Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Two believers killed, churches attacked, copies of the Bible burned: the Christian community in Pakistan is once again the victim of violence by Islamic fundamentalists, who have targeted places of worship in the country. The extremist violence was triggered by the insane act - repeatedly condemned by Christians in Pakistan and India – of the pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20, in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones. The escalating violence has raised alarm over the fate of Asia Bibi, a symbol of the abuses committed in the name of the blasphemy law. The bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi defines the US pastor a "fanatic" who encourages followers to a "violent ideology", the consequences of which have an impact "on innocent Christians" across the world.
On March 25, a mob of Islamic extremists attacked a Pentecostal church in Hyderabad, killing two Christians and burning some copies of the Bible. Eyewitnesses said that the fundamentalists stormed the place of worship looking to set it on fire, but a group of believers defended the church. Security forces have fled the scene, leaving those present at the mercy of the crowd. The attackers hurled anti-Christian slogans and a feeling of anger toward the religious minority has spread. in the city The pastor of the church reports that "despite the condemnation of the burning of the Koran" the community "has come under attack because they think that we are linked to the Americans." He emphasizes that "we are Pakistanis, who were born in this land and we do not have any kind of relationship with the United States." "What fault did those two innocent people have – he ends - who were not Americans, but only Pakistani Christians?".
In a second incident, the Full Gospel Assembly Church, in the Badami Bagh area of Lahore, was attacked. Again fundamentalists burned the church, threw copies of the Bible into the street and accused the Christians of blasphemy, claiming they found pieces of the Koran, not far from the church. During the attack some security guards were injured.
Meanwhile, the weekend demonstrations were repeated against the burning of the Koran wanted by Pastor Terry Jones in different cities of Pakistan - among other Peshawar, Lahore and Islamabad. The demonstrators, who burned his picture and chanted slogans and chants against the United States, called for the death of U.S. preacher. Extremists also threatened reprisals and other targeted attacks against Christians, if the U.S. government fails to take action against Pastor Jones.
The Pakistani Christian community, however, in a show of support with Muslims, condemns, and demonstrates against the burning of the Koran. Catholic priest Fr. Anwar Patras, said that Christians are first of all Pakistanis, "we were born in this land and we will be buried here, we have no connection with Pastor Terry Jones and his sick ideas." Condemning the attack, the religious priest shows sympathy for the two Christians killed "and reiterates that" the community is in danger”.
Recent violence has raised the alert level around Asia Bibi, the 45 year old Christian mother of five children, sentenced to death based on the "black law" and in prison, pending appeal. The Masih Foundation reports that "despite security measures" adopted in the cell, the woman is in danger. "She cannot eat prison food - continue the activists - but ingredients are provided to cook her own food, she prays and fasts for her own sake and for the current situation in Pakistan. The Catholic Church has asked for special prayers for her.Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr. Rufin Anthony, bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, said that "Christian doctrine teaches tolerance and love," the U.S. minister is a "fanatic" promoting "a sick ideology." The prelate accused the American preacher of ignoring "the scope of his actions" and now Pakistani Christians "live with greater fear because his actions worsened our situation." "There are examples of threats to churches and Bibles burned in some areas - concluded Msgr. Anthony - now innocent Christians will face the consequences. "
MADRID, SPAIN, MARCH 28, 2011 (LIFESITENEWS.COM) – AN ESTIMATED 150,000-PLUS PRO-LIFERS GATHERED TO CELEBRATE LIFE AND PROTEST A NEW ABORTION LAW IN MADRID ON SUNDAY. HUNDREDS OF OTHERS MARCHED IN OVER 80 SPANISH CITIES, INCLUDING BARCELONA, OVIEDO, ZARAGOZA AND LAS PALMAS, AND INTERNATIONALLY ON MARCH 25 AS PART OF RECOGNITION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE UNBORN CHILD.
From little children to teens to grandparents, families walked in the streets in support of a Spanish “manifesto” that calls abortion “a terrible hypocrisy against women” and a “terrible injustice to the children.” Participants were asked to sign the petition demanding that Spanish laws protect life “at all times and circumstances” and seek to offer true aid to women with unplanned pregnancies.
