The document is not only catholic; it is also courageous. There has been sufficient confidence to admit that the Bible contains difficult, even shocking and scandalous passages. 'The narratives [of the entry into Canaan] raise serious theological questions. God is presented as commanding the Israelites to annihilate their enemies by inflicting the "ban" or "curse of destruction".' (#32). Of the psalms, too, 'some contain the language of hatred and violence' (#39). In the New Testament also some passages in the Pauline writings suggest a subordinate role for women (#66). It is acknowledged that these biblical passages have been used in comparatively recent history to justify the subjection of women to men or, worse, the violent maltreatment of whole races, or – in the Holy Land itself – the expropriation of groups of the ancient population.
       The passages, particularly in Matthew and John, which have been used throughout the Christian history to justify persecution of the Jews, do not go unmentioned (#59). Such misuse of the Bible is, from the beginning, related to 'fundamentalism', a refusal to see scripture in its development and an intransigent disregard of the diversity of views expressed, 'thus making absolute what is a partial and incomplete understanding within scripture' (#19 also 13). The individual difficulties are faced squarely by putting them in the context of the whole Bible. Revelation is a gradual process and must be viewed diachronically, so that a more primitive state of mind gives way to a fuller understanding: 'such texts come from particular social and religious settings and must be read in the context of the whole of scripture, and particularly in the light of the testimony of the gospels to Jesus' own inclusive attitudes and behaviour' (#66). Paradoxically, it seems to me that the reading of and meditation on biblical passages about cold-blooded slaughter of prisoners, cries for brutal vengeance and callous oppression of the weak is still a valuable reminder that such primitive instincts remain part of human nature today.
       Thirdly, the document is confident. A ridiculous headline appeared on 5th October in The Times over a rather good article, 'Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible'. The headline at any rate served usefully in bringing the teaching document to the attention of the wider public through a little flurry of TV and radio exposure. As Lady Chatterley's Lover and The Satanic Verses attest, there is no way of increasing sales as effective as putting a book on the Index of Forbidden Books. The headline relied on selective quotation. The quotation, 'We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision', was only explanatory of the previous sentence, 'We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other secular matters', that is matters other than the truths written down for the sake of our salvation. The Catholic Church has of course not abandoned one iota of its claim to the truth of the Bible; it has merely focussed what sort of truth and where in the Bible such truth is to be found.
       The study of literary genres encouraged by the Church (#19) has in fact enabled scholars to see that religious teaching in the early chapters of the Bible is expressed under the guise of historical writing. These chapters are no more historical writing than is Little Red Riding Hood; the truths they convey are wholly different. So, referring to the first 11 chapters of Genesis, The Gift of Scripture affirms 'though they may contain some historical traces, the primary purpose was to provide religious teaching' (#28). It follows this up with a neat little list of the important and profound truths on the dual human condition of dignity and of failure which are taught in these chapters. In all these ways the reader of these chapters is led to a deeper self-knowledge, and to a richer understanding of the personal relationship of dependence on the source of all being. I only regret that some loss of nerve led to the inclusion of 'though they may contain some historical traces'. There is no suggestion of 'historical traces' in the passage of the Pontifical Biblical Commission document cited as authority for this qualification.
       So much for the treatment of the beginning; the treatment of the end is equally confident. Since that important iconoclast John AT Robinson coined the phrase 'a three-decker universe' (and before that) Christians have been mocked for the naivety of biblical expectations of last trumpets, stars falling from heaven and gigantic cube-shaped new cities (14,000 miles cubed, according to Rv 21.16) with jewelled gates and no sunlight. The Gift of Scripture asserts firmly, 'Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world' (#69). To vary the imagery slightly, every teenager lives in the slightly nervous expectation that in the final volume Harry Potter will kill Voldemort. Every Christian lives in the secure conviction that the great prostitute will be destroyed and the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb will be the Temple in the city. The only important difference lies in the certainty and in the source of this certainty, not in the mode of expression. One mode of expression uses the picture-language popular in the first century, the other uses the picture-language popular in the twenty/twenty-first century.
       This approach to the beginning and end of the Bible is thoroughly praiseworthy. I would have been glad if the same approach had been applied more explicitly than it is to other books of the Bible. Differences between the literary methods used and those of the present day could profitably have been more clearly spelt out. The historical books of the Bible are not of course written in the style of academic historical analyses two or three thousand years later. The stories of the patriarchs are folk history, intended to explain the origin of a people and the complexities of its way of life. On the other hand, books like Tobit and Jonah (which both earn a week's exposure in the Lectionary) appear to be historical when in fact they convey their message through fiction, satire and humour. The brilliantly-told story of the Acts of the Apostles, read right through the Easter season, uses all the techniques of the popular histories and novels of its day. A judgement on levels of comprehension to be presupposed for the document is difficult, and the readership envisaged must be far wider than the circle of those assembled here today. However, without spiralling into a vortex of academic obscurity, it might have been possible to challenge the reader more severely.
       At this stage of the launch of the document I should explain its arrangement. There are two preliminary sections. Part One, entitled 'Hearing the Word of God', sets out the Catholic view of the place of scripture in God's self-revelation to human beings, its relationship to the other ways in which the Holy Spirit guides and enlightens the People of God, the living tradition of the Church and the magisterium. Part Two, 'Understanding the Word of God', outlines how this word has been and should be received, how it should be read and understood, the importance of inspiration and the dangers of fundamentalism. The third and the fourth part, respectively 'Reading the Old Testament' and 'Reading the New Testament' work through nearly all the books of the Bible. These introductions to the various books are theologically very rich, a page or two alerting the reader to themes and aspect of the books which should claim attention.
       One of the most apt correctives is on the prophets: the insistence that they 'do not so much foretell the future as speak with devastating clarity about the realities they see around them' (#34). In an older style of exegesis the prophets were treated largely as a quarry for photographic anticipations of future events, particularly concerning the messanic fulfilment in Christ. The prophets provided a sort of anticipatory reflexion into which the reality would slot when the messiah came. Now we see the prophets as teaching for their own time, normally a message which is unwelcome in a fallen and self-seeking world (whence a valuable section on the suffering of the prophets), but enriching the understanding of the relationship between God and the Chosen People in a way which will reach its fullness in the messiah. The text is indeed 'often richer than the author's intention' (#20), but any further sense must be considered secondary and posterior to the prophet's teaching for his own contemporaries. Nevertheless, this understanding of the prophets contributes valuable insights for the understanding of Christ. In many other ways also these outlines of teaching will make useful reading for anyone, yes, anyone embarking on a course of liturgical or devotional reading of that book. It will make the teaching document useful to keep at one's side for reference.
       The fifth and final part is more practical, concerned with the use of scripture, its necessity in initial catechesis, its enrichment in the catechesis of preparation for the sacraments, its breadth in the new arrangements of the lectionary, its use in the context of school and family celebrations. Reminders are also given of ways in which the honour in which the Word of God is held is to be expressed in liturgical arrangements. The recommendations made here touch the inspiring use of the Bible in liturgies of the Word. In areas like Africa and Australia, to mention only two English-speaking continents, where parish communities are so far flung that weekly eucharistic celebrations are impossible even among the most devoted Catholics, the People of God come together regularly to meet the Lord and be nourished in the sacrament of the Word.
       This part of The Gift of Scripture begins with the reminder, 'Read as the heart of the living Tradition of the community of faith, these Scriptures provide guidance on countless contemporary issues: the rights and responsibilities of the human person, the value of human life from conception to death, the need to protect the created world, the search for lasting justice and peace for all peoples'(#70). Yes, the Lord may speak to us directly, as he did to St Anthony of the Desert when his ear rang with the words, 'Sell all you have and follow me', or to St Augustine in that wonderful passage of the Confessions 8.12, when he heard the child at play cry 'Tolle, lege'. He took up the Bible and his eye fell on 'No orgies or drunkenness, etc; let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ' (Rm 13.13-14). More often, however, it is in the repeated and meditative reading of the Bible that the Lord speaks to us. The Bible does not give easy answers; easy answers are the quest of the fundamentalist. It cannot be treated as a mechanical search-engine for answers to contemporary moral and religious questions. It feeds the mind and the heart, forming in the reader the mind of Christ. Food needs to be digested before it gives energy. This teaching document will be an invaluable aid to the digestion process. #
       [COMMENT: What a shame that some of the papers published in this websection have not been posted to the lecturer! You could have set the cat among the pigeons if you were in the audience, by asking what were the last words of Jesus before he died! To read the three conflicting stories, click "Last words". By the way, there is no third (or eighth) Sacrament -- the "Sacrament of the Word" is a figure of speech. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 18, 2005]

    • [Pornography in novels used at schools]

       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "We chose home school," Letter to Editor, by Mrs Carol Phillips of Queens Park, WA, p 6, December 8, 2005
       PERTH, W. Australia: The letters (The Record, December 1) in response to Dr Saker's findings on Catholic Education were all excellent, and each dealt with the issue intelligently and from a different perspective.
       When our family moved to Perth in 1997 the appalling state of Catholic education in WA and throughout Australia was mentioned in The Record on several occasions. I even wrote a letter about it myself.
       But it seems that nothing has changed. The most disturbing of the letters, in response to Dr Saker's findings, was from Fr Bryan Rosling, Parish Priest of Mater Christi. Despite M Graves mistakenly believing that Dr Saker misrepresented the situation, and that practising, believing teachers like him or herself were unrepresented, Fr Rosling's letter exposed the veracity of Dr Saker's findings.
       We are even aware of one Catholic high-school where some of the novels used in English contain pornographic material. Concerned parents have achieved nothing by appealing along all the necessary channels.
       Our own children have been long-removed from the Catholic education system. I have home-schooled since 1998, precisely because of the crisis in Catholic education. I refuse to trust my children's Faith education to nominal or non-Catholics and using unsuitable materials in other subjects.
       Dr Saker has indeed "belled the cat", and let us hope that the call to action will not just fade away.
       It is clear to me that at least some of the remedy lies in putting aside the fact that many parents don't practise the Faith, and concentrating on using the new RE guidelines to thoroughly educate our children.
       This may mean huge shake-ups in the CEO [Catholic Education Office] and the teachers employed, but it is essential. At least more students will then know enough to embrace their Catholicism, and this will be the beginning for new, faithful Catholic families and Catholic schools in the future. The balance needs to be tipped, and it has to start somewhere.
       We look to our Shepherd, and we are relying on him. May God give him the courage, and strength, to do what is required.
       Of Esther Douglas, who believes that the Church has defined itself by sexual negatives, I ask: What would you have the Church do, when the secular world pushes sexuality at every turn, and most strongly through the media?  Would you have the Church be silent, or else warn the young away from the dangerous temptations and immoral values extolled so forcefully over and over again?  What is more positive than saying:  Save your sexuality for Marriage, because that is what God wants for you?
       [COMMENT: The pornography in the novels used in Roman Catholic schools is there largely because the State Governments' Education Departments have adopted them for the English curriculum. Objections to Members of Parliament have evidently been in vain. Recent news suggests, however, that the English courses are being so eviscerated that even swear-word novels, b*m books, poems, and plays will not be there in future years!  The "reformers" of educational theory will present jamtin labels for critical analysis by schoolchildren !
       A contrary viewpoint to this letter came from Margaret Ker of Mount Lawley.
       On the positive side, however, some of the "Pubianity" type RC teachings are not being taught in these "no rote-learning" RC schools. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 8, 05]

    • [Statue weeps red fluid from one eye]

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "No inquiry for now; No Church inquiry, for now, into statue of Mary some say is weeping," p 9, December 8, 2005
       SACRAMENTO: The Diocese of Sacramento has no plans to investigate an alleged apparition in which statue of the Virgin Mary outside a Catholic church has been reported to weep blood.
       The statue has drawn hundreds of visitors to Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church in Sacramento since parishioners' first noticed reddish streaks near the eyes of the white concrete statue in mid-November.
       Father James Murphy, rector of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, said he had discussed the matter with Sacramento Bishop William K. Weigand and told local media that the diocese was "letting it sit for now."
       An inquiry involving field investigators and lab analysts could be initiated later, Father Murphy said, if the phenomenon continues.
       "There's no rush," he told The Sacramento Bee newspaper. "The Church thinks in terms of centuries, not tomorrow's news."
       In Catholic teaching, an apparition is a supernatural manifestation of God, an angel or a saint to an individual or group of individuals. Church investigations into reported apparitions usually focus on the moral, spiritual and psychological character of the visionary or visionaries, the consistency of any messages with Church teachings and other spiritual effects connected with the event. […]
       [COMMENT: Oh dear, oh dear! COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 8, 05]

    • Undoing the hurt. [Cruel Limbo doctrine.]

      Australia flag; 
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "Undoing the hurt," Letter by Father Maurice Toop, Queen of Martyrs Parish, Maylands, WA, pp 6-7, December 15, 2005
       PERTH: I read with interest the article in The Record of December 8 "Limbo only ever a theory: Theologians".
       Fr Tony Kelly, a member of the International Theological Commission considering the question of Limbo, is quoted as saying that although Limbo was the common teaching of the Church, over the past 50 years it has been quietly dropped.  Pastorally and catechetically the matter had been solved, but "we had to backtrack and do the theology" albeit with a bit of a smile, he says.
       Limbo was indeed the common teaching of the Church. It was taught from pulpits and in classrooms. It was in the Catechism, complete with Nihil Obstat and the Imprimatur of the Bishops, and learned off by heart by generations of Catholics, who accepted it as the infallible teaching of the Church.
       Having been a priest in pastoral ministry from way back, I can remember well the distress, anguish and guilt of many Catholic mothers, who had lost an unbaptised child either before birth or after it, and who believed that their child would never see the face of God. They had lost their child, and the separation would be eternal. They hardly ever spoke about their grief.
       No doubt it is necessary to deal with the theological issues that gave rise to the cruel theory of Limbo. The Church still needs to deal with Limbo pastorally. The unwillingness to acknowledge our failures has only led, eventually, to recriminations and scandal, and seriously undermined our credibility, not to speak of infallibility.
       Why can the Church not acknowledge its errors honestly and humbly?  Why can we not apologise openly, even if belatedly, to the countless mothers and fathers who have suffered the agony of the eternal loss of a child, because they were misled to believe so by the Church which they trusted implicitly.
       Need we be so surprised that many young Catholics, coming out of Catholic schools with ideals of honesty and transparency, regard the Church as irrelevant, when we try to avoid admitting our mistakes?  Perhaps they are just smarter than their grandparents.
       We may indeed smile at the Syllabus of Errors, and even have a laugh at the Index of Forbidden Books, but Limbo is a more serious thing. #
       [RECAPITULATION: … learned off by heart by generations of Catholics, … the cruel theory of Limbo. ENDS.]
       [FATHERS OF THE CHURCH: St Fulgentius wrote: " … little children … die without the holy sacrament of baptism … punished … everlasting punishment of fire." - page 55, Nicholas Carter, The late great book, the Bible, 1985, Truth Missions, (PO Box 3849), Manhattan Beach (California 90266 USA)
       St Augustine wrote that the floor of hell was tassellated [? tessellated] with the bodies of unbaptised infants. – p 55, Ibid. ENDS.]
       [DISCUSSION: These even crueller teachings by the Fathers of the Church were due, we might surmise, from taking these words literally: "… unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Unless someone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (Bible, John 3: 3, 5; adapted from The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT), 1969, p 427)
       The doctrine of Original Sin might have added to the confusion. ENDS.]
       [GUIDELINES: "… Unless YOU turn around and become as young children, YOU will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens; and whoever receives one such young child on the basis of my name receives me. But whoever trips up one of these little ones who put faith in me, it is more beneficial for him to have hung around his neck a millstone such as is turned by an ass and to be sunk in the wide, open sea." (Bible, Matthew 18:3-6; adapted from The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT). See Luke 9:48)
       "… their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10)
       "Let the young children alone and stop hindering them from coming to me, for the kingdom of the heavens belongs to suchlike ones." (Matthew 19:14; Ibid, p 118; see Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16)
       "And, when they had heard this, the disciples wondered very much, saying : Who then can be saved? And Jesus, beholding, said to them : With men this is impossible ; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:25-26, Douay translation; see Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27) ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Guess which side Jesus would have taken if there had been proper debate in His day about consigning unbaptised babies' souls to hell, (and the associated doctrine of Original Sin), and later yielding ground to give the soft option of Limbo?  He had already said infants would be in heaven, among the greatest ones there, hadn't he?  It is a pity the theologians did not obey the general advice to be married and have children, and then ponder over the words that their angels always behold the face of the Father, and "with God all things are possible," before making cruel theories for the ignorant, the fearful, and the gullible. ENDS.]
       [ANOTHER RECAP.: The unwillingness to acknowledge our failures has only led, eventually, to recriminations and scandal. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: What "failures" leading to "scandal" come into your mind, Ms or Mr Reader?  Could it be the seducing of children, partly due to the unmarried status of huge numbers of Christian clergy, monks and nuns?  Aren't those who cause the children, and the clergy, to stumble, worthy of intense punishment? ENDS.] [Dec 15, 05]

    • Brave letter criticising the Limbo theory.

       Letter to The Record (West Perth), delivered Tuesday, December 20, 2005
       PERTH: I congratulate Fr Maurice Toop for his brave letter (Undoing the hurt, Dec 15) joining in criticism of what he termed the cruel Limbo theory, that is, that unbaptised babies don't get to heaven.
       Anyone who has pondered on the text "with God all things are possible" in relation to the question "Who then can be saved?" must have realised that the Limbo doctrine was seriously flawed.
       Jesus was reported as saying "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."  Didn't he also say something about their angels, and issue the millstone curse on those who corrupted children?
       How did the theologians and religious teachers get away with the Limbo story and no salvation outside the Church, while stoutly maintaining that Jesus had taught he was the Good Shepherd, and told the parables of the Prodigal Son, the lost sheep, the lost coin, and so on?
       Let us hope that many more parishioners and clergy will join in opposing bad doctrines like Limbo.
    Refs: Matthew 19:25-26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27
    Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16
    Matthew 18:3-6; see Luke 9:48 #
       [REFERENCES in above letter explained , and expanded for Internet display:
    Refs: Matthew 19:25-26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27 [2nd paragraph, "with God all things are possible."]
    Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16 [3rd par - "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."]
    [3rd par, Matthew 18:10, "their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven."]
    [3rd par - Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2, "millstone were hanged around his neck."]
    [4th par - John 10:11-16 good shepherd; Luke 15:11-32 prodigal son; Luke 15:4-7 the lost sheep; and Luke 15:8-10 the lost coin.]
    Matthew 18:3-6; see Luke 9:48 ["Whoever receives this young child in my name receives me …"]
       [EVIDENCE that the RCC taught that Limbo existed includes the extract from Dr Rumble's Radio Replies, shown in date order, 1934. ENDS.]
       [FOLLOW-UP: Yes, the Religion Clarity Campaign followed up with Fr Toop more than once.  No reply has been received by May 22, 2011. ENDS.] [Dec 20, 05]

    • [Islam and Limbo reversal reveries leads to longer list of RCC reversals]

      - RCC.
       Letter from a Western Australian commentator to Rev Fr John Flader, Catholic Adult Education Centre, (which issued "Christians and Islam"), Locked Bag 888, Silverwater DC, NSW, 1811, Australia, December 23, 2005
       Having read "Christians and Islam" by Paul Gray, Inform No. 97, I thought you and he needed more information on the subject.
       Recently I have been revolving a few thoughts about the reversals of doctrines and practices in the Catholic faith. Here is a starter list:
  • Usury forbidden
  • Islam was referred to as Paganism at the calling of a campaign to regain the Land for its owners, the Christian Empire centred on Constantinople.
  • Judaism was defined as a false religion, and the Talmud was regularly banned and burned.
  • No salvation outside the Church.
  • Latin was used in divine worship and sacraments as a sign of Unity, and to avoid mistranslation errors.
  • Cremation was forbidden except in serious risk of infection.  Burial was the norm, as a sign we awaited in joyful hope the general resurrection on the Last Day.
  • The death penalty was one of three exceptions to the prohibition of killing humans.
  • Limbo was the eternal place for all who died without baptism.
  •    Please inform me if the teaching is still that "The Catholic Church is true, because everywhere and in every age it teaches everything that He taught."
       Could you add to this list? Perhaps you could issue an "Inform, Faith and life matters" about them.  Season's greetings!
    Enc.: Reading: Submission …, The Koran 4pp, Cruel Limbo Doctrine … by Father Maurice Toop Dec 15, Brave Letter criticising the Limbo Theory Dec 20

       [COMMENT: Add:
  • The Popes' teaching that they had the right to depose emperors and kings. (For example: Pope Saint Gregory VII, writing on March 15, 1081, and Pope St. Pius V, Regnans in excelsis, February 25, 1570)
  • Papal teaching that they had the right to cancel and make of no effect oaths, even loyalty oaths to rulers, e.g., Pope St. Pius V, Regnans in excelsis, February 25, 1570.
  • Freemasonry was forbidden.
       Paul Gray was also sent the letter as sent to the Catholic Adult Education Centre.  He had previously been sent information about the omissions in his book on his views on Islam, but did not reply.  When the points are unanswerable, most likely they won't be answered.  (Still no answer, May 22, 2011.) COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 23, 05]

    • Unnatural Unions Defy Cleanliness And Scripture

      - Anglicans.
       Letter sent to The West Australian, E-mailed on Friday, December 30, 2005
       PERTH: The Anglican Dean of Perth John Shepherd says that Jesus would approve of blessing same-sex "marriages" (Jesus would approve of gay marriages, says Anglican Dean 30/12)
       Also, it seems that one of the royal princes attended the joining of Sir Elton John and his partner in Britain.
       We assume that the Dean and his Church still believe the Scriptures are for our enlightenment.  Please explain why in the Epistle to the Romans we read a condemnation of women changing to unnatural intercourse, and "the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion." (Romans 1:27).
       Male to male homosexual sex often involves one man putting a part of his body into the excrement tube of the other.  This is an unhealthy practice, likely to cause disease – perhaps that is the "due reward".  In modern times HIV-AIDS was a likely result.
       The Dean ought to ponder on the advice that to avoid fornication, every man ought to have his own woman, and vice-versa (1 Corinthians 7:2).
       These are among the reasons that for centuries governments and Churches have only registered male-female unions as marriage, and that is how the dictionary defines that word.
       Through regular marriages society hopes to gain the benefits of a replacement of the population, with orderly succession to property, and the contentment that loving and caring for each other is supposed to bring.
       But the unhealthy male-male unions are unlikely to consistently give those dividends to the common wealth.
       Instead of following the indiscriminate thought fashions of these times, Christian leaders ought to thoroughly understand why someone wrote that a Church supervisor ought to be a mature man, husband of one woman, with a well-ordered household, among other requirements (1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1: 5 - 9).
       The apostles and the brothers of Jesus took their women with them on their missionary journeys, judging by 1 Corinthians 9:5.
       [FOOTNOTE: The letter was published under "Same-sex marriages" heading on January 3, with the exception of the second and fourth paragraphs. ENDS.] [Dec 30, 05]

    • [Communists, Islamists escalade Church Persecution in 2005]

       Religion Today Summaries, "Open Doors Reports Escalation of Church Persecution in 2005," www.crosswalk idebfxt_ upmqqpb.html , Agape Press , Friday, December 30, 2005
       UNITED STATES: Dr. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA says there was a noticeable increase in persecution of Christians throughout the world in 2005.
       That international ministry has released a review of persecution against believers worldwide across the last year. The Open Doors review found that there was an increase in persecution of Christians in such countries as North Korea, Indonesia, and Eritrea.
       Dr. Moeller says many believers in the U.S. and other free nations are largely unaware of the oppression and hostility faced by fellow believers in many parts of the world.
       He feels some of the countries most hostile to the Christian faith are simply not "on the radar screens" of many in the church.
       For instance, the ministry leader notes, "Eritrea doesn't make the news very often because it's not either an ally or an enemy of the United States; but it is a country where millions of people are subjected to a Marxist-influenced government that is drumming up fear in a war with Ethiopia."
       For Christians in Eritrea, he explains, the difficulty with the government is "primarily that it refuses to acknowledge any religious expression apart from four permitted religions and denominations."
       In North Korea, an estimated 400,000 Christians face daily persecution, including torture in prison camps.
       That is one reason why that country topped Open Doors' world watch list of countries where persecution is most severe in 2005.
       Meanwhile, in Indonesia, more Christians were killed and churches burned, and three Christian women were arrested for running a program for children.

