This Blog is dedicated to the following quote:
Pope St. Felix III (5th Century): "Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it, and, indeed, to neglect to confound evil men - when we can do it - is no less a sin than to encourage them."
Follow by Email
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I scanned my wallet photo of my brother Tom's graduation photo - i thought maybe Bridget and a few others from church might like to see it.
Makes one wonder who the uncivilized barbarians really are! Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent Fri Jan 27, 6:53 PM ET
The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show.
In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife."
The issue of female detentions in Iraq has taken on a higher profile since kidnappers seized American journalist Jill Carroll on Jan. 7 and threatened to kill her unless all Iraqi women detainees are freed.
The U.S. military on Thursday freed five of what it said were 11 women among the 14,000 detainees currently held in the 2 1/2-year-old insurgency. All were accused of "aiding terrorists or planting explosives," but an Iraqi government commission found that evidence was lacking. Iraqi human rights activist Hind al-Salehi contends that U.S. anti-insurgent units, coming up empty-handed in raids on suspects' houses, have at times detained wives to pressure men into turning themselves in.
Iraq's deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under the ousted Saddam Hussein dictatorship, and "we are not Saddam." A U.S. command spokesman in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, said only Iraqis who pose an "imperative threat" are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities.
But documents describing two 2004 episodes tell a different story as far as short-term detentions by local U.S. units. The documents are among hundreds the Pentagon has released periodically under U.S. court order to meet an American Civil Liberties Union request for information on detention practices. In one memo, a civilian Pentagon intelligence officer described what happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi suspect's house in Tarmiya, northwest of Baghdad, on May 9, 2004. The raid involved Task Force (TF) 6-26, a secretive military unit formed to handle high-profile targets.
"During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," wrote the 14-year veteran officer.
He said he objected, but when they raided the house the team leader, a senior sergeant, seized her anyway.
"The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing," the intelligence officer wrote. She was held for two days and was released after he complained, he said.
Like most names in the released documents, the officer's signature is blacked out on this for-the-record memorandum about his complaint.
Of this case, command spokesman Johnson said he could not judge, months later, the factors that led to the woman's detention.
The second episode, in June 2004, is found in sketchy detail in e-mail exchanges among six U.S. Army colonels, discussing an undisclosed number of female detainees held in northern Iraq by the Stryker Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division.
The first message, from a military police colonel, advised staff officers of the U.S. northern command that the Iraqi police would not take control of the jailed women without charges being brought against them.
In a second e-mail, a command staff officer asked an officer of the unit holding the women, "What are you guys doing to try to get the husband — have you tacked a note on the door and challenged him to come get his wife?"
Two days later, the brigade's deputy commander advised the higher command, "As each day goes by, I get more input that these gals have some info and/or will result in getting the husband."
He went on, "These ladies fought back extremely hard during the original detention. They have shown indications of deceit and misinformation." The command staff colonel wrote in reply, referring to a commanding general, "CG wants the husband."
The released e-mails stop there, and the women's eventual status could not be immediately determined.
Of this episode, Johnson said, "It is clear the unit believed the females detained had substantial knowledge of insurgent activity and warranted being held." ___
By MARTA FALCONI, Associated Press Writer 5 minutes ago
VITERBO, Italy - An Italian judge heard arguments Friday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.
The priest's atheist accuser, Luigi Cascioli, says the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people for 2,000 years with a fable that Christ existed, and that the Rev. Enrico Righi violated two Italian laws by reasserting the claim.
Lawyers for Righi and Cascioli, old schoolmates, made their arguments in a brief, closed-door hearing before Judge Gaetano Mautone in Viterbo, north of Rome. They said they expected the judge to decide quickly.
Cascioli filed a criminal complaint in 2002 after Righi wrote in a parish bulletin that Jesus did indeed exist, and that he was born of a couple named Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and lived in Nazareth.
Cascioli claims that Righi's assertion constituted two crimes under Italian law: so-called "abuse of popular belief," in which someone fraudulently deceives people; and "impersonation," in which someone gains by attributing a false name to a person.
"The point is not to establish whether Jesus existed or not, but if there is a question of possible fraud," Cascioli's attorney, Mauro Fonzo, told reporters before the hearing.
