"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Monday, January 26, 2009

Controversial Magazine Insults Catholics!

It is not the first time that the Catholic Church was attacked by ads. The controversy that surrounded the “Da Vinci Code” was published to create an uproar in the Catholic Church’s faithful that made a lot of curious readers to have a look what’s being talked about in that book. Its author, Dan Brown was adamant and unbending in its assertions that his book was based on “facts” and that what he has written was true. As a result, the Catholic Church hierarchy was demonized.

Opus Dei a Catholic Congregation that was founded by the pious Catholic priest, Saint Jose Maria Escriva was badly treated in the story as “conspirators” in the desire of the Church to “keep secret of the Holy Grail.”

“The Vatican prelature known as Opus Dei is a deeply devout Catholic group that has been the topic of recent controversy due to reports of brain-washing, coercion, and a practice known as "corporal mortification." Opus Dei has just completed construction of a $47 million National Headquarters at 243 Lexington Avenue in New York City…” [Dan Brown’s Official Website or read
Criticism of the 'Da Vinci Code']

Since the book was no more than a fiction than factual, Catholic.com exposed its author’s dishonesty in presenting his supposedly “factual” data. [Read the Cracking the Da Vinci Code].

Ads love controversy. It’s double purpose. It could help in its publicity (whether bad or good) and when it’s talked about, it would mean money. And in the world of corrupt business, controversy is a good marketing strategy.

Take for example and adult magazine called “Playboy.” In its recent Mexican Issue, it created a controversy after its cover model depicter herself as the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, wearing nothing but a piece of cloth from head to down exposing partly her breast. Inside the magazine, she was wearing a crown similar that of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

One to hurt the sensitivity of the readersreputation was badly attacked in the book accusing it as conspirator in the desire of the Church to “silenceThe “Land of the Free” has published recently their Mexican Edition Playboy depicting a model with the looks like the Blessed Virgin Mary of Guadalupe.

Because they have already targeted their intention and have successfully created a controversy by hurting Catholics’ sensitivities, and marketing wise, its publicity through that insult would generate money especially now that US Economy is dwindling.

“While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies[...]

Raul Sayrols, its Mexico’s Publisher also apologized, “The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure. The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover.” [Read Fox Forum Blogs Playboy Apologized Over Its Mexico Edition].

I have nothing against those who wanted money being pumped to their greed, but I hope they should consider other belief’s sensitivities. If Playboy would dare to depict other religions, its negative effect would be felt even to those who want to live in peace.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Still Many Muslims are Up Against Rome, the Vatican and the West! Is Obama Aware of It?

Watching Obama’s inauguration, I was struck with awe with the multitude of people who wanted, not only to be witness of this historic events but to be part of it. Americans are once united under its new promised “savior”—saving Americans from past shames with Bush’s “War on Terror” after 9/11 and at present their weakening economy.

Many of his concerns are at the interest of the American people’s egoistic sense of “happiness” according to Obama’s own words “…[T]he God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

How free is America? Not free as we do in the East. This is what we outsiders should be watching closely. Most of America’s sense of “freedom” conflicts that of their own self preservation. With its sense of ‘freedom’ it’s divided to partisanship, the sense of religion and morality was left to everyone’s own conscience but again conscience is too vague to be taken as a collective measure of what Americans really wanted as a whole. Religion plays a very important role in its policy making. Although majority of its wealthy businessmen (and women) are Jewish and Christians, most of them are the spectacle of a “rebellious Israel” in the OT that seeks nothing of God’s righteousness but self righteousness.

In particular, Obama bring up a group of believers. “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.”

Watch first this video:

“Very soon, Allah willing, Rome will be conquered, just like Constantinople was… Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader Capital, which has declared hostility with to Islam, in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam… This capital of theirs will be an advanced post for the Islamic conquests which will spread in Europe and its entirety and then will turn to the two Americas and even Eastern Europe.” Yunis Al-Astal (Hamas MP and Cleric) Al-Aqsa TV

This video sends a chilling message to Christians and Catholics in particular. And these pictures would confirm what could be the collective intention of many Muslims to conquer Rome, and the world and make Islam supreme.

There are two kinds of Muslims: Muslims under the Democratic form of Government and Muslims under Sharia whether that government is considered to be secular, monarchial or dictatorial.

Not all Muslims are like that. In my own view, there are two types of Muslims. The first type of Muslims are more peaceful if convenience would allow them to do so. They live in peace with their host but maintain their identity such as women covering their heads (husbands could be its strict implementer or by one’s own choice that she desired to wear a hijab). In America, Islam becomes a “commodity” with ads alongside with mainline beauty products. In buses, and in public, Islam is advertised to be the “religion of peace” as a counter action against those Islamists accused of “derailing” their religion.

