"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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Chance to Start Over

Each day is a new beginning. A day to have wounds healed. A day to believe. A day to welcome home parts of ourselves that we have refused to embrace.

— from Good Words

Saturday, October 30, 2010

STATISTICS FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN SPAIN

Photo from Wikipedia
VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, due to take place on 6 and 7 November, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in that country. The information, updated to 31 December 2009, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

Spain has a surface area of 505,992 square kilometres and a population of 45,929,000 of whom 42,470,000 (92.5 percent) are Catholic. There are 70 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 22,674 parishes. Currently there are 124 bishops, 24,849 priests, 54,599 religious, 2,786 lay members of secular institutes and 101,261 catechists. Minor seminarians number 1,943 and major seminarians 1,963.

A total of 1,596,429 students attend 5,585 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Spain include 93 hospitals, 72 clinics, 788 homes for the elderly or disabled, 435 orphanages and nurseries, 301 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 3,036 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 400 institutions of other kinds.

CatholicTV: 25-Year-Old Who Biked 2,400 Miles To Document Catholic Stories Will Tell His Story of One Billion Stories During Live CatholicTV Interview

Seth De Moor
CatholicTV - On November 12th, Seth DeMoor will be interviewed on the live CatholicTV talk show “This is the Day”.

Seth is a recent college graduate who captured national attention earlier this year after biking about 2,400 miles across the Southern United States interviewing Catholics he met along the way and posting their stories in brief videos online.

Seth’s website, onebillionstories.com has hundreds of video-recorded interviews he took during his trip in early 2010. These videos cover a wide range of topics such as conversion, testimonies, faith stories by athletes, and much more.

This is the Day airs at 10:30AM ET at CatholicTV.com and on CatholicTV cable outlets. The show is rebroadcast at 7:30PM and other times during the week.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dispeling LIES in defending the Church of Christ (33 A.D.)

Said Mr. readme, an Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) apologist:

Our instructor, Mr. Ernesto Serna Vasol (Catholicdefender2000), owner of the blog In defense of the church, who loves to “answer/quote” my posts. But when answering/arguing to me and other INC members, he is remarkably known for doing these:

What's the purpose of posting my photo? BTW can I ask some few favors if you don't mind?
  • HOW ABOUT you,  what's your REAL NAME?
  • Why are you HIDING?
  • Why CAN'T you post your own photo?
  • Why are you so SCARED to reveal yourself?
But don't worry, we understand.  It's pretty much scary revealing yourself when there are a lot of people who are after you.

So how gentleman are you to post my personal photo? What's the purpose?  Is this a normal practice in your cult to hunt down those who oppose against your man-made (angel-made) doctrines? Do you have the BALLS to post yours too?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pope seeks religious liberty in Muslim Mideast

By Philip Pullella
Photo: Bishops at Mass marking the end of the synod of bishops from the Middle East in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican October 24, 2010/Alessia Pierdomenico (Photo Source: Reuters)

VATICAN CITY, Reuters - Pope Benedict called on Islamic countries in the Middle East on Sunday to guarantee freedom of worship to non-Muslims and said peace in the region was the best remedy for a worrying exodus of Christians.

He made his a appeal at a solemn mass in St Peter's Basilica ending a two week Vatican summit of bishops from the Middle East, whose final document criticized Israel and urged the Jewish state to end its occupation of Palestinian territories.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

IGLESIA NI CRISTO Trinitarian Doxology

As I was listening to one of my friends whose wife is a member of the INC, he rendered me an Iglesia ni Cristo hymn.  SURPRISED by the lyrics of the song, I searched and found it.  Here's the TRINITARIAN God being mentioned in their DOXOLOGY.  Thanks to YouTube for this video.

video
IGLESIA NI CRISTO DOXOLOGY

Ako’y Iglesia ni Cristo (I am Iglesia ni Cristo)
Ang Iglesiang hinulaan (The prophesized Iglesia)
Nakabalik na sa Jerusalem (It has returned to Jerusalem)
Ang dating tahanan (It’s former home)

Si Cristo ay susundin ko (I will follow Christ)
Ano man ang kasapitan (Whatever costs)
Ako’y Iglesia ni Cristo (I am Iglesia ni Cristo)
Hanggang kamatayan (Until death)

Ako’y laging maglilingkod (I will always serve)
Sa Dios at kay Jesus (God and Jesus)
Sa hirap at pag-uusig (In difficulty and persecution)
Ako’y magtitiis (I will not waver)
Amen

Purihin natin ang Ama (Praise to the Father)
Mabuhay sa pag-ibig ng Anak (Live by the love of the Son)
Taglayin ang Espiritung Banal (Receive the Holy Spirit)
Ang DIOS ay lagi nating sambahin. (Let’s worship GOD forever)
Amen
Truly, no one can hide the TRUTH. Even their very song reflects it. Praise to the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit, ONE God forever and ever.

Amen!

Hariri: Maintaining Christian Presence in Mideast is Wealth for Arabism, Islam

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri
Beirut, Lebanon , Naharnet - Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on the occasion of the conclusion of the Synod held in Rome under Pope Benedict XVI that maintaining Christian presence in the Middle East is "wealth for Arabism and Islam."

Why I am a CATHOLIC!

Thanks to AskaCatholic.com for providing us this excellent tool for apologetics:

Why I am a Catholic

I AM A CATHOLIC ...

  1. Because the founder of the Catholic Church is the God-Man Jesus Christ, Who was foretold by the prophets, and Who proved the divine character of His mission and teaching by wonderful miracles, especially by His Own Resurrection from the dead;
  2. Because Christ established upon Peter and the Apostles the Church, one, holy, universal, apostolic, with which He declared He would remain all days to the consummation of the world, and against which the gates of Hell would not prevail;
  3. Because Christ gave this society certain well defined doctrines which all men everywhere must believe under pain of damnation, [CCC 846, in context: 836 - 848] to which they may not add or from which they may not subtract;
  4. Because Christ the Author of all holiness, promised to guard this society from error and preserve it until the end of time;
  5. Because the Catholic Church possesses all marks of this Church established by Christ:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FINAL MESSAGE OF SYNOD FOR MIDDLE EAST

VATICAN CITY, 23 OCT 2010 (VIS) - During yesterday's Thirteenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, the Synod Father's approved their Final Message.

Extracts from the English-language version of the Message are given below:

I. THE CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE EAST: COMMUNION AND WITNESS THROUGHOUT HISTORY. THE JOURNEY OF FAITH IN THE MIDDLE EAST

"The first Christian community was born in the Middle East. From there, the Apostles after Pentecost went out to evangelise the whole world. ... We are now at a turning point in our history: The God Who gave us the faith in our Eastern lands 2000 years ago, calls us today to persevere with courage, strength and steadfastness in bearing the message of Christ and witnessing to His Gospel, the Gospel of love and peace".

"Today we face many challenges. ... What Christ asks from our Churches is to strengthen communion within every 'sui iuris' Church, and between the Catholic Churches of different traditions, and to exert every effort in prayer and charitable acts in order to attain the full unity of all Christians".

41 Propositions of Mideast Synod

Photo Source: AsiaNews
Addresses Identity of Christians, Migration, Dialogue

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2010 (EWTN / Zenit.org).- Here is the unofficial Vatican translation of the 41 propositions of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops on the theme The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pope Joan: Historicized Legends believed to be true by the Iglesia ni Cristo

Pope Joan a Fiction
Through his old PASUGO copies, an Iglesia ni Cristo member by the name "readme" was surprised that there's such a story about a certain woman "POPE JOAN"-- another "SECRET" of the Catholic Church (?) as he said.

