مسيحيّــــــة

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    Omeros

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    مسيحيّــــــة

    أنسي الحاج

    أفهم ـــــ وغالباً ما كنته ـــــ مسيحيّاً يتألّم من دينه ويشكّك فيه ويهاجمه. كذلك البوذي واليهودي والمسلم والماركسي وسائر المنتمين. ولكن كيف يُشكّك ويكفر ويظلّ يشكّك ويكفر إذا كان في مجتمع أكثريّته الساحقة من غير دينه؟ كيف يفعل دون أن يبدو مداهناً للأكثريّة؟ كيف يفعل، بدايةً، وكونه أقليّة يؤهّله، بحكم ردّ فعل الاحتماء والحماية أو الشهامة، لمسايرة غرائز انتمائه المذهبي أو الطائفي أو العقائدي أيّاً يكن؟

    هذه العقدة، التي قد أعانيها كمسيحي في محيطي الإسلامي، يبدو أن آخرين من مذاهب أخرى لا يعانونها في الغرب، وتحديداً في صناعة السينما الغربيّة. إلّا إذا لم يكونوا من الأقليّات بل من أكثريّات مختلطة بأقليّات، وهذا هو الأرجح خصوصاً في الولايات المتحدة. وإلّا، وهذا هو الأهمّ، إذا كانوا أقلّية، عنصريّة أو دينيّة، تمارس ضغينتها ضدّ أكثريات لها عليها ثارات أرضيّة وسماويّة.

    لماذا هذا الحديث الآن؟ لأنه لا يمرّ يوم إلّا تعرض الشاشات الصغيرة (وطبعاً قبل ذلك الشاشات الكبيرة) أفلاماً من المستحيل أن لا يكون أحدها، على الأقلّ، موجّهاً، بطريقة مكشوفة أو مبطّنة، ضد المسيحيّة عموماً وضدّ الكاثوليكيّة على الأخصّ.

    تُدغدغ هذه الأفلام مشاعر الانتهاك والتجديف عند الراغب، وتضيف إلى الملحد قرائن، وتزرع الشكّ في البريء، وتزعزع، مرّة بعد مرّة، إيمان أشدّ المؤمنين إيماناً. ولم تترك وسيلة ولا ذريعة لإظهار الكنيسة الكاثوليكيّة بؤرة فساد في كلّ الاتجاهات إلّا استعملتها، والأصحّ استنبطتها، وبينما كانت هوليوود، مثلاً، في الأربعينات والخمسينات من القرن العشرين لا تزال تراعي على الأقل بعض الشكليّات في مقاربتها لهذه الموضوعات، ولو كان كل ما يتعلّق باليهوديّة ماضياً وحاضراً هو الهمّ الأول والمقدَّس الدائم لديها، فقد جنحت السينما الغربيّة منذ السبعينات جنوحاً تصاعديّاً صارخاً في إنتاج الأفلام الكارهة للكنيسة خاصة وللمسيحيّة عامةً، وأشدّها ذكاءً، ربّما، تلك الأفلام التي توهم الجمهور أنها تستند إلى أسس تاريخيّة. وفيما كانت نوعية هذه السينما هي العنصر البارز باتت كميّتها الهائلة الوتيرة هي الظاهرة الأبرز، وآخر الدارجات فيها مشاهد القتل والصراع الناري داخل الكنائس وما يرافقها من سفك دماء وتحطيم صلبان وأيقونات ومذابح، فضلاً عن شرشحة الرهبان والراهبات والأساقفة (وقد باتت تهمة التحرّش بالأولاد مرادفة لهم بفضل الإعلام) بمَن فيهم حَبْرهم الأعظم، وصولاً طبعاً ودائماً إلى المسيح وقيمه.
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    أكتبُ بتردّد. مَن يعبأ بموضوع كهذا؟ وهل تقترف السينما ذنباً إنْ هي تصدّت للتابوهات وأعملت فيها تشنيعاً؟ أليس هذا ممّا يثقّف ويسلّي؟ بل أليس هذا مدعاةً للإعجاب؟ والأسخف، أليس كاتب هذه السطور هو أحد الذين تسلّقوا على ظهر مناوأة أمثال هذه المحظورات؟

    صحيح. السؤال هو فقط: لماذا لا يتجرّأ هؤلاء الأبطال إلّا ضدّ جهة واحدة؟ لماذا لا أحد في هذه السينما يتصدّى لتابوهات الأديان والمذاهب والعقائد الأخرى؟ ولماذا لا يرى هؤلاء في المسيحيّة الكاثوليكيّة إلّا مكاتب التفتيش والحروب الصليبيّة وشذوذ الكَهَنة الشاذين وتخلّف رهبان القرى؟ لماذا ولا مرّة شاهدنا فيلماً يروي قصّة مضيئة من تاريخ هذا الوحش الذي يُراد إظهار الكنيسة به وتثبيت هذه الصورة إلى الأبد في الأذهان؟ وهل المسيح هو إمّا هذا الغليظ البليد أو المازوكي المهووس أو الساحر الأُلعبان الذي تتناوب على تجسيده أفلام الغرب؟

    أشعر، مرّة أخرى، أنّني أكتب لغةً خرساء وأُرسلها إلى عالمٍ أعمى. إلى لا أحد. ولكنّه ثقلٌ ضاغط ولا بدّ أن أتخلّص منه.
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    يستطيع المراقب أن يقول إن أبلغ دليل على تسامح الكنيسة والمسيحيّين عموماً هو أن صوتاً واحداً لم يرتفع باستنكار هذه الحروب المستمرّة لا سينمائيّاً فحسب بل أدبيّاً وفلسفيّاً وإعلاميّاً، مباشرةً ومداورة، والعمل المنهجي المسخّر لجميع الإمكانات من أجل إلصاق أبشع التُهم والرذائل بهذا الدين وبمؤسّسه ورموزه. ويستطيع مراقب آخر أن يقول العكس، أن يقول إن هذا الاستسلام التام لتلك الحروب هو الدليل القاطع على انحطاط عَصَب الفكر المسيحي واكتفاء الكنيسة بدور المتَّهَم الذي ينبغي له أن يشكر ربّه لعدم التشهير به أكثر من ذلك.

    لكنّ المسيحيّة، ولو روّعتنا الدعاية، ليست هذه التي تصوّرها لنا الكتل الأنتي كاثوليكيّة الأنتي أرثوذكسيّة الأنتي روح المسيحيّة عموماً. تاريخ المسيحيّة مليء بالأخطاء تخلّلته صراعات أهليّة معظمها أحمق أو ذو خلفيّات وأهداف سلطويّة لا علاقة لها بالمسيح، ولطّخته ممارسات ظلاميّة وانحرافات يعرفها القاصي والداني، ولا يخلو دين ولا معتقد من أمثالها، زادت أو نقصت. لكنّ تاريخ المسيحيّة، والمسيحيّة الكاثوليكيّة على وجه الحصر، عامرٌ بأضخم المساهمات الحضاريّة، وإذا كان لا يُحكى عن عصور مظلمة إلّا يُقرن بتخلّف فكري كنسي ما، لا يحكى عن عصور النهضة إلّا يُقرن بدور الكنيسة والمسيحيّين عموماً، بمَن فيهم الذين لم يمارسوا طقساً وبمَن فيهم المشكّكون والملاحدة.

