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Friday, August 21, 2009

US Jewish groups declare that they are not open to conversion

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Major Jewish groups and rabbis from the three largest branches of American Judaism said Thursday that their relationship with Roman Catholic leaders is at risk because of a recent U.S. bishops' statement on salvation. Source

Jewish groups said they interpret the new document to mean that the bishops view interfaith dialogue as a chance to invite Jews to become Catholic. The Jewish leaders said they "pose no objection" to Christians sharing their faith, but said dialogue with Jews becomes "untenable" if the goal is to persuade Jews to accept Christ as their savior.

"A declaration of this sort is antithetical to the very essence of Jewish-Christian dialogue as we have understood it," Jewish leaders said in a letter to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The signers were the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and rabbis representing the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform movements.

The statement fueling the tension was issued by the bishops in June to clarify a 2002 document called "Covenant and Mission." The bishops said the earlier document mistakenly played down the importance of sharing the Gospel and was therefore misleading.

"While the Catholic Church does not proselytize the Jewish people, neither does she fail to witness to them her faith in Christ, nor to welcome them to share in that same faith whenever appropriate," said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of a bishops' committee on doctrine. He had said the revisions affirmed statements from the Holy See.

But there again neither was Theodore Ratisbonne. open to the Faith prior to his miraculous conversion.

See especially page 111 on the Santa Scala

Leader of German Jews demands answers from Vatican and Bishop Williamson

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Source: domradio 

The President of the Central Council of German Jews very much wants to know from the Vatican what the results have been of the “research” of Bishop Williamson about the Holocaust. The SSPX Bishop had announced after massive international criticism of his holocaust denial that he wished to study the historical facts. Knobloch at the time had said that this whole procedure was absurd. But that was in the end a matter for the Vatican, she said to the Stuttgarter Nachrichten. The Central Council has a good relationship with the Church in Germany. And that is sufficient. 

This same Central Council who would not disown their former President when he stated that the Pope was a liar and a hypocrite. 

Fridays- dedicated to the Passion of Christ

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Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross, and follow me.

Diocese of Linz should take note (and The Tablet!)

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Emperor Henry IV at the feet of Pope Gregory VII

Pope Gregory VII Dictatus Papae 1090

That the Roman church was founded by God alone. 
That the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal. 
That he alone can depose or reinstate bishops. 
That, in a council his legate, even if a lower grade, is above all bishops, and can pass sentence of deposition against them. 
That the pope may depose the absent. 
That, among other things, we ought not to remain in the same house with those excommunicated by him. 
That for him alone is it lawful, according to the needs of the time, to make new laws, to assemble together new congregations, to make an abbey of a canonry; and, on the other hand, to divide a rich bishopric and unite the poor ones. 
That he alone may use the imperial insignia. 
That of the Pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet. 
That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches. 
That this is the only name in the world. 
That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors. 
That he may be permitted to transfer bishops if need be. 
That he has power to ordain a clerk of any church he may wish. 
That he who is ordained by him may preside over another church, but may not hold a subordinate position; and that such a one may not receive a higher grade from any bishop. 
That no synod shall be called a general one without his order. 
That no chapter and no book shall be considered canonical without his authority. 
That a sentence passed by him may be retracted by no one; and that he himself, alone of all, may retract it. 
That he himself may be judged by no one. 
That no one shall dare to condemn one who appeals to the apostolic chair. 
That to the latter should be referred the more important cases of every church. 
That the Roman church has never erred; nor will it err to all eternity, the Scripture bearing witness. 
That the Roman pontiff, if he have been canonically ordained, is undoubtedly made a saint by the merits of St. Peter; St. Ennodius, bishop of Pavia, bearing witness, and many holy fathers agreeing with him. As is contained in the decrees of St. Symmachus the pope. 
That, by his command and consent, it may be lawful for subordinates to bring accusations. 
That he may depose and reinstate bishops without assembling a synod. 
That he who is not at peace with the Roman church shall not be considered catholic. 
That he may absolve subjects from their fealty to wicked men.

The Martyrs of Otranto

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Their relics on display in the Cathedral of Otranto
Martyrdom on the Vigil of the Assumption
by Elizabeth Lev

ROME, AUG. 20, 2009 (Zenit.org).- In 1480, Italy celebrated the feast of the Assumption with spectacular liturgies, processions and, of course, banquets. With the exception of Otranto, a tiny town on the Adriatic coast, where 800 men offered their lives for Christ. They were the Martyrs of Otranto.

