28 November, 2009

Manhattan Declaration is "dangerous"?

The Los Angeles Times claims that the Manhattan Declaration is a dangerous document with its call to civil disobedience. Read the editorial here

I guess this means that the Declaration must be on the right path!

27 November, 2009

George Weigel defends the conclusions of Natural Law as the language of our society's great debates

I have had the honor for the past 20 years to be able to count George Weigel as a friend. His family's annual visits with Fr. Richard Neuhaus at his Ottawa Valley every summer afforded me the opportunity to dine and visit with George and participated in many discussions about the issues of faith,culture and politics. I have the privilege of reading each of his books, and I eagerly await his upcoming companion volume to Witness to Hope which should be available for purchase within the next year or so.

George takes on the editors of the Washington Post in an article posted here in which he makes an argument for the preservation of the cultural understandings that we have built our modern society on: the fruits of the application of reason and the natural law.

This is one of my favorite subjects to expound upon. I have been decrying the redefinition of our societal definitions since I began this blog. Simply put: if we let the forces of secular atheistic humanism vitiate definitions of such fundamental concepts such as "marriage" and other vital supports for our culture, then we will find that the voices of theists will be ignored or perhaps even silenced in these great debates.

Read George's thoughts on the subject, and reflect upon the number of opportunities we can access through the internet and other social media to make a rational defense of faith's wisdom. We are late in getting into the game, but the match is far from over.

And for something lighter...

Here is a link to the Muppet's video on YouTube of Queen's signature composition "The Bohemian Rhapsody", done as only the Muppets could.

26 November, 2009

Join the conversation!!

Your participation is invited to an enlightening conversation on the subject of the basic concepts of society.

"Advokat" is without a doubt as solid in his convictions of life as I am in mine. Clearly neither of us expects to "convert" the other. He is also as sincere in his willingness to engage in a civil debate/discussion about the major questions of the day. If I can use an obvious self-promotion, it's a discussion... "where the rubber hits the road."

Respect the integrity and authenticity of people such as (s)he, engage in the conversation. There is a great deal to learn from them and, as we ask that they not abuse us of our rights, so too we should refrain from pounding such souls with scripture and piety.

It's a civil conversation, perhaps even sometimes a heated debate: it is not a place or time to demonstrate one's evangelization skills.

We don't need to try and turn each other into "roadkill".

Gender Mainstreaming at Save a Family Plan

John Pacheco of the SoCon website has been raising concerns about the Save A Family Plan, a Catholic charity group that works out of St. Peter's Seminary and in India. He has pointed out that SAFP practices "Gender Mainstreaming" which is a phrase with many definitions. The United Nations seem to use this term to cover a multitude of anti-life and pro-homosexual programs that are absolutely in opposition to church teaching. If SAFP were to use the term to mean the same, then with would be a major scandal.

However, according to the SAFP website, this is not what they mean when they use the term. Below is their definition of "Gender Mainstreaming":

Gender Mainstreaming

SAFP is committed to achieving gender equality, and as a means of addressing gender disparity, gender mainstreaming is applied across all SPED II program activities as a cross-cutting theme. By integrating gender considerations into all organizational and program activities—planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, reflection—SAFP and its partners increase their own capacity to understand, promote, and facilitate development that views the needs of women and men equally. Gender impact assessments guide this process at the planning stage by recognizing the often-different needs of men and women, and by determining how planned interventions will differentially affect them.


This entire issue points once again to the problem of people who set themselves up as the arbiters of orthodoxy on the net and proceed to attack those who do not (in their opinion) meet the Catholic standard. As Michael Brandon at his Freedom of Thought blog has stated on more than one occasion, such people would be better served by going to the source of their concern before publishing edicts of heresy about others.

Don't get me wrong. People like John Pacheco at SoCon do a great deal of good. It is simply my prayer that they would be a little more cautious and do their homework before they issue their pronouncements. Excellent programs such as SAFP are not above criticism, but they have earned the right to be extended the benefit of the doubt in such issues as "gender mainstreaming".

Fr. Tim Moyle

An interesting exchange between a theist and an atheist.

by Advokat
Nov 25 2009
4:51 PM


Fr. Tim: I disagree with just about every posting I have ever seen from you, reject the entire premise of your belief system, and am generally very skeptical of any statements built on a foundation that includes any notion of 'god' or other fictions, I too am sickened by the story that you posted. (Baby Gabriel case)

That said, this case does not raise 'right to die' issues. This is not a case of a competent mind expressing a wish to be allowed to die, and it was intellectually dishonest for you to have raised it in this context. The case that you have raised instead highlights the horrors associated with allowing accountants to make medical decisions. Disgusting? Absolutely. But really irrelevant to the 'dying with dignity' movement.

As a 'slippery slope' argument the case is unpersuasive - although, notwithstanding your 'That which is permitted..." quote, in my experience this kind of argument usually indicates an absence of other valid ones.

I also have to say that I agree with you on one other point: While I am a staunch advocate for gay rights including the recognition of gay marriage by civil authorities, the state has no business forcing churches to accommodate same-sex couples in its religious practices. However, where the church is an employer, it has crossed the line into the secular world and there is no legitimate reason to give the church a free pass on what would in any other case be unlawful discrimination.

------------------
by Fr. Tim
Nov 25 2009
6:22 PM



Advokat: Thank you for your post. I was trying to make the argument that economics/marketplace will eventually determine the question of end of life care. So, just as economics are the driving factor in the case I previously posted, do you not believe that the same forces will warp any move towards the establishment of a right for euthanasia in a like manner? If it can threaten life at its earliest stages, will it not do the same with the end stage of life?

I believe that a survey of similar social experiments with such an establishment of new rights is sufficient to at least cause us to be very hesitant to open the path to such a future.

Fr. Tim

------------------------

by Advokat
Nov 25 2009
7:53 PM



Fr. Tim: I hear you, but in my opinion eliminating the 'right to die' because of concerns regarding the potential influence of economics is like throwing the baby with the bathwater.

To me, the problem is not with euthanasia itself; rather, the problem lies with allowing economic arguments to dictate treatment courses for a specific person.

Economic scarcity will always be a factor in health care, but consideration of resource allocation should be limited to the policy level (and not in individual cases to determine treatment for a specific person).

If we (Canadians) collectively decide (through our elected representatives) that healthcare resource scarcity is such that dollars should be spent in one type of case instead of another, then so be it... But this is the kind of decision that should be made after robust public debate, and not by some hospital committee behind closed doors.

---------------------------

by Fr. Tim
Nov 25 2009
8:08 PM



Advokat: Now I am in the unaccustomed position of agreeing with you! We had better be careful lest we find we agree on more than we disagree on (smile).

Thanks for the post. I too hope that we can have a robust public debate on these issues. That's what I've been trying to provoke by entering into these threads:to make the argument for what the faith calls us to. That is also why I very much appreciate posts such as yours which help to lay out the arguments for such major societal issues.

Fr. Tim

----------------------------

by Advokat
Nov 25 2009
9:03 PM



Fr. Tim: Will wonders never cease...

But in seriousness, you raise an interesting point: As fellow human beings we agree on far more than we will ever disagree on... This fact is all too often lost in the excitement and emotion of arguments on points on which the parties disagree.

Thanks for the follow-up, and have a great day.

-------------------------------

by Fr. Tim
Nov 26 2009
3:48 AM



Advocat: I hope that you read ChrisA's posting. Without bringing any theism into the argument (s)he argues persuasively to the dangers that chill me as well.

Let me ask you for your opinion on this proposition: even if the Church (by this I mean the Christian Church and am not limiting it to the Roman Church) is stripped of any right in any argument to appeal to a divine involvement or existence, does it not have a valuable contribution to make to these debates as the repository of almost four thousand of the memories of such social experiments in previous times.

This would require that we strip ourselves of the post-modern conceit that we are the first to think such experiments worth implementing. Authentic Judeo-Christian wisdom has learned from the rise and fall of many a civilization. If there is a general consensus of opinion among theists that something is either "good" or "evil", does this not reflect the corporate memory of societies that spans such eons of time?

All that I am arguing here is that there is a right for a theist argument to be made and heard in the debates that face us in our society today.

I look forward to your, or any one's response.

Respectfully,

Fr. Tim

------------------------------------

by Advokat
Nov 26 2009
5:42 PM



Fr. Tim: You raise an interesting point. The church (in the collective sense) has a long 'institutional memory', and has accumulated wisdom to make a valuable contribution to discussions like this one.

In addition, regardless of how one may feel about the 'truth' of religious dogma, it cannot be denied that such teachings have informed the moral framework of a great many people, and their views on morality - i.e., the 'good' way to resolve an ethical issue - are valid and should be considered.

You are obviously educated and knowledgeable, and generally take a more reasoned approach to these types of discussions than other faithful. Perhaps this is a recognition that - and I do mean this with the greatest respect - statements like, "It is this way because god says so..." are not likely to be persuasive or even treated seriously by an atheist.

I suppose that a lot of the hostile reaction that religious persons receive from atheists in these debates can be attributed to the 'other' type of religious interlocutor: as Exhibit 'A', may I present Angelopeter as an example.

It is very difficult, particularly in a forum like this, to distinguish a contributor like you from one like Angelopeter, who strikes me and many others as a dangerous fanatic and who discredits you and your church and who undermines the contributions that the church can make in these discussions.