Though this story has long been proven to be a 'MYTH' or a 'LEGEND' the Iglesia ni Cristo was very much pleased about it. And because this legend was deeply anti-Pope and anti-Catholic in its entirety, the INC rejoiced when they stumbled upon it, treasured it and officially immortalized the legend in their Pasugo.

On my part, I was MORE surprised than Mr. readme to see such a MYTH being OFFICIALLY circulated in its Magazine and IS still believed among members of this cult to this day.

readme said:


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Middle East: The Need to Recognize Christians as Citizens with FULL Rights in the Society

Synod: Christians and Islam demand religious freedom, to fight extremism

New strengths in mission emerge at the Synod for the Middle East: the scourge of extremism that suffocates Christians and Muslims, the need to recognize Christians as citizens with full rights in society, the right to the proclamation of the gospel. A summary of the week’s proceedings by an expert at the synodal assembly.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A new factor that emerged forcefully during the Synod is that Christians are not called to fight against Islam. On the contrary, the interventions by Synod Fathers and Muslim guests expressed the need to work together to stop extremism and ensure full citizenship for Christians in Middle Eastern societies.

We can say that the central idea that emerged in the first week of the synod is the task of helping Christians to live in the East, where Christianity was born, but where it is now a minority.

1. Tolerance and discrimination

Friday, October 22, 2010

Israeli rabbi speaks of interfaith cooperation in Vatican

Rabbi David Rosen, along with Sunni and Shi'ite representatives, address over 250 bishops in Middle East forum.

VATICAN CITY, The Jerusalem Post – Rabbi David Rosen delivered a historic speech on Wednesday to Pope Benedict XVI as over 250 bishops gathered in the Vatican’s Synod Hall for the Special Assembly on the Middle East On Thursday, Sunni and Shi’ite representatives spoke.

These three religious leaders are the only non-Christian guests at the October 10- 24 synod. In different ways, they each painted a picture of a difficult but possible coexistence between the three monotheistic religions in the cradle of their birth, based on recent advances in interreligious dialogue and reciprocal respect for religious and cultural pluralism.

Rosen, adviser to Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, and the American Jewish Committee’s international director for interfaith affairs, was chosen as world Jewry’s sole representative.

He is the second rabbi to have been thus honored, preceded at the 2008 Synod on the Bible by Haifa Chief Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen.

After speaking, Rosen, accompanied by Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See Mordechay Lewy and this reporter, who is also the AJC’s liaison to the Holy See, met privately with the pope.

Rabbi Rosen thanked Benedict for his continued commitment to the Catholic Church’s respectful dialogue with Judaism, and the pope noted with appreciation Rosen’s “empathy with suffering on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” and his “consideration for the importance and wellbeing of Christians ‘as a barometer of the health or infirmity’ of societies in the Middle East.”

In his speech, Rosen paid tribute to the Israeli Christians’ achievements in education and their outstanding role in “promoting interreligious understanding and cooperation in the country.”

Rosen said that although he was “fully conscious of the carnage of the recent past in the streets of our cities” and the “ongoing threats... from those openly committed in the destruction and extermination of Israel..., we must strive to do all we can to alleviate hardship..., especially as they pertain to the Christian communities in Jerusalem and environs.”

He went on to say that “for me personally as an Israeli Jerusalamite, the distressing situation in the Holy Land and the suffering of so many on the different sides of the political divide, is a source of pain...,” even though “it is used and abused to heighten various tensions that go well beyond the geographical context of the conflict itself.”

The speeches Thursday by the Shi’ite representative, Iranian Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Ahmadabadi, professor of law and a member of the Iranian Academy of Sciences, and the Sunni representative, Muhammad al-Sammak, political councillor to the mufti of Lebanon, revealed substantial differences between them.

While Ahmadabadi ostensibly embraced respect for cultural and religious diversity and the necessity for interreligious understanding, because “we share each other’s destinies,” Sammak took a realistic look at the lack of “equal citizenship” for Christians in many Middle East countries and the “misunderstanding of the spirit of Islamic teachings” that lead to “negative intellectual and political content” and “worrisome and harmful actions bad for us all” resulting in Christians emigrating and a “culture of extremism” for Islam.

In calling Christians “pioneers of modern Arabic renaissance,” Sammak made a brief reference to their also being in “the forefront to confront and resist occupation, defend violated national rights, especially in Jerusalem and in occupied Palestine in general.”

Chatting with the press before going to the synod, Ahmadabadi spoke of the Koranic teaching of respect for Christianity and Judaism, then proceeded to attribute the origin of contemporary Islamic and Christian fundamentalism to Israeli fundamentalist groups.

These were the only references to Israel made by the two Muslim representatives – aside from including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a long list of causes for unrest affecting Christian life in a context that largely condemned extremism and defended “true” Islamic teachings.

Regarding freedom of conscience, a difficult and recurring theme of the synod, both men pointed to the historic origins of negative attitudes by Muslim countries towards conversions from Islam. Due to past wars between Islam and Christianity, conversion was equated with treason.

“This concept must be changed,” Sammak said, pointing out that the Koran forbids the coercion of conscience and does not recognize coerced adherence to Islam.

Asked whether he agreed with Rosen’s statement that Christians could become “blessed peacemakers in the city whose name means peace,” the Lebanese political councillor replied, “I subscribe blindly to anything said by Rabbi David Rosen.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pope names 24 new cardinals

Photo Source: The Nation
Vatican City, Catholic Culture - At his regular weekly public audience on October 20, Pope Benedict XVI announced his plan to elevate 24 new members to the College of Cardinals.

Confirming the expectations of Vatican journalists, the Holy Father announced that a consistory will be held on November 20. He named 20 prelates who will become voting members of the College of Cardinals. Four others who will receive a red hat in recognition of their long service to the Church, but because they are over the age of 80 they will not be eligible to participate in papal election.

The 20 new cardinal-electors will bring the total number of voting cardinals to 121—one above the normative maximum of 120. However the Pope has the authority to waive that maximum—as Pope John Paul II did in the past. The number will drop back down to 120 by January 2011, when the French Cardinal Bernard Panafieu, the retired Archbishop of Marseilles, turns 80.

The twenty new cardinal-electors will be:

  1. Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints;
  2. Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, the Major Penitentiary;
  3. Archbishop Raymond Burke, the American-born prefect of the Apostolic Signatura;
  4. Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil;
  5. Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See;
  6. Archbishop Kurt Koch, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity;
  7. Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich;
  8. Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe, the retired Archbishop of Lusaka, Zaire;
  9. Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Congo;
  10. Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, the archpriest of the Roman basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls;
  11. Coptic Catholic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt—the relator general for the current Synod of Bishops for the Middle East;
  12. Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw;
  13. Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, the new prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy;
  14. Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy;
  15. Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Colombo, Sri Lanka;
  16. Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture;
  17. Archbishop Robert Sarah, the new president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum—the charitable arm of the papacy;
  18. Archbishop Paolo Sardi, the pro-patron of the Knights of Malta;
  19. Archbishop Raul Vela Chiriboga, the retired Archbishop of Quito, Ecuador; and
  20. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC.
The four prelates who will be raised to the College of Cardinals, but ineligible to vote in a papal election because of age, are:
  1. Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, the longtime director (now retired) of the Sistine Chapel choir;
  2. Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, the former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences;
  3. Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, the former ordinary for the Spanish military forces; and
  4. Archbishop Elio Sgreccia, the former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
Most of the Pope’s choices were expected, although the names of Archbishops Mazombwe and Vela were not often heard in the speculation prior to the papal announcement. Interestingly, both of these archbishops are already retired—although they remain eligible to take part in a conclave. Cardinal-elect Mazombwe, who is 79, will lose that eligibility next September.