“Today we are together for a just cause: the defense of human life,” said Dr. Gador Joya, spokesperson for Derecho a Vivre (Right to Live). “We are here to return to the dignity of the individual at the heart of democracy. We are here, once again, because we do not accept that the life of the most vulnerable is the subject of political experiments.”
Last year in Spain a law went into effect that allows abortion on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and up until 22 weeks gestation in cases of rape, fetal abnormality, and when the mother’s health is at risk. The law also permits abortion at anytime until birth when the unborn child has a serious or incurable illness, as determined by a medical committee.
“Laws are adopted,” continued Dr. Joya, “and the unjust laws will be repealed. The Spanish Constitution states that everyone has the right to life … We will never accept abortion as an unavoidable fact in a civilized society.”
Pro-life marchers protested the law, chanting slogans such as “Yes to life”, “No to abortion”, and “Let me live.” After speeches, a banner was raised more than 60 meters in the air by 120 colored balloons. The banner read: “Everyone has the right to life.”
Ignacio Arsuaga, president of HazteOir, an organization that seeks political change through the voice of the people, applauded the participation of the many young people in the march. “It is wonderful to see how our young people realize and commit to life,” he said.
In a testimony, Dr. Blanca Lopez Ibor, a medical oncologist and pediatrician, explained the beginnings of human life and the physical, psychological and spiritual consequences of abortion on mothers. She challenged other physicians to speak up for the unborn.
“We have the power of our vote,” said Dr. Joya, ”the scientific, legal and moral right on our side.”
The Bishops of CERNA recognise that during the recent events that have occurred in the Maghreb countries, there has been a “legitimate claim for freedom, justice and dignity, particularly by the younger generations. This demand translates into a desire to be recognised as responsible citizens with the opportunity to find a job that allows them to live decently, excluding all forms of corruption and cronyism.”
“Today,” continues the statement, “this wind of change passes through Libya. And we especially unite with our brother Bishops in Tripoli and Benghazi, and with all communities in the Country.”
The Bishops of Northern Africa also reaffirm their opposition to violence and war: “We know that war solves nothing, and when it breaks out, it is just as uncontrollable as the explosion of a nuclear reactor! The first victims are always the poorest and most disadvantaged. Moreover, whether we like it or not, the war in the Near East, and now in the Maghreb, will always be interpreted as 'a crusade'. This will have inevitable consequences on the friendly relations that Christians and Muslims have woven and continue to weave in the newspaper.”
The Bishops of CERNA call for a diplomatic mediation, and appeal for humanitarian aid. “We pray to the Almighty to inspire the leaders of nations to find the path that leads to Justice and Peace,” the statement concludes.
By Dennis Sadowski
-- A representative of the media company owned by Father John Corapi challenged the action to place the popular speaker on administrative leave from priestly ministry, saying that it was illicit under "several points of canon law."
Bobbi Ruffatto, vice president of operations at Santa Cruz Media, Inc., in Kalispell, Mont., charged in a posting on Father Corapi's Facebook page March 25 that Bishop William M. Mulvey of Corpus Christi, Texas, acted improperly, according to canon lawyers consulted by the company.
The statement offered no specific citations of canon law.
However, Marty Wind, director of communications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi, disputed Ruffatto's claim that Bishop Mulvey placed Father Corapi on leave. He said the action was taken by officials of the priest's order, the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in Robstown, Texas.
"We have been clear from the beginning that the bishop of Corpus Christi was notified by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity that the administrative leave was imposed by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, not the bishop of the diocese," Wind told Catholic News Service March 25.
Father Corapi was placed on administrative leave following an accusation of misconduct by a former Santa Cruz Media employee.
The priest denied any wrongdoing in a statement on his website March 18. He gave little information about the accusation except to say a former employee had "sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several adult women."
Father Gerard Sheehan, regional priest servant for the society, said March 28 he had not yet seen Ruffatto's posting and that no formal discussion within the order about it had occurred.
The investigation into the former Santa Fe Media employee's claim has yet to begin, Father Sheehan added, because the two priests who will conduct the probe had not yet been named. Bishop Mulvey instructed the religious community to ask two priests who are not diocesan clergy and who are not members of the order to investigate the allegations.
