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Antonio Rosmini: Once Under a Cloud, Now Blessed PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 19 November 2007 06:55
A new blessed with a fascinating story: Antonio Rosmini (1797 - 1855)

"He was a priest, a religious and the founder of two religious Orders (the Institute or Society of Charity and the Sisters of Providence). He was an encyclopaedic thinker, author of more than a hundred works, constituting a type of summa totius christianitatis [a summa of the whole of Christianity] both philosophical and theological (Michele Federico Sciacca’s analogy). He was the embodiment of charity (which for him meant love of God) on all levels, temporal (he supported the poor of all types), intellectual (he provided intellectual nourishment) and spiritual (he helped the spiritually needy). . .

In order to fulfil his evangelical mission of intellectual charity Rosmini chose a language and method more in harmony with the times, but he remained solidly anchored to the genuine values, of authentic Christian tradition: he fostered the essence of the faith in Augustine and Thomas, and in drawing on it, he enriched it, but he initiated a method which can be summarised by saying that while preceding schools had started with God to arrive at man, I have started with man to reach God.

The new language, the upside down method, his interest in democratic movements, together with appropriate ideas, which later turned out to be prophetic, aroused some apprehension in traditional Catholic circles, in which we clearly see today both the short sightedness of his adversaries’ views and the confusion between the message and the new means in which it was communicated. They feared that the teaching of Rosmini would lead to a distortion in Catholic dogma and attempt to introduce democracy into the Church."

The result was a 152 year seesaw:

1849: his two books Le cinque piaghe della santa Chiesa [The Five Wounds of Holy Church] and La Costituzione secondo la giustizia sociale [The Constitution according to Social Justice] were put on the Index of prohibited books.

1854: After a thorough examination under Pius IX, his works were declared free from ecclesiastical censure.

"After the death of Pius IX Rosmini’s adversaries got his works examined a second time. This time the outcome satisfied them because it carried a condemnation, though precautionary, of forty propositions taken from many of his works, with the explanation that “they did not appear to be in harmony with Catholic truth”.

the 60's: In Vatican Council II some bishops hailed him as a prophetic figure. The Popes who followed Pius XII all spoke of him with esteem and appreciation, until the time came for the pontifical commissions to re-examine his works.

2001: "After three commissions, each lasting about two years, there came the outcome of the Nota of the Congregation of July 2001. This officially canceled the reservations established in 1888. Basically it said that the forty propositions had been prohibited as a precautionary measure because it was necessary that time and study should clarify their exact meaning."

This is what comes of being part of a communion that takes the lo-o-o-o-o-ong view.

A century and a half was needed in order that the person of Rosmini, removed from the passions and partisan views of the time, might be seen as a clear and holy thinker, while no one who had experienced it ever hesitated to doubt his holiness.

Which is a good reminder for us who are definitely caught up in a time of "passions and partisan views".
Voting, Intrinsic Evil, and the Development of Doctrine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 19 November 2007 05:44
Speaking of human rights and intrinsic evil, the recent US Bishops' Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship reminds me of conversations I had a world away on election day, 2004. Fr. Mike and I spent the evening of the US election in the Dominican priory in Melbourne where I had the chance to eat dinner beside and talk to one of the Catholic world's foremost experts on bioethics: Bishop Anthony Fisher (an OP)who is currently
heading up World Youth Day.

The dilemma faced by American Catholics is pretty clearly summed up by paragraphs 44 and 45 below. Just try and hold them together and find a candidate that supports both!

The Right to Life and the Dignity of the Human Person

44. Human life is sacred. The dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Direct attacks on innocent persons are never morally acceptable, at any stage or in any condition. In our society, human life is especially under direct attack from abortion. Other direct threats to the sanctity of human life include euthanasia, human cloning, and the destruction of human embryos for research.