    لو لم تكن أعمال الرسّامين والنحّاتين والمعماريين والمؤلفين الموسيقيّين والشعراء والأدباء والفلاسفة (وعلى رأسهم المشككون والملحدون) والمؤرّخين واللغويّين والمعلّمين والنُسّاك والشهداء مدوّنة في التاريخ وماثلة في يوميّاتنا إلى الساعة لظننّا، ونحن نشاهد أفلام الغرب، أننا كنّا نحلم، وأن المسيحيّة ليست سوى كذب وخداع وخرافة وبشاعة، وأن الحضارة لم يَبْنِها إلّا ضحايا المسيحيّة.
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    أسوأ المتعصّبين هم الذين يجعلونك تعتقد أن المتعصّب هو غيرهم وأنهم هم وُلاة التحرير. والحقيقة أن العبوديّة الأشدّ فتكاً هي الحقد. وشرّ ما يكون الحقد عندما يتسلّط على التوجيه التربوي والفكري والفنّي والإعلامي ويمعن منهجيّاً في مصادرة التاريخ وتشويه الحقائق. السلاح الأكبر ليس الذرّة ولا النفط ولن يكون الماء بل هو، دائماً، الإعلام. كان في ما مضى يُسمّى التثقيف، أو التوجيه، أو تدوين التاريخ، ويكاد اليوم يصبح وقفاً على التلفزيون والسينما والإنترنت، وخلفها تجرجر الكتب والجرائد أذيالها لاهثة. لقد بات الإعلام في قبضة فئتين تجمعهما مصالح متشابهة: فئة الانتهازيين وفئة أصحاب الثأر. ولا مواجهة لغرضيّته وتحامله إلّا بالتوعية.
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    إذا كانت المسيحيّة كمؤسسة قد ضاقت أحياناً وربما غالباً بعُصاتها الداخليّين فرحابُ الروح المسيحيّة لم تضق ولن تضيق. المسيحيّة هي بولس كما هي نيتشه، وهي لاهوت يوحنّا الذهبي الفم وأغسطينوس وتوما الإكويني كما هي لاهوت تيلار دو شاردان ولاهوت التحرير في أميركا اللاتينيّة. المسيحيّة هي دوستيوفسكي العبثي وهي دوستيوفسكي الصوفي. المسيحيّة هي أفرام السرياني كما هي بودلير وهي السلام كما هي القلق المبرّح والتيه والتناقض. أنتجتْ وأُعيد إنتاجها. ولعلّ أقوى عناوينها، بعد المحبّة، أن الإلحاد، في الفكر الغربي على الأقلّ، لا يزال يُقاس بها.

    هذه الكلمة ليست أكثر من حرقة ألم حيال التمادي في تزوير الحقائق حيث كنّا، في مثاليّتنا الساذجة، نحسب أن كلَّ شيء قابل للتدنيس إلّا الحقيقة.

    «لكنّي أعود»

    نحن سكون في حركة كبرى أم حركة في سكون أكبر؟ إذا قسنا على اللغة، «المحرِّك» في العربيّة يُكنّى به عن اللّه، والاستنتاج بديهي: الكائنات «شخوصٌ وأشباح تمرّ وتنقضي» كما يقول الشاعر، و«تفنى جميعاً والمحرِّكُ باقِ».
    لكنّ اللغة تتناقض والغريزة أحياناً، والغريزة تُصوِّر للمرء أن اللّه، بسرمديّته، هادئٌ الهدوء كلّه. الحياة البشريّة، بل حياة كلّ ما هو حيّ في الطبيعة، انعكاسٌ لطاقة تبدو لمخيّلة هذه المَنْمَلة التي هي الأرض وسكّانها، تبدو، في لاحدودها ولانهايتها، مُطْلَقَة السكون، وكأن المصدر لا يشبه الفرع، على عكس ما تقول التوراة إن الله خلق الإنسان على صورته. حَرَاك الإنسان نفحةٌ من سكون اللّه لا امتداد لحراكه. «المحرّك باقٍ» لأنّ طاقته لا تنفد، وطاقته لا تنفد لأنّه «نبع الينابيع» كما تغنّي فيروز. المحرّك يُحرّك انطلاقاً من صلابة جذوره المطْلَقة، الجذور التي لا أوّل لها ولا آخر. الجذور لا تتحرّك. وحدها الأوراق (وأحياناً الأغصان في الشدائد) تذهب وتعود، ترتعش وتتبلّل، تخضرّ وتَصْفرّ. أيّتها الأوراق والثمار، أسفاً عليكِ، تأخذين خيرَ المياهِ وروحَ الرياح وتلمعينَ كالعرائس المبتهجة، وفجأةً إلى التراب. لا أسألكِ كيف ترضين بانطلاء الخدعة عليكِ، بل أسألُ صانعيكِ بأيّ قلبٍ يقدرون أن يكتبوا لكِ هذا المصير؟
    وأسمعكِ تصرخين بي شامتة:


    ـــ لكنّي في موسمي أعود! وأنا مَن يعود، لا شَبَهي! لا شَبَهي ولا ذكراي! لا شَبَهي ولا ذكراي ولا خلودي! أنا! أنا بنفسي أعود، أيّها المخلوق على صورة اللّه...

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    أجراس المشرق ~ التراث العربي المسيحي

     
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    عـمّـانـوئـيـل

    بقلم المطران كيرلّس سليم بسترس

    عندما تراءى الملاك ليوسف في الحلم قال له: "يا يوسف، ابن داود، لا تخفْ أن تأخذ إليكَ مريم، زوجتكَ: فإنّ المولود فيها إنّما هو من الروح القدس. وستلد ابنًا فتُسمّيه يسوع لأنّه هو الذي يخلّص شعبه من خطاياهم". ويُضيف نصّ الإنجيل: "وكان هذا كلّه ليتمّ ما قاله الربّ بالنبيّ القائل: ’ها إنّ العذراء تحبل وتلد ابنًا، ويُدعى اسمه عمّانوئيل‘ – أي، الله معنا" (متى 20:1-23).

    إنّ اسم "يسوع" بالعبرانيّة يعني: "الله يُخلّص". وهذا الاسم يدلّ على رسالة يسوع. فالخطيئة هي أوّلاً خطيئة تجاه الله، إنّها رفض لله المحبة وابتعاد عن الحياة مع الله الذي هو الحقيقة المطلقة. لذلك الله وحده يستطيع أن يخلّص الناس من خطاياهم. ثمّ أن يدعى يسوع باسم "عمانوئيل" أي "الله معنا" يعني أنّ الله نفسه يأتي إلينا في شخص يسوع المسيح. فيسوع هو ’عمّانوئيل‘، هو "الله معنا"، وقد أتى إلينا ليمنحنا الخلاص. والخلاص يتضمّن ناحيتين: ناحية سلبيّة، وهي تحرير الناس من خطاياهم، وناحية إيجابيّة، وهي إعادتهم إلى الحياة مع الله الذي هو مصدر حياتهم.

    هذا الخلاص ظهر في حياة يسوع. فقد قضى يسوع حياته على الأرض وهو يغفر الخطايا ويشفي المرضى ويطرد قوى الشرّ المستحوذة على الإنسان. إنّ الإنسان المخلوق على صورة الله ومثاله والذي، من أجل ذلك، يستطيع فكره أن يسع الكون كلّه، ويستطيع قلبه أن يشمل بمحبته الناس أجمعين، قد تاه بفكره عن طريق الله، وشوّه في قلبه صورة إله المحبّة التي خُلِق عليها. فجاء يسوع ليُعيده الى الحياة مع الله، إلى الفردوس الذي فقده بخطيئته.