Father Sheehan said he was waiting for clarification from the diocese before choosing the priest investigators.
Wind said that although Father Corapi was placed on leave, "it's been the position of the Diocese of Corpus Christi from the outset that the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise is of the highest importance."
Calls and emails from Catholic News Service to Santa Cruz Media requesting comment from Father Corapi and Ruffatto were not returned.
Online records with the Montana secretary of state list John Corapi as the registered agent for the company. A company with the same name also is registered in Nevada and online records in the secretary of state's office there indicated John A. Corapi holds the office of president, treasurer, secretary and director.
Ruffatto's six-paragraph statement referenced the U.S. bishops' zero-tolerance policy as outlined by the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and called for it to be changed "because of false accusations like this."
Father Corapi has been an outspoken critic of the charter in interviews and during his public presentations.
"There is no evidence at this time that Father Corapi did anything wrong, only the unsubstantiated rant of a former employee, who, after losing her job with this office, physically assaulted me and another employee and promised to destroy Father Corapi," Ruffatto said.
"We all continue to pray for this person and we ask you to do the same," the Santa Cruz executive added.
Ruffatto said the company would continue selling the books, DVDs, and other video and audio recordings of its owner as the investigation unfolds. Ruffatto said the purchases of customers would allow Father Corapi to continue his work as well as pay for legal expenses to fight the allegation.
"We are a secular corporation and not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way," the company official said. "As such, we are not under the jurisdiction of any bishop or other official in the Catholic Church, although we have the utmost respect for church authority."
After the 63-year-old priest was placed on leave, EWTN suspended broadcasts of his widely viewed television program. In an unsigned statement on its website, the Catholic broadcast network said officials took the step "with much prayer and careful discernment."
"In EWTN's 30 years of existence the network has never knowingly aired programming featuring any priest whose priestly faculties have been suspended," the statement said. "The network has always responded consistently and immediately in such situations by removing such programs from the air. We are obliged to do so in obedience to the discipline of the church."
St. Rupert of Salzburg
Feast: March 27
First Bishop of Salzburg, contemporary of Childebert III, king of the Franks (695-711), date of birth unknown; d. at Salzburg, Easter Sunday, 27 March, 718. According to an old tradition, he was a scion of the Frankish Merovingian family. The assumption of 660 as the year of his birth is merely legendary. According to the oldest short biographical notices in the "Mon. Germ. Script.", XI, 1-15, Rupert was noted for simplicity, prudence, and the fear of God; he was a lover of truth in his discourse, upright in opinion, cautious in counsel, energetic in action, far-seeing in his charity, and in all his conduct a glorious model of rectitude. While he was Bishop of Worms, the fame of his learning and piety drew many from far and wide. The report of the bishop's ability reached Duke Theodo II of Bavaria, who had placed himself at the head of the current ecclesiastical movement in Bavaria. Theodo sent Rupert messengers with the request that, he should come to Bavaria to revive, confirm, and propagate the spirit of Christianity there. Despite the work of early missionaries, Bavaria was only superficially Christian; its very Christianity was indeed to some extent Arian, while heathen customs and views were most closely interwoven with the external Christianity which it had retained. St. Rupert acceded to Theodo's request, after he had by messengers made himself familiar with the land and people of Bavaria. St. Rupert was received with great honour and ceremony by Theodo in the old residential town of Ratisbon (696). He entered immediately upon his apostolic labours, which extended from the territory of the Danube to the borders of Lower Pannonia, and upon his missionary journey came to Lorch. Thence he travelled to the lonely shores of the Wallersee, where he built a church in honour of Saint Peter, thereby laying the foundation of the present market-town of Seekirchen in the Newmarket district of Salzburg. From the Roman colony there Rupert obtained an account of the ancient Roman town of Juvavum, upon the site of which there still remained many more or less dilapidated buildings, overgrown with briars and brushwood.