45. Catholic teaching about the dignity of life calls us to oppose torture,7 unjust war, and the use of the death penalty; to prevent genocide and attacks against noncombatants; to oppose racism; and to overcome poverty and suffering. Nations are called to protect the right to life by seeking effective ways to combat evil and terror without resorting to armed conflicts except as a last resort, always seeking first to resolve disputes by peaceful means. We revere the lives of children in the womb, the lives of persons dying in war and from starvation, and indeed the lives of all human beings as children of God.

Which brings up my conversations in Australia as I wrote them up immediately upon returning home:

"I’ve just returned from a couple weeks in Melbourne, where, with the help of Fr. Mike Fones and Clara Geoghegan, I trained the beginnings of our first teaching teams in Australia. Instead of being glued to CNN on November 2, we were wrestling with the much more enjoyable problem of picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup – a nationally televised horse race that is a combination of Ascot and the Kentucky Derby and brings the whole of Australia to a halt. (I won $12 AU in the first racetrack bet of my life)

While there, I took the opportunity to ask two world-class experts on Church’s teaching in this area (who are both known for their careful orthodoxy) and the intense political debate that it had engendered among Catholic voters in the US. One was Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP of Sydney (recently elevated by Cardinal Pell), who has a PhD in bioethics and is recognized as (in John Allen’s words) “one of the sharpest minds in English-speaking Catholicism”. The other was Dr. Tracey Rowland, Dean of the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne, and one of most respected new theologians emerging today. Clara has known both of them since they were all university students together – the Australian Catholic world is a small one!

Voting as formal cooperation in intrinsic evil:

1.Both Fisher and Rowland emphasized that Church teaching is “very underdeveloped” in this area. Bishop Fisher had attended a symposium in Rome on Evangelicum Vitae 73 in February of 2004. EV 73 reads in part:

73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. . .

In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or vote for it."(98)

A particular problem of conscience can arise in cases where a legislative vote would be decisive for the passage of a more restrictive law, aimed at limiting the number of authorized abortions, in place of a more permissive law already passed or ready to be voted on. Such cases are not infrequent. . . In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.

Fisher said that at this symposium two top notch, orthodox theologians presented completely opposite views and neither could be considered “wrong” in light of current Church teaching (although Fisher privately agreed with one over the other). The bishop noted that only about 9 scholarly works exist on the subject and that he has read them all. In other words, there is, as yet, no authoritative interpretation of EV 73 to guide us.

2.Fisher stated that there was no theological basis for asserting categorically that a Catholic could not, in good faith, vote for either US candidate since both had serious problems from the perspective of Church teaching. Fisher said that if he were an American, he’d be voting for Bush – precisely because of the abortion issue, but that it would be a matter of personal judgment. Life issues had been his personal passion since he was at university and naturally they dominate his moral appraisal of the current scene. Fisher noted that other people with other expertise would naturally be pre-occupied with different areas of grave concern (i.e., intrinsic evil)that would shape their prudential judgment.

3.Fisher then made a fascinating comment that I have not heard elsewhere - that there is no basis in Church teaching for comparing two very different “intrinsic evils” and determining that one is objectively and absolutely more grave than the other.

One can compare levels of a similar intrinsic evil. You could certainly say that 4,000 abortions is more grave than 40 or that a genocidal conflict that killed 10,000 was a more grave evil than one in which only 500 died. But you can’t, on the basis of current Catholic teaching, categorically determine that abortion, for instance, is always and absolutely more grave than a given unjust war or torture or severe economic injustice. By definition, something that is truly intrinsically evil can’t be relatively less evil anymore than a person can be only mostly dead (well, outside the alternate universe of the Princess Bride, anyway - although I did encounter some situations that came pretty close on the cancer unit).

So one cannot state, as definitive Church teaching, that the gravity of the evil of abortion must outweigh all other intrinsic evils or any possible combination of intrinsic evils in our political calculations. An individual could arrive at such a prudential judgment in a particular situation in good faith but an equally faithful Catholic could come to a quite different prudential conclusion in good conscience.

