Monday, April 20, 2015

Are Iona, Breda O’Brien, and John Waters homophobic? Was Rory O’Neill Right? (Contribution)

This was published on this blogspot at the time and left there for over a year but then Iona, via Ms O Brien and Mr Quinn made a formal complaint to Google stating that the publication of this on the blogspot was a violation and falsely asserted this under the DMCA Millemmium Copyright Act so as to ensure it was removed....therefore Iona have blatantly lied so as to have this posting removed as it may put them in a bad light.....

Thanks to the Streisand effect, by now, everyone has heard how Rory O’Neill’s (aka Panti Bliss) interview on the Saturday Night Show was censored after a legal challenge made by John Waters who objected to being described as a homophobe. He clearly felt this was libel and RTE duly folded quicker than you could say “spineless”. 

Also discussed were Breda O’Brien and the Iona institute who were described in similar terms. You can read the full transcript here. 

As you can imagine both the censorship and the terminology used to describe these people caused quite a stir. With one side crying censorship as Rory simply stated something what is believed to be true, and the other side arguing that it was ridiculous to libel people simply because they believe in “traditional” marriage. 

So I have decided to analyse the opinions of these individuals regarding homosexuals and marriage equality to ascertain whether or nor the “homophobic” label is warranted.

Iona

The Iona institute, to which O’Brien is a patron, has long lobbied against equal marriage. During the Constitutional Convention Iona made  a submission arguing against equal marriage, in which they made this rather audacious claim;
The social sciences confirm what every known society in the world has known instinctively, namely that marriage between a man and a woman is uniquely beneficial to society and to children. This is the case even though some individual marriages may be dysfunctional and harmful to children (as can any other type of family).
There are two major flaws with this statement, the first being that it is a total fabrication. The social sciences do not say this, in fact, almost every paper which studied children of same sex parents showed no differences in outcomes when compared to children of heterosexual parents. Secondly, there is a caveat in big blue lettering on the front page which explicitly states that same-sex parents were not researched in this study therefore no conclusions about same-sex parents can be drawn from this study. 

Yet here we have Iona trying to use it to argue against equal marriage. Of course the folks at Iona were called up on this and they attempted to backtrack. They claimed that they meant heterosexual families are the “most beneficial family form that we know of from the point of view of children” as “there are no large national surveys that allows us to draw reliable conclusions about the children of same-sex couples”. These two little caveats were wholly absent in the submission, so this is simply moving the goalposts after being caught red handed. 

Also, the “that we know of ” line is again untrue for reasons stated above, we know children of homosexual parents do just fine. Finally, that last sentence true, there were no large national surveys done at the time Child Trends completed their research, however, that was a decade ago, there have been many completed since. So Iona ignored a decade of research in an attempt to make their point.

The only piece of research which Iona seem to get right was that there are no large scale studies done, and this is something members of Iona have been saying continuously to negate the research which has been completed thus far.  

However, in the words of Judith Stacey and Timothy Biblarz, two sociologists;
research based on statistically representative national samples, are rarely employed by scholars who publish in Child Development and Developmental Psychology. There is a simple explanation for this. Large-scale survey research methods are too blunt and rigid to adequately address the complex and nuanced questions that are generally at issue when scholars attempt to assess and compare child development under different forms of parenting or adult intervention. Most child development studies profit from having in-depth observations of children with multiple reporters (parents, teachers, clinicians, researchers, etc.) and instruments. Research often benefits when rapport develops between the researcher, the observer, the parents and the children
They go on further to say that if it was reasonable to dismiss studies researching children of same-sex parents then we
would have to dismiss virtually the entire discipline of psychology. The vast majority of research in child development, and in the field of psychology more broadly, would be invalidated as unscientific.
In essence, if David Quinn and the patrons of Iona, none of whom are credited scientists let alone sociologists or psychologists, think they can categorise studies as flawed based on sample size then may I suggest they write a paper telling the thousands of sociologists and psychologists that they have been doing it wrong all these years. They will surely be greatly rewarded for revolutionising these two academic fields.

Iona’s disastrous employment of research doesn’t stop there. After casting such a critical eye on the dozens of studies which all portray homosexual parenting in a positive manner, they seemingly accept any paper which tells a different tale without a moment’s hesitation, regardless of  how flawed it is.

