The Thwarting of Catholic Reform 

The Thwarting of Catholic Reform February 12, 2013 From the Archive: Pope Benedict XVI’s abdication ends the career of a Catholic intellectual who understood the need for Church reform  but joined with John Paul II and other conservatives to protect an autocratic system that failed to stop pedophile priests or meet the needs of the faithful, wrote Catholic theologian Paul Surlis in 2012. By Paul Surlis (First published on June 28, 2012 and slightly updated) A half century ago, the Second Vatican Council, which opened on Oct. 11, 1962, sought structural changes in the Catholic Church, reforms that were supported by the Council but were undermined or ignored, especially by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. One structural change called for collegiality, which would have had profound implications for accountability and transparency, both of which are needed in the Vatican and in the Church at large. Collegiality means that all the bishops as a collective have a role in Church governance as a matter of divine law and in a way that makes them a counterpart to the centralism that has prevailed in the Church for more than a millennium. Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. (Photo credit: Kancelaria Prezydenta RP) During that time, the papacy, with its monarchical structure and assisted by the curia which is the civil service of the pope, has assumed absolute power – legislative, executive and judicial — in the governance of the Church. The Second Vatican Council advocated collegial structures to balance centralism of this sort whether exercised in the Vatican, in dioceses or in parishes. The accountability and transparency, which would have come from greater collegiality, might have spared children from abuse at the hands of pedophile priests and prevented the cover-ups that allowed this scandalous behavior to spread and grow more egregious. The lack of collegiality has allowed other problems to worsen, too. Among these is the rigid insistence that only celibate, male Catholics may be considered for ordination. Even though married Anglican clergy and ministers from Reformed traditions may be re-ordained and serve in Catholic communities, limitation of ordination to celibate males has the effect of causing a Eucharistic famine which affects thousands of Catholic communities all over the world. People are denied full Eucharistic liturgies which should be the center and source of their spiritual lives. Yet, maleness and celibacy are humanly imposed conditions for ordination and both are now obsolete. Insistence on them is depriving Catholics of full liturgical and sacramental celebrations to which they have a right, not by Vatican concessions but by divine law. The Vatican, with its centralized power structure, turns a deaf ear to requests from lay persons, priests and bishops for open and honest debate on optional celibacy for priests despite the fact that it obtained until 1139 when mandatory celibacy for the western (Roman) Catholic Church was introduced. Likewise, discussion of the ordination of women is disallowed despite the fact that women presided at Eucharistic celebrations in the early Church and no valid scriptural or theological reasons exist which would prevent the ordination of women today. When Pope John Paul II declared that the question of the ordination of women was settled definitively, he was declaring that his will on the issue had the force of law. This is called voluntarism and it has never been embraced in the moral tradition of Catholicism. Before a theological issue can be decided definitively, it must first have been studied in its scriptural and historical dimensions; it must be prayed over; and the faith of the People of God, the Church, must be consulted to see where it stands on the issue. Even a pope cannot bypass these procedures and declare that his favored position has the force of law. If he does, he is being dictatorial, which Pope John Paul II often was. Thus, his decision on the ordination of women was far from being infallible. Indeed, it has no validity and should be disregarded as worthless. If true collegiality had been implemented at all levels as the Second Vatican Council clearly intended, we might not have been spared all the recent abuses, but we surely would have avoided their worst excesses. We also would be on the way toward resolving them through dialogue and discernment in synods local, national and universal in which the entire People of God would be involved.