(Note: the US Bishops said something similar (when they use the word "grave", it is a reference to an intrinsic evil):

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should
not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

42. As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate’s position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter’s support. Yet a candidate’s position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.

Back to my conversation with Bishop Fisher:

When I said that it was my observation that quite a few serious Catholics in the US were under the impression that doctrine had developed in this area, Fisher responded that a few bishops making personal pronouncements simply isn’t the development of doctrine. When I asked Tracy Rowland why some US bishops had made such statements when they must know that Church teaching did not support it, she pointed out that many bishops are not familiar with the nuances of Church teaching in this area.

Rowland (unlike Fisher, who thought that any talk of ex-communication in the midst of an election was imprudent) believed that then Cardinal Ratzinger had made a good case for refusing communion to a politician who publicly supports abortion but also agreed that there simply wasn’t any clear Church teaching about voting as a form of formal cooperation with evil."

My questions: What would constitute the development of doctrine in this area? Does the US Bishops' statement involve a bit of "development"? Can one country's bishops nudge the development of doctrine in a particular issue along when the rest of the world's bishops haven't dealt with the issue yet?

This is above my pay grade. Is there a moral theologian in the house?
Peter Benenson & Amnesty International PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 19 November 2007 05:12
UK Catholic Bishops are forbidding Catholic parishes and schools from housing Amnesty International groups since the organization's International Committee voted to "support the decriminalisation of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion, and to defend women's access to abortion, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger".

The irony: Amnesty International was set up in 1961 by Peter Benenson, an Oxford lawyer and convert to Catholicism. It has huge Christian support among 1.8 million members.

Benenson's remarkable life is profiled here and here.

"It is the story of a man in a bowler hat reading his newspaper on the London underground in late 1960. He reads a small item about two Portuguese students being sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom. He is outraged, decides to go to the Portuguese embassy in London to make a personal protest and then changes his mind. Instead he gets off at Trafalgar Square station and makes his way to the church of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields.

He goes in, sits down for three-quarters of an hour, and thinks..

In his words, "I went in to see what could really be done effectively, to mobilize world opinion. It was necessary to think of a larger group which would harness the enthusiasm of people all over the world who were anxious to see a wider respect for human rights."

That man was Peter Benenson, then a barrister in London. When he came outside into the square, he had his idea. Within months, he launched his Appeal for Amnesty with a front page article in The Observer newspaper.

Nothing quite like it had ever been attempted on such a scale before. The response was overwhelming, as if people worldwide were waiting for exactly such a signal. Newspapers in over a dozen countries picked up the appeal. Over a thousand letters poured in within the first six months. And the post-bags of the world’s heads of state changed forever.

Benenson’s idea was so simple, perhaps that’s why he remained so shy of personal publicity throughout his life. Termed "one of the larger lunacies of our time" by one of its critics, a network of letter writers was set up to bombard governments with individual appeals on behalf of prisoners jailed and ill-treated in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In an age of self-aggrandisement, his modesty was almost hard to fathom. He never went forward to receive the numerous accolades showered upon Amnesty, known universally by its candle in barbed wire. His mind was always fixed on what had not been accomplished and the countless victims still to be rescued."

In the first few years of Amnesty International's existence, Mr Benenson supplied much of the funding for the movement, went on research missions and was involved in all aspects of the organisation's affairs.

Other activities that Mr Benenson was involved in during his lifetime included; adopting orphans from the Spanish Civil War, bringing Jews who had fled Hitler's Germany to Britain, observing trials as a member of the Society of Labour Lawyers, helping to set up the organisation "Justice" and establishing a society for people with coeliac disease.

Sherry's note:

Benenson died in 2005. Did Amnesty feel free to make this change because its founder was dead?
My Most Married Finger PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 18:28
I may be a bit presumptuous but since Fr. Mike has asked for prayers before for his dear friend, Pat Armstrong, who has battled cancer for many years,I thought I'd do the same.