Statements like the following gem from Angelopeter are just downright scary to anyone rational: "[W]itchcraft does indeed exist... the only problem is if the Church catches them it is now longer allowable for us to have them executed."

Are you kidding me?!? There are a great many people who would agree that such a person really has no valid contribution to make to this type of discussion.

If I am wrong, chalk it up to me being unable to put myself in the mind of the religious faithful because I simply cannot understand blind belief in something without some form of evidence, but I have always assumed that more 'progressive' religious thinkers consider their primary texts to be collections of 'allegories' that are instructive but not to be taken as literal 'fact'.

But I simply cannot take seriously an argument put forward by someone who professes belief in creationism, for example... There is simply too much evidence that suggests otherwise, and blind faith in the truth of stories like Genesis indicates to me that the proponent is devoid of reason, rational thought and capacity for critical analysis. In that situation, why would I take seriously anything that comes out of that person's mouth?

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but I wanted to get some thoughts down in response to your last thought-provoking post.

Chris Matthews vs Bishop Tobin

Chris Matthews interviewed Bishop Tobin on his recent instruction to Rep. Kennedy not to receive communion.

Quite a few voices have arisen from the more traditional adherents of the Catholic faith to have Mr. Matthews sanctioned in some way for conducting an "abusive" interview. I heartily disagree. Mr. Matthews treated Bishop Tobin in the same manner that he does with most of his guests. He always talks over his guests, seemingly berating them when he does not agree with what they are saying. In this he is no different than those darlings of the right, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck.

Where Mr. Matthews went astray in the interview was in his insistence of framing the argument in such a way as to separate "law" from "morality" as if the two concepts where somehow antithetical to each other. Further, by placing the onus on the Bishop to determine what a "specific" law on abortion should be, or what punishments should be meted out to a woman who might have an abortion, he missed the point entirely. Bishop Tobin's position is that politicians such as Rep. Kennedy are in violation of their obligation as Catholics when they actively promote and legislate in a way so as to preserve or even expand the "right" to an abortion.

Suppose my faith requires me to be opposed to any particular act on religious grounds - so long as I do not vote or work to bring such an act into being - then I am at rights with my faith. I would incur no penalty from the Church - even if I did not do all that I could to write or promote legislation that would eliminate such an action.

This is quite different than what Rep. Kennedy has done. He actively and publicly works for the establishment of legislation that would facilitate, promote and use public dollars to pay for abortions. In this he is CLEARLY in violation of Canon Law and the teachings of the Catholic Church. Put in religious terms, he has taken himself out of the "communion" of believers by violating a fundamental tenet of the faith: that life begins at conception and that man (or woman) does not have the right to end that life any more than it would be proper to kill a child after its' birth.

Mr. Matthews might be a bully as an interviewer - that's his style. His problem is one of logic, which is quite different from his lack of manners. He needs to be educated, not sanctioned.

25 November, 2009

Interesting article from ZENIT

Making Belief More Believable
Conference Address Question of Faith in Secular Age

By Kirsten K. Evans

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Can belief be made "more believable" for both seekers and the faithful alike?

This is the question Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. episcopal conference, and Charles Taylor, professor of philosophy at McGill and Northwestern Universities and 2007 Templeton Prize Winner, sat down to discuss on the campus of Catholic University of America last Thursday evening.


The public forum kicked off a 15-month research project that will re-examine religion and faith in this secular age.

Sponsored by Catholic University's Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, the project "Faith in the Secular Age" will be developed in conjunction with the university's Center for the Study of Culture and Values and the Jesuit Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown.

Thursday's forum drew a standing-room only crowd at the university's conference hall, filled with priests, religious, academics, lay faithful and university students. "I came because innovations in the transmission of the faith is connatural to what I do for a living," said one professional Catholic artist, also a graduate student at Catholic University.

World of seekers

"We live in a world of seekers," explained Taylor in his address. "People who think they are not quite there yet knowing God, but are on the way. There are an endless number of itineraries by which seekers become believers.

"People come to the faith through different routes and events, and each way leaves a mark."

"Christian communion means we come from different places to a common ground, were we hope to experience communion," added Taylor, whose recent book, "The Secular Age" (Harvard University Press, 2007), explores the phenomenon of searching for the religious in the modern world.

Cardinal George, whose own book "The Difference God Makes: A Catholic Vision of Faith, Communion and Culture," was published in October (Crossroads Publishing, 2009) noted that "people are interested in being holy."

"One of the very nice things about being a bishop is that I get to go from parish to parish to parish where you meet many holy people," he explained. "Those people are believers, at least publicly, but in their interior many will admit to still being seekers -- not just on peripheral issues, but in more substantial things as well.

"And yet they are holy. They are being made holy by the proclamation of the Gospel, by the celebration of the sacraments, by being gathered in communities where they are loved not only in their families but also by pastors who love them in the name of Christ.

"It works. People are holy in this age as in others. But they become holy in different ways, that is for sure."

An art

Cardinal George pointed out that Church has been dialoguing for the last half-century on how to make belief more believable in the modern world.

He recalled how the Second Vatican Council enable the Church to respond to a world deeply divided after two world wars: "John XXIII thought that the sublime unity of the Church could speak convincingly enough to a divided world, that it could bring healing of the world’s brokenness."

Paul VI went even further, insisting that the Church not only be open to the world, but reform itself in order to be able to better speak to the modern world.

"The response of John Paul II was not just about the Church of the ages, but about the transforming power of faith, by bringing faith into a world that prioritizes experience," the cardinal continued. "He expressed faith in such a way that people who were open to a contemporary vocabulary were challenged to look at it anew."

"Most of all he expressed faith by locating and promoting witnesses to the faith,” he added, making reference to the pontiff’s canonization of more saints during his papacy than all other papacies combined.

"The present Holy Father, Benedict XVI, feels that the faith must be sufficiently stabilized in its own integrity in order to recall a fragmented world to conversion," said Cardinal George. "Therefore, he emphasizes the historical continuity of the Church, precisely so that it can become a stable point of reference.

"When I talk to people in their 20s and 40s, they want the Church to be a stable point of reference in the world, even if they do not want to be a part of the Church themselves.

"The Holy Father knows this. So he wants to show the world again the Church of the ages."

A challenge

Taylor went on to ask the question, if we are making belief believable, are we also making it inviting?

"At times we unfortunately make the presence of Christ, which ought to be transparent, look terribly opaque," he insisted. "I don't think we always look as if we are treating each other in a way that invites others to communion with us; when they see divisions or fighting within the Church herself, for instance."

He posed the question: "Do we believers present faith in a way that invites seekers to join us in communion? Or do we do things that tell them a priori, 'You need not apply'? When people see us, do they find communion with the faithful inviting?"

Task ahead
Over the next 15 months, two groups of scholars will dedicate themselves to probing these questions, under the tutorage of Jesuit Father John Haughey of the Jesuit Woodstock Theological Center, and Dr. William Barbieri, associate professor of theology and religious studies at the Catholic University of America.

One team will focus on the individual search for meaning in our contemporary secular age. The other will consider the role of the spirit in the socio-political global order. In February 2012 the forum will reconvene to consider their findings.

As one event organizer suggested: :The commitment of these leading religious scholars gives us founded hope that more light will be shed on this crucial issue of faith in our world today."

Man trapped in 23-year 'coma' reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious

This story was written by Rom Houben of the Online Mail. One might hope that it will give pause to those who so frequently are calling for those in a persistent vegetative state to be euthanized.


A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time.

Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them - but could make no sound.

'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,' said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.

'I dreamed myself away,' he added, tapping his tale out with the aid of a computer.

Doctors used a range of coma tests before reluctantly concluding that his consciousness was 'extinct'.

But three years ago, new hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.

Mr Houben described the moment as 'my second birth'. Therapy has since allowed him to tap out messages on a computer screen.

Mr Houben said: 'All that time I just literally dreamed of a better life. Frustration is too small a word to describe what I felt.'

His case has only just been revealed in a scientific paper released by the man who 'saved' him, top neurological expert Dr Steven Laureys.

'Medical advances caught up with him,' said Dr Laureys, who believes there may be many similar cases of false comas around the world.

The disclosure will also renew the right-to-die debate over whether people in comas are truly unconscious.

Mr Houben, a former martial arts enthusiast, was paralysed in 1983.

Doctors in Zolder, Belgium, used the internationally accepted Glasgow Coma Scale to assess his eye, verbal and motor responses. But each time he was graded incorrectly.

Only a re-evaluation of his case at the University of Liege discovered that he had lost control of his body but was still fully aware of what was happening.

He is never likely to leave hospital, but as well as his computer he now has a special device above his bed which lets him read books while lying down.

Mr Houben said: 'I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me - it was my second birth.

'I want to read, talk with my friends via the computer and enjoy my life now that people know I am not dead.'

Dr Laureys's new study claims that patients classed as in a vegetative state are often misdiagnosed.

'Anyone who bears the stamp of "unconscious" just one time hardly ever gets rid of it again,' he said.

The doctor, who leads the Coma Science Group and Department of Neurology at Liege University Hospital, found Mr Houben's brain was still working by using state-of-the-art imaging.

He plans to use the case to highlight what he considers may be similar examples around the world.

Dr Laureys said: 'In Germany alone each year some 100,000 people suffer from severe traumatic brain injury.

'About 20,000 are followed by a coma of three weeks or longer. Some of them die, others regain health.

'But an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people a year remain trapped in an intermediate stage - they go on living without ever coming back again.'

