SAINT MARY OF THE CROSS
Many politicians, including US President Obama and Australians from both sides talk about what they call “moderate Islam”.
Is there such a thing as ‘moderate Islam’?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has objected to the term:
“It is unacceptable for us to agree with such a definition. Turkey has never been a country to represent such a concept. Moreover, Islam cannot be classified as moderate or not,”
Erdoğan also said that he believes and respects Moses and Jesus, and accepts them as prophets. “I expect the same attitude from a Jew or a Christian toward my own prophet,”
And also that he wants more inter-faith cooperation and dialogue.
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If it is true that 10 to 15 per cent of Muslims worldwide favour Islamist violence, that suggests there must be about 850 million anti-violent Muslims somewhere.
Most of us have neighbours, friends, clients and workmates who are Muslims and whose main interests are theirfamily and friends and from whom one would confidently buy a used car.
These people get little space in the media.
Have they no well-organised programs for spreading the world of peaceful Islam in the media?
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I noted a pleasing (to me) move by what may be one such group in Australia.
In the context of the blasphemously-advertised sideshow associated with the Adelaide Fringe event, Islamic Council of South Australia spokesman, Dr Waleed Alkhazrajy said that:
“All the Muslims around the world share the same belief that any acts or reference to depict any of the Abrahamic faiths’ prophets is a blasphemy and it is not acceptable,”
When he was young, Vladimir Putin’s mother gave him a cross to wear around his neck.
He says he has never since then taken it off.
When asked, “Do you, then, believe in God?”, he said more or less that, “I have beliefs. What they are is not appropriate for a person in my position to discuss in public.”
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When asked about homosexuality in the context of hosting the recent Sochi Winter Olympics, Mr Putin’s message was, “We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations. We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and paedophilia among minors.”
His nation’s laws disallow what they call ”gay propaganda” targeting young people.
On a different occasion, he said, “They (homosexuals) can make propaganda about their sexual orientation among adults. But there is no need to involve children. I have already said this many times.”
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On a slightly different matter:
Any members of the Australian Defence Forces who march or otherwise participate in political demonstrations (such as the Sydney Homosexual Mardi Gras) are acting in defiance of the regulations governing the ADF.
What is going to happen about that?
A few weeks ago, an Italian newspaper published rumours that Pope Benedict XVI had last year been forced to resign because of Vatican scandals.
In response, the ex-Pope yesterday posted on the internet a denial:
“There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation . . . The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculation regarding its validity is simply absurd.”
At the time of his resignation, Pope Benedict had said, “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited . . . For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom, I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter.”
Some people may choose not to believe what he said.
Some say that, for various reasons, Benedict was not a good Pope.
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On 7 July 2007, Pope Benedict confirmed formally that the old Mass, celebrated in Latin by the worldwide Church in various versions over the centuries, was a valid Mass:
“The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration.
“It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same Rite.
“As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a ‘Forma extraordinaria’ of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”
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Since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, three Popes, over a period of 40 years, had not got around to spelling this out.
Pope Benedict did.
That makes him a big Pope.
He did what he had to do.
Non-Catholics may think these details regarding how Mass is celebrated are a minor matter.
Catholics know they are not.
Pope Francis has appointed Cardinal George Pell as his “Prefect for the Economy for the Holy See”.
Cardinal Pell will now be as powerful in the Church as any person other than the pope himself.
All Church authorities will be answerable to him re financial and administrative matters. With him the buck will stop.
Meanwhile, as yesterday’s Australian newspaper said, his disappearance will leave a ”vast gap” in Australian public life . . .
Voices of common sense aren’t common around here.
We can ill afford to lose this one.
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Here’s a sample of what makes Cardinal Pell’s mind tick, taken from a 2004 sermon.
Asserting that our culture is ultimately founded on the message of Moses that there is a God — only one God — he said:
“The idea that God would be interested in our moral lives and in fact requires us to live in a certain way would have been a complete novelty to the ancient Greek and Romans.
“Their gods were capricious and selfish themselves and never prescribed moral duties . . . .”
The Cardinal then raised the proposition that perhaps the real reason Hitler hated the Jews was because the Jews brought the news that there is only one God . . . .
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Cardinal Pell is one who has kept reminding Australians that there is one God who makes demands of us behaviour-wise.
That is why many will be glad to see him go.
But we’ll be worse off.
We need someone else to take over what he has been doing for us.
Doubtless God will provide somebody.
Perhaps that person will do it even better — and perhaps be even more resented.
With the Mardi Gras parade, planned to happen next week in Sydney, the New South Wales Communicable Diseases Branch is concerned that more Shigella infections may occur.
Shigella is a bacterial infection of the bowel with symptoms including stomach cramps, diarrhoea, fever, nausea etc.
The infection is transmitted through faeces getting into the mouth.
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According to the NSW Health Department, Shigella has recently been increasing in both NSW and Victoria.
For details see: www0.health.nsw.gov.au/data/diseases/shigellosis.asp
The Mardi Gras and associated activities will perhaps aggravate the situation.
Ominously, the disease tends to be worse in anyone with a poor immune system, including people with HIV.
Shigella is potentially fatal. The death rates during epidemics in developing countries can be 5 to 15%.
Perhaps 15 copies of a magazine were mistakenly handed out by Special Religious Instruction teachers….
Some would use this to justify banning religion classes from all schools. (Sunday Age, 23 February)
What was the uproar-causing offending content?
* That provocative clothing is provocative?
But it is, isn’t it? Ask any boy or man.
* That homosexuality, masturbation and sex before marriage are sinful? We weren’t given the wording: exactly how were these things expressed?
They’re all matters that can’t be ignored. Real-life school children must make decisions about them based on some input from somewhere.
Turning a blind eye won’t help.