But during Gaza conflict when America was silent, Hamas and Hesbollah which were considered “terrotist” groups by the USA and EU were praised as heroes and martyrs by Muslims. Does this mean that all those who blew up the Twin Towers were real Muslims? Robert Spencer and Raymond Ibrahim must be right with all their raw reports from around the world.

In as much as they want non-Muslims to believe, they failed to address the main problem we are encountering on Islam as a "Religion of Peace". Robert Spencer summarized them in five.

  1. Focus on violent Muslims

  2. Renounce efforts to install sharia in non Muslim countries

  3. Teach Muslims about peaceful co existence

  4. Teach against jihad and Islamic supremacism

  5. Help identify jihadists in the West

While some Muslims pray for the downfall of non-Muslim religions in Rome, the Vatican and the West...

O Allah, take care of the sources of injustice and oppression,
Oh Allah, direct your forces against America, the centre of kufr and fasad
Oh Allah, direct your forces against America, the centre of kufr and fasad
Oh Allah, direct your forces against America, the centre of kufr and fasad
Oh Allah,of them you are all Aware, They spread fasaad in Your lands,
And they killed Your slaves and they insulted Your religion
O Allah, of them You are all Aware, And over them All powerful,
O Allah direct Your forces against them O Allah direct Your forces against them
O Allah send upon them the storms of 'Aad, And the cry of Thamud, and the Typhoon of the people of Noah, O Allah send upon them that which descends from the skies, And that which exudes from the lands,

O Allah disintegrate their country O Allah make them into divided countries and scattered parties, O Allah Ever-living and Omnipotent, Contain them within a fist's grip of Your slaves Contain them within a fist's grip of Your slaves

O Allah, make hurricanes a constant for them
O Allah, make hurricanes a constant for them
O Allah release our captured brothers
O Allah release them, O Allah strengthen them
O Allah make them steady on their faith
O Allah make possible a means for them
O Allah handle those who torture them
O Allah handle those who torture them
O Allah handle those who torture them
O Allah eradicate them with Your power and Omnipotence
O Allah make their plots against us a cause for their destruction,
And their slyness a slyness against them
O Lord of the Worlds, O Ever-Living, Omnipotent,
O Most High and Most Gracious,
Hearer of all prayer, ever so close, accepting to
all prayers...

[kufr = non-Muslims, Christians and Jews included]

...the city (Vatican) they want to conquer instead prays for peace in the world.

In Obama’s Presidential Inauguration, the Pope congratulates him, with the hope for peace in the world:

"At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn
for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you
will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and
peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God
wills to set for the whole human family,"

What a contrast!

[Muslims Hope the Pope go to Hell]

As a Catholic, our Catechism says that

The Moslems, �professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who at the last day wiill judge mankind� (Lumen Gentium 16). Though the Islamic faith does not acknowledge Jesus as God, it does revere Him as prophet, and also honors His virgin mother. Moslems prize the moral life, and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting (Nostra Aetate 3). Noting that there had been many quarrels and hostilies between Christians and Muslims, the Second Vatican Council urged that all forget the past and strive sincerely for mutual understanding, and, on the behalf of all mankind, make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace, and freedom� (Nostra Aetate 3).”

And we are bound to abide by this teaching, submitting our will to the Magisterium of the Church. May we all pray that violence against Rome and the Catholic Church by Muslims would be appeased by the God of peace we so adored.

God will not leave his Church desolate. As he has kept it alive for more than 2,000 years, so he will keep his promise to be with his Church until the end of times.

Our enemies’ weapons are bombs and threats of death. Our weapons are prayers and sacrifices and we’re not afraid of death for it’s our path to rebirth.

Here's a sample of how a Catholic martyr response to violence directed to them. Father Ragheed death deeply affected his Muslim friend:

[Read A Friend's Goodbye Letter to a Priest Murdered in Iraq]

In the name of the compassionate and merciful God,

Ragheed, my brother,

I ask your forgiveness for not being with you when those criminals opened fire against you and your brothers. The bullets that have gone through your pure and innocent body have also gone through my heart and soul.

