Papist Orthodoxy

November 5, 2009

The American Way of Abandonment

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 1:06 am

by Patrick Buchanan

from Chronicles Magazine

When America is about to throw an ally to the wolves, we follow an established ritual. We discover that the man we supported was never really morally fit to be a friend or partner of the United States.

When Chiang Kai-shek, who fought the Japanese for four years before Pearl Harbor, began losing to Mao’s Communists, we did not blame ourselves for being a faithless ally, we blamed him. He was incompetent; he was corrupt.

We did not lose China. He did.

When Buddhist monks began immolating themselves in South Vietnam, the cry went up: President Diem, once hailed as the “George Washington of his country,” was a dictator, a Catholic autocrat in a Buddhist nation, who had lost touch with his people.

And so, word went out from the White House to the generals. Get rid of Diem, and you get his power and U.S. support. Three weeks before JFK was assassinated, Diem and his brother met the same fate.

When the establishment wished to be rid of a war into which it had plunged this country, suddenly it was “the corrupt and dictatorial Thieu-Ky regime” in Saigon that was simply not worth defending.

Lon Nol, our man in Phnom Penh, got the same treatment.

“In this world it is often dangerous to be an enemy of the United States, but to be a friend is fatal,” said Henry Kissinger.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

Newt, Sarah, and a New GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 12:58 am

by Pat Buchanan

from Chronicles Magazine

“Sometimes party loyalty asks too much,” said JFK.

For Sarah Palin, party loyalty in New York’s 23rd congressional district asks too much. Going rogue, Palin endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava.

On Oct. 1, Scozzafava was leading. Today, she trails Democrat Bill Owens and is only a few points ahead of Hoffman, as Empire State conservatives defect to vote their principles, not their party.

Newt Gingrich stayed on the reservation, endorsing Scozzafava, who is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and hauls water for the unions.

Scourged by the right, Newt accused conservatives of going over the hill in the battle to save the republic, just to get a buzz on. “If we are in the business about feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed, then I probably made the wrong decision.” How Scozzafava would prevent America’s being “crushed” was unexplained.

The 23rd recalls a famous Senate race 40 years ago. Rep. Charles Goodell was picked by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to fill the seat of Robert Kennedy in 1968. To hold onto it, Goodell swerved sharp left, emerging as an upstate Xerox copy of Jacob Javits, the most liberal Republican in the Senate.

In 1970, Goodell got both the GOP and Liberal Party nominations, and faced liberal Democrat Richard Ottinger. This left a huge vacuum into which Conservative Party candidate James Buckley, brother of William F., smartly moved.

Assessing the field, the Nixon White House concluded that, with liberals split, Goodell could not win. But Buckley might. Signals were flashed north that loyalty to the president was not inconsistent with voting for Buckley. To send the signal in the clear, Vice President Agnew described Charlie Goodell to a New Orleans newspaper as “the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican Party.”

The former George Jorgensen, Christine had undergone the most radical sex-change operation in recorded history.

Liberals went berserk, calling on New Yorkers to rally to Goodell, who began surging, at Ottinger’s expense. Buckley scooted between them both to win. Hoffman may also. But even if he does not, Palin, a conservative of the heart, did the right thing.

And the GOP has been sent a necessary message.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

October 29, 2009

THE DOMESTIC CHURCH (PART 1)

Filed under: Doctrine, Sacred Scripture and Theology — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 10:53 pm

A priest at the seminary for the Fraternity of St. Peter said to me, “Families are the future of the Church.” Fr. Berg, the Superior General of the Fraternity of St. Peter, said on the same day that all that the seminary does is to refine in a few years what the families have been doing for 18+ years — that the families did all the real or hard work. I say, “God bless them both for their kind acknowledgement.”

However, to rephrase what these priests said, all formation begins in the Domestic Church — the Christian hearth & home. It is in the Domestic Church where we are (or should be) principally formed. Let us look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church and see what it has to say about this [and I mean the current edition].

From the Vatican website.

VI. THE DOMESTIC CHURCH

1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.”164 When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved.165 These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica.166 It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.”167

1657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.”168 Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.”169 Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.

