Apparently Catch the Fire Ministries is a 'Christian Zionist' organisation:
(the latter link found in the combox at this post by Mr. Muehlenberg)
Labels: C.T.F.M., State of Israel
2. "‘Mother,’ ‘Father’ Changing to ‘Parent One,’ ‘Parent Two’ on [U.S.] Passport Applications"
Labels: families, G.L.B.T., parenthood
3. H.H. The Pope on religious liberty
There are good points and bad points in this speech, though unfortunately I don't have time to explain point by point the good and the bad. Anyway, here are the excerpts from the Vatican Information Service (V.I.S.) daily e-mail bulletin item on the speech which (excerpts) I regard as notably good or bad (if you're familiar with the Traditional doctrine on these matters then you'll probably know which is which):
HOLY FATHER'S ANNUAL ADDRESS TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS
VATICAN CITY, 10 JAN 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Sala Regia of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Pope Benedict pronounced his traditional annual address to members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See. ...
[...] Ample extracts of the Holy Father's address are give below:
"Humanity throughout history, in its beliefs and rituals, demonstrates a constant search for God and 'these forms of religious expression are so universal that one may well call man a religious being'. The religious dimension is an undeniable and irrepressible feature of man's being and acting, the measure of the fulfilment of his destiny and of the building up of the community to which he belongs. Consequently, when the individual himself or those around him neglect or deny this fundamental dimension, imbalances and conflicts arise at all levels, both personal and interpersonal".
[...] "The particular influence of a given religion in a nation ought never to mean that citizens of another religion can be subject to discrimination in social life or, even worse, that violence against them can be tolerated. In this regard, it is important for inter-religious dialogue to favour a common commitment to recognising and promoting the religious freedom of each person and community. ...
"In a number of countries, on the other hand, a constitutionally recognised right to religious freedom exists, yet the life of religious communities is in fact made difficult and at times even dangerous because the legal or social order is inspired by philosophical and political systems which call for strict control, if not a monopoly, of the State over society. Such inconsistencies must end, so that believers will not find themselves torn between fidelity to God and loyalty to their country. I ask in particular that Catholic communities be everywhere guaranteed full autonomy of organisation and the freedom to carry out their mission, in conformity with international norms and standards in this sphere. My thoughts turn once again to the Catholic community of mainland China and its pastors, who are experiencing a time of difficulty and trial. I would also like to offer a word of encouragement to the authorities of Cuba, a country which in 2010 celebrated seventy-five years of uninterrupted diplomatic relations with the Holy See, that the dialogue happily begun with the Church may be reinforced and expanded.
"Turning our gaze from East to West, we find ourselves faced with other kinds of threats to the full exercise of religious freedom. I think in the first place of countries which accord great importance to pluralism and tolerance, but where religion is increasingly being marginalised. There is a tendency to consider religion, all religion, as something insignificant, alien or even destabilising to modern society, and to attempt by different means to prevent it from having any influence on the life of society. Christians are even required at times to act in the exercise of their profession with no reference to their religious and moral convictions, and even in opposition to them, as for example where laws are enforced limiting the right to conscientious objection on the part of health care or legal professionals.
"In this context, one can only be gratified by the adoption by the Council of Europe last October of a resolution protecting the right to conscientious objection on the part of medical personnel vis-a-vis certain acts which gravely violate the right to life, such as abortion.
[...] "Continuing my reflection, I cannot remain silent about another attack on the religious freedom of families in certain European countries which mandate obligatory participation in courses of sexual or civic education which allegedly convey a neutral conception of the person and of life, yet in fact reflect an anthropology opposed to faith and to right reason".
"On this solemn occasion, allow me to state clearly several principles which inspire the Holy See, together with the whole Catholic Church, in its activity within the intergovernmental international organisations for the promotion of full respect for the religious freedom of all. First, the conviction that one cannot create a sort of scale of degrees of religious intolerance. Unfortunately, such an attitude is frequently found, and it is precisely acts of discrimination against Christians which are considered less grave and less worthy of attention on the part of governments and public opinion. At the same time, there is a need to reject the dangerous notion of a conflict between the right to religious freedom and other human rights, thus disregarding or denying the central role of respect for religious freedom in the defence and protection of fundamental human dignity. Even less justifiable are attempts to counter the right of religious freedom with other alleged new rights which, while actively promoted by certain sectors of society and inserted in national legislation or in international directives, are nonetheless merely the expression of selfish desires lacking a foundation in authentic human nature. Finally, it seems unnecessary to point out that an abstract proclamation of religious freedom is insufficient: this fundamental rule of social life must find application and respect at every level and in all areas".
[...] "I would like once more to state forcefully that religion does not represent a problem for society, that it is not a source of discord or conflict. I would repeat that the Church seeks no privileges, nor does she seek to intervene in areas unrelated to her mission, but simply to exercise the latter with freedom. I invite everyone to acknowledge the great lesson of history: 'How can anyone deny the contribution of the world's great religions to the development of civilisation? The sincere search for God has led to greater respect for human dignity. Christian communities, with their patrimony of values and principles, have contributed much to making individuals and peoples aware of their identity and their dignity, the establishment of democratic institutions and the recognition of human rights and their corresponding duties. Today too, in an increasingly globalised society, Christians are called, not only through their responsible involvement in civic, economic and political life but also through the witness of their charity and faith, to offer a valuable contribution to the laborious and stimulating pursuit of justice, integral human development and the right ordering of human affairs'.
CD/ VIS 20110110 (2500)
Labels: Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, Church and State, Confessional State, morality, religious liberty
4. Cardinal Tauran on, among other things, religious liberty
This is an extract from an old V.I.S. daily e-mail bulletin item which I've finally got round to posting at AQ:
Labels: Dignitatis Humanæ, Jean-Louis Tauran, morality, religious liberty
EIGHTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Eighth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father and of 168 Synod Fathers. ...
Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:
[...] CARDINAL JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR INTER-RELIGIOUS DIALOGUE. "The Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops represents an opportunity and a challenge. An opportunity, because it could lead to better understanding: (1) that the unresolved conflicts in the region are not caused by religious reasons, as evinced by the presence among us of representatives of Judaism and of Islam; (2) of the urgency for a three-way reflection (Jews, Christians and Muslims) on the place of religions in Middle Eastern societies. It is also a challenge, to give Middle Eastern Christians concrete guidelines. Let us not be shy in reclaiming not only freedom of worship, but also religious freedom. Society and State should neither force a person to act against his conscience, nor hinder him from acting according to his conscience. Let us invest more in schools and universities, which are attended by both Christians and Muslims. They are indispensable places of co-existence. Let us ask ourselves if we are doing enough, at the level of the local Churches, to encourage our Christians to stay: housing, tuition, healthcare. We cannot expect everything from others". [...]
SE/ VIS 20101015 (950)
[bold type in the original, my italics and ellipses]