SAINT MARY OF THE CROSS
Perhaps the western nations are supporting the wrong side in the Syrian war?
Bishop Antoine Audo, bishop of Alep, spoke to the news agency Fides on April 10, of the precarious situation of the inhabitants of Alep, who can be seen in the streets with plastic bags, searching everywhere for a bit of food.
Hundreds of Catholic families have had to leave the Cheikh Maksoud quarter after the arrival of the rebel militias in early April.
The fate of two priests, an Armenian Catholic and a Greek Orthodox, kidnapped by armed men two months ago on the road between Alep and Damascus, is still unknown.
Some city-centre streets are already closed. “No one can travel on them anymore because snipers fire on any moving thing.”
In Cheikh Maksoud, Christians used to make up the majority of the population. In the last few years, the Kurdish population became the majority, but there remained many Christian families, grouped around the Armenian-Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches.
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Archbishop Samir Nassar, Maronite archbishop of Damascus, reported on April 13 the crucifying dilemma of the Syrian Christians, “forced to choose between two bitter chalices: death or exile”, which is “another, [slower] way to die.”
In the city, there are bombings, trapped cars, starvation, and a lack of medication and care. “233 hospitals have been closed and the doctors are fleeing,”
The parishes have “become a wailing wall to which the Christians turn every day to find protection and help in their attempts to obtain a visa to leave.”
“The indifference and silence of the international community before their long, sad Calvary” is oppressing for the Syrian Christians, who, “abandoned,” find themselves “condemned to death and unable to flee,” continued the prelate. “The consulates have been closed for a year and a half.”
The more wealthy have been able to leave, but the poorer Christians do not understand why they must die in a senseless war.
“Today, the Church is the only resource for these shipwrecked souls.
The pastors, too, are confronted with a dilemma: to tell their faithful to stay is to condemn them to death. “But helping them leave means emptying the Biblical Land of its last faithful Christians,” said Archbishop Nassar.
The Syrian Christians celebrate Mass every afternoon with the refugees and those who are able to come and we recite the Holy Rosary for this intention. Everyone sings the litany and the final hymn to the Virgin with great emotion. They ask Mary for the gift of peace, turning to her as the only one who can still help them to keep hope alive in the terrible situation that we are living through.
sources: apic/fides/afp – DICI#275 May 17, 2013
On March 29 the Herald Sun headlined as follows:
“Penalty fear: Doctor’s abortion stance may be punished”.
Melbourne GP, Dr Mark Hobart, had been asked by a couple for a referral for an abortion on the grounds that their unborn baby was a girl and they didn’t want another daughter.
Dr Hobart refused them.
In doing so, he has contravened Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act which obliges any doctor with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer such people to a doctor who has no such objection.
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A separate article has revealed how another Victorian doctor has been “cautioned” by the Medical Board for saying in an online discussion that he could not refer for abortions.
This doctor has been told that if he comes back before the Board they will treat it very seriously. It is suggested that the ultimate penalty may be deregistration from medical practice.
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As a practising GP doctor, I have always refused to refer for abortion.
I know I could never do so, regardless of the law.
Pope Francis has made it clear that he hopes for “dialogue” with Islam.
The dictionary definition of dialogue is “discussion directed towards exploration of a subject or resolution of a problem”. (Oxford Concise, tenth edition).
OK insofar as each participant can clarify his/her grasp of what the other stands for – thus avoiding enmity based merely on a caricature of his/her position.
But what if the clearer picture confirms that the gulf is un-bridgeable?
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Professor S. L. Jaki tells of a conversation with a Muslim fellow-plane passenger who boasted of the freedoms enjoyed in Arab countries:
“I asked him what happens to a Muslim, say in Saudi Arabia or Iran, who becomes a Christian.
“My travelling companion tried to change the subject, but I kept insisting for an answer . . . .
“During the rest of our flight we read our respective books . . . .”
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One fundamental belief of Islam is that the Prophet Jesus was never crucified. (Sura 4)
Another is that Christians believe in a divine Trinity, one of the three Persons being Mary the mother of Jesus. (Sura 5)
If the first of these assumptions is true, then the whole of Christianity evaporates.
The second assumption is simply an untruth
There can be no dialogue at any depth while such basics remain unchanged.
And they will remain unchanged because those statements are in the Koran.
72-year old great-grandmother, June Norman, says she is going to walk 1200 km from Cairns to Gladstone to help to “save” the Great Barrier Reef.
Her mission is to curb industrial developments along the Queensland coast.
In particular to stop the dredging of Gladstone Harbour and the development of new Australian coal ports, e.g. at Abbot Point etc., which she claims are threats to the Reef.
“The Reef has changed so much in the last ten years,” she says.
It’s true that new coal-mines and export facilities could have detrimental effects on the environment. It all depends on how well they are planned.
For example, problems caused by coal-dust blown from coal rail-trucks and stockpiles at ports, can be minimised by environmentally-friendly suppressant sprays.
These are already in use in some mines, coal trucks and export ports. They can be applied for as little as 2 cents per tonne of coal.
Perhaps Grandma would be more realistic if she campaigned for better handling of coal rather than trying to destroy an important industry.
(1) French feminist, Elizabeth Badinter, in her book, “The Conflict: how Modern Motherhood undermines the Status of Women”, says that motherhood has:
“ . . . become crushing for women, in the sense that it monopolises women’s time, 24 hours a day . . . dangerous for their desires and their ambitions and their freedom as women.”
(2) Compare an article, by a lady calling herself simply Tanya:
“I didn’t feel clucky before I became pregnant. But as my body grew to accommodate our child, my mind and spirit also grew to welcome the new life . . . .
“The demands of a child have shown me that I am able to give far more than I ever thought possible.
“My child excels when she feels secure and confident. I am the one person in the world most able to implant that feeling of security in her heart . . . .
“Even the most high-flying executive doesn’t have the same influence that I have over the universe.
“They deal only in material things which are perishable. My career is to raise up a soul which can live forever with God.”
Hungary was dominated by a communist regime until 1989.
Its current constitution is a complete break from that past.
It has been modified recently, but retains its support for national culture and traditional values.
* Human life is to be protected from the moment of conception.
* Same-sex couples may legally register their partnerships, but marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman.
* The preamble contains references to God, Christianity, the fatherland and “traditional family values”.
In the last two weeks, the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels has threatened sanctions against Hungary if they don’t further amend the constitution to reflect views with a more left-wing flavour.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his constitution have the support of the people of Hungary, according to polls. His government was elected with a two-thirds majority primary vote.
Joszef Szajer, a Hungarian Member of the European Parliament has said, “In the course of our history, thousands of Hungarians died for Hungary’s independence, but finally we won it only little more than 20 years ago,”
“Now our task is to consolidate freedom and democracy, and we insist on our right to decide.”