    يسوع المسيح هو عطيّة الله إلينا، كما قال للمرأة السامريّة: "لو كنتِ تعرفين عطيّة الله، ومن ذا الذي يقول لكِ اسقيني، لكنتِ أنتِ تسألينه فيُعطيكِ ماءً حيًّا" (يوحنا 10:4). كذلك يقول في سفر الرؤيا: "هاأنذا واقف على الباب، وأقرع، فإن سمع أحدٌ صوتي، وفتح الباب، أدخل إليه، فأتعشّى معه، وهو معي" (رؤيا 20:3). في شخص يسوع المسيح، إنّما هو الله نفسُه يأتي إلينا. يسوع هو "عمّانوئيل"، هو الله معنا على صعيدين: فهو أوّلاً "كلمةُ الله"، أي فكرُ الله، وقد أتى ليملأ فكر الإنسان من فكر الله؛ وهو ثانيًا "ابن الله" وقد أتى ليملأ قلب الإنسان من محبة الله، ويجعل منه على مثاله ومعه ابنًا لله. فهل نفتح له فكرنا وقلبنا؟

    ما هو سبب الصراعات التي يعانيها الإنسان في قلبه ويعانيها البشر في علاقات بعضهم البعض منذ بدء التاريخ؟ أليس لأنّ الإنسان رفض الله وأراد أن يكون هو سيّد نفسه؟ أليس لأنّ البشر ابتعدوا عن الله فتحوّل فردوس النعيم الذي خُلِقوا ليعيشوا فيه إلى بابل الجحيم، بابل البغض والحقد والكراهية في مجتمعاتهم؟

    عندما أتى عمانوئيل إلينا، أنشد الملائكة أنشودة السلام: "المجد لله في العُلى، وعلى الأرض السلام، وفي الناس المسرّة". في مجيء يسوع المسيح ظهر مجد الله. لكنّ السلام لن يسود على الأرض، والمسرّة لن تنتشر بين الناس، إن لم يفتح الناس أفكارهم وقلوبهم ليقبلوا هذا الإله الذي يأتي إليهم. أنشودة الملائكة هي إيمان بالحاضر ورجاء بالمستقبل. المستقبل، مستقبل السلام ومستقبل المسرّة بين الناس، الناسُ أنفسُهم هم الذين يصنعونه، إن سلكوا الطريق الذي فتحه أمامهم من هو "الطريق والحقّ والحياة".

    أتى يسوع ليجعل السلام يسود في قلوب الناس والمحبة تنتشر في مجتمعاتهم. لدى ميلاد يسوع، وُجِد شخصٌ اسمه هيرودوس ملأ قلبَه الشرّ، أراد أن يتخلّص من يسوع لأنّه رأى فيه خطرًا على مُلكه. هيرودوس هو مثال جميع الناس الذين، على مدى التاريخ، يريدون التخلّص من يسوع لأنّهم يرون فيه خطرًا على مُلك مصالحهم وسيادة أنانيّتهم. هيرودس هو صورة الصراع الدائم في قلب كلّ إنسان، منذ أن كان الإنسان، بين الخير والشرّ، بين المحبة والأنانيّة. هيرودس هو كتلك الخلية الشرّيرة النائمة المتربّصة بكلّ إنسان، كما قال بطرس الرسول بصورة معبّرة: "اصحوا، واسهروا! فإنّ إبليس خصمكم، كأسد زائر، يجول حولكم، ملتمسًا من يبتلعه. فقاوموه راسخين في الإيمان" ( 1 بطرس 8:5-9). وموضوع هذا الإيمان هو أنّ الله معنا في شخص يسوع المسيح، الذي هو "مُبدِئ الإيمان ومكمّله" (عبرانيين 1:12).

    بدأت بشرى الإنجيل بإعلان الملاك أنّ الله معنا في شخص يسوع المسيح. وختم متى إنجيله بقول يسوع لتلاميذه عندما أرسلهم ليتلمذوا جميع الأمم: "وهاأنذا معكم كلّ الأيّام إلى انقضاء الدهر" (متى 20:28).

    النهار

     
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    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    Catholic Bishops Agree: Anything but a Woman
    The push to allow married men to serve as priests isn’t progress. It’s another form of misogyny.

    By Sara McDougall



    The modern Catholic Church is beset with serious problems. Among them is that not enough men want to be priests. Over the past three weeks, 184 bishops gathered at a Vatican summit to seek solutions for the Amazon region in particular, singled out because of myriad crises it is facing, including environmental devastation, violence and a shortage of priests to serve the needs of the faithful there.

    The bishops’ solution: Do anything other than ordaining women as priests.

    On Oct. 26, in a “revolutionary” decision, the bishops gathered at the Vatican voted 128 to 41 to allow an exception to what has essentially been a 1,000-year ban on the ordination of married men as priests. They recommended this change for only certain parts of the Amazon and for only married men already made deacons, meaning men already allowed to perform marriages and baptisms, but not to officiate at mass, which only priests can do. It is now for Pope Francis to decide whether the decision goes forward.

    It is surprising in many ways that the bishops made this decision. Allowing a married man to be a priest violates several longstanding rules. They voted as they did despite the tremendous importance of chastity for the Catholic Church and the old idea that sexual activity is a pollutant that cannot be allowed near the holy ritual of the mass. They voted in favor of married priests despite a longstanding fear that for a priest to have a wife and a family would lead to serious conflicts of interest. There is a legend that the word “nepotism” was invented in honor of the grasping nephews of popes who sought and obtained more than they deserved thanks to their powerful uncles (and “nephews” we can sometimes see as a euphemism for “sons”).

    These potential conflicts of interest and other dangers that family influence and obligations bring, therefore, are something Catholic authorities have long recognized and have eagerly sought to prevent. They voted as they did despite the symbolic importance, too, of the idea that a priest be united to only one spouse, the Church, just as Jesus Christ was united in an exclusive bond with the Church.

    All of that paled in comparison to letting a woman, even a celibate woman, act as priest.

    To be sure, there are good doctrinal reasons for this, if one wants to find them. According to the laws of the Catholic Church, known as canon law, that priests might marry or not is man-made law, therefore mutable, while the exclusion of women is divinely ordained. But the priesthood itself is a man-made invention, an amalgam of Judeo-Roman and other traditions, refined and also only rather belatedly attached to the mass, a ritual performance that re-enacts and celebrates the most important tenets of Catholic faith.

    Pope Francis himself has acknowledged that there could be what the theology professor Gary Macy has called a “hidden history” in which women had a larger role in ministry than the Catholic Church currently accepts, for which scholars such as Dr. Macy have found ample and intriguing evidence. While rejecting much of this evidence, conservative Catholic authorities do, however, recognize that for several centuries, their predecessors, like the leaders of the Eastern Churches then and now, allowed married men to serve as priests or as bishops, though sometimes they required celibacy and that their wives enter religious life.

    The medieval requirement that a priest abstain from sex and from marriage probably made it harder to find men willing to serve from the first moments it was mandated, though willingness to turn a blind eye when priests engaged in same-sex relations, kept mistresses and committed sexual assault may have helped. Even so, we know that there were shortages, for bishops complained then, just as they are doing now.

    The solutions they proposed, however, were never that women be ordained. Instead, they sought and obtained permission to ordain men born out of wedlock, men convicted of serious crimes, converts and men who did not meet the age requirements or educational requirements. Indeed, Catholic authorities have often proved willing to bend on a wide range of criteria. A sticking point has been that a candidate to the priesthood must have male genitalia (or at least have been born with them). Even men with “imperfect” genitalia, as long as they presented as male, or if castrated, could prove that it was done accidentally, could be ordained with special permission. As Western Christianity spread to the Americas, Africa and the East, it was allowed that indigenous men could be ordained, despite considerable and growing racial prejudice.

    But no women. Never that.

    In subsequent centuries, other variants of Christianity have found the ministry of married men, sexually active men and women acceptable. The Roman Catholic Church has not.

    And however much Pope Francis and this group of bishops promise to recognize and even reconsider the role of women in Catholic ministry, their actions so far fall short. In a final bitter twist, before the most recent Vatican summit, a large contingent of religious women — modern-day suffragists — had sought the right to vote at the summit. They were denied.

    This kind of misogyny, of course, is more than just the Catholic Church’s problem. It is one of the many crosses that the uncomfortable heirs of the Western tradition must bear.

    We should hesitate, though, before we blame the Middle Ages for this. At that time it was thought the right order of things that men and women had distinct gendered roles and that social inequality and hierarchy were the best ways to keep the world in order. We who know better should do better.