    • Limbo doctrine axed

      Vatican City / Papal flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), p 13, January 1, 2006
       VATICAN CITY: THE Catholic Church is set to axe the 700-year-old doctrine of limbo – believed by some to be the eternal destination of unbaptised babies.
       The decision follows a policy meeting of 30 Catholic theologians at the Vatican last month.
       Pope Benedict XVI urged the meeting to finally dispose of the theory invented in the Middle Ages.
       The previous pope, John Paul II, asked the church's theological commission to consider the fate of unbaptised babies shortly before he died last year. The present Pope declared in 1984 that limo [limbo] had "never been a definitive truth of the faith".
       Catholic sources said the limbo concept was likely to be replaced by a doctrine that children who die do so "in the hope of eternal salvation".
       [COMMENT: Oldtimers might remember the Catechism answer that the Catholic Church was the true Church, because "everywhere and in every age it / she teaches everything that He taught." It was also taught that the "Unity" of the one true Church was proved because in every age its doctrine had been "One," i.e., the same. The "Catholicity", i.e., universality, of the RCC was also proven by the fact that the doctrine was the same in every place.
       When did the unchanging doctrines of the RCC become just "theory"? When were theologians' opinions preferred over the "magisterium"? (Definition: "The magisterium" theory is that whatever the RC Church teaches through its prayers, customs, books, sermons, etc., must be believed by the Faithful, unless they have extremely good reasons for not believing it.) COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 1, 06]

    • [Christian scriptures about same-sex 'marriages,' versus 'cast the first stone.']


       The West Australian, "Same-sex marriages," Letters to The Editor, p 18, Tuesday, January 3, 2006
    [Does Dean believe scriptures are for enlightenment?]
       The Anglican Dean of Perth John Shepherd says that Jesus would approve of blessing same-sex "marriages" (report, 30/12). I assume that the Dean and his Church still believe the Scriptures are for our enlightenment.
       Please explain why in the Epistle to the Romans we read a condemnation of women changing to unnatural intercourse and "the men, in a similar fashion, too, giving up normal relations with women, are consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameful things with men and receiving in themselves due reward for their perversion" (Romans 1:27).
       The Dean ought to ponder on the advice that to avoid fornication, every man ought to have his own woman, and vice-versa (1 Corinthians 7:2). These are among the reasons that for centuries governments and churches have registered only male-female unions as marriage, and that is how the dictionary defines that word.
       Through regular marriages society hopes to gain the benefits of a replacement of the population, with orderly succession to property, and the contentment that loving and caring for each other is supposed to bring. The unhealthy male-male unions are unlikely to consistently give those dividends to the common wealth.
       Instead of following the indiscriminate thought fashions of these times, Christian leaders ought to understand thoroughly why someone wrote that a church supervisor ought to be a mature man, husband of one woman, with a well-ordered household, among other requirements (1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:5-9).
       The apostles and the brothers of Jesus took their women with them on their missionary journeys, judging by 1 Corinthians 9:5. John C. Massam, Greenwood.
    [Abomination; Jesus's attitude unchanging.]
       Anglican Dean John Shepherd (report, 30/12) said that Jesus would approve of gay marriages. Obviously he is not aware that homosexuality is an abomination to God. Although Jesus was totally man he was still the son of God. His attitude would not change, the same as his word does not change. Walter and Leone Holloway, Medina.
    [Long working hours more harmful than same-sex parenting; 'first stone.']
       Did it not occur to Margaret Court (Letters, 31/12) that perhaps gay and lesbian people are among those who are interested in the future of our nation and the future of our children? Gay and lesbian people work in a diverse range of positions in community services and teaching while others participate in the political sphere, at various levels, trying to improve society and contribute something worthwhile.
       Children are confused in this dysfunctional society for a number of reasons. However, I would hazard a guess that one of the greatest contributing factors is the unavailability of heterosexual parents who are struggling to meet their financial burdens and work long hours at the expense of their children. This is a social ill that gay and lesbian people are not responsible for.
       A high number of children who "wake up with two mummies or two daddies" have contact with their donors (or mothers and fathers), of which my children are included. They are not the least bit confused about their lives. They know exactly who is who, what is what and, most importantly, that they are loved and nurtured.
       There are many verses which could be used to counter those which were drawn on in Margaret Court's letter. That which immediately comes to mind is "let he without sin cast the first stone". Donna Bannister, Bayswater.
    [Gay marriage oxymoron.]
       Gay marriage? Wouldn't that be the oxymoron of the century? Elsie Donovan, Bedford.
       Letters to the Editor, WA Newspapers, GPO Box N1027 Perth WA 6843. Fax 08 9482 3830. E-mail to:
       [RECAPITULATION: "let he without sin cast the first stone". RECAP. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The scripture quoted by Donna Bannister comes from the disputed passage in John's gospel 8:1-11, where Jesus frees the adulterous woman.  It has appeared in various old manuscripts in three places in John's gospel, and once in Luke, leading modern scholars to assume it is an addition made after the apostles were dead and gone.
       But whatever the truth of that story, which really opposes the death penalty for adultery, its MISUSE to forgive everybody in sight contradicts other New Testament texts that deny close companionship with Christians who had reverted to sinning.  But for an extreme example of punishment for sin in apostolic Christianity, read The Acts of the Apostles 5:1-11, which portrays Peter condemning to death Ananias and his wife Sapphira for lying about a donation of money. COMMENT ENDS.]  [Jan 3, 06]

    • Churches caught in Hebrew Scripture trap.

       Letter e-mailed to The West Australian, Sent January 5, 2006
       PERTH: Daniel Baldwin (Shall I stone them to death, 5/1) by quoting the horrific penalties provided in the Hebrew Scriptures, hoped to quench the opposition to Dean John Shepherd's statement that Jesus would approve same-sex marriages.
       Christians are supposed to be following the Christian Scriptures, not the superseded Hebrew Scriptures.
       It is high time that the Christians grew up, and stopped using another religions' scripture as a kind of crutch for their own beliefs.
       Their own scriptures tell them that there was a new dispensation, but their leaders just want to hang on to the supposed prophecies in the Hebrew books.
       There are enough reasons from health considerations for governments not to register same-sex unions, without calling on other-worldly reasons. [Jan 5, 06]

    Research shows school RE scores less than 10%

       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), By Paul Gray, Page One, January 26, 2006
       AUSTRALIA: The Christian Research Association is expected to release new information later this year which further suggests a low level of interest in religious education classes among students in church-based schools.
       The new information will be widely analysed within religious education circles, following the recent emergence of independent research examining the effectiveness of religious education in Catholic schools.
       According to a report in The Australian, only nine per cent of students said that school religious education classes were very important in helping them to "work out" their lives, in a new study from the Christian Research Association.
       The research also found that many young people did not know if there was a God, but were not bothered by their uncertainty.
       The new research is based on more than 1500 interviews and a schools-based survey of 2500 students from 20 schools.
       The findings are to be released mid-year, the newspaper reports.
       In an earlier analysis of youth spirituality published on the Christian Research Association's website, a statistically significant number of young Australians gave explanations including "the beliefs and morals of the church," "time priorities" and "not my thing" as reasons why they do not go to church.
       In a finding with significance for debates over attracting young people to church by holding more youth-oriented church services, the CRA analysis also said that only 14 per cent of young Australians (aged 18 to 29) would be prepared to go to church if the church had contemporary styles of worship.
       Debate over the effectiveness of religious education in schools has been intensified by the research of Dr Luke Saker of Edith Cowan University, revealed in The Record late last year.
       Dr Saker's research included the finding that "almost all students who graduate from Catholic education regard the Church as irrelevant."
       This year Victoria's Catholic Education Office has also referred in the media to two research studies being undertaken to explore the effectiveness of Catholic school education. The Record's report was voted a top 2005 story by the CathNews website. #
       [COMMENT: There is no mention here of how much of the religious schools' costs are being met by the taxpayer. COMMENT ENDS.] [Jan 26, 06]

    • Jensen warns of gay sex 'slippery slope' 
       The West Australian, p 7, Friday, February 3, 2006
    THE WEST AUSTRALIAN                                                                 FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2006 • 7

    Jensen warns of gay sex ‘slippery slope’

         [Picture] Strong line: Archbishop Peter Jensen believes the Anglican Church must tackle the issue of homosexuality because it is a matter of 'life and death'.  
       SYDNEY: The Anglican Church must draw a line in the sand and declare homosexual practices a sin, Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen said yesterday, defending the Church's "obsession" with human sexuality.
       He has also joined fellow evangelicals in criticising English laws recognising civil partnerships as unbiblical.
       Disputes over homosexuality, including gay priests and gay marriage, have racked the Church worldwide.
       As head of the conservative Sydney diocese, Dr Jensen has emerged as a leader of the conservative evangelical section of the world's 78 million Anglicans.
      'Obsessed by sex? Yes, and so is everyone else. Our culture is obsessed with sex …'    DR PETER JENSEN  
       Church liberals argue that full recognition of gays is a simple issue of social justice, while conservatives say it contradicts the direct word of God. Dr Jensen said the Church was on a "slippery slope" if it was to weaken on the definitions of sin and risked compromising the central message of Christianity - redemption from sin through Christ.
       "Human sexuality is so constitutive of who we are and so central to culture that we are dealing with a major issue," he said. "Obsessed by sex? Yes, and so is everyone else.
       "Our culture is obsessed with sex so we should not be embarrassed with engaging with this issue. If we did not engage we would be divorced from our culture. Scripture declares this to be a matter of life and death."
       His comments are drawn from notes published on the website of Anglican Mainstream, a group of conservatives said to represent 1500 Anglican archbishops, bishops, clergy and laity in several countries. The comments form the basis of a speech he gave in England last month.
       He said acceptance of homosexual practice "would be to call holy what God calls sin to be repented from".
       "The efforts of liberal theology to gain control of the Church have gone too far and in human terms is endangering the whole gospel enterprise of the Church. If we do not stand here, we will not be able to stand anywhere," he said. #
       [DOCTRINE: Bible, Romans 1:24-27 and 32. DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Feb 3, 06]

    • [$85,000 for religious worship functions; Church dignitary on State executive committee.]  Australia flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn  South Australia, State flag; 
    Church gets too close for comfort.

       The Weekend Australian, ausletr@news , "Church gets too close for comfort," by Michelle Wiese Bockmann, p 29, February 4-5, 2006
       SOUTH AUSTRALIA: BY any measure it was an extraordinary outburst. But Catholic MP Julian Stefani's decision to brand South Australia's two most senior Catholics as "political harlots and goons" exposed concerns about the close ties between the church and state in the City of Churches. Stefani, a Liberal, who will retire from the upper house after the March 18 poll, apologised within 24 hours for highly provocative but heartfelt comments.
       Vicar-General David Cappo has spent the past 10 months on cabinet's executive committee. The appointment of a non-elected, nongovernment person to cabinet – let alone a senior church figure – is unprecedented in Australia. Monsignor Cappo also chairs the Government's Social Inclusion Board, which focuses on social justice issues including mental health and homelessness.
       The last straw for Stefani was learning Archbishop Philip Wilson had issued a joint invitation with two Rann ministers to host a civic reception for visiting international Catholic dignitaries next week at a five-star hotel. The Rann Government is picking up the $5000 tab, and also providing $10,000 in sponsorship for the Catholic Church's World Day of the Sick three-day conference.
       While Stefani's language was over the top, the church declined to explain why it was receiving the cash. It has also reheated concerns in political, church and NGO circles about the monsignor's access to Premier Mike Rann's inner sanctum. In the hothouse environment of a pre-election campaign, it was left to the Government's tough-guy Deputy Premier Kevin Foley to hit back at Stefani and describe relations with the Catholic Church as "appropriate and normal".
       "One person has been asked to do voluntary work and for this he somehow becomes subject to political debate," Foley said. "Does that mean we have descended to a level in this state where we can't attract people from certain sections of this community because they somehow may be conflicted?"
       Democrats MP Kate Reynolds weighed into the debate, alleging the Catholic Church has received preferential treatment. Reynolds revealed documents showing the church simply sent a one-sentence invoice to the Government for $70,000 after it requested funding to hold a memorial service in Adelaide for Pope John Paul II.
       Reynolds decried "an incredible lack of transparency" in handing over the money that outraged other church groups and nongovernment organisations who must jump through hoops to get lesser amounts. The row forced the Catholic Church to engage its spin doctor to manage the issue – senior public relations consultant Chris Rann, who is also the brother of the Premier.
       Foley then turned his attack on the Democrats, saying the Government also paid $9000 for a state funeral for former Democrat leader Janine Haines. "She was entitled to a state funeral," responded an outraged Reynolds. "She was a South Australian being recognised for her contribution to this state."
       Labor believes Stefani's ill-chosen words will result in a voter backlash among offended Catholics.
       In the Liberals' most marginal seat of Hartley, backbencher Joe Scalzi, perhaps optimistically believes the Stefani outburst is a non-issue that won't cost him votes. Nevertheless, he distanced himself from Stefani's concerns, which he said "weren't reflected by what's happening in the community". Opposition Leader Rob Kerin squibbed the issue maintaining he did not think the church was compromised. But he believed Cappo's appointment to cabinet's executive committee was a "publicity stunt".
       It would be no surprise if Monsignor Cappo is absent from any sensitive public appearances until after the March 18 poll. #
       [COMMENT: As to whether the taxpayers of South Australia ought to have paid $70,000 to hold a memorial service in Adelaide for Pope John Paul II, readers are invited to read: BERRY, Jason, and RENNER, Gerald, 2004, Vows Of Silence: The Abuse Of Power In The Papacy Of John Paul II, and CORNWELL, John, 2005, The Pontiff in Winter: Triumph and Conflict in the Reign of John Paul II. Brief notes are on Ethics / Carnal Books .
       Also instructive would be to follow the links from: Crimen Sollicitationis, Crime of Solicitation, 1962, about Vatican sex-abuse secrecy, or go to: www.rentapriest. com/Criminales. pdf . ENDS.]
       [GUIDELINE: Matthew 22:21. GUIDELINE ENDS.] [Feb 4-5, 2006]

    • $85,000, and on executive committee

       From an informed source, Letter to Editor of The Australian, E-mailed on February 5, 2006
       AUSTRALIA: I thought I was back in Plantagenet England or the days of French Cardinal Armand Richelieu centuries ago when I read that Roman Catholic Vicar-General David Cappo is on South Australia's cabinet executive committee ("Church gets too close for comfort," Feb 4-5).
       And the Catholic Church got $85,000 for religion-related activities, partly with a one-line invoice!
       With Western Australia welcoming back to its cabinet old cronies of the previously-jailed WA Inc Brian Burke, friend of Alan Bond, Labor is really heading the wrong way.
       Surely the Federal Liberal-Nationals' sad experience with a Churchman as Governor-General ought to have warned us all.
       For goodness' sake, Labor, ask Monsignor Cappo to retire from "government" and spend his time administering the archdiocese, and preventing today's major religious troubles – the misuse of young people, and determined physical assaults from outside groups. [Sent Feb 5, 06]

    • [New archbishop and 'gay' marriage]

       Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Most Rev. Roger Herft, to an interested citizen, Dated Feb 9, postmarked February 7, 2006
       PERTH (Western Australia):
    [Coat of arms]
      The Most Reverend Roger Herft
    Archbishop of Perth

    Anglican Church of Australia
    Diocese of Perth
    Ref: 5618/A24
    9 February 2006 [Postmarked 7 February 2006]

    [Name and address]

    Dear [Name]
    Further to your letter of 1 January 2006, expressing concern regarding the publicity surrounding the Dean's views, I wish to confirm that I have met with the Dean and have placed your concerns before him.

    He would be happy to talk with you further regarding the need for the essence of the Gospel to be proclaimed, and how we proceed to explore these fundamentals with society at large, for whom this faith is a distant memory at best.
    Please be assured of my prayers for you.
    Blessings and peace.
    Yours sincerely
    (Signed + Roger etc)
    The Most Reverend Roger Herft
    Level 2 Law Chambers, 573 Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia
    Correspondence: GPO Box W2067, Perth, Western Australia 6846
    Telephone: +61 8 9325 7455 Facsimile: +61 8 9325 6741
    Email: Website:

       [COMMENT: Can the blind lead the blind?  On February 3 the Sydney Archbishop had objected to accepting the homosexual lifestyle as if it was a normal part of Church life, but the new Perth archbishop did not take the hint.  The "Interested Citizen" did not waste his/her time seeking a discussion with the Dean. COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 7, 06]
    • [C of E gospel society slaves red-hot iron branded 'Society']  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  

    Church of England sorry for slavery role

       The West Australian, p 7, Friday, February 10, 2006
       LONDON: The Church of England has apologised for its complicity in the slave trade that thrived around the world for centuries and urged governments to fight its modern equivalent: human trafficking.
       Next year is the 200th anniversary of the British Parliament's vote to abolish slavery and the Church plans to mark it by touting the significant role it had in that historic event.
       But the Church's General Synod – a national assembly elected from the laity and clergy – voted 238-0 yesterday to commemorate the anniversary by apologising to slaves' descendants for its part in the practice.
       "The profits from the slave trade were part of the bedrock of our country's industrial development," Southwark Bishop Thomas Butler said during an emotional debate.
       "Many people and institutions in every part of the country were complicit in the transatlantic slave trade and I have to say that this includes the Church of England."
       The Rev. Simon Bessant said slaves owned by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts on its sugar plantations in the West Indies had "society" branded on their chests with a red-hot iron.
       When slaves finally were emancipated, compensation was paid to owners, not to slaves. In one case, the Bishop of Exeter and three business colleagues got handsome compensation for 665 slaves they had to free.
       "We were at the heart of it," Mr Bessant said. "We were directly responsible for what happened. In the sense of inheriting our history, we can say we owned slaves, we branded slaves, that is why I believe we must actually recognise our history and offer an apology."
       The British Parliament abolished the slave trade in 1807, long before the US did in 1865.
       In the mid-11th century, Wulfstan, the Bishop of Worcester, preached a sermon that brought about the release of slaves in Bristol.
       About 800 years later, William Wilberforce, an MP and evangelical Anglican, brought a Bill before Parliament 20 years in a row to abolish the slave trade. On March 25, 1807, it finally received royal assent.
       The synod also debated ways of fighting modern human trafficking in which victims are transported under false pretences from one nation or province to another for forced labour or slavery. The CIA estimates that up to 800,000 people around the world are enslaved each year.
       Churches and relief agencies must do all they can to protest against human trafficking and governments must pass legislation aimed at ending it, the synod said.
       "It is estimated that today, at least 12 million men, women and children around the world are forced to lead lives as slaves. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their 'employers'," Bishop Butler said. #
       [GUIDELINES: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (Bible, John's gospel 10:10, Revised Standard Version)
       The spirit of the Lord … has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives … to let the oppressed go free (Luke 4:18, New Jerusalem Bible)
       20 … Yet there was the hope 21 that creation itself would one day be set free from its slavery to decay and would share the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21, Good News Bible)
       But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth … a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:25, Authorised Version, i.e., King James Bible) GUIDELINES END.]
       [COMMENTS: William Cobbett, a great reform writer, claimed in one of his main books (? about the Reformation?) that Irish people had been sent as slaves to the Americas. But it is common knowledge that Africans were the victims of most slavery, being enslaved by the Arabs for centuries, and later by Europeans. Arabic-speaking Sudanese are enslaving black farmers to this day, yet the major powers do nothing.
       The Roman Catholic nations of Spain and Portugal enslaved Africans, and shipped them to the Americas as slaves. Did the RCC issue "bulls" excommunicating the rulers, and freeing their subjects from oaths of loyalty? No! Certainly Portuguese-speaking Brazil has huge numbers of Afro-Brazilians to this day. END.] [Feb 10, 06]

    • Re: Perth Dean John Shepherd's Statement That Jesus Would Have Welcomed Homosexual Marriage

       From an Informed Source, to The Most Rev. Roger Herft, Anglican Archbishop of Perth, GPO Box W 2067, Perth WA 6846, February 10, 2006
    Your Grace,
       Your letter postmarked February 7 is quite a contrast to your first reply. The Dean has since sent me a photocopy of some previous publicity given to his views. On February 3 the Sydney Archbishop was reported as objecting to accepting the homosexual lifestyle as if it was a normal part of Church life, but you seem to now just invite me to talk to the Dean about evangelisation! My guess is that like a mediaeval joust, sometimes the knights charge each other just once, and then decide to call it a day!
       I suppose that all I can do is send you and the Dean some papers that will give you Internet addresses (URLs) that I recommend you both access in order to find further information about the early Church's attitude to homosexuality, the way to lessen the betrayal and seduction of children by clergy (not all of which is primarily homosexual, granted), and the Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker daily summaries and links to see the expensive aftermath, and how it is still going on. Both the "religion" and the "ethics" sections give access to Book and Reading pages, for deeper understanding.
       I wish to add that far more important, really, are the current assaults on freedom coming from a pagan faith, which is also a serious challenge to people who attempt to follow Jesus. Our Orthodox Church cousins have been taking serious blows in Kosovo, Moscow, and elsewhere, and so have our Indonesian colleagues. We can watch newsitems as diverse as the slave-raiding and ethnic-cleansing sorties into Negro-owned farm areas of Sudan, the defiance of the UN body trying to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the incursions of Indonesian fishing boats. Some people wonder if the extremists and their "moderate" allies think that the West is so decadent that it is close to the "tipping point." France's central government, for example, helplessly watched a car-burning orgy for ten days as the world was given a lesson, seemingly to show how pathetic Westerners could be.
       An article in today's West Australian about Anglicans holding slaves for profit, leads me to muse that the Churches have made quite a few errors. So I also enclose a paper I've written about a common misconception that mainstream Churches have about the Resurrection. (As a side issue, I do hope you are aware that the Dean and the previous Archbishop used to give challenging lectures, one of which was entitled "Resurrection or Resuscitation.")
       Decadent societies just cave in, or hand themselves over. There won't be Christian clergy sex abuse, "gay marriages" and consecrations of "gay" bishops, nor proclaiming the Gospel, if the people we used to call pagans take charge!
       Enc: Early Christians banned homosexual behaviour, pp 1-2; Non-marital carnal activity … child-abuse clergy, pp 1 and 7; Jensen warns of gay sex slippery slope Feb 3; CSAT Feb 9; Outrage over failure … Telegraph UK Feb 8; World has had enough WA Feb 7; Forgotten massacre (Iran) NI Jan-Feb 06; "Raised by God …", www.multiline. religion/ spurious.htm #raised , June 28, 05.
       [EPILOGUE: His Grace the Archbishop's answer still does not seem to have arrived, more than a year later!  There is NO answer to bitter truth. - Feb 28, 2007.  ENDS.] [Feb 10, 06]

    • Demise of the married parent

      Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  
       The International Express (Britain), West Australian edition, by Sarah O'Grady, Social Affairs Correspondent, p 15, Tuesday, February 28, 2006
       LONDON: ALMOST half of the babies born in Britain today do not have married parents.
       As more couples cohabit without getting wed, 42 per cent of births in 2004 were outside marriage – compared to 12 per cent in 1980. […]
       … Norman Wells, director of Family And Youth Concern, said the trend is a cause for worry. […]
       He said that about 40 per cent of lone parent families are created through the break-up of cohabiting unions. […]
       The only European countries with higher levels of birth outside marriage are Sweden, Denmark and France. […]
       [COMMENT: It would be interesting to discover the breakdown of the figures by ethnicity, religion, and ideology, plus age. Part of the article seems to have been covered by a small item pasted over the foot of the column. (Lighthearted question. Does this mean that worse abuse-words than "b**tard" will be devised in coarse company?)
       Serious question: Why didn't the journalist find out the birthrate figures, to add to the newsitem? (To check a report on a shortage of hospital neonatal units in Britain, click: Contents 18 and find "NHS baby units beds crisis …" COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 28, 06]

    • Being mocked: The essence of Christ's work, not Muhammad's.

