Mark Steyn blasts President Obama

This is a must-read post:

Meriam Ibrahim is out of the prison state of Sudan and in the free world. Sentenced to death for apostasy by Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa and forced to give birth to her baby while shackled to the wall in the filthy women’s prison at Omdurman, Meriam was released after her case received publicity in the civilized world. She, her husband and their two children are now in Rome, after an Italian government plane and the deputy foreign minister, Lapo Pistelli, were dispatched to Khartoum to fly her out.

I wrote about the Ibrahim case in previous SteynPostshere and here, in part because Meriam’s husband, Daniel Wani, is a fellow Graniter Stater. A US citizen, Mr Wani lives down south in Manchester, New Hampshire. That makes the couple’s children, young Martin and his newborn sister Maya, also American. And yet Judge Al-Khalifa ordered Meriam’s two-year-old son be imprisoned with her. As I said two months ago:

So we live in a world where a US citizen’s children can be stolen from him by a barbarous basket-case. When will the “Leader of the Free World” speak up for these young innocents who are owed the protection of his somnolent bureaucracy?

Well, President Fundraiser still hasn’t said a word, even though, to coin a phrase, if he had a son, he’d look like Martin Wani.

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Reports on other meetings with evangelicals

As Pope Francis prepares for a meeting with a Pentecostal pastor next week, Sandro Magister lists the other meetings he’s had with charismatic leaders in recent weeks, in addition to the one I have reported on:

The meeting with Pastor Traettino in Caserta is not, in fact, an isolated episode, but part of a broader effort that Pope Francis is making to win the favor of the worldwide leaders of those “Evangelical” and Pentecostal movements which especially in Latin America are the most fearsome competitor of the Catholic Church, from which they are snatching enormous masses of faithful.

“Evangelical” and Pentecostal Christians, who emerged a century ago from Protestant circles, have seen spectacular expansion. It is estimated that today they are almost one third of the approximately two billion Christians present in the world, and three fourths of Protestants. But they are also found in the Catholic Church. Last June 1 Pope Francis met in the Olympic stadium of Rome with 50,000 members of Renewal in the Spirit, the most important Catholic Charismatic group in Italy.

Three days later, on June 4, the pope had a long meeting at his residence of Santa Marta with some “Evangelical” leaders of the United States, including the famous televangelist Joel Osteen, California pastor Tim Timmons, and the president of the Evangelical Westmont College, Gayle D. Beebe.

On June 24, another meeting. This time with Texas televangelists James Robinson and Kenneth Copeland, with Bishop Anthony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, with John and Carol Arnott of Toronto, and with other prominent leaders. There were also Geoff Tunnicliffe and Brian C. Stiller, respectively the secretary general and “ambassador” of the World Evangelical Alliance. The meeting lasted for three hours and continued through lunch, in the refectory of Santa Marta, where the pope, amid loud laughter, gave Pastor Robinson a high five (see photo).

Copeland and Osteen are proponents of “prosperity theology,” according to which the more faith grows the more wealth grows. They themselves are very wealthy and live an extravagant lifestyle. But Francis spared them the sermon on poverty.

 

Heh heh heh.  Which reminds me of a post by Fr. John Hunwicke about whether the Pope would say to ecumenical partners the same things he would say to a small, Catholic group.  A Hunwicke Test:

An example. The Holy Father is unofficially reported to have described himself as the guarantor of Orthodoxy. This has an engagingly ancien regime flavour to it. One thinks of the Sun King saying L’etat, c’est moi; of Pio Nono saying Io sono la Tradizione. I think Louis XIV was one of Europe’s great monarchs; and earlier this year I did a few enthusiastic posts upon B Pius IX and the Syllabus of Errors. I have, personally, no trouble with this sort of talk. And there is a sense in which our Holy Father’s aphorism is totally bang on. The Roman Pontiffs, speaking ex cathedra, do without the tiniest doubt have the assistance of the Holy Spirit ut traditam per Apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodiant et fideliter exponant.

I just wonder whether what Pope Francis said, the way he said it to the seminarians of the FI, is something which he would say to an audience including Orthodox. And I wonder this because I do not think the Magisterial officers of the Church ought to impose upon humble subjects of the Catholic Church a doctrinal formula of which they would not also be prepared to say to the Orthodox “This is part of our core belief and if you are to be in unity with us, you must of course accept it”. There is not a single formulation of Catholic Truth which is good-enough to be heavily dumped onto some lowly, vulnerable, and bullyable group, but which we would never be so silly and insensitive as to try to unload upon our partners in ecumenical dialogue.