Supporters of euthanasia and assisted suicide argue that people who have lain in persistent vegetative states for years should be given the opportunity to have crucial medical support withdrawn because of the 'indignity' of their condition.

But there have been several cases in which people judged to be in vegetative states or deep comas have recovered.

Twenty years ago, Carrie Coons, an 86-year-old from New York, regained consciousness after a year, took small amounts of food by mouth and engaged in conversation.

Only days before her recovery, a judge had granted her family's request for the removal of the feeding tube which had been keeping her alive.

In the UK in 1993, doctors switched off the life support system keeping alive Tony Bland, a 22-year- old who had been in a coma for three years following the Hillsborough disaster.

Dr Laureys was not available for comment yesterday and it is not clear why he thought Mr Houben should have the hi-tech screening when so many years had passed.

A story taken from LifeSiteNews that should chill the soul of everyone

A Tennessee hospital is facing a possible emergency injunction after Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed legal papers today to save the life of nine-month-old Gabriel Palmer. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says it may abandon his medical care, resulting in the child’s death.

Baby Gabriel was born prematurely with a genetic abnormality, club foot, and narrow airway, but he flourished when he went home from the hospital in June.

There, he grew, played, and received physical therapy while going to regular doctor visits. He was fed through a tube and received some oxygen and medications.

On an October weekend, when the baby’s regular doctors were unavailable, Catherine Palmer took her son to the ETCH emergency room because of breathing problems. After interventions by the medical staff, the baby went into shock, developed pulmonary vascular disease, and was placed on a respirator.

ETCH recently began giving up on Baby Gabriel’s care, and on Nov. 13, the head of ETCH’s PICU, Dr. Kevin Brinkman, told Palmer that the hospital was going to stop feeding him milk and giving him his medications, as well as disconnect his respirator, because the staff considered his care “futile.”

Brinkman said a formal “ethics panel” meeting today would determine whether to stop treating Baby Gabriel, but he noted that the decision was already a foregone conclusion.

Ethics panel members have already said they will decide to cease the baby’s care despite his mother’s objections. ETCH’s policies declare that treatment can be withdrawn over the family’s objections as soon as the ethics panel makes its decision.

After doctors decided that Baby Gabriel was not worth treating, ETCH started discriminating against him by denying his basic care. Staff stopped bathing him, ceased applying cream to alleviate his chapped skin, reduced his diaper changes, and have not allowed his physical therapy.

ETCH doctors have also discouraged Palmer’s attempts to have her son transferred to other medical facilities where he could receive treatment.

Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an emergency motion in court this afternoon to save Gabriel’s life.

“A disability should not be a death sentence. No one should be allowed to decide that an innocent life is not worth saving,” ADF Legal Counsel Matt Bowman told LifeNews.com.

“Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital need to do the right thing and make sure Baby Gabriel gets the treatment he needs to live. He is loved by his mother, is in stable condition, and could live for a long time. The hospital’s treatment–or lack thereof–of this helpless little boy is simply inhuman,” he said.

Bowman indicated the hospital did not change course after a letter sent Friday by an ADF-cooperating attorney on behalf of Catherine Palmer which urged hospital officials to continue his medical treatment.

Hospital staff told Catherine Palmer that they will no longer provide medical care for her baby despite her objections.

Although the baby is on a respirator and medications to treat pulmonary vascular problems, he is stable and a doctor says he could live for a long time.

An ETCH doctor determined he could live “a long while.”

ADF indicates Gabriel is alert, active, and responsive when not sedated. In recent days while awake, he spent time kicking his feet, tried to play with his stuffed animals, listened to his mother and grandmother, and responded to his favorite music.

ADF filed the motion for restraining order and injunction in Palmer v. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Association with the Chancery Court for Knox County, which has set a hearing before Chancellor Darrel Fansler for later this afternoon.

ADF-allied attorney John Threadgill of Knoxville is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit. (Source)

24 November, 2009

Something for every cell phone user to watch

Makes you wonder about all those folks with blue tooth phones and headsets.


http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x5odhh_pop-corn-telephone-portable-microon_news

Matt Gurney (National Post) argues for the legalization of euthanasia

On the religion blog of the National Post, and as a op-ed piece in today's paper version, Matt Gurney, editor of the "Holy Post" blog makes an argument for the legalization of euthanasia. I post his argument below, as well as my response. I am very interested in your comments on the strengths and weaknesses of my argument. Thank you.

Matt Gurney: My life, my choice
Posted: November 25, 2009, 5:09 AM by Matt Gurney
Euthanasia, Matt Gurney, Holy Post

A recent 60 Minutes segment gave viewers a distressing peek into how the American medical industry delivers care to patients in their final days. End-of-life care has become an enormous financial expense, and that has left some doctors frustrated. "Collectively, as a culture," one said, "we really have to acknowledge that we're mortal ... and start looking at what a healthy, morally robust way to die looks like."

Some legislators in Canada have begun doing just that. That has upset my friend and National Post colleague Barbara Kay, who has argued passionately against taking any moves toward legalizing euthanasia -- including on these pages ( "Make life the only choice," Nov. 4). She is not alone in her beliefs, as this paper recently urged against adopting any right-to-die legislation in an editorial.

I do not agree. We must ask ourselves if letting euthanasia become a political hot potato (any more so than it already is) will do anything to help those enduring agonizing final days.

This is not an abstract worry -- each of us will one day die, and while we can all hope that our passing is painless, it is just as possible that we will instead spend our final moments hooked into machines doing their best to keep us alive well past what nature had intended. Every individual has the right to define the value they place on their own existence. A person who desires to fight for every second of life should have that right. Another who decides that they do not wish to fight the inevitable should likewise be accommodated. How a citizen chooses to face the final phase of their life is not the business of the state, of any religious faith, or of the body politic of the nation at large.

Some would argue that a life belongs only to God, and while their faith deserves respect, it is up to each individual to decide whether or not such concepts matter to them. Others would prefer to ignore the issue of an individual's right to choose entirely, and make the debate about something else: the controversial concept of doctors as killers, the threat of the elderly being coerced into choosing euthanasia by the relatives who would otherwise be responsible for their care and benefit financially from their estate, and the dreadful prospect of medical mix-ups resulting in the euthanizing of the unwilling.

These are serious issues, but euthanasia opponents must accept that no system enacted by man will ever be perfect, and just because euthanasia would be tricky to enact does not mean we shouldn't bother. The prospect of a doctor violating his Hippocratic oath can be removed from the equation by putting the administration of the fatal drugs into the hands of specialized technicians. Euthanasia can be limited to those who have explicitly requested it, in their wills or on an organ-donor-style card, leaving life as the default option for anyone who has not made their wishes abundantly clear. And the prospect of medical mix-ups does no more to discredit euthanasia than it does the entire health care system itself.

The process of establishing a workable euthanasia regime would be arduous and complex, and would involve many morally difficult questions. Granted. But these issues must seem very remote indeed to a person lingering in horrible pain while society hysterically debates the fine points of morality. I don't know what choice I'd make. But I demand the right to make it as a thinking individual, for my own reasons, and not as an unwitting pawn in yet another protracted battle in the culture war.

The church, the state, and the opinions of society as a whole are not welcome in my bedroom. I'm not much interested in having them with me in my death bed, either.

National Post

----------------
My Response:

Matt: You began your post as follows:

"A recent 60 Minutes segment gave viewers a distressing peek into how the American medical industry delivers care to patients in their final days. End-of-life care has become an enormous financial expense, and that has left some doctors frustrated."

Did you notice that the first of your arguments against the status quo (where euthanasia is supposed to be prohibited) is economic in nature?

This is my greatest fear regarding euthanasia as legal option in our country: that the economics of the issue will eventually result in euthanasia become the modus operandi as "end of life medical care.

Whether it be done by the forces of the marketplace, or as part of a triage exercise on how to "best spend" limited tax dollars for the "greatest good" of the majority of society, if we legalize euthanasia now, we will later be in the position of accepting it as a societal obligation. As the "boomers" come to the end of their time, placing a huge demand for medical resources that will paid for by the generation that follows. A generation that is the first not to be trained in the basic social conventions of our civilization that is expressed in Christianity. Put another way, the progeny of the "sex, drugs and rock & roll" generation will decide whether or not "boomers" have a "right" or an "obligation" to euthanasia as their final option.

As my recently deceased friend and mentor, Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus often said: "that which is permitted, will soon become an obligation.

Let me offer evidence of the truth of this maxim: gay rights & abortion.

In the latter case, we began by permitting abortion under specific circumstances and only after a review panel approved, through "abortion on demand", where now we approach a point where health care facilities are being denied the right to "not" perform the procedure. Look to recent decisions of the European Community courts to see how his "theory" is now being demonstrated once again.

The gay rights movement has done the same thing. Having argued successfully that the traditional definition of marriage was nothing more than a malleable concept that could be tossed aside so as to accommodate a newer, more "enlightened" definition, the movement has already come to a point where it now argues that Churches should be made to accept an obligation to grant them their "rights" as a married couple. If you don't believe this, look to the debate in Washington DC over a law which would require the Catholic church to extend benefits etc.to couples that it does not recognize as "married". And where a Christian pastor who publicly preached a traditional Christian view on homosexual acts as sinful, was fined and sanctioned by Canada's Human Rights Tribunals.

No, it is NEVER a good idea to give to any individual the "right" to facilitate the death of another. At its core, this is the question we need to answer.