Fr. Mike e-mailed me the afternoon to say that Pat is not doing well. Your prayers for this valiant, funny, loving, Catholic woman and her beloved husband, Rich of 53 years would greatly appreciated.

To get a sense of Pat and her "Richie", go here.

Pat is a published poet and author and wrote this poem for her 52nd wedding anniversary - and since Fr. Mike has read it aloud in homilies, I don't think that I'm out of line in sharing it here. I must admit that I wept when I read it:

September 29, 2006

I, the wearer of little in the way
of jewelry, 'though the box
is full of pieces, all with histories
of givers and places and occasions
that mattered at the time.

Yet, I wear five rings on
my most married finger, farthest
out a Claddagh newly brought
from Ireland, worn, not for the giver
but for the memories
of where I'd choose to live out my days,
yet, not without you, my love,
giver of the next ring, another Claddagh,
with dark green stone always a reminder
of your feisty self, so annoyed
with the haughty sales clerk
were you that day in Galway.

A simple jade band is next
in line, exchanged after twenty-five years
when we feared that we would not
have another year together.
So close to the white gold band
that follows in this ring parade,
slipped on more than fifty-one years past
in a small church where we stood,
both in private thoughts
and public avowals.

Today, I celebrate the diamond,
the circlet closest to my physical heart,
the one that still beats daily, perhaps
because I have willed it to beat
since I cannot bear to leave you
until you promise to hold my hand
and come along for another ride.

As Pat wrote recently on ID:

"I am in countdown, I know. But as a lifelong writer and fan of inspirational words, I offer this passage from Edith Wharton's "A Backward Glance:" "In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways..." Amen.
Tom Kreitzberg Is Coming to Town PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 12:32
Let all the earth be silent.

Tom Kreitzberg of the fabulous and ever witty Disputations is coming to town.

Mark Shea is very jealous which is not exactly adequate compensation for the fact that I've haven't been asked to speak in Ireland yet but it does take some of the edge off.

But I digress.

Tom will be arriving in Colorado Springs on the evening of Monday, December 10, and would like spend the evening with a few CSIers and anyone else who would like to join in.

Think of it as a informal Dominican-flavored Advent party. Tom has promised to eat and drink and share some of his favorite diagrams with us.

If you would like to come (and who wouldn't?), drop me a line at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Brother Jerome PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 09:10
Read this simply wonderful tribute to Jerome Lejeune, lay Catholic, brilliant geneticist, and champion of disabled children. Lejeune discovered the chromosone that causes Downs Sydrome but then realized that his discovery was being used to destroy the children he was attempting to help.

He realised that the great chromosome discovery would be misused in a ‘search and destroy’ technique for the aborting of trisomic babies. This danger and his mission to fight it came poignantly home to him when a tearful trisomic youngster flung himself into his arms and begged him to defend those like him still unborn. He told his genetics team: “I am going to undertake the duty of speaking publicly in defence of our sick…If I do not defend them, I betray them, I renounce what I have de facto become: their natural advocate.”

He was the leading light in establishing the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life (from conception to death), Chairperson of Laissez-le Vivres (Let Them Live), President of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. He set up ‘The Houses of Tom Thumb’ for mothers tempted to abort because of materially difficult situations. He became a brilliant defender of human life on platforms, television and radio. Too brilliant for some; after one television programme, his wife overheard a studio executive say to a subordinate, “Lejeune? That swine! But what talent! He’s too good. Don’t invite him again.” Other forms of opposition included threatening graffiti, harassment of patients and labelling of them as ‘monsters’ and disease-carriers, the attempted wrecking of meetings.

What saddened him immensely was the abandonment by so many doctors of their pro-life oath-bound Hippocratic ethos. At an international medical conference on health in New York which was favouring the legalisation of abortion, he did not mince his words: “This Institute of Health in an Institute of Death.” That evening he wrote to his wife: “This afternoon I lost my Nobel Prize.”

What a man. I've tried to do research on him in the past but what I came up with was unsatisfactory. This is so much better!