Cascioli says the church has been gaining financially by "impersonating" as Christ someone by the name of John of Gamala, the son of Judas from Gamala.
He has said he has little hope of the case succeeding in overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy, but that he is merely going through the necessary legal steps to reach the European Court of
Human Rights, where he intends to accuse the church of what he calls "religious racism." Righi, 76, has stressed substantial historical evidence — both Christian and non-Christian — of Jesus' existence.
"Don Righi is innocent because he said and wrote what he has the duty to say and write," Righi's attorney, Severo Bruno, told reporters.
He said he told Mautone during the hearing that Righi was not asserting a historical fact when he wrote of Jesus' existence, but rather "an expression of theological principles."
"When Don Righi spoke about Christ's humanity ... he was affirming that he needs to be considered as a man. What his name is, where he comes from or who his parents are is secondary," he said.
Fonza said he countered that there have long been questions of Christ's existence and that the matter warranted discussion in the court.
"When somebody states a wrong fact, abusing the ignorance of people, and gains from that, that is one of the gravest crimes," Cascioli told reporters.
Righi's brother, Luigi Righi, attended the hearing and said his brother was "serene but bitter."
IS THIS THE AVENUE FOR A WORLD WIDE FAMINE? Check out this commentary from www.whatreallyhappened.com This is one of the most dangerous products to be created. The intention is to force farmers to use GM seeds because the new genetics-marked pesticides won;t work with natural crops. The seeds produced by the GM crops will not germinate, forcing the farmers to always have to buy new seeds every year. All well and good, except that it is already well established that the artificial genes from plants spread well beyond the original garden, carried by wind, insects, and birds. In one infamous case in Canada, Monsanto dues a farmer downwind of one of their GM fields for "Patent infringement" when he discovered his natural organic crops had become contaminated with genetically modified pollen from the Monsanto crop. So, what happens when the "suicide" gene, the gene that renders all subsequent generations of seed unable to germinate, escapes the original product and heads into the wild? All natural plants that became contaminated with that gene would go extinct within just a few generations. For food crops, this means that all farmers would eventually be forced to purchase GM seeds because their natural food crops would die out. For wild plants, it means starvation for all life forms dependent on those plants.
Ratzinger - alias "Pope" Benedict XVI denys that Jesus Christ must be seen as the Messiah. “Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger, God and the World, 2000, p. 209:
“It is of course possible to read the Old Testament so that it is not directed toward Christ; it does not point quite unequivocally to Christ. And if Jews cannot see the promises as being fulfilled in him, this is not just ill will on their part, but genuinely because of the obscurity of the texts and the tension in the relationship between these texts and the figure of Jesus. Jesus brings a new meaning to these texts – yet it is he who first gives them their proper coherence and relevance and significance. There are perfectly good reasons, then, for denying that the Old Testament refers to Christ and for saying, No, that is not what he said. And there are also good reasons for referring it to him – that is what the dispute between Jews and Christians is about.”
NO PUNISHMENT FOR KILLING THOSE ARABS - AFTER ALL THEY ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS! What a sad state we are in - imagine - the Army should have given him clear rules not to brutally murder or torture another human being! Imagine that we should support our troops even when they brutally murder unarmed helpless human beings! Remember - they want you to back them no matter what they do!
By JON SARCHE, Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago
FORT CARSON, Colo. - A military jury on Monday ordered a reprimand but no jail time for an Army interrogator convicted of killing an Iraqi general by stuffing him headfirst into a sleeping bag and sitting on his chest. Prosecutors said the general suffocated. Spinner said he was gratified by Monday's verdict but said his client should never have been charged.
"When you send our men and women over there to fight, and to put their lives on the line, you've got to back them up, you've got to give them clear rules, and you've got to give them enough room to make mistakes without treating them like criminals," he said. Welshofer said he had "the utmost respect for the decision the panel members came to tonight. ... I'm sure it was difficult for them."
Earlier in the day during the sentencing hearing, Welshofer fought back tears as he apologized and asked the military jury not to separate him from his wife and children by sending him to prison.
"I deeply apologize if my actions tarnished the soldiers serving in Iraq," Welshofer said. His wife, Barbara, testified that she was worried about providing for their three children if her husband was sentenced to prison, but she said she was proud of him for contesting the case.
