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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Hundreds of Europeans are fighting with rebel forces in Syria and intelligence agencies are concerned some could return home to launch terrorist attacks. One Belgian family says their son has joined rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad's regime.
A camera shakily films a group of rebel fighters preparing to pray, lined up in rows, their weapons at their feet. A young man walks into shot and takes off his rifle before briefly turning towards the camera.
"That's Brian," says Ingrid de Mulder, pointing at her nephew in the online video on her computer. "I'm 100% sure. That's him. No doubt."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Culture-Watch Children Religion & Culture Violence Young Adults * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium Middle East Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Faiths Islam
Veronica Scarisbrick continues in her series focusing on some of those to have taken part in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council fifty years on since that first session back on the 11th October 1962.
A Council which in terms of numbers and representation worldwide was the largest and most ecumenical council in the history of the church.
As Jesuit, Professor Norman Tanner writes in his Short History of "The Councils of the Church": " The equilibrium, however, was less balanced than the worldwide representation suggests. The principal initiative in rejecting the draft decrees of the preparatory commmission and in composing the decrees that were eventually approved came from a relatively small group of prelates and theologians mostly from northwestern Europe"..
Among those we, here at Vatican Radio, interviewed from this group was the late Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens....
Listen to it all.
Herewith the BBC summary:
In 1943, a group of Belgian Jews escaped from a train bound for the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.Listen to it all (10 minutes). I caught this by accident yesterday in the car driving to a meeting, and it left me shaking in silence. Do take the time to give your attention to it--KSH.
In the only incident of its kind, they were helped by members of the Belgian resistance.
Witness speaks to Simon Gronowski, who at the age of 11, jumped from the train to safety.
We Jjouranlists are probably too bleary-eyed after a sleepless night to understand the full significance of what has just happened in Brussels. What is clear is that after a long, hard and rancorous negotiation, at about 5am this... [past Friday] the European Union split in a fundamental way.
In an effort to stabilise the euro zone, France, Germany and 21 other countries have decided to draft their own treaty to impose more central control over national budgets. Britain and three others have decided to stay out. In the coming weeks, Britain may find itself even more isolated. Sweden, the Czech Republic and Hungary want time to consult their parliaments and political parties before deciding on whether to join the new union-within-the-union.
So two decades to the day after the Maastricht Treaty was concluded, launching the process towards the single European currency, the EU's tectonic plates have slipped momentously along same the fault line that has always divided it—the English Channel.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Credit Markets Currency Markets Euro European Central Bank The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- Foreign Relations Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK Europe --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010 Belgium France Germany
Between 01/2007-12/2009 in Leuven 17 isolated lung transplantations were performed from cardiac death donors, including four after euthanasia, Dirk van Raemdonck and colleagues (Leuven) report. “All donors expressed their wish for organ donation once their request for euthanasia was granted according to Belgian legislation. All donors suffered from an unbearable non-malignant disorder.” One recipient died from a problem unrelated to the graft. The other three patients are still alive – in a good condition.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Life Ethics Psychology Science & Technology * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
The intellectual community, and especially the Christian intellectual community, needs always to be engaged in the critique of triumphalism of any kind. That is why it is so significant a disaster when universities become mouthpieces for governments. The theologian may remember the shock felt by the twentieth century's greatest Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, on reading the manifesto in support of German policy in the First World War signed by most of the leading German academics of the day. And – given that the vocation and destiny of Europe is part of the focus of these celebrations – there is here a clue about what the university, Christian or otherwise, has to say to our continent.
We have inherited a long record of European triumphalism; and while this may no longer be a political reality, its cultural echoes are still very clear – not least in the bland assumption often made that European secularism is the destined future of the rest of the world. Universities like this have the responsibility to say to our culture that the light which enlightens the human world is not the product of European civilisation – indeed, the opposite is more true, that European civilisation, with its high valuation of dialogue and critique and its suspicion of absolutism, is the product of the light that Symeon speaks of in the Nunc Dimittis. Our specific European legacy is precious, but precious as a gift among others. Freeze it into a self-image of finality and decisive authority for the rest of human culture, and it becomes an idol and a danger to the truth.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Preaching / Homiletics * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium
In response to questions by commission members, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, president of the Belgian bishops' conference, said he feared the consequences of compensating victims, because payments could also be demanded for "unhappy children born via artificial insemination" or facing the "psychological impact" of being raised by same-sex couples.
He also said he favored a "solidarity fund" for abuse victims when courts were unable to establish "direct responsibility" by institutions and said the church would contribute to the fund "in the same way that it already intervenes for victims of natural catastrophes or for the poor."
Toon Osaer, editor of the church's Kerk en Leven weekly and spokesman for Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop Leonard's predecessor, said all nine serving bishops had been asked to testify to the commission, and "each has done in his own name. Archbishop Leonard wasn't representing the Belgian church at that moment, only himself."
However, he added that the "vast majority of people" had been "quite scandalized" by the archbishop's manner of speaking, especially in response to questions at the Dec. 22 hearing.
Read it all.
Willy Delsaert is a retired railroad employee with dyslexia who practiced intensively before facing the suburban Don Bosco Catholic parish to perform the Sunday Mass rituals he grew up with.
“Who takes this bread and eats,” he murmured, cracking a communion wafer with his wife at his side, “declares a desire for a new world.”
With those words, Mr. Delsaert, 60, and his fellow parishioners are discreetly pioneering a grass-roots movement that defies centuries of Roman Catholic Church doctrine by worshiping and sharing communion without a priest.
Don Bosco is one of about a dozen alternative Catholic churches that have sprouted and grown in the last two years in Dutch-speaking regions of Belgium and the Netherlands. They are an uneasy reaction to a combination of forces: a shortage of priests, the closing of churches, dissatisfaction with Vatican appointments of conservative bishops and, most recently, dismay over cover-ups of sexual abuse by priests.
Read it all.
There were 32 worshipers at noontime Mass in a side chapel of the soaring Cathedral of SS. Michael and Gudula, which dates from the 11th century. A third of the faithful were African; there were two nuns and a police officer.
The priest, a stocky man with brushy white hair, murmured about a “time of difficulty” and spoke of Jesus and of the Pharisees, who kept the letter of God’s law without understanding his love. “The Pharisee doesn’t recognize the border between the pure and the impure,” the priest said.
His sermon before a thin crowd seemed an obvious demonstration of the anguish of the Roman Catholic Church in Belgium, staggered by a sexual-abuse scandal that has already affected 475 victims. There have been 19 suicide attempts, 13 of them successful, by Belgians abused by clergy members.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Sexuality * International News & Commentary Europe Belgium * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic Pope Benedict XVI * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Faced with ever-more harrowing revelations of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergymen, Belgians are turning in record numbers to apostasy — formally breaking with their religion through a process of “de-baptism.”
“It has increased enormously since the cases of child abuse. It keeps going up,” said Bjorn Siffer, deputy director of Flemish Humanist-Secular Society. “We know from the bishops' secretaries that they can’t cope with all the requests they are getting for de-baptism.”
Read it all.
Belgian authorities have raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church during an investigation into child sex abuse claims.
A spokesman for the Brussels prosecutors' office confirmed that the palace of the archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels had been sealed off.
Police also raided the home of retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels.
Belgium is one of several countries in which a stream of abuse claims have shaken the Church.
Read the whole thing.
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