Concern mounts in India over persecution of religious minorities

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

New Delhi, India, Dec 19, 2014 / 04:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The rise in attacks by Hindu radicals against members of minority religions in India, primarily Christians and Muslims, is drawing concern across the country, with many calling for more concrete government action.

Since May, there have been a “recorded 34 cases of physical and structural violence against the Christian community (among a) total of about 600 cases reported by the media, most of them against Muslims,” Dr. John Dayal told CNA Dec. 12.

“The violence has increased exponentially since then. The government has admitted in parliament that there have been more than 560 cases of violence against religious minorities this year, in which at least 110 persons have been killed,” he said, noting that there have probably been more cases which have gone unreported.

Dayal, a member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council and former National President of the India Catholic Union, said most of the violence has been incited by the radical Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, also referred to as the RSS, or the “the Sangh.”

The group, which Dayal referred to as an “extremely fundamentalist and often violent political organization,” sits on the right-wing and has no official, legal registration in India. However they maintain strong ties with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

BBC News reports that the RSS, established in 1925 with the goal of establishing “Hindutva,” or “Hindu-ness,” has been banned three times in post-independence India, with all three bans eventually being lifted.

The agency states that the group’s critics often refer to them as a sectarian, militant group, who believe in the supremacy of Hindus, and that “preaches hate” against Muslim and Christian minorities.

Among the violent acts carried out against minorities are the barring of Christians from entering certain Hindu villages in India’s Chhattisgarh state, attacks against persons and church property, and the forced conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

When Christians of the Madota village were summed by local officials to an October meeting in order to discuss the resolution of the bans in their district, none of the officials showed up, the Christian Daily reports.

After waiting some time, a group of Hindu extremists entered the village and started to beat 15 of the persons gathered, sending 12 to the hospital, seven of whom had serious injuries.

Reports were also made of an arson on a Catholic church in the Indian capital of Dehli.

Concern has arisen that the increasing number of attacks enacted by the RSS are on the rise due to the May election of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister. Having been a full-time worker with the group, many are concerned that Modi is giving them a free pass.

Although Modi has been informed of the incidents on numerous occasions, he “has given no indication by word or deed that he means to curb these elements and non-state actors and their hostility toward religious minorities,” Dayal explained.

“Despite our several appeals to him in recent weeks, (Mr. Modi) has remained silent on attacks in churches in Delhi and Chhattisgarh (and) the forcible conversion of Muslims in several villages of the state of Uttar Pradesh by members of the RSS group,” he said, noting that the “conversions” were taped, and have dominated local and national news outlets.

Earlier this week, police in Uttar Pradesh stated they would not allow Hindu nationalists to hold a conversion ceremony which had been planned for Dec. 25.

The ceremony was to be held in Aligarh, which is located within 60 miles of Agra, where last week more than 50 impoverished Muslim families were “converted” to Hinduism. Many of them told the BBC they were promised food ration cards for attending the ceremony, and they did not realize it was a conversion ceremony.

While Hindus are a majority in India (80 percent), the country is not a Hindu state, Dayal observed, noting that often times laws are spun in order to protect the actions of radical groups.

The RSS, he said, “thinks it is all powerful, and that the government will not act against them.” When it comes to punishing their crimes, Dayal noted that police never seem to find the evidence necessary to penalize them in court.

“Witnesses are coerced. And forensic science is given a go by. The State just does not seem to want to act against them.”

In order to maintain an inter-religious society that respects the rights of its minorities a strong rule of law is needed, Dayal said, explaining that this includes giving minorities greater representation in police forces, courts and higher bureaucratic positions.

“The government must not, by word or deed, give an impression that it supports these Hindu groups. There indeed must be a zero tolerance policy against religious targeted violence and hate speech.”


Police and Knights of Columbus join forces to fight the cold

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News - US. [Read the original article...]

New Haven, Conn., Dec 19, 2014 / 02:16 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Knights of Columbus is joining forces with the New Haven Police Department in the Coats for Kids initiative to make winter a little warmer for children and families in need this year.

“With Christmas approaching and the weather getting colder, we are pleased to be able to work on this with the wonderful men and women of the New Haven Police Department,” stated Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a Dec. 18 Knights of Columbus press release.

Hoping to continue the success of their Coats for Kids program, the Knights of Columbus have collected coats to donate to the local police department, who will then distribute the coats to the children and families in need that they meet during their regular courses of duty.

“Meeting real community needs in efficient and innovative ways is a hallmark of the Knights of Columbus,” Anderson went on to say, believing that this partnership with the police department is an ideal model of cooperation between private and public servants.