    Being mocked: The essence of

    Christ’s work, not Muhammad’s  
       Life News (Western Australia) , by John Piper, Page 2, February/March 2006
    What we saw this past week in the Islamic demonstrations over the Danish cartoons of Muhammad was another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each.
       Not all Muslims approve the violence. But a deep lesson remains: The work of Muhammad is based on being honoured and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.
       If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: "All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads" (Psalm 22:7). "He was despised and rejected by men … as one from whom men hide their faces … and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).
       When it actually happened it was worse than expected. "They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. … And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they spit on him" (Matthew 27:28-30). His response to all this was patient endurance. This was the work he came to do. "Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
       This was not true of Muhammad. And Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. One Sunni Muslim writes, "Muslims believe that Allah saved the Messiah from the ignominy of crucifixion." 11 Another adds, "We honour [Jesus] more than you ' Christians] do. … We refuse to believe that God would permit him to suffer death on the cross." 2 An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the "ignominy" of the cross.
       That's the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. "Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account" (Matthew 5:11). During his life on earth Jesus was called… a drunkard (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer (Matthew 26:65), a devil (Matthew 10:25); and he promised his followers the same: "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household" (Matthew 10:25).
       The caricature and mockery of Christ has continued to this day. Martin Scorsese portrayed Jesus in The Last Temptation of Christ as wracked with doubt and beset with sexual lust. Andres Serrano was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to portray Jesus on a cross sunk in a bottle of urine. The Da Vinci Code portrays Jesus as a mere mortal who married and fathered children.
       How should his followers respond? On the one hand, we are grieved and angered. On the other hand, we identify with Christ, and embrace his suffering, and rejoice in our afflictions, and say with the apostle Paul that vengeance belongs to the Lord, let us love our enemies and win them with the gospel. If Christ did his work by being insulted, we must do ours likewise.
       When Muhammad was portrayed in twelve cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the uproar across the Muslim world was intense and sometimes violent. Flags were burned, embassies were torched, and at least one Christian church was stoned. The cartoonists went into hiding in fear for their lives, like Salman Rushdie before them. What does this mean?
       It means that a religion with no insulted Saviour will not endure insults to win the scoffers. It means that this religion is destined to bear the impossible load of upholding the honour of one who did not die and rise again to make that possible. It means that Jesus Christ is still the only hope of peace with God and peace with man. And it means that his followers must be willing to "share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death" (Philippians 3:10).
       1. Badru D. Kateregga and David W. Shenk, Islam and Christianity: A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue (Nairobi: Usima Press, 1980), p. 141.
       2. Quoted from The Muslim World in J. Dudley Woodberry, editor, Muslims and Christians on the Emmaus Road (Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1989), p. 164.
       This article, one in a series titled "Fresh Words", can be found on Dr John Piper's website at www.desiring­
       [COMMENT: This article might have been written while there was rioting, but not yet the killings and church destruction as a result of the supposed Denmark cartoons. The Denmark cartoons had been printed around September-October 2005.
       Weeks passed, then the criminal riots erupted. After they started, it was reported that it was not until a hate-maker ADDED ANOTHER CARTOON, containing a depiction of a pig, to the cartoons in the newspaper, and then sent a FOLIO OF THEM to Muslims around the world, that the rioting began – some observers say the crimes were organised.
       (Pigs are unclean to Muslims, because this was one of the aspects of Judaism that were added to the traditional Arabian Kaaba customs and other traditional practices that were woven into Islam.)
       The article also fails to mention that when people mocked Muhammad, he approved their being assassinated. (Search for it in the literature; one victim was a poet.) COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CONTACT: Life News, Life Ministries, 4 / 334 Wanneroo Rd, Nollamara, WA, 6061, Australia. . CONTACT ENDS.] (A copy is on Submit / Submit Chronology 5) [January-February 2006]

    • New gospel pamphlet

       Life News (Western Australia) , by John Piper, Page 2, February/March 2006
       PERTH (Western Australia):
    We at Life Ministries are committed to the gospel, the good news of forgiveness and new life available to sinners through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself as a ransom for us.
       Although we deal with many social, moral, religious, theological and devotional issues, we never lose sight of the fact that the gospel is of first and last importance.
       We speak as we do on various issues because we ourselves have been opened by God's grace to the gospel and as a consequence we desire to take every thought captive to obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
       It is with pleasure, therefore, that we offer you a new gospel pamphlet, "God's Placard", written by Andrew Lansdown. With its focus on the cross of Christ, the pamphlet is especially relevant as Easter approaches. We hope that individuals and churches will use it as an aid to evangelism during Easter – and beyond.
       Copies of "God's Placard" are available from Life Ministries at the following prices:
    5 - $2.00 (post paid - payment in 50c stamps acceptable); 100 - $29 (post paid in WA); 1,000 - $185 (post paid in WA) [January-February 2006]

    • [Stigmata now at Rockingham]

       Various news media, ~ March 2006
       ROCKINGHAM (Western Australia): The RC parish priest of Rockingham reported that a parishioner had developed a stigmata, plus head wounds.
       (A stigmata is said to be wounds redolant of those of Jesus on hands, feet, and chest.)
       This parish church used to display a statue of Mary (mother of Jesus) that supposedly wept tears. The tears were said to be rose-scented oil, but when locked up the statue did not weep.
       A miracle was later reported.
       A footprint, supposedly left by Mary, is displayed in a concrete paving slab. The statue's owner is Mrs Patty Powell, who displays it at her family's home.
       Meanwhile, the Vatican has reported that a nun has been healed by praying to God, asking the intervention of the late Pope John Paul II. This information has been reported to Vatican officials working to have him declared a saint.
       COMMENT: Mamma mia ! [~ March 2006]

    • On the trail of the Da Vinci Code 
       Australian Reader's Digest, readersdigest. com , by Stéphane Calmeyn, pp 106-113, Issue of May 2006
    READER’S DIGEST  |  MAY 2006                                                                                         106

      On the trail of the Da Vinci Code

      Enjoy a tour of the book’s Parisian locations, but be warned: fiction can lead you astray
      106                                                                                                 PHOTO: ZIR/EDITING
    MABILLON MÉTRO station entrance, Paris, 10.30am. A dozen rugged-up tourists gather round an American woman with long brown hair beneath her black felt hat. Iris Spencer's mittens dance in the air like puppets at the end of her waving arms as she welcomes her English-speaking clients to her walking tour in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
       The dozen tourists have braved a glacial February wind to visit sites in The Da Vinci Code, the blockbuster thriller by Dan Brown that has sold 40 million copies worldwide. The agency she works for, Paris Walks, is one of half a dozen offering such tours in the French capital.
      Readers and nonreaders, sceptics or not, we will follow awhile in the footsteps of the characters and  
    see for ourselves what is real and what is not
       "What are the reasons for the success of this book?" asks Spencer. She answers her own question: "A mystery! A quest!"
       Specifically (and our apologies for spoiling some surprises here), the plot concerns a quest for the Holy Grail, the legendary chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper. It leads to the revelation of an explosive secret.
       The tourists, who come from all over the world - Australia, the UK, the USA, China, Lebanon - hang on Spencer's every word. All but two have read the novel.
       "I devoured it!" exclaims a woman bundled in a blue coat. "And it because it's … it's all possible!"
       The story that has stirred such passion is, says the author, a work of fiction. But in a "Fact" page in the book, he claims: "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
       "Two opposite forces are struggling in the book," Spencer says, her eyes mischievous. "They are the Priory of Sion - the secret organisation that protects the Grail - and Opus Dei - the Catholic organisation that supposedly destroy the Grail, according to Dan Brown. The book's heroes are Robert Langdon, professor of symbolism at Harvard University, and the sublime Sophie Neveu, a cryptographer from the headquarters of the French Judiciary Police.
       "It all began with the assassination of the curator of the Louvre Museum, Jacques Saunière, the keeper of the hiding place of the Holy Grail [and Neveu's grandfather]. But before dying, Saunière left clues that would allow Langdon and Neveu to decipher the enigma. "Saunière leads them to an invisible trail. It is this trail that I invite you to follow along with me."
       Straightening her hat, which keeps sliding over her eyes, Spencer leads the way to Saint Germain market, where fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and pastries have been sold since the Middle Ages. She points to a 12cm bronze disk embedded in the ground, engraved with the letters "N" and "S". There's no doubt for Dan Brown - it a marker for the "Ancient Path of Sacred Significance", which leads to the Holy Grail.
       "Ancient Path"? "Sacred Significance"? Spencer tells us that it actually marks the Paris meridian, created in 1667 by the cartographers of Louis XIV as the reference point from which world travellers calculated their position on the globe - at least until 1884, when the British imposed the Greenwich meridian. The medallion, whose initials indicate North and South, is one of 135 placed in the ground just 11 years ago.
       Some in the group give each other a knowing look. We follow Spencer down an alleyway to the imposing Saint-Sulpice church. In The Da Vinci Code, the author maintains that the Paris meridian leads straight to it. In fact, they are 10m apart. PHOTO: MURIEL DOVIC
       We get a glimpse of how the Paris faithful see the book when Spencer warns us, "This church requires our utmost respect. Not everyone appreciates the novel!  Once inside, I will no longer say 'Da Vinci Code'; rather, 'the book', and 'DB' instead of 'Dan Brown'." Almost as vast as Notre Dame, Saint-Sulpice is elegant and well illuminated by the white stained glass of its nave.
       Jean-Jacques Olier, the parish priest who began the building in the 17th century, wanted a building that would "shine light upon the mystery" of his religion. Dan Brown, on the other hand, decided to make it the scene of obscure practices and murder.
       Inside, we gather around a square stone slab in the floor whose colour is somewhat lighter than the others around it. This is the place where the deranged monk Silas, a fanatical Opus Dei member, commits the novel's second murder.
       Silas is convinced that he has found the location of the Holy Grail. The focus of his existence is within reach, beneath the stone slab! He smashes it and discovers a cavity containing an engraved stone, that reads: "Book of Job, chapter 38, verse 11."
       On the massive altar nearby, the Bible on the golden lectern comes to his rescue. Verse 11 contains a single phrase: "You will come this far, but you will go no further."
       Enraged, Silas grabs a bronze candelabra and smashes it over the skull of poor Sister Sandrine Bieil, guardian of the church.
       Whatever the leaders of the actual Opus Dei think about the enormous publicity resulting from the success of The Da Vinci Code, they surely rue the novel's plot, which "demonises" the organisation. Opus Dei (meaning "work of God" in Latin), with 85,000 members, belongs to the Catholic Church and works directly with the Pope. Frequently controversial and sometimes described as the "Holy Mafia" by its detractors, it proclaims as its mission "the dissemination of a profound awareness of the universal call to sanctity" - somewhat unlike the portrait created by Dan Brown.
       As for the Priory of Sion, the "proof" of its existence dating to the year 1099 is based on false documents, according to French journalists Marie-France Etchegoin and Frederic Lenoir. In their book Code da Vinci: l'Enquête ("the Investigation"), they traced the Priory to its creation in … 1956.
       Intrigued by the book's references to Saint-Sulpice, I later returned to speak with Paul Roumanet, parish priest. A friendly man with a soft voice, Father Roumanet says he has become accustomed to answering the most incongruous questions. No, the letters "PS" adorning certain stained glass windows do not signify "Priory of Sion". Rather they mean "St Peter".
       And no, the obelisk standing in the northern transept is not of Egyptian pagan origin. It is in fact a gnomon, a scientific instrument installed by astronomers in 1743 to perfect calculations of the earth's rotation and the date of the spring equinox.
       "As for the candelabra utilised by Silas, it is so heavy that it requires three men to lift it," he said with a smile.
       A sign he has posted on the wall near the gnomon reads: "Contrary to the allegations of a recent blockbuster novel, Saint-Sulpice is not a former pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Isis. No such edifice ever existed on this site …"
       Nevertheless, since the book's publication, the number of visitors has grown by 100,000 to 700,000 annually.
       As we follow Spencer out of the church, one member of our group, a middle-aged American in a baseball cap, shrugs his shoulders and says to her. "There is perhaps some truth in this book, but who cares?" he says. "It's just a novel, right? For me, the real treat is to be here in the heart of Paris, where walking is a pleasure."
       Spencer agrees. She devoured the story, too, but read it as a thriller and used it a perfect pretext to discover the city. Born in Indiana, she has led tour groups in Paris for five years, and started doing the Da Vinci Code tour in October 2004.
       At the Quai Voltaire, our guide points to the long building on the opposite bank of the Seine: the Louvre Museum, our next destination. Up on the second floor, the Grand Gallery displays its fabulous Italian paintings. Among them is the first female smile in the history of painting: La Joconde or La Giaconda - or the Mona Lisa, as it is known in English. Leonardo da Vinci awaits his visitors.
    IT is IMPOSSIBLE to miss her. On every pillar, there are signs pointing the way to the Mona Lisa. In 2005, the museum had 7.3 million visitors, an increase of 10%. The Dan Brown Effect?
       The person renting headsets at a counter under the clear glass of the vaulted pyramid roof has only this exasperated comment: "Oh, don't even mention that Da Vinci Code to me!"
       "Jacques Saunière", "Sophie Neveu", "Robert Langdon" and "Silas" are names now whispered in the Grand Gallery by many of the visitors. At the gallery's main door, they glance up. In the book, Silas fires his pistol at Saunière through "a thundering iron gate" that falls from this very ceiling. But there is no gate. Fans of The Da Vinci Code are also disappointed to learn that there is no window in toilets at the far end of the gallery. In the book, Robert and Sophie attempt to escape from the police by jumping from it down to the street.
       The Virgin on the Rocks, another work of Leonardo and until recently ignored by most visitors, now attracts nonstop crowds. It is here that cryptographer discovers one of the clues left by the curator - a small golden key, hidden between the frame of the painting and the canvas.
       But more than anything else it is La Joconde that is scrutinised and scanned with renewed interest, especially the painted horizon behind Mona Lisa's face, which is lower on the left side than it is on the right.
       So what? Professor of symbolism that he is, Robert Langdon, the book's hero, knows the answer. "Historically, the concepts of male and female have assigned sides - left is female, and right is male. Because Da Vinci was a big fan of feminine principles, he made Mona Lisa look more majestic from the left than the right."
       Spencer recounts: "This revelation of Leonardo da Vinci as a 'great feminist' would lead Sophie and Robert to one of the most explosive secrets ever - the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, their offspring, and the Machiavellian obstinacy of the Roman Catholic Church, intent on minimising the role of women in favour of a male-dominated religion."
       This prompts the woman in the blue coat to reminisce, "When I was little, I remember that my father wondered why Jesus wouldn't have had children. He was also a man, wasn't he?" It is all possible, she repeats.
       The author, on his official website ( ) , is more cautious; "The 'Fact' page makes no statement whatsoever about any of the ancient theories discussed by fictional characters. Interpreting those ideas is left to the reader."
       As for herself, Spencer says she is not interested in presenting arguments against the theory. Rather, "I know that those who come to my tour are interested in searching. I just want to give them some keys to look further."
       Out in the courtyard, a 12cm hole is further proof of Da Vinci Code mania - a medallion marking the Paris meridian has disappeared. In its place are a few grass stalks and cigarette butts. "Stolen by an admirer," says Spencer.
       It is 1.10pm, and the tour comes to an end. Spencer bids adieu with a slight dip of her chin. The tourists, still deeply absorbed in Dan Brown's imagination, stand silently for a few seconds, as if listening to a voice "whispering up from the chasms of the earth". The moment passes, and they applaud. #
    The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is published by Random House Australia.
       Walking the Da Vinci Code by Peter Caine (Avalon Travel) is written by the founder of Paris Walks. This little guide is a delicious accompaniment to the French sites included in the novel. #
       [There are seven pictures with the article, and on page 109 contact details for Paris tours. On pp 114-115 appears the article "On Location" by Patricia Khenouna, regarding the filming of The Da Vinci Code. [May 2006]
    • Early Church knew no Limbo of infants. 

    Early Church knew no Limbo of infants

       Letter sent to Fidelity magazine (Australia), , on September 27, 2006
       Really, I must respond to Valentine Gallagher's letter "The Limbo of Infants" (Sep '06 issue, page 19), because the early Church had no knowledge of such a place or state in the next life.
       Instead, for centuries Christians relied on Matthew 18:10: "See that you never despise any of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven always behold the face of my Father in heaven." Can you visualise the angels of unbaptised infants seeing their charges sidelined?
       Jesus said: "Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven." (Mark 10:14, Luke 9:50). Who are we to defy this?
       A modern person might also reflect that the scriptures "Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God" (John 3:5), and in another place "Those who believe and are baptised shall be saved …"(Mark 16:16), are validly interpreted to mean they apply to adult human beings. Belief and baptism go together, but a baby cannot be examined by God for belief!
       Our forefathers were taught that Jesus told his Apostles, worried about the difficulty of attaining the kingdom of Heaven, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt 19:26)
       It is the overall teaching of the New Testament that Jesus came that all humanity might be given the opportunity to be saved.
       In fighting the pro-circumcision group in the early Church, Peter discussed the Gentiles' position: "But we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 15:11)
       To rely on a few seemingly restrictive scriptures as if they could erode the other scriptures, and nullify the boundless love and compassion of God, and to claim that the councils of Florence and Trent were "Ecumenical" when they obviously left out more than half the Christian bishops, does not advance the Church's mission on earth.
       The Jesus who told the Jews that the Father could raise up children of Abraham from stones (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8), is quite capable of enfolding unbaptised children in his arms in Heaven, and handing them to their mothers, and fathers.
       (Congratulations on another excellent issue!) #
    A suitably reworded version of the above was published in The Record (Perth, W.A.) on October 12, 2006 [Sep 27, 06]
    • [Dropping 'Patriarch of the West' another attempt as universal ruler?] 

    [Dropping 'Patriarch of the West' another attempt as universal ruler?]

    [Being part of:] A Russian Orthodox view of the papacy and unity
       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), Zenit, p 2, November 23, 2006
       Q: The Pope did away with the title "Patriarch of the Occident." What does this gesture mean? Is there any ecumenical meaning to it?
       Bishop Alfeyev: Well, I was the first Orthodox hierarch that happened to comment on this gesture. Several weeks later, official comments were also made by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
    “It is important for the Roman Catholic Church to develop bilateral relations with other Orthodox Churches, notably with the Russian Orthodox Church – the second largest Christian Church in the world.”