1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live – often not of their choosing – are especially close to Jesus’ heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. The doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who ‘labor and are heavy laden.'”170

IN BRIEF

1659 St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. . . . This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” (Eph 5:25, 32).

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 # 1; cf. GS 48 # 1).

1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1799).

1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its “supreme gift,” the child (GS 50 # 1).

1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.

Art & Architecture: A New Blog

I have found a new blog dedicated to beauty and order in the architectural arts. He (the owner of the blog) is a talented architect of enthusiasm and passion. I am happy to be able to call him “friend”. His name is Mr. Erik Bootsma, and I encourage all to look at his blog (beatusest.blogspot.com) which shows some samples of his fine work.

You can find the link to his site in the “blogroll” in the sidebar of this blog, or click on the image below to go to his blog. Enjoy.

October 28, 2009

On Leo Tolstoy — Literature and Condemnation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 8:09 pm

From the official website of the Department of External Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.

Archbishop Hilarion: It was not the Church who condemned Tolstoy but Tolstoy who condemned the Church

Speaking in the Church and World talk-show, Archbishop Hilarion, when asked about the excommunication of Tolstoy, replied, ‘It was not the Church who condemned Tolstoy but Tolstoy who condemned the Church. He condemned and discredited it, humiliated and insulted it in many of his works. For instance, in his Resurrection, he gave an utterly blasphemous description of the Divine Liturgy’. According to His Eminence, the writer’s works of this kind include the so-called ‘translation’ of the Gospel. ‘Having no knowledge of the Greek language, Tolstoy simply rendered the Gospel, distorting the text consciously by throwing out many importance passages and adding his own blasphemous comments’, he said.

Precisely for this reason, the Orthodox Church announced that this man, who had never belonged to it, placed himself outside of the church fold by his blasphemous and sacrilegious utterances. In response to that decision of the Holy Synod, Leo Tolstoy declared, ‘I have really repudiated the Church’.

‘Tolstoy excommunicated himself and announced it publicly. The Church only had to ascertain the accomplished fact. It is a different matter that before his death he must have felt agony and torments. He set off for the Optina Monastery possibly to make repentance but eventually he did not because his relatives did not let a priest to come to him. As Leo Tolstoy died without repentance, we can only commit his after-death fate to the hands of God and the Lord Himself will judge him’, the archbishop said.

October 23, 2009

The CATHOLIC HOLIDAY and HERITAGE of HALLOWEEN: Part 2 — How Halloween Can Be Redeemed

Filed under: History, Morality — Tags: , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 9:35 am

The following is an introduction to an article that originally appeared in Catholic Update and was written by Page McKean Zyromski.

How Halloween Can Be Redeemed

by Page McKean Zyromski

Halloween has grown into a major secular holiday in American culture. But for those who don’t value devotion to the saints, the Eve has become “hollow” instead of “hallow.” The purpose behind it has been lost—like celebrating New Year’s Eve without a New Year’s Day. Take away the saints and our beliefs about the dignity and destiny of human beings, and the only thing left is pre-Christian superstition regarding the dead.

Among many Christians, there has been concern that things have gotten out of hand. After all, doesn’t Halloween glorify evil? Is it right to send our children out as devils and vampires, or is it better to emphasize the saints, whose nearly forgotten feast day is the reason for Halloween? Hallow is the same word for “holy” that we find in the Lord’s Prayer, and e’en is a contraction of “evening.” The word Halloween itself is a shortened form of “All Hallows Eve,” the day before All Saints Day. In this Update we’ll consider how Catholics can “redeem” Halloween. This holiday, properly understood and celebrated with all of its fun trappings, can be a way for us to deepen our understanding of our faith. The key to this understanding is close at hand for Catholics in our love of the communion of saints.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE.

October 21, 2009

The CATHOLIC HOLIDAY and HERITAGE of HALLOWEEN

Filed under: History, Liturgy, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 8:29 pm

Being a Catholic in America often ends up meaning that, due to the puritanical/Calvinistic influences of our protestant culture, you are a heretic that happens to goes to Mass/Divine Liturgy and Confession. In practice, this does not necessarily translate into openly espousing heterodox doctrine, rather it usually manifests itself in some sort of material heresy that is the product of overzealousness in one thing or another. The end result is usually some twisted version of Americanism or Jansenism.