Before we continue experimenting with changing the societal definitions as we have hitherto come to understand them any further, let us think of how any new "re-interpretation" we make now will morph to that point where the economic forces of life intersects with the handing over of our right to life. You need not even look further than the coverage today of a case in the United States where a hospital will terminate the life of a 9 month old deformed child, (against the wishes of the parents!!!)instead of transferring him to another facility. Yikes!

Even if I were to be a non-believer, a simple review of these examples would chill my desire to open this Pandora's Box. As a believer, it chills my very soul to let loose such a horrific descent into post-modern secularism which would menace the end of life days for unnumbered frightened souls.

Maybe... perhaps... my prognostication may be wrong and this is not the fate that naturally follow. I believe however that that the evidence points to a dyspeptic future ahead of us if we redefine any more "rights" as an expression of our rights of self autonomy.

Fr. Tim Moyle

Mattawa, Ontario

23 November, 2009

Catholic Answers

See the Reference Articles box for the first two blogs from "Catholic Answers", "Suicide", and "Old law/New law". They are orthodox, pastoral and pithy - three "very good things", compliments of the Dominican Edinburgh Seminary.

Interesting position of modernism and its implication for understanding clerical celibacy

Posted by Fr Longenecker at Monday, November 23, 2009

After analyzing the modernism in the Anglican Church it was pointed out that there's plenty of modernism in the Catholic Church too. True enough, and because blog posts should be short and punchy, I left this issue for another day.

It is true that all the problems I outlined in the post on Modernism in the Anglican Church are present in the Catholic Church. In many ways the effects have been even more devastating. At least the Anglicans with their good taste have preserved beautiful liturgy, architecture and sacred music in the midst of the modernism. Many Catholics have been even more gung ho on the dumbing down of Christianity, the vulgarization of the liturgy, art and architecture that is the philosophical offspring of modernism. The moral crisis among Catholic clergy which has caused so much pain and scandal is the direct effect of mixing clerical celibacy (which modernists simply cannot understand) with modernism and the moral relativism of the sexual revolution. The resulting cocktail was disastrously poisonous. (emphasis mine)

However, there are two distinct differences in the circumstances of Anglicanism and Catholicism. The first is that, while the Catholics have fallen into the same moral morass as Anglicanism, what they are doing has not been condoned and sanctioned by the Church. Yes, there are Catholic homosexual priests, Catholic bishops and priests and people who support women's ordination, Catholic people who favor abortion, remarriage after divorce etc. etc. The Church teaching, however, is clear and uncompromising. So in the Catholic Church you find Church teaching which is firm and clear and traditional, but some Catholics dissent and have their own opinion which is liberal. (emphasis added) In the Anglican Church is is virtually the reverse: the Church teaching is either non existent, open ended or actually sanctions the modernist stance but you have individual Anglicans who choose to hold to the traditional, historic faith.

The second fact, on which the first is built is that while Catholics are besieged by modernism, we still have the magisterium of the Church which repudiates modernism and offers the guide for authentic historic Christianity in the world today. We have a Catechism which states the church's teaching clearly and positively. The Popes hold the line, defending, defining and teaching the faith in the face of modernism, and in opposition to it. The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church defends historic Christianity and those of the faithful who go adrift do so knowingly. They are sheep who have strayed from the fold and from the Good Shepherd.

Individual Anglicans, on the other hand, are sheep without a shepherd. Without a clear authority structure they must make up their own minds, and while there is certainly some value in such independence of mind and action, it must be said that if one is going on a journey it would be possible to wander to the destination asking directions along the way, but it would be more sensible to use a map.

This brings me to the accusation that many non-Catholics make about Catholics: that we are unthinking zombie clones who are drinking the Kool-Aid and marching in lock step behind the Master. To be sure there are some Catholics who switch off their brains (as do many modernists) but this is not the expectation or the ideal. What is the proper relationship to dogma and infallible authority? It must be that the dogma, the moral code and the infallible authority are means to an end--they are not the end in themselves.

For a Catholic the dogma and the moral code which is given by the infallible authority of the Church is simply the ladder on which we climb. They are the map for the journey; the signposts on the way. They are vitally important, but it is the pilgrimage to heaven which is most important, and the final goal in this life is to get to the point where we walk on this pilgrimage so formed and guided by the dogmas and moral code that we no longer rely on them. We have learned to run on the path of God's perfection with the perfect delight of love, doing all those things which were once burdensome with the simplicity of freedom and the beauty of holiness.

22 November, 2009

Respect for Each Other in a Polarized Community - Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Respect for Each Other in a Polarized Community - Fr. Ron Rolheiser

2009-11-15

We live today in a highly polarized world and within highly polarized churches. In this, we are not unique. A certain degree of polarization exists within every community and is normal and healthy. However the bitterness, mean-spirit, and lack of respect that characterizes much of our political, ecclesial, and moral discourse today is not normal and is far from healthy. And we shouldn’t delude ourselves in thinking that it is healthy or, worse yet, in the name of truth or justice or God, try to rationalize our lack of respect for those who think differently than we do. We aren’t holy warriors, just angry people with a highly selective compassion.

Perhaps labels like liberal and conservative don’t accurately name the various tribes we invariably divide into today, but, as an over-generalization, these names still work. We are bitterly divided, liberal from conservative, conservative from liberal, and instead of seeing ourselves as one community caught in a common struggle, we talk rather in terms of “we” and “them”, like warring tribes. There’s no longer a common
plural.

More seriously, we are no longer capable of even having a respectful conversation with each other. It is rare today to have a discussion on any sensitive political, moral, or ecclesial issue that does not degenerate into name-calling and disrespect. Empathy, understanding, and compassion have become highly selective, ideological, and one-sided. We listen to and respect only our own kind. Moreover, neither side has a monopoly on this, liberal or conservative. What is sadly manifest too, on both sides, is a certain hypersensitivity, an over-seriousness, a paranoia about the other, an anger, a joylessness, and the lack of a sense of humor.

Conservatives tend to justify this by pointing to the gravity of the issues they are defending: abortion, family life, traditional marriage. These, they point out with all the proper gravity, are serious issues and liberals are so compromised that there really is no room for meaningful talk. The truth being defended is eternal and allows for no compromise, so what’s the purpose of dialogue?

Liberals return the favor: Why discuss something that is rationally self-evident, simply a question of human right, and has long since been enshrined in democratic principle? These issues need not even be discussed. Moreover, in liberal circles, there is all too frequently an intellectual disdain for what is judged to be narrow intolerance stemming from religious fundamentalism. Liberals, despite considerable rhetoric to the contrary, have little genuine desire to have a real conversation about issues like abortion, gay marriage, and family values. For them, just as for the conservatives, these issues already have a clear moral conclusion. Why talk?

Strong convictions are not a fault, but what is distressing is that this unwillingness to be open to respectful dialogue on sensitive issues is generally as prevalent within church circles as it is in political ones.

In church circles we are meant to hold ourselves to a higher standard: to meet viciousness with graciousness, anger with compassion, opposition with understanding, slander with no retaliation, intolerance with patience, and everything and everybody with charity. For the most part, this isn’t happening. Sadly, inside of church circles, our conversation about sensitive issues basically mirrors the harsh and one-sided rhetoric we hear on the more strident talk shows. The results are the same: the converted preach to the converted, hearts harden rather than soften, positions become even more bitter and entrenched, and we drift further apart from each other in our churches and in our politics.
At a time when misunderstanding, anger, intolerance, impatience, lack of respect, and lack of charity are paralyzing our communities and dividing the sincere from the sincere, it is time for us, followers of Jesus called to imitate his wide compassion, to reground ourselves in some fundamentals: respect, charity, understanding, patience, and gentleness towards those who oppose us. It’s time to accept too that we are all in this together, one family within which everyone needs everyone else.

There is no “we” and “them”, there’s only “us”.
Biblical scholar, Ernst Kaseman, once suggested that what’s wrong in both the world and the church is that the liberals aren’t pious and the pious aren’t liberal. How true. It’s rare to see the same person leading both the peace-march and the rosary. Liberals are better at one, conservatives at the other. Each has its own models, its Mel Gibsons and Michael Moores, patron saints of piety or justice. What’s needed is a patron saint for both.

Perhaps we might look for that in Dorothy Day, someone whom both sides, liberal and conservative, respect and recognize as a saint and who is soon to be canonized by the church. She was both pious and liberal, a woman equally comfortable leading a peace-march or leading the rosary. She was also able to stand up strongly for truth, for life, and for justice, without bracketing what has to be forever fundamental within all relationships and discourse - charity, respect, wide compassion, and a sense of humor!

Trying to understand

A person going by the handle "John T Hutt" posted the following in the threads of the Antigonish story on the CBC website:

TM4321 wrote: "....who is to say that foregoing an active sexual life is "abnormal", or that it is "abnormal" to control one's passions."

Tim, you have unintentionally hit the nail on the head. The entire problem has been caused by culture of sexual libertarianism that exists in the priesthood. For the most part, secular society controls the expression of "abnormal" passions. In fact most people in the wider world perform some sort of self-diagnosis and seek help if their passions are harmful to themselves or others. The problem with the Catholic Church is that the relatively normal passions of homosexuality have for cultural reasons bled over into the profoundly abnormal passions of child abuse.


I am trying to understand what he is saying. Any opinions?

Working in "virtual" fields to produce a harvest of faith

While participating in the threads of the CBC website news story about the appointment of Bishop Brian Dunn as Bishop of Antigonish, a gentleman who identified himself by the nom des plume, "nonreligious" posted the following to me.