       In my remarks I argued that repudiation of the title "Patriarch of the Occident" is likely to be considered by the Orthodox as confirming the claim, reflected in the Pope's other titles, to universal Church jurisdiction. Among the many designations of the Pontiff, that of "Bishop of Rome" remains the most acceptable for the Orthodox Churches, since it points to the Pope's role as diocesan bishop of the city of Rome. A title such as "Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province" shows that the Popes jurisdiction includes not only the city of Rome, but also the province.
       "Primate of Italy" indicates that the Bishop of Rome is "first among equals" among the bishops of Italy, ie, using Orthodox language, primate of a local Church. Following this understanding, none of the three titles would pose a problem for the Orthodox in the event of a re-establishment of Eucharistic communion between East and West. The main obstacle to ecclesial unity between East and West, according to many Orthodox theologians, is the teaching on the universal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. Within this context – unacceptable and even scandalous, from the Orthodox point of view – are precisely those titles that remain in the list, such as Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. According to Orthodox teaching, Christ has no "vicar" to govern the universal Church in his name.
       The title "Successor of the Prince of the Apostles" refers to the Roman Catholic doctrine on the primacy of Peter which, when passed on to the Bishop of Rome, secured for him governance over the universal Church. This teaching has been criticized in Orthodox polemical literature from Byzantine time onward.
       The title "Supreme Pontiff" – "Pontifex Maximus" – originally belonged to the pagan emperors of ancient Rome. It was not rejected by the Emperor Constantine when he converted to Christianity.
       With respect to the Pope of Rome, "Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church" is a designation that points to the Pope's universal jurisdiction – a level of authority which is not recognised by the Orthodox Churches. It is precisely this title that should have been dropped first, had the move been motivated by the quest for "ecumenical progress" and desire for the amelioration of Catholic-Orthodox relations.
       [COMMENT: Well, elsewhere on this website there are arguments about the governance of the early Christian groups.  In one place we read that the apostles sent Peter and John to Samaria to carry out a special mission (The Acts, 8:14) – it hardly sounds as if Peter was the supreme ruler of the apostles!  After Jesus left there was no universal "boss" of the believers! COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 23, 06]
    • Vatican backs reinstatement of Gippsland priest.  Australia flag; 

    Vatican backs reinstatement of Gippsland priest

       CathNews (from Church Resources, Australia), www.cathnews. com/news/ 612/4.php , Dec 1, 2006
       VICTORIA (Australian State): A Morwell, Victoria priest has won his appeal to the Holy See Congregation for the Clergy against his removal as parish priest by the Bishop of Sale diocese, according to local reports.
      [Picture] Priest at desk.  
       Into the Deep, a newsletter published by self-described "orthodox Catholics" in the diocese of Sale, reports that Congregation for the Clergy has upheld an appeal by Fr John Speekman against his removal as parish priest of Morwell in Victoria's Latrobe Valley by Bishop Jeremiah Coffey.
       The newsletter says that the Decree upholds Fr Speekman's appeal on the basis that Bishop Coffey did not provide any evidence in his second case which had not already been found insufficient in the first case.
       As a result, the Congregation found that an earlier July 2004 Decree calling for Fr Speekman's reinstatement as parish priest of Morwell still stands.
       Fr Speekman was originally appointed to Morwell by Bishop Coffey in July 2000.
       In late 2001, a school principal is reported to have made an accusation of "psychological harassment" against the priest.
       After a Catholic Education Office enquiry found that Fr Speekman was guilty of bullying and verbal abuse, Bishop Coffey removed Fr Speekman from governance of the parish schools without giving reasons.
       Eventually in July 2003, Bishop Coffey issues a Decree removing Fr Speekman as parish priest of Morwell.
       Fr Speekman formally requested revocation of the Decree setting in train the appeal process to the Congregation of the Clergy.
       SOURCE: Fr Speekman To Be Returned! Vatican issues second Decree in his favour (Into the Deep, December 2006)
       LINKS: (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources) Sale diocese; Sale Decree 2004
       ARCHIVE: Bishop considering options on Rome support for "bullying" priest (CathNews, 25/Aug/04)
       MORE STORIES: Rome overrules Aussie Bishop (Online Catholics, August 2005) ; Letters (Online Catholics, 29/Aug/05)
      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here   
       [CONTACT: Morwell Parish: Presbytery 4 Wilson Street; Telephone (03) 5134 2849; Fax (03) 5134 4949; E-mail ; Priest Fr Tom Cleary SCC, Admin. END.] [Dec 1, 2006]
    • Papal Turkey visit inspires ACU's inter-religious initiative.  Australia flag;     

    Papal Turkey visit inspires ACU’s inter-religious initiative

       CathNews (from Church Resources, Australia), www.cathnews. com/news/ 612/47.php , December 8, 2006
       Representatives of a new inter-religious dialogue centre at the Australian Catholic University has stressed the role of Pope Benedict [Ratzinger] as an apostle of dialogue and peace in a first visit for the centre to the Muslim-founded Australian Intercultural Society.
       The ACU National delegation met with the Australian Intercultural Society, established in 2000 to promote and foster harmonious relations between faith communities in Australian society, at the Society's headquarters at Moonee Ponds, Victoria.
       An ACU National statement says that the university's team, led by Professor Raymond Canning, Director of the University's Asia-Pacific Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue, included theologian Professor Neil Ormerod and Dr Stewart Sharlow.
       Melbourne Bishop Christopher Prowse and Reverend Dr John Dupuche, Chair of Melbourne's Catholic Interfaith Committee, accompanied the delegation.
       In a statement for ACU National, Professor Canning expressed appreciation for the university's close relationship with the intercultural organisation founded by a group of second generation Australian Muslims.
       Admiration was recorded for the life and work of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen whose teaching stresses good deeds and service to humanity.
       ACU National's statement also stressed the symbolic importance of Pope Benedict's gestures during his recent visit to Turkey.
       The Pope saw himself as "a guest (who had come) as a friend and as an apostle of dialogue and peace", according to ACU National, promoting dialogue and fraternal respect as marking a most positive way forward in the relationship between Muslims and Christians.
       Comparing ACU National's visit to the Society with the Pope's visit to Turkey, the statement says that dialogue between Christians and Muslims is not an optional extra but a vital necessity.
       In the spirit of peace that characterises the Christian faith, the delegates offered to their Muslim hosts a gift of calligraphy illustrating the title of God as "the Peacemaker", and prayed that, in closeness to the one God, Muslims and Christians might aspire and strive to be blessed peacemakers for the common good of Australian society and for the sake of the world.
    SOURCE:ACU National delegation visits Intercultural Society (ACU, Media Release, 7/12/06)
    LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources):ACU National
      HAVE YOUR SAY   Click here    #
       [COMMENT: Well, if intercultural talking could stop the Muslim takeovers, the slow expulsion of Christians from Bethlehem, Iraq, and Syria, would not be taking place.  Nor would the killings in Indonesia and the Sudan be occurring. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 8, 2006]
    • Primate receives St Paul chain links.     

    Primate receives St Paul chain links

       The Record (R.C. Perth, W. Australia, weekly), Catholic News Service (Washington, DC), By Cindy Wooden, p 11, Christmas 2006
       ROME (CNS) – Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece accepted as a gift from Pope Benedict XVI [Ratzinger] two links from the chain that bound St Paul before his execution in Rome.
       The links, in an alabaster reliquary, were handed to the archbishop on December 14 by Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, archpriest of the Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls, where the chain is preserved and venerated.
       Given the fact that St Paul was the first to preach the Gospel in Greece and that he founded several Christian communities there, Archbishop Christodoulos had asked Pope John Paul II for a portion of the relics - the bones - of St Paul.
       But the Vatican only recently rediscovered the exact location of St Paul's tomb inside the basilica and construction work on the church over the centuries has made it impossible, at least for now, to open the tomb and see if any of the apostle's remains are inside.
       So, Pope John Paul had decided to give a section of the chain to the Orthodox Church of Greece.
       The consignment could not be arranged before Pope John Paul died in 2005, but Pope Benedict [Ratzinger] renewed the offer of the links to the archbishop.
       During the December 14 ceremony, Archbishop Christodoulos stood before a grate leading to St Paul's newly rediscovered tomb.
       "Before us lies a unique figure of apostolic life, who was enflamed with divine passion, submerged under flashes of clear knowledge and brilliant visions, as his divinely inspired letters reveal to us," the archbishop said.
       The Greek Orthodox primate said that while it was an honour simply to venerate the chains it was a blessing to receive a portion of them. #

       [RECAPITULATION: Archbishop Christodoulos had asked Pope John Paul II for a portion of the relics - the bones - of St Paul. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Didn't the RC Latin Funeral Service for the dead include the words Requiescant in pace (i.e., May they rest in peace.)?  We presume that the Greek Orthodox services have similar words, in Greek.  Doesn't that wish extend to saints?  And, isn't the veneration of relics a carry-over from paganism?
       Then let us ask if it is likely that bones or chains would still exist, if there had been persecution as we have been taught, after 20 years, let alone approximately 2000.
       But one of the most amazing such gifts in recent yers was the handing over by the Papal people to the Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople (now Istanbul) of the head of St Basil, stolen during the Roman Catholic so-called crusaders' sacking of Constantinople in 1204 AD (CE).  Wasn't there a teaching in the 1940s RC books that restitution had to be made as soon as possible after a sinner had harmed someone else?  That was 800 years ago -- at this rate, will all the stolen property be returned by the time the Last Trump sounds?  If not, have the theologians worked out yet whether interest can be demanded?  What will happen to Churchmen who profited from the pilgrimages and relic-honouring? COMMENT ENDS.]
    [Christmas 2006]

    • Polish Archbishop Resigns Amid Spy Scandal; Revelations Of Involvement With Communist-Era Secret Police Lead To Resignation   Poland flag;  

    Polish Archbishop Resigns Amid Spy Scandal;

    Revelations Of Involvement With Communist-Era Secret Police Lead To Resignation 
       CBS News, www.cbsnews. com/stories/ 2007/01/07/ world/main233 5158.shtml , AP, Jan. 7, 2007
       WARSAW, Poland, (AP) -- Warsaw's new archbishop resigned Sunday following revelations that he had ties with Poland's communist-era secret police, surrendering one of the Polish church's top jobs minutes before he was to be installed.
       The Vatican said Stanislaw Wielgus' past actions had "gravely compromised his authority" and he was right to quit. Still, the dramatic move divided believers in the strongly Roman Catholic homeland of the late Pope John Paul II.
       The Polish church announced Wielgus' resignation half an hour before a Mass that was to mark the official installation of Wielgus, 67.
      [Picture] A file photo of Warsaw's former archbishop, Stanislaw Wielgus, taken in Plock, Poland, on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2006. Wielgus resigned in a scandal over his involvement with the communist-era secret police.     (AP Photo/PAP, Pawel Kubicki, File) 
       Instead, worshippers packed into St. John's Cathedral in the Polish capital saw a despondent-looking Wielgus - dressed in a golden miter and robes - read from a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, offering his resignation "after reflecting deeply and assessing my personal situation."
       Wielgus then removed his glasses and sat down on a chair next to the throne that would have been his, had he remained archbishop. His predecessor, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, took the top seat instead.
       Revelations that Wielgus cooperated with the secret police of the communist regime, which fell in 1989, have rattled Poland, where many view the church as a moral authority that bravely opposed the regime.
       The decision met with applause from some at Sunday's Mass - including President Lech Kaczynski, whose conservative party has sought to purge Poland of the vestiges of communist influence.
       But many in the church and among a large crowd gathered outside in the rain protested, shouting "We welcome you," "Stay with us," and "No, No!"
       "What he did was stupid, it was a mistake, but it was less harmful than what others did," said Barbara Matusiak, a 60-year-old doctor, outside the church. "We don't know how we would have acted in his shoes, and so we have to forgive."
       However, others expressed relief.
       "If he was a spy, then he made the right decision to resign," said Teresa Sikorska, 58, who was selling souvenirs on the nearby Royal Castle Square. "How can you go to church and believe a man that spied on people? You can't."
       John Paul II is widely credited in Poland with helping end communism.
       Glemp, who remains Poland's primate, led the church through the dark days of martial law, shielding opposition activists from authorities.
       Wielgus, previously bishop of Plock, was named by the Vatican on Dec. 6 to replace Glemp, who stepped down after more than 25 years as archbishop.
       Allegations that Wielgus was involved with the secret police were first raised by a Polish weekly on Dec. 20.
       The case expanded into a crisis on Friday when a church historical commission said it had found evidence that Wielgus had cooperated. #
       [COMMENT: He had denied the allegations until more evidence was produced. A sad commentary on a man supposed to uphold Ten Commandments. Other newsitems state that about 10 per cent of the clergy co-operated with the secret police. COMMENT ENDS.]
       LINK: See also "Church blames 'enemies' for Wielgus fiasco," The Tablet (Britain), www.thetablet. articles/ 9207 , by Robert Mickens and Jonathan Luxmoore, January 13, 2007. [Jan. 7, 07]

    • Rome and Canterbury -- agree to disagree. 

    Rome and Canterbury – agree to disagree

       To Western Impact (W. Australian Uniting Church newspaper), and similar to other papers, Letter to Editor from John C. Massam of Perth, W.A., e-mailed on February 22, 2007
       The plan for the Bishop of Rome to be a presiding officer over a combined Roman-Anglican Church left me reaching for my history books! (See West Australian, "Vatican plan to merge with battling Anglicans" 20/2)
       The last truly universal council of Christian bishops centuries ago decided that the Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople would share some of the chairmanship with the Bishop of Rome, whom the council dubbed as Patriarch of the West.  Rome used the title, but rejected the true nature of unity in diversity and freedom.
       And the current Pope Benedict XVI has just removed that title from among his several titles!
       If neither the Anglicans nor the Roman Catholics are willing to accept the decision of that ancient council, and adopt the council decision of "first among equals" for the Orthodox Oecumenical Patriarch, instead of the Anglican changing ideas and the Rome grandiose Supreme Pontiff and ruler ideas, how can this be what Jesus wanted?
       The Anglican leader Dr Rowan Williams made an appeal for humility in his sermon in Zanzibar.  Amen to that!
       By the way, the Anglicans with their desire to consecrate homosexuals, and the Catholics with their continuing affair with altar boys, might not be welcome in the Orthodox Church camp, whose own scandals are hardly known to most Westerners.
       Let us read the Papal Bull telling the first Queen Elizabeth that she had usurped the throne, ordering her to step down, and absolving all her RC subjects from the oaths of allegiance that she had "encouraged" them to swear, and excommunicating anyone who obeyed her.
       Then, let us read in the Anglican 39 Articles that the Mass is blasphemous, and that many other RC practices are seriously wrong.  Since then the RCs have added the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary to their extra-biblical inventions.
       So, how could this "long-divorced" pair ever go down the aisle again!

       Most Reverend Sirs, if the Church/es around the 4th century adopted four varying gospels instead of just one, why not agree on diversity?  If you agree not to go back to harming each other as was done for centuries, that would be about all that the Prince of Peace could expect from imperfect humanity. #
       [PUBLISHED: A letter largely as above, except for the section "whited", was published in The West Australian, "Please explain," p 18, February 26, 2007. ENDS.]  [Feb 22, 07]

    • Questions Your Pastor Will Hate. 
       Opinion, By Dennis Diehl, February 25, 2007

    Questions Your Pastor Will Hate

       By Dennis Diehl, February 25th, 2007
       When I was kid, I loved to ask my minister questions about things that, to my young mind, made no sense when I read them in the Bible or more likely heard them in Sunday school. His answers were always rather bland and not a little aloof since, after all, he was the pastor and I was just a kid.
       I remember asking about how humans and dinosaurs could coexist. After all, they had to be a part of the creation story, even though not mentioned specifically. Or why would dinosaurs be taken on the ark, only to go extinct such a short time after? And how do you cage a T-Rex or fit a Brontosaurus on such a boat, much less a pair of all sorts?
       I got a lot of looks but very few answers. As the years went by, I concluded that none of it was either possible or even addressed in the Bible. I realised humans and dinosaurs had nothing in common (unless you live in the SE USA) and the pastor was either ignorant, deliberately deceptive or hung up somewhere in between himself, not knowing what to say to a kid. I honestly think I would have appreciated knowing what I suspect he knew, that being the story of Noah was fiction and I didn't have to worry about dinosaurs or polar bears for that matter on the ark. It never happened.
       I remember asking why the Bible, a book which had to know better since it was written by God himself, said Joshua raised his hands and the "sun stopped for the space of about a day," when clearly it would be the earth that stopped rotating? I asked him how oceans would not slop out of their basins in such a scenario and drown the whole world? I asked him if humans would not be cast into space by such a sudden stop of the entire planet? I even asked if this really happened, why did no one else on the whole planet notice it, or write about it? I got that dumb look again.
       I even asked him what would happen to my handicapped brother, who could neither hear, speak or see and thus had no way to become a Jesus accepting Christian. He told me he was saved automatically. Wow! How cool. I, on the other hand, would have to risk getting my beliefs correct or go to hell. Bummer.
       I asked what about all those in history and even now who have never heard of Jesus. He said they all are saved in their ignorance, though another minister I asked said they all go to hell of some sort. So depending on who you ask, the ignorant either get an automatic free pass for their trouble or go to hell, having no awareness of what they did to deserve that! Hmmmm. Something ain't right here!
       I did respond by asking him why then we should send missionaries and put the ignorant at risk, when if we just leave them alone, they can make it in their ignorance of never having heard the only name under heaven by which a man can be saved. I got the look again.
       Our denomination believed in predestination, a very strange belief if you asked me as a kid. So God already knows who is in and who is out, and even if you are one of the outwardly good guys, you could be on the outs with God. The minister said yes. Hmmm, so a killer might actually have it made, while the minister was predestined to be lost? Big look there! He said that one could tell by their fruits who God probably had already predestined to be saved. This was getting confusing to me so I dropped it.
       I later read that John Calvin, the founding father of our particular denomination, chased a former heretic friend all over Europe for disagreeing with him theologically, and had him burned at the stake. Wow, these theologians are seriously serious people! Sounds like as long as you are a Church Father, you can do this kind of thing and get away with it. I began to think that up to this point, most of the answers I had been given were just someone's educated guesses or ideas, but had no basis in fact.
       I went to a Christian college to study these things. Boy if you think I had questions as a kid!
       "Why did God not like Cain's vegetable sacrifice but loved Abel's cooked meat?" Answer…Vegetarians are weak Christians.
       "Who was Cain afraid would kill him when God put him out of the Garden for killing Abel? There were mom, dad, bro and himself on the whole planet at the time." Answer…He must have known his sisters were going to have kids with dad, no not that. He was speculating. Cain wasn't thinking very clearly that day.
       "Why would God stop the whole earth for a day so Israelites could finish a genocide against the enemy?" I mean, I can see stopping it so there is more time to hug, or feed the hungry, or plant the crops, but more time to kill? Dumb story. Answer…God hates sin and had to kill the bastards, he just needed more time than he planned on."
       "How come the horses in the Exodus die twice in the Ten Plagues and still survive for Pharaoh to mount a final attack against the Israelites, and then die again." Answer…Where do you get this stuff?
       "Why, no matter what, is it always the human's fault and God never gets any blame for not making good on his promises?" Answer…It's a mystery. Have faith. God's ways are not your ways.
       "Why does the Apostle Paul, who writes most of the New Testament, NEVER quote Jesus, tell a story of his life or death, discuss a miracle or teaching?" Answer…Where do you get this stuff?
       "Why does neither Mark nor John know anything about Jesus' birth, while Matthew and Luke do but tell contradictory stories?" Answer…Because the Gospels are like four people who see a car wreck…
       "Why does Paul only say Jesus was born of a woman like everyone else?" Answer…Paul was concerned about the risen Jesus, not the earthly one. He was too busy to check up on the details.
       "Did Paul ever spend five minutes with the real human Jesus?" Answer…well no, but Paul's Jesus is the risen Jesus, it doesn't matter.
       "Isn't it strange the man who writes most of the New Testament and tells us all how to live, think and believe about Jesus, never met him, while the Twelve who did, vanish into thin air and write nothing?" Answer…You ain't from around these parts are you boy.
       "How come Jesus never wrote anything himself while alive, but then writes perfect Greek after he is dead in the form of the Book of Revelation?" Answer….He finished his PhD in Heaven.
       "If Herod killed all the little children under two to get at Jesus, who escaped, can we not say the little children had to die for Jesus before he died for them?" Answer…No we can't, sheesh.
       "How come Herod couldn't follow the Star of Bethlehem himself to find Jesus, but sent others to report back when they found him?" Answer…He was busy.
       "How could Mary leave town after being warned of Herod's intentions and never tell the women in the town, their kids were about to be butchered?" Answer… she was under oath not to tell the Angel story.
       "Do you think Mary thought, 'I know something you don't know,' as she left town?" Answer…you're sick.
       "How could Jesus family flee to Egypt sometime during the first two years in one story but go home to Nazareth quietly after 40 days in the other?" Answer… It's a miracle.
       "How come in Mark 3 Mary and his brothers came to get Jesus and take him home because they thought he was "mad" which I assume means insane. Did Mary forget who he was and how he got here?" Answer…shut up.
       "How come Matthew uses the Old Testament to weave a story of Jesus, where every quote he uses has absolutely nothing to do with the point he is making about Jesus' birth?" Answer…While we might flunk you for such methods, we give Matthew an A, because, well, he's Matthew. Bible guys get to do and say things you're not allowed to.
       "If Jesus was asked 'who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?', would that not imply the man had sinned before his birth, perhaps in a previous life, if his blindness at birth was some kind of punishment? I mean, the blindness was from birth, so the sin had to be before that." Answer…Ummm.., no. Whatever the answer, it's definitely not that one.
       "So is it just me, or are these good questions to ask about the text and theology of the Bible?" Answer… It's just you. While we might be marginally informed ourselves, we are very piously convicted of our answers. The wisdom of man, and this would be you in this case, is foolishness with God. You're fired and have a nice day.
       And so it goes. If you want to make a pastor, elder or deacon turn white with fear or red with anger, just ask a Bible question based on the actual text or what today we would simply know as common sense. Depending on his denomination, education, candor and personal spiritual confidence, he will react accordingly. Most pastors I know are sincere, but ill informed – or duplistic and well informed, not willing to risk all for what they clearly also see is a problem with the "inerrant" text of the Bible. Kinda sad actually, but when it comes to matters of the spirit, it is important to keep asking those questions about a book that purports to have the key to everything and the only right way for a human to think.
       It's important to ask questions of all such books and ideas. Let's face it, take away the zealots and fundamentalists from Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and the planet might actually find some peace. Killing the messenger for bringing the message some don't want to hear, is however, still the preferred way to handle such things all too often.
       Dennis is a former Pastor of 26 years and still has lots of questions left :) Article Source: http://EzineArticles. com/?expert=Dennis_Diehl
      [Picture of a Bible, with a warning sticker on the front dark leather cover.]
      HOLY BIBLE  
    WARNING: This is a work of fiction Do NOT take it literally.
    CONTENT ADVISORY: Contains verses descriptive [of] or advocating suicide, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, morbid violence, use of drugs or alcohol, homosexuality, voyeurism, revenge, undermining of authority figures, lawlessness, and human rights violations and atrocities.
    EXPOSURE WARNING: Exposure to contents tor extended periods of time or during formative years in children may cause delusions, hallcinations, decreased cognitive and objective reasoning abilities, and, in extreme cases, pathological disorders, hatred, bigotry, and violence including, but not limited to fanaticism, murder, and genocide.
       [RESPONSE: Christian answers to all the points raised here are in an August 2007 (?) issue of Uncensored magazine. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Another question, asked elsewhere on these webpages, could be "How come the Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) gives fanciful accounts of the Heavenly hosts of angels, martyrs, and virgins, complete with a description of God on his Throne, and the Lamb, but never mentions the "Holy Spirit," which nearly all theologians claim is the "third person of the Blessed Trinity"?  And why didn't the sacred writers actually use the word "Trinity" if that is how God is constituted? COMMENT ENDS.] [Feb 25, 07]

    • Extracts from: Sacramentum Caritatis, ("The Sacrament of Charity").   Vatican City / Papal flag;  

    Extracts from: SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS, (“The Sacrament of Charity”)