Our Calvinist admixture usually displays itself around holidays of various assortments. For Americanists, the 4th of July and Thanksgiving are veritable Holy Days of Obligation. Many of this strain of contagion feel the need on these civic holidays to sing patriotic songs during the processionals and recessionals of liturgies ad nauseam. This, however, is not the focus of this post. The focus is the upcoming holiday of Halloween.

I hear it every year. Well-intentioned Catholics denouncing Halloween shouting, “It’s pagan! It’s Satanic! It’s demonic! It’s Druidic!” In reality all that they are displaying are their puritanical tendencies or how well they have been duped by duplicitous and calumniating myths fueled by Protestants and Occultists.

Sorry, but here’s a “burst your bubble” moment. Halloween is a CATHOLIC holiday.

What has happened is that there has been a long attempt to corrupt Halloween and take it over…by Satanists and Capitalists…oh, wait…uh…no, never-mind, that wasn’t necessarily redundant.

Nonetheless, instead of spending a lot of time having to argue this point again and again (it happens every year), I’ll let some others, clergyman and laymen alike, of greater reputation take the helm this time. A few articles follow with links.

If you are against Halloween, but have every desire and intention to rebuild Catholic culture, if you have any desire to actually know the TRUTH and not succumb to MYTH, then read the following articles.

SURPRISE: HALLOWEEN’S NOT A PAGAN FESTIVAL AFTER ALL

By FR. AUGUSTINE THOMPSON, O.P.

Excerpted from Catholic Parent magazine in 2000.

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth [Preach it, Fr. Thompson!]. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope [Yikes! Bringing out the big guns early.], and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the danse macabre, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life. [You mean to tell me all those physical representations of the dead are Catholic?! Sorry to disappoint, but yes…IT SURE IS CATHOLIC…look at the Spanish Catholic world’s “day of the dead”.]

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in?

CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE HERE.

SHOULD CATHOLICS CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN?

By SCOTT RICHERT

A Controversial Holiday:

Every year, a debate rages among Christians: Is Halloween a satanic holiday or merely a secular one? Should Christian children dress up like ghosts and goblins? Is it good for children to be scared? Lost in the debate is the history of Halloween, which, far from being a pagan religious event, is actually a Christian celebration that’s almost 1,300 years old. [emphasis added]

The Christian Origins of Halloween:

“Halloween” is a name that means nothing by itself. It is a contraction of “All Hallows Eve,” and it designates the vigil of All Hallows Day, more commonly known as All Saints Day. (“Hallow,” as a noun, is an old English word for saint. As a verb, it means to make something holy or to honor it as holy.) All Saints Day, November 1, is a Holy Day of Obligation, and both the feast and the vigil have been celebrated since the early eighth century, when they were instituted by Pope Gregory III in Rome. (A century later, they were extended to the Church at large by Pope Gregory IV.) [So, this so-called “pagan” holiday was Pontifically mandated.]

The Pagan Origins of Halloween:

Despite concerns among some Christians in recent years about the “pagan origins” of Halloween, there really are none. [emphasis added] The first attempts to show some connection between the vigil of All Saints and the Celtic harvest festival of Samhain came over a thousand years after All Saints Day became a universal feast, and there’s no evidence whatsoever that Gregory III or Gregory IV was even aware of Samhain.

In Celtic peasant culture, however, elements of the harvest festival survived, even among Christians, just as the Christmas tree owes its origins to pre-Christian Germanic traditions without being a pagan ritual.

Combining the Pagan and the Christian:

The Celtic elements included lighting bonfires, carving turnips (and, in America, pumpkins), and going from house to house, collecting treats, as carolers do at Christmas. But the “occult” aspects of Halloween–ghosts and demons–actually have their roots in Catholic belief. Christians believed that, at certain times of the year (Christmas is another), the veil separating earth from Purgatory, heaven, and even hell becomes more thin, and the souls in Purgatory (ghosts) and demons can be more readily seen. Thus the tradition of Halloween costumes owes as much, if not more, to Christian belief as to Celtic tradition.