A few weeks earlier the Turkish fleet had docked just outside the Otranto harbor. Their arrival had been feared for years; since the fall of Constantinople in 1454, it was only a matter of time before the Ottoman Turks encroached on Europe.

Otranto stands closest to the Ottoman-controlled eastern side of the Adriatic.
St. Francis de Paul recognized the imminent danger to the town and its Christian citizens and pleaded for reinforcements to protect Otranto. He predicted, "Oh unhappy citizens, how many cadavers do I see covering your streets? How much Christian blood do I see flooding you?" But the leaders of Christendom refused to address the danger.

On July 28, 1480, 18,000 Turkish sailors swarmed the harbor of Otranto. They offered terms of surrender to the citizens, hoping to gain this first foothold into Italy without resistance and complete a lightening conquest of the Adriatic coast. The Sultan Mehmed II had boasted to Pope Sixtus IV that he would "allow his horse to eat his oats on the Tomb of St. Peter."

Pope Sixtus, recognizing the seriousness of the threat, exclaimed: "People of Italy, if you wish to continue to call yourselves Christians, defend yourselves!"

Although his pleas fell on deaf ears among most of the crowned heads of the peninsula -- they were too busy fighting among themselves -- the people of Otranto listened.

Fisherman, not fighters, they had no artillery and numbered under 15,000 including women, children and the elderly. But by common consent they took the keys to the city and cast them into sea, committing themselves completely to resisting the Turkish fleet.

The sophisticated Turkish artillery ripped at the strong defensive walls, but the Otrantini repaired the breaches as soon as they opened. Charging the walls, the Turks found the determined citizens impavidly defending the ramparts with boiling oil, without armor, and often using their bare hands.

The citizens of Otranto foiled the Sultan's plan for a sneak attack and bought Italy two weeks of precious time to organize defenses and prepare to repel the invaders, but on Aug. 11, the Turks broke through the walls and overwhelmed the city.

The Turkish army methodically passed from house to house, sacking, looting and then setting them on fire. The few survivors took refuge in the cathedral. Archbishop Stefano, heroically calm, distributed the Eucharist and sat among the women and children of Otranto while a Dominican friar led the faithful in prayer from the pulpit.

The invading army broke open the door of the cathedral and the subsequent violence to the women, children and Archbishop -- who was beheaded on the altar -- shocked the Italian peninsula into action.

The Turks had taken the city, destroyed homes, enslaved its people and turned the cathedral into a mosque. Some 14,000 people had died in the capture of Otranto, mostly its own citizens, but a little band of 800 were left alive, so the Turks could fully dominate the proud partisans by forcing them to convert.

Their option was Islam or death. Eight hundred men, chained together, had lost home and family and seemed utterly subjugated to the victorious Turks.

One of the 800, a textile worker named Antonio Primaldo Pezzula, rose from humble craftsman to heroic leader on that day. Before the Pasha Agomat, Antonio turned to his fellow Otrantini and declared: "You have heard what it will cost to buy the remainder of our little lives! My brothers, we have fought to save our city; now it is time to battle for our souls!"

The 800 men aged 15 and up unanimously decided to follow the example of Antonio and offered their lives to Christ.

The Turks, who had hoped for moment of triumphant propaganda, wanted to avoid a massacre. They offered the return of the women and children who were about to be shipped off as slaves, in return for the conversion of the men, and they threatened a mass beheading if they failed to comply. Antonio refused, followed by the rest of men.

On the vigil of the Assumption, the 800 were led outside the city and beheaded. Tradition has it that Antonio Pezzula was beheaded first, but his acephalous body remained standing until the last Otrantino had been killed.

One of the executioners, a Turk named Barlabei, was so amazed by this prodigy that he converted to Christianity, and was also martyred.

The remains were lovingly collected, and are to this day kept in the Cathedral of Otranto. On the 500th anniversary of the sacrifice of the Otrantini, Pope John Paul II visited the city and paid homage to the martyrs.

Benedict XVI officially recognized their martyrdom in 2007, bringing Antonio Pezzula and his companions a step closer to their canonization.

This "hour of the laity" at Otranto, separated from us by a half a millennium, still resonates as an example of witness to the love of Christ. Few of us will ever be asked the same heroic sacrifice as Antonio Pezzuli and his fellow weavers, farmers and townsfolk, but how would we answer his exhortation: "Stand strong and constant in the faith: With this temporal death we will gain eternal life."

Now these are canonisations all can hope and pray for.

Old Communists still up to their games

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President of Croatia wants Crosses removed from public offices.