The Catholic church in Ireland has been left reeling after voters overwhelmingly gave their approval to gay marriage in a historic referendum. Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin, said that religiou
Believing that Jesus was raised from the dead is fundamental to Christian faith. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated his conviction starkly: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” Ther
The Russian Orthodox Church has been heavily criticised in recent months for its perceived tacit support of Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. The view that the closeness between the Russian Orthodox Chur
March 24, 2014 11:14 AM
Cardinal Leo Raymond Burke walks on St Peter’s square after a cardinals’ meeting on the eve of the start of a conclave on March 11, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
VATICAN CITY (CBS St. Louis) — The Vatican’s chief justice feels that President Barack Obama’s policies have been hostile toward Christians.
In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News — Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”
“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.
The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.
“Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said.
Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying “such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”
“In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”
Burke also believes there is hope that abortion will be overturned in the U.S.
“There is hope that the evil anti-life laws of the United States can be overthrown and that the anti-life movement which urges yet more of such legislation can be resisted,” Burke said. “The pro-life movement in the United States has been working since 1973 to reverse the unjust decision of the Supreme Court which struck down state laws prohibiting procured abortion. It is true that the Supreme Court decision stands, but it is also true that the pro-life movement has grown ever stronger in the United States, that is, that more and more citizens, especially young citizens, have been awakened to the truth about the grave evil of procured abortion.”
Pope Francis removed Burke from the Congregation for Bishops last December.
Obama will be meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican on Thursday.
Filed in Arts by Fr Martin Boland on February 26, 2014 • 2 Comments
I have just seen two great films in twenty four hours: Her, a dystopian sci-fi vision of a very near future, and Disney’s Frozen, which goes into my top three films of the year. Very different films but both with an interest in the nature and quality of love.
One of the questions that Her asks is whether we can really love another in a disembodied way. Are words on their own ever enough? Can the chat room, the text, the love poem or letter ever be a substitute for being in the physical presence of another and loving them as bodily creatures? If love is to be real, truthful and not reduced to a virtual reality, does it not have to be expressed in a sensual, physical form?
Frozen provides its own answer using a familiar fairytale motif: the icy heart of the princess can only be healed by a kiss from someone who really loves her. The truest love must be expressed in a physical way if we are to be restored to fullness of life. This may appear an unsophisticated, romantic answer but it is also a compelling one that has captured the human imagination from the earliest times. It’s also one that is corroborated by human experience.
Last week, I met with a husband to discuss the funeral of his late wife. He had cared for her throughout her long illness. He didn’t do it by text or phone call, he did it by buying an inflatable mattress so that he could lie by her bedside during the final weeks of her time in hospital.
He told me:
Before I met Ann, I was a cynical, grumpy old man who didn’t believe I could be loved. She saved me from this. She loved me and I loved her
Their vocation of love as husband and wife realised itself in the bodiliness of their relationship.
These films reminded me that Catholicism is a fleshy religion. This fleshiness provides an essential aid to our experience of God’s love. The Incarnation, the second person of the Trinity taking human flesh out of love for us, is the primary expression of this.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life (1 John 1:1)
The ancient rumours of God’s love became physically real in Jesus Christ.
But it’s not just in theological terms that this is evident. The way Catholics worship is physical: we kneel, sit, bow, genuflect, prostrate, cross ourselves and so on. The necessary desire to love God is embedded in our bodies. Catholics are not spiritual dualists. When we pray and worship this desire of our hearts surfaces and becomes a physical reality.
All this is most clearly expressed in the sacramental, symbolic realm that God has gifted us. Words have a hugely significant role in God’s communication of his love for us. But these only become effective and God’s presence known when they become physically real. Water, oil, bread, wine, the laying on of hands, the exchanging of sacred vows that cannot be done by Skype, are the physical mediums by which God’s love becomes transparent.
Without the sacraments, God’s love would exist but it would remain remote to us – an intimation, a flirtation, something at the periphery of our vision. With the sacraments, divine love is revealed to us in a way that is intimate, mysterious and personal. God becomes a real presence rather than an abstract logarithim of love.
At the age of fifty, the American writer, Andre Dubus, was left paralysed following a car accident. He spent the remainder of his life in a wheelchair. His writing aches with the loss of his physical mobility and, at the same time, becomes more sensitive to the sensual world. In his beautiful essay, Bodily Powers, he described how in the daily reception of the Eucharist he regained his “physical contact with God”:
This morning, after struggling with two doors to get into the church, I settled in my chair and watched the priest lifting the unleavened bread and saying, “This is my body”; lifting the chalice of wine, saying, “This is my blood of the new covenant”…and peace of mind came to me and, yes, happiness too, for I was no longer a broken body, alone in my chair. I was me, all of me, in wholeness of spirit. The old man assisting the priest handed me the host, and I placed it in my mouth and was in harmony with the old man, the priest, the walking communicants passing me and my chair to receive the Eucharist; one with all people in pain and joy and passion, one with the physical universe, with Christ, with the timeless dimension of the spirit, which has no past or future but only now; one with God.
Window on Israel
Monday Feb 24, 2014
On blaming us or them: a multi-cultural perspective
Israelis have been seeking accommodation for decades, depending on when you start counting, first with Arabs and later with Palestinians.
Faith in brief
Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe has criticised the design of a Russian Orthodox church on the banks of the Seine Francois Mori
A round-up of religious news from around the world
Mayor of Paris criticises design for new church
The Mayor of Paris has criticised the design for a Russian Orthodox church planned on the banks of the River Seine as an example of “hodge-podge architecture” unworthy of display near the Eiffel Tower. Bertand Delanoe has asked Unesco, which granted World Heritage Site status to the banks of the Seine, to intervene. The plans for a white church with five gold domes topped by a wavy glass roof were approved by the French and Russian Governments in 2010. M. Delanoe was not consulted.
Islamist parties of Algeria unite for election
The three main Islamist parties of Algeria are to run as an alliance in the country’s elections this May. The al-Nhada and al-Islah parties are to join the Movement of Society for Peace, the largest Islamist party in Algeria. Abou Djara Soltani, speaking for the Movement for Society and Peace, invited like-minded parties to join the alliance saying it would “give the best possible chance for the Arab Spring to happen in Algeria as well”.
Religious belief ‘gently squeezed in public life
A new report says that religious belief is being “gently squeezed” from public life in Britain, but adds that Christians do not face persecution. Clearing the Ground was launched in Westminster on Monday. Produced by a cross-party group of Christian MPs, the report highlights “a narrowing of the space for the articulation, expression and demonstration of Christian belief” caused by legal and cultural changes over the past decade.
Oxford alumnus protests against Christian Concern
An Oxford graduate has returned his degree in protest at his college agreeing to host a conference run by a Christian group which does not favour gay rights. Michael Amherst, who read English at Exeter College, acted in protest against a conference organised by the Wilberforce Academy – which is run in association with Christian Concern, reports Pink News. Christian Concern founder, Andrea Minichiello Williams, said: “Homosexuals are displaying an extraordinary intolerance for us and freedom of thought. We are motivated by love and compassion for all people. Everyone seems to forget Oxford University was founded by Christians.”
Christians questioned on climate change
The Christian Census on Climate Change has launched its latest survey. Believers are invited to answer 12 questions, such as “What percentage of climate change do you think may be due to human activities?” and “What percentage of the world’s population could survive on a 5 degree Celsius average temperature rise? The deadline for completing the poll, which can be found at www.CConCC.wikispaces.com, is the end of March. The results will be released on April 21 in York Minister.