    Sara McDougall is an associate professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

    NYTimes
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    A food for thought for the bigots here who have formed a "mercenary of faith."
    ~

    Pope tells Thailand’s Catholics to be ‘missionary disciples’ not ‘mercenaries of faith’

    BANGKOK, Thailand - Speaking to some 60,000 members of Thailand’s tiny Catholic community, Pope Francis on Thursday called them to be missionary disciples, explaining that being a “mercenary of the faith” does not compel others to convert.

    “A missionary disciple is not a mercenary of the faith or a producer of proselytes, but rather a humble mendicant who feels the absence of brothers, sisters and mothers with whom to share the irrevocable gift of reconciliation that Jesus grants to all,” Francis said during the first public Mass of his Nov. 20-23 visit to Thailand, celebrated in Bangkok’s National Stadium.

    The 60,000 Mass-goers make up more than 10 percent of Thailand’s 400,000 Catholics, only 0.6 percent of Thailand’s 69 million people. The vast majority are Buddhists.

    In his homily, Francis also denounced the exploitation of women and children who are forced into prostitution as well as those who fall prey to human trafficking networks, those exploited by the fishing industry, and those forced into begging on the streets, saying that all of them “are our mothers, brothers and sisters,” and they too deserve “the balm of God’s love that heals all wounds.”

    Speaking in a country world-famous for its sex tourism, the pope said the women and children who are victims of prostitution and human trafficking are “humiliated in their essential human dignity.”

    The sex tourism industry represents an estimated 3 percent of the country’s GDP.

    Ever since he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis has made the fight against modern slavery one of the social cornerstones of his agenda.

    In recent years, the Thai government has tried to curb this industry and has promised better cooperation with international bodies fighting human trafficking.

    Prostitution is illegal in the country, but the law has not been enforced. Most of the girls and women exploited by this industry are - according to the United Nations anti-trafficking agency - migrants coming from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.

    According to USAID, in 2014 there were 120,000 sex workers in Thailand, though some agencies estimate there are as many as 300,000 prostitutes. The go-go bars and massage parlors that serve as fronts for prostitution are easy to find in Bangkok and other Thai cities.

    During his homily, Francis also spoke of “young people enslaved by drug addiction and a lack of meaning that makes them depressed and destroys their dreams.”

    “I think of migrants, deprived of their homes and families, and so many others, who like them can feel orphaned, abandoned, without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life,” the pope continued.

    All those who suffer, Francis said, “are part of our family. They are our mothers, our brothers and sisters. Let us not deprive our communities of seeing their faces, their wounds, their smiles and their lives. Let us not prevent them from experiencing the merciful balm of God’s love that heals their wounds and pains.”

    Remembering the arrival of the first Portuguese missionaries 350 years ago, Francis said that it’s not supposed to be a “celebration of nostalgia for the past,” but a “fire of hope,” that helps respond to the challenges of being missionaries today with a similar determination and confidence:

    “A festive and grateful commemoration that helps us to go forth joyfully to share the new life born of the Gospel with all the members of our family whom we do not yet know.”

    During his homily, Francis said that a missionary disciple knows that “evangelization is not about gaining more members or about appearing powerful. Rather, it is about opening doors in order to experience and share the merciful and healing embrace of God the Father, which makes of us one family.”

    Christ, the pope said, ate with sinners, making it clear that they too had a place “at the Father’s table,” and he touched those “considered to be unclean,” while allowing himself to be touched by them, helping them realize that God is close to everyone.

    “The missionaries came to understand more fully the Father’s loving plan, which is not limited to a select few or a specific culture, but is greater than all our human calculations and predictions,” Francis said.”

    Before Thursday’s Mass, Francis met with the King of Thailand, Rama X.

    On Friday, Francis is scheduled to speak with the local bishops, and later will meet with priests and religious men and women, followed by a Mass for Thai youth. On Saturday, after visiting the local Jesuit university, he will head to Japan, where he will visit Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    CRUX
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    2 Priests Convicted in Argentina of Sexual Abuse of Deaf Children



    The priests at a now-shuttered school in Mendoza were each sentenced to more than 40 years in prison; a former gardener was sentenced to 18 years.

    BUENOS AIRES — An Argentine court convicted two Catholic priests and a former gardener of sexually abusing deaf children at a church-run school in Mendoza on Monday, in a case that has been closely watched in part because it took place in the homeland of Pope Francis.

    One of the defendants, the Rev. Nicola Bruno Corradi Soliman, is an Italian priest. He served as the director of the Provolo Institute in Mendoza — which ran the school — despite having faced previous accusations of sexual abuse at the organization’s facilities in Verona, Italy, and in La Plata, Argentina.

    Mr. Corradi, 83, was sentenced to 42 years in prison, and another priest, the Rev. Horacio Hugo Corbacho Blanck, 59, of Argentina, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. A former gardener at the school, Armando Ramón Gómez Bravo, 49, of Argentina, received a sentence of 18 years.

    The three defendants had each faced numerous charges and had been in prison or under house arrest since the allegations came to light three years ago. Mr. Corbacho was the only one of the three to testify; he denied the charges, and the other two defendants did not testify, according to Gustavo Stroppiana, the prosecutor in the case.

    An attorney for the three defendants, Alicia Arlotta, declined to comment on Monday. “I have decided not to issue any opinions of any nature, which is what I’ve done since I’ve been in charge of the defense,” she said in a WhatsApp message.

    Nine of the 10 victims attended Monday’s proceeding, said Oscar Barrera, a lawyer for some of the victims. In testimony, victims said they were assaulted when they were students, from 2005 to 2016, at the now-shuttered school in Luján de Cuyo, near the city of Mendoza, lawyers for the victims said. They are now in their teens or 20s.

    Mr. Stroppiana said in an interview on Monday that “we are satisfied with the sentence.”

    “Due to this sentence it is likely that other people who were victims will decide to come forward,” Mr. Stroppiana said.

    Mr. Barrera accused the church of hindering the investigation into the abuse. But he said in an interview on Monday that his clients were pleased with the lengthy sentences.

    “There is relief, a sense of peace for these kids, who are now satisfied somebody believed their story,” he said.

    In a statement on Monday, the office of the Archdiocese of Mendoza pledged to work to prevent abuse of the vulnerable and to promote transparency.

    “As a church, we want to express again our solidarity and closeness to the victims and their families,” the statement said. “What they recounted has horrified all of Mendoza.”

    Church officials, including Pope Francis, were made aware of allegations against Mr. Corradi as early as 2014, but the church did not begin an investigation until after he was arrested in 2017, according to The Washington Post.

    Sergio Salinas, a lawyer for several victims, called for Pope Francis to “make a public apology.”

    “The Church has not acted honorably in this case,” Mr. Salinas said in an interview on Monday.

    “It hasn’t just failed to give evidence, it has hidden information,” Mr. Salinas said. “It has failed to recognize the facts and has mocked the victims by not recognizing them as such and saying that their testimony is unbelievable.”

    Efforts to reach the Vatican’s representatives on Monday were unsuccessful.

    Two trials related to abuse at the Mendoza institute are expected to take place next year, Mr. Salinas said. One trial involves the legal representative of the institute, directors of the school, a psychologist, a cook and a nun who are accused of failing to stop the abuse. Another involves a Japanese nun, Kumiko Kosaka, who is currently being held in pretrial detention and is accused of helping to cover up the crimes. (She has previously said she is innocent, according to Mr. Stroppiana.)

    Another case is expected to start next year involving alleged abuse that took place in the Provolo Institute in La Plata, near Buenos Aires, before Mr. Corradi was transferred to Mendoza in the late 1990s, Mr. Salinas said. Three victims have come forward in that case, but Mr. Salinas said he believes the real number of victims is much larger. Three people, including Mr. Corradi, have been charged.

    In a separate case, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta was due to arrive in Argentina on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, to respond to allegations that he sexually abused two seminarians. He has denied the charges.