The (First) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

The current attacks on Halloween aren’t the first. In post-Reformation England, All Saints Day and its vigil were suppressed, and the Celtic peasant customs associated with Halloween were outlawed. Christmas, and the traditions surrounding that feast, were similarly attacked, and the Puritan Parliament banned Christmas outright in 1647. In America, Puritans outlawed the celebration of both Christmas and Halloween, which were revived largely by German Catholic (in the case of Christmas) and Irish Catholic (in the case of Halloween) immigrants in the 19th century.[In short, attacks on Halloween are PURITANICAL in origin.]

The Commercialization of Halloween:

Continued opposition to Halloween was largely an expression of anti-Catholicism (as well as anti-Irish prejudice) [emphasis added]. But by the early 20th century, Halloween, like Christmas, was becoming highly commercialized [emphasis added]. Pre-made costumes, decorations, and special candy all became widely available, and the Christian origins of the holiday were downplayed.

The rise of horror films, and especially the slasher films of the late 70’s and 80’s, contributed to Halloween’s bad reputation, as did the claims of putative Satanists and Wiccans, who created a mythology in which Halloween was their festival, co-opted later by Christians. [emphasis added]

The (Second) Anti-Catholic Attack on Halloween:

A new backlash against Halloween by non-Catholic Christians began in the 1980’s, in part because of claims that Halloween was the devil’s night; in part because of urban legends about poisons and razor blades in Halloween candy; and in part because of an explicit opposition to Catholicism. Jack Chick, a rabidly anti-Catholic fundamentalist who distributes Bible tracts in the form of small comic books, helped lead the charge.

By the late 1990’s, many Catholic parents, unaware of the anti-Catholic origins of the attack on Halloween, had begun to question Halloween as well [Yes, ’tis typical…we Catholics drink the Protestant Kool-Aid…and often ask for seconds], and alternative celebrations became popular.

Alternatives to Halloween Activities:

Ironically, one of the most popular Christian alternatives to celebrating Halloween is a secular “Harvest Festival,” which has more in common with the Celtic Samhain than it does with the Catholic All Saints Day. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the harvest, but there’s no need to strip such a celebration of connections with the Christian liturgical calendar.[thank you.]

Another popular Catholic alternative is an All Saints Party, usually held on Halloween and featuring costumes (of saints rather than ghouls) and candy. At best, though, this is an attempt to Christianize an already Christian holiday.

Safety Concerns and the Fear Factor:

Parents are in the best position to decide whether their children can participate safely in Halloween activities, and, in today’s world, it’s understandable that many choose to err on the side of caution. One concern that’s often overblown, however, is the effect that fright might have on children. Some children, of course, are very sensitive, but most love scaring others and being scared themselves (within limits, of course). Any parent knows that the “Boo!” is usually followed by laughter, not only from the child doing the scaring, but from the one being scared. Halloween provides a structured environment for fear.

Making Your Decision:

In the end, the choice is yours to make as a parent. If you choose, as my wife and I do, to let your children participate in Halloween, simply stress the need for physical safety (including checking over their candy when they return home), and explain the Christian origins of Halloween to your children. Tie the vigil explicitly to the Feast of All Saints, and explain to your children why we celebrate it, so that they won’t view All Saints Day as “the boring day when we have to go to church before we can eat some more candy.”

Let’s reclaim Halloween for Christians, by returning to its roots in the Catholic Church! [Amen! Mr Richert! …and Thank You.]

THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND HERE.

October 8, 2009

Wartime Jews Praise the Italians Who Saved Them

Filed under: Ethics & Epistemology, Morality — Tags: — Antiochian-Thomist @ 6:31 pm

Last of the Holocaust Survivors Share Their Stories

By Edward Pentin

ROME, OCT. 8, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Largely thanks to the movie “Schindler’s List,” most people know about its eponymous hero Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved 1,200 Jews during World War II.

Yet other untold stories of similar acts of wartime heroism took place all over Europe, many of them in Italy. And although not always on the scale of Schindler’s valiant rescue, they were nonetheless remarkable acts of selfless courage.

Now a new book reveals the true extent of how much ordinary Italians, many of whom were priests and religious, helped save Jews from the Holocaust. Titled “It Happened in Italy,” author Elizabeth Bettina, an Italian-American New Yorker, records fascinating testimonies from survivors whose lives were saved by Italians from all walks of life.

