Friday, September 17, 2010

Pope in UK

Pope in UK urges tolerance, warns against atheism

By Philip Pullella and Avril Ormsby,Reuters

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Pope Benedict started a trip to Britain on Thursday with some of the clearest criticism of his Church's handling of its sexual abuse crisis and urged the country to beware of "aggressive secularism".

Pope Benedict XVI replaces his zucchetto as he stands with Britain's Queen Elizabeth at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland September 16, 2010. (REUTERS/Dave Thompson/Pool)

Some 125,000 people, including a small number of protesters, turned out to watch the 83-year-old pope as he was driven through the streets of the Scottish capital wearing a green plaid scarf.

Hours before landing, he told reporters aboard the plane taking him to Scotland to start a four-day trip to Britain that he was shocked by what he called "a perversion" of the priesthood.

"It is also a great sadness that the authority of the Church was not sufficiently vigilant and not sufficiently quick and decisive in taking the necessary measures," he added.

Advocates for victims have long been calling for Church leaders to assume more legal and moral responsibility for allowing the sexual abuse scandals to get out of hand in the United States and several countries in Europe.

Benedict has a delicate path to tread in England and Scotland in relations with the Anglican church after his offer last October making it easier for disaffected Anglicans, unhappy over the ordination of women and gay bishops, to convert.

After he was greeted by Queen Elizabeth -- titular head of the Church of England founded when Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534 -- the pope got to the heart of his message in his first speech on British soil as Roman Catholic leader.

He spoke of the "deep Christian roots that are present in every layer of British life".

Groups that plan to protest against the pope's trip, only the second in history, include atheists, secular organisations, and those who want the pope to be held legally responsible for the sexual abuse scandals.


The pope, out to win over one of Europe's most secular countries, reminded Britons to beware extremism, saying that the attempt by totalitarian regimes in the 20th century to eliminate God should provide "sobering lessons" on tolerance.

"Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate," he said.

The National Secular Society criticised the pope, saying his comments about British society were wrong.

"The secular identity of the British people is not something to criticise, but to celebrate. We have rejected dogmatic religion devoid of compassion," it said in a statement, adding that the Church discriminates against gays and women.

The German pope spoke glowingly of Britain's history and, significantly because of his own background, praised its people for standing up to the "Nazi tyranny" that was wreaked on the country by his own people in World War Two.

The Queen also spoke of the common Christian heritage that Anglicans and Catholics shared, and of their common belief that religion should never be allowed to justify violence and that dialogue could transcend "old suspicions".

Police said about 125,000 people lined the streets to cheer the pope. Around 150 protesters also turned out, waving gay rainbow flags and banners saying "Pope opposition to condoms kills people" and "Stop protecting paedophile priests."

(Additional reporting by Anna MacSwan; Editing by Charles Dick)

© 1995-2010 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Pope's UK Visit

What a way the Pope is viewed in UK.It is very sad that the Holy Father who used to be a symbol of love and Justice and Hope is looked down with such contempt and disrespect in UK.

Instead of accusing them of secularists and atheists,trying to cause our downfall,let us reflect why we have driven them to this state.What is our contribution to their bad opinion of our church?

Where are we heading as the Church?Are we really following Christ?Is the Church truly leading us in the path of Christ?

Time to ponder all all these to seek the truth that Jesus revealed to us. and stand up for it.

Pope to start UK trip amid new diplomatic hiccup

By Avril Ormsby

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Pope Benedict arrives in Britain on

Thursday hoping to win over one of Europe's most secular countries, but a last minute diplomatic hiccup and the

possibility of a low turnout threaten the success of the visit.

Official Papal visit memorabilia is displayed at St Paul's bookshop next to Westminster Cathedral in central London September 15, 2010. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

The pope's bid to get his message across at a time when the Catholic Church struggles with a global child sex-abuse scandal was made harder by comments made a senior papal aide on the eve of the trip likening England to a Third World country.

The pope also has a delicate path to tread during his four-day-trip to England and Scotland in relations with the Church of England after his offer last October making it easier for disaffected Anglicans, unhappy over women ordination and gay bishops, to convert.

Local Catholics, while acknowledging Pope Benedict lacks the charisma of his predecessor Pope John Paul, who attracted hundreds of thousands during his pastoral visit in 1982, remain positive about the trip.

"I think he is going to have a good go at winning over Britain," Jack Valero, coordinator for the pro-Church group Catholic Voices, told Reuters.

"That has been his specialty, he is very keen on winning over secular societies through persuasion."

The pope will receive a state welcome from Queen Elizabeth after he flies into the Scottish capital Edinburgh and later presides at an open-air Mass in nearby Glasgow in the afternoon.

But thousands of seats remain unsold, with police suggesting a park venue for the Glasgow Mass could be a third empty.

The need to travel in pre-arranged groups and the cost of entry have been cited for lower-than-expected attendance not only in Glasgow but also Birmingham where the 19th century convert Cardinal John Henry Newman will be beatified on Sunday.

Only a prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park on Saturday is expected to be near expected capacity.


The Vatican played down the Third World comments by Cardinal Walter Kasper to a German magazine, in which he also suggested England was home to aggressive atheists.

Kasper, who recently retired as head of the Congregation for Christian Unity -- the Vatican department that oversees dialogue with Anglicans -- had been due to accompany the pope but a Vatican spokesman said he would miss it for health reasons.

Previous diplomatic incidents have dogged the trip.

In April, Britain's Foreign Office apologised for a memorandum by a civil servant suggesting the pope should open a hospital abortion ward, bless a gay marriage and launch a papal brand of condoms.

Two months earlier, the pope criticised British equality legislation, describing it as a violation of "natural law".