And, as for the report that our beloved Holy Father also used the old Loyolan topos about the Magisterium being able to declare black to be white, I can only say that if he goes around saying that sort of thing to Anglicans such as his chum Archbishop Welby, it will have the result of reawakening in their minds a whole lot of dormant anti-Catholic prejudices.

 

Well, back in the day St. Paul tried to be all things to all people so that he might win some to Christ, there was no Internet, no pesky international media, no speed-of-light reporting to get in the way!

 

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Lovely post by Fr. Ray Blake

On St. Mary Magdalen’s Day:

Our Western tradition is that all of those women at the Lord’s feet, the one who pours out costly ointment, the one who covers his feet with kisses and tears are the Magdalen, even Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, the one who chose the better part who sits at his feet.

I am tempted to see the woman caught in adultery is her too; what crueller thing to do than to get Jesus to condemn a woman who was once notorious but is now a disciple of Jesus.

She becomes a symbol of the Church and the faithful remnant of Israel, despised and rejected like Jesus himself, and yet delighting in his presence.

To be a follower of Jesus means to be a Magdalen, to weep over one’s sins, to choose the better part and recognise Him and be united, with him.
I don’t know if I am being over imaginative but there seem to be three stages to the Magdalen’s relationship: weeping she shows us purgation, sitting and listening is about illumination and finally in the garden in her encounter with the Risen Lord she is united to him.
She is ‘every disciple’, we are all called to weep over our sins, then we are able to indeed choose the better part, to truly listen to Jesus, only then do we recognise him and are able to announce his Triumphant Rising.

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Who cares about widespread liturgical abuse?

This is an interesting article over at the Catholic Herald:

In his interview, Bishop Schneider said the “banal” and casual treatment of the Blessed Sacrament is part of a major crisis in the Church in which some laity and clergy, including some in positions of authority, are siding with secular society. At the heart of the problems, he believes, is the creeping introduction of a man-centred agenda, while in some churches God, in the tabernacle, really is materially put in a corner, while the priest takes centre stage. Bishop Schneider argued that this situation is now coming to a head. “I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”

How long will it last? “Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years.”

In the autumn, the synod of bishops will meet in extraordinary session to discuss the family, in the light of the questionnaire which Pope Francis invited the faithful to complete, giving their views on marriage and sexuality. Expectations are growing that rules will be relaxed on a range of sexual matters and in terms of divorced people receiving Communion as a sign of “mercy” from the Church.

Such views, according to Bishop Schneider, reveal the depth of the problem. “I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…

“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”

 

I don’t think it is so much putting the priest at the centre, because the parishes that have tended to keep the Tabernacle off to the side often downplay the importance of the sacramental priesthood–with the priest’s complicity—so you see altar girls galore and women kind of running show, and doing the kind of stuff around the altar a deacon would ordinarily do, and EMHCs all over the place–so there is a flattening of the hierarchy, a stress on the horizontal, on the People of God.   Instead of worshipping God, and directing one’s gaze and adoration towards Jesus in the form of the Blessed Sacrament, or in seeing the priest as re-presenting Christ in the Eucharist the focus shifts to the presence of Christ in the People of God.   In a sense we have to “discern the Body of Christ” in the Sacrament and in each other, we are the People of God, but there is a danger of it becoming too self-referential, to focused on us and our feelings.

So glad we can worship ad orientem in the Ordinariates!

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Pope Francis prays for success of

I think we should have an Ordinariate Exploration Day in Canada, eh Deanery?

Choral Evensong with wine and cheese afterwards or something like that.

I lifted this press release from the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham off Father Z’s popular blog:

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF OUR LADY OF WALSINGHAM FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 27.07.2014

Pope Francis Prays For Success of Ordinariate’s Exploration Day

Pope Francis has said he is praying for the success of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham’s forthcoming “Called To Be One” exploration day, which it has planned with the aim of increasing understanding of the Ordinariate’s purpose and reaching out to those who may feel called to join it.

The endorsement was delivered in a letter from the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, to Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Ordinariate.

The full text of Archbishop Mennini’s letter reads as follows:

“At the request of the Secretariat of State, I have been asked to inform you that  the Holy Father Francis, on learning of the national day of exploration entitled “Called to be One”, organised by the various Groups of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and due to take place on Saturday 6 September 2014, wishes to convey his good wishes and prayers for a successful and inspiring event. The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the promotion and presentation of the Catholic Faith and the Gospel in Great Britain”.

The Nuncio ends with his own prayerful good wishes for a very successful day.