    Before he began his papacy in 2013, Pope Francis had worked with Mr. Zanchetta in Argentina, according to The Washington Post. Mr. Zanchetta was one of the pope’s first appointments, becoming the bishop of Orán in northern Argentina in 2013, the news organization reported. He left that position in 2017, amid misconduct allegations, and was given a newly created role inside the Vatican.

    NYTimes
    Nov. 25, 2019
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    Pope Francis Abolishes Secrecy Policy in Sexual Abuse Cases



    Church officials can now share information with secular law enforcement authorities. Critics said the confidentiality rule led to the concealment of abuse.

    ROME — The Vatican on Tuesday said it would abolish the high level of secrecy it has applied to sexual-abuse accusations against clerics, ending a policy that critics said had often shielded priests from criminal punishment by the secular authorities.

    Removing that cloak of confidentiality, the Roman Catholic Church is changing its stance to make it acceptable — but not required — to turn information about abuse claims over to the police, prosecutors and judges.

    In recent years, church officials in the United States and some other countries have shared with civil authorities information about some sexual abuse allegations. But that cooperation, in theory, defied a decree adopted in 2001 that made the information a “pontifical secret” — the church’s most classified knowledge.

    Victims and their advocates said the restrictions hampered civil authorities and helped conceal crimes, and they greeted Francis’ new instructions as a step forward.

    “Things are decidedly changing,” said Francesco Zanardi, an Italian survivor of clerical abuse and the president of Rete l’Abuso, an Italian anti-abuse group.

    Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a group that tracks abuse in the church, said the pope had taken “an overdue and desperately needed step.”

    “For decades, pontifical secrecy has been an obstruction to civil justice, spurring bishops worldwide to thwart prosecutions of abusive priests,” Ms. Barrett Doyle said in a statement. She called changing the policy “a first step toward decreasing the anti-victim bias of canon law.”

    On Tuesday, the pope also made the canon law against child pornography more stringent, a change that victims’ groups had pushed for. Previously, possession or dissemination of pornographic images of children under 14 was considered a “most grave crime.” That category that will now apply to images of children under 18.

    The secrecy change is the latest step in the church’s attempts to tackle the sexual abuse crisis that has dogged it for decades. Growing global pressure for greater accountability forced the issue to the front of Pope Francis’ agenda.

    In response to the demands for change, Francis convened a summit meeting of church leaders in February to address the crisis. It ended with a call “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors” and insistence that the church needed to protect children “from ravenous wolves.”

    Weeks after that meeting, the pope issued a new canon law, requiring for the first time that church officials report abuse charges to Vatican prosecutors. Francis then issued a rule requiring that all church officials report to their superiors either abuse allegations or attempts to cover them up.

    The rule announced on Tuesday was also a product of the February meeting, the Vatican said.

    “This is a sign of openness, transparency and the willingness to collaborate with the civil authorities,” Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of the Vatican’s communications office, wrote in a commentary.

    Under the new norms, “any reporting, testimony and documents” related to sexual abuse “can now be handed over when requested to lawful authorities in their respective countries,” Mr. Tornielli wrote.

    The Rev. Hans Zollner, a member of the Vatican’s child protection commission, said, “This is pretty much revolutionary.”

    Ms. Barrett Doyle was less confident.

    “The impact of this change will be determined by how broadly it is applied,” she said.

    It was not clear, for example, whether the new policy would be applied retroactively, she said.

    Ms. Barrett Doyle and other victim advocates, while praising the change, said it did not address many of the other issues they have raised, like the fact that the church has not adopted a policy of defrocking any priest who has abused a child.

    “It’s a little-known, appalling fact that under universal church law, guilty priests still are allowed to remain in ministry,” Ms. Barrett Doyle said.

    The Vatican had previously argued that the imposition of pontifical secrecy was necessary to protect both victim and accused. Church officials also said they could not insist that abuse allegations be reported to the civil authorities because in many parts of the world, that would put priests’ lives in danger.

    But critics said the rules deterred victims from coming forward and helped cover up sexual abuse.

    Father Zollner said that confidentiality was never supposed to be a “hiding place for the church, but unfortunately it was used” that way “many times.”

    The new guidelines, which go into effect on Jan. 1, specify that “confidentiality shall not prevent the fulfillment of the obligations laid down in all places by civil laws, including any reporting obligations, and the execution of enforceable requests of civil judicial authorities.”

    Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, the Vatican’s chief sex crime investigator, called Francis’ decree an “epochal decision that removes obstacles and impediments.”

    The changes do not affect the secrecy of confession.

    The instructions also made clear that even if documents and testimony produced in canonical trials are shared with civil law enforcement officials or other interested parties, they may not be made public.

    “The right of the victims and the witnesses to confidentiality must always be protected,” Mr. Tornielli wrote. “Now, however, the documentation must be placed at the disposal of the civil authority for the purpose of investigating cases for which canonical proceedings have already begun.”

    On Tuesday, the pope accepted the resignation of Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the Vatican ambassador to France, who has been under investigation in France for sexual assault. In July, the Vatican revoked his diplomatic immunity.

    NYTimes

     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    Reading the Signs When a Couple of Papal Pals Get to Talking



    “The Two Popes,” Netflix’s Roman Catholic buddy picture, while fictional, is a fascinating peek at figures who have long intrigued a close watcher of the Vatican.

    The pages of a large Gospel, lying on the unadorned wooden coffin, fluttered in the breeze. Cardinals in red and bishops in purple stood in ranks nearby, and millions of mourners filled St. Peter’s Square and surrounding streets for the vast spectacle that was Pope John Paul II’s funeral in 2005.

    I was standing atop the square’s colonnade with other journalists who had come from around the world to cover John Paul’s death and the aftermath. The image of those riffling pages below seized my attention.

    Most of us on that colonnade presumably knew the symbolism: the wind-ruffled Gospel represented the presence of the Holy Spirit. Or so we had learned while boning up on the pageantry of the funeral and the conclave to come.

    Actual footage of that image shows up in the opening scenes of the dramedy “The Two Popes,” which began streaming Friday on Netflix. The film — “inspired by true events,” as an opening title reads — depicts the election of John Paul’s successor, Benedict XVI; Benedict’s shocking resignation; and the election of the current pontiff, Francis.

    Seeing these events again reminded me how covering the opaque world of the Vatican so often meant reading signs, interpreting signifiers, understanding obscure statements. The official language of the Holy See, remember, is a dead one, Latin.

    For Vaticanistas accustomed to tea-reading but not so worried about historical exactitude, “The Two Popes” is a delightful imaginary look behind the thick walls of secrecy.

    I guess it’s like royals-watchers taking in “The Crown.”

    The first voyeuristic frissons come during sequences about the 2005 conclave depicting the politicking that is known to go on among the cardinals, and showing them voting in arcane rituals.

    We know they politick from leaked accounts, and we know how the conclave is supposed to work from Vatican documents that detail the process. We can also imagine how it looks because the Holy See press office invited reporters into the Sistine Chapel for a look-see right before the conclave.

    The interest comes because of the intense secrecy that the Vatican insists upon. Participants are sworn to reveal nothing and face excommunication if they violate the oath. All media, any connections to the outside world and recording devices are banned. The premises are swept for electronic bugging.

    In the movie, the German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Anthony Hopkins) is elected Pope Benedict XVI and the stage is set for the ultimate pontifical buddy picture — a series of imagined conversations between Benedict and Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), who will become his successor, Francis.

    It’s a joy to listen in as these two formidable churchmen joust over sharply different views of Catholicism, admit spiritual doubts, joke about the Beatles, seek absolution from each other and end up drinking beer together, just two old popes watching soccer on a couch.

    The screenwriter, Anthony McCarten (an experienced fictionalizer of historic figures whose credits include the Winston Churchill tale “Darkest Hour”), said he based his script on a mound of research — from secondary sources, archives and interviews.