Keep reading full at Source: The Thwarting of Catholic Reform | Consortiumnews

Who Commits Terrorism? | Consortiumnews

Nordic/Christian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik admitted killing 77 people last summer but claimed “self-defense,” protecting Christian culture from Muslims and “multiculturalists.” His writings show he was inspired by anti-Muslim bigotry spread by U.S. “experts,” Robert Parry explained in 2011. By Robert Parry (Originally published on July 27, 2011) If the Fox News promoters of racial profiling had been in charge of investigating the terror attacks in Norway on July 22, 2011, they might well have encountered blond, blue-eyed Anders Behring Breivik and his two smoking-hot guns only long enough to ask if he’d seen any suspicious-looking Muslims around. After all, it has been a touchstone of the American Right, as well as right-wing Israelis, that Muslims are the source of virtually all terrorism and thus it makes little sense to focus attention on non-Muslims. A clean-cut Nordic sort like Breivik, who fancies himself part of a modern-day Knights Templar, is someone who would get a pass. Passport photo of Anders Behring Breivik, the admitted killer of 77 people in Norway, including young people at a summer camp affiliated with a liberal political party. Or, as Israel’s UN Ambassador Dan Gillerman told a conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2006, “While it may be true – and probably is – that not all Muslims are terrorists, it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim.” [Washington Post, March 7, 2006] So, if you were tuned in to Fox News after the Norway attack, you would have seen smug-looking Fox talking heads recounting how this attack was surely an act of Islamic terrorism and even one exchange about the value of racial profiling to avoid wasting time on non-Muslims. Yet, while the biases of Gillerman and Fox News represent a large chunk of the conventional wisdom, the reality is that terrorism is far from some special plague associated with Muslims. In fact, terrorism, including state terrorism, has been practiced far more extensively by non-Muslims and especially by Christian-dominated nations, both historically and in more modern times. Terror tactics have long been in the tool kit of predominantly Christian armies and paramilitaries, including Breivik’s beloved Crusaders who slaughtered Muslims and Jews alike when Jerusalem was conquered in 1099. Terror, such as torture and burning “heretics” alive, was a big part of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and the intra-Christian bloodletting in Europe in the middle of the last millennium. Terror played a big role, too, in genocides committed by Christian explorers against the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere and other unfortunate targets of colonialism. More Crusading ‘Knights’ During the Jim Crow era in the American South, white Christians organized Ku Klux Klan chapters, which, like Breivik’s Templars, considered themselves Christian “knights” harkening back to the Crusades. The KKK inflicted terror on blacks, including lynching and bombings, to defend white supremacy. In the 20th Century, there were countless examples of “red” and “white” terror, as Communists challenged the Capitalist power structure in Russia and other countries. Those violent clashes led to the rise of German Nazism which empowered “Aryans” to inflict terrifying slaughters to “defend” their racial purity from Jews, Gypsies, Slavs and other “inferior” races. To prevail in World War II, the Allies resorted to their own terror tactics, destroying entire cities from the air, such as Dresden in Germany and Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. After World War II, the United States created the CIA to conduct what amounted to a war of terror and counter-terror against revolutionary movements around the world. This “low-intensity conflict” sometimes spilled into massive slaughters, such as U.S. terror bombings that killed estimated millions across Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The CIA also recruited, deployed and supported proxy terrorists throughout Latin America. A generation of South and Central American military officers was schooled in how to intimidate and repress political movements seeking social change. A fierce slaughter occurred in Guatemala after the CIA ousted an elected government in 1954 through the use of violent propaganda that terrified the nation. The CIA’s coup was followed by military dictatorships that used state terror as a routine means of controlling the impoverished population. The consequences of the U.S. strategy were described in a March 29, 1968, report written by the U.S. embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Viron Vaky.

Keep reading >>>> Source: Who Commits Terrorism? | Consortiumnews

Onward-Marching Christian Soldiers | Consortiumnews

Rick Santorum declared, “Satan has his sights on the United States of America.” Though sounding odd to many, Santorum’s Satan talk is common among right-wing Christians who have intervened in U.S. politics before, like President Clinton’s impeachment, as Frederick Clarkson noted in this 1998 article. By Frederick Clarkson (Originally published in 1998) Most attorneys who ascend into the rarefied atmosphere of media celebrity-hood are either dashing courtroom warriors, like O.J. Simpson’s Johnnie Cochran, or inside-the-Beltway power types, like Bill Clinton’s Robert Bennett.  The Monica Lewinsky case broke that mold with the unlikely emergence of the family’s Los Angeles-based lawyer, the garrulous William Ginsburg, as a five-talk-shows-per-Sunday phenomenon. But perhaps even more unusual — and less examined — is the entrance of Paula Jones’s lawyer, John Whitehead, into the exclusive “Burden of Proof” club of TV-courtroom stardom. As the Paula Jones case merged with the Monica Lewinsky case in 1998, the rumpled Whitehead became a fixture as a talking head on Nightline, CNN and other network news shows. Two priests during the Inquisition use torture to get a “heretic” to repent. Yet, there has been only superficial attention to who Whitehead is and what he stands for — despite a lengthy public record of controversial remarks. During his legal-religious career, for instance, Whitehead has asserted that democracy is “heresy”; that the defining aspect of history is the “race war” between Christians and non-Christians; and that the harsh Calvinism of the “Puritan Fathers” is the standard to which temporal law should strive. But, even as the TV networks ran up millions of dollars in expenses covering Monica and Paula, there was next to no attention to Whitehead’s religious-political goals. Those motives might normally have been expected to draw some interest, especially as the possibility grew that the Jones-Lewinsky controversy could lead to some form of impeachment proceedings against President Clinton (which it did later in 1998). Still, more often than not, the Washington news media served only as a conveyor belt for P.R. boiler-plate. In a typical description, The New York Times called Whitehead’s Rutherford Institute “a kind of evangelical Christian civil liberties union” — which is how Rutherford describes itself in its publicity material. The P.R. handouts just leave out “kind of.” Are Whitehead’s beliefs too white-hot to handle? Or are reporters of a kinder and gentler generation merely being considerate of people whose religious beliefs are deeply held? Or is that sensitivity a cover for reporters and editors too timid to investigate and fully report potentially controversial beliefs for fear of being labeled religious bigots?

