Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pope- "Do not read blogs that call me a heretic"

Since the Second Vatican Council, there are resistance to reforms in the Church, says the Pope. They tried to relativize and dilute the council. How he himself deals with this resistance, the Jesuit Francis let be known in a conversation with friars.

Pope Francis ignored in his own words denigration by ultra-conservative critics on the Internet. He knew the resistance against him and the groups behind it, he said in a Thursday meeting with Jesuits in Santiago de Chile during his trip to Chile on 16 January. Further, Francis said, "For mental health reasons, I do not read these internet sites of the so-called resistance."

If he experiences resistance, he tries to engage in dialogue, if that is possible, according to Francis. But some resistance comes from people "who believe they are in possession of true doctrine and accuse you of being heretical." Such resistance is regrettable, but it is necessary to proceed further. "If I cannot recognize spiritual benevolence in these persons, I simply pray for them."

At the end of September last year conservative critics of the pope spread a "Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis" ("A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies "). In the letter, which met with approval above all in conservative blogs, the authors claimed that Francis had promoted "directly or indirectly" heretical attitudes to marriage, morality, and sacramental doctrine that differed from church doctrines. "We respectfully insist that your Holiness publicly rejects these theses," the letter said.

Resistance has existed since the Second Vatican Councl

The conversation with Jesuits in Chile was published in the text on the website of the Italian Jesuit magazine, "Civilta Cattolica". The Pope approved the transcript, the journal said.

The resistance that existed after the Second Vatican Council is still there today, the Pope continued. They tried to relativise and dilute the Council. Some people told him that resistance was normal when someone wanted to make changes. After all, it is a great temptation to say, "what we all have experienced", "that it has always been done that way".

At the same time the Pope admitted that not all difficulties should be prematurely labelled as resistance. One must always take into account that it also contained a "grain of truth" and the resistance could go back to a misunderstanding. "That also helps me to relativise many things," says Francis.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Judge sentencing refugee who threatened to kill a Christian convert removes Cross from court

Judge removes crucifix permanently from his courtroom
A Bavarian judge was required to judge a suspected Islamist. He decides to remove the cross from the courtroom. The "educational measure" triggers criticism - also at a political level.

For a case against a young asylum seeker from Afghanistan, a judge has taken down the Cross in the courtroom. The 21-year-old had to answer in court because he is said to have threatened an Afghan compatriot with death, because this person has become a Christian and went to church on Sunday. The district court Miesbach in Bavaria confirmed the process.

Politicians are outraged, the judge reaching angry phone calls and emails. But he lets the criticism rebound. And even goes one step further: He announces that he will not hang the Cross again in the future.

The Miesbach judge, Klaus-Jürgen Schmidt, told the Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). On the one hand, religious symbols are generally not required in the courtroom. On the other hand, he saw the Cross as unhelpful in the trial.

He thought, "How do I educate a young man who is claimed to deny this Christian the right to live and that is a Taliban, to refrain from believing that a jihad exists between Christians and Islamists?", Schmidt said. For that he had thought it sensible not to condemn him under the visible Cross. The clear message: In Germany, religion is not above the law of the world and not above the judiciary.

Bavaria's former Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber (CSU) took a critical view of the matter: "Whoever threatens someone with death because this person has become a Christian, should be able to see the Cross in his eye," he told the "Bild" newspaper. "I think the taking down of the cross is a false signal," said the politician. Deputy Bavarian Prime Minister, Ilse Aigner (CSU) described the procedure as "highly insensitive to the feelings of the victims," according to the newspaper.

Schmidt told the BR that he was also accused of abandoning a "cultural-religious symbol of sovereignty". In addition, he would already be blamed for future actions of the man. The critics would not consider that he had considered the man for the maximum penalty. The prosecutor's office had demanded far less.

Legally, the case is clear. The judge has used a margin of discretion. Unlike in school, there is no legal provision in Bavaria obliging the judiciary to place crosses in meeting rooms. The fact that crucifixes are usually there is "an expression of the Christian tradition of our state," explained the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice.

Cross does not violate state neutrality
Since when this is so, he did not wish to say. However, the presence of the Crosses does not violate the obligation of state neutrality. Nobody, neither visitors nor witnesses, trial representatives or parties to the dispute, has to "identify with the ideas or institutions symbolically embodied therein". According to the Federal Constitutional Court, each judge can have themselves remove the Cross if those involved in the trial see their freedom of belief impaired.

In the future Schmidt wants to do without the Cross in the courtroom. The judiciary is independent of religions. In addition, it was planned to amend the Bavarian Judicial Law to the effect that neither cross nor headscarf should be worn by judges in the trial. Therefore, he considered the Cross in the courtroom inappropriate. According to "Bild" it has already found a new place: "I will hang it up in the corridor now," said Schmidt.