To Fr. Moyle
To expand my previous post, my repeated abuse as an altar boy occured in 1973 on northern Vancouver Island. I remember the person wanting me to keep quiet and telling me God would heal all wounds. I dared not tell my parents, mostly out of fear and confusion, and because I felt they would not believe me. I had been taught that God was always right. I was nine at the time.

For those who have not walked in our shoes, which is most of you, trust me when I say that you lose all grasp of reality and have it replaced by something that is foreign. It's like you initially know it's not right, but after time it starts to feel that way. And you learn to deal with it any way you can under the circumstances. It never mattered to me that it involved a person in a position of trust and faith. I could have cared less. What mattered was that it made me feel taken advantage of, sick to my stomach, and I couldn't do anything about it.

As I matured I realized that child abuse surpasses all boundaries of authority, religion. Most males are sexually aroused by visual stimulation at the outset, much less often emotionally. It's human instinct and greed. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Fine Fr. Moyle that you make comparisons to other segements of society. What exactly is your point? I submit your point is self-serving in attempt to justify that "it ain't that bad". I also submit that if you have time to post here, then you certainly have time to put thought into developing meaningful protocol within your faith to deal with pedophilia, and put into place methods of recovery for people like me. I could have used something like that post-1973. After all, your organization has a lot of money. Are you ready to step up?



I responded as follows:

Nonreligious: You have more than earned the right to write as you do. Please allow me to offer my prayer that you find peace in your life. I hope too that you have gone to the police to report your abuser. IF he is still alive, he needs to be made to take responsibility for the wounds he inflicted upon you.

I continue to do all that I can to rid the priesthood of such perverts. I have reported those whom I found out about to the police and to the Church authorities so that they would be punished and kept away from potential victims.

I defend the church. I do not defend those who have acted as predators. If I believed that even half of the allegations made in these threads were true, I would have left the church and the priesthood long ago.

Again sir, my promise of prayers and respect to you.

Fr. Tim Moyle


Shortly there after, "nonreligious" posted the this response.

To Mr. Moyle:

To a man and religion aside, I appreciate your response and kindness. If you are who you say you are, what you have said is more than I've ever heard from anybody in the RC. Just didn't expect to find it on a CBC blog. But I'll take you for your word. I've never been back to the Port Hardy area since we left in 1974. My parents nor family still do not know about my abuse to this day. I'm 46 now.

I've managed to carve out a nice life, full of wonderful people and yes I have found peace. It was a long road and I inadvertently hurt others along the way when I didn't understand what happened and why I was prone to violent outbursts. The abuse took many years to fully process and understand, and cost me one marriage. I reckon there were 40 to 50 episodes I guess. I still remember the man's face unfortunately. It happened on a military base, and sad to say within the confines of the church buildings.

I did not go to the police. This might sound strange, but at nine-ten years old, it never crossed my mind. Far too many years have passed to think about charges, and honestly I'm not interested. Thank you Mr. Moyle. You sound like a decent honest person.

Best regards
T.R.


So, participating in these threads CAN open up people to the healing presence of Christ, and maybe, just maybe, we can bring souls back to God through clergy participation in these threads. I am left again to wonder why it is that I seem to be among a VERY SMALL number of clerics who make use of this opportunity to put forward the true arguments of faith.

Please pray that soon I will be only one of many who work in these virtual fields.

21 November, 2009

Again the battle rages on the web pages of the CBC

The announcement of Bishop Brian Dunn as new bishop of Antigonish has set off another firestorm of allegations against God, the Church and priests within the comments threads of the CBC new website. Join the fray and help defend the Church we love and serve.

Fr. Tim

Just a little humor that tickles a priests' funny bone.

Forgive me for saying this, but there are times that I can really relate to "Fr. O'Malley".

An Irish priest by the name of Father O'Malley, was transferred to a small rural community in southern Ontario .

As he arose from his bed one morning. It was indeed a fine spring day in his new Canadian parish. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside.

He then noticed there was a jackass lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. He promptly called the local police station......

The conversation went like this:

"Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?"

"And the best of the day te yerself. Dis is Father O'Malley at St. Ann 's Catholic Church. Dere's a jackass lyin dead in me front lawn."

Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit, replied with a smirk,"Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of
the last rites!"

There was dead silence on the line for a long moment........................

Then Father O'Malley curtly replied:

"Aye, 'tis certainly true; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin."

A site from University of Edinburgh which attempts to answer questions of faith.

A site from University of Edinburgh which attempts to answer questions of faith.


http://almightyanswers.blogspot.com

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Why Not?

A ccording to some surveys, three-quarters of Canadians would favour the legalizationof euthanasia. Above all, they fear one day becoming a burden and having their lives unduly prolonged in suffering.

Given the immense confusion surrounding euthanasia, it is reasonable to question these statistics and some unreliable surveys. It is more than likely that the majority of citizenswould change their minds if they were properly informed.

However, a very effective lobby is manipulating words and emotions in order to promote euthanasia and assisted suicide. For example, some erroneously use the phrase “passive euthanasia” to describe the withdrawal of futile medical treatment.

The need to dispel confusion by returning words to their true meaning has become urgent. It is also important to recognize euphemisms for “euthanasia” and “assisted suicide”: voluntary interruption of life… active aide in dying… hastened death… physician assisted death…

To begin with, it is important to clarify the distinction between euthanasia and the refusal of aggressive treatment (see Quick Answer no. 3). When death is imminent and inevitable, it is perfectly legitimate to refuse medical procedures which are disproportionate to the desired results or too burdensome for the patient and his or her family.

But what is euthanasia? Euthanasia is the intentional killing of someone, with or without his or her consent, either by act or omission. By killing the person, one seeks to eliminate all aspects of that person’s life including the pain, suffering or humiliation of being in need of help. The person who commits euthanasia must intend, for whatever reason, to kill the other and must cause his or her death.

In the case of assisted suicide, a person kills himself or herself with the help of another person who provides him or her with the means to carry out the act.

As we discuss these topics, we cannot limit ourselves to abstract principles and laws. We have to be aware that this is literally a question of life and death. If we are attentive to the natural law – a law embedded in the conscience of every human being, which commands us to protect life and not to kill – we will understand the need to reject euthanasia and assisted suicide as symptoms of the ideology of death. This is the only reasonable choice we can make as a society if we are to build our future on a culture of life and uphold a truly humane civilization in our country.

This shared responsibility requires each of us to present a vision of respect for human life and dignity in a largely secularized public arena. We need to speak up with conviction, founding our reasoning on natural arguments. Together, we must build a social barrier against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The “quick answers” presented here provide appropriate responses to common arguments put forward by proponents of euthanasia and assisted suicide. In conclusion, a Christian perspective on the delicate issues of suffering and death will help those who wish to better understand the unalterable dignity of the human person.


download a PDF copy of this excellent booklet from the COLF (Catholic Organization for Family Life) at the following website:

http://www.colf.ca/mamboshop/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=200&Itemid=209

20 November, 2009

Link to the Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

Learning when and how to pick a fight.

The rain has been falling steadily all day, so it seems appropriate to share a few thoughts about those who have recently been raining on the efforts of others to work to promote Catholic values in our society.

It would not be so bad if these voices were coming from those who are agents of the "Culture of Death", but alas this is not the case. The criticisms have come from those who claim to be fighting for the church. Allow me to offer an example.

Bishop Fred Henry, (Diocese of Calgary, AB) has released a letter that calls for the defeat of Bill 384 which is imminently to be voted on in the Canadian House of Commons. This proposed piece of legislation would permit the widest possible application of the "right to die", a.k.a. euthanasia for everything from people suffering with terminal diagnoses through to those who suffer from depression or other mental diseases. Clearly this bill must be opposed. It is one thing for individuals to refuse treatment or to be treated with a palliative care protocol in their final days, but it is quite something else entirely to give to people the power to kill someone else (under the guise of such seductive terms as "mercy" or "autonomy").

Bishop Henry's letter quickly began to spread through various blogs and websites, even breaking through into the MSM when it was picked up and published through various papers of the Osprey Media Chain. Alas, this is where the troubles began.

Various authors began to use this powerful intervention in the cause of the "culture of life" for their own goal of becoming the arbiters of orthodoxy and purity in what it means to be Catholic. Various well intentioned blogs ostensibly working to promote the Catholic cause began to use Bishop Henry's letter in a puerile attempt to castigate priests, Bishops et al for not being "pure" enough (in their opinion) in their efforts to work for the pro-life cause. These misguided souls began to throw about any number of accusations and allegations, promoted by Lifesitenews.com, alleging that he and other priests associated with St. Peter's Seminary were countenancing and permitting abortions at the local Catholic hospital in London, Ontario.

Thus an intervention aimed at unifying and strengthening Catholic opposition to a heinous piece of legislation has matestized into bitter and divisive recriminations within the Catholic blogosphere - a situation that serves little more than weakening the voice of the Church in opposition to this attempt to legalize euthanasia.

Instead of joining forces, using their voices and blogs to offer a coherent and effective argument in opposition to those who attempt to offer death in lieu of a compassionate presence to people who are at the end of their life, also to those who are in the depths of despair and depression. Their "need to be declared right" on their interpretation of what it means to be to be ideologically pure in Catholicism.