"I love him more for fighting this," she said, tears welling up in her eyes. "He's always said that you need to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do."
Lt. Col. Paul Calvert, also testifying on Welshofer's behalf, said attacks by Iraqi insurgents around the western Iraqi city of al Qaim, the area where Mowhoush was taken into custody, "went to practically none" when Mowhoush died.
Prosecutor Maj. Tiernan Dolan did not question the assertion but suggested Mowhoush's death likely denied coalition forces valuable information. Dolan did not call any witnesses at the sentencing hearing.
Welshofer, dressed in his Army uniform and seated between his attorneys, listened quietly Monday as other witnesses praised his abilities as a solider.
The defense had argued a heart condition caused Mowhoush's death, and that Welshofer's commanders had approved the interrogation technique.
Prosecutors described Welshofer as a rogue interrogator who became frustrated with Mowhoush's refusal to answer questions and escalated his techniques from simple interviews to beatings to simulating drowning, and finally, to death.
Did you know that five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death in Libya in May, having been convicted of intentionally giving HIV to more than 400 children? Allegedly they were part of a CIA/Israeli intelligence plot. Libyan healthcare workers were cleared in the case. http://www.memag.com/memag/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=114223
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH Her Doctrine and Morals Third Sunday after Epiphany 22 January 2006
Dear Friend, In today's Gospel we hear a leper saying to Christ: "Lord if Thou wilt, Thou can make me clean." This most beautiful acknowledgement of faith should be an example to us all. What is God's will for us, unless it is that we be made clean so that we can enter into the kingdom of Heaven? And who is the only one that can make us clean, if not God? If it is God's will that we be made clean and if He is the only one who can do the cleansing, then why are we not all made clean?
It is because all have not asked as the leper in today's gospel did. How many actually go to Christ and ask Him to cleanse or heal them? It is useless to think as the Protestants: that we don't have to go anywhere because God is everywhere. Or that we do not have to do anything because God does everything.
There is much for us to do. First we must have Faith. Like the leper who knew that Christ could cure him. Faith like the centurion, "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should enter under my roof; but only say the word and my servant shall be healed."
We must believe that God can do everything. There is no one on this earth that God cannot help. There is no problem on this earth that God cannot fix. And He can do all this just by merely saying the word. Just as when he created this earth and all that is on it. He just has to say: "let it be" and it IS.
Yet, faith alone is not enough. Just because the leper believed that Christ could cleanse him, it did not make him clean. That was not enough, the leper had to go to Christ and ask for this gift. Just because the centurion believed that Christ could heal his servant, this did not make the servant healed. The centurion had to go to Christ and ask for this favor.
And please notice also that it was not enough for the leper to believe and to ask. After Christ touched him and cleansed him, He had him perform a work. "See thou tell no man; but go, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them." It is not enough for us to just believe in Christ; it is not enough for us to believe and ask His grace for ourselves. There is something more that is required. We must perform the good works. "Faith without works is dead."
We cannot approach Christ in His humanity any longer because He is now in Heaven. But, Christ has not left us orphaned. He has given us Himself in the Blessed Sacrament. He has left His power with us in His priests who are commissioned by the Holy Ghost to act in Christ's name. Through envy and/or jealousy the Protestants have turned against the priests that have been commissioned by God to act in His name. They have refused to go show themselves to the priest. And so they are not cleansed and they are not healed. And as long as these poor souls stay away from the priests commissioned by God, they by necessity stay away from God Himself, because God only makes Himself physically present here on earth through the ministrations of His priests.
Likewise the Novus Ordo religion which has undermined not only all the sacraments but the very priesthood itself, so that it too is in the same situation with the Protestants: without priests commissioned by God and without His presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
All too many deceive themselves into thinking that they have faith, but their "faith" is in vain, because they will not perform the deeds that Christ requires. This leads us to conclude that their "faith" is not really faith at all. They may believe in themselves but they surely do not believe in Christ. If they did believe in Him they would do what He says.
Let us look at ourselves and see what is in us that needs to be cleansed and healed, and with faith, go to Christ - through His priest - in the sacrament of Penance. Let us show ourselves to the priest to receive that grace which God wishes us to have. Let us do the works that God would have us do. And with this faith and these works God will say to us too: "Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee."