Protests are expected throughout his visit, only the second by a pope, including by the Protestant Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland and the former Northern Ireland first minister, preacher and firebrand Ian Paisley.

A handful of members from the American group SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said they would demonstrate.

The pope is expected to meet with victims, although nothing has been confirmed.

The main focus of the protests will be a march and rally in London on Saturday organised by Protest the Pope campaign, a coalition of groups including human rights campaigners and secularists.

© 1995-2010 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Mother Teresa 100th birthday

Lessons from the saint of the gutter

On 26 August 2010 the world observed the 100th birthday of Mother Teresa who is rightly describes as the saint of the gutter. Most of us know many details of her birth and life as a nun who devoted her life to serve God whom she saw in the poor and destitute whom she called the “poorest of the poor”.

Mother Teresa 26 August 1910 - 5 September 1997

Mother Teresa was a small and weak-looking lady seen donning a simple blue and white sari . Out of this small and physically inconspicuous woman two gigantic features stand out. Firstly it was her deep and unshakable love and trust in God and secondly it was the courage and determination with which she continued her service against all odds. Even her own Church authorities, who preach love and charity, disapproved what she was doing what more the secular powers that rule the world.They were only too happy to capitalize on her for their political advantage.

We all say we love God, which is easy when things are good but how many of us will continue to do so when things are not going the way we wished? It is extremely difficult to say we love God under severe trials and tribulations that come our way. Moreover it is even more difficult to trust Him when we are serving people other than our own. Mother Teresa was not working to improve herself or her relatives but the hardcore poor in a distant land who are total strangers to her. Mother Teresa not only had that trust in God but she was convinced beyond doubt that He will never abandon her in her times of great difficulties.

This is a very good lesson to all of us who claim to believe in God. Yes, it is very easy for us to say we love God when things are moving the way we want. We are happy as we feel God is answering our prayers. When we are down and out, when tragedy strikes us leading to agony and pain, we turn to Him in earnest prayer but God does not seem to answer our prayers, will we still be able to say we love Him? That will be the real test of our faith which many, even staunch believers may fail.

The second lesson from this saint of the gutter was her determination to fight the pressures from above. It was a common knowledge that what she was doing was right but there were many, including her own superiors in the Church who were uncomfortable with her humble acts to be with the poor and downtrodden. They disapproved of her activities and even threatened with disciplinary actions. Despite all these Mother Teresa was unperturbed and went ahead to win the hearts of many. In fact these obstacles only made her more resolved to continue with her charitable works for the poor and despised fellow brethren.

Today many of us face similar situations, where our superiors and others in power are against us when we do good. Instead of encouraging us they seem to be threatened by our good deeds and they resort to all forms of under-hand tactics to stop us from doing so. There appears to be so much opposition to doing good that many good people back off from doing charitable acts. The final outcome is that we are ruled by dictators closely surrounded by their ambitious cronies. What is disheartening is that such behavior has unfortunately infiltrated many of our own churches where the priest and his cronies are creating havoc for the people especially for those who are conscientiously serving God in silence.

Instead of distancing ourselves by proclaiming her a saint, let us see her as a human like anyone of us and learn from her experiences.The lesson to learn from Mother Teresa is that we must be prepared to stand up to all the pressures from above, have the courage to defend the truth and above all never waver from doing right however we are tempted or pressured from those in power. We must always trust that God may try us but never forsake us as long as we do the right thing.

Mother Teresa may be not here anymore but her words of inspiration should be always in our hearts. The guiding principle in our lives should be based on her words “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” It simply means that we must ensure everyone we meet is made happier by our gestures of love and goodwill.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prayer for NBVM

Father we humbly come to you in prayer for our Parish of NBVM
Which has been thrown into crisis by the actions of our beloved Parish Priest
Father you alone know how eagerly we waited for our priest
You alone know how much hope we had placed in him
You alone know how much respect and love we had for him
But all these were shattered by him who listened to a few to despise the many
And destroyed all that we had painstakingly built, the ministries and the BECs
He got rid of all the serving leaders unceremoniously, hurting them to the core
And replaced them with people of his choice without any consultation whatsoever
He beautifully preached the Word of God but failed to show us how to live by it
Today our parish which we toiled to build over the years has been shattered and torn
Everywhere we go people are talking bad about the priest whom we thought was the savior of NBVM
Lord this unhealthy situation must change and change we are willing
Give our priest the wisdom to see us as the people of God
Waiting for him to lead us out of this cruel and materialistic world
To the Promised Land where the good will rule for all eternity
Make him not see us as his adversaries but comrades in spreading God’s love to all
Lord give us the heart to reach out to him with love and concern
Heavenly Mother be with us in our struggle to return NBVM back to its good old days
Give us the strength and courage to weather this storm to build God’s Kingdom here in our parish
Where love and goodwill will prevail once more
We ask this though Christ our Lord


Prayer for a wounded BEC

Prayer for a wounded BEC

Heavenly Father, we come to you humbly in prayer for our BEC

Which has been divided against our wishes.

You alone know how much we loved our BEC

You alone know how much we have sacrificed to build our BEC

You alone know how much we shared your word and love with others in the BEC

It was our extended family that was so dear to us

It was the place where we built our friendship among us

It was a place where we built our love for one another

Today we are divided with so much anger and hate for one another

Give us the courage to plough through this troubled times with a clear mind

To fight for justice with love and peace in our hearts

Give us the humility to seek forgiveness from those we have hurt

And the magnanimity to forgive those who have hurt us.

We ask you Lord to once again return our BEC to what it was before

Let love and goodwill prevail once again

Heavenly Mother be with us in our struggle for peace, unity and love

We ask this through Christ our Lord