The temptation would be to castigate these misguided souls, to perhaps to chastise them for dividing the voices of those speaking for the faith. By attacking and even perhaps slandering priests and bishops in their attempts to force their view of orthodoxy, these sites and bloggers would better make use of their formidable talents and obvious intellects by working in support of the efforts of our Catholic leaders and address the important societal debate that needs to be fought for the protection of life.

There will always be many opportunities to argue about what it truly means to be "Catholic". Using a Bishop's statement in opposition to a dangerous piece of legislation for their own agenda should not be one of them.

There enough rainy days ahead for all people of faith as we fight to preserve, protect and promote the Christian values we believe to be essential in our modern society. Those who are still using every opportunity to fight the battle for their own interpretation of the purity of doctrine are proving themselves too foolish to come in out of the rain and work together to guarantee a sunny future for our country and our faith.

Fr. Tim

If You Look for the Bad In People, You're sure to Find it.

FANTASTIC POST from Michael Brandon at Freedom of Thought Blog!! Thank you Michael!

So look for the good in them instead." The title, subtitle and this last sentence are a direct quote from that great paragon of Christian missionary thought, Polyanna, who was actually quoting one A. Lincoln at the time. Polyanna said these words to the reverend, played by Karl Malden. The reverend character was a fire breathing preacher, who under Polyanna's tutelage saw the light.

There are days that I am ashamed to be a blogger. Today is one of those days. But, sometimes shame can be useful. I hope that today is one of those days.

The other day, I innocently posted a copy of a letter from Bishop Henry that Fr. Tim Moyle of Where the Rubber Hits The Road had reprinted on his blog. What happened after was sickening to me. Catholic Dialogue picked up on it, and then went on a rant about an issue about fatal euthanasia at St. Joseph's Hospital in London, Ontario. John Pacheco at Socon or Bust picked up on it later that day, and the crucifixion began. Socon and CD were able to quote articles in LifeSiteNews to support their position, and as ardent and diligent pro-life workers went to town. They rehashed all the information that was available to them about the matter. There was one problem, however.

Actually, they acted just like the Karl Malden character in Polyanna, before his sort of conversion at the hands of Polyanna, after her quote above.

By way of conjecture and with a distinct inability to dig up the real facts they, and in particular Socon have as of yesterday slammed St. Peter's Seminary, St. Joseph's Hospital, Fr. Michael Prieur, Bishop elect McGrattan, Bishop Henry, and Save a Family Plan, a Catholic charity that has its offices at the seminary in London. However, until now, they have forgotten to attack Bishop Tom Collins, who was active with Save a Family Plan, when he was at the seminary as well. Heck, even Fr.Tim Moyle did volunteer work there while at the seminary, as many of his fellow seminarians did.

Part of the problem is that when LifeSiteNews did its pieces on the St. Joseph "scandal", they did not get access to Bishop Fabbro, because he refused to speak to them. As his communications officer told them, he would only speak to real news agencies. I see his wisdom, which brings me to my own shame in this thing.

I have lived in London, Ontario for almost 50 of my fast approaching 60 years on this planet. I was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in 1950, and we still have reason to use their services for my health issues and those of my wife. I have also known Fr. Prieur, as well as the former Bishop of London, John Michael Sherlock, and many of the other fine priests, some now bishops, who made St. Peter's Seminary their home over the years. On numerous occasions, I met or consulted with then fathers, but now Bishop Henry, Bishop Tom Collins, Bishop elect McGrattan, and many other fine members of the ministerial priesthood, who were there at times when I did my work with both the diocesan offices and Save a Family Plan.

So, when Socon or CD take aim with a long gun at one or more of them, they are firing upon My Church, not so much in the broad sense, but in the local sense. These are people I care about. My shame in this whole thing is that in my own blogging, I fear I have done the same. In fact, I am pretty sure I have done the same. So, the pain that I feel when someone takes shots at people I value in my faith life is similar to the pain that my own words have inflicted on others. God, be merciful to me a sinner.

Up until yesterday, there was one issue on the table, and that was what they were calling fetal euthanasia at St. Joseph's Hospital. I wanted to know more, and so I did something unusual for bloggers. I picked up the phone and called someone who knew, and would speak to me. I called Fr. Michael Prieur. We chatted for a minute about the last time we met, a few weeks earlier at my local parish, and then I asked him about this issue. We spoke for about half an hour about the topic.

London, being a small town, I found that I not only knew these players, but also a mother who was quoted in one of the LifeSiteNews articles. I have known her family since she was a young child. She did subsequently meet with the Bishop to discuss what she was alleged by LifeSiteNews to have said. That meeting adds clarity to why the Bishop refuses to speak to LifeSiteNews. The Bishop was seeking to understand the issues, while working with Father Prieur to clarify and ensure that their methods were consistent with Church teaching. It has been a consultative process that has taken much of this year.

The fundamental conclusion of the consulting is somewhat as follows. Although bloggers have made much about the American Bishops stand on such matters, the procedure that is being finalised is modeled after the similar one from the Diocese of Anchorage, Alaska. This policy will be going to Rome for review shortly. It, in fact, is similar in all aspects to what has been done for the last 20 years.

As Fr. Prieur told me, he serves with fidelity to and at the behest of his Bishop, who serves Rome. At no time, has he or have they been, to the best of their knowledge, operating outside the will of the Magisterium of the Church. That has been clarified further in this process, and after the policy is reviewed in Rome, in theory everyone goes away happy.

As to the new issue that Socon has decided to attack on, Save a Family Plan, I am sad to see such a fine organization called on the carpet, by a blogger. I have known Save a Family Plan for about 25 years, having been involved with their information systems, and been a personal friend of the founder Monsignor Augustine Kandathil, who Socon might want to slam next, though he is deceased. After him, Socon should take a run at the next head of SAFP Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath.

Here is the lesson for me, and I hope that I learn it and apply it. It is easy to slam others for their faith or lack of it, based on my limited understanding of it. It is far more work to build up the Body of Christ than to tear it down.

I fully expect to be attacked for writing this, maybe if I'm lucky, attackers will only call me a Polyanna. So, here it is.

Manhattan Declaration of Consciences

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2009/11/manhattan-declaration58-a-call-of-christian-conscience#

19 November, 2009

Archbishop Chaput (Denver) on the cost of discipleship

What the hell don’t you understand about the term separation of Church and State. Keep your evil hands off of our Health Care Bill. Mind your own business. We don’t care about your beliefs, and if you want to meddle in our affairs, we will be coming for you. If that’s how you want to play, we will come for your pedophile priests, your ill-gotten money you stole for decades. The Catholic church is just another organized crime syndicate that should be put out of business. Get the f–k away from Congress, or you will regret it … .

That’s a real e-mail from a real person. The man who sent it last week was either very candid or very foolish about his anger: he added his real name and e-mail address. I’ve withheld them here because I like to hope that most people, or at least many of them, are better than the poisonous things they sometimes write. But this e-mail does teach a useful lesson, because it’s not just a case of a random bigot getting in touch with his inner bully. Instead, it’s a snapshot of the anti-Catholic bitterness that drives some of the loudest voices in the current health-care debate.

Let’s remember that the Founders encouraged an active role for religion in the nation’s public life. Let’s recall that freedom of speech for Catholics, their leaders and their Church is constitutionally protected, just as it is for all citizens. Let’s also finally remember that Catholic-baiting is one of America’s oldest and most favored forms of hatred. The irony is that some of today’s ugliest bigots posture themselves as socially “progressive” and work in politics or the mass media, or both.

Catholics entered this year’s national health-care discussion with good will and a long track record of public service. Catholic medical care is a national network. Most Catholics, as part of their Christian faith, see decent health care for all persons as a social obligation. They’re eager for some form of good health-industry reform. But “reform” isn’t a magic word. It isn’t an end in itself. The content of the reform matters vitally.

For months Catholic leaders have worked vigorously with congressional and White House staff to craft sound health-care reform legislation. Service to the poor, the sick and the suffering is part of the Church’s Gospel vocation. The bill passed by the House on Nov. 7 was a step toward a goal that is shared, in principle, by most Catholics. Like most bills, it was a mixed success. Critics argue that it lacks adequate conscience protections; that its penalties are extreme and largely unknown to the public; that it’s too complex; that it violates the Catholic principle of subsidiarity; and that it’s financially damaging and unsustainable.

These concerns are serious; they demand our reflection. There is nothing “mandatory” for faithful Catholics about supporting or opposing this legislation in its current form. That’s a matter for personal decision. But the House bill does seek to address the health-care crisis in a comprehensive manner; and it does —at least, so far—meet a minimum moral standard that makes Catholic support possible.

Those two words, “so far,” bring us back to the point of this column. The House health-care bill—the Senate will now develop its own version—meets the minimum threshold for Catholic support for one simple reason: Catholic pressure forced abortion and abortion funding out of the legislation. Abortion has nothing to do with advancing human health. Abortion and public funding for abortion, no matter how discreetly it’s hidden, have no place in any genuine health-care reform. This has been a key moral principle for Catholics every step of the way in the health-care discussion. With Roe v. Wade likely to be secure under this president, excluding abortion and its funding from reform legislation would be a modest, sensible compromise for “pro-choicers.” It might prove that something like common ground on abortion policy really is achievable in a Washington that describes itself as post-partisan.

Instead, the opposite has happened. The abortion-driven anger dumped on Catholic beliefs, leaders and the Church at large since Nov. 7 would make the Know-Nothing bigots of the last century proud. We’ve seen it from members of Congress, the news media, the abortion industry, and sad, deluded people stuck in their rage like the man quoted at the beginning of these remarks.