New Haven Police Lieutenant Sam Brown suggested that the officers on duty would be pleased to give away the donated coats during their routine rounds, saying that the idea of Coats for Kids has become a department-wide effort.

Although the police department makes a habit of involving themselves in charitable events and encourages individual acts of kindness, joining with the Knights of Columbus in this effort has allowed them to incorporate charity within their normal routine.

“The men and women of the NHPD are grateful to the Knights of Columbus for their great compassion in helping us all care for the members of our community,” stated New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman.

Since 2009, the Knights of Columbus have donated more than 230,000 coats to U.S. and Canadian children. Through their partnership with the NHPD, those in need in Connecticut will receive 4,000 coats this year.


For Those Who Would Lead Others In Prayer

This is a syndicated post from Catholic Journal. [Read the original article...]

In her book, Lay Presiding- The Art of Leading Prayer, Kathleen Hughes identifies certain characteristics that should be addressed by those who would lead others in public prayer: authority; structure; gestures and objects; planning and celebration; and leader of public prayer as icon.

With regard to authority, we are correct in acknowledging that one is given the “right” to exercise public prayer through the Church’s tradition (Sacrament of Orders). To do so recognizes the obvious, but fails to address the deeper reality. “Jesus would be the first to acknowledge that the authority which he possessed had its origin beyond himself. He did not speak or act on his own but on the authority of the One who sent him.” (p. 12) “To become a leader of the community’s prayer is to pledge oneself to a way of life, outside the praying assembly, which allows Christ, the leader of the prayer, to live and move and be in us. All of us are potential leaders of prayer to the extent that we acknowledge that it is Jesus, the Christ who lives on still to make intercession on our behalf. Only the Son makes known the One he called Abba.” (p. 13) For those of us who lead public prayer, is this always front and center? Are we praying with our mind or heart? Are we praying to God or celebrating ourselves? Are we leaving sufficient time, pause, and absence of human initiative so that God might manifest his love over the congregation or those present? Are we praying the ritual and trusting God to be God?

With regard to structure, “one becomes a competent and creative presider at prayer by immersing oneself in the Church’s tradition and learning reverence for the ways that Christians have prayed and celebrated together for two thousand years. By learning the basic structures of prayer, exploring the language of postures and symbols used in celebration, becoming sensitive to basic principles of ritual activity, and learning the ways in which to improvise models of prayer, while respecting the tradition from which they developed, we might become at ease and competent as a leader of prayer.” (p. 20) In learning to pray the prayers of the Church, do we strive to allow the ritual speak to the hearts of the people. Or, despite our good intentions, do we interject distraction into prayers meant for healing, consolation, and hope? A wise priest and professor once told me: “When it comes to public prayer, it is often the case that less is more.”

Gestures and objects, as well, may sometimes be taken for granted. Gestures such as standing, sitting, folding of hands, genuflecting, bowing, or postures of greeting “must be performed thoughtfully so that presiders are at ease with their own bodies and become aware that all movement in prayer is poetic rather than functional.” (p. 26) On the other hand, the reverence for objects “must begin with an understanding that the primary symbol of the sacred is the assembly.” (p. 27) Take, for example, the reading of the prayers themselves. Are we conscious of areas within the rites where we are directly addressing God or when the focus is more upon the assembly? When it is obvious that we are praying directly to God, we would create obvious anxiety if we were to have direct eye contact with the congregation. In the latter instance, for example the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, direct eye contact would be logical.

Planning, therefore, is a vital component to a successful ritual celebration. “(1) What is appropriate in this particular space; (2) with the number of people assembled; (3) with whatever time constraints have been imposed by the gathering; (4) with the particular degree of solemnity or informality; (5) with the purpose of this gathering in mind; and (6) in keeping with the expectations of the community?” (p. 29) Over and over, the question should be asked: “What does the Church say is the purpose of a particular rite?” Once that question has been answered, the others seem to naturally follow. However, absent such thought process, it is likely that a celebration might be transformed into something that was never intended.

With regard to the leader of public prayer as icon, we note that “Christ is the perfect leader of public prayer, the perfect mediator before God, because he is so perfectly attuned to God and the human community, so perfectly the Word of God and the Amen we would declare. Christ serves as the leader of public prayer because he is a kind of two-way icon as so exquisitely portrayed in Second Corinthians: ‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.’” (p. 36) As such, “one who would lead the assembly’s prayer must first strive to be a person alive to the presence of God, attentive to the myriad ways in which the Holy One is manifested in human life. The contemplative leader of prayer will be led beyond self to an awareness of the Spirit of God active in the community that believes, hopes, dreams, struggles, and suffers together. The leader of prayer will be icon of God to the community to the extent that he or she is personally attuned to the Presence.” (p. 38)

Perhaps the Shaker song, Simple Gifts, should guide us on our way. Rather than asking us to present a Broadway musical, the Church wisely asks us to pray her rites simply and without fanfare, always leaving room for God’s grace to touch his people. Believing in our hearts that it is Christ standing at the gravesite during the Rite of Committal; standing before a new widow and her children at a funeral vigil; or leading a blessing service for a person victimized by crime, may we humbly lead these services in His name.