Archbishop Marx will be the youngest of the new cardinals, and the youngest member of the College as a whole. Msgr. Bartolucci, who is 93, will become the 4th-oldest member of the College.

Among the prelates whose names are conspicuously absent from the list of new cardinals are two leading archbishops of the English-speaking world: Archbishops Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Timothy Dolan of New York. Both archbishops have succeeded cardinals who remain under the age of 80: Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster and Edward Egan of New York. Vatican tradition weighs against the appointment of a new cardinal from any archdiocese whose former leader remains a cardinal-elector.

Resbak: You Too, Where art thou?


Here’s one of Conrad J. Obligacion’s many  DOUBLE-STANDARDS.

He feels very much vindicated (I guess it’s a collective feeling of vindication in the INC church) when its Public Enemy No. 1, Mr. Eliseo Soriano of ADD (who’s extremely critical to the Iglesia ni Cristo and its founder Felix Manalo) is now in hiding.

Wanted for an alleged rape filed by one of his former members, Eliseo Soriano is now considered a fugitive to the rejoicing of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

If there are people who’d be happier to see Mr. Soriano’s downfall and crucifixion, it’s the Iglesia ni Cristo. For them, it’s a victory. One-by-one they will unite in bringing down all its critics.

ADD’s founder is down. Who’d be next?

It could be Fr. Abe Arganiosa, CRS owner of The Splendor of the Church?

Or Bro. Cenon Bibe of Tumbukin Natin?

Or Bro. Quirino M. Sugon of Monk’s Hobbit?

Or Atty. Marwil N. Llasos or Bro. Francis (a seminarian) of Catholic Eternal Truth?

Well, Mr. Obligacion has started it with me. One by one they will target us.

Mr. Obligacion joins the voices of “many” who’s wondering where Mr. Soriano’s present whereabouts. But the biggest question we can ask Mr. Obligacion is:

WHERE ARE YOU MR. OBLIGACION?

WHY ARE YOU in HIDING like Mr. Soriano? Is there any warrant of arrest waiting for you?

WHY you DON'T have the balls to write your name and your PHOTO in your blog while you paraded stolen photos of those critical to your Iglesia?

Here are some of Mr. Conrad Obligacion's articles displaying his deepseated sexual insecurities,  and articles full of hatred and bigotry against Catholics and the Catholic Church, anti-Christ, anti-ADD themes.  Could be the reason why he's also in hiding for ADD is also after him!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

CIA Factbook on Catholicism

[From CIA Factbook] - Catholicism (or Roman Catholicism): This is the oldest established western Christian church and the world's largest single religious body. It is supranational, and recognizes a hierarchical structure with the Pope, or Bishop of Rome, as its head, located at the Vatican. Catholics believe the Pope is the divinely ordered head of the Church from a direct spiritual legacy of Jesus' apostle Peter. Catholicism is comprised of 23 particular Churches, or Rites - one Western (Roman or Latin-Rite) and 22 Eastern. The Latin Rite is by far the largest, making up about 98% of Catholic membership. Eastern-Rite Churches, such as the Maronite Church and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, are in communion with Rome although they preserve their own worship traditions and their immediate hierarchy consists of clergy within their own rite. The Catholic Church has a comprehensive theological and moral doctrine specified for believers in its catechism, which makes it unique among most forms of Christianity.

Patriarch: Jordan Supplying 80% of Seminarians

Emphasizes Nation's Importance for Christian Community
By Mariaelena Finessi

ROME, OCT. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When Benedict XVI made his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in May 2009, Jordan was his first stop.

But many pilgrims overlook Jordan, excluding it from official Holy Land tours. Still, it is one of the nations that falls under the jurisdiction of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and according to the patriarch, the importance of Jordan needs to be recognized.

Archbishop Fouad Twal, himself of Jordanian birth, spoke of his homeland at the exhibit "A Look at Christians of the Middle East," being sponsored by the Custody of the Holy Land during the synod on the Middle East, which is under way through Sunday.

The archbishop said that in Jordan "is the most consistent portion of our local Christian community, grown numerically with the addition in 1948 and in 1967 of so many Palestinian refugees."

The result is that today the country has 65 parishes and 77,000 faithful.

In fact, Archbishop Twal noted, "80% of our seminarians are of Jordanian origin."

The patriarch asserted that Christians of the Holy Land must be at the center of the Church's attention: They are "descendants of the first community formed by Jesus Christ himself," he reminded, and never before has it been so much the "Church of Calvary" such that the presence of Christians in the Holy Land can be read as "a mission, a vocation," called by God to "bear this cross."

For its part, Jordan is an example of dialogue and religious coexistence, Archbishop Twal continued. He pointed to the charitable work done by the Christian community there, though it is a minority. Jordan assists something like 500,000 refugees, especially Iraqis, and aspires to be a model for the whole of the Middle East area, he said.

It was also in Jordan, the prelate continued, that the best reactions to the Pope's Regensburg address could be found. There, there was an openness that culminated in Benedict XVI's visit to the mosque of Amman, where he was received explicitly as Successor of Peter.

Addressing issues

Archbishop Twal was accompanied during his address by a leader of Caritas-Jordan, Monsignor Sayegh e a Huda Muhasher.

The decisive role of Christians in Jordan's civil society is found in that which Benedict XVI defined as "the dialogue of works," Muhasher said. "There are so many, and as laity we have a great role in them."

He said Caritas has addressed all the most serious national emergencies, including that of the immigrants.

"We have two charitable fronts," the Caritas director said, "one for Jordanians, for whom Caritas was founded, and one for all the foreigners who arrive in the country and are in need of help."

And being a laboratory of coexistence between Christians and Muslims, between citizens and foreigners, "the greater part of funds received in the last years has been allocated to Iraqi refugees and not to Jordanians," he added.

Among Caritas' many projects -- it is the only organization that can enter prisons, for example -- there is one that Muhasher highlighted: a care center for disabled children and their families.

There, he said, parents are "taught how to address and live with handicaps."

The Caritas leader spoke of beginning every activity with prayer, "without showy gestures but each one in the silence of his heart."

Six Stories of Mideast Churches

"Sui Iuris" Churches Gathered in Rome for Synod
By Andrea Kirk Assaf

ROME, OCT. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- St. Peter's square these days is a particularly international meeting point. Amidst the throngs of ever-present tourists drawn together between Bernini's colonnades strides an Iranian ayatollah in his distinctive round turban, followed shortly after by a group of Iraqi clerics in red and black vestments, who quietly and intently speak to one another as they move to their next appointment at the Vatican.

Other soberly yet ornately dressed Oriental clerics make a brief appearance as they too join this international delegation of Middle Eastern clergy gathered in Rome for the work of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which concludes Sunday.

In his briefing at the beginning of the synod, Archbishop Nikola Eterović, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, recalled that in addition to the Latin Church, there six Eastern Catholic Churches "sui iuris" in the Middle East, each with its own patriarch, father and head of the Church.

Here, we look back on the ancient stories of these six Eastern Churches that eventually brought these men together to pray and ponder and propose solutions to the problems faced by their flock back home.

Armenian Church

The country of Armenia was evangelized by Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus, and was the first to make Christianity its official religion in 301 under the governorship of St. Gregory the Illuminator. The Armenian Church broke away after the Council of Chalcedon in 554, as did all the Eastern Catholic churches now referred to as "uniate." After several attempts at reunification with Rome by members of the Armenian Orthodox Church over the centuries, Pope Benedict XIV ultimately announced the establishment of the Armenian Catholic Church in 1742.

Its patriarchate (currently led by Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni) is located in Bzoummar, Lebanon, and its communities are found in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Iraq, and Palestine, as well as in the global diaspora, particularly in the United States. There are an estimated 540,000 Catholic Armenians around the world.