Here’s the moral of the story: Catholic witness has a cost. When we’re willing to pay it, we prove who we are as disciples—and the nation benefits. When we’re not, life’s a lot more comfortable. But that was never the point of the Gospel.

Catholic Church needs more Internet savvy: bishop

The Roman Catholic Church should leave its "ghetto" and recognise the importance and reach of the Internet, a French bishop said Thursday.

The Internet is increasingly an integral part of everyday life," Monsignor Jean-Michel Di Falco said at the start of a four-day Vatican meeting of European Catholic bishops concerned with the media.

"By not being present (on the Web), you cut yourself off from a large part of people's lives," added the bishop of Gap, in southeastern France.

He noted three events involving the Church that have "shaken Planet Internet" in recent months: the lifting of the ex-communication of a Holocaust-denying bishop; the ex-communication of a doctor who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old rape victim; and remarks by Pope Benedict XVI about condom use and AIDS in Africa.

The pope himself stated at the height of the affair involving British Bishop Richard Williamson that a simple check on the Internet would have quickly revealed his views on the Holocaust.

Representatives from the social network Facebook, the Google search engine, the YouTube video sharing website and the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia are guests at this year's meeting of the European Episcopal Commission for Media, a Swiss-based Vatican agency.

The Web "shuffles the deck, makes us step down from our pedestal, from our magisterial chair and makes us come out of our ghettos," said Di Falco.

"Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests, lay people - with the Internet we enter a marketplace, a free and spontaneous space where everything is said about everything, where everyone can debate everything," he added.

"We should promote a Christian presence on the Web made up of operators including priests who of course master communication techniques but also provide spaces for research, encounters, dialogue and prayer," Di Falco said.

Participants will also learn ways to combat cyber-crime, with sessions led by a young Swiss hacker and an Interpol expert.

I couldn't say it better myself

To the Editor: Bishops need to take responsibility for abuse crisis
By The Post-Standard
November 19, 2009, 7:10AM

In today's Post-Standard, a Roman Catholic priest criticizes bishops' handling of reported sexual abuse by priests.

To the Editor:

As a Roman Catholic priest in good standing, I find myself in the midst of a great dilemma. Of which should I be more ashamed? The fact that less than 3 per cent of my priest brothers have been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors? Or the fact that 97 percent of the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops seem to be in a state of invincible denial?

The assertion that “homosexuality is no factor in abusive priests” (Post-Standard, Associated Press, Nov. 18) is so utterly absurd as to defy rational credibility. Fact: Ninety-five percent of all reported cases of sexual abuse by priests involved the homosexual predation of teenage boys! What was the bishops’ response as this crisis was festering for more than 50 years? Instead of reaching out in a pastorally responsible and sensitive manner to the victims and their parents, they called in their attorneys to protect their assets.

This adversarial relationship that the bishops themselves created exacerbated the problem to the point where it became completely unmanageable. They have destroyed the morale of many good and holy priests and have alienated the faithful to the point where no one now living will ever see the healing of the injuries caused by this unspeakable abuse of power.

Memo to bishops: “Denial” is not the name of a river in Egypt!

Rev. Eric K. Harer
Constantia

Chuck Colson posts an article about religious freedom that is as true in Canada as it is in the USA

By Chuck Colson, posted on Catholic Exchange Blog

Allow me to make a very direct statement. I believe it is time for the Church in this country to stand up for religious freedom.

Especially over the course of the last few years, we have seen repeated efforts—in the courts, in state legislatures, in Congress, and on Pennsylvania Avenue—to erode what has been called the first freedom: religious liberty.

It isn’t hard to cite numerous cases where Christian organizations and individuals have been singled out and punished for adhering to their faith.

In New Jersey, a Methodist camp lost its tax exempt status for refusing to hold a same-sex civil union ceremony. In California, Christian doctors were successfully sued for refusing to offer in-vitro fertilization procedures for a lesbian couple. Catholic Charities in Boston had to shut down its adoption services because it was being forced by the state to place children with same-sex couples.

The current health care bill has no protections for religious medical personnel or health care providers who, by reason of conscience, refuse to participate in abortions. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act is gathering momentum in Congress. The bill would require even Christian-owned enterprises with more than 15 employees to hire those who do not share their faith.

The list could go on and on.

So why is religious freedom such a concern to us as Christians? Freedom of religion is called the first freedom for a reason. Our founding fathers recognized that without freedom of conscience, no other freedom can be guaranteed.

Christians, in fact, are the greatest defenders of religious freedom and human liberty—not just for Christians, but for all people. Compare religious freedom in those countries with a Christian heritage to the state of religious freedom in Islamic nations, communist countries, and Buddhist and Hindu nations, and you will see my point.

The reason that Christians place such a high value on human freedom is that freedom itself is part of the creation account in the Bible. God made humans in His image. He gave us a free will to choose to love, follow, and obey Him, or to follow our own way. function fbs_click() {u=location.href.substring(0,location.href.lastIndexOf(’/'));t=document.title;window.open(’http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=’+encodeURIComponent(u)+’&t=’+encodeURIComponent(t),’sharer’,'toolbar=0,status=0,width=626,height=436′);return false;

That free will, given us before the Fall, is part of human nature itself.

Perhaps more than anything else, it was this understanding of individual freedom that turned me into the kind of patriot who would willingly give his life for his country. It was the words of the Declaration of Independence that inspired me to join the Marines: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

So this question of human freedom goes to the very heart of who we are as Christians and as Americans.

So this Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, a statement signed by 125 evangelical, Orthodox, and Catholic leaders will be released—an historic declaration on life, the family, and religious freedom.

And please, today, go to ColsonCenter.org to view my Two-Minute Warning video on religious freedom. We will have some great resources for you. Then Friday at noon, we will have for you the declaration itself—probably the most important document I’ve ever signed.

The Church needs to understand the urgency of the hour and do its duty.

18 November, 2009

Article from Atlantic Catholic writer, Francis Campbell.

It’s business as usual in the Catholic Church.

Some seven weeks have passed since Bishop Raymond Lahey was arrested in Ottawa on child pornography charges. The bishop had recently presided over a $15-million dollar legal settlement for victims who had been abused by priests in the Antigonish Diocese dating back to 1950.

That settlement elicited allegations of sexual abuse by priests that had to that point remained unspoken. But now all the hushed whispers were coming to the fore. The numbers of young boys callously deprived of their youth and their innocence by sick and manipulating clergy throughout many of the small communities that make up the diocese escaped from soft murmur into open, public conversation. And it was almost too much for many churchgoers to bear.

Then a bishop, the very bishop who had brokered the settlement for abuse victims, was charged with possessing and transporting child pornography. It was enough to make Archbishop Anthony Mancini, the man now in charge of the entire Catholic Church in Nova Scotia in the wake of the heinous allegations against Bishop Lahey, utter these words in a letter to all Catholics in the province: “Enough is enough. How much more can all of us take?”

With that, the Archbishop promised that radical changes are necessary in the Church to regain people’s faith and prevent further abuse. The days and weeks tick by and the province’s faithful Catholics await the changes, radical or otherwise. If changes are taking place, they are too subtle for most Catholics to notice. And if they are taking place behind the scenes, it is in the Church’s best interests to make them known to the public.The time for secrecy has passed.

It was secrecy in dealing with offending priests that allowed the Church to foster a policy of relocation instead of rehabilitation. No, the time is now ripe for transparency within the Church. To regain people’s faith and to prevent further abuse, the Church must make changes and those changes must be made public.

I admit to not being much of a take-charge guy. When things go wrong, I often adopt a wait-and-see plan of attack, hoping that the things that have gone wrong will somehow right themselves. Reluctant reaction is my way to go. Being proactive is a foreign concept. But when forced to act to fix things or change things, I can usually muster up the good sense to get it done. The Church, it seems, has been taking the same approach. But to do nothing and hope for the best is not good enough for the Church, especially when radical change has been promised. Or have we, the churchgoers, sent our Church the message that the status quo is acceptable?
We continue to slide into our pews each week. When the collection plate is passed around, we continue to open our wallets and our change purses. We act as if everything is normal, everything is OK within the Church.

Bishop Colin Campbell, another former bishop of the Diocese of Antigonish, once
suggested that young abuse victims were partly to blame for the abuse waged against
them. He was wrong. We, the parishioners throughout Nova Scotia, have fallen victim to the Church’s status quo behaviour. Our acquiescence in our attendance and our blind monetary and moral support for the Church enables it to continue on as if no change is necessary.

This time, however, no one can argue that we the victims aren’t partially to blame for the Church’s indolence.

17 November, 2009

Nova: Becoming Human

PBS concluded a four part series tonight, Nova: Becoming Human. It was a study of anthropological study of evolution, examining the development of the fossil record from the beginning of the journey of the human species. I highly recommend it.

To quote the wisdom of Louis Black (for the pro-evolution camp)when bemoaning the label "theory" that was attached to "evolution"... FOSSILS, FOSSILS!! FOSSILS!!!

I remember too of the wisdom of my earliest priest mentor. From the first moments of my life on earth, through the first ten years of my priesthood, Fr. J.J. Delaney, - Diocese of Sault-Ste-Marie, who has been the most primal source of my understanding of what it means to be a priest. He was the priest who baptized me into the Church as an infant. He was there through the transition of the Catholic world from the latin world of the 1950's through to implementation of those first steps of Vatican II. He was the homilist at my first mass, I at his funeral.