       The Holy See (i.e., the Pope), www.vatican. va/holy_father/ benedict_xvi/ apost_exhortat ions/documents/ hf_ben-xvi_exh_ 20070222_sacra mentum-caritatis_ en.html#Actuosa_ participatio , by Pope Benedict XVI, March 13, 2007
    The Eucharist and priestly celibacy
       24. The Synod Fathers wished to emphasize that the ministerial priesthood, through ordination, calls for complete configuration to Christ. While respecting the different practice and tradition of the Eastern Churches, there is a need to reaffirm the profound meaning of priestly celibacy, which is rightly considered a priceless treasure, and is also confirmed by the Eastern practice of choosing Bishops only from the ranks of the celibate. These Churches also greatly esteem the decision of many priests to embrace celibacy. This choice on the part of the priest expresses in a special way the dedication which conforms him to Christ and his exclusive offering of himself for the Kingdom of God. (75) The fact that Christ himself, the eternal priest, lived his mission even to the sacrifice of the Cross in the state of virginity constitutes the sure point of reference for understanding the meaning of the tradition of the Latin Church. It is not sufficient to understand priestly celibacy in purely functional terms. Celibacy is really a special way of conforming oneself to Christ's own way of life. This choice has first and foremost a nuptial meaning; it is a profound identification with the heart of Christ the Bridegroom who gives his life for his Bride. In continuity with the great ecclesial tradition, with the Second Vatican Council (76) and with my predecessors in the papacy, (77) I reaffirm the beauty and the importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God, and I therefore confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition. Priestly celibacy lived with maturity, joy and dedication is an immense blessing for the Church and for society itself.
      *  *  *
    The Latin language
       62. None of the above observations should cast doubt upon the importance of such large-scale liturgies. I am thinking here particularly of celebrations at international gatherings, which nowadays are held with greater frequency. The most should be made of these occasions. In order to express more clearly the unity and universality of the Church, I wish to endorse the proposal made by the Synod of Bishops, in harmony with the directives of the Second Vatican Council, (182) that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarly, the better-known prayers (183) of the Church's tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant. (184)
      *  *  *
    The meaning of rest and of work
       74. Finally, it is particularly urgent nowadays to remember that the day of the Lord is also a day of rest from work. It is greatly to be hoped that this fact will also be recognized by civil society, so that individuals can be permitted to refrain from work without being penalized. Christians, not without reference to the meaning of the Sabbath in the Jewish tradition, have seen in the Lord's Day a day of rest from their daily exertions. This is highly significant, for it relativizes work and directs it to the person: work is for man and not man for work. It is easy to see how this actually protects men and women, emancipating them from a possible form of enslavement. As I have had occasion to say, "work is of fundamental importance to the fulfilment of the human being and to the development of society. Thus, it must always be organized and carried out with full respect for human dignity and must always serve the common good. At the same time, it is indispensable that people not allow themselves to be enslaved by work or to idolize it, claiming to find in it the ultimate and definitive meaning of life." (209) It is on the day consecrated to God that men and women come to understand the meaning of their lives and also of their work. (210)
       [NEWS REPORTING: Catholic News Service, "Pope reflects on Eucharist, makes concrete suggestions for Mass," data/stories/ cns/0701 411.htm , By Cindy Wooden, Mar-13-2007
       VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics must believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, celebrate the liturgy with devotion and live in a way that demonstrates their faith, Pope Benedict XVI said. [… (1,300 words)]
       The Sydney Morning Herald, "Pope blesses some of that old-time religion," au/articles/ 2007/03/13/ 1173722471 218.html , by Linda Morris, Religious Affairs Writer, March 14, 2007
       THE Pope has urged greater use of Latin prayers and Gregorian chants in large public and international Masses as he moves to wind back contemporary expressions of church prayer life.   ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: It's sad to think that celibacy is still somehow a "nuptial" (i.e., marriage) thought in the mind of the RC clergy without partners!  And the Pope even quotes the bad practice of the Orthodox Churches in not allowing married clergy to become bishops, as support for his Church's worse practice! 
       The natural "dead" language of Christianity is GREEK, not Latin.   Gregorian music is more suited than guitars -- but this is 2007, not 1207! 
       The Sabbath rest!  Ah, yes, but the switch from Saturday to Sunday arose from an edict of Constantine the Great, not by people who followed Jesus!  The Sabbath originally was Saturday, and no command of Christ to change it to some other day has come down to us!
       A positive note is that the Pope opposed work becoming an end in itself, and he praised work!  All the more reason for the clergy to have regular day jobs, as St Paul hinted (2 Thessalonians 3:10-14) -- though someone else might have inserted the verse that the clergy could live by the gospel.
       Regarding work, the Pope's minders don't seem to realise that hundreds of millions of landless and other unemployed and underemployed would just LOVE to have work to do on the Sabbath, whether it is Saturday or Sunday.  They have little or no work on the other five days, either!   COMMENT ENDS.] [Mar 13, 07]

    • [Under-work is huge problem, and altar boy seductions.] 

    Pope's overwork fears, and Latin

       Letter sent to The West Australian, sent on March 15, 2007
       Although I sympathise with the Pope's worry about people being enslaved by work ("Pope warns of too much work …" 14/3) in relation to the First World, doesn't he know that globally millions of people have little work, no land, and no business?
       For example, East Timor's Catholic youths are joining destructive gangs, partly because the country is not receiving the oil revenues it deserves, and their leaders think that foreign investment from China will create employment!
       Most countries fudge their unemployment figures, usually halving them -- but in the Russian Federation and the Third World UE rates of 30 per cent and more are commonplace. Land hunger leads to real hunger!
       By the way, instead of the Pope trying to bring Latin back into the mass, he ought to remove the altar boys first, judging by the priest conviction rates in Ireland, Poland, the USA and Australia. #
       [ORIGINAL Vatican document: www.vatican. va/holy_fat her/benedict_ xvi/apost_exhort ations/docu ments/hf_ ben-xvi_exh_ 20070222_ sacramentum- caritatis_ en.html .  ENDS.] [Mar 15, 07]

    • The Slave Trade
      [including by Christians and by Muslims]


       The Word, www.the (RC magazine, Ireland), By PAUL KILDARE, pp 12-13, March, 2007
    Europe's empires shipped 15 million African slaves to America in 400 years. Tony Blair recently apologised for Britain's leading role in the trade, which she officially ended 200 years ago this month. PAUL KILDARE recalls "a great international crime"
    Men, women and children have been abused as slaves since history began. Ancient Greece depended on slaves for its prosperity. In the Roman Empire at the time of Christ, nearly half of its eight million people were slaves. Even in Medieval Europe slavery was still accepted everywhere.
       Muslim states were also slave societies. The Ottoman Empire's use of galley-slaves in the Mediterranean was one of the most brutal forms of slavery ever. Other Muslim countries imported millions of black slaves from Africa up to 1905. There were serfs in Imperial Russia until 1906 and Soviet Russia used slaves in its Gulag concentration camps up to 1956.
       One little known aspect of the Muslim slave trade is that in the 17th and 18th centuries one million European Christians were brought to Muslim North Africa. Some were captured at sea by Barbary corsair pirates - who seized 466 British trading vessels alone between 1609 and 1616 - while others were taken as prisoners in daring Muslim raids on the coasts of Iceland, Norway, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Thomas Fellow, a young Cornish sailor, and 51 others
    [PICTURE:] African Anti-slavery Congress, an initiative of Cardinal Lavigerie, in Algeria 1885.
    were captured from their ship at sea in 1716 and sold as slaves in Morocco. One of the few who survived to tell his tale, he escaped 23 years later, when he was rescued and brought home by a Capt Toolin from Dublin on his small sailing vessel. Fellow's extraordinary story was recently told by Giles Milton in his book, White Gold.
       The most dramatic Muslim raid in Ireland was that on Baltimore, West Cork, on 20 June 1631, when 231 Barbary coast pirates and Turkish Ottoman troops kidnapped 107 local people - 23 men, 34 women and 50 children - and brought them as slaves
    [PICTURE:] Punishment on the Slave Ship 'Recovery' under Captain John Kimber. Etching, coloured, by Isaac Cruikshank (c.1756 - c.1810), London (S.W.Fores) 10 April 1792.
    to Algiers. Father Pierre Dan, a French priest in the city, reported seeing them being sold as slaves there: "It was a pitiful sight to see them exposed naked in the slave market." This dramatic raid was recalled in Thomas Davis' poem, The Sack of Baltimore, and more recently in Des Ekin's book, The Stolen Village.
       But the greatest slave trade, of course, was that which saw an estimated 15 million Africans shipped in 400 years by Europe's empires to North and South America. The British historian Hugh Thomas in The Slave Trade (1997) states that Britain sent 4.5 million, Portugal 4.5m, France 2m, Holland 1.8m, Spain and the US 1m each. During the 18th century British ships carried about 3 million slaves, half of Britain's population then, and brought back sugar, coffee and tobacco.
       Most slave ships were very small, usually 200 tons, 80ft long and lasted only about ten voyages. They took two or three months to reach Africa from England and would remain off the African coast for about three months -collecting an average cargo of 350 slaves. The voyage across the Atlantic took about five weeks. Fear of mutiny by the slaves often led to brutality by the crew. When the slaves were let up on deck to eat, cannon were pointed at them, while at night they were crowded like sardines and chained to one another in the holds below. In 1587 a Spanish priest reported, "The very stench is enough to kill most of them." Many died from dysentery, plague and smallpox; others, especially women, went mad. About 12 percent or 40,000 a year died on the voyages.
       The trade started about 1535, when the Portuguese began carrying African slaves to Brazil. In 1624 the Dutch West India Company, a slave firm, founded New York, first called New Amsterdam. Britain began slave trading in a big way about 1650, but the 18th century, when the trade became respectable, was the great age of British slave merchants.
       In late 18th century England many rich people often had black servants; these numbered 20,000, some of whom were later exported to the West Indies. Countless country mansions and estates were built or bought by slave traders and owners. The slave trade was then closely integrated with Britain's economy, the link between the Bank of England and the South Sea slavery
    [PICTURE:] Elmina Castle (Ghana) built in 1471 by the Portuguese as a headquarters for the slave trade.
    company being particularly close.
       By the end of the 18th century there were nearly 7 million African slaves in the New World. The contribution this huge labour force made to Europe's wealth was enormous, especially in terms of sugar from the West Indies - twice as great as any other British import.
       Many popes condemned slavery. As early as 873 Pope John VIII urged that slaves be freed and in 1462 Pius II condemned the slave trade, which Paul II in 1467 called "a great crime". In the 19th century Pius VII, Gregory XVI and Leo XIII all condemned the trade.
    [PICTURE of WILLIAM WILBEBFORCE, ESQ.:] William Wilberforce, English politician and philanthropist(1759-1833) in an engraving by Joseph Jenkins dating from 1836. Coll. Archiv. f.Kunst & Geschichte, Berlin.

       In the early 18th century both British and American Quakers condemned the trade; in 1761 they excluded slave merchants from their meeting-houses. In 1787 some Quakers and Anglicans in Britain formed a Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. This was led by Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce, who also campaigned, before Daniel O'Connell, for the emancipation of another oppressed group, Catholics in Britain and Ireland. (Three of Wilberforce's sons became Catholics, one having been Anglican Bishop of Oxford.)
       They met with strong opposition from slave trade defenders, like Boswell, who said, "Slavery is a happier state of life for African savages. To abolish it would be the real crime - robbery to an innumerable class of our fellow subjects", meaning slave-owners and traders. But in 1792 William Pitt, the Prime Minister, stated, "No nation in Europe has plunged so deeply into this guilt as Britain."
       In March 1807 the British parliament finally passed the Slave Trade Act, which made it unlawful to capture or transport slaves from 1 May - and paid the slave owners €33 million (a huge sum then) in compensation! - although it was not until 1865 that the trade was totally ended. This was because it took the British navy, with too few ships, another 60 years to end it completely - by trying to intercept slave ships along the African coast. Between 1810 and 1865 the navy captured 1,237 slave ships and freed 150,000 slaves, but many others got through the blockade and brought about 500,000 slaves to the US alone. Slavery was not abolished there until 1863. Between 1790 and 1860 the number of African slaves in the US grew from 657,000 to 3,839,000, one of the fastest population growths ever recorded anywhere.
       "The European slave trade to America," writes Hugh Thomas, "was of a barbarism unparalleled even in old Africa or the ancient Mediterranean. It began when gunpowder enabled a few white men to dominate masses of others without effort. The Atlantic slave trade was a great international crime."
       Last November Prime Minister Tony Blair stated, "It is hard to believe that what would now be a crime against humanity was legal at the time (1807). Britain's rise to global pre-eminence was partially dependent on a system of colonial slave labour. I believe the bicentenary offers us not only a chance to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was - how we condemn its existence utterly - but also to express our deep sorrow that it could ever have happened." ■
       [RECAPITULATION: The trade started about 1535, when the Portuguese began carrying African slaves to Brazil. In 1624 the Dutch West India Company, a slave firm, founded New York, first called New Amsterdam. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: The article, giving approximately 1535 as the start of the kidnapping of black Africans and abducting them to the Americas, is only part of the story.  Slaving had been going on in all the cultures of the Eurasian-African land mass for thousands of years, it seems.  It is explicitly approved by the Hebrew and Muslim scriptures, complete with rules of behaviour, and it is condoned in the Christian scriptures, covered up in the older translations by altering the Greek word for "slave" to "servant." ENDS.]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Len and Marie Eva. ENDS.] [To this website 25 Jul 07; copied to subchron6.htm on 09 Aug 08; Issue of March 2007]

    • Catholic students put to the test.
       The West Australian, By BETHANY HIATT, p 13, Wednesday, March 14, 2007 Australia flag;  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
    THE WEST AUSTRALIAN                                                                 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007 • 13
       The ANNUNCIATION (Luke 1:26-32,38) is a scriptural passage about Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
       Complete the cloze[sic] activity. (5 marks)
       In the sixth month the angel ______ was sent by God to a town in Galilee called ______, to a virgin betrothed to a man named ______, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was ______. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The ______ is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be ______ ; you have won ______favour. Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a ______, and you must name him ______ .
    ______ said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.

      [PICTURE: Hands holding an ornately-bound Bible.]  

    Catholic students put to the test

       Students at nine Catholic schools either failed or were only barely able to pass a religious knowledge assessment, the Catholic Education Office revealed yesterday.
       All Year 7s in Catholic schools in the Perth archdiocese – which stretches as far as Kalgoorlie – sat the compulsory test for the first time last year.
       Of the 78 schools which had students sit the test, nine schools achieved an average mark of 50 per cent or less. The majority of schools achieved an average of between 60 and 65 per cent, with just three schools scoring 75 per cent or higher.
       Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey said the mostly multiple-choice test was not difficult and he would have expected better results.
       "The scores were not too bad but they could have been better," Archbishop Hickey said. "While I'm pleased the test was done and the results were fairly good, I'd like them all to get 100 per cent."
       The test is part of a push by the Catholic Church to give religion the same status in all its schools as maths and reading.
       Known as the Archbishop's Religious Literacy Assessment, the test will be extended to students in the Geraldton and Bunbury dioceses and to Year 9s later this year.
       It will then be phased in to Years 3 and 5. Eventually, most of the State's 66,000 Catholic school students will have to sit a religious literacy test four times during their education if they attend a Catholic school from Years 1 to 12.
       Catholic Education Office director Ron Dullard said the tests were designed to assess students' religious knowledge, not how they practised their faith.
       Changes were being made to the religious education curriculum to dovetail with the 2008 implementation of the new outcomes-based education course, Religion and Life, which will be compulsory for Years 11 and 12 students in Catholic schools. #
       [COMMENT: Amazing!  Parents pay fees and often have awkward transport problems to give their children a Christian-school education, and the schools have to be TOLD to put religion back into an important place in their teaching!  In the 1940s most Roman Catholic schools had half an hour's religion teaching every day, regular tests, examinations every term, and the marks were given in the reports sent to parents.  So, read the second paragraph again.  (In August 2007 the Sydney Archbishop, George Cardinal Pell, ordered all Catholic schools in the archdiocese to give a lot more attention to religious teaching.) COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: Check every one of the answers closely with the original and with a standard New Testament translation.  The answer "Lord" is correct, but the two other words associated with it here are not in the Bible! ENDS.] [To this website 31 Aug 07; Mar 14, 07]

    Lawyers grapple with Catholic doctrine

      [- 2007 &?+ RCC] - Nun explains "mental reservation" to protect RCC.  
       Los Angeles Times, www.latimes. com/news/print edition/ california/ la-me-priest 26mar26,1, 2982832.story? coll=la- headlines- pe-california ; By John Spano, Times Staff Writer, March 26, 2007
       CALIFORNIA -- An elderly nun, under questioning by a lawyer, recently said she could remember almost nothing about his client, a child who had been sexually molested by a Roman Catholic priest.
       Lawyer Irwin Zalkin was puzzled because church records showed she had heard several complaints about the San Diego priest, and the file noted that she had reported them to higher authority.
       Finally, Zalkin asked whether she was familiar with "mental reservation" - a 700-year-old doctrine by which clerics may avoid telling the truth to protect the Catholic Church.
       "She explained in her own way that it is 'to protect the church from scandal.' She said she subscribed to the doctrine," Zalkin said. "What are you going to do?"
       Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law, experts say, and is infrequently invoked. But in litigation arising from clergy sex abuse cases in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, at least half a dozen lawyers representing victims report having encountered it. [...]
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker, www.bishop- accountability. org/ abusetracker . ENDS.]
       [ANOTHER REPORT: See March 28, 2007, newsitem in the Santa Fe New Mexican, "Clergy sex abuse: Lawyers face truth avoidance that shields church," ⪫www.santafe­newmexican.­com/news/­59298.html>, by John Spano | Los Angeles Times. ENDS.]
    [March 26, 2007]

    • Weeping Mary man expelled.
      Australia flag; 

    Weeping Mary man expelled

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), By JOE SPAGNOLO, EXCLUSIVE, p 12, Sunday, April 8, 2007
       PERTH: A MAN linked to Rockingham's world-famous weeping Virgin Mary statue - who says he sees the Virgin and displays the wounds of Christ - has been told to leave town.
       Rockingham parish priest Finbarr Walsh gave Ron Jakeman his marching orders after consulting Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey.
       Previously a supporter of Mr Jakeman, Father Walsh says he now believes the apparitions and stigmata could be fakes.
       "I told him to leave. The (reason) is my business," Father Walsh told The Sunday Times. "(But) it was serious or I wouldn't have thrown him out. He (Mr Jakeman) was a nuisance to the place … a huge embarrassment.
       "I told him to go back to Brisbane, but he might think he is entitled to come back.  If he does we will see what happens.
       "It was never proved he had the apparitions. We relied on his word. There was no outward evidence. Most of the messages were vague and wordy - too many words and too little solid teaching in them.
       "These people say they have these things (messages) in their minds and write them down. Whether or not they come from Our Lady (Virgin Mary) is another matter. There is probably some doubt now.
       "They (stigmata) could easily be faked. You just don't know. He could make them up before showing them (his hands) to us."
       Mr Jakeman arrived in Rockingham from Brisbane about seven years ago when he teamed up with Patty Powell and her twin sister Eileen Giles to turn Ms Powell's house into the Family House of Prayer.
       Mr Jakeman - a Queensland divorcee with three children - and Ms Powell are said to have met on the internet.
       Mr Jakeman lived in a backyard granny flat at Ms Powell's house and a shrine was set up in the house to show off the Virgin Mary statue, which they say began "weeping" in 2002.
       Ms Powell paid $150 for the statue eight years earlier in Bangkok.
       Thousands flock from around the world to see it every year. It has raised more than $60,000 in donations, which Ms Powell says largely went to a Bangkok mission as well as other Christian operations, such as the Waturaliri School in East Timor and Crossroads Community in East Fremantle.
      [Picture] HOLY ORDER: Father Finbarr Walsh, of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rockingham.    Picture: IAN MUNRO  
       But Murdoch University scientists have identified the tears as a mixture of vegetable and rose oils and Bishop Hickey has said it was unlikely the phenomenon was a miracle.
       While the weeping statue became the Family House of Prayer's main attraction, Mr Jakeman also gained notoriety when he claimed to have visions of the Virgin Mary and to have received messages from her while in the back yard. Ms Giles also claimed to get messages.
       Dozens of followers gathered at the house every week where they believed the Virgin Mary was appearing to Mr Jakeman. And a grotto was set up in the back yard, complete with footprints on a concrete slab, which the trio claimed belonged to the Virgin Mary.
       Mr Jakeman also said he had wounds on his hands and feet, similar to those on the body of the crucified Christ.
       Father Walsh said last year:  "I have seen the wounds. They are not fake. He is getting the wounds of Jesus on his hands and feet."
       Mr Jakeman and Ms Powell could not be contacted for comment this week.
       The Family House of Prayer's website calls him a "visionary" and posts his alleged messages from the Virgin Mary under the name I Am Nothing.
       He also claims on the site that other miracles have occurred to Family House of Prayer visitors.
       "People from all over the world have written to express their wondrous events of faith, which have occurred as a result of either visiting the statue or being touched with the oil. People have experienced remission of cancers and conversions of faith, reconciliation with family and spouses," he wrote.
       "Our Blessed Mother hears their sincere prayers and she is an intercessory for them to Jesus, Son of God and God the Son. She speaks with me regularly and that is another miracle. I, who had lost faith and turned away from God and embraced a secular and selfish life, have been granted a wonderful grace."
       The Sunday Times has received letters discrediting Mr Jakeman and Ms Powell.
       They say the statue started weeping only after Mr Jakeman arrived in Rockingham. Father Walsh said this week the statue stopped weeping shortly after Mr Jakeman left.
       In an email to The Sunday Times last year, Mr Jakeman said: "If people wish to speak badly then I cannot stop them doing so.
       "In general, people will have a mindset or opinion, which is based on whatever their perceptions at the time are."
       Archbishop Hickey yesterday distanced himself from the Rockingham scandal and said he doubted the miracles were real.
       "It's a matter between (Father Walsh) and Ron," he said. "It's not about his visions or stigmata or anything like that.
       "It is nothing that involved me. There is no reason whatsoever why I should be involved at all.
       "People can say what they like on private websites. It hasn't got my seal of approval so people can make their own judgments about that.
       "I have always said that what I would love to believe what's going on (with the apparitions and the weeping statue), but in my position I have to accept that there might be human intervention -- even if it's not obvious." #
       [COMMENT: Goodness knows how many people have been tricked by this!   COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 8, 07]

    • Lock up 'crying' statue.  Australia flag; 

    Lock up ‘crying’ statue

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), By JOE SPAGNOLO, Sunday, April 15, 2007
       ROCKINGHAM's weeping madonna should be locked away indefinitely under the control of the Catholic Church, it was claimed yesterday.
       WA scientist Thelma Koppi - part of a three-person commission of inquiry that investigated the statue in 2002 and concluded it was not a miraculous phenomena [phenomenon] - said yesterday she was dismayed the statue had become a national and international attraction.
       "I am not surprised, but I am shocked," she said.
       "I think it is totally inappropriate to prey on vulnerable people like that.
       "The commission of inquiry was supposed to end all of that.
       "The Archbishop (Barry Hickey) did exactly the right thing by saying it could not be displayed (on church property) because it cannot be claimed to be miraculous.
       "The statue should be removed (from Rockingham), secured under the authority of the Archbishop and cleaned of oil.
       "I'd like to see it put away for months and if it hasn't wept in that time, that should be the end of it."
       The statue has become a national and international icon for Christians, mainly thanks to owner Patty Powell who has promoted the statue on the internet and turned her home into a shrine called the Family House of Prayer.
       Four years ago, the statue was discredited after the Archbishop - following the commission of inquiry - concluded the phenomenon was not miraculous.
       The so-called tears were found to be vegetable oil, mixed with another substance that probably accounted for the rose fragrance.
       The statue had not wept while under investigation by the commission and the Archbishop ordered it be withdrawn from public veneration within the churches and other church properties in the Archdiocese of Perth.
       Ms Powell bought the statue in Thailand for $150 in 1994.
       A friend of Ms Powell, Queensland divorcee Ron Jakeman, claimed he was getting apparitions of Our Lady and messages at the Family House of Prayer. #
       [RECAPITULATION: I think it is totally inappropriate to prey on vulnerable people like that.   ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Amen to that!   ENDS.]
       [LOOKBACK: Newsitems such as {2003: Rockingham statue of Mary didn't weep when put under close check} "Miracle was not proved," Feb 27, 2003; {'Weeping' Rockingham madonna makes footprints on paver, has website} "Tears in time for Easter," April 11, 2004; {Stigmata now at Rockingham}, ~ March 2006; "Weeping Mary man expelled," April 8, 2007. [Apr 15, 07]