Chaldean Church

The Catholic Chaldean Church originated in Edessa (in modern day Turkey) with the Apostle Thomas. Today its patriarchate is located in Baghdad, Iraq, headed by Patriarch Emannuel III Delly, and its members number approximately 419,000. In 2007, Patriarch Delly became the first Chaldean Catholic elevated to the rank of a cardinal.

The line of patriarchs in communion with Rome dates back to 1553, though this line was broken on several occasions and rival patriarchs created their own lines of succession. In 1830, only one patriarch remained and Pope Pius VIII granted him the title of Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans.

The history of the Chaldean Church has been marked by waves of persecution through the centuries in Iraq, nearly decimating their number and scattering their population, yet the Church to this day maintains a firm presence and vibrant community.

Catholic Coptic Church

The roots of this Church are found in the conversion of an Orthodox Coptic bishop, Amba Athanasius, to Catholicism in 1741, along with 2,000 others. Athanasius was appointed apostolic vicar to this new flock but later returned to the Orthodox Church. He left behind a line of Catholic vicars, however, and in 1824 the Holy See created a Patriarchate for the Copts, re-established in 1895 by Pope Leo XIII, who appointed the first patriarch.

The current Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, who heads a Church of 163,000 in Egypt, is Archbishop Antonios Naguib, the general relator of the Mideast synod.

Greek Melkite Church

The Melkites, also known as Byzantine Catholics, number 1.3 million around the world. They entered into full communion with Rome in 1729 under the Pontificate of Benedict XIII.

Melkite Patriarch Gregory refused to sign the declaration on the doctrine of papal infallibility at Vatican Council I, along with others in a minority called the anti-infallibilists, but later consented with the addition of the clause "except the rights and privileges of Eastern patriarchs." Gregory's concerns about the latinization of the Eastern Churches was somewhat relieved by Leo XIII's encyclical "Orientalium Dignitas." Following Vatican Council II, the Melkites took further measures to remove Latin-rite traditions from their liturgy.

The current patriarch in the See of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee is Archbishop Elias Michael Chacour, a Palestinian who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his charitable and peace-promoting work, namely with the Mar Elias Educational Institutions.

The current Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria, and Jerusalem is Gregory III Laham, who resides in Damuscus, Syria. In the Middle East his flock can be found in Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, and also in Africa, South America, North America and Australia.

Maronite Church

The Maronites derive their name from the Syrian monk St. Maron, who was an important figure in the Christian community of Antioch at the same time as St. John Chrysostom, but who left the city to follow the example of St. Anthony of the Desert and took up a hermitic life.

The Maronites voted in favor of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, subsequently finding themselves the sole Chalcedonian Christians in the region. Some 350 Maronite monks were then killed by monophysites, causing the Maronites to flee and settle in Lebanon, particularly in the mountainous regions.

The first specifically Maronite patriarch, John Maron, was elected in 687, in the midst of an Islamic invasion and conflict with the Orthodox Church and the Byzantine Emperor, Justinian II. The Muslim conquest of Eastern Christendom cut off Maronite communication with Rome for 400 years, until the time of the First Crusade, when the Maronites re-affirmed their union with Rome in 1182, the only non-uniate Eastern Christian Church in the Middle East to this day. In 1584, the Maronites established their presence in Rome with the Maronite College, followed by the building of several monasteries and convents of Maronite orders.

Today, the majority of Christians in Lebanon are still Maronite, approximately 930,000, and the patriarch, currently the Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, resides outside Beirut in the town of Bkerke. The Maronite diaspora is far greater in number at nearly three million, with congregations in Australia, the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Israel and Cyprus.

Syriac Church

The Syriac Church, also referred to as the Western Syriac Rite, uses a Syriac language liturgy that is called the "Anaphora of St. James" and dates back to the bishopric of St. Peter in Antioch. The Syriac Catholic Church made a final split from the Orthodox Church and came into union with Rome in 1781.

Dramatically, in 1782, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Michael Jarweh of Aleppo declared himself Catholic and in union with Rome shortly after his election, and then took flight to Lebanon where he established an unbroken line of Catholic Syriac patriarchs. During the 18th century the Church went underground due to persecution from the Orthodox, encouraged by the Ottomans.

In the subsequent years the patriarchate was moved from Lebanon to Aleppo, Syria, then to Mardin, Turkey, and finally back to Lebanon to Beirut during the Assyrian genocide of World War I, which brought about the deaths of over 37,500 Syriac Catholics at the hands of Turkish nationalists.

Today there are approximately 159,000 Syriac Catholics globally, concentrated in the Middle East in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and also in the diaspora in Australia, Sweden, France, Venezuela, Brazil, Sudan, the United States and Canada. The current Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Syrians is Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, who resides in Beirut, Lebanon.

Christian Emigration an Islamic Crisis

Interview With Lebanese Political Adviser

By Tony Assaf and Robert Cheaib

ROME, OCT. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When Muhammad al-Sammak hears someone affirm that interreligious dialogue is useless, he counters: "What is the alternative?"

Al-Sammak, a Sunni Muslim who is secretary general of Lebanon's Christian-Muslim Committee for Dialogue, thus asserts that it is urgent to spread a culture of dialogue in all levels of society.

This scholar and advocate of interreligious coexistence, who is also an adviser to Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, addressed the synod of bishops on the Middle East last Thursday. The synod is under way at the Vatican through Sunday.
ZENIT spoke with the Lebanese leader about his address to the synod fathers, the particular mission of Lebanon for promoting peace, and what should be seen as a truly Islamic view of Christianity.

ZENIT: Does the content of your address at the synod represent the opinion of Sunni Muslims in the Middle East or is it only the view of a faction? As a Muslim, what do you expect from the synod?

Al-Sammak: The position I presented in the synodal intervention represents Islamic doctrine, and I am a committed Muslim who speaks, whether in the Vatican or in sacred Mecca. What I said is faithful to Islamic teaching, and I don't think that a true believing Muslim can distance himself from this position. Also in the preparatory phase of the speech I made a series of consultations with the Lebanese premier, the World Association of the Islamic Appeal, as well as the general council of King Abdullah's initiative for dialogue between cultures and religions, given that Saudi Arabia is the first point of reference in the Islamic world. Because of this, I think the text expresses the thinking of the Islamic world in general.

ZENIT: Continuing with your speech at the synod, you affirmed: "To ease emigration, this is forcing [Christians] to emigrate. To turn in on oneself, is to slowly suffocate." In your opinion, what should the synod do to prevent the emigration of Christians from the Middle East?

Al-Sammak: Clearly the text of my intervention is an invitation -- not only to encourage Christians to stay in their countries of origin, but also to help them to stay. And the help should not come only from references such as the Vatican or the synod of bishops; it should also come from the local political authorities and from the civil societies of which Christians form a part. There is a joint Muslim-Christian responsibility.

It seems to me that Christians should give up the idea of emigration from the Middle East. And, on the other side, Muslims should realize that Christian emigration constitutes in truth a catastrophe for them in the first place. Hence, it is a civic duty of Muslims to contribute so that the Christian presence in the Middle East will take up again its credibility and its role, and not remain only a mere presence, so that the Middle East will again be what it has been in the course of centuries: a cradle of religion, of culture and of civilization.

ZENIT: What position should Christians take as a social and political presence in Lebanon in regard to the internal divisions of Islam between Sunnis and Shiites? Is it enough to take a position of "positive neutrality" as suggested by Sateh Nour ed-Din, a Muslim political opinion maker, who affirms: "Christians should do nothing other than adopt a position of positive neutrality between Sunnis and Shiites." Isn't the neutrality suggested, rather, a negative, passive and marginal position?