    “The potential I sensed in this story was a debate, an almost Talmudic disputation, between a progressive and a conservative,” he said in an interview. “It spoke to the broader conversation raging in society at present.”

    About a quarter of the papal dialogue is verbatim from the words or writings of the two men, he said. The rest was paraphrased or made up “in the spirit” of the churchmen.

    The conversations open as they stroll through the gardens of the pope’s summer residence, in Castel Gandolfo. Bergoglio has just flown to Rome to press Benedict to grant him his wish to resign as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

    McCarten does a fine job of telegraphing their politics — traditionalist, protective of doctrine, inward-looking vs. open to the modern world, compassionate and flexible — and encapsulates the debate that continues throughout the church.

    Benedict grills the cardinal, expressing irritation with his supposedly sympathetic statements about married priests (“misquoted,” the Bergoglio character says) and homosexuality (“taken out of context"), and with the cardinal’s giving communion to divorced Catholics (not denied) and popularity among the common people.

    Bergoglio then delivers a pointed critique of the Benedict papacy that would warm the heart of a liberal Catholic:

    “We have spent these last years disciplining any one who disagrees with our line on divorce, on birth control, on being gay, while our planet was being destroyed, while inequality grew like a cancer.”

    He continues, “All the time the real danger was inside, inside with us.” That danger, he said, was the church hierarchy’s knowledge that clerics were sexually preying on children, and its failure to protect these children.

    The movie then gins up a seemingly far-fetched idea: that Benedict revealed to Bergoglio that he planned to resign.

    Bergoglio, like much of the Catholic world when the real-life Benedict made the announcement, is stupefied by the idea. He runs through all the reasons it can’t happen — the kind of arguments journalists rehearsed in 2010, when rumors of a papal resignation surfaced. I wrote just such a piece myself, duly presenting the evidence for and against. The arguments against it seemed stronger.

    As Bergoglio says in the movie, popes sign on for life; their authority comes from the fact they will suffer and die on the job; the papacy will be forever damaged; two popes will create conflict. It hasn’t happened in nearly 600 years.

    “Two popes?” he says. “No, it’s unthinkable.”

    I was no less stunned when I heard the real-world news, which Benedict first delivered in Latin.

    McCarten addresses perhaps the most fascinating question in these events: What was the real reason Benedict stepped down?

    Publicly, Benedict said failing strength “of mind and body” led him to believe he could no longer fulfill his ministry.

    The screenplay suggests he suffered a crisis of faith because of his inadequate response to the clerical sex abuse scandal. Benedict also hints that the burden of dealing with corruption in the Vatican was a cause.

    “He’s suffering from an interior crisis,” McCarten said. “He felt morally disqualified, if you like, from being the person who could fix it.”

    The movie also depicts Benedict effectively passing the baton to Bergoglio, convinced by their conversations. This may be the least credible plot point.

    No evidence exists that any of these conversations ever took place. In fact, in “Last Testament: In His Own Words” (2016), written with Peter Seewald, Benedict said he had no inkling who his successor might be and even doubted it would be Bergoglio. He also said the scandal and corruption did not play a role in his resignation.

    But McCarten may have captured a deeper truth: that toward the end of his papacy, Benedict came to believe that the church had to change course and that its center of gravity was shifting to Latin America, or at least outside Europe.

    That is the view of a Francis biographer, Austen Ivereigh, who pointed out that at the 2005 conclave, Bergoglio reportedly received a large bloc of votes but then threw his support to Ratzinger. Ivereigh also noted that Benedict allowed a major meeting of Latin American bishops in 2007 to go forward. The bishops produced a report, probably written by Bergoglio, laying out a road map for church renewal and the groundwork for a Latin American pope. Like the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

    “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suppose that Benedict foresaw Bergoglio would be elected,” Ivereigh said in an interview. “They had a good relationship, and Benedict was very sympathetic to Bergoglio,” he added.

    By now, it might be clear what “The Two Popes” is not: a movie about two popes.

    Bergoglio only becomes Pope Francis about 15 minutes before the end, allowing the filmmakers to avoid a big question, one with real consequence for the church: What is the relationship of two popes (albeit one with an emeritus title) living within 10 minutes walking distance from each other and how will that affect the church’s unity? Competing contemporaneous popes in the Middle Ages was a church nightmare.

    Benedict has become the point of reference for traditionalists and conservatives who disdain Francis’ informality and his focus on inclusiveness over doctrine. Friction between the Francis and Benedict camps has been apparent, although Ivereigh argued that the men share a personal warmth.

    “The Two Popes” ends on a happy note, with the title characters watching the Germany-Argentina World Cup final in 2014. (Germany won; score one for Benedict.)

    It’s a harmonious picture that will please the Vatican image-handlers. So will montages of Francis, championing the poor and oppressed.

    But it’s only half the picture.

    NYTimes
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    German Catholic Church Debates Sexuality, Celibacy and Women’s Roles


    Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising has championed the dialogue process as head of the German Bishops Conference.Credit...Armando Babani/EPA, via Shutterstock

    With the German church’s global influence, a meeting of bishops and laypeople to take up hot-button topics has led to warnings of a new schism, originating in the home of the Protestant Reformation.

    BERLIN — The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has a split identity. At home, attendance is falling and many Germans say they regard the church’s teaching on social issues as hopelessly out of touch.

    But globally, the German church is one of the most powerful — and liberal — regions of the Catholic world, a player whose wealth and theological influence are now creating a challenge for the entire church.

    On Dec. 1, the German church’s international influence will be on display when its bishops begin a two-year-long series of meetings with lay leaders that will allow debate on hot-button issues that in many other corners of the church would be off limits, such as whether to accept homosexuality, end clerical celibacy and ordain women as priests.

    The meetings carry no authority to actually change church doctrine. Nevertheless, the Vatican and conservative Catholics in Germany and elsewhere have repeatedly warned that the dialogue process — which the German church calls “the synodal path” — could lead to schism. Germany, of course, was where Martin Luther helped begin the Protestant Reformation with his 95 theses condemning the Catholic church.

    Some critics “feel that the Germans brought on the Reformation 500 years ago and divided the Catholic Church, and now the Germans are again up to no good trying to change the church,” said the Rev. Godehard Brüntrup, a spokesman for the Jesuit religious order in Germany and vice president of the Munich School of Philosophy.

    Organizers of the dialogue say schism is not their goal. The dialogue grew out of the response to the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Germany, and Catholic leaders say it is meant to bridge the cultural divide between the church and many of its followers, and to explore whether church teachings set the stage for abuse.

    Priests are set to read a letter to parishioners at Mass this Sunday acknowledging that the church’s message “has been obscured and even terribly damaged” by the sexual abuse scandal, and calling the dialogue a process of “change and renewal.”

    The dialogue has nonetheless become a proxy war in the conflict between conservatives and liberals that has consumed much of Pope Francis’ tenure. And it strikes at core questions facing the church: What caused the abuse crisis and how should Catholics respond to it?

    Tensions over the dialogue can be seen in the divide between Germany’s cardinals: Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Cologne, a critic of the process, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of Munich and Freising, who has called for opening the church to “new thinking.”

    Cardinal Woelki, whose Cologne archdiocese is one of the world’s wealthiest, has warned bishops against stumbling into creating a “German national church,” distinct from the unified Catholic “universal church.”

    “I do not want to support a special ‘German Way,’ nor should we as Germans pretend to know better than the rest of the church,” the cardinal said in an interview.

    Cardinal Marx has championed the dialogue as head of the German Bishops Conference, and has spoken in the past of an openness to reconsidering issues like mandatory celibacy for priests. The cardinal is a particularly influential figure in the global church: He is a member of Francis’ small advisory council and leads the same archdiocese once led by Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI (now pope emeritus).

    “Faith can only grow and deepen,” Cardinal Marx said at a meeting of the bishop’s conference in March, “if one faces up to the free and open debate, and develops the ability to take new positions and to go new ways.”