Hat tip: Dawn Eden
Charism & Tradition Via Shakespeare's Cobbler PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 08:16
Observations from Shakespeare's Cobbler from the Three Anachronisms blog.

Charism is a fire, and for a good fire you need a fireplace. Tradition is the fireplace. Where one is bringing the fire out into the wilderness, Tradition is the boy scout's lore of how to make a bonfire safe and yet strong.

Tradition often seems to many like a bunch of old stones. Yet for the river of Charism to reach the right destination, you need an aqueduct. Guess what – aqueducts are made of old stones!

Tradition is the bloodline, Charism is the energy of youth. Not all youth will be as energetic as most, but all must come from the bloodline. The more youthful resiliency and energy the youth of the bloodline have, the better. That's why Charism, as long as it flows in Tradition, is such a wonderful thing.

Thus the more Charismatics and Traditionalists will mix, the better. Once there is no difference between us will we be strongest in our mission to "Go forth and make Disciples of all nations."

Or as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it:

"Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they are really genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms."

CCC, 800.

hat tip: Mark Shea

To find out more about charisms, consider attending a Called & Gifted workshop or listening to the Called & Gifted workshop on cd and beginning your own discernment process.
Catholic - Orthodox dialogue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 07:39
Speaking of ecumenical dialogue, Cardinal Walter Kasper, had hopeful things to say about the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue document released Wednesday.

In the document, he said, "the real breakthrough is that for the first time the Orthodox were ready to speak about the universal level of the church" and not simply about the reality of the church on a local or regional level under a patriarch or archbishop.

The document recognizes there must be "synodality" -- responsibility exercised by all the bishops together -- on the universal level, but also that one bishop must hold the place of honor as the primate and that, in the ancient church, that position was held by the bishop of Rome.

The document said, however, that Catholics and Orthodox disagree on how his leadership translated into a concrete exercise of authority and jurisdiction over other bishops.

Cardinal Kasper said the agreement reached in Ravenna was important, but "it is only a first step."

The next phase of the dialogue will be to examine the role of the bishop of Rome -- the pope -- in the first millennium when Catholics and Orthodox still were united. After that discussion, they will need to look at how Catholic and Orthodox teaching on authority diverged and, particularly, on the development within the Catholic Church of the idea of papal infallibility.

"This will not be an easy dialogue," Cardinal Kasper said. "I think it will need a whole decade" to reach agreement.

The Ravenna document, he said, "is an important first step, a basis, but not more. And we hope with God's help and the prayers of many faithful we can go on with this ecumenical pilgrimage with the Orthodox churches."

I asked an Orthodox correspondent of mine what he thought of the document:

I thought the Ravenna statement was well thought out and did a good job not only of responding to Orthodox concerns about the papacy AND re-framing the office for Roman Catholics.

The more I see the folly in both our Churches, the more convinced I become that we need each other and might do well simply to declare victory. . . But a reconciliation, maybe on the order of say a "mixed" marriage. Might that work? I don't know.

What I do know is that--whatever our differences--we simply need each other. Yes there are scary things happening on the world stage, but I think, especially here in the USA, neither side is what we could be existentially. I will leave the dogmatics particulars of this existential reality to the theologians--me I'm just tired of the division.

Extraordinary Consistory on Ecumenical Dialogue PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 06:55
Pope Benedict XVI is to hold an extraordinary consistory of cardinals later this month to promote ecumenical dialogue with non-Catholic Christians.

The gathering of 202 cardinals from 67 countries will take place on the eve of the consistory on November 24, convened by the Pope to create 23 new cardinals. The debate on ecumenism will be led by Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

This should be interesting.
New Blog With Good Questions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 16 November 2007 06:14
Interesting new group blog:

Cahiers Péguy: the drama of Christian humanism

In the tradition of Charles Péguy's Cahiers: a journal vrai, the most beautiful thing in the world, a friendship and a city and a perfectly free association of men who all believe in something.