>>>> Read full story @Source: Onward-Marching Christian Soldiers | Consortiumnews

US military school taught soldiers to wage a “total war” against Islam

A slide from Lt. Col. Dooley's presentation mocks the idea of moderate Muslims. (Image from www.wired.com)

A slide from Lt. Col. Dooley’s presentation mocks the idea of moderate Muslims. (Image from www.wired.com)

Watch FBIs Anti Islam Training Video: http://bcove.me/2074ub08

When the Defense Department wasn’t blowing billions on failed machinery and weapons of war, the Pentagon was paying a US Army lieutenant colonel to indoctrinate servicemen with the notion that the entire Islam religion should be eradicated worldwide.

Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley no longer lectures members of the Armed Forces at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, but he is still a part of the school’s faculty, reports Wired. This week the website reveals that the former instructor is under investigation by the military but, while he remains on the books, they have published material from recently uncovered training materials that were once used in the decorated soldier’s military-mandated classes.

According to documents used in those lectures, Dooley demanded that the US military must engage in a “total war”against Islam in order to maintain security for America.

“By conservative estimates,” 10 percent of the world’s Muslims, “a staggering 140 million people … hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit [to Islam],” Dooley told servicemen expected to rise in the ranks of the US military.

“Your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here,” said Dooley — who also suggested that a “total war” against the widespread religion might be the only thing that would protect the future of America.

The news of the military’s past practices of encouraging a cultural and religious war are not entirely new — in fact, Wired reported last month that the Pentagon pulled the plug on the program as per the direct orders of General Martin Dempsey. Only now, however, have documents actually used in the college been made available.

Scouring a .pdf copy of a presentation offered up by Lr. Col. Dooley called “A Counter-Jihad Op Design Model,” it is revealed that the leading soldier said to his pupils that “some actions offered for consideration here will be seen as not ‘politically correct’ in the eyes of many, both inside and outside the United States.” In case his students lacked the attention span to sift through the pages of his presentation, Dooley explains his warning with direct parenthetical notation declaring that his insistence on having “Islam reduced to cult status” might not sit well with all members of the military.

Other quasi-controversial opinions introduced in his classroom include “taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary.” Lt. Col. Dempsey recalls “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima [and] Nagasaki” as examples that may need to be invoked once again.

When he wasn’t offering up his own examples of how to introduce a war to the rest of the world, Dooley relied on the aid of others to open up debates in his classroom. Those discussions included presentations such as Former FBI employee John Guandolo’s paper, “Usual Responses from the Enemy When Presented With the Truth.” In it, Guandolo warns Dooley’s students that “it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians.” In another instance, former professor Serge Trifkovic lectured students via video with a curriculum that included footage that supposedly proves that US President Barack Obama is a Muslim.

On their part, Wired reports that “the commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the US military.”

Courtesy: http://rt.com/usa/news/us-students-war-islam-930/

Boko Haram: African Jihad or Terrorism in Nigeria?


قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّـهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ ۚ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ
 الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ ﴿٣٢ قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
Say: “Who is there to forbid the beauty which God has brought forth for His creatures, and the good things from among the means of sustenance?” Say: “They are [lawful] in the life of this world unto all who have attained to faith – to be theirs alone on Resurrection Day.” Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people of [innate] knowledge! Say: “Verily, my Sustainer has forbidden only shameful deeds, be they open or secret, and [every kind of] sinning, and unjustified envy, and the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him – since He has never bestowed any warrant therefor from on high and the attributing unto God of aught of which you have no knowledge.
إِنَّمَا جَزَاءُ الَّذِينَ يُحَارِبُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَسْعَوْنَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَسَادًا أَن يُقَتَّلُوا أَوْ يُصَلَّبُوا أَوْ تُقَطَّعَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُم مِّنْ خِلَافٍ أَوْ يُنفَوْا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لَهُمْ خِزْيٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ 

عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
The only reward of those, who wage war against ALLAH and HIS Messenger and strive to create disorder in the land, is that they be slain or crucified or their hands and feet be cut off on account of their enmity, or they be expelled from the land. That shall be a disgrace for them in this world, and in the Hereafter they shall have a great punishment;
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Nigeria’s militant Islamist group Boko Haram – which has caused havoc in Africa’s most populous country through a wave of bombings – is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Its followers are said to be influenced by the Koranic phrase which says: “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors”.
Boko Haram promotes a version of Islam which makes it “haram”, or forbidden, for Muslims to take part in any political or social activity associated with Western society.
This includes voting in elections, wearing shirts and trousers or receiving a secular education.
Boko Haram regards the Nigerian state as being run by non-believers, even when the country had a Muslim president.
But residents in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, where the group had its headquarters, dubbed it Boko Haram.The group’s official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which in Arabic means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”.
Loosely translated from the local Hausa language, this means “Western education is forbidden”.
Boko originally means fake but came to signify Western education, while haram means forbidden.
Since the Sokoto caliphate, which ruled parts of what is now northern Nigeria, Niger and southern Cameroon, fell under British control in 1903, there has been resistance among the area’s Muslims to Western education.
Many Muslim families still refuse to send their children to government-run “Western schools”, a problem compounded by the ruling elite which does not see education as a priority.

Audacious

Against this background, the charismatic Muslim cleric, Mohammed Yusuf, formed Boko Haram in Maiduguri in 2002. He set up a religious complex, which included a mosque and an Islamic school.
Schoolgirls walking past a mosque in MaiduguriBoko Haram despises Western education and wants Islamic law imposed
Many poor Muslim families from across Nigeria, as well as neighbouring countries, enrolled their children at the school.
But Boko Haram was not only interested in education. Its political goal was to create an Islamic state, and the school became a recruiting ground for jihadis to fight the state.
In 2009, Boko Haram carried out a spate of attacks on police stations and other government buildings in Maiduguri.

This led to shoot-outs on Maiduguri’s streets. Hundreds of Boko Haram supporters were killed and thousands of residents fled the city.
Nigeria’s security forces eventually seized the group’s headquarters, capturing its fighters and killing Mr Yusuf.
His body was shown on state television and the security forces declared Boko Haram finished.

Boko Haram: Timeline of terror

  • 2002: Founded
  • 2009: Hundreds killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed
  • 2009: Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf captured by army, handed to police, later found dead
  • Sep 2010: Freed hundreds of prisoners from Maiduguri jail
  • Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people and blamed for New Year’s Eve attack on Abuja barracks
  • 2010-2011: Dozens killed in Maiduguri shootings
  • May 2011: Bombed several states after president’s inauguration
  • June 2011: Police HQ bombed in Abuja
  • Aug 2011: UN HQ bombed in Abuja
  • Nov 2011: Co-ordinated bomb and gun attacks in Yobe and Borno states
  • Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens
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But its fighters have regrouped under a new leader and in 2010, they attacked a prison in Maiduguri, freeing hundreds of the group’s supporters.
Boko Haram’s trademark has been the use of gunmen on motorbikes, killing police, politicians and anyone who criticises it, including clerics from other Muslim traditions and a Christian preacher.
The group has also staged several more audacious attacks in different parts of northern Nigeria, showing that it is establishing a presence across the region and fuelling tension between Muslims and Christians.
These include the 2011 Christmas Day bombings on the outskirts of Abuja and in the north-eastern city of Damaturu, a 2010 New Year’s Eve attack on a military barracks in Abuja, several explosions around the time of President Goodluck Jonathan’s inauguration in May 2011, followed by the bombing of the police headquarters and the UN headquarters in Abuja.
In a 15-minute video posted on YouTube, the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau defended the group’s targeting of Christians, saying this was revenge for previous attacks on Muslims.
He also said his group would not be defeated by the security forces.
The attacks have raised global concern, with a US Congressional report – released in November 2011 – warning that Boko Haram was an “emerging threat” to the US and its interests.
The report said Boko Haram may be forging ties with al-Qaeda-linked groups in Africa, but the group denies this.
Analysts say northern Nigeria has a history of spawning groups similar to Boko Haram.
The threat will disappear only if the Nigerian government manages to reduce the region’s chronic poverty and builds an education system which gains the support of local Muslims, the analysts say.
Nigeria: A nation divided

Despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, according to the UN. The poverty in the north is in stark contrast to the more developed southern states. While in the oil-rich south-east, the residents of Delta and Akwa Ibom complain that all the wealth they generate flows up the pipeline to Abuja and Lagos.
Read more:
Terrorism Rejected in Islam- Edict [Fatwa] by Islamic Scholars: “رفض الإرهاب في الفتوى الإسلام للعلماء المسلمين”. WebpageTranslator. “فتوى بشأن الإرهاب هو 600 صفحة (الأردية إصدار) ، (النسخة الإنكليزية) 512 صفحة مرسوم 
[Extracted form interview of Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri, an Islamic Scholar of repute, who recently issued 600 pages long Edict (Fatwa) declaring Terrorism as forbidden in Islam, complete interview reproduced in links 

jihad & Tolerance:

Nigerians Want to Transcend Sectarian and Ethnic Violence


There are those who look at violence between Muslims and Christians with glee, such as Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller. For them it is more fodder to smear Islam for the actions of some Muslims, while dismissing the same logic for Christian attacks on Muslims.

What boggles their mind however is when Muslims and Christians come together and oppose sectarianism and actively seek peace and reconciliation.

This is the case in Nigeria, where many want to transcend sectarian and ethnic violence(h/t: SK).

Here for example are pictures of recent protests in Nigeria showing solidarity and unity between Nigerians and Muslims:

Muslim and Christian Nigerians holding up their respective symbols Muslim and Christian Nigerians holding up their respective symbols
An Imam and a Pastor in a show of unity

Christians protesters protecting praying Muslim protesters (something we also saw in Egypt):

These are the forces and the voices who should be promoted. Yet extremists on both sides want to see violence in a push for power.

So Read More >>>>

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Muslim Non Muslim Relationship, Hostile or Peaceful? Qur’an and Bible Answers

The common misconception that; “The Muslims are commanded by Qur’an to be hostile with the non Muslims”, is far from truth. On the contrary Qur’an urges the Muslims to keep normal relationship with non Muslims based upon, “Equity, Kindness and Love” [Qur’an;60:7-9]. The Christians and Jews being ‘people of scripture’ are accorded special status, to the extent that Muslims are allowed to eat their food [kosher] and marry their chaste women, what else could be the level of intimacy! Muslims are urged to resist oppression and fight in self defense with those who expel or aid in expelling them from their homes due to their faith and belief. Those non Muslims who do not indulge in such an activity against them are to be treated with kindness and equity [Qur’an:22:39-40]. The actual cause of antagonism with non Muslims is not their disbelief but their hostility to Islam and their tyrannical treatment of the followers of Islam. The Muslims, therefore, should distinguish between the hostile disbeliever and the non-hostile disbeliever, and should treat those disbelievers well who have never treated them evilly.  Unfortunately extremists on both sides, misquote the Qur’anic verses out of context to support their own ideas and concepts and use it for malicious propagandas. Equitable treatment of non Muslims in Muslim Spain, Palestine, Ottoman Caliphate, Muslim rule in India and elsewhere is living testimony to the fact. Muslim history does not have any example comparable to Spanish inquisition and ethnic cleansing, but some isolated distortion of history. Though use of power is permissible for self defense or for freedom of oppressed people under tyrant rulers, however it was also used for imperial aspirations, a part of historic process. The events like Crusades took place upon instigation of over ambitious clergy, which if allowed to be repeated would result in bloodshed as in past. Non Muslims have been playing important role in development of Muslim empires. If they could mutually coexist in peace in the past, why not now?

Even Jesus Christ accords highest priority to good relations and fair treatment to others while summing up the teachings of entire Bible [as known now] in one verse: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. The modern communications have made this world as a ‘Global Village’, nations all across world are closer like neighbors. All the three major scriptures are unanimous on the good treatment of neighbors [Qur’an;4:36, Al-Tirmidhi Hadith,11, 1334, Talmud, Shabbat 31:a, Matthew 22:39-40,7:12, Luke;6:31, similarly Leviticus 19:18].

Hence why practice violence and extremis on the name of religion while the Holy Scriptures do not sanction it. Let’s remove the mist of selfishness and strive for world peace.  Still there is much needs to be explained and many questions to be answered below….

So Read More >>>>

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