Al-Sammak: Christians in Lebanon are not mere spectators, nor a foreign element to be reconciled with internal elements in the national structure as if they were external factors. Lebanon was born in response to the Christian need. And the constitution of the Lebanese nation came in 1920 as a response to such a particular need. The role of Christians in Lebanon cannot be reduced to reconciliation between political and religious forces. The Christian role is foundational and essential. Hence, it isn't possible to imagine Christians as passive spectators or advisers. The nation regards them in every aspect. And we must be very clear that a great part of the Christian suffering in the Middle East is due to the diminution of the Christian role in Lebanon, which is reflected negatively on the spirit of Christians in the rest of the region. The fostering of a Christian presence in the Middle East should start necessarily in Lebanon, which is the nation-message of civil coexistence between Muslims and Christians.

ZENIT: You state that the role of Christians in Lebanon is "foundational and essential," and during your intervention in the synod of bishops, you said: "I can live my Islam with all other Muslims from all states and from all ethnicities, but as a Middle Eastern Arab, I cannot live my being Arabic without the Middle Eastern Christian Arab." However, there are other views in Islam of the Middle East, which consider Christians as residues of the Crusades to be eliminated in any possible way, and regard Christians as allies and spies of the West, considered erroneously the political and religious kingdom of Christians! In face of this duplicity, Christians find themselves before a difficult crossroads. Which of these faces is the true Islam?

Al-Sammak: This argument requires a long discussion, which is not possible at this moment. But let us begin from historical data. Christianity is older than Islam in the East. There are churches that still subsist and that were built much earlier than the birth of the Prophet Mohammed and of the advent of Islam. I would like to report a documented episode that recounts the visit to the Prophet by a Christian tribe in Najran in the Arabian Peninsula. The embassy came to discover the new religion of which it had received news. The Prophet received it in his home, which is the second most sacred place of Islam, where the mosque of Medina is now erected. They stayed with the Prophet for a whole day, lunching and dining together, and when the hour of Vespers arrived, the Prophet invited them to pray in his house, but they preferred to pray outside. The success of the meeting is reflected in a document called "the pact of Najran." It concerns all Christians and commits Muslims religiously until the day of the resurrection. The duty of Muslims is to respect Christians and to protect and watch over their places of worship. The pact prohibits a Muslim from building a home or another mosque using stones used previously by Christian churches. There are also other interesting topics that I have inserted in a 15-point study, which concern every Muslim. Hence, when someone says that Christians are an added novelty in the Middle East, I ask: how can they be so, when they are older in the region of Muslims as documented by the sacred writings themselves of Islamic tradition?

Then it is said that Christians are a residue of the Crusades. But how can they be so, if in reality, they were themselves damaged by these Crusades, beginning with the sacking of Constantinople and extending to the Western coasts of the Mediterranean. These affirmations made by factions of Islam are mere suppositions based on an erroneous culture.

Then there is another problem: Some Muslims look at the West as if is were Christianity. This isn't true. I know well that the late Pope John Paul II invoked tenaciously the mention of the Christian roots of Europe in the unified Constitution of the European Union. But the final text was issued without the least reference to these roots. Hence it isn't right to burden the shoulders of Christianity and of Christians with the choices of the West. It isn't right to aggravate Christians with responsibility for the conflict between Islam and the West.

These problems are unknown by so many Muslims who come to mistaken conclusions based on erroneous assumptions. Because of this, it is essential to spread the right culture that corrects these assumptions.

ZENIT: Speaking again of Christian emigration from the Middle East, we hear various Muslims affirm that it is a great loss in the first place for Muslims. What are you doing concretely to prevent, or put an end to, this phenomenon?

Al-Sammak: Within the limit of our capacity we seek to sensitize Muslims on the grave loss that the flight and emigration of Christians inflicts on the Middle East. Because of this exodus, the East loses its identity, its plurality, the spirit of tolerance and of mutual respect. Also at the level of religious practice, a Muslim has need of the Christian to practice the moral values of his faith, such as tolerance and respect. Therefore, emigration lacerates and enervates the rich fabric of the East, weakening our societies and leading them to a dangerous precipice.

Moreover, if Christians emigrate, the image we transmit is that Muslims are intolerant toward Christians in the Middle East. It will be natural for Westerners to deduce that Muslims don't know and cannot coexist with others, hence how can they coexist with us? This would reflect very negatively on the close to 500 million Muslims who live in non-Muslim societies. What will be their fate? Hence, it is an advantage for Muslims to preserve the Christian presence in the Middle East.

ZENIT: There has been talk in the synod of "positive secularity," and some prelates suggested modifying the terminology to be more consonant with contemporary Islamic sensibility, suggesting the expression "civil state." Is it dogmatically possible, in a religion such as Islam that considers itself at the same time "religion and state" (Din wa dunya), to arrive at an idea of a civil and pluralistic nation that constitutes the theocratic state?

Al-Sammak: This type of research isn't new in Islam. With us in Lebanon the late imam Mohammad Shams el-Din suggested to his time the project of the civil state, that is the idea of a believing nation where the state respects the plurality of faiths, and also non-belief. Faith in fact is a question of conscience, it is the relationship between God and man, and God judges everyone. The Quran says: "There is no forcing in religion." This verse does not only mean "not to force anyone to believe," but also "there cannot be faith with constriction." On this principle we can build the concept of the civil state. The state must respect religion and religious rites, becoming at the same time a nation for all. So much has been said about this already in so many Muslim meetings, that's why it is a question that can be discussed.

ZENIT: Religious dialogue is a phenomenon that has been under way for several decades. Some, however, criticize this dialogue, affirming that it happens only among religious leaders and that it remains mere ink on paper, without being embodied in the daily life of ordinary people. What is your opinion as an active member of the path of Muslim-Christian dialogue? And what is the state of this dialogue today?

Al-Sammak: I believe, first of all, that there is no alternative to dialogue. When someone affirms "dialogue is useless," I counter: "What is the alternative?" This is an essential point of departure.

My theory on dialogue is the following: Dialogue is the art of finding the truth in the opinion of the other. I don't possess truth. Already the fact of beginning to dialogue with the other means that I admit to not having a monopoly on truth, but that I am in search of it. It also means that I will be able to find it in the opinion and view of the other; that is why I respect the other and respect his view. This concept of dialogue builds bridges of reciprocity, which is distinguished from mutual respect.

And dialogue for us is not only theoretic. We do not lose occasions to go to the people, through cultural centers, publications, television broadcasts, interviews, meetings. We also organize residential meetings where we bring together Christian and Muslim young people who spend from one to three weeks together, working together, listening to one another, seeing how each one prays and lives his life and faith. Attending these meetings are young people of several countries of the Middle East but also of Europe. In the thematic meetings we touch upon issues of current importance such as liberty of conscience, the right of citizenship, religious liberty. All this is not enough. The work must be wider, but this is what is in our power and we believe it is urgent to spread this culture in all levels of society.

Weakness Makes Us Stronger

It was in that moment—when I was exposed, felt the weakest, and had my guard down—that I was simultaneously the strongest I had ever been.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Synod: no to anti-Semitism and violence, but solidarity with Palestinians

The report after discussions states that the Palestinian situation favors Islamic fundamentalism which is growing and stifles all forms of religious freedom, encourages emigration and impoverishes countries in the region. The choice of dialogue, but "in truth". Christians must not close in on themselves but promote democracy, justice and the secular nature of the state.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - " While condemning the violence whatever its origin and calling for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we express our solidarity with the Palestinian people, whose current situation encourages fundamentalism" in the region. Hence the lack of respect for religious freedom a major cause of the increasing emigration of Christians and often educated people of other religions, which deprives the country of important energy.