The post For Those Who Would Lead Others In Prayer appeared first on Catholic Journal.


Vatican communications committee advances path of reforms

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

Vatican City, Dec 19, 2014 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican's committee on communications has finished its third round of visits to Vatican media branches, and will likely discuss the outcomes of the visits in their next meeting, due to take place in January.

The committee has completed its rounds of visits to Vatican media branches, and also started collecting opinions and suggestions from journalists and Catholic agencies who deal often with Vatican news.

With the wish to improve the system of the delivery of news and to rationalize expenses, the members of the committe made an on-site visit to the Holy See press office Dec. 17.

According to a source who took part in the meetings, “the committee proved to be very attentive to the needs of the Holy See press office, and tried to understand how the work of the Holy See press office may be enhanced.”

“Unlike the members of the Pontifical Commission of Reference for the Economic and Administrative Structure of the Holy See/Vatican City State (known with the Italian acronym of COSEA), the committee showed that cutting expenses is not their sole desire, but that that before all else they want to find an effective way of sharing information from the Vatican,” the source maintained.

During the next meeting, in January, the members of the committee will likely discuss the outcomes of their visit, and will start analyzing in-depth the responses of communication experts and journalists on their desk.

In the offing, there is the need for a comprehensive reform of  Vatican media, with a possible unification of the three major Vatican media outlets – Vatican Radio, Vatican Television, and L’Osservatore Romano – under a single digital platform.

Until now, the Vatican outlets have depended directly on the Vatican State Secretariat, but some of the proposals for Curia reform on the desk of the members of the Council of Cardinals suggest the creation of an ‘ad hoc’ Secretariat for Communications within the Roman Curia.

The notion of the establishment of a third Secretariat has however been seemingly discarded, while the idea of putting all communications under the Pontifical Council for Social Communications remains on the table.


The Seven Deadly Sins for Parents

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By Mark Shea | As parents, we know that problems which are harder to see, like a young cancer, are easier to cure, while problems plain to the eye, like a five pound tumor, are hard to cure. And we know the same is true spiritually. This is why the… (6)

Christmas, Xmas, and Yuletide: 5 things to know and share

This is a syndicated post from The Daily Register. [Read the original article...]

By Jimmy Akin | A reader writes:

Jimmy could you please tell us about the origin of the word “Christmas? What did the first Christians call what we today know as Christmas?

Is writing X'mas okay? As in today's language X means “nothing.” I know… (11)

Kentucky priest returns to ministry after unsubstantiated abuse claim

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

Louisville, Ky., Dec 18, 2014 / 07:09 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Father Ronald Domhoff, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, has returned to ministry after being cleared of sexual abuse allegations.

The priest was pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville placed him on administrative leave Sept. 25, after police informed him of the allegation. The accuser said the abuse took place in the 1980s.

The Louisville Metro Police Department ended its investigation of the priest and the claim against him could not be substantiated, WAVE 3 News reports.

“The Archdiocese said a private investigator with expertise in crimes against children reviewed the information gathered, interviewed Domhoff and found no evidence to conclude that any abuse had occurred,” Charles Gazaway wrote for WAVE 3 News.

The archdiocese said it reached out to the priest’s accuser but did not receive a report.

The archdiocese’s sexual abuse review board also reviewed the allegation and could not substantiate the claim.

Fr. Domhoff resumed his duties as pastor at St. Peter the Apostle Dec. 17.


Technology Specialist – Cardinal O’Hara High School (Springfield, PA)

This is a syndicated post from [Read the original article...]

Technology, FT Employee
Cardinal O’Hara High School (Springfield, PA)

Job Description:
Technology Specialist
Cardinal O’Hara High School, Archdiocese of Philadelphia

The Technology Specialist is responsible for the ongoing maintenance and updating of technology systems across the school and for supporting the ongoing professional development of educators in the use of technology in the education process.