You were one of the first people I met when I arrived to Rome. We met in the halls of the Angelicum and we would drink our cappuccino in the university's cafeteria. You impressed me with your innocence, joy, your pure and tender smile that never left you.
I always picture you smiling, joyful and full of zest for life. Ragheed is to me innocence personified; a wise innocence that carries in its heart the sorrows of his unhappy people. I remember the time, in the university's dining room, when Iraq was under embargo and you told me that the price of a single cappuccino would have satisfied the needs of an Iraqi family for a whole day.

O God, we don't ask you for revenge or retaliation. We ask you for victory, a victory of justice over falsehood, life over death, innocence over treachery, blood over the sword. Your blood will not have been shed in vain, dear Ragheed, because with it you have blessed the soil of your country. And from heaven, your tender smile will continue to light the darkness of our nights and announce to us a better tomorrow.

Brother, your blood hasn't been shed in vain, and your church's altar wasn't a masquerade. You assumed your role with deep seriousness until the end, with a smile that would never be extinguished ever.

Your loving brother,
Adnane Mokrani

[Excerpted from a letter written posthumously to Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni by a Muslim friend of his who is a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University. ]

My sincere thanks to Church in Need, please help their mission through prayers and sacrifices however your money can make a big difference. God bless you.

May Jesus Christ be praised evermore!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The God of Abrahamic Religions is Allah

I find this news from AsiaNews amusing but deeply upsetting. In Malaysia, the Islamic religious councils of seven Malaysian states and the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA) through its Minister-in-Charge Abdullah Mohd Zin had formalized the ban of using the word “Allah” from a Catholic Herald publication.

Their most intelligent reason why they banned non-Muslims from using the word is to get rid of Muslims from confusion. I think if there is anyone who is confused; it’s the council members themselves. They should be given a high dosage of etymological meaning of the word and another prescribed amount of historical facts and a few slaps to wake them up from this ridiculous declarations.

According to Wikipedia the world “Allah” is used by Arab Christians and Muslims alike without distinction. It says that the Arabic Allāh is a combination of al-, the + ’ilāh, god which forms the word.

I can understand that. Although I am not a Muslim but I can read Arabic script well. In their script, there is no distinction between a proper noun and a common noun just like in English grammar. For Arabs reading Arabic script, “god” (if you mean ‘God’) and “god” (if you mean ‘god’) is the same in meaning however it differs when it’s used in a sentence.

Take for example it’s Shahada (what is written in Saudi Arabian national flag), “Lā ilaha illa al-Lāh…” which means “There is no god but God…” would confused Muslims of the term itself isn’t the best reason to ban it from non-Muslim from using it in their publications. Considering historical basis for the word, no one should have the exclusive rights to use the word, not even Christians, Jews and pagans. The council should be lectured severely with their enormous ignorance that there are REAL Christian Arabs who uses the word long before the advent of Islam in the 6th Century better than themselves who aren’t Arabic speakers in that aspect. With due respect to their Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I am sure he didn’t even invent the word by himself. Even before he was born, his own people have been using the word, even pagan Arabs living in Makkah during his time used the word ‘Allah’ or ‘allah’ in that respect.

In fact the father of their prophet was named “Abdullah” which if we conjugate it, it would mean ‘abd-allah” (slave of god or God) proving that the word itself has been used inclusive of any faith in the Arab world.

According to Wikipedia, “Allah (Arabic: ‎, الله Allāh, is the standard Arabic word for 'God.' While the term is best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God, it is used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, in reference to "God". The term was also used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.

To spell the word “Allah” in Arabic, it’s composed of the script alif-lam-lam-alif (a-l-l-a) which all Arabs use regardless of their religious affiliation. Christian Bible uses the word and other catechetical and devotional publications. Christian Patriarchs and Coptic Christians with Muslims surrounding them have no problem with that. Not even an imam could challenge Arab Christians of its exclusive rights on the word. In other words, it’s immutable. They speak the same language and all Arabs knew that, that the word itself has no other translation but ‘god’ or ‘God’ in English.

Further, Wikipedia explains, “It is important to note that according to Muslim teaching, Allah is not only the God of the prophet Muhammad but also the God of Moses and Jesus - and is therefore identical to the divine being of Jewish and Christian sacred history.”

I am sure, even my Arab Muslim friends would agree just as my Arab Christian friends would that Allah as an Arabic term for God has to be free from any ownership not even by Malaysia’s Islamic Council.
Picture Credit: Wikipedia

Further Readings:
Evangelical Church goes to court against ban on using the word "Allah".
Islamic councils against Catholic magazine of Kuala Lumpur: forbidden to use the word "Allah"
Catholic weekly takes government to court over use of the word "Allah"
Islamic Minister countermands order: Catholic weekly cannot use “Allah”

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