The now infamous Regnerus study was published in 2012 and was promptly promoted by Iona. To say the study was flawed is an understatement. Regnerus was paid by the Witherspoon institute to design a paper which could be used in two upcoming Supreme Court cases: Windsor v. U.S. and Hollingsworth v. Perry. To achieve this Regnerus used skewed methodology. If one is to accurately compare the outcomes of children of heterosexual and homosexual parents then like versus like must be compared. 

Therefore, long term homosexual households should be compared to long term heterosexual households. Regnerus did not do this. He compared stable heterosexual households against single parents, many of whom weren’t even homosexual but simply were reported as having a same-sex relationship at some point. In fact, there were only two stable homosexual households used in the whole study. There are many more flaws which you can read here

You might forgive Iona for originally supporting it but they have never redacted their support and David Quinn, Iona’s Director, tweeted an article in support of the article only last month. How can they honestly support an article which was not only flawed, but intentionally so.

Imagine a researcher was paid to portray a racial minority as worse parents than white people. And the researcher did so by intentionally using a methodology he knew would give him the results required. Then organisations used this research to limit the rights of the racial minority. Pretty darn racist I would say, so how would characterise the behaviour above?

John Waters

John Waters hasn’t written much about homosexuality or equal marriage but the little he has written I find quite disturbing.
This is really a kind of satire on marriage which is being conducted by the gay lobby. It’s not that they want to get married; they want to destroy the institution of marriage because they’re envious of it;
This is really an attempt to discredit an institution, the nominative institution on which society and human civilization is founded. If you do that there will be consequences, and one of them is that marriage will become a nothing;
It is a deliberate sabotage of the culture”, continues Waters, “and the relishing of the destruction as a result. Gay marriage is a satire…. But sometimes you have to allow things to happen for the consequences to become obvious.
Waters negates the possibility that homosexuals want marriage equality simply because it is equality and it will help them be happier. He then attaches ulterior, malicious motivations. He believes that homosexuals don’t actually want equality but they are simply out to destroy. This is propagandist fear-mongering at its best: applying malicious intent to a group of people for benign actions. This is active irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals. It’s homophobia, even in its strictest form.

Breda O’Brien

Breda O’Brien’s opposition to equal marriage (much like David Quinn’s and Iona’s) is the belief that children should be raised by a mother and a father, more precisely their biological mother and father, as she states here;
for a long time, I hesitated to write about gay marriage, simply because gay people have been so discriminated against. What then, tipped the balance for me? It is the belief that wherever possible, a child should be reared by a mother and a father, and that children have the right to know and have a relationship with their biological parents.
For the purposes of this article I will not argue against this logic, in fact, I will accept it. The reason being is to show how this logic is flawed and is no reason to object to equal marriage, which leads me to belief there is an ulterior motive behind their opposition.

Same-sex couples have four methods available to them in order to have children: surrogacy, sperm donation, adoption, previous heterosexual relationship. I will immediately remove children from a previous relationship as just like any other split relationship they have a biological mother and father. This leaves surrogacy, sperm donation, and adoption. These options are and will be legislated completely independently of equal marriage. 

And let’s assume Iona get their way and surrogacy, sperm donation are banned and only heterosexual couples can adopt. 

Will homosexuals still want to get married? Yes. 

This shows how they are two different issues, yet Iona treats them synonymously. Worse again is the fact Iona is against surrogacy and (anonymous) sperm donation, this overwhelmingly effects heterosexual people far more than it does homosexual couples. Yet Iona invests far more time arguing against equal marriage, even though it’s a totally separate issue, than they do arguing against surrogacy and sperm donation. Surely they would be better off targeting the issue as a whole rather than sacrificing the happiness of homosexuals to simply stop a mere portion of what they are against. 

But would they even achieve that? Would homosexuals be prevented from having children if they can’t get married? No. Because, a I said previously, legislation for surrogacy, sperm donation, and adoption is totally separate from equal marriage as those issues overwhelming effect heterosexual couples.

So why does Iona argue against equal marriage when their objection a) is totally separate from equal marriage, b) even with their objection realised homosexuals will still want to get married and c) can still achieve objectives without having to deny equal marriage to homosexuals?

The answer to that question is unknown to me, but to deny homosexuals equality and happiness for objections which effect heterosexuals more and can be achieved without refusing equal status is, without a doubt, homophobic.