Her search began when, during summer trips to her grandmother’s house in a remote Italian village in Campagna, southern Italy, she saw a picture of a rabbi in a church. She learned that a number of Jews from outside Italy had lived in the area and, having grown up with many American Jews in New York, she was naturally curious to know why. Later, Bettina was to discover that the village was the location for an internment camp for Jews during the war, one of many others in Italy.

So after receiving encouragement from a friend, she decided to look further into how so many Jewish lives were saved in Italy — as many as 32,000 out of a population of 39,000, according to some historians.

It’s interesting to note that the survival rate for Jews who lived in wartime Italy is one of the highest in Europe, and among the most heroic Italians was Giovanni Palatucci, who is estimated to have saved as many as 5,000 Jewish lives. But unlike Schindler, who survived the war, Palatucci died in Dachau at the age of 36.

Helping neighbors

Bettina stresses that not all Italians risked their lives to save their Jewish neighbors, but the extent of the heroism was nevertheless impressive. “I can’t tell you how many times I heard: ‘The whole village knew we were Jewish and nobody turned us in,'” she says.

Italy’s policy during the war was that Jews born in the country were allowed to stay in their own homes, while those who had arrived before the war were interned. The camps, however, were largely very humane: The book shows Jews dressed casually, smiling and playing musical instruments. It wasn’t until Italy sided with the allies toward the end of the war and Germany invaded the country that their lives were put in real danger.

A number were deported to concentration camps, along with their relatives who were living at the time elsewhere in Europe. “Some bad things happened and I acknowledge them in the book,” says Bettina. “Either someone betrayed you, they didn’t help even if they could, or you were just unlucky — there was no one to try to help because they were someplace else.” But she adds there are “many, many reasons why so many survived in Italy, and the bottom line is that somebody helped them.”

She explains that those who saved Jews at risk of losing their lives (they would undoubtedly have been shot had they been discovered, according to survivors) fell into five groups of individuals: The first was a simple, ordinary Italian who refused to notify the authorities or hid them. The second was a police officer who would perhaps warn that he would come back to arrest them the next day, thereby giving them time to seek refuge. The third was a person working for the civic authorities who would fake identity documents. The fourth was a local priest or nun who gave them refuge or helped issue a false baptismal certificate.

“Did they get an official order? I don’t know,” she says when asked if perhaps Pope Pius XII might have instructed them to save their Jewish neighbors. “But many people I interviewed said there was a priest or a nun who was involved in helping them.” Finally, there were the people working in the internment camps who tried to make life as humane as possible for them (so humane that those interned were free to do as they pleased, resulting in many not knowing the camps even existed).

Out of the woodwork

But what also gives added interest to this story is that “It Happened in Italy” is the result of countless coincidences — of people somehow providentially coming into contact with Bettina and telling remarkable stories out of sheer gratitude to the Italians who saved them — or a close relative — during the war. A series of further coincidences also enabled her to bring a group of survivors to the Vatican to have a special audience with the Pope. “Everyone who comes into contact with this book has a funny way of ending up in it,” she says with a laugh.

Yet the project never started as a book; rather it took on a life of its own as more and more people came forward with testimonies from all over the world. “We had no clue this story would be so vast, and it just kept going,” Bettina says. She also insists there is no hidden purpose behind the project. “I have no agenda except to make sure these stories stay honest and true,” she explains. “I want these people who told me the stories to be listened to. I want them to get the satisfaction.”

A lingering question remains, however: Why has it taken so long for these Jews to come forward and express their gratitude? Bettina believes many Jewish survivors were just so overwhelmed by what happened that initially they just wanted to put it behind them. She says that it was only when films such as “Schindler’s List” came out that they started thinking: “And what about me and my story?” Others believe it’s because some Jews want nothing good to be associated with the Holocaust.

Catalyst

At a Rome press conference to launch the book last month, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, Mordechay Lewy, said he also didn’t know the reason, but that perhaps all they needed was someone like Elizabeth Bettina to trigger their gratitude.

