Saturday, June 02, 2012

Germany's President upsets his country's Muslim community

Integration: Gauck geht auf Distanz zu Wulffs Islam-Rede - Aktuelle Nachrichten - Politik - Berliner Morgenpost - Berlin

President Joachim Gauck has distanced himself from the assessment of his predecessor, Christian Wulff, that Islam belonged to Germany.  This sentence, Gauck would not support, "but his intention, I suppose," Gauck said in an interview published on Thursday with the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit".

Wulff was telling citizens to be open to the reality. "And the reality is that many Muslims live in this country .... I would simply say that Muslims who live here belong to Germany." Wulff's remarks had triggered heated debates in Germany in 2010.

A set of formulations about membership are "always problematic, especially when it comes to such sensitive issues like religion," said Gauck, who is also a Protestant theologian. He could therefore understand even those who asked: "Where has Islam influenced Europe, has it experienced the Enlightenment, even a reformation ... I am very excited about the theological discourse within a European Islam."

Christian Wulff had said in his speech on the Day of German Unity 2010: Christianity and Judaism were unequivocally belong to Germany. "But Islam now also belongs to Germany."

The interview was conducted before the trip to Israel and the Palestinian territories by Gauck, which ended on Thursday . The President said that the position of Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the existence of Israel belongs to the German raison d'état, "comes from the hearts of my generation."

The idea was born not only from a political reason, "but from a deep contrition. It is a moral appeal to ourselves, with whom I am very concerned about whether we can realize the magnitude of this claim on ourselves into political action." Perhaps the next generation would call this "an excessive demand" Gauck said.

By 1990 he had never passed his lips that he was proud of his country, "never imagine!" But the trip to Israel, he will have in addition to awareness of the burden of German guilt that "Germany had discovered trust in itself. And as we continue to align with Europe, we remain at the side of Israel, when others deny them the right to exist," said Gauck, who lived until 1990 in the GDR.

More soon on Cathcon on this story

Vatican police go after Italian journalist on Vatileaks

„Vatileaks“: Ermittler wollen Journalisten Nuzzi befragen - International - Chronik - Nachrichten | TT Online

The Vatican's judicial authorities investigating the scandal over stolen confidential documents of the Pope want to interview the Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi. He allegedly published secret documents from the Vatican in his book entitled "Sua Santita" (His Holiness). This includes letters and faxes, as well as discussion documents for the Pope.

In order to interview Nuzzi, the Vatican have turned to the Italian judicial authorities, said the Rome daily newspaper "La Repubblica" on Saturday. Nuzzi and the publishing group "Chiarelettere", editor of the controversial book, have rejected the charge of receiving stolen property in connection with the release of confidential Vatican document. "Nuzzi has fulfilled his duty as a journalist and made public, in line with the Italian and European legislation, documents of general interest to the public," said a press release from the publisher.

The case of the the Pope's valet, Paolo Gabriele, arrested nine days ago and who is said to have passed confidential documents to the media, will be heard until next week by the investigating authorities of the Vatican. The hearing will take place on next Monday or Tuesday, Italian media reported. Gabriele's lawyers want to submit an application for their client to be placed under house arrest. Currently, the 46-year-old is in a cell at the Vatican. (APA)

After all, Commission of Cardinals will fire President of Vatican Bank

Ior: commissione cardinalizia fa decadere Gotti Tedeschi - Politica -
The functions of the presidency in the '' interim'' pass to Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz

The Supervisory Commission of Cardinals of the IOR has'' taken note'' of the decision of the 'board' of the Institute when they voted no confidence in the President Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and 'informed' Gotti Tedeschi in writing that the functions of Presidency will pass in the interim to Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz. The Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

Father Lombardi, No Division in the Commission of Cardinals - "The statements published by some newspapers on a division among the cardinals of the Supervisory Commission of the IOR are absolutely unfounded." said the Vatican's director of press, Father Federico Lombardi at a press briefing in Milan.

"There is no division within the Commission of Cardinals," said Father Lombardi. The Commission, presided over by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, "noted the decision of the 'board' and communicated in writing to Professor Gotti Tedeschi that the functions of the Bureau will go in the 'interim', as per statute, to the vice president Ronaldo Hermann Schmitz."

This, explained the Vatican spokesman, is equivalent to the "ratification" of no confidence passed unanimously by the 'lay board' . Father Lombardi also explained that the Commission has "made contact" with Gotti Tedeschi "as an act of courtesy" and "to end the relationship," including with regard to financial aspects, and with the hope "that this will restore a climate of fairness".

Cathcon- seems some very rapid telephone calls were made between Cardinals this morning to restore Curial unity.

Koran to be read during televised church service in Germany

KATH.NET - Katholischer Nachrichtendienst: "

Free Church rejects accusations of religious confusion.