       • The Vatican has abolished its teaching that there exists a "Limbo" of the unbaptised. Radio News. April 21, 2007. Contrast with teaching of hundreds of years, check 1934 and up to 2005. [Apr 21, 07]
    • Limbo fades; 'Good reasons to hope' for unbaptised babies, says Vatican.  Vatican City / Papal flag;  

    Limbo fades

    Good reasons to hope for unbaptised babies says Vatican
    Theological commission says Limbo concept reflects ‘a restrictive view of salvation’ – it was never a doctrine, only a theory
       The Record (R.C. Perth W.A. weekly), By John Thavis, Pages 1 & 2, Thursday, April 26, 2007
       VATICAN CITY (CNS) - After several years of study, the Vatican's International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptised go to heaven.
       In a document published on April 20, the commission said the traditional concept of limbo - as a place where unbaptised infants spend eternity but without communion with God - seemed to reflect an "unduly restrictive view of salvation."
      [Picture] Scott Hahn
       The Church continues to teach that, because of original sin, baptism is the ordinary way of salvation for all people and urges parents to baptise infants, the document said.
       But there is greater theological awareness today that God is merciful and "wants all human beings to be saved," it said. Grace has priority over sin, and the exclusion of innocent babies from heaven does not seem to reflect Christ's special love for "the little ones," it said.
       "Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered … give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the beatific vision," the document said.
       "We emphasise that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge," it added.
    Limbo idea ‘restrictive’, only a theory
       The 41-page document, titled "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised," was published in Origins, the documentary service of Catholic News Service. Pope Benedict XVI authorised its publication earlier this year.
       The 30-member International Theological Commission acts as an advisory panel to the Vatican, in particular to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Its documents are not considered expressions of authoritative church teaching, but they sometimes set the stage for official Vatican pronouncements.
       The commission's document said salvation for unbaptised babies who die was becoming an urgent pastoral question, in part because their number is greatly increasing. Many infants today are born to parents who are not practising Catholics, and many others are the unborn victims of abortion, it said.
       Limbo has never been defined as Church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states simply that unbaptised infants are entrusted to God's mercy.
       But limbo has long been regarded as the common teaching of the Church. In the modern age, "people find it increasingly difficult to accept that God is just and merciful if he excludes infants, who have no personal sins, from eternal happiness," the new document said.
       Parents in particular can experience grief and feelings of guilt when they doubt their unbaptised children are with God, it said.
       The Church's hope for these infants' salvation reflects a growing awareness of God's mercy, the commission said. But the issue is not simple, because appreciation for divine mercy must be reconciled with fundamental church teachings about original sin and about the necessity of baptism for salvation, it said.
       The document traced the development of church thinking about the fate of unbaptised children, noting that there is "no explicit answer" from Scripture or tradition.
       In the fifth century, St Augustine concluded that infants who die without baptism were consigned to hell. By the 13th century, theologians referred to the "limbo of infants" as a place where unbaptised babies were deprived of the vision of God, but did not suffer because they did not know what they were deprived of.
       Through the centuries, popes and church councils were careful not to define limbo as a doctrine of the faith and to leave the question open. That was important in allowing an evolution of the teaching, the theological commission said.
       A key question taken up by the document was the Church's teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation. That teaching needs interpretation, in view of the fact that "infants … do not place any personal obstacle in the way of redemptive grace," it said.
       In this and other situations, the need for the sacrament of baptism is not absolute and is secondary to God's desire for the salvation of every person, it said.
       "God can therefore give the grace of baptism without the sacrament being conferred, and this fact should particularly be recalled when the conferring of baptism would be impossible," it said.
       This does not deny that all salvation comes through Christ and in some way through the Church, it said, but it requires a more careful understanding of how this may work.
       The document outlined several ways by which unbaptised babies might be united to Christ:
    • A "saving conformity to Christ in his own death" by infants who themselves suffer and die.
    • A solidarity with Christ among infant victims of violence, born and unborn, who like the holy innocents killed by King Herod are endangered by the "fear or selfishness of others."
    • God may simply give the gift of salvation to unbaptised infants, corresponding to his sacramental gift of salvation to the baptised.
       The document said the standard teaching that there is "no salvation outside the Church" calls for similar interpretation.
       The Church's magisterium has moved toward a more "nuanced understanding" of how a saving relationship with the Church can be realised, it said. This does not mean that someone who has not received the sacrament of baptism cannot be saved, it said.
       Rather, it means that "there is no salvation which is not from Christ and ecclesial by its very nature," it said.
       The document quoted St Paul's teaching that spouses of Christians may be "consecrated" through their wives or husbands. This indicates that the holiness of the Church reaches people "outside the visible bounds of the Church" through the bonds of human communion, it said.
       The document said the Church clearly teaches that people are born into a state of sinfulness - original sin - which requires an act of redemptive grace to be washed away.
       But Scripture also proclaims the "superabundance" of grace over sin, it said. That seems to be missing in the idea of limbo, which identifies more with Adam's sinfulness than with Christ's redemption, it said.
       "Christ's solidarity with all of humanity, must have priority over the solidarity of human beings with Adam," it said.
       Liturgically, the motive for hope was confirmed by the introduction in 1970 of a funeral rite for unbaptised infants whose parents intended to present them for baptism, it said.
       The commission said the new theological approach to the question of unbaptised babies should not be used to "negate the necessity of baptism, nor to delay the conferral of the sacrament."
       "Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them what would have been most desirable - to baptise them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the body of Christ," it said.
       The commission said hopefulness was not the same as certainty about the destiny of such infants.
       "It must be clearly acknowledged that the Church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptised infants who die," it said.
       Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, was president of the commission and head of the doctrinal congregation when the commission began studying the question of limbo in a systematic way in 2004.
       US Cardinal William J. Levada now heads the commission and the doctrinal congregation. Cardinal Levada met with the Pope to discuss the document on January 19 and, with the Pope's approval, authorised its publication. #
       [RECAPITULATION: In the fifth century, St Augustine concluded that infants who die without baptism were consigned to hell. […] "It must be clearly acknowledged that the Church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptised infants who die," it said. ENDS.]
       [COMMENTS: So, the "unchanging Church" and the "infallible Pope and magisterium" are sliding away from yet another man-made "doctrine"!  And "St Peter's See" does not have sure knowledge, and is talking about the "modern age"!  Evidence that it was a teaching, not just a "theory", is in Dr Rumble's Radio Replies, "Limbo teaching …", ©1934, Volume 1, page 229, reproduced above.
       The word and idea of "limbo" do not appear in the Christian Greek Scriptures.  Once error started infiltrating Jesus' early-century followers, new scriptures, some contradicting the teachings, were written, and additions to the documents were made.  The genuineness is disputed of the 1st and 2nd Timothy, and Titus epistles, which possibly were a reaction to "over-the-top" ascetism and other over-enthusiastic movements. END.]
       [DOCTRINE: 1st Timothy 2:4: He wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. ENDS.
       [COMMENTS, continued: Salvation scriptures -- Matthew 18:3-6, 18:10, 19:14, 19:25-26 -- are quoted above (with references to other gospels) at the foot of "Cruel Limbo doctrine," Dec 15, 2005.
       The Bible texts that claim Jesus died to take away the sins of the world contradict the idea that innocent babes would be denied Heaven because nobody baptised them. In fact, infant baptism itself has a disputed doctrinal foundation.  Also see John 3:17.
       All the reformed Churches reject Limbo out of hand (as they do the unscriptural Purgatory).  But to get RC religious professionals to think straight has proven difficult.  If they had meditated on John 4:24, and the text about the letter of the law killing, but the spirit enlivening (2 Corinthians 3:6), the "Fathers of the Church" might not have fallen into the serious early error that babies' souls went to Hell, nor the serious though less cruel Limbo error, which brings their brand of Christianity into disrepute.
       Condemnatory scriptures include John 3: 3, 5, and this verse in the probably spurious ending to Mark's Gospel, "Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16). (Think – can a baby "believe"?) ENDS.]
       [PREVIOUS ALERT: St Augustine [354-430, of Hippo, North Africa] wrote that the floor of hell was tessellated with the bodies of unbaptised infants.  St Fulgentius [468-533, or c. 462-527, of Ruspe, North Africa] wrote: " … little children … die without the holy sacrament of baptism … punished … everlasting punishment of fire."
       Those "gems" were quoted in "Recognise the original Baptism and forgiveness teachings?" August 9, 2004 (additions to 2006) .   ENDS.]
       [LOOK FORWARD: Has "Outside the Church there is no Salvation" been abolished, or not?  The Roman Church took about 450 years to reverse its condemnation of Galileo's planetary theories.  Anyway, let us hope that the doctrine of Original Sin is among the next man-made doctrines to be phased out.  And perhaps the "pubic" errors could go, too? – RELIGION CLARIFICATION CAMPAIGN, April 27, 2007.   ENDS.] [Apr 26, 07]

    • Police prey on statue.  Australia flag; 

    Police prey on statue

       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), By JOE SPAGNOLO, p 20, Sunday, April 29, 2007
       PERTH: POLICE are investigating Rockingham's so-called weeping Madonna statue.
       Major Fraud Squad detective Sen-Sgt Dom Blackshaw said police would interview local priest Father Finbarr Walsh this week about the statue and a man he threw out of his parish, self-proclaimed visionary Ron Jakeman.
       The statue owner was also likely to be interviewed, as police decided whether to launch a full criminal investigation.
       Sgt Blackshaw said police were investigating whether worshippers who had donated money to the weeping Madonna had been deceived.
       "We are looking to see whether people parted with funds on the basis of being told lies or whether deceptive conduct was involved," Sgt Blackshaw said.
       "It is in the public interest that police investigate issues that may reveal criminality. We will look at what the potential offences are – whether or not we can prove certain things.
       "We will allocate it for further investigation if we see it as a police matter. Once that's done we can go about the process of interviewing all people concerned."
       The decision by police to become involved in the issue provides another intriguing chapter in a long-running saga involving the 70cm statue bought in Bangkok more than a decade ago for less than $200.
       For the past four years the statue has been on display at a Rocldngham home, which has been converted into a shrine known as the Family House of Prayer. Thousands of people from all over the world have flocked to see the statue's rose-scented tears.
       The weeping Madonna has attracted thousands of dollars in donations, despite Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey refusing to acknowledge that a miracle was occurring and banning the statue from being displayed on church property.
       The statue had remained dry-eyed during a month-long investigation commissioned by the Archbishop in 2002, when it was concluded that the tears from the statue consisted of vegetable oil mixed with another substance that probably accounted for its rose fragrance.
       Father Walsh, once a supporter of Mr Jakeman, says he believes now that his alleged apparitions and stigmata could be fake. #
       [COMMENT: Read the newsitems of April 8, 2007, and Feb 27, 2003.  One could ask why the police did not act four years ago.   COMMENT ENDS.] [Apr 29, 07]

    • Weeping For A Statue In 2007, Contrasted With Early 2005 Call For Unity.  Australia flag;  Vatican City / Papal flag;  

    Weeping For A Statue In 2007, Contrasted With Early 2005 Call For Unity

       To various newspapers, e-mailed, from an Unusual Suspect, April 30, 2007
       PERTH, W. Australia: In Perth The Sunday Times journalist Joe Spagnolo has written a series on the Rockingham weeping statue comico-tragedy, the latest being "Police prey on statue," (29/4).
       I won't criticise the police for not acting some years ago when this oil-weeping statue first came to public attention. If they had done so then, thousands of Catholics might have seen it as persecution of their sect!
       After the oil-soaked statue was debunked in 2003 (see the WA Catholic paper The Record, page 7, Feb 27, 2003), then came "visions", more "miracle cures," "wounds" on hands and feet (a stigmata, complete with clerical support), and Mary's "footprint" on a paving slab (reported April 11, 2004) . There is a http://www. weeping website.
       But now in 2007 when a man is ordered to leave, the oily "tears" stopped again (reported April 8, 2007).
       My reflection on this goes back to a letter I wrote on January 3, 2005, starting: "Many will be sympathetic to the RC Perth Archbishop Barry Hickey's call for unity among the Churches on doctrine …."
       Unfortunately, statues, weeping Madonnas, liquefying blood, and suchlike are precisely the sort of doctrines on which there will never be unity with nearly all other Christians.
       The Orthodox Churches rejected statues centuries ago, and further West the miracles and the weepings were debunked among heroic peoples even before Martin Luther's day.  In this modern scientific age it is amazing, and sad, that people still give money for such shenanigans.  The flesh-and-blood Mary wept tears, not scented vegetable oil!
       But there's another doctrinal complication. Limbo for unbaptised dead infants, which in early 2005 had been part of the teachings of the Catholic leaders for about 700 years, was only a "theory," we heard semi-officially on April 21 this year. It was in Dr Rumble's Radio Replies of 1934 as standard teaching, and was taught in Catholic schools and churches all over the world.
       When this "theory" argument first was previously suggested by the Vatican, a brave Perth parish priest, in a letter published on December 15, 2005 in The Record, objected to the long time that the Church had taken to reject a cruel teaching that for centuries had told mothers they would not see their unbaptised babies in heaven. In The Record, there was no mention that the previous teaching for centuries after Saints Augustine and Fulgentius had been even crueller, that the babies went to burn in hell for eternity.
       In early 2005 the Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants and others would not have been united with Catholics on this sort of doctrine, nor on the Vatican's ideas of its authority over Christendom. The current dropping of limbo only confirms many Christians' rejection of the notion that the Vatican never makes a mistake and knows everything.
       Neither would Western non-Catholics accept the un-scriptural Immaculate Conception, Mary's Assumption, Purgatory, and the collection of phobias that I have labelled "pubianity", i.e., wrong ideas about sex-spurning (celibacy), uncontrolled pregnancies (for other people!), sperm, ova, hiding clerical seducers, etc. #
    [Apr 30, 07]

    • Christian Fascism: The Jesus Gestapo of St. Orwell.  United States of America flag; 

    Christian Fascism: The Jesus Gestapo of St. Orwell

       Uncensored, www.uncens , by Dr Carolyn Baker, www.carolyn , carolyn@ carolyn (article dated January 31st 2007), p 95-97, Issue 7, April-June 2007
       New York Times reporter, Chris Hedges, has written an extraordinary book, American Fascism: The Christian Right And The War On America. Having survived a Christian fundamentalist background myself, I marvel at the timely urgency of Hedges' book, but also, at the obtuse disconnect most Americans have with the pivotal thesis of his book: the power of the religious right in the United States to bring forth a nation whose totalitarian repression could dwarf that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. As Hedges notes, we are well on the path toward such a reality, and the Dominionist Christian right is a principal player in the process.
       While the nucleus of that movement is small, measuring only about 1 % of evangelicals and led by the likes of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and John Hagee, those leaders are supported by throngs of evangelicals sympathetic to their theocratic views who dutifully preach the consummate tenet of the movement, submission. Citizens must submit to their government officials, particularly the ones who claim to be born-again Christians and receiving their orders from God; wives must submit to husbands; children must submit to parents; and everyone must submit to the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by evangelical Christianity - or burn in hell.
       I will herein use the term "Christian fascism" or "Cristo-fascism" as synonymous with a worldview and political philosophy which are both fundamentalist Christian and fascist in nature.
       Recently, I viewed a chilling documentary Jesus Camp, which examines "the evangelical belief that a revival is underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement." The film follows a group of evangelical kids who attend a summer camp where they are taught to become dedicated Christian soldiers in God's army. Under the leadership of control-freak youth pastor, Becky Fischer, who makes Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest look like Snow White, the children are told that theirs is a unique generation - perhaps the last on earth before the return of Christ to rapture his church, and that just as Muslim children learn at an early age to carry and use automatic weapons so that they can die for Islam, Christian kids must learn to fight in the Jesus army in order to save souls and take back America for God - and be willing to die for Jesus.
       One not need be a licensed mental health professional to find the emotional manipulation, indoctrination, and outright brainwashing of the Jesus camp both repulsive and enraging. Its squeaky-clean, almost exclusively white, puerile participants mouth all the right jargon, concepts, and scripture verses impeccably and robotically like good little Christian boys and girls - or more chillingly, like Hitler youth. Jesus Camp is nothing less than childhood spiritual abuse on steroids, leaving me personally and eternally grateful that as a child growing up in fundamentalism, I wasn't subjected to anything worse in the context of religious services than the raspy screams of Bible-thumping preachers.

       Hedges' brilliant article, "The Christian Right And The Rise Of American Fascism" outlines several principles inherent in Christian fascism, and to his list, I will add a few of my own:
       1) Apocalyptic Violence – A central tenet of Cristo-fascism is the belief that after the Rapture or Christ's returns to rescue Christian believers and take them to heaven, a period of seven years, or the Tribulation, will ensue in which an Anti-Christ will dominate the world, and every horror imaginable will be unleashed on humankind. Those who submit (again a pivotal word for Christian fascism) and accept Christ as their personal saviour, will be martyred but will be assured of spending eternity in heaven with Christ. Those who do not submit will be condemned eternally to hell. After the Tribulation period, Christ will return again with the "army" of Christians in heaven, and the battle of Armageddon will be fought against the Anti-Christ and his armies. The latter will be slaughtered by Christ and his followers who will set up Christ's kingdom on earth where he will reign for one thousand years, followed by the total and complete destruction of earth as Christ and his followers return to heaven.
       Sounds like a scene from the movie Independence Day? Actually, that movie cannot begin to capture the heinous barbarity that Christian fascism fantasises will befall the earth and those who reject Christ. That scenario is a bloodbath of unimaginable, avenging horrors. Note that not only will non-Christian human beings be decimated, but so will the earth itself, the outcome being twofold: Humans who do not submit to Jesus will be destroyed, and the planet itself will be annihilated. How delicious the vindication for the Cristo-fascist psyche! Not only will people who reject their Jesus be grotesquely punished, but their God will prove Himself more powerful than the very planet on which they live. Obviously, no need here to worry about global warming - at least the kind created by humans. God will incinerate the earth - his own instantaneous global warming, triumphing over all enemies of both himself and the Christian fascists.
       As Hedges notes, these fantasies of monstrous cruelty are appealing to many within the Christian-fascist movement because "The loss of manufacturing jobs, lack of affordable health care, negligible opportunities for education and poor job security has left many millions of Americans locked out. This ideology is attractive because it offers them the hope of power and revenge. It sanctifies their rage." And if any group of people on earth is enraged, it is the Cristo-fascists whose rancor is every bit as caustic and virulent as that of any Islamist fundamentalist on a suicide mission.
       2) One reason Hedges labels these individuals fascist has not only to do with their positioning themselves on the political right, but specifically, their fanatical insistence on submission to theocratic government. Had George Orwell been a born-again Christian, twenty-first century Cristo-fascists would probably declare him a saint. (War is holy, and killing is sacred.) Their preferred polity is biblical totalitarianism in which the principles embraced by secular society are perceived as untrue and antithetical to their God and his Word. Unquestioning obedience to fundamentalist Christian theology and its resultant theocracy are the cornerstones of Cristo-fascism in twenty-first century America.
       3) As a result, adherents are diametrically opposed to a secular world view and the tenets of modern science. As I have commented in other articles in recent years, fundamentalist Christianity generally distrusts, and often despises human reason. Millions of children in America are being home-schooled, and 75% of them are children from fundamentalist Christian homes. Home-schooling can offer an extraordinary alternative to attending public school, but for fundamentalist Christians, it serves, among other things, to shield their children not only from grappling with such issues as evolution and global warming, but learning the scientific method itself and the basic principles of critical thinking and logical analysis.
       4) Cristo-fascism is overwhelmingly a white Anglo-American movement. While one sees growing numbers of African Americans and Hispanics joining their ranks, the movement remains predominantly white and rabidly Islamophobic. Most outspoken on this issue is San Antonio's megachurch pastor, John Hagee, who perceives Islam as the new Satan which must be destroyed by Israel and the United States.
       5) While Christian fascism cannot give enough lip service to the "culture of life" it is morbidly death-obsessed in its raging support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and capital punishment. The popularity of the grisly, sado-masochistic The Passion Of The Christ among fundamentalist Christians, as well as the Jesus Camp's indoctrination of children to be willing and proud to "die for Jesus" further belie [sic] Cristo-fascism's death fetish.
       6) A new Christian Gestapo is in the works as the Christian right is working vehemently to take control of military chaplaincies and create, in Hedges' words, "America's Holy Warriors." He points out that during the last century communist and fascist movements each built paramilitary forces that operated beyond the reach of the law. The frightening popularity and proliferation of the private security firm, Blackwater, founded by a mega-millionaire right-wing Christian, Erik Prince, has not only become a giant mercenary force in Iraq, but was heavily used in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Increasingly, Cristo-fascists are becoming more blatant about their wish to force conversion to Christ through the barrel of a gun. A typical image of this concept, dripping with testosterone, may be viewed at the website of Force Ministries.
       Just this week, conservative theologian, Doug Giles, appeared on Fox News arguing that Christian males should be tougher because "Jesus wasn't a bearded lady". Christians, he said, should stop raising nice boys, and raise warriors who can fight terrorism.