    For traditionalists, like Cardinal Woelki, the challenges facing the church require a recommitment to church teaching, not an effort to align the church with public opinion on sexual issues.

    “Throughout history Christians have never been in sync with the world,” said the cardinal, who leads a diocese where fewer than 8 percent of parishioners regularly attend Mass, slightly lower than the 9.3 percent of Germany’s 23 million registered Catholics who regularly go.

    But the “synodal path” is based on the opposite view, articulated by a study commissioned by the bishops conference that said church teachings and practices should be examined because they had set the stage for abuse.

    Those factors include “the management of power, the priestly ways of life, sexual morals detached from reality and, finally, the role of women in the church,” Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, a lay group that has collaborated with the bishop’s conference on the dialogue, wrote in an email.

    “We also have to find new models for priestly forms of life,” he said, suggesting “significantly more participation of women, including in leadership functions and liturgical workings.”

    Statements like that have caused a stir at the Vatican. In a letter in June, Francis encouraged the German church to focus on evangelization and “walk together” with the larger church so as to avoid “increasing and perpetuating the evils it sought to solve.”

    If regional churches “find themselves separated” from the universal Catholic Church, the pope wrote, “they weaken, rot and die.”

    The Vatican delivered an even more forceful message in September, reminding the German bishops in a letter that they do not determine church policy, and rebuking them for partnering as equals with laypeople.

    Cardinal Woelki echoed that concern, saying in an email that the dialogue’s design, which gives bishops and lay leaders equal say in decision-making, “could easily lead to the misconception that we can ‘democratize’ the church.’”

    “Bishops — the successors of the Apostles — are called to teach and defend the faith,” the cardinal said. “The democratization of the faith would be the end of the church by turning divine revelation into an endless political power struggle.”

    The German church’s occupying a position of both great strength and weakness can be seen in two sets of numbers released in July in its annual report: The church has lost an average of 100,000 members a year since 1990, with more than 216,000 leaving in 2018.

    But the bishops conference also said it had brought in over $6.5 billion in net revenue each year since 2016, thanks to a tithe on registered Catholics of up to 9 percent collected by the German government as a “church tax.”

    Since the 19th century, Germany has collected the tax from registered members of established religions, including both Catholics and Protestants, and then distributed the revenue back to the churches.

    The German church sends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Catholic charities and church projects around the world. German Catholics are also major funders of the Vatican; the bishops conference sends almost $7 million a year, and each of Germany’s 27 dioceses sends its own contributions, said Matthias Kopp, a spokesman for the bishops conference.

    “The German church is very influential because of its financial might,” said Father Brüntrup, the Jesuit spokesman. “But it also has had a great influence on the intellectual life of the church, because German theology was and still is a leading force intellectually.”

    He described talk of a schism as “a politically motivated exaggeration,” but said conservative Catholics might still be troubled by the possible long-term impact of the bishops’ plan.

    “What they want to start is a process of dialogue, listening to what the people and the experts and the laypeople have to say, so that the hierarchy gets from a mode of teaching to a mode of listening,” Father Brüntrup said. “And then this process might lead 10, 20 or 30 years down the road to a universal council in which maybe a few things change.”

    Stuck in the middle of the debate are sexual abuse survivors, who say the dialogue is both a victory and a source of worry.

    The sex abuse crisis exploded in Germany in 2010 when alumni of a Berlin high school, Canisius College, said teachers abused them in the 1970s and 1980s. The crisis deepened in 2016 when an investigator said more than 200 boys in a choir led by the brother of Benedict XVI were abused over almost four decades.

    Abuse survivors say the church has never before shown such high-level interest in their concerns. But embedding their demands in a thicket of culture war conflicts could make the road to justice tougher, said Matthias Katsch, a Canisius alumnus who in 2010 told of his abuse.

    “I’m afraid that the church is starting this conversation and this dialogue about the reform of the church and they forget that first they have to deal with the survivors,” Mr. Katsch said.

    NYTimes
     
    Orangina

    Orangina

    Legendary Member
    عـمّـانـوئـيـل

    بقلم المطران كيرلّس سليم بسترس

    عندما تراءى الملاك ليوسف في الحلم قال له: "يا يوسف، ابن داود، لا تخفْ أن تأخذ إليكَ مريم، زوجتكَ: فإنّ المولود فيها إنّما هو من الروح القدس. وستلد ابنًا فتُسمّيه يسوع لأنّه هو الذي يخلّص شعبه من خطاياهم". ويُضيف نصّ الإنجيل: "وكان هذا كلّه ليتمّ ما قاله الربّ بالنبيّ القائل: ’ها إنّ العذراء تحبل وتلد ابنًا، ويُدعى اسمه عمّانوئيل‘ – أي، الله معنا" (متى 20:1-23).

    إنّ اسم "يسوع" بالعبرانيّة يعني: "الله يُخلّص". وهذا الاسم يدلّ على رسالة يسوع. فالخطيئة هي أوّلاً خطيئة تجاه الله، إنّها رفض لله المحبة وابتعاد عن الحياة مع الله الذي هو الحقيقة المطلقة. لذلك الله وحده يستطيع أن يخلّص الناس من خطاياهم. ثمّ أن يدعى يسوع باسم "عمانوئيل" أي "الله معنا" يعني أنّ الله نفسه يأتي إلينا في شخص يسوع المسيح. فيسوع هو ’عمّانوئيل‘، هو "الله معنا"، وقد أتى إلينا ليمنحنا الخلاص. والخلاص يتضمّن ناحيتين: ناحية سلبيّة، وهي تحرير الناس من خطاياهم، وناحية إيجابيّة، وهي إعادتهم إلى الحياة مع الله الذي هو مصدر حياتهم.

    هذا الخلاص ظهر في حياة يسوع. فقد قضى يسوع حياته على الأرض وهو يغفر الخطايا ويشفي المرضى ويطرد قوى الشرّ المستحوذة على الإنسان. إنّ الإنسان المخلوق على صورة الله ومثاله والذي، من أجل ذلك، يستطيع فكره أن يسع الكون كلّه، ويستطيع قلبه أن يشمل بمحبته الناس أجمعين، قد تاه بفكره عن طريق الله، وشوّه في قلبه صورة إله المحبّة التي خُلِق عليها. فجاء يسوع ليُعيده الى الحياة مع الله، إلى الفردوس الذي فقده بخطيئته.

    يسوع المسيح هو عطيّة الله إلينا، كما قال للمرأة السامريّة: "لو كنتِ تعرفين عطيّة الله، ومن ذا الذي يقول لكِ اسقيني، لكنتِ أنتِ تسألينه فيُعطيكِ ماءً حيًّا" (يوحنا 10:4). كذلك يقول في سفر الرؤيا: "هاأنذا واقف على الباب، وأقرع، فإن سمع أحدٌ صوتي، وفتح الباب، أدخل إليه، فأتعشّى معه، وهو معي" (رؤيا 20:3). في شخص يسوع المسيح، إنّما هو الله نفسُه يأتي إلينا. يسوع هو "عمّانوئيل"، هو الله معنا على صعيدين: فهو أوّلاً "كلمةُ الله"، أي فكرُ الله، وقد أتى ليملأ فكر الإنسان من فكر الله؛ وهو ثانيًا "ابن الله" وقد أتى ليملأ قلب الإنسان من محبة الله، ويجعل منه على مثاله ومعه ابنًا لله. فهل نفتح له فكرنا وقلبنا؟

    ما هو سبب الصراعات التي يعانيها الإنسان في قلبه ويعانيها البشر في علاقات بعضهم البعض منذ بدء التاريخ؟ أليس لأنّ الإنسان رفض الله وأراد أن يكون هو سيّد نفسه؟ أليس لأنّ البشر ابتعدوا عن الله فتحوّل فردوس النعيم الذي خُلِقوا ليعيشوا فيه إلى بابل الجحيم، بابل البغض والحقد والكراهية في مجتمعاتهم؟

    عندما أتى عمانوئيل إلينا، أنشد الملائكة أنشودة السلام: "المجد لله في العُلى، وعلى الأرض السلام، وفي الناس المسرّة". في مجيء يسوع المسيح ظهر مجد الله. لكنّ السلام لن يسود على الأرض، والمسرّة لن تنتشر بين الناس، إن لم يفتح الناس أفكارهم وقلوبهم ليقبلوا هذا الإله الذي يأتي إليهم. أنشودة الملائكة هي إيمان بالحاضر ورجاء بالمستقبل. المستقبل، مستقبل السلام ومستقبل المسرّة بين الناس، الناسُ أنفسُهم هم الذين يصنعونه، إن سلكوا الطريق الذي فتحه أمامهم من هو "الطريق والحقّ والحياة".