The “Relatio post disceptationem”, or report after discussions, is explicit regarding the dramatic situation in the Middle East and particularly the Christians who live in the region. The report was read this morning in the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, in the presence of the Pope, by the general relator, Egyptian Archbishop Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts.

"The socio-political situation of our countries - the document states - have a direct impact on Christians, who feel more strongly their negative consequences”, particularly of events like the war in Iraq and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Regarding the latter it reiterates the call for a two-state solution and says that "on more than one occasion the Holy See has clearly expressed its position, hoping that the two peoples can live in peace, each in its homeland with secure, internationally recognized borders".

Large space is devoted to religious freedom. It "is the basis of relations between Muslims and Christians" and "should be a priority issue in interreligious dialogue. We would like - the document states - the Koranic principle that 'no compulsion in religion' was actually put into practice". Some synod fathers "spoke of the constraints, limits on freedom, violence and exploitation of migrant workers in other countries". This latter fact is part of the growing phenomenon of many workers of Christian religions arriving from Africa and Asia, mainly women. "These - explain the synod fathers - find themselves in an atmosphere of Muslim predominance, and sometimes with little opportunity for religious practice. Many feel abandoned, faced with abuse and mistreatment, in situations of injustice, and violation of laws and international conventions”. To the point that “some immigrants change their names to be more accepted and supported".

While making these present realities, none of the Fathers, though, " No one quoted the Koranic verses on which the extremists base themselves to justify their attitude and acts of violence. This shows the praiseworthy attitude of the Pastors to see what unites and calms rather than what separates. " " Our closeness to Muslims is strengthened by 14 centuries of living together, in enduring difficult moments as well as many positive ones”.

Clear, therefore, the choice in favour of dialogue, which in order to be successful, requires that Christians and Muslims know each other better. "We have the duty to educate our faithful for interreligious dialogue and in the acceptance of religious diversity, in respect and in mutual esteem. The prejudices inherited from the history of conflicts and controversies, on both sides, must be carefully faced, clarified and corrected". In any case, "dialogue must be fulfilled in truth”.

Even in the current situation, however, Christians "must become increasingly rooted in their societies and not be tempted to turn inward as a minority." Instead, "according to the possibilities in each country, Christians must promote democracy, justice and peace, and positive secularism in the distinction between religion and state and respect for every religion."

9,000 Converted to Catholicism in Brooklyn: That was in 1891

“Thousands at a Mission: The Work Which Paulist Fathers Have Been Doing In Brooklyn Interesting Services in the Church of the Sacred Heart. Many Total Abstinence Pledges Signed. The Renewal of Baptismal Vows—Conversions to Catholicism"
During the mission a large number of Protestants were converted to Catholicism. Last Monday night Bishop Loughlin confirmed them in the church. Several hundred children also received confirmation. The missionary fathers were highly pleased with the success of the mission. They said last Sunday that the surprisingly large attendance of men was particularly gratifying.

The Brooklyn Eagle, February 15, 1891 [Read the whole story in  McNamara's Blog]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Vatican Bishops Ponder Middle East Christians

St. Mark Catholic Church, Alexandria, Egypt [Photo Source: skycrapercity.com ]

VOANew.com - Vatican bishops are going into the second week of a synod to discuss the future of Christians in the Middle East, amid scattered persecution and an ongoing exodus from the region.

The Sunday service at the old Anglican church in Cairo's Garden City was sparsely attended. Sunday is not an official holiday in Egypt and many Christians cannot take time off from their jobs to attend church. Some churches in the Middle East hold worship services on Friday, the Muslim sabbath, instead.

As a Vatican synod enters a second week of deliberations over the thinning ranks of Christians in the Middle East, many Christians say life for them in a Muslim environment is becoming more difficult.

Theologian Paul Haidostian, president of Haigazian University in Beirut, says Christians tend to leave the Middle East, especially in times of political turbulence and war. "Minorities in general, and in this case Christians, always pay a certain price any time there is instability or there are wars - even when the wars are not religious and are not against any Christian. So they look for better ways of living elsewhere, thinking that new countries, other countries will provide safety," he said.

Since the end of Lebanon's civil war two decades ago, large numbers of Christians have emigrated to the West.

A young man who lives in Beirut's largely Muslim Hamra district, Ziyad Hajjar, says being a Christian in the predominantly Muslim Middle East, is not an enviable position.

"[Muslim] people have the power here in the Middle East and we cannot say anything. We cannot talk about our religion because here it is dangerous. Here, [Muslims] can easily make problems for you if they found out you are Christian."

In Cairo, Samir, a Christian refugee from Sudan, says that Christians are persecuted in Egypt and in his homeland.

He said it is difficult for a Christian to find work because many fields are closed to them. Samir complains that people tell him and other Christians that they will not get jobs if they are not Muslim. He adds that the situation is similar in the Sudan and that Christians often are told they have the choice of converting to Islam or dying of starvation.

Samir says that many families face the stark choice of sending their children to Islamic schools or not sending them to school at all. "Many Christian families," he says, "are thinking of leaving because they do not want to send their children to an Islamic school."

Samir says the worst form of persecution is the killing of converts to Christianity. Some Christians, like himself, have converted to Christianity, but they face an uncertain fate. "Islam forbids conversion," he notes, "and they often kill apostates.

Despite the slow exodus of Christians from the Middle East, Paul Haidostian of Haigazian University says he is optimistic. "As a Christian, I do not want to connect everything with numbers. Human beings are not static; they are dynamic. They have mobility of various sorts and I think we always have to find genuine ways of being effective, positive witnesses of our faith, with whatever numbers we are," he said.

Kent church to convert to Catholicism over women bishops row

BBC LIVE - Help The first Anglican vicar to take up the Pope's offer of conversion to Catholicism over the issue of women bishops has said there is nothing left to fight for in the Church of England.

Father Stephen Bould told the BBC that he will probably follow some of the congregation of St Peter's in Folkestone into the Roman Catholic Church.

Robert Pigott reports.

First Australian Saint Canonized

Australians in Rome cheer canonization of ‘outback saint’ Mary MacKillop

Vatican City, (CNA/EWTN News).- After Pope Benedict's Sunday declaration of the six newest saints, some of the loudest cheers in St. Peter's Square came from Australians. They had reason to celebrate: their own Bl. Mary MacKillop had just become their country's first canonized saint.

Photo Source: bigpondnews
Pope Benedict officially recognized her and five others as saints on Sunday morning.

Now known as St. Mary of the Cross, MacKillop founded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart. She focused particularly on the education of poor children.

She began the order’s work with a school in a stable the small town of Penola, Australia in 1866. Before her death many more educational institutions were established in "bush" areas where hardship was common.

Today, the "Josephites" are present across Australia and New Zealand, and have extended their ministry to Ireland, Peru, East Timor, Scotland and Brazil.

Official Vatican estimates for the Oct. 17 canonization put the number of ticket-holding Australians in attendance at a minimum of 6,000 people. They witnessed the Pope’s Latin-language declaration of their national hero's sainthood.

CNA spoke with some of the Australian pilgrims, who all said they had personally been touched by St. Mary of the Cross' ministry. Each one was happy to tell his or her story.

Toto Piccolo, an Italian missionary with the Neocatechumenal Way, has lived in Australia for more than 30 years. He led a group of pilgrims from Sydney to Rome to take part in the celebration.

In his view, the saint helps to give courage to Australian Catholics today. "In a secular society," he said, "she managed to give witness to Christ with her life." This is still relevant for Australia, which he called a “young” nation that can "go in any direction."

