Just a little pick-me-up to get things started this week above.
Singer Joan Osbourne had a hit single titled “One of Us.” It questioned: “What if God was one of us?” This is the cry of many human hearts today and, yet…Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world taking on the visage and form of a human person. It was and is the greatest plan to ever win over a single heart to God, and an even more magnificent strategy for the salvation of the world. To read more have a look here.
Of course we are heading towards the 17th October and the canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop and America magazine has an editorial about Australia's first official saint. At the same time we should give some coverage to the correction that needs to be made about the media story that Mary MacKillop was excommunicated because she exposed a priest who abused children, with the postulater of her cause, Fr. Paul Gardiner (the postulator is the person who has to examine in detail the life and writings of any prospective saint and present their case for canonisation to the church) considered the foremost authority on the history of MacKillop, said his words had been twisted to suit the "ill will" of media outlets. "There was a long chain of causation. Somehow or other, somebody typed it up as if to say I said Mary MacKillop was the one to report the sex abuse," Father Gardiner said. "I never said it - it's just false - it's the ill will of people who are anxious to see something negative about the Catholic Church. There's already enough mud to throw, though." You can read more about it here and here.
This Sunday sees the start of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in Rome with a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, and runs through Oct. 24. The inestimable John Allen notes that this will be the 23rd synod since the institution was launched under Paul VI in 1967. They bring together roughly 250 bishops, priests, religious women and men, and lay experts to advise the pope on some topic, and whatever else a synod may be......Going in, one measure of success for this synod will be its ability to look beyond the usual bleak script about Christianity in the Middle East -- crisis, conflict, and the threat of extinction -- and also ponder the creative contributions the region can make to global Catholic reflection.
The theme of the synod is "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness" and it is interesting Synod as it challenges us in our understanding of the meaning of the term "catholic" - especially here in Ireland. There are 23 churches which are in communion with the Successor of St Peter and 22 of them will send representatives to the Synod in Rome and they offer a wide diversity in liturgy and examples of prayer. But as well as that they also give evidence to the need for a secular society which values a place for religion.
"Properly organized, a healthy secular society means freedom for, not freedom from, religion. It offers space for a more “evangelical” form of Catholicism to develop, one not dependent on state sponsorship or legal privilege, relying instead on the attraction of the Gospel message and the boldness of those who proclaim... it.The positive Christian view of secularism boils down to this: Give us a fair and open marketplace of ideas and Christianity will be just fine.Christians in the West sometimes think of secularism as a threat to that open marketplace of ideas, but in the Middle East secularism tends to loom instead as its last, best hope. Perhaps by combining those experiences and outlooks, Catholicism can find something approaching balance."Read more here. and here.
UPDATE: Vatican Radio has numerous articles and podcasts which they are updating during the duration of the Synod if you want to follow what is happening in Rome.
UPDATE 2: If you are interested in finding out more about the different Eastern Catholic Churches you can read here and here.
Sandro Magister fills us in on the growth of Jewish Christians in the Holy Land
A reminder during the week of the struggles some Christians go through to practise their faith when Saudi police raided a secret Catholic mass in Riyadh last week and arrested a dozen Filipinos and a Catholic priest, charging them with prosyletising, a local daily reported on Wednesday.
There has been a lot of controversy in New York recently about the proposal to extend and renovate an existing mosque a couple of blocks from the site of the former World Trade Centre. For Catholics, we should pause and reflect on our own history before commenting given that in the fierce opposition to a Muslim centre, there are echos of an old fight.
Following on from last weeks post about the religious habit discussion, one sister blogs how her habit was of special assistance in a moment of crisis.
Faith and reason are often portrayed as uneasy bed fellows, despite the best efforts of writers including Pope John Paul II to show otherwise in Fides et Ratio. Elizabeth Scalia adds her opinion to the centuries old debate.
An odd discussion that came up in the blogosphere this week about "What will people wear to your funeral?" in the context of preparations for the month of the dead - November.
Over at Patheos, the discussion about "What do I really believe? continues this week with a focus on whether prayer makes a difference or not.
Sometimes our deepest convictions don't match what we have been taught to believe, and it's not always easy to share them with others. Here is your opportunity: say what you really believe, and do so anonymously.
An atmospheric and moody introduction to the Dominicans
And finally, in light of the discussion about Ireland's 166 clowns trying to run the country, have a look at what happened in Brazil.