Conclusion

In short, the below points are homophobic tendencies which have displayed by Iona, Breda O’Brien and John Waters.
  • Blatantly misrepresent research to portray homosexual parenting as inferior to heterosexual parenting;
  • Ignore decades of scientific research;
  • Invent reasons to negate the studies such as “small sample-size” as this is the preferred methodology;
  • Accept and promote research by somebody who was paid to ensure a preset conclusion to use in an argument against equal marriage;
  • Ignoring the true intentions for why homosexuals want to get married;
  • Attach malicious motivations;
  • Fear-monger by saying homosexuals only want to destroy marriage;
  • Employ rationale against equal marriage when even if realised still wouldn’t stop homosexuals wanting to get married;
  • Ignore the fact that these issues effect heterosexuals more;
  • Using the issue of equal marriage in a vain attempt to achieve part of their goal instead of tackling the issue as a whole;
  • Sacrificing the happiness of homosexuals in an attempt to achieve objectives which could be achieved without denying equality.
All the above are homophobic, some more than others but they are certainly homophobic. 

This isn’t simply “opinion” or “ethos” or “tradition”, this is research manipulation, this fear-mongering, this is mistrust, this is using homosexuals as patsies to achieve wider aims, this is homophobia.

So, yeah, I think Rory O’Neill got it right. If anything he was probably a bit too nice.

Source : Click Here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CW - On A Break

CW - Code Of ResponsibilityDear Friends

We here in CW are taking- with immediate effect - a break which will bring us towards Lent and perhaps to Easter.

This is necessary for us and we appreciate your loyal support over the last few years, months and weeks.

We will let it be known when we will be returning - and returning we certainly will !!

CW Team

Monday, February 17, 2014

Street evangelization group finds success in personal encounters

Photo courtesy of St. Paul Street Evangelization.A leader with a Michigan-based street evangelization group says that anyone can evangelize simply by fearlessly sharing the truth about Jesus with those they encounter.

“We believe that street evangelization is the easiest method of evangelization,” Adam Janke, program director with the St. Paul Street Evangelization, told CNA Feb. 10.

“We find that our street evangelists become practiced and better at evangelizing in everyday life, through street evangelization.”

Spreading the gospel on the streets makes it easier for people to do the same with their family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, Janke continued. He said street evangelization can help overcome feelings of awkwardness or fears of being “annoying” in talking with others about the Catholic faith.

“We want it to be a natural process where we’re sharing what we have found in our own hearts, this hope in Jesus Christ, for his salvation to liberate us from sin and death.”

Steve Dawson, St. Paul Street Evangelization’s current national director, founded the organization in May 2012.

Dawson, a convert to the Catholic faith, followed Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s example of giving out miraculous medals.

“He started doing that,” Janke said. “He’d give out a miraculous medal to his waitress in a restaurant. People responded positively. So he decided to go to the boardwalk in Portland, Ore. and start handing out rosaries and miraculous medals.”

Janke said that first effort was “very successful.” People started returning to the faith. Dawson prayed with people and talked about their faith.

When Dawson posted news about his effort on Facebook, other Catholics “saw how easy it was to share your faith through street organization,” reported Janke.

St. Paul Street Evangelization has grown to more than 100 different teams in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Denmark and the U.K. The teams are usually “loosely organized,” sometimes through a parish or through a Catholic who is “on fire for their faith.”

Team members agree to a code of conduct and are supplied with free materials from the national organization.

“We ask our teams not to be manipulative. We ask our teams to go out there and be really truly authentic and share the love and message of Christ,” Janke said.

“They’ll go out and they’ll be evangelizing in a very non-confrontational way, allowing the Holy Spirit really to move in the heart of those who are witnessing our public Catholic presence,” he continued.

U.S. teams will go to a public space where they have First Amendment rights or to parish festivals. They display a sandwich board that reads “Catholic Truth” and give away free materials like brochures and rosaries or information about local Mass times, RCIA and evangelization programs.

The team will pray together publicly for the Holy Spirit’s guidance “to bless those they’ll have contact with that day,” Janke explained. They ask passersby if they would like a rosary. They respond kindly to those who decline, telling them to “have a nice day.”

Evangelizers will offer further material to those who accept a rosary or show further interest, asking questions like whether they are Catholic or have considered becoming Catholic.