Rose Ingram, who had come with a group from the Western Australia city of Perth, felt privileged to be in Rome for the celebration. She said her group couldn't help but cheer the short biography of St. Mary of the Cross, read before the Holy Father declared her to be a saint.

The canonization is "just great" for Australia, she said. St. Mary was "champion of the poor" who took education "to the outback" and all over the nation, explained Ingram, herself a former student of the Josephites.

For Ingram, the canonization took on the character of a reunion. At the event she ran into former Josephite school directors who had worked in Perth but had moved on to Ireland and other parts of the world.

Also present were nineteen-year-olds Heidi Welsh and Charlotte King, who live in a boarding house for first-year university students called the MacKillop House near the Australia’s capital of Canberra. The young women welcomed the canonization of Australia's first saint.

Particularly important to Welsh was that the first saint was a woman. "How awesome is that?" she exclaimed.

Thinking about the fact that MacKillop founded the order at 24 years old, she said that she still has a few years to put something together herself.

A pair of teachers, Bernie Maginnity and Amy Tabain, were chosen by New South Wales' Diocese of Wagga Wagga to head a group of 45 young people for the celebration. The youth came from all over Australia and also East Timor and New Zealand.

Maginnity said the canonization "was just the ultimate for us."

It was "spiritually uplifting," added Tabain. "She's a phenomenal Australian, an ordinary Australian who had an amazing vision and fulfilled the dream and the legacy that continues today through her work, through the Josephites and all the other ministries associated with that. She would be really proud today."

As teachers, she said, they strive to be as humble, dedicated and motivated as she was. Tabain explained that MacKillop's sainthood has an effect on all people regardless of religion and background in Australia and in the places where the Josephites continue the work MacKillop started.

Maginnity appraised her life in concise Australian terms, saying that the new saint is someone who sets an example as “a 'fair dinkum' Aussie battler, having a fair go, trying to help her mates.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holy vs Vain Images, which is detestable?

The image of Felix Manalo erected at the grounds of Central Temple of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines.
INC Minister "readme" tried to justify the presence of Felix Manalo's statue at their Central Temple in Diliman, Quezon City (Philippines). Below is his apologetical article on the subject:

As I always having a research about the INC, I notice that Catholic defenders criticize, malign, and give different meaning to the images/statues in the INC. Because they say the INC always attack them by having such statues/images in their church somehow they say they just venerate/adore/respect and whatever their explanations they maybe those but not worship it and trait it as another God. Then, they turn backs that truth to the INC and make some lies so that people would think that INC is the one who worship such images/statues, by the way, what’s their accusations? Here:

They say:

* we worship Bro. Felix Manalo/Bro. Erano Manalo as they were sometimes in the front cover of our pasugo magazine issues.

They wonder:

*why our ministers criticize Catholic Church for having images somehow we have pictures of our parents, friends and whatsoever.

*the remains of Bro. Erano Manalo is at the tabernacle.

*we have statue of Bro. Felix Manalo inside the INC Central complex

So, what are the differences of the statues/images of the Catholic Church to the statues/images not only in the INC but also to other ordinary images/statues?

*We do not kneel to it.

*We do not bow down to it.

*We do not pray for it.

*We do not lit candles to it.

*We do not treat it as mediators to God.

*We do not swept it with towel and believe that it will heal our diseases.

*We do not think it is miraculous.

*We do not make feast for it and offer foods or something.

What is the reason again? I will quote the author..

“the temporary interment of the remains of Ka Erdy at the tabernacle (while his mausoleum is not yet finished)…”

Everybody gets the point? Or do I need to repeat it again?^_^

Nobody knows when will a person die, and making a mausoleum is not just 1 or 2 days to be make. So, where would be the remains of Bro. Erano put if the mausoleum is not yet finished? Just everywhere? Huh? That’s why I think Bro. Eduardo just decided the remains be in the tabernacle TEMPORARY for the other brethren who wants to see it just go there and not in the chapel.

I know Catholic Defenders still cannot understand this, maybe we just understand them! For having low memory or maybe evil mind by making such lies^_^

By the way, what really was the teachings of God according to these bowing down, and making act of worship (even deny it and make other meaning of the word ‘worship’ so it not make it to a point and show that they really don’t worship those) and etc? Click on the links.

OK, let’s analyze how members of the Iglesia ni Cristo's stiff thinking operates and apply it to our common sense.

The Founding of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines

When Felix Manalo established his Iglesia ni Cristo sect (or CULT) prior to registering it in 1914, he was ABSOLUTELY 10000% in OPPOSITION to having IMAGES in his newly founded church (cult). Because for him ALL IMAGES are abominable—pagan in origin which the Iglesia ni Cristo SHOULD NOT have and according to its Fundamental Teachings, they SHOULD NOT duplicate any of Catholic practices including having images and “worshipping” them. Only to carve his own STATUE at Central 30+ years after his death.

And because the Catholic Church has a lot of sacred images like that of the great Temple of Jerusalem, he said, this ISN’T anymore the Church of Christ established IN the first Century (though he acknowledged that the Catholic Church WAS Christ’s ORIGINAL CHURCH [PASUGO April 1966, p. 46] which Christ himself established in the first Century).

Instantly his inflexibility attitude eventually paved the way of CREATING an image for himself and PROCLAIMING himself as the “ANOINTED RESTORER” of the “Church”.

And so he REGISTERED a Corporation Sole named it “Iglesia ni Cristo”® entirely in TAGALOG with HIMSELF as the FOUNDER, Creator, Initiator, Originator etc.

Of course it would be ridiculous if he would PROCLAIM another Church when the ORIGINAL CHURCH is still THERE existing.

His idea of re-establishing a “church” would sound hilarious and less appealing to many BADLY INFORMED informed Catholics (like Manalo himself) whom he was aiming to proselytize so carefully and meticulously he planned it and so the fairy taled stories circulated within the Iglesia.

According to third sources and existing biographies and legendary fairy-tale style stories about his “angelic vision” which is only circulated within the Iglesia ni Cristo, they say that he hid himself (daw) in three days inside a dark room while “praying and fasting” then emerging one day, he preached that this Felix Manalo is NO LONGER the same Felix Manalo for he “RECEIVED” a mandate from God (according to himself) that he’d be “God’s LAST Messenger” (again according to himself), an “angel from the East” or “ANGHEL” because he’s a “MESSENGER”—again and again and again according to himself.

And because he’s “God’s Last Messenger” he is bounded to “re-establish” the Church?

Since there could be ONLY ONE CHURCH legitimately, rightfully and historically recognized by distinguished historians there could be NO two Churches existing. The solution? He, by his own authority despised the ORIGINAL and HAILED his own founded church.

And by his OWN AUTHORITY in Sitio Punta, Santa Ana, in the city of old Manila, in the Philippines HE PROCLAIMED that the ORIGINAL CHURCH OF CHRIST in the first century, the Catholic Church COME TO AN END (PASUGO August 1971, p.22) and that he is the LAST MESSENGER called by God to RE-ESTABLISH it, registered it to be entirely TAGALOG, not English, not Spanish, not Italian, not Latin, not Chinese, not Greek, not Aramaic, not Hebrew, not French, not Russian--- ONLY in TAGALOG.

And behold it is called the…….. “IGLESIA NI CRISTO!

And irrespective of race, ALL non-Iglesia ni Cristo members, un-babtized in the cult DO NOT SHARE any inheritance in the Kingdom of God according to Felix Manalo and his Ministers! Therefore from Adam to until Felix Manalo founded his church ALL were DAMNED to eternal fiery furnace (dagat-dagatang apoy) for not being members of the Iglesia ni Cristo!