       In answer to the question of what is to be done, I would assert as I usually do: Knowledge is power. Fundamentalist Christianity is inherently delusional. One cannot reason with its adherents nor influence them with facts. What one can do is understand first of all that the United States has become a fascist empire. If one takes seriously Mussolini's definition of fascism, "the corporate state", then this nation was well on its way even before the ascendancy of the Bush II administration and September 11, 2001.
       Furthermore, it is time for those who consider themselves politically progressive to stop "tolerating" Cristo-fascists. Certainly, these individuals have every right to believe whatever they choose to believe, but when one comprehends the inherently fascist nature of both their religion and their politics, one must necessarily confront not only their ghastly disregard for separation of church and state, but their implacable commitment to engineering a fundamentalist Christian theocracy in the United States.
       The exponential growth of the Cristo-fascist movement in the past six years is yet another symptom of empire and a somnambulant society in the throes of collapse. Whether or not one embraces Christianity or any religion, for that matter, it is instructive to engage in reality-checking the actual teachings of Jesus in the New Testament, and specifically, the gospels and other sacred writings which were excluded from the Bible in the fourth century for political and socio-economic reasons in order to streamline Constantine's hierarchical, imperial, Christian regime - the world's first but not last, Christian theocracy. With that in mind, I highly recommend The Jesus Mysteries, by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy.
       Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., is author of a forthcoming book, COMING OUT FROM CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM: Affirming Life, Love and The Sacred. Her recent book U.S. HISTORY UNCENSORED: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You is available at her website: www.carolyn
       [RECAPITULATION: … led by the likes of James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and John Hagee, those leaders are supported by throngs of evangelicals sympathetic to their theocratic views who dutifully preach the consummate tenet of the movement, submission. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Important truth there.  However, amazingly, while this author criticises the fundamentalist Cristo-fascists (surely "Christo-" is meant) for being Islamophobic, she forgets that the very word "Islam" means submission!!!  (If so, she would be like so many others who side with, say, the Palestinians in their situation of repression, forgetting that the same sorts of scriptures that tell the Israelis to persecute and "utterly destroy" people of the land, are mirrored in Islamic scripture!) 
       Some bloodthirsty urgings in the Koran seem to be "successor" scriptures to the Torah (i.e., the Old Testament), or "copycat" texts.  In Victoria, Australia, two Protestant clergymen (the two Dannys) were prosecuted for pointing out the exhortations to violence in the Koran.  They have since been cleared, at great expense.
       When the RC Sydney Cardinal George Pell said that he had found violence taught in the Koran, Muslim apologists criticised him.  When the Pope quoted an Eastern Roman Emperor of a past century, violence and murder broke out in various countries, and one imam ordered his murder.  It seems that Carolyn Baker would learn much if she quietly studied "The Koran Key". COMMENT ENDS.] [April-June 2007]

    • Father, son and wholly bogus.  [Book GOD is NOT GREAT]

    Father, son and wholly bogus

       The Weekend Australian, by Christopher Hitchens, p 19, May 19-20, 2007
       Christopher Hitchens debunks religion as a primitive and destructive absurdity in a new book that seeks to shed light on humanity's future
    THE mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did. Still less can they hope to tell us the meaning of later discoveries and developments that were, when they began, either obstructed by their religions or denounced by them.
       And yet the believers still claim to know! Not just to know, but to know everything. Not just to know that God exists, and that he created and supervised the whole enterprise, but also to know what he demands of us, from our diet to our observances to our sexual morality.
       In other words, in a vast and complicated discussion where we know more and more about less and less, yet can still hope for some enlightenment as we proceed, one faction – itself composed of mutually warring factions – has the sheer arrogance to tell us that we already have all the essential information we need. Such stupidity, combined with such pride, should be enough on its own to exclude belief from the debate.
       The argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments because it is the beginning – but not the end – of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature.  It is also the beginning – but by no means the end – of all disputes about the good life and the just city.
       Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. Very generous of me, you may say.
       But will the religious grant me the same indulgence? I ask because there is a real and serious difference between me and my religious friends, and the real and serious friends are, sufficiently honest to admit it I would be quite content to go to their children's bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their gothic cathedrals, to respect their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition, which is that they in turn leave me alone.
       But this is what religion is ultimately incapable of doing. As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of hard-won human attainments. Religion poisons everything.
       The level of intensity fluctuates according to time and place, but it can be stated as a truth that religion does not, and in the long run cannot, be content with its own marvellous claims and sublime assurances.
       It must seek to interfere with the lives of non-believers, or heretics, or adherents of other faiths. It may speak about the bliss of the next world, but it wants power in this one. This is only to be expected.
       It is, after all, wholly man-made. And it does not have the confidence in its own various preachings even to allow coexistence between different faiths.
       Take a single example, from one of the most revered figures that modern religion has produced. In 1996, the Irish Republic held a referendum on one question: whether its state constitution should still prohibit divorce. Most of the political parties, in an increasingly secular country, urged voters to approve of a change in the law.
       They did so for two excellent reasons. It was no longer thought right that the Catholic Church should legislate its morality for all citizens, and it was obviously impossible even to hope for eventual Irish reunification if the large Protestant minority in the north was continually repelled by the possibility of clerical rule.
       Mother Teresa flew all the way from Calcutta to help campaign, along with the church and its hardliners, for a no vote. In other words, an Irish woman married to a wife-beating and incestuous drunk should never expect anything better and might endanger her soul if she begged for a fresh start, while for the Protestants, they could choose the blessings of Rome or stay out altogether. There was not even the suggestion that Catholics could follow their own church's commandments while not imposing them on all other citizens. And this in the British Isles, in the last decade of the 20th century. The referendum eventually amended the constitution, though by the narrowest of majorities.
       (Mother Teresa in the same year gave an interview saying that she hoped her friend Princess Diana would be happier after she had escaped from what was an obviously miserable marriage, but it's less of a surprise to find the church applying sterner laws to the poor or offering indulgences to the rich.)
       One must state it plainly. Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody – not even the mighty Democritus, who concluded that all matter was made from atoms – had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance and other infantile needs).
       Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion and one would like to think – though the connection is not a fully demonstrable one – that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell. All attempts to reconcile faith with science and reason are consigned to failure and ridicule for precisely these reasons.
       The decay and collapse and discredit of god worship does not begin at any dramatic moment, such as Nietzsche's histrionic and self-contradictory pronouncement that God was dead.
      [Picture: The famous creation of Adam painting, but above it is a skeletonised hand reaching towards a repeated enlarged hand of Adam.] Illustration: Andrew Bunting  
       Nietzsche could no more have known this or made the assumption that God had ever been alive than a priest or witch doctor could ever declare that he knew God's will. Rather, the end of god worship discloses itself at the moment, which is somewhat more gradually revealed, when it becomes optional, or only one among many possible beliefs.
       For the greater part of human existence, it must always be stressed, this option did not really exist. We know, from the many fragments of their burned and mutilated texts and confessions, that there were always human beings who were unconvinced. But from the time of Socrates, who was condemned to death for spreading unwholesome scepticism, it was considered ill-advised to emulate his example. And for billions of people down the ages, the question simply did not come up.
       Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse.
      [Picture of two pages in Arabic, with a mittened hand with a finger pointing to a word.] Prophet motive: Many authorities feel the Koran is only intelligible in Arabic  
    And if we chance to forget what that must have been like, we have only to look to those states and societies where the clergy still has the power to dictate its own terms.

       THE work of rereading the Old Testament is sometimes tiring but always necessary because as one proceeds there begin to occur some sinister premonitions. Abraham, an ancestor of all monotheism, is ready to make a human sacrifice of his own firstborn. And a rumour comes that "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son". Gradually, these two myths begin to converge.
       It's needful to bear this in mind when coming to the New Testament because if you pick up any of the four Gospels and read them at random it will not be long before you learn that such and such an action or saying, attributed to Jesus, was done so that an ancient prophecy should come true.
       (Speaking of the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, riding astride a donkey, Matthew says in his chapter 21, verse 4, "All of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet." The reference is probably to Zechariah 9:9, where it is said that when the Messiah comes he will be riding on an ass.)
      We have a right to remember how barbarically religions behaved when they were strong and making an offer that people could not refuse  
       If it should seem odd that an action should be deliberately performed in order that a foretelling be vindicated, that is because it is odd. And it is necessarily odd because, just like the Old Testament, the new one is also a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right.  For concision, I shall defer to a finer writer than myself and quote what H. L. Mencken irrefutably says in his Treatise on the Gods: "The simple fact is that the New Testament, as we know it, is a helter-skelter accumulation of more or less discordant documents, some of them probably of respectable origin but others palpably apocryphal, and that most of them, the good along with the bad, show unmistakable signs of having been tampered with."
       The four Gospels' authors – none of whom published anything until many decades after the crucifixion – cannot agree on anything of importance.
       The scribes cannot even agree on the mythical elements: they disagree wildly about the Sermon on the Mount, the anointing of Jesus, the treachery of Judas and Peter's haunting denial. Most astonishingly, they cannot converge on a common account of the crucifixion or the resurrection.
       Thus, the one interpretation that we simply have to discard is the one that claim warrant for all four of them. The book on which all four may possibly have been based, known speculatively to scholars as "Q", has been lost forever, which seems distinctly careless on the part of the God who is claimed to have inspired it

       ISLAM is at once the most and the least interesting of the world's monotheisms. It builds on its primitive Jewish and Christian predecessors, selecting a chunk here and a shard there, and thus if these fall, it partly falls also. Its founding narrative likewise takes place within an astonishingly small compass and relates facts about extremely tedious local quarrels. Almost all of the tradition is oral and all of it is in Arabic. Indeed, many authorities agree that the Koran is intelligible only in that tongue, which is itself subject to innumerable idiomatic and regional inflections. This would leave us, on the face of it, with the absurd and potentially dangerous conclusion that God was a monoglot.
       Before me is a book, Introducing Muhammad, written by two British Muslims who are hoping to present a friendly version of Islam to the West. Ingratiating and selective as their text may be, they insist that "as the literal Word of God, the Koran is the Koran only in the original revealed text. A translation can never be the Koran, that inimitable symphony, 'the very sound of which moves men and women to tears'.
       "A translation can only be an attempt to give the barest suggestion of the meaning of words contained in the Koran. This is why all Muslims, whatever their mother tongue, always recite the Koran in its original Arabic."
      [Picture] Live and let live: Christopher Hitchens  
       Even if God is or was an Arab (an unsafe assumption), how could he expect to reveal himself by way of an illiterate person (Mohammed) who in turn could not possibly hope to pass on the unaltered (let alone unalterable) words?
       There would have been no Protestant Reformation if it were not for the long struggle to have the Bible rendered into "the Vulgate" and the priestly monopoly therefore broken. Devout men such as Wycliffe, Coverdale, and Tyndale were burned alive for even attempting early translations. The Catholic Church has never recovered from its abandonment of the mystifying Latin ritual and the Protestant mainstream has suffered hugely from rendering its own Bibles into more everyday speech. Some mystical Jewish sects still insist on Hebrew and play kabbalistic word games even with the spaces between letters, but among most Jews, too, the supposedly unchangeable rituals of antiquity have been abandoned.
       The spell of the clerical class has been broken. Only in Islam has there been no reformation and to this day any vernacular version of the Koran must still be printed with an Arabic parallel text. This ought to arouse suspicion even in the slowest mind.
       When the worst has been said about the Inquisition and the witch trials and the Crusades and the Islamic imperial conquests and the horrors of the Old Testament, is it not true that secular and atheist regimes have committed crimes and massacres that are, in the scale of things, at least as bad if not worse? And does not the corollary hold, that men freed from religious awe will act in the most unbridled and abandoned manner?
       The examples most in common use, those of the Hitler and Stalin regimes, show us with terrible clarity what can happen when men usurp the role of gods.
       When I consult with my secular and atheist friends, I find that this has become the most common and frequent objection that they encounter from religious audiences. I would not say that the ranks of secularism and atheism are exactly crammed with communists or fascists, but it can be granted for the sake of argument that, just as secularists and atheists have withstood clerical and theocratic tyrannies, so religious believers have resisted pagan and materialistic ones. But this would only be to split the difference.
       The word totalitarian was probably first used by dissident Marxist Victor Serge, who had become appalled by the harvest of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. It was popularised by secular Jewish intellectual Hannah Arendt, who had fled the hell of the Third Reich and who wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism. It is a useful term because it separates ordinary forms of despotism, those that merely exact obedience from their subjects, from the absolutist systems that demand citizens become wholly subjects and surrender their private lives and personalities entirely to the state or to the supreme leader.
          God is not Great; Christopher HITCHENS For most of human history, the idea of the total or absolute state was intimately bound up with religion. A baron or king might compel you to pay taxes or serve in his army, and he would usually arrange to have priests on hand to remind you that this was your duty, but the truly frightening despotisms were those that also wanted the contents of your heart and your head. Whether we examine the oriental monarchies of China or India or Persia, or the empires of the Aztec or the Incas, or the medieval courts of Spain and Russia and France, it is almost unvaryingly that we find that these dictators were also gods or the heads of churches. The slightest infringement – of a holy day, or a holy object, or an ordinance about sex or food or caste – could bring calamity.
       This was even true when the divine right of despots began to give way to versions of modernity. Yet the object of perfecting the species – which is the very root and source of the totalitarian impulse – is in essence a religious one.
       George Orwell, the ascetic unbeliever whose novels gave us a picture of what life in a totalitarian state might truly feel like, was in no doubt about this.
       "From the totalitarian point of view," he wrote in The Prevention of Literature in 1946, "history is something to be created rather than learned. A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible."
       Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers an explanation of anything important. Where once it used to be able, by its total command of a world view, to prevent the emergence of rivals, it can now only impede and retard, or try to turn back, the measurable advances that we have made. Meanwhile, confronted with undreamed-of vistas inside our own evolving cortex, in the farthest reaches of the known universe, and in the proteins and acids that constitute our nature, religion offers either annihilation in the name of God or else the false promise that if we take a knife to our foreskins, or pray in the right direction, or ingest pieces of wafer, we shall be saved.
       Above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlightenment, which will base itself on the proposition that the proper study of mankind is man, and woman. This Enlightenment will not need to depend, like its predecessors, on the heroic breakthroughs of a few gifted and exceptionally courageous people. It is within the compass of the average person. The study of literature and poetry, both for its own sake and for the eternal ethical questions with which it deals, can now easily depose the scrutiny of sacred texts that have been found to be corrupt and confected. The pursuit of unfettered scientific inquiry, and the availability of new findings to masses of people by easy electronic means, will revolutionise our concepts of research and development.
       Very importantly, the divorce between the sexual life and fear, and the sexual life and disease, and the sexual life and tyranny, can now at last be attempted, on the sole condition that we banish all religions from the discourse. And all this and more is, for the first time in our history, within the reach if not the grasp of everyone.
       We have first to transcend our prehistory, and escape the gnarled hands that reach out to drag us back to the catacombs and the reeking altars and the guilty pleasures of subjection and abjection.
       "Know yourself," said the Greeks, gently suggesting the consolations of philosophy. To clear the mind for this project, it has become necessary to know the enemy, and to prepare to fight it.
       This is an edited extract from God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, out next month (Alien & Unwin, $29.95). #
       [RECAPITULATION: When the worst has been said about the Inquisition and the witch trials and the Crusades and the Islamic imperial conquests and the horrors of the Old Testament, is it not true that secular and atheist regimes have committed crimes and massacres that are, in the scale of things, at least as bad if not worse? And does not the corollary hold, that men freed from religious awe will act in the most unbridled and abandoned manner? The examples most in common use, those of the Hitler and Stalin regimes, show us with terrible clarity what can happen when men usurp the role of gods. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: How sad that much of what he says cannot really be gainsaid, even by reverent people. ENDS.]
       [MORE information about this book was later put on Books – Religion Clarity Campaign. ENDS.] [May 19-20, 2007]

    • New faiths find fertile ground.  [Founder says he is reincarnation of Jesus Christ.] Russia flag; 

    New faiths find fertile ground

    Ex-Siberian traffic policeman leads his flock in their search for a true religion
       The West Australian, p 46, Saturday, July 21, 2007
       SIBERIA, Russia -- Abut 10km from the nearest road, in the vast Siberian wilderness, a bearded man in flowing white linen robes sat at his kitchen table and talked about his crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate 2000 years ago.
       … Sergei Torop said it was painful to remember the end of his last life, in which he said he walked the Earth as Jesus Christ. […]
       Mr Torop, a former Siberian traffic policeman, is the spiritual leader of at least 5000 devoted followers. […] the man they call Vissarion ("he who gives new life").
       … his Church of the Last Testament […]
    [Jul 21, 07]

    • Nuns excommunicated  [Founder says she is reincarnation of Mary.] - RCC. Canada flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Vatican City / Papal flag; 

    Nuns excommunicated

       The Record (R.C. Perth W. Australia weekly), http://the catholic , In Brief, p 11, October 3, 2007
       CANADA: Six sisters from the Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs were excommunicated by the Catholic Church for their involvement in a schismatic association based in Quebec.
       They have been longtime members of the Community of the Lady of All Nations, also known as the Army of Mary.
       The excommunicated sisters adopted the teachings of its founder, Marie-Paul Giguere, who believes she is the reincarnation of Mary.
       The association is no longer considered a Catholic organisation becasue of its false teachings on the Trinity and Mary, a Vatican official said.
       This summer, Fr Jean-Pierre Mastropietro, an association priest, invalidly ordained six men in Canada. #
    [Oct 3, 07]

    • Priest guilty of collaboration in dirty war.  [~ 1976-1983 von Wernich] - RCC. Betrayed the secrets of Confession. Compared himself to Jesus Christ. Argentina flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    Priest guilty of collaboration in dirty war

       The West Australian, p 30, Thursday, October 11, 2007
      [Picture] Guilty: Christian von Wernich listens to the verdict in his trial.    Picture: Reuters  
       LA PLATA, ARGENTINA: A Catholic priest who compared himself to Jesus Christ has been jailed for life for collaborating in murders, kidnappings and torture during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina.
       Christian von Wernich, 69, was chaplain to the Buenos Aires police force. He used this position to get confessions from prisoners, which he then passed on to police who tortured them at secret detention centres.
       He was convicted of complicity in seven murders, 31 cases of torture and 42 abductions in the Buenos Aires region; a mere smattering of the estimated 30,000 disappearances during the military junta's countrywide purge of leftists.
       Von Wernich, the first priest sentenced in Argentina for abuses under the military dictatorship, displayed no emotion as he heard his sentence, sitting behind a thick pane of glass and wearing a bulletproof jacket.
       Testifying earlier in his defence, he compared himself to Jesus Christ "who was put on trial with syupportfrom the people, who asked that he be crucified."
       Von Wernich accused witnesses in his trial – all survivors of the torture chambers – of being possessed by the devil.
       "The false witness here is the devil, because he is pregnant with malice," he said staring at his judges on the podium, behind which a big cross hung.
       His sentence came at the end of a three-month trial in the town of La Plata, 57km south of Buenos Aires.
       Hundreds of people celebrated the sentence with songs, by setting off fireworks and by torching an effigy of von Wernich.
       "Justice has been done – this is an historic day we Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo never thought we'd live to see," said Tati Almeyda, a member of the group that for 30 years has been pressing for the identification of the victims of the military repression, many of them close family members.
       "That a court has acknowledged that genocide exists in our country is an encouragement for us to carry on and justifies so many years of struggle," Adriana Calvo, of the Association of former Detainees and the Missing, said.
       Government Secretary for Human Rights Eduardo Duhalde welcomed the verdict and said: "Now we think it should be followed up with sentences for all those found guilty of illegal repression."
       The Catholic Church said it was stricken with pain at seeing "a priest participating in very serious crimes".
       "We believe the steps taken by the justice system in clarifying the facts should help renew every citizen's effort toward reconciliation and serve as a wake up call to put impunity, hatred and bitterness behind us," Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, who signed the statement, said.
       "If any member of the Church – by recommendation or complicity – endorsed the violent repression, he did so under his own responsibility, straying from and sinning gravely against God, humanity and his own conscience," he said. #
       [COMMENT: Look in reference books to see which Great Power/s was/were behind the replacment of the elected government with a military dictator. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 11, 07]

    • Evangelist denies squandering uni cash.  [Years - Son of Oral Roberts] - Television evangelist's son. Opulent. United States of America flag; 

    Evangelist denies squandering uni cash

       The West Australian, p 30, Thursday, October 11, 2007
       NEW YORK -- US university chief Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts, one of America's most prominent televangelists, says God has told him to fight a lawsuit alleging that he and his family squandered university funds on a lavish lifestyle.
       The lawsuit has been brought by three of his former professors at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who claim that they, too, have divine guidance in their struggle for justice.
       They have accused Mr Roberts of misusing college or ministry money to have his family home redesigned 11 times in 1.4 years, enable his daughter to use the university jet to take friends to the Bahamas for a holiday, buy luxury cars and allow his wife to spend $US39,000 ($43,350) of college money on clothes and other expenses.
       The university was founded in 1963 by Oral Roberts, who built one of America's biggest evangelical empires and hoped the futuristic college would last forever. His fundraising tactics, which famously included telling people that God had told him he would be "called home" unless they sent in their donations, raised tens of millions of dollars.
       Oral Roberts, 89, is the university's chancellor, but his son is in charge of day-to-day operations. The university has a reported income of about $US75 million a year. #
    [Oct 11, 07]

    • US bishops support RU-486.  [Contraception for rape victims; Roman Catholic bishops do U-turn to obey state law.]  

    US bishops support RU-486

    Connecticut bishops’ stand on emergency contraception draws criticism
       The Record (R.C. Perth, W. Australia, weekly), CNS, p 11, Wednesday, October 24, 2007
       WASHINGTON (CNS) – The Connecticut bishops' decision to permit emergency contraception for rape victims at Catholic hospitals in the state without requiring an ovulation test is prompting a firestorm of criticism.
       The criticism focuses on what the emergency contraception marketed as Plan B, otherwise known as RU-486, actually does and on whether church institutions should allow the state to mandate what services it provides.
       On both those issues, the Connecticut bishops and hospital leaders who announced the decision in a joint statement on September 27 could have used more help from church leaders at the national and international level, Fr John Gatzak, director of communications for the Hartford Archdiocese, said.
       "The Church in Connecticut would have had a greater opportunity to resist" the state law that took effect on October 1 if there had been definitive statements on Plan B from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and/or the Vatican,
       Fr Gatzak said. The Connecticut bishops still consider the law "seriously flawed" and believe it should be changed, he said. In a joint statement with leaders of Catholic hospitals in the state, the bishops said, "Since the teaching authority of the church has not definitively resolved this matter and since there is serious doubt about how Plan B pills work, … Catholic hospitals in the state may follow protocols that do not require an ovulation test in the treatment of victims of rape.
       "If it becomes clear that Plan B pills would lead to an early chemical abortion in some instances, this matter would have to be reopened," they added.
       Plan B, containing a high dose of birth control pills, usually prevents pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It is available over the counter to women over 18 in the United States and has long been available to victims of rape at Catholic hospitals nationwide, following a pregnancy test and an ovulation test. Use of the ovulation test is specifically banned in the Connecticut law.
       But Fr Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, and other critics of the decision believe the bishops erred both in their understanding of Plan B and in agreeing to comply with an unjust state law.
       "Acts of blatant coercion of Catholic consciences are already far advanced and will only continue unless the Church is willing to stand up and rebuke the arrogance of these coercive measures and carve out strict realms of conscience which are unreachable by activist courts and corrupt politicians," said Father Euteneuer in a commentary on the decision.
       Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, put it more bluntly: "The devil wins in Connecticut."
       Mary Ann Kreitzer, president of the Catholic Media Coalition, called on the Connecticut bishops to rescind their decision in an October 4 letter. It was co-signed by nearly two dozen members of the Virginia-based group, which includes "Catholic writers, web-masters, editors and others engaged in producing media for and about the Catholic Church," according to its website. "It is a grave scandal to have Catholic bishops approve the use of the abortion drug," they said. "Their capitulation encourages further coercion by the government against the Church."
       The National Catholic Bioethics Centre in Philadelphia said in an October 3 statement that the Connecticut law is flawed because it contains state mandates that do not allow for a physician's best medical judgment, do not protect the conscience of individuals or institutions and do not allow rape victims to have all the information they need to decide whether they want emergency contraception.
       "The NCBC understands the judgment of the Connecticut bishops that the administration of a contraception medication in the absence of an ovulation test is not an intrinsically evil act," the statement said.
       "However, it is immoral to violate one's conscience, including the corporate consciences of health care agencies, and the unwillingness of the state to allow an exemption of conscience makes the law unjust and onerous."
       The state's bishops and hospital leaders said the use of Plan B pills for rape victims "cannot be judged to be the commission of an abortion because of such doubt about how Plan B pills and similar drugs work and because of the current impossibility of knowing from the ovulation test whether a new life is present." #
       [RECAPITULATION: Re-read the last sentence.  The real shame is that these religious people are agonising, without a biblical ruling, wanting the Pope in the Vatican or some other U.S. bishops to tell them how far they can go to prevent rape VICTIMS from bearing the sprogs of the low-lifes who illegally violated them.  Why don't they go back, not to U.S. bishops or the Pope, but to the Holy Founder?
       Contraception was NOT unknown to the ancients, and anyway if Jesus was the divine being that most of his followers claim, He would have known of contraception past, present, and future.  But none of His supposed sayings, nor those of His supposed followers, forbids contraception, family planning, or protecting people from venereal diseases or rape babies.  So why are these RCs getting their knickers in a knot over this "controversy," and others like it?
       It is not "coercive measures," "activist courts," and "corrupt politicians" that Father Euteneuer ought to be assailing, but the successors of those who condemned Joan of Arc, Gallileo, and countless others, and who supported the conquests of the Americas and the enslavement of red Amerindians for a time and black Africans. ENDS.] [Oct 24, 08]

    • Russians walk out of talks  [demanding that they ought to govern the Christian Orthodox in Estonia. Romanist-Orthodox talks hit snag.]  