The team asks interested Catholics whether they currently go to Mass and what parish they attend, talking about the importance of Mass, the Sacraments and learning about the faith.

“If they’re not a Catholic, we’ll ask if they’ve ever considered the Catholic faith before,” Janke said. “It’s a very, very effective method of evangelization.”

He said that the organization’s Las Vegas team has had over 450 people “respond positively” in the last 12 months. Some expressed gratitude to have met the team, while others said they would go back to Church or look into the Catholic faith.

At one recent training session, teens were taken out on the streets to evangelize.

“At the end of the day they had this long list of prayer requests that people had given them. Six people said that they would come back to Church as a result of them reaching out,” Janke said. “That’s just one team on one day, just a group of teens going out for an hour, telling other people about their faith.”

In addition to their spiritual work, other evangelization teams have helped save lives.

“We’ve been able to intervene with people considering suicide. They know that they can trust us,” Janke said.

Teams have also helped people considering having abortions, giving them “hope and encouragement.”

“It’s really a very simple method of offering a rosary or a CD or a brochure and being available to listen and say ‘we care about you, that’s why we’re here’,” Janke added.

He cited Bl. John Paul II’s “Redemptoris Missio,” saying that the document calls the Church to focus “all its efforts on the new evangelization.”

Janke also noted the need for those who evangelize to first be evangelized, adding that street evangelists should begin conversations by finding common ground.

Moreover, he stressed the importance of action.

“Our culture is dying and our world is wounded,” he said. “Pope Francis has said go out and heal wounds.”

Janke himself entered the Church from a “fundamentalist anti-Catholic background” 10 years ago.

“Somebody reached out to me and talked to me about the Church,” he said.

He now works as director of religious education and in youth ministry at a Lansing-area parish.

St. Paul Street Evangelization offers online training and other resources. Its episcopal advisors are Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit and Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing.

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews should build "a more just and fraternal world"

Pope Francis on Thursday urged Christians and Jews to cooperate in constructing “a more just and fraternal world” during a meeting with members of the American Jewish Committee.

“In this regard, I call to mind in a particular way our common efforts to serve the poor, the marginalized and those who suffer,” said Pope Francis. “Our commitment to this service is anchored in the protection of the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners as shown in Sacred Scripture. It is a God given duty, one which reflects his holy will and his justice; it is a true religious obligation.”

The Holy Father also said it is important to transmit to new generations the “heritage of our mutual knowledge, esteem and friendship which has, thanks to the commitment of associations like yours, grown over these years.”

The full text of the address 
by Pope Francis to the American Jewish Committee 
is printed below 


Address of the Holy Father
to Members of the American Jewish Committee
13 February 2014

Dear friends,

I welcome you here today. Your organization, which on various occasions has met with my venerable Predecessors, maintains good relations with the Holy See and with many representatives of the Catholic world. I am very grateful to you for the distinguished contribution you have made to dialogue and fraternity between Jews and Catholics, and I encourage you to continue on this path.

Next year we will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of the Second Vatican Council Nostra Aetate, which today constitutes for the Church the sure point of reference for relations with our “elder brothers”. From this document, our reflection on the spiritual patrimony which unites us and which is the foundation of our dialogue has developed with renewed vigour. 

This foundation is theological, and not simply an expression of our desire for reciprocal respect and esteem. Therefore, it is important that our dialogue be always profoundly marked by the awareness of our relationship with God.

In addition to dialogue, it is also important to find ways in which Jews and Christians can cooperate in constructing a more just and fraternal world. In this regard, I call to mind in a particular way our common efforts to serve the poor, the marginalized and those who suffer. 

Our commitment to this service is anchored in the protection of the poor, widows, orphans, and foreigners as shown in Sacred Scripture (cf. Ex 20:20-22). It is a God given duty, one which reflects his holy will and his justice; it is a true religious obligation.

Finally, in order that our efforts may not be fruitless, it is important that we dedicate ourselves to transmitting to new generations the heritage of our mutual knowledge, esteem and friendship which has, thanks to the commitment of associations like yours, grown over these years. 

It is my hope therefore that the study of relations with Judaism may continue to flourish in seminaries and in centres of formation for lay Catholics, as I am similarly hopeful that a desire for an understanding of Christianity may grow among young Rabbis and the Jewish community.