PASUGO Agosto 1966, p.13: (sinulat ni Tomas C. Catangay)
“Totoo na kailangan ng tao ang pananampalataya upang maligtas, ngunit kung siya'y hindi Iglesia ni Cristo, tiyak na hindi siya maliligtas’ [It's true that men need faith for salvation, however if one is not Iglesia ni Cristo, surely he's not saved.]

PASUGO Hunyo 1967, p. 16: (sinulat din ni T.C. Catangay)
Ang may karapatan na tumawag sa Dios, humingi at bigyan, tanging tayo lamang na mga Iglesia ni Cristo." [There's only one who has the right to call on God, asking and receiving, only us the Iglesia ni Cristo.]

PASUGO Pebrero 1966, p. 18: (sinulat ni Benjamin Santiago)
“Sa panahong ito'y ang Iglesia ni Cristo lamang ang may karapatang gumamit ng pangalan ni Cristo. Maliban sa Iglesia ni Cristo na lumitaw sa Pilipinas noong 1914, ay walang may karapatang gumamit sa mahalagang pangalang ito." [In these times only the Iglesia ni Cristo has the right to use the name of Christ.  Aside from the Iglesia ni Cristo which emerged from the Philippines in 1914, no one has the right to use this important name.]

Which is contrary to Acts 10:34-35 which says:

At binuka ni Pedro ang kanyang bibig at sinabi: 'Tunay ngang natatalas ko na hindi nagtatangi ang Dios ng mga tao; kundi sa bawat bansa siya na may takot sa kanya, at gumawa, ay kalugud-lugod sa kanya." [Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.]

Iglesia ni Cristo's ABSOLUTE REJECTION of IMAGES!

According to the Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo, No. 6, it says:
"The apostasy of the Catholic Church from the Church established by Christ in the first century took place with their turning away from the teachings of God taught by Christ and His Apostles (Worship of Images, Mass, Popes and Priests as vicars or successors of Christ, Mediator Saints, Purgatory). Therefore, the apostasy takes place whenever there is a teaching of God the Catholic Church violates. In view of this, all the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church should be rejected.
Here are some of the Biblical passages the Iglesia ni Cristo used against the Catholic Church on Sacred Images:

The images of their gods you shall destroy by fire. Do not covet the silver or gold on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD, your God.

Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them.

You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishments for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation.

But the same BIBLE approves the USE of SACRED IMAGES in temples.  If God allowed it for religious purposes, who are the Iglesia ni Cristo to be better off than God himself?
Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory, fastening them so that one cherub springs direct from each end. The cherubim shall have their wings spread out above, covering the propitiatory with them; they shall be turned toward each other, but with their faces looking toward the propitiatory.

…the refined gold, and its weight, to be used for the altar of incense; and, finally, gold for what would suggest a chariot throne: the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.

As high as the lintel of the door, even into the interior part of the temple as well as outside, on every wall on every side in both the inner and outer rooms were carved the figures of cherubim and palmtrees: a palmtree between every two cherubim. Each cherub had two faces...

Then the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover."
You see? God instructed the Israelites on how they are to make the IMAGES to be put inside the Temple!
And here is a lengthly but very helpful explanation of why we Catholics have Sacred Images in our Churches:

As readme bulleted his opposition to any images, here’s our bulleted OFFICIAL agreement on having them:

  • "It is forbidden to give divine honour or worship to the angels and saints for this belongs to God alone."
  • "We should pay to the angels and saints an inferior honour or worship, for this is due to them as the servants and special friends of God." 
  • "We should give to relics, crucifixes and holy pictures a relative honour, as they relate to Christ and his saints and are memorials of them."
  • "We do not pray to relics or images, for they can neither see nor hear nor help us."

Felix Manalo DESPIESED having IMAGES, why did Eraño, his very own son broke his father's stern command?

We have images of many heroes. Say for example Jose Rizal the Philippines’ National Hero who fought against the tyranny and abuses of Spaniards in the Philippines who offered his life for the sake of FREEDOM.  The USA has Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the USA who is known for abolishing slavery in his country. Both are accepted by Filipinos and Americans worthy of our respect.
Wreath-laying of flowers before the image of Jose Rizal in Luneta Park

Many countrie knew how to render respect to great men and women in history. As a tribute they immortalized their memories in images, in paintings and statues displayed in government parks and buildings. Their memories were even celebrated with funfare and feasting.

If the secular world rightfully emulates the legacy of its fallen heroes, how much more the Church of Christ which has existed for more than TWO CENTURIES now? We too HAVE our own HEROES (the SAINTS) that we have to celebrate.

The Catholic Church also immortalize the memory of our Christian Heroes. We celebrate their heroic virtues with joy and feasting. How could we be sad when heaven celebrated their martyrdom. If ordinary folks know how to celebrate political heroes how much more the Church of Christ which has existed for more than TWO CENTURIES now and has produced thousands of named and unnamed saints?


Let’s get FACTS.

Out of 6.9 billion people on earth more than 1.2 billion people believed Christian heroes’ should be immortalized in images.

Less than 0.001% of world’s population believed Felix Manalo was God’s Last Messenger.
More than 17.45% of world’s population believed Saints are Christian Heroes.

More than 300 million people on earth believed Abraham Lincoln’s legacy should be immortalized in images.

More or less than 0.03% of Filipinos living in the US who believed Felix Manalo’s memory should be immortalized in images.

More than 92 million people on earth believed that Jose Rizal’s should be immortalized by images.

More than 90% of Filipinos do not believe that Felix Manalo should be immortalized and there are only less than 10 million Filipinos who believed that he should have images at Central.

Getting straight FACT from these figures, there are more people who believed that there is a right place for Christian Heroes in our Churches. That’s because they didn’t die in vain.

These Christian Heroes died, NOT for THEIR sake BUT for the sake of our Lord JESUS CHRIST and his Universal Church.

Just like our secular heroes, Christian Heroes have the CHOICE to spare their lives if they RENOUNCE Christ and his Church. However they CHOSE to DIE for the sake of CHRIST and his CHURCH rather than to deny Christ the Lord.

That made them our CHRISTIAN HEROES, friends of Christ, according to Revelation.
". . . I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth? " (Revelation 6:9-10, RSV)


FELIX MANALO falls short of these heroic virtues that his memory should be immortalized in images.

Just as our secular societies offer flowers before the images of our secular heroes, we Catholics put much amount of reverence to these Christian Heroes (Saints) for they have fought a good fight and sowed the seed of their blood for the propagation of our Catholic faith. In persecution, they chose to face death rather than to give up their faith.

I am sure, even the most notorious Iglesia ni Cristo believer still believs that the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord is worthy of our respects.

[Read the LIVES of the SAINTS and tell me why we should not respect them?]

FELIX MANALO falls short of these saintly courage, much that he had to admonish his members to be submissive to the Japanese Government during the Second World War and relinquished his “angelic office” just for pleasing the Japanese.

So the Iglesia ni Cristo has no reason why should they offer flowers or candles or much respect to Felix Manalo for he died just like any other ordinary person. The only difference is that he made himself Lord over his church, and his children as heir to his corporation sole.

[Important: Had anyone of the Iglesia ni Cristo members knew where the children of the Manalos are studying? And how they’re living? What lifestyles do they have?]

The saints washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb.  During their lifetime, God listened to their prayers on behalf of the suffering humanity, how much more now that they have shared in the vision of God's glory?
Felix Manalo have NONE of those virtues. Therefore his image in Central is an abomination image unworthy of our reverence.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All PASUGO quotations were excerpts from Mr. Julian Pinzon's booklet ANG KATOTOHANAN TUNGKOL SA INK - 1914. You can order them at Christ the King Mission Seminary, along E. Rodriguez Avenue (near Quezon City Sports Club), in Quezon City.

My Blog List

My Calendar

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...