      Russians walk out of talks  

    Pope asks for prayers after Russian Orthodox walk out of dialogue
       The Record (R.C. Perth, W. Australia, weekly), CNS, p 11, Wednesday, October 24, 2007
       VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Benedict XVI asked for prayers for participants in the Catholic-Orthodox international theological dialogue after the Russian Orthodox delegation walked out of the meeting.
       "I ask you to join me in praying that this important meeting will help the journey toward full communion between Catholics and Orthodox and that we could soon share the same chalice of'the Lord," the pope said October 10 during his weekly general audience.
       Members of the dialogue commission were meeting October 8-15 in Ravenna, Italy, to continue work begun a year ago on a document on the sacramental nature of the Church and its consequences for the structure of the church and church decision-making.
       US Cardinal William Keeler, retired archbishop of Baltimore and a member of the dialogue commission, said, "I expect we will have the agreed statement ready by the end of the meeting," although commission members had not set a publication date.
       The document marks "substantial progress" in theological agreement among Catholics and Orthodox, and "I do not think the absence of the Russian Orthodox will hurt that." In preparation for working together on the document, Roman Catholic participants met separately from Orthodox participants, who came from 1 different Orthodox churches.
       During the Orthodox meeting, Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told the other Orthodox participants that his delegation would abandon the meeting if they did not ask the Estonian Orthodox delegation to leave.
       The Russian Orthodox Church does not recognise th Estonian Apostolic Church which is tied to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, said a statement by the Russian Orthodox Church, and believes the Orthodox in Estonia fall under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, not the ecumenical patriarchate.
       Delegates decided to move forward with their work an the joint sessions were "going exceptionally well," one participant said, adding that delegates expected to complete work on their document, "The Ecclesiological and Canonical Consequences of the Sacramental Nature of the Church: Ecclesial Communion, Conciliarity and Authority in the Church." #
       [COMMENT: So, it is notorious that Rome wants to have the "Authority in the Church," and in this newsitem we can see that the Moscow Orthodox leaders have a similar very human failing, saying that the Orthodox in Estonia "fall under" their jurisdiction.  Anyway, why on earth is the Chalk talking to the Cheese about these matters?  The lust for power has not abated in centuries. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES: Matthew 18:1-4; Mark 9:34, Luke 9:46; Luke 22:24-26. DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Oct 24, 07]

    Move follows lawsuits, allegations

      - Oral Roberts University. Protestant. Misuse of resources allegation. United States of America flag; 
       Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld. com/news/ article.aspx? articleID= 071124_1_ A1_hMove 11578 , By ZIVA BRANSTETTER, World Projects Editor, Nov/24/2007
       TULSA (OH) -- Embattled Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts resigned Friday following nearly two months of allegations that he and his family misused university and ministry resources.
       In his resignation letter, Roberts states: "I love ORU with all my heart. I love the students, faculty, staff and administration and I want to see God's best for all of them."
       Roberts' letter, sent to the Board of Regents, states his resignation was effective Friday. The board is meeting Monday and Tuesday to determine its search process for a new president, university spokesman Jeremy Burton said in a statement.
       "Executive Regent Billy Joe Daugherty will continue to assume administrative responsibilities of the office of the president, working together with Chancellor Oral Roberts, until the regents meeting," Burton stated.

    Richard Roberts quits ORU post

      - Oral Roberts University. Order to "cook the books".
       The Oklahoman, By Tony Thornton and John Estus, ~ November 24, 2007
       TULSA (OK) – Richard Roberts, the embattled president of Oral Roberts University, resigned Friday, two days after a former school accountant said the televangelist ordered him to "cook the books" to cover up improper spending. ORU regents Chairman George Pearsons confirmed Roberts' resignation Friday evening and said regents will meet Monday and Tuesday to discuss the first steps in the search for a replacement.
       Pearsons said Roberts resigned through a letter that read in part, "I love ORU with all my heart. I love the students, faculty, staff and administration, and I want to see God's best for all of them."

    Richard Roberts says God told him to resign

      - Oral Roberts University. Heaven shows flexibility.
       The Oklahoman, ~ November 28, 2007
       TULSA (OK), (AP) - Richard Roberts told students at Oral Roberts University Wednesday that he did not want to resign as president of the scandal-plagued evangelical school, but did so because God insisted. Roberts told students in the university's chapel that God told him on Thanksgiving morning that he should resign the next day.
       Roberts said he resisted the idea, and that "every ounce of my flesh said 'no,'" and prayed over the decision with his wife, Lindsay Roberts, his father, Oral Roberts, and his children Friday morning.
       He said God told him he would "do something supernatural for the university," if he stepped down from the job he held at the 5,700-student school since 1993.
       COMMENT: But in a newsitem dated October 11, 2007, Mr Richard Roberts "says God has told him to fight a lawsuit alleging that he and his family squandered university funds on a lavish lifestyle."
       How many followers of the Oral Roberts teachings will wake up that God is not that flexible! ENDS.]
       [BY COURTESY OF: Clergy Sex Abuse Tracker, a Blog by Kathy Shaw, hosted at present by www.bishop- accountability. org/ abusetracker END.] [~ Nov 28, 07]

    • The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West (Hardcover). 

    The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West (Hardcover)

       Amazon Books, com/Hidden- History- Womens- Ordination- Medieval/ dp/0195189701/ ref=sr_1_4? ie=UTF8&s= books&qid= 120273280 0&sr=1-4 , by Gary Macy, (The book's publisher Oxford University Press, and, Barnes & Noble, say it was published October 2007, The Copyright is 2008), and Amazon Books date it as November 30, 2007
       In The Hidden History of Women's Ordination, Gary Macy offers illuminating and surprising answers to these questions.  [Professor] Macy argues that for the first twelve hundred years of Christianity, women were in fact ordained into various roles in the church.
       He uncovers references to the ordination of women in papal, episcopal and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived. The insistence among scholars that women were not ordained, Macy shows, is based on a later definition of ordination, one that would have been unknown in the early Middle Ages.
       In the early centuries of Christianity, ordination was understood as the process and the ceremony by which one moved to any new ministry in the community.
       In the early Middle Ages, women served in at least four central ministries: episcopa (woman bishop), presbytera (woman priest), deaconess and abbess.
       The ordinations of women continued until the Gregorian reforms of the eleventh and twelfth centuries radically altered the definition of ordination. These reforms not only removed women from the ordained ministry, but also attempted to eradicate any memory of women's ordination in the past.
       With profound implications for how women are viewed in Christian history, and for current debates about the role of women in the church, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination offers new answers to an old question and overturns a long-held erroneous belief.
       [COMMENT: It is no harder to believe that the Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and some others have reversed themselves on ordaining women, than to study the Roman Catholic changed-yet-again doctrine about what happens to unbaptised babies that die.
  • The early Christians knew that because their angels see the face of the Father in heaven, and that with God all things are possible, the unbaptised babies and others went to heaven (yes, baptism was sometimes delayed until a person felt they were at an age when death was more likely).
  • Later St Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) and St Fulgentius (? 468-533 AD) and others taught that they went to hell and burnt forever.
  • To get out of this public relations disaster, but without hurrying, some Church thinkers around the 13th century (i.e., the 1200s) invented yet another invisible place or state for souls, called it "Limbo," and said that the babies went there.
  • Around the 1960s the Second Vatican Council does not seem to have issued decisions on the matter.
  • Then around 2005 a Vatican think-tank started to make noises along the lines that "Limbo was only a theory," (see newsitems of December 8 and 15, 2005; January 1, 2006; April 21 and 26, 2007), and a supposedly final paper was issued that the Limbo theory was being downgraded, and that the Roman Catholic Church did not know for certain where such babies' souls went !!!
       So, in spite of a scriptural promise that the spirit would lead the Christian congregation into all truth, and would tell them of things yet to come (John 16:13), one of the major sects can't bring itself to go back to the original Bible belief!  See more about the Limbo U-turn in a Dec 15, 2005 article. (This item and comment to this webpage on 11 Feb 2008.) ENDS.]
       [SEE: us/catalog/ general/sub ject/Relig ionTheology/ Historyof Christianity/ American/? view=usa&ci= 9780195 189704 , and also, http://world ow/1c783fbe 82925311a19 afeb4da09 e526.html . END.] [Nov 30, 07]
    • Priests in Christmas dust-up at Bethlehem.  Palestine Authority flag; Palestine Authority website 

    Priests in Christmas dust-up at Bethlehem

       The Weekend Australian, AFP, p 11, December 29-30, 2007
      [Pictures] Unholy melee: Palestinian police intervene in a fight between Greek Orthodox deacons and Armenian priests at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem yesterday    Picture: AP  
      Cleaning schism: The opposing clerics threaten each other with broomsticks    Picture AFP  
      Church brawl: Palestinian policemen try to control the fighting    Picture AFP  

       BETHLEHEM: Seven people were injured yesterday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
       Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.
       But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said that angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.
       For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers – there to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony – recorded the whole event. A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.
       "As usual, the cleaning of the church after Christmas is a cause of problems," said Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh, adding that he had offered to help ease tensions. "For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly," he said. "It's all finished now."
       The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.
       In the 1930s, a priest in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditional site of Jesus's crucifixion, was killed by a brass candelabra wielded by a priest from another denomination.
       The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn. AFP #
       [CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES: "Peace on earth to men of good will."  "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the age." END.] [Dec 29-30, 2007]

       Ekklesia: http://­www.­ekklesia.­
    Barnabas Fund for News: http://­www.­barnabas­
    Religion News Blog: http://­feeds.­feed­burner.­com/Rel­igionNews­Blog

    PARTIAL CONTENTS and ANCHOR LIST (After reading an article, use Browser's "Back" button to return to Anchor List)
    Brothers of Jesus - JAMES, JOSES, JUDA, and SIMON - and His sisters - are well-evidenced in the Greek Christian Scriptures (the New Testament). This paper challenges the over-emphasis on "purity" and "virginity" by certain Churchmen, and the unkept promises of "celibacy." Oct 27-31, 2005
    Cadaver Synod. Pope Formosus dug up, tried, condemned ! 897 A.D., January
    Can ISRAEL break away from ISRAEL? Religious puzzle. Aug 19, 1996
    Can a pope override the councils?  When it suits a leader the councils override a pope, but later it was made a sin to teach that! 2005
    Catechism [Australian].   Unbaptised infants who die cannot go to heaven, according to the Roman Catholic catechism.  (Limbo doctrine, without using that word.) 1938.
    Catholic students put to the test.  PERTH: Students at 9 RC schools failed or barely passed a religious knowledge test. Mar 14, 07
    "Celibacy erodes the priestly vocation." AUSTRALIA: The Annual World Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist - where 250 bishops consult with the Pope - decided last month against allowing married men to be ordained to the priesthood.  Celibacy enables the papacy to exercise enormous control over the Church. Nov 5, 2005
    Christian Fascism: The Jesus Gestapo of St. Orwell.  UNITED STATES: Dr Carolyn Baker exposes the evangelical Christians who teach submission to self-appointed leadership, both religious and civil. (article dated January 31st 2007), April-June 2007
    1203 / 1204 A.D.: Constantinople seized and sacked by "Catholic Christian" Crusaders. 1203 / 1204 A.D.
    [Cruel Limbo doctrine. Retreat undoing the hurt.]  The unwillingness to acknowledge our failures has only led, eventually, to recriminations and scandal, and seriously undermined our credibility, not to speak of infallibility.  Why can the Church not acknowledge its errors honestly and humbly? Dec 15, 05
    Donation of Constantine. ROME: The forgery that for about 700 years backed up the Bishop of Rome's claims to a kingdom in Italy, France, etc. [~ 700s-800s A.D.]
    Dysfunctional = The Dysfunctional Church; Addiction and codependency in the family of Catholicism, by Michael H. Crosby, 1991, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana. UNITED STATES: 1991
    Executed for denying that the earth was central: 1600.  RC leaders ordered the burning of Giordano Bruno on February 17, 1600. Galileo was "rehabilitated" about 350 years later. Feb 17, 1600
    Evangelist denies squandering uni cash. UNITED STATES: Oral Roberts' son had 11 house redesigns. Oct 11, 07
    Father, son and wholly bogus.  Edited extract from God is not great, 2007, by Christopher Hitchens. May 19-20, 2007
    Final Fall of Babylon and the end of the Jewish Talmud academies and pontifications there. 1084 A.D.
    Heritage = "Keating lashes Sydney Archdiocese over heritage threat," SYDNEY: Former Prime Minister Paul Keating criticised the style of Church leadership that was going to build Notre Dame University medical school threatening a precinct that was an "extremely exceptional institutional one". Oct 20, 2004
    • The Hidden History of Women's Ordination: Female Clergy in the Medieval West. Book by Prof. Gary Macy. Nov 30, 07
    Jensen = "Jensen's Crusade". SYDNEY (NSW) Australia: Hardline Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen, 62, has seen congregation numbers rising. Women and homosexuals cannot hold positions of leadership in the church, he insists. He has a "rock-like" stance against sexual abuse in the Church.  May 14-15, 2005.
    Lawyers grapple with Catholic doctrine. UNITED STATES: "Mental reservation" okay to lie for the RCC. March 26, 2007
    Leavened or unleavened bread?  Christians still arguing about it. Mar 4, 01
    Limbo fades; 'Good reasons to hope' for unbaptised babies says Vatican.  VATICAN: The Church, having taught for centuries that unbaptised babies don't go to Heaven, and for the past 700 or so years softening that down by inventing the term "Limbo" for their eternal resting-place, is now trying to say it is a theory. (Contrast with the 1934 article in Radio replies)  Apr 26, 07
    Limbo of Children; What happens after death? This is the Faith book, 1954, teaching the Limbo of children, still. (orig 1951) 1954
    [Limbo taught for centuries after the deviation. 1910.] The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1910, shows that after the apostolic age, the "for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" teaching of Jesus was rejected by such Patristic writers as St. Gregory of Nazianzus and St Augustine of Hippo. 1910.
    [Limbo teaching in the Roman Catholic Church.]  AUSTRALIA: An unbaptised infant cannot attain Heaven. Christ has said very definitely, "Unless one be born again … he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Jn. III., 3.  I am not more severe than Christ in my denial.  (Question: Has anyone ever come back to tell us about it?) [1934]
    Lock up 'crying' statue.  ROCKINGHAM:  WA scientist Thelma Koppi said yesterday she was dismayed the statue had become a national and international attraction.  "I think it is totally inappropriate to prey on vulnerable people like that."  A friend of Ms Powell, Queensland divorcee Ron Jakeman, claimed he was getting apparitions of Our Lady and messages at the Family House of Prayer.  [Recently expelled, according to the RC clergyman.]   April 15, 2007
    Medjugorje: The Untold Story. Book exposing the hoax "appearances and messages" since 1981 of The Blessed Virgin in former Yugoslavia. 1988.
    Mental reservation. [Seemingly Roman Catholic Church teaching.] 1977.
    1453 A.D.: Muslims seize Constantinople. Ottoman Turks conquer one of the old Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchates. 1453.
    Name of God = "Praise for 'God' issue," To The New Internationalist, AUSTRALIA: Might I praise the "In the name of God" August issue, which has dealt fairly well with the religion itch. Having been brought up as a churchgoer, up to a few years ago I would have squirmed to read it, but since 2002 when I started to become a recorder of the clergy sex abuse betrayal I have started to look closer at the "Faith of our Fathers." August 19, 2004
    New faiths find fertile ground. [Founder says he is reincarnation of Jesus Christ.] SIBERIA, Russia in Asia: Jul 21, 07
    Nuns excommunicated. [Founder says she is reincarnation of Mary.] QUEBEC, Canada: Oct 3, 07
    Old threat to 20th century Jewish state.  JERUSALEM archeology does not support the grand Kingdom of Israel-Judah Bible stories. Oct 30, 99
    Open Letter = An Open Letter To The Hierarchy Of The Roman Catholic Church Regarding The Pastoral Care Of Gay And Lesbian Persons. CHICAGO, Illinois, 23 priests signed. National Catholic Reporter, The Independent Newsweekly, USA; , January 5, 2004
    Police prey on statue.  WESTERN AUSTRALIA: POLICE are investigating Rockingham's so-called weeping Madonna statue.  Major Fraud Squad detective Sen-Sgt Dom Blackshaw said police would interview local priest Father Finbarr Walsh this week about the statue and a man he threw out of his parish, self-proclaimed visionary Ron Jakeman. Apr 29, 07
    Pope orders Queen Elizabeth off the throne, Declares all oaths of allegiance are null and void, Frees the people from allegiance, Declares them perpetually absolved from any oath connected with her authority, and Excommunicates those who obey her. Papal Bull Regnans in excelsis, from St Peter's, ROME, by Pope St Pius V, February 25, 1570.
    Priest guilty of collaboration in dirty war during the military dictatorship. ARGENTINA: He broke the secrecy seal of Confession. Oct 11, 07
    Priests in Christmas dust-up at Bethlehem. Dec 29-30, 07
    Primate receives St Paul chain links. ROME: Vatican hands two links to head of Greek Orthodox Church. Christmas 2006
    Pronoun = Pronouns in Genesis not altered by the gender of any Latin word. And certainly cannot be altered by the supposed word "stirps," quoted by an archbishop as being in the Latin Vulgate but, alas, the nearest word to it in the sentence quoted is "semen." No Latin word could possibly affect the original, which was in Hebrew. Letter to Archbishop Francesco Canalini, H. E. The Apostolic Nuncio, PO Box 3633, Manuka, (Canberra) ACT, Australia, (and similar to the Vatican, Cardinal Pell, RC Archbishop of Perth, and a Parish Priest in Australia). AUSTRALIA: It was with disbelief I studied the Latin Vulgate, Genesis chapter 3, on the Internet, and was unable to trace the Latin word stirps that you had quoted in your 25th August 2003 letter as the reason that the pronoun "he" changed to "she" in the Latin Rite's Genesis 3:15. 3 February 2004;
    AND, Question: "She" of Gen 3:15 changing back to "he" or "it"
    Latin word "semen" meaning "seed" is neuter, so can't make the pronouns feminine. From a Ph. D. of England, E-mail, February 5, 2004 ENGLAND: … The Douay and other Roman Catholic versions of the Scriptures have 'she will crush' because they were translated from the Latin Vulgate, which has the feminine pronoun 'ipsa'. Versions translated from the Hebrew text normally have the masculine 'he' or neuter 'it' -- the pronoun is masculine in Hebrew. [Main heading item dated Feb 3, 2004]
    Questions Your Pastor Will Hate. Ex-pastor Dennis Diehl disassembles some well-loved Bible stories. Feb 25, 07
    Refugees = Refugees: Does Christianity have a coherent policy on refugees? AUSTRALIA: 21 Oct 2003
    Richard Roberts says God told him to resign.  So ends, perhaps, the aura around the mission of the late Oral Roberts television crusade, and the successor university. TULSA (Oklahoma) USA. ~ Nov 28, 2007
    • The Roman Catholic Church Condemned Pope Honorius I as a Heretic and Excommunicated Him.  [after he had died.] reigned 625-38 A.D
    Rome and Canterbury -- agree to disagree.  AUSTRALIA:  In Zanzibar there was another move by a conference of Roman Catholics and Anglicans to combine, under the chairmanship of Rome.  The writer says the Churches ought to accept the chairmanship of the Oecumical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Feb 22, 2007
    Russians walk out of talks [demanding that they ought to govern the Christian Orthodox in Estonia]. VATICAN, about conference in RAVENNA, Italy: Oct 24, 07
    Sacramentum Caritatis, ("The Sacrament of Charity").  Pope Benedict XVI.  Celibacy is really a special way of conforming oneself to Christ's own way of life. This choice has first and foremost a nuptial meaning; … International masses could have more in Latin.  The faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.  The day of the Lord is also a day of rest from work. It is greatly to be hoped that this fact will also be recognized by civil society.  People ought not allow themselves to be enslaved by work or to idolize it. Mar 13, 07
    • The Slave Trade [of Christians and Muslims.] March 2007
    The spirit makes up a trinity. Jesus didn't seem to know about a person called the Holy Ghost a.k.a. the Holy Spirit, and the word trinity is not in the oldest documents. 2005, enlarged 17 Jun 2010
    Transgender = Transgender Scriptures! An Open Letter to all levels of the Roman Catholic Church. AUSTRALIA: Sex change operation? In Genesis 3:15, the Catholic Douay Bible translation says: "15. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." (Catholic Douay) The correct translations from the Hebrew are "he" and "his." No level of the RC Church showed repentance, and the scholarship was abysmal. Only one answer was received after prodding from each of four levels, and after that each level of the RC Church (wisely!) did not reply. In reality, it would take a large amount of humility to admit that Scripture fraud ranks alongside other huge sins of our forefathers!  Oct 16, 03
    [Under-work is huge problem, and altar boy seductions.]  Pope's overwork fears, and Latin.  Doesn't the Pope know that globally millions of people have little work, no land, and no business?  Iinstead of the Pope trying to bring Latin back into the mass, he ought to remove the altar boys first. Mar 15, 07.
    US bishops support RU-486. CONNECTICUT, U.S.A.: Contraception for rape victims; RC bishops in one state do U-turn to obey state law. Oct 24, 07
    Weeping For A Statue In 2007, Contrasted With Early 2005 Call For Unity.  The current dropping of limbo only confirms many Christians' rejection of the notion that the Vatican never makes a mistake and knows everything. Apr 30, 07
    Weeping Mary man expelled.  A man linked to Rockingham's world-famous weeping Virgin Mary statue - who says he sees the Virgin and displays the wounds of Christ (the stigmata) - has been told to leave town. Apr 8, 07
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