Dear friends, in a few months I will have the joy of visiting Jerusalem, where – as the Psalm says – we are all born (cf. Ps 87:5) and where all peoples will one day meet (cf. Is 25:6-10). 

Accompany me with your prayers, so that this pilgrimage may bring forth the fruits of communion, hope and peace. Shalom!

Ratzinger’s resignation seen from the south

Cardinal HummesHe comforted him in the Sistine Chapel when “things got a bit dangerous”; he “advised” him on what name to take; he was at his side on the central Loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica on that all-important evening of 13 March. 

Francis’ decision to have him there with him on the balcony on his first public appearance after his election was the first of many gestures outside protocol which the new Pope would make. 

Dom Claudio Hummes has a great deal to tell, starting with Ratzinger’s resignation a month prior to this: “I don’t remember where I was that day but it really came as a real and unexpected surprise.”

The former cardinal of São Paulo is calm and there is an intensity in his manner as he recalls the day of Benedict XVI’s resignation. 

“We were all a bit lost and a bit worried about how the future would turn out, especially as the Church was going through a difficult moment: “the de-Christianisation of the Western world, the drop in priest numbers, the crisis in religious life and the big scandals, the IOR, the Lefebvrians … Catholics were really down, sad, worried, they held their heads down. But you also try to look at this in the light of faith, trusting that Christ will lead the Church even through that really unusual moment.” 

Behind him is a picture that shows the eighty-year-old cardinal in the Sistine Chapel by Pope Francis’ side after he was elected Pope and dressed in his papal garb as the latter was going towards the Loggia of the Blessing.
 
Dom Claudio is a theologian so of course he knew it was possible for a Pope to resign, he knew Roman Canon Law allows it and he was aware of Ratzinger having mentioned it on a number of occasions . 

“But in practice it seemed impossible after 600 years.” “Benedict XVI’s resignation “was completely unexpected,” Hummes stressed. The reasons given for his resignation were unusual. “Only a Pope like Benedict XVI could have made a gesture of this kind, because it takes a very rational mind to do it, as well as great faith and a deeply holy life, in order to leave everything in God’s hands. And he - Ratzinger - is that kind of man.
 
From that moment on things started to change at such a speed that even a veteran of Church government like the Archbishop of São Paulo – formerly Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 2006-2010 – is still left speechless. Pope Francis’ election and the signs he sent out right from the start meant “new doors opened as old ones closed.” 

Things have changed “so fast and in such a wonderful way. People were happy, they started to have faith in the Church again, they realised they could get through this difficult moment and this faith, this hope have not gone away.” 

There is still a crisis, Hummes admitted, “but it is being dealt with in a positive way and the scandals need to be cleared up, but now people have faith.”

Müller: “I’m not Francis’conservative opponent”

http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/typo3temp/pics/658de46326.jpgJust a few days before the Consistory that will create him cardinal and after months of controversies in the media over his seemingly rigid stance on pastoral care for remarried divorced persons, an issue which will be discussed at the next Synod, the Prefect of the Congregation, Gerhard Müller, was eager to stress that he is on good terms with Francis. 

“I am not his conservative opponent,” he said in an interview published by German Catholic news agency Kathpress.

The German prelate whom the Pope appointed leader of the dicastery in charge of Church doctrine, is not happy about being presented as an internal opponent of Francis’ pontificate. 

Müller accepts there are differences in terms of formation and approach but “these complement each other, they are not contradictory.” The new cardinal stated that Francis’ magisterium and speeches cover the “entire Catholic faith.”
 
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith meets the Pope two or three times a month and the two communicate in Italian or Spanish (Müller speaks Spanish well having spend quite a bit of time in Latin America).
 
As far as women’s role in the Church is concerned, Müller said they could be given some high-ranking positions in the Vatican: not in the Congregations but in the Pontifical Councils, for example the Pontifical Council on the Family (which is led by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia) or for Health Care Workers. 

The Prefect clarified, however, that as it is ordained ministers that hold jurisdictional power, neither lay people nor women can become heads of Congregations, that is, the dicasteries that have the jurisdictional power to act on the Pope’s behalf. Other areas in which women could play a greater role are theological research and Caritas, although Müller is against the introduction of set quotas of women.
 
What Müller had to say about the Society of St. Pius X was also importance given that reconciliation is still a possibility: “The door is open,” he said during the interview, recalling the famous “doctrinal preamble” sent to the Lefebvrians in 2012.