In this case, the free association of 3 men and a woman: a "grandma on call" in Duluth, a guy from Kansas, a young man in Seattle (who attends my old parish Blessed Sacrament and occasionally comments here at ID) and a deacon from Salt Lake City. With a strong Communion and Liberation theme.

They have a thought provoking post about the upcoming Presidential election based upon a post of Fred of Deep Furrows:

Father Giussani understood that simply taking a position against other positions in the public forum was self-defeating for the movement of CL [Communion and Liberation], not from a point of view of political strategizing but because it did not allow CL to accomplish the missionary dimension of the Church, that is, to be a presence.» (John Zucchi, "Luigi Giussani, the Church, and Youth in the 1950s: A Judgment Born of an Experience." Logos 10:4, Fall 2007, p 133).

As we go into this election season, I see many reactions of people I know in emails, conversations, etc. to the current political situation. Of the candidates available, who's the best? Who has the potential of getting elected? What issues are deal breakers and which are not?

What I'm not hearing is a creative response to current conditions. What are the key issues? What kind of leadership does the US need at this time?

How can we educate ourselves on these matters? How is it possible to participate in the political process creatively and not merely accepting the roles dictated to us by the halls of power? Alasdair MacIntyre's non servum is not really much of an option.

Worth thinking about as lay apostles. Worth checking out.
Barka PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 15 November 2007 19:22
A wonderful apostolate that grew up in Poland under Communism has taken root in England: Barka
Fr. Nicholas Schofield of London writes

"Barka was set up in Poland at the time of the fall of Communism to look after those on the margins of society, particularly the homeless and alcoholics. They were invited to live in communities - more families than cold institutions - so that they could rebuild their lives and even set up small businesses, helped by 'leaders' who had been in the same situation themselves.

Barka UK was set up to deal with the most recent phase of Polish immigration following EU expansion in May 2004. Hundreds of thousands have come over to the UK over the past few years, encouraged by the Government, but many find themselves unemployed, homeless, exploited, defrauded of their passports and money, and without income support. Even in homeless day centres, tensions are raised because it is perceived that the Poles are 'taking over.'

Barka UK currently works mostly in Hammersmith and Fulham and helps homeless migrants in desperate situations return to Poland and live in Barka communities (such as the four farms they run in Wladyslawowo, Marszewo, Posadowek and Chudobczyce). Between July and October 2007 over 40 migrants were repatriated in this way."

A Catholic couple, Barbara Sadowski and Tomasz Sadowski, husband and wife psychologists, founded Barka in 1989. They set up the first Barka community, using the derelict school building in Wladyslawowo (in the West of Poznan). This first community gave a home for 25 “life wrecked”” individuals, who were living together with the Sadowski’s family.

Barka is involved with the European Migrants Integration Network. The creation of the European union and the inclusion of the many of the countries of the former Soviet bloc (the "new accession" countries) is changing the face of affluent western Europe. From hundreds of thousands of Rumanians have settled in Italy thousands of Poles flock to Britain and are flooding into Catholic parishes there. Some will return home but many more will stay.

How will this shape the future of Europe?
When in Rome . . . PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 15 November 2007 17:16
Trattoria degli Amici is a little Roman restaurant that is getting great reviews but there is alot of great stuff going on behind the scenes besides food:

This restaurant is a ministry of the Friends Movement of the Sant' that works to find ways to best use the talents and gifts of the disabled.

"The handicapped need to know that they are not condemned to a life alone but can contribute to change the world, says Stefano Capparucci, a member of the Catholic lay Community of Sant'Egidio."

"In the heart of touristy Trastevere, the restaurant blends in with the many other eateries. It provides opportunities for the handicapped, through jobs as support staff, and by featuring the paintings of disabled artists year round.

The restaurant's wait staff is all-volunteer, with only the chefs and the handicapped employees taking wages. The profits also go directly to the DREAM program.*

Not just helping those with disabilities, Capparucci affirmed, "the Friends Movement also explains to people who are a little afraid of the handicapped world: It is not a world of sadness but a world of great joy."