He also said he was puzzled why Italian Jews, who have their roots in Italy and were also saved during the war, are “not always very keen” to express their thanks. He said it might have something to do with a history of difficult relations between Roman Jews and the Vatican, but he highlighted the “very strange phenomenon” of Jews who were saved in monasteries, yet are “still expressing quite anti-clerical expressions.”

Bettina says her book could be made into a movie, although she stresses that was never her intention. “I’m not a writer, I’ve never written a book before and I […] have never made a movie or a documentary,” she says. Rather one of her main motivations is she’s mindful that time is running out for these stories to be told. “They’ve all said that after us, there’s nobody,” she explains. “These are the last of the generation.”

The objective, she added, wasn’t to make Italy look great, just to show there can be good people who do the right thing, and to convey an important teaching: that if you’re not indifferent, things can be different. “Someone wasn’t indifferent,” she says. “They helped, and these people lived.”

* * *

Edward Pentin is a freelance writer living in Rome. He can be reached at: epentin@zenit.org.

September 26, 2009

A Would-be Muslim Head-Hunter of Coptic Christians…

Filed under: Ethics & Epistemology, Morality — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 10:16 pm

From Coptreal.

By BosNewsLife Middle East Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– Egyptian police have detained a Muslim man who allegedly killed a Coptic Christian and seriously injured two other Copts in two different villages, north of the capital Cairo, Christians said Wednesday September 23. Galal Nasr el-Dardiri, 35, attacked 63-year-old Abdu Georgy in front of the victim’s shop in Behnay village late September 16, news reports said.

Christians said El-Dardiri stabbed Georgy several times, disemboweled him, slit his throat and began sawing off his head. El-Dardiri then allegedly went to a nearby town and stabbed Coptic shopkeeper Boils Eid Messiha, 40, and then went to Mit Afif and attacked another Copt, identified as Hany Barsom Soliman.

Messiha reportedly remained in intensive care and Soliman suffered lacerations to his arms. On Thursday, September 17, about 1,000 people gathered at Georgy’s funeral to protest the killing and assaults on Coptic Christians.

“BLOOD NOT IN VAIN”

Protestors reportedly chanted that Georgy’s “blood was not [spilled] in vain” as they carried signs that read, “Where are you, government? The terrorists are going to kill us.” [Personally, I think this horrendous incident is a good apologetic for the necessity of the religious military orders. –Antiochian-Thomist]

El-Dardiri was arrested also September 17 and charged with murder, church sources said.

The latest attack underscored international concerns about growing tensions between minority Christians and majority Muslims in Egypt. There have been several violent attacks against Coptic Christians in recently in the mainly Islamic nation.

For the full article, go here.

September 25, 2009

Kathleen Sebelius: Communion Prohibition “Painful”; Archbishop Naumann Responds

Filed under: Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 6:59 pm

An article has appeared on Life Site News discussing Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s prohibition of pro-abort, Kathleen Sebelius, from receiving the Sacred Mysteries due to her publicly known moral stances which run contrary to Church teachings and the Natural Law. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Sebelius claims the prohibition to be “painful”, appealing to the erroneous notions of the “separation of church and state.”

Excerpts of the article follow with selected responses from Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

From LifeSiteNews.com.

By Peter J. Smith and Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Over a year after Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann publicly prohibited the pro-abortion U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from receiving Communion, Sebelius has broken her silence on the matter.  Appealing to the “separation of church and state,” Sebelius said the episcopal order was “one of the most painful things I have ever experienced” and implied that her pro-abortion position was part and parcel of upholding the rights of an inter-faith constituency.  In a response given to LifeSiteNews.com, Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City said the secretary’s argument “misrepresents the issue” to make it appear that “she was the victim of merely upholding the law.”

Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius proved her bona fides to the pro-abortion movement time and again through close associations with now-slain abortionist George Tiller and Planned Parenthood, and through numerous vetoes of pro-life legislation and common-sense regulations on the abortion-industry.

But the former governor described by the late-columnist Bob Novak “the national pro-choice poster girl” is far from being a Catholic in good-standing with the Catholic Church – a status that rankles the HHS Secretary and for good reason: Sebelius has the distinction of being one of the highest ranking Catholics in the Obama Administration, who is forbidden to receive Holy Communion – a Church sacrament that also symbolizes spiritual unity with the rest of the Church’s members.