Finally, Müller remarked on the spirit of collegiality, not authoritarianism that exists in his dicastery. Although the Pope must give his final approval, decisions are taken collectively. 

The Prefect recalled that in his address to participants of the plenary meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 31 January, Francis praised the dicastery for its practices of collegiality.

Murphy-O’Connor wants reforms to Confession to address decline as author says children should be exempt

Good for the soul?: Rachel Weisz confesses in Constantine (2005)Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor believes that Confession is in need of significant reform and should be discussed at a special synod on the sacraments.

The Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster has called for “proper reform to the sacrament” and says Confession has not received “serious reflection by any authoritative people within the Church” despite declining numbers of Catholics making use of the sacrament.

The remarks come in a private letter to the Cambridge academic and author John Cornwell, who is campaigning for a ban on childhood Confession and who sent the cardinal a new book he has written on the sacrament.

Mr Cornwell, who says he was the victim as a boy of sexual solicitation by a confessor, has written an open letter to Pope Francis calling for a ban.

A spokeswoman for the cardinal stressed that he was not endorsing an end to childhood Confession, had not read Mr Cornwell’s book when he replied to the author, and in no way associated himself with the letter to the Pope.

The spokeswoman told The Tablet the issue should be discussed by bishops from around the world. 

“The cardinal believes that Confession could be considered as a topic for an Episcopal Synod on Sacramental Life. [He] thinks there needs to be much serious reflection in the Church as to why people are not going to Confession and what would encourage them to return to the Sacrament.”

Mr Cornwell, who wrote about Confession for The Tablet in August 2012, estimates that 40 per cent of paedophile offences within the Church around the world have occurred “under the auspices of Confession”.

Accounts of the alleged widespread abuse of children in Confession are collected in a new book by the author, The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession, which is published on 20 February.

Catholic Education Service adviser in court on child pornography charges

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/UserFiles/Images/OtherHeadlines/gardnerpic.jpg
The Catholic Education Service’s former Religious Education Adviser has appeared in court charged with possessing more than 5,000 indecent images of children.
 
Fr Tim Gardner, 41, a Dominican, had taught Philosophy and Religious Education at Maria Fidelis Convent School, Camden in North London. 

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday to confirm his name at a brief hearing.

He is facing eleven allegations of possessing 5,005 images, some of which are graded at level five denoting the most extreme content and one of which shows bestiality.

Fr Tim’s case was referred to Southwark Crown Court where there will be a preliminary hearing on 24 February.

The priest’s lawyer did not indicate how the defendant would plead to the charges.

He has been released on bail on condition that he has no contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Fr Tim served as secretary to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales’ Department for Catholic Education and Formation.

In his religious education adviser role at the CES, he had been involved in lobbying the Government to ensure that RE remained a priority in schools.

He is also a former communications director for the Dominican Order in England and was based at St Dominic’s Priory, in North London. He had also been a governor of the Catholic independent school for girls Rye St Antony in Oxford.

In a statement the Dominican Order said it had co-operated fully with the police, in accordance with nationally agreed Church safeguarding guidelines.

Cardinal Marx admits Christian monopoly in Europe is over but urges Catholics to ‘leave a Christian footprint’

Europe is in danger of betraying its Christian heritage unless Christians find new ways to influence Western society, Cardinal Reinhart Marx warned this week during a lecture held in Oxford.

The German cardinal, who is Archbishop of Munich and Freising, said: “We have an obligation to bring the Gospel to people. Evangelisation is not about losing the territory and then having a new battle. The Church does not have monopoly today but it aspires to leave a Christian footprint.”

Cardinal Marx made his remarks as part of the Newman Lecture, given at St Anne’s College, Oxford, on Tuesday.

Reflecting on how Europe today had been shaped by conflict, he described it “as still in the making”, “a work in progress”, but there were major problem because “the new Europe does not have a continuing narrative”, and he urged Christianity to provide it with vital values, particularly through Catholic social doctrine.

Among those who listened to his Newman Lecture were Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop John Arnold, auxiliary of Westminster.

Edwina Currie wrong to criticise foodbanks, counters charity

A Catholic charity has spoken out in support of foodbanks after a former Tory minister said that they were counterproductive and could do more harm than good.