    أتى يسوع ليجعل السلام يسود في قلوب الناس والمحبة تنتشر في مجتمعاتهم. لدى ميلاد يسوع، وُجِد شخصٌ اسمه هيرودوس ملأ قلبَه الشرّ، أراد أن يتخلّص من يسوع لأنّه رأى فيه خطرًا على مُلكه. هيرودوس هو مثال جميع الناس الذين، على مدى التاريخ، يريدون التخلّص من يسوع لأنّهم يرون فيه خطرًا على مُلك مصالحهم وسيادة أنانيّتهم. هيرودس هو صورة الصراع الدائم في قلب كلّ إنسان، منذ أن كان الإنسان، بين الخير والشرّ، بين المحبة والأنانيّة. هيرودس هو كتلك الخلية الشرّيرة النائمة المتربّصة بكلّ إنسان، كما قال بطرس الرسول بصورة معبّرة: "اصحوا، واسهروا! فإنّ إبليس خصمكم، كأسد زائر، يجول حولكم، ملتمسًا من يبتلعه. فقاوموه راسخين في الإيمان" ( 1 بطرس 8:5-9). وموضوع هذا الإيمان هو أنّ الله معنا في شخص يسوع المسيح، الذي هو "مُبدِئ الإيمان ومكمّله" (عبرانيين 1:12).

    بدأت بشرى الإنجيل بإعلان الملاك أنّ الله معنا في شخص يسوع المسيح. وختم متى إنجيله بقول يسوع لتلاميذه عندما أرسلهم ليتلمذوا جميع الأمم: "وهاأنذا معكم كلّ الأيّام إلى انقضاء الدهر" (متى 20:28).

    النهار

    جيد جدا
    ولكن لدي سؤال اطرحه علي نفسي دائما... من يحدد ما هي الخطيئة؟... لماذا نحن مقتنعون اننا من لحظة ولادتنا مخطئون؟
    ماذا قد فعل طفل رضيع لنعتبره مخطئ؟
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    جيد جدا
    ولكن لدي سؤال اطرحه علي نفسي دائما... من يحدد ما هي الخطيئة؟... لماذا نحن مقتنعون اننا من لحظة ولادتنا مخطئون؟
    ماذا قد فعل طفل رضيع لنعتبره مخطئ؟
    how do you go about to find the answer to such a question? what do you do to find the answer to a question of this caliber?
     
    Orangina

    Orangina

    Legendary Member
    how do you go about to find the answer to such a question? what do you do to find the answer to a question of this caliber?
    لا اعلم
    اعتقد وهذا ما افعله... يجب القرائة بانفتاح
    ولكن انا شخصيا ارفض مبدأ ان الخطيئة متمسكة ومتحكمة بنا واننا يجب ان نعود الى الدين لحل كل المسائل الروحية والغير دنيوية
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    لا اعلم
    اعتقد وهذا ما افعله... يجب القرائة بانفتاح
    ولكن انا شخصيا ارفض مبدأ ان الخطيئة متمسكة ومتحكمة بنا واننا يجب ان نعود الى الدين لحل كل المسائل الروحية والغير دنيوية
    religion is not where you find the answers, religion is where you record the answers to the many existential and spiritual questions that you and others came across throughout thousands of years, the answers will no doubt change and evolve over time as humanity progresses.

    first things first though, everyone needs to revisit the accurate definitions behind the words when addressing concepts of such an evolved and sophisticated nature, as precision and accuracy in speech are fundamental both to formulating the questions and to finding the corresponding answers.

    it follows that a properly formulated question brings you closer to the answer you seek.

    so let's reformulate the question. what is sin? and how do you go about to finding what is meant by this word?
     
    Orangina

    Orangina

    Legendary Member
    religion is not where you find the answers, religion is where you record the answers to the many existential and spiritual questions that you and others came across throughout thousands of years, the answers will no doubt change and evolve over time as humanity progresses.

    first things first though, everyone needs to revisit the accurate definitions behind the words when addressing concepts of such an evolved and sophisticated nature, as precision and accuracy in speech are fundamental both to formulating the questions and to finding the corresponding answers.

    it follows that a properly formulated question brings you closer to the answer you seek.

    so let's reformulate the question. what is sin? and how do you go about to finding what is meant by this word?
    سؤالي من يحدد ما هي الخطيئة؟

    قد تكون الخطيئة بمفهومك غير الخطيئة بمفهومي... انا احدد ما هو الخطأ اذن بحسب معرفتي وفهمي للامور..
     
    Dark Angel

    Dark Angel

    Legendary Member
    سؤالي من يحدد ما هي الخطيئة؟

    قد تكون الخطيئة بمفهومك غير الخطيئة بمفهومي... انا احدد ما هو الخطأ اذن بحسب معرفتي وفهمي للامور..
    the word is actually a well defined term in original context in which it was used, and the word "sin" carries a precise meaning. it means to miss the target, to miss the objective, to miss the mark, thus anything less than perfection is actually a sin. the original sin consequently is the fall from perfection. since we as human beings can not attend perfection, we are therefore all sinners, even at birth.

    now in the theological interpretation, we cannot be in communion with God in our state of imperfection, and we cannot attend perfection ourselves, thus we are completed in Christ who takes our imperfections upon Himself so that we can be made whole again, and all we need to do is to consciously will it and act upon that will. the original sin is defined as wanting to be like God without God, whereas the alternative is that God invites us to be Gods indeed, but with Him. the point here is that we cannot be like God without Him as our objective and without Him being at the very center of our lives.

    this is the message conveyed by the rose windows you see in churches; when we place God in the center, everything falls in place. high res photo of the north rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral.
     
    Orangina

    Orangina

    Legendary Member
    the word is actually a well defined term in original context in which it was used, and the word "sin" carries a precise meaning. it means to miss the target, to miss the objective, to miss the mark, thus anything less than perfection is actually a sin. the original sin consequently is the fall from perfection. since we as human beings can not attend perfection, we are therefore all sinners, even at birth.

    now in the theological interpretation, we cannot be in communion with God in our state of imperfection, and we cannot attend perfection ourselves, thus we are completed in Christ who takes our imperfections upon Himself so that we can be made whole again, and all we need to do is to consciously will it and act upon that will. the original sin is defined as wanting to be like God without God, whereas the alternative is that God invites us to be Gods indeed, but with Him. the point here is that we cannot be like God without Him as our objective and without Him being at the very center of our lives.

    this is the message conveyed by the rose windows you see in churches; when we place God in the center, everything falls in place. high res photo of the north rose window of Notre Dame Cathedral.
    what is perfection?
     
    eile

    eile

    Well-Known Member
    what is perfection?
    the greek word in reference is telos, which is often translated as 'perfect' as well as "goal, end, or purpose". the telos of a thing is that point to which a thing yearns to be, the purpose for which a thing was built. in other words, to be perfect is to be truly fulfilled. for a thing to be perfect is for it to be on the trajectory towards which its essence strives
     
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