Back in May 2008, Archbishop Naumann publicly directed Sebelius to refrain from presenting herself for Holy Communion until she takes “the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion.”

KathleenSibelius2

Excerpts From interview Dialogue

Sebelius: Well, the Archbishop in the Kansas City area did not approve of my conduct as a public official and asked that I not present myself for communion.

Washington Post: What did you think about that?

Sebelius: Well, it was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced in my life, and I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had. And that’s what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.

Washington Post: Do you continue to take communion?

Sebelius: I really would prefer not to discuss that with you. That’s really a personal-thank you.

ArchbishopNaumann200

Arcbhishop Naumann Responds to LifeSiteNews

However the Catholic Church views abortion and as first and foremost a moral issue – not a religious or faith issue – because the sacredness of human life pertains to the natural law, which reveals the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of human acts through reason.

In response to Sebelius’ statements to the Post, Archbishop Nauman told LifeSiteNews.com that he issued the request “to motivate her to recognize the serious error of her past support and advocacy for legalized abortion, and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the Governor’s actions into thinking that abortion is not a grave moral evil.”

“Secretary Sebelius misrepresents the issue by her attempt to invoke separation of church and state,” wrote Naumann.  “At no time did I ask her not to execute her oath of office.

“Secretary Sebelius makes it appear that she was asked not to receive Holy Communion because she was the victim of merely upholding the law.  In reality, Secretary Sebelius opposed even such modest restrictions on abortion as parental notification of minors, required waiting periods before an abortion, as well as meaningful regulation of abortion clinics to protect, at least, the mother’s health.”

Naumann said it was “very painful” to ask Sebelius not to receive Communion.  “However, I had exhausted every reasonable means to convince her to change her position,” he said.  “I also had a serious obligation to uphold the integrity of the Eucharist and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the former Governor’s support for legalized abortion.

“I continue to pray for Secretary Sebelius that she will accept the grace to acknowledge the grave evil in which she has been involved and will have the courage to take the necessary steps to correct the scandal created by her past actions.”

For the full article, go here.

September 24, 2009

Cardinal Mahoney: Abortion in Health Bill ‘Beyond My Field’

Filed under: Doctrine, Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 6:51 pm

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/cnsnewstv/video.aspx?v=GdkUnz6UqG

What exactly is your field your ‘Eminence’? Clown Masses? Moral scandals? — Antiochian-Thomist

“COMPULSORY Abortion Backed by Constitution” Says Obama Czar

Filed under: Doctrine, Ethics & Epistemology, Morality, Politics — Tags: , , , — Antiochian-Thomist @ 5:31 pm

According to the article linked, Obama’s Science ‘Czar’ thinks that compulsory abortion can be backed by the U.S. Constitution. Supposedly large families are contributing to the impending environmental catastrophe.

You can’t put numbers to the moral catastrophe we are facing. — Antiochian-Thomist

Excerpts follow.

‘Obama science czar John Holdren stated in a college textbook he co-authored that in conditions of emergency, compulsory abortion would be sustainable under the U.S. Constitution, even with Supreme Court review.

‘….A series of papers recently published by the Royal Society in Great Britain and by the United Nations have made a direct link between global population growth and anthropomorphic, or man-made global warming.

‘….The Economist magazine summed up the current argument Monday, stating, “A world with fewer people would emit less greenhouse gas.”

‘….The authors of “Ecoscience” argued that a “legal restriction on the right to have more than a given number of children” could be crafted under the U.S. Constitution in crisis situations under the standard that “law has as its proper function the protection of each person and each group of persons.”

‘On page 838, the authors argued, “The law could properly say to a mother that, in order to protect the children she already has, she could have no more.”

‘To justify the point, the authors commented “differential rates of reproduction between ethnic, racial, religious, or economic groups might result in increased competition for resources and political power and thereby undermine social order.”

‘The authors continued their constitutional analysis of government-mandated population control measures by writing: “If some individuals contribute to general social deterioration by overproducing children, and if the need is compelling, they can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility in their resource-consumption patterns – provided they are not denied equal protection.” (Italics in the original text.)’

Find the full article here.

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