"Know your enemy" he would thunder from the pulpit as he rallied the town in the fight for miners rights; "know your enemy" he would speak to me, in moments of counsel and advice. "Learn the arguments of those who would challenge the faith so that you might best him on his own ground."

Therefore, no matter one's position on evolution, creationism or intelligent design there are good reasons to watch this series.

For me, I recommend the series another another reason: the amazing convergence of Thomism and anthropology in the past 30 years.

Archeology is now proving, that by the standards of science itself, the essential element which marked the start in the genetic evolution of the human genus, was the understanding of the "divine-other". The first intelligence was the knowledge of God.

A God that received and appreciated offerings: a species certainty of an intelligent "other" that ordered life. That moment gave birth to culture, to morality, to the knowledge that there is a pattern to all that exists which "yearns" (Rm 8:22) for fulfillment.

Faith is the lens that we can watch series such as this PBS Nova series and see within it that the essential element of what it is to be human is knowledge of God, a.k.a., faith.

Science tells us that all that is human today can be traced back to a small handful of individuals. They grew from one of the few habitable areas of the earth during the last great ice age, in the southern region of south Africa. A temperate verdant oasis of the remnants of millions of years of biological life on a planet which was rendered virtually inhabitable by ice and desert. There was the one single place where all humans alive today came from.

Is it just me, but is that not also what Genesis teaches? That from the moment the first humans came to understand the knowledge of the tree of life, the poison which stole our innocence with the knowledge of life and death, mankind began a journey away from the Garden from which they had been expelled to exercise dominion over the earth. Science describes the same process.

Faith is not incompatible with science, for with faith we can see within every single element of creation the reflected image of the Creator. From astrophysical descriptions of the shape of the universe, through to the world of the quantum elements which are described in the physics of the very small, we find the blueprint of the "first caused, uncaused", the "first mover, unmoved" and "first knower, unknown". The knowledge of the Divine is a free gift of the Creator. It is essential to acknowledge that we can only know "of God" that which is revealed and made known through God. Jesus, the perfect embodiment of Emmanuel, the teachings of sacred scripture and those tantalizing glimpses of the Divine plan which sciences grants to us guides the study of His creation. Is science not then a support to faith and not its' substitute?

Excellent dialogue on St. Joseph's Health Care Center's (London, Ontario) practice in dealing with unborn babies who suffer fatal anomalies

I have been engaged in a civil and enlightening discussion with "Steve" who blogs at Catholic Dialogue (http://catholic-dialogue.blogspot.com/) on the controversial practice of inducing early birth for babies determined to have fatal deformities. LifeSiteNews brought attention to this story by declaring that this was a Catholic hospital that was performing "abortions".

While I do not agree with the assessment of those who are opposed to this practice, it is one that needs to be debated with the aim of bringing clarity to the issues. I have studied bioethics and moral theology as part of my seminary training and ongoing education, but I do not presume to call myself expert in these fields.

Your presence in this discussion would no doubt be welcome by Steve, as well as by anyone who is concerned about this issue.

See you there!

Big Ecumenical Announcement on Friday!!

Given the signatories of this statement, it will be big news for the ecumenical effort. Note the address of where the document will be posted on Friday.


November 17, 2009
The Manhattan Declaration: November 20, 2009

The ecumenical level of cooperation at very high levels here will be, I believe, unprecedented in the U.S. The importance of this event may well be historic (though that is not the sort of thing one can predict):

***Updated Media Advisory***
NATIONAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO RELEASE
HISTORIC DECLARATION OF CONSCIENCE

WHAT: Orthodox, Catholic & evangelical Christian leaders will release the Manhattan Declaration at a Washington, D.C., press conference. Addressed not only to Christians, but to the president, Congress, and civil authorities, the 4,700-word document—signed by more than 125 religious leaders—addresses the sanctity of life, traditional marriage and religious liberty.

WHERE: National Press Club, Lisagor Room
529 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20045

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 20, at noon ET

WHO: Manhattan Declaration Drafting Committee:
- Robert George, Professor, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
- Timothy George, Professor, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University
- Chuck Colson, Founder, Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint

Signers of the Manhattan Declaration scheduled to attend include:
- Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, Diocese of Philadelphia
- Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Diocese of Washington, D.C.
- Harry Jackson Jr., Bishop, Hope Christian Church
- Ron Sider, Professor, Palmer Theological Seminary and Director of the seminary’s Sider Center on Ministry & Public Policy
- George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center and Founding President of the James Madison Foundation
- Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

MEDIA NOTE: The 4,700-word text of the Manhattan Declaration with a list of the 125+ signers will be posted at noon on Friday, Nov. 20, at DeMossNews.com/ManhattanDeclaration.

16 November, 2009

From Blue Wave blog

Here's is a message from a "player" of a winning "team" of the secularist camp. We ignore his assessment at our own peril.


http://bluewavecanada.blogspot.com/2009/11/quebec-ex-minister-dumps-on-jihad.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BlueWave+%28BLUE+WAVE%29#

15 November, 2009

Archbishop Duncan of the Anglican Church of North America on the Anglican Schism

Any argument that ends as does below is a definite must read for any serious Catholic!

Archbishop Duncan, however, said he appreciated the gesture by the Pope because it was an acknowledgement that orthodox Anglicanism is a legitimate part of the ancient Church.

He made it clear that ACNA wants to remain faithful to Anglicanism but there will be a small minority of Anglicans with Catholic leanings that will seek a home in Rome.

He also noted that the Anglicanism of the future could learn from the Catholic Church.

“In the 20th century they began to rise to true global leadership. They made extraordinary choices in John Paul II and Benedict who are building a Church for the future. The British system has not produced leaders as capable.”
(Italics added).


Here's the address:

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/holy-post/archive/2009/11/15/archbishop-duncan-of-the-anglican-church-of-north-america-on-the-anglican-schism.aspx

14 November, 2009

Zenit reports on the need to increasing the Catholic voice within the internet

Facebook, Wikipedia and YouTube in the Vatican
Preachers of Truth Meet Sellers of "My Own Truth"
By Jesús Colina


ROME, NOV. 13, 2009 (Zenit.org).- There are not a few voices in the Church calling for the message of the Gospel to make better use of the Internet -- Benedict XVI's is among them.

And yet, when representatives of some of the most successful Internet initiatives met in Rome today with the European bishops' Commission for the Media, a great difference in mentality became obvious, even if there was also evidence of a genuine desire for mutual understanding.

The chamber of the former hall of the synod of bishops -- which the producers of "Angels and Demons" rented for millions of euros -- witnessed two views of reality: On one hand, an institution, the Church, founded for 2,000 years on the proclamation of Truth; and on the other, exponents of successful business initiatives, which arose a few years ago, based on giving everyone the chance to express "his own truth."

The meeting occurred in the context of a four-day conference that began Thursday in the Vatican, promoted by the Commission for the Media of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE).

Networking prelates

The meeting began with a survey among the bishops and representatives of the episcopal commission.

Moderator Jim McDonnell of the Signis World Catholic Association of Communication asked the bishops, priests and some lay experts in communication -- just under 100 in total -- how many had a profile on Facebook. More than one fourth raised their hand.

Nearly everyone in the group was familiar with Wikipedia and about 10% had collaborated in editing one of its entries.

Almost everyone had also viewed videos on YouTube and about 15% had used the site to post one of their own.

Approximately 10% had used or followed Twitter.

The networkers

Then came the presentations from the Internet representatives. Christophe Muller, director of YouTube alliances in Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, illustrated the philosophy that gave origin and life to Google.

In particular, he praised the Holy See's decision to make a place for itself on YouTube. And he presented a promotional video showing how the great of the world -- from Barack Obama to the Queen of England -- use this platform. Among them is Benedict XVI.

Delphine Ménard, treasurer of Wikipedia, France, explained how the collaborative encyclopedia does not seek to give a view of truth, but rather aims for all points of view to be represented.

For his part, Christian Hernandez, in charge of the commercial development of Facebook, showed how Christian initiatives have arisen in the Facebook world that range from a Shrine of Lourdes profile, to "Jesus Daily," a profile that offers phrases from the Gospel, and has more than one million followers.

Among these initiatives, he also presented Benedict XVI's profile. What he did not say is that this profile was created by an unknown individual who has fraudulently taken the Pope's identity.

In a subsequent conversation with ZENIT, Hernandez said that today, this issue was brought to his attention at the Vatican.

He said that Facebook has blocked a Vatican profile page, but for the fraudulent Benedict XVI profile, he was unable to offer a solution.

Apples and oranges

As the meeting moved to the questions-and-answers stage, it was evident that there was clear difficulty in understanding.

On one hand, the prelates acknowledged the limits of the Catholic Church, which seeks to dialogue on the Internet, but by and large uses basic pages: About 70% of Catholic institutional sites have not introduced interactive elements of Web 2.0.

Then as well -- contrary to what they expected -- the bishops did not find themselves in a meeting with communication experts, but rather with representatives of enterprises with a very specific business model. This model is their primary interest and leaves aside humanistic considerations.

"Can one still speak of truth on social networks based on the idea that each user has his truth?" one of the prelates' working groups asked the Internet representatives.

The representatives of the three enterprises agreed that "power" has now gone to the users; users "control" the media -- but they will be able to seek truth more effectively knowing how to use the media.

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