The St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), which organises several foodbanks and whose members volunteer at others, criticised remarks by Edwina Currie on the BBC Daily Politics programme on Monday that food banks could be counterproductive in meeting the complex needs of the poor.

Foodbanks were often a “necessary step” on the journey to better solutions, the charity argued.

Elizabeth Palmer, the Chief Executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, which was recently awarded a Big Society Award by the Prime Minister, said that as well as providing food, the charity’s 10, 000 volunteers befriend people who attend food banks to support them in other areas such as debt.

“Addressing the immediate need is a necessary measure in the journey to providing a longer-term solution, and neither one approach devalues the other,” she said.

Ms Currie has been an outspoken critic of foodbanks. In an article for the Spectator website last month she said that “pernicious” food banks made users poorer.

“Like giving money to ‘homeless’ beggars on London streets, it encourages more of what it seeks to relieve,” she argued. She added that in some cases food banks also put local shops out of business.

This week during a visit to Stockport in Manchester, she said that foodbanks “don’t teach people how to get a job and hold on to it,” according to the Manchester Evening News.

The SVP said that food banks were vital for people in crisis.

“In general, food bank clients are referred by third parties who have identified a genuine need and food is provided to those who are in a crisis situation,” it said.

Benedict's brother says former Pope does not regret resigning

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Pope_Benedict_XVI_speaks_during_his_wednesday_general_audience_in_Paul_VI_Hall_2_CNA_Vatican_Catholic_News_6_27_12.jpgIn a recent interview, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger said his brother, retired Pope Benedict XVI, believes he made the right decision in stepping down from the papacy last year due to a lack of physical strength.

“My brother does not regret at all the decision he made one year ago,” Msgr. Ratzinger said in the book-interview, “My Brother, The Pope,” by German reporter Michael Hesemann.

“He very clearly understands the tasks and roles he wants to carry out, and the decision one year ago was clear and continues to be valid today.”

At 90 years old, Msgr. Ratzinger, who is an expert in sacred music and was granted the title Apostolic Pronotary by Pope John Paul II, lives quietly at his residence in Ratisbona.

Recalling the day the cardinals elected his brother in the conclave of 2005, he said then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was “very devastated” to think that he would no longer have time to develop the theological studies he was so passionate about and that led him to be prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Nine years after his election, Benedict XVI finds time in his still busy schedule for study and music, two of his greatest passions.

“My brother is in great health, he tries to have quiet time although he does not have all the time he would like to play the piano or receive phone calls, since he still has many visits and audiences,” Msgr. Ratzinger said.

He added that his brother continues to study theology but could not confirm whether the former pontiff is writing his memoirs.

The two have always maintained a close relationship, he continued. The brothers grew up together, went to seminary together and were ordained together. They also continue their tradition of spending a few days together every spring at Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome.

“I have a second telephone in my room that has a number only he knows,” Msgr. Ratzinger said. “If that phone rings, I know it’s my brother, the Pope, who is calling.”

National religious rep bodies gear up for merger

The two national representative bodies for Irish religious are heading for a major shake-up, as talks of a merger to create a new organisation intensify.

With almost a complete overlap of membership for the Conference of Religious of Ireland (CORI) and the Irish Missionary Union (IMU), talks have been ongoing for some time on bringing the two groups together in one organisation, making the goals of both easier to achieve.

“We are exploring if it is possible,” CORI Director General, Fr Peter Rogers, OFM Cap. told The Irish Catholic. “People were asking is it necessary to have two groups and why not create something new and give new energy to what we do. Both executives have met and agreed to explore possibilities.

“We want to make sure we would preserve what is good in both organisations, but see where things are duplicated. If change happens too quickly it won’t last so the process will involve a lot of consultation and listening. This is not a merger where one group swallows the other, this will be something new and the work of both groups will be respected,” he said.

Union

It is expected that the union of the two organisations would need Vatican approval and Fr Hugh McMahon SSC, IMU Executive Secretary said that is one of the aspects which will be explored with the appointment of a ‘change manager’.

“Some people have a vision that if we form a new group we can offer a greater contribution to the Irish Church, but that vision is not spelled out so we will employ a change manager to investigate the possibilities and implications of this,” he said.

“It is not just a matter of pooling resources, if we go ahead a union would have to be something better than what we have at present - more effective - and that is the premise we are going on.”