Pope Francis’ blessing on the exploration day and Archbishop Mennini’s words of support for it follow a statement of welcome for the initiative from Cardinal Vincent Nichols. In his capacity as President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Cardinal said: “the Ordinariate both enriches the Catholic Church with Catholic aspects of the beautiful heritage and culture of Anglican patrimony and advances the cause of unity which must be the ultimate aim of all ecumenical activity… I wish you every success with this initiative. I hope it will attract many interested enquirers”.

Last week Mgr Newton warmly invited all those who are interested in the Ordinariate to attend the exploration day “whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do” . Mgr Newton’s invitation came in his response to the Church of England General Synod’s decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. In the same statement Mgr Newton said that, though that decision was a very happy one for many within the Church of England, it made the position undeniably harder for those within the Anglican Church who still longed for unity with Rome.

The Ordinariate was set up by Pope Benedict in 2011 to make it possible for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to do so, bringing with them much of the heritage and traditions of Anglicanism. Pope Benedict described these as “treasures to be shared”. On the exploration day, each of the 40 or so Ordinariate groups across the country will host a different event, with the common theme of the vision for Christian unity which is at the heart of the Ordinariate.

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Good article on why women should not be ordained priests (or bishops)

At Mercatornet

No reasonable person disputes that women are able to do the “job” of an Anglican bishop: the liturgical role, preaching, teaching, administration, sitting in the House of Lords – whatever it takes. Of course they can. The objections have always been theological: for evangelicals, the teaching of St Paul about the headship of men over women; for Anglo-Catholics, breaking with the 2000-year-old tradition going back to Christ himself, who called only men to form the foundation of his church – a break which would put paid to eventual reunion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Coming from a Catholic perspective, my understanding is that the sacramental character of the priest as an icon of Christ is the heart of the matter. According to St Paul the church is the body of Christ, who is its Spouse and Head. There’s a whole cluster of anthropological and theological concepts at work in this aspect of Pauline theology (and other parts of the Bible) which would take a book to tease out, but they boil down to the fact that the whole church, men and women, is feminine (receptive) in relation to Christ, and that the priest in his key sacramental role represents Christ, who gives his whole life for and to her.

Anglicans, of course, are free to write the rules for their own church. However, they ought to be confident that this theological tradition is not arbitrary, but reflects the biological and metaphysical reality of the sexes.

- See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/the_muddled_iconography_of_women_bishops#sthash.OXiejrw3.dpuf

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Reaction to the death of Bishop Tony Palmer

From my story at the Catholic Register:

OTTAWA - Pope Francis’ friend Bishop Tony Palmer of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC) died in England July 20 after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle.

According to e-mail reports obtained from The Ark Community he founded, three teams of surgeons tried to save Bishop Palmer’s life but he passed away in the evening, leaving behind his wife Emiliana and two teenaged children. Bishop Palmer was in his early 50s, and grew up in South Africa, though recently he had been living in England.

The bishop recently facilitated an historic private meeting of evangelical and charismatic leaders June 24 with Pope Francis at the Holy Father’s residence inside the Vatican. The two had become friends when Palmer was doing ecumenical work with charismatic Catholics in Buenos Aires.

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) global ambassador Brian Stiller was among the leaders present at the June meeting with Pope Francis.

“Tony was a most remarkable young man,” he said in an e-mail. “I so well remember his gracious and active leadership in bringing members of the World Evangelical Alliance together in conversation with Pope Francis late June.

“However, with his life and witness still fresh in our memory, I believe it is important that we carry on, as he would have desired, finding ways for our major Christian bodies to have friendship and to understand our respective communions,” said Stiller, who headed the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada for 16 years.

Bruno Ierullo, Catch the Fire founding member and pastor of its Newmarket, Ont., campus, knew Bishop Palmer for seven years and worked with him in a worldwide movement called United in Christ that brings Catholics and evangelicals together. He said he was “distraught” to hear of his death.

“He was a remarkable guy, a very sensitive, extremely forgiving and loving man,” said Ierullo. “It will be a great loss for the Kingdom, a just outstanding man of faith.”

Bishop Palmer had also been invited to Rome to work with Catholic charismatics there in unity efforts that had the blessings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

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Lawsuit challenges Quebec’s euthanasia law

Living With Dignity (LWD) and the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia have launched a lawsuit challenging Quebec’s euthanasia law.

“We want to prevent euthanasia from taking place,” said Living With Dignity (LWD) vice president Michel Racicot, a retired lawyer who advises both groups. “The ‘Act respecting end-of-life care’ will come into effect Dec. 10, 2015, “unless the Quebec government puts it in force earlier.”