Having personally verified the accuracy of this account concerning the place and position, Rupert requested Theodo, in the interests of his apostolic mission to the country, to give him the territory of Juvavum (which was still a place of considerable commerce) for the erection of a monastery and an episcopal see. The duke granted this petition, bequeathing the territory of Juvavum (the modern Salzburg), two square miles in area, to St. Rupert and his successors. At the foot of the precipice of the Monchberg, where once St. Maximus, a disciple of St. Severin, had suffered martyrdom with his companions (476), St. Rupert erected the first church in Salzburg, the Church of St. Peter, in honour of the Prince of the Apostles, as well as a monastery. Upon the lofty prominences (Nonnberg) to the southeast of the town, where the old Roman fortress once towered, he established a convent of nuns which, like the monastery of the Mönchberg, he placed under the protection and Rule of St. Benedict. To set his institutions upon a solid basis, Rupert repaired home, and returned with twelve companions besides his niece Ehrentraud (Erindruda), whom he made abbess over the Benedictine Convent of Nonnberg, while he with his twelve companions formed the first congregation of the famous Benedictine Monastery of St. Peter at Salzburg, which remains to the present day. St. Rupert thenceforth devoted himself entirely to the work of salvation and conversion which he had already begun, founding in connection therewith manny churches and monasteries — e.g., Maxglan, near Salzburg, Maximilianszelle (now Bischofshofen in Pongau), Altotting, and others. After a life of extraordinarily successful activity, he died at Salzburg, aided by the prayers of his brethren in the order; his body reposed in the St. Peterskirche until 24 Sept., 774, when his disciple and successor, Abbot-Bishop St. Virgil, had a portion of his remains removed to the cathedral. On 24 Sept., 1628, these relics were interred by Archbishop Paris von Ladron (1619-54) under the high altar of the new cathedral. Since then the town and district of Salzburg solemnize the feast of St. Rupert, Apostle of Bavaria and Carlnthia, on 24 September.
In Christian art St. Rupert is portrayed with a vessel of salt in his hand, symbolizing the universal tradition according to which Rupert inaugurated salt-mining at Salzburg; this portrayal of St. Rupert is generally found upon the coins of the Duchy of Salzburg and Carinthia. St. Rupert is also represented baptizing Duke Theodo; this scene has no historical foundation. St. Rupert was the first Abbot-Bishop of Salzburg, for, as he established his foundations after the manner of the Irish monks, he combined in his own person the dignities of abbot and bishop. A similar combination of dignities existed also in Ratisbon and Freising. This twofold character of the bishop continued in Salzburg for nearly 300 years until the separation of the dignities was effected in 987 by Archbishop Friedrich I of Salzburg, Count of Chiemgau, the twenty-first Abbot of the Monastery of St. Peter. The period of St. Rupert's activity was until very lately a matter of great discussion. Formerly the opinion was held that the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth centuries was the age of his missionary work, but, according to the most exhaustive and reliable investigations, the late seventh and early eighth centuries formed the period of his activity. This fact is established especially by the "Brevesnotitiae Salzburgenses", a catalogue of the donations made to the Church of Salzburg, with notices from the ninth century. In these latter Bishop St. Virgil, whose ministry is referred to 745-84, appears as a direct disciple of St. Rupert. It is forthwith evident that the assumption of the end of the sixth and beginning of the seventh centuries as the period of Rupert's activity is extremely doubtful, even apart from the fact that this view also involves the rejection of the catalogue of the bishops of Salzburg and of Easter Sunday as the day of Rupert's death. Many churches and places bearing Rupert's name, serve as surviving memorials of his missionary activity. A successor of St. Rupert, the present scholarly Abbot of St. Peters in Salzburg, Willibald Hauthaler, has written an interesting work upon this subject entitled "Die dem hl. Rupertus Apostel von Bayern geweihten Kirchen und Kapellen" (with map, Salzburg, 1885).
|Exodus 17: 3 - 7|
|3||But the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?"|
|4||So Moses cried to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."|
|5||And the LORD said to Moses, "Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand the rod with which you struck the Nile, and go.|
|6||Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.|
|7||And he called the name of the place Massah and Mer'ibah, because of the faultfinding of the children of Israel, and because they put the LORD to the proof by saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"|