Trattoria degli Amici is getting good reviews from the like of Concierge.Com:

"This small, unpretentious trattoria has won the hearts of many Romans, and not just because it serves better food than most places in tourist-clogged Trastevere. The restaurant also offers jobs to mentally handicapped youth, who work both as waiters and in the kitchen. The menu features simple, consistently good dishes such as sea bass carpaccio, Tunisian-style couscous, chickpea soup, and fresh cassata and cannoli from Sicily."

Open Mondays through Saturdays 7:30 to 11 pm, September through July.

Sounds great! Dinner anyone?

(Sherry's note: the DREAM project is a remarkable Sant'Egidio ministry to AIDS mothers and children in Africa. It has an astonishing 90% success rate in preventing infected mother from passing the virus onto their children.)
Children Accused of Witchcraft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 15 November 2007 16:56
The New York Times covered this appalling reality today. It is heart wrenching and stomach turning.

In some parts of Africa (Angola, the Congo, and the Congo Republic)many children are being accused of witchcraft and then cast out of their families. Some are even being killed.

Culture, decades of war, poverty all play a part.

"It is a common belief in Angola’s dominant Bantu culture that witches can communicate with the world of the dead and usurp or “eat” the life force of others, bringing their victims misfortune, illness and death. Adult witches are said to bewitch children by giving them food, then forcing them to reciprocate by sacrificing a family member."

It is unacceptable to abandon a child because you cannot feed them but it is acceptable to abandon a child because he or she is a witch.

"But officials attribute the surge in persecutions of children to war — 27 years in Angola, ending in 2002, and near constant strife in Congo. The conflicts orphaned many children, while leaving other families intact but too destitute to feed themselves.

“The witches situation started when fathers became unable to care for the children,” said Ana Silva, who is in charge of child protection for the children’s institute. “So they started seeking any justification to expel them from the family.”

Bishop Emilio Sumbelelo of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Uige runs the only shelter for boys in the town (there is none for girls). 32 boys abandoned by their families because they were believed to be witches live in a shelter the size of a three car garage. All others have been turned away since July because there is no space.

"To date, we have not found any special way to fight against this phenomenon.” said the bishop.

Be sure and take a look at the multi-media that accompanies the article with its picture of the Catholic shelter.
I Say, Old Man, You Did It! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 15 November 2007 15:25
On behalf of the Other Sherry, I have an announcement to make.

David Curp, her beloved, was unanimously approved for tenure by the voting members of his department at Ohio University in Athens yesterday. Finally - after 18 years of relentless work! David is one of the foremost Polandnists of his generation, an expert on post World War II "population transfers" (that's ethnic cleansing to you and me)and a convert to Catholicism. His next research project is on the life of the Catholic laity in post war Poland.

Dave happens to be in New Orleans today where he is giving a paper at a professional gathering but what a place to celebrate! Have some beignet, jambalaya, and pralines for me, Dave!

To the tune of "You did it!" from My Fair Lady

Congratulations,Professor Curp,
For your glorious victory!
Congratulations, Professor Curp!
You'll be mentioned in history!

Chorus of hoi poli who have never written books with foreign language footnotes - (Simultaneously)

Congratulations, Professor Curp!
For your glorious Victory! Congratulations,
Professor Curp! Sing hail and hallelujah!
Ev'ry bit of credit For it all belongs to you!

Sherry W singing counterpoint:

This evening, sir, you did it! You did it! You did it!
You said that you would do it And indeed you did.
This evening, sir, you did it! You did it! You did it!
We know that we have said it,
But-you did it and the credit
For it all belongs to you!

Well - you and Sherry, your beloved, and all your academic mentors and we, your friends who gave you psychic support, and your guardian angel and the communion of saints and the Holy Spirit and . . . but I digress!

Congratulations, Daoud!
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