“We know they are already in the planning process, putting protocols in place,” Racicot said in an interview from Montreal. “Time is against us. That is why we decided to file now.”

“No matter what we call it, ‘medical aid in dying’ is euthanasia and euthanasia is the killing of a person and culpable homicide under the Criminal Code,” Racicot said.

Since the Criminal Code is under federal jurisdiction, the Quebec government does not have the necessary jurisdiction to adopt this law, he said. The lawsuit challenges the Act as unconstitutional, infringing both the federal Charter and the Quebec Charter.

Read the rest at B.C. Catholic

 

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The plight of Iraq’s Christians —-not George W Bush’s fault

While Iraqi Christians may have been better off under Saddam Hussein than they were after America invaded Iraq under President George W. Bush, one has to remember how ghastly and brutal life was under Saddam for the Shi-ites and anyone else who dissented politically.

Charles Krauthammer over at National Review explains how blame for the present genocide against Christians falls squarely at the feet of President Barak Obama:

By 2009, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been not just decimated but humiliated by the American surge and the Anbar Awakening. Here were aggrieved Sunnis, having ferociously fought the Americans who had overthrown 80 years of Sunni hegemony, now reversing allegiance and joining the infidel invader in crushing, indeed extirpating from Iraq, their fellow Sunnis of al-Qaeda.

At the same time, Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki turned the Iraqi army against radical Shiite militias from Basra all the way north to Baghdad.

The result? “A sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.” That’s not Bush congratulating himself. That’s Obama in December 2011 describing the Iraq we were leaving behind. He called it “an extraordinary achievement.”

Which Obama proceeded to throw away. David Petraeus had won the war. Obama’s one task was to conclude a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to solidify the gains. By Obama’s own admission — in the case he’s now making for a status-of-forces agreement with Afghanistan — such agreements are necessary “because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains” achieved by war.

Which is what made his failure to do so in Iraq so disastrous. His excuse was his inability to get immunity for U.S. soldiers. Nonsense. Bush had worked out a compromise in his 2008 SOFA, as we have done with allies everywhere. The real problem was Obama’s reluctance to maintain any significant presence in Iraq.

 

We will never know whether, had America had the fortitude (and I blame skittish Americans for lacking the follow-through necessary to maintain a presence in Iraq alongside the stupidity and lack of vision of Obama) whether Iraq could have emerged as a flawed, but relatively stable democracy.

I feel bad for all the democratically inclined Iraqis and Afghanis who trusted America to back them up in building new countries but then finding themselves deserted.

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Bishop Tony Palmer, Rest in Peace

Sad news that Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches Bishop Tony Palmer died yesterday after he collided on his motorbike with a drunk driver who apparently had crossed into his lane. [UPDATE:  I had heard that earlier, but I can’t officially confirm that } After eight hours of surgery, he succumbed to his injuries.

I was blessed to interview him via Skype from South Africa where he was attending I believe a College of Bishops meeting.  Palmer is the friend of Pope Francis who recorded a greeting from the Holy Father that Palmer brought to a leadership conference for charismatic leaders in Texas last January.

What a lovely young man.  I could see why Pope Francis loved him and called him friend.  I was so looking forward to meeting him at the Fire and Fusion Conference here in Ottawa at the end of April.  The conference will go ahead and I expect it will be spiritually significant.

Here again is a link to the interview from B.C. Catholic.

“What’s happening is a spontaneous move of the Holy Spirit which was ignited after the two of us got together in January and he very graciously made a video which was intended only to greet the leaders at the Copeland ministers’ conference,” Palmer said. “Speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit, which Pope Francis, admitted, he challenged them, a call to evangelicals to seek a deeper communion than the mere sharing of bread.”

“For many evangelicals, they want to have communion, they are seeking bread,” Palmer said. “Pope Francis made us understand by using the analogy of Joseph’s brothers, true communion is not in sharing bread, it is in sharing brotherhood.

“Basically Pope Francis is saying unless there is brotherhood, sharing the bread is not communion,” he said.

“Even though Pope Francis obviously knows the definition of communion and the theology of the Eucharist, the essential essence of the Eucharist is our unity in Christ and fraternal bonds,” Palmer said.

“This spoke deeply to the evangelical heart,” Palmer said.

Palmer and the Pope met again in April to review the response from the Protestant world, and out of that meeting the decision was made to invite the leaders to the Vatican in June.

“This is uncharted territory; uncharted waters,” Palmer stressed. “The Holy Spirit is our captain.”

Pope Francis and I and the Vatican have “no protocol for what we are doing,” he said. “We are trying to be courageous men of God. “We need prayers.”

 

 

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