There is controversy in advance of a televised church service on 17 June on ZDF (Cathcon- German equivalent of BBC). The reason: during the service of the Evangelical Free Church congregation (Baptist) in Kamp-Lintfort work where Christians and Muslim work alongside eachother in the mines,  there will be a reading from the Koran. As the Baptist pastor, André Carouge explained, Christians and Muslims have maintained close relationships in  Kamp-Lintfort since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in the United States. Friendships between miners in the Ruhr area were independent of their origin and religion and they always had to rely on each other. After the attacks, they had received each other over many days.

CEP Conference of Protestant Publicists

Christians are confused
Sharp criticism of the project came from Christian media association CEP (Conference of Protestant Publicists). Its managing director Wolfgang Baake (Wetzlar) accused the church leadership in a letter of "a lack of accountability". A joint reading of the Bible and the Koran confuses Christians in their faith and tells them, falsely, that there was no  or only minor inter-religious differences. The big questions of reconciliation, sin, faith, and the image of God in Islam and Christianity would be answered but fundamentally differently. The letter from whichthe CEP quoted in a press release, led to many critical questions at the national office of the Free Church in Elstal near Berlin.

Baptists: Helping indeed more important than real commitment

A Member of the management board of the church at national level, Pastor Friedrich Schneider (Oldenburg), rejected the accusation of mixing religions.

It is in the context of the worship of the city which is dominated by the mining community and relates to the  theme of "Compassion - mineral resources of the faith." The focus of preaching is based on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Schneider: "Jesus provoked here the faithful of his own time that he 'is a model that, true believers' just one false believers are criticized for refusing an obvious love of neighbor." The helping hand will be valued higher than  right belief.

The service will document  the neighbourly friendship between Christians and Muslims, said Schneider. The passage from the Koran, which will quoted in the church could be accepted by any of Christian faith:

"Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is (in) one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it a , to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives regular charity; those who fulfill their promise when they promise; and those who are patient in misfortune and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who are truthful, and it is those who [are careful of their duty to Allah and] guard [themselves against evil]."(Surah 2.177).

(Cathcon- I have highlighted in bold the actual text of the whole Surah which appears in the article.  One suspects that the partial quoting comes from Pastor Schneider

The service will also make it clear that non-Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Schneider: "The fact that this verse is quoted from the Koran leads to some Christians, unfortunately, to undifferentiated protest in a reflexive." But for Baptists, respect for people of different faiths is important. Schneider also reminds that Baptists have always been committed to  religious freedom.

Baake: "Koran does not belong to church,"

CEP Director Baake still maintains his position.  "The Koran does not belong in a Christian church". Members of other religions are welcome to attend Christian worship: "But that does not mean sthat Muslim elements are a part of it."

Cardinals refuse to ratify dismissal of President of Vatican Bank

Ior, i cardinali non ratificano la svolta -

In itself, at least in theory, it would not be a complicated matter: the board dismisses the President of the IOR and then the "oversight committee of cardinals' ratifies the decision. If you agree, of course.

Only there is no agreement, the cardinals are divided: two of them are said to have refused this morning to vote on the measure supported by the Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone to ratify the decision.

Nothing happened. And the clash on the dismissal of the President of the IOR Ettore Gotti Tedeschi – in whonm "confidence was lost" eight days ago, with an unheard of hint of harshness from the board of supervision of the institution - it's all contained in a sentence that yesterday a prelate t murmured: "You see, There are still people who do not go against their conscience and morality, because they believe in eternal life. "

The news is filtered by the Leonine Walls 
The Secretary of State,Tarcisio Bertone appeared smiling behind Pope Benedict XVI in Milan, yesterday afternoon. A reassuring image, as a confirmation of "trust to my closest colleagues" that had been assured by the Pope on Wednesday. It almost never happens that the Secretary of State accompanies the Pontiff during his travels in Italy. Already, he was said to have been added at the last minute. But all the same Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican press spokesman said: "The presence of the cardinal there was arranged long ago: this trip is international, it is the world meeting of families."

In any case, the smile of Bertone veiled his concern. The Holy See denied there was a 'meeting' of the commission of cardinals and admits only to a "consultation" among the cardinals. However it is defined, the fact remains that it is the second in a week. Last Friday, after the dismissal of Gotti Tedeschi, the Commission had gathered to "consider the consequences" of the lack of confidence shown by the board. Far from taking effect, he had waited in vain all day an announcement: they had not even found agreement on the text, something unprecedented.

The supervisory committee is composed of five cardinals, as well as Bertone, who presides over it, and also Attilio Nicora, President of Financial Reporting Authority; Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, as well as the Indian Telesphore Placidus Toppo and the Brazilian Odilo Pedro Scherer. The last two reside in their countries. Tauran and Nicora, it is said, objected to the behavior of the board. And yesterday they kept to their position: no ratification of the lack of confidence in Gotti Tedeschi. Tauran is part of the the faction that looks askance at Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State. And Nicora has supported to the last the first version of the Anti-Money Laundering Law, subsequently amended by a decree on January 25 that has reorganised the authority over which he presides. This was one of the reasons that led to clash with Bertone Gotti Tedeschi, before his dismissal.

See latest developments