Skills and Knowledge Required:

Professional Development:
• Understand and apply Adult Learning Theory to professional development activities
• Plan and execute professional development opportunities for teachers and staff related to the use of technology for learning and productivity
• Conduct professional development on newly acquired school-wide technology applications
• Disseminate technology-related information to appropriate school personnel

Technology Systems:
• Possess deep knowledge of wired and wireless infrastructure and technology and DHCP and DNS
• Maintain and monitor Windows servers with Active Directory and all local networks
• Set-up and maintain technology systems including, but not limited to; computer workstations, laptops, printers, LCD projectors and interactive white boards
• Deploy and maintain iOS and other mobile devices
• Process work orders as needed through the school ticketing system
• Assist in the preparation of purchase orders for technology equipment and materials and inspect and verify all technology purchases upon receipt
• Install and maintain various software products while maintaining all licensing agreements
• Maintain an accurate inventory of the school technology equipment using central system inventory solution and provide ongoing inventory and various usage reports for school and district administration
• Ensure that service incidents are recorded in central system Help Desk solution
• Possess working knowledge of firewalls and web-filters
• Participate in ongoing professional development to maintain and develop job- related skills
• Attend local and diocesan meetings related to technology
• Serve as a liaison to the Office of Catholic Education (OCE) on technology-related issues
• Handle additional duties as needed

This is a 12-month, full-time position.

Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or related field and 3-5 years of experience is preferred. Network and hardware certifications are preferred. The Technology Specialist reports to the President and Principal for local school needs and to the Senior Level Techs for IT equipment standards and Diocesan systems.

Interested parties should send cover letter, resume, list of references and salary requirements, electronically, to Mr. Thomas S. Fertal, President, Cardinal O’Hara High School, at [REMOVED - SEE ORIGINAL LISTING] by Wednesday, January 7th. (12)

A ‘bullying’ move? UK midwife abortion ruling sparks outcry

This is a syndicated post from CNA Daily News. [Read the original article...]

London, England, Dec 18, 2014 / 05:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that midwives in charge of delivery wards are not exempt from assisting in the procurement of abortions – prompting warnings that the decision will have significant consequences for medical personnel opposed to the procedure.

“Today's decision sadly makes it likely that senior midwives who refuse to kill babies will be forced to leave the profession,” Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said Dec. 17.

“This will affect anyone who objects to abortion, of any religion or none. It will create a second-class status in midwifery for those who only deliver babies and don't kill them,” he said.

Tully's group helped fund the legal case of Catholic midwives Mary Doogan and Connie Wood, who were coordinators at a labor ward at a Glasgow, Scotland hospital. They challenged the National Health Service Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board’s requirement that they delegate, supervise and support staff who were performing abortions.

The two women said a right to opt-out of providing abortions was upheld by the U.K.'s 1967 Abortion Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh in February 2012 initially ruled against them. In April 2013, appeal court judges ruled in their favor, saying “right of conscientious objection extends not only to the actual medical or surgical termination but to the whole process of treatment given for that purpose.”

However, the Supreme Court in London sided against the two midwives, BBC News reports.

Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court, said that Parliament, when it wrote its legal protections, did not have in mind hospital managers or administrators or “the caterers who provide the patients with food and the cleaners who provide them with a safe and hygienic environment.”

“Yet, all may be said in some way to be facilitating the carrying out of the treatment involved,” she said about Monday's decision. In the judge’s view, “participation” in an abortion means “taking part in a 'hands-on' capacity.”

Doogan and Wood said they were “extremely disappointed” with the verdict, adding that they “can only imagine the subsequent detrimental consequences that will result from today's decision on staff of conscience throughout the U.K.”

They said the ruling makes the conscience clause in practice “meaningless for senior midwives in a labor ward.”

The number of abortions at their hospital’s labor ward was “a tiny percentage of the workload” and their conscientious objections could have been accommodated “with minimal effort,” they added.

Tully warned that the ruling could particularly affect junior midwives.

“They could easily be placed in an impossible situation by pro-abortion superiors, and would be unable to receive promotion to a more senior role without fear of being required to violate their consciences,” he said.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) sided with the NHS board, saying they were “deeply concerned” about extensions of the right to conscientious objection.

Tully said that the ruling also declared that the Abortion Act’s conscience clause does not apply to general practitioners or hospital doctors who may be asked to prescribe abortion drugs.

“We anticipate that this will lead to renewed efforts by health officials to force doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion either to compromise their respect for human life or to leave the profession,” he continued, adding that the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children will “support and encourage doctors to resist any such bullying approach.”


The Reason for the Season

This is a syndicated post from The Curt Jester. [Read the original article...]

I know this is a bit overdone, but I felt like overdoing it seeing so many “Reasons for the Season”‘s that forget we are sinners and Jesus came to us to save us from our sins. When we look at the child wrapped in swaddling clothes we should not forget Jesus wrapped in a shroud dying for our sins.






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