ROME, Jan. 18 - The official Vatican newspaper published an article this week labeling as "correct" the recent decision by a judge in Pennsylvania that intelligent design should not be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution.
"If the model proposed by Darwin is not considered sufficient, one should search for another," Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, wrote in the Jan. 16-17 edition of the paper, L'Osservatore Romano.
"But it is not correct from a methodological point of view to stray from the field of science while pretending to do science," he wrote, calling intelligent design unscientific. "It only creates confusion between the scientific plane and those that are philosophical or religious."
The article was not presented as an official church position. But in the subtle and purposely ambiguous world of the Vatican, the comments seemed notable, given their strength on a delicate question much debated under the new pope, Benedict XVI.
Advocates for teaching evolution hailed the article. "He is emphasizing that there is no need to see a contradiction between Catholic teachings and evolution," said Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, professor of biology at the University of California, Irvine, and a former Dominican priest. "Good for him."
But Robert L. Crowther, spokesman for the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle organization where researchers study and advocate intelligent design, dismissed the article and other recent statements from leading Catholics defending evolution. Drawing attention to them was little more than trying "to put words in the Vatican's mouth," he said.
L'Osservatore is the official newspaper of the Vatican and basically represents the Vatican's views. Not all its articles represent official church policy. At the same time, it would not be expected to present an article that dissented deeply from that policy.
In July, Christoph Schönborn, an Austrian cardinal close to Benedict, seemed to call into question what has been official church teaching for years: that Catholicism and evolution are not necessarily at odds.
In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times, he played down a 1996 letter in which Pope John Paul II called evolution "more than a hypothesis." He wrote, "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not."
There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that evolution explains the diversity of life on earth, but advocates for intelligent design posit that biological life is so complex that it must have been designed by an intelligent source.
At least twice, Pope Benedict has signaled concern about the issue, prompting questions about his views. In April, when he was formally installed as pope, he said human beings "are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution." In November, he called the creation of the universe an "intelligent project," wording welcomed by supporters of intelligent design. Many Roman Catholic scientists have criticized intelligent design, among them the Rev. George Coyne, a Jesuit who is director of the Vatican Observatory. "Intelligent design isn't science, even though it pretends to be," he said in November, as quoted by the Italian news service ANSA.
"Intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."
In October, Cardinal Schönborn sought to clarify his own remarks, saying he meant to question not the science of evolution but what he called evolutionism, an attempt to use the theory to refute the hand of God in creation.
"I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained," he said in a speech. To Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University and a Catholic, "That is my own view as well."
"As long as science does not pretend it can answer spiritual questions, it's O.K.," he said. Dr. Miller, who testified for the plaintiffs in the recent suit in Dover, Pa., challenging the teaching of intelligent design, said Dr. Facchini, Father Coyne and Cardinal Schönborn (in his later statements) were confirming "traditional Catholic thinking." On Dec. 20, a federal district judge ruled that public schools could not present intelligent design as an alternative to evolutionary theory.
In the Osservatore article, Dr. Facchini wrote that scientists could not rule out a divine "superior design" to creation and the history of mankind. But he said Catholic thought did not preclude a design fashioned through an evolutionary process.
"God's project of creation can be carried out through secondary causes in the natural course of events, without having to think of miraculous interventions that point in this or that direction," he wrote.
Neither Dr. Facchini nor the editors of L'Osservatore could be reached for comment. Lawrence M. Krauss, a professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, said Dr. Facchini's article was important because it made the case that people did not have to abandon religious faith in order to accept the theory of evolution. "Science does not make that requirement," he said.
Ian Fisher reported from Rome for this article, and Cornelia Dean from New York.
By ADAM GORLICK, Associated Press Writer Thu Jan 19, 12:51 AM ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A comatose girl beaten with a baseball bat is responding to medical stimuli and breathing on her own, officials said Wednesday, a day after Massachusetts' highest court ruled the state could take her off life support.
"There's a possible change in her condition," said Denise Monteiro, a spokeswoman for the Department of Social Services. "She's having some responses."
The state, which has custody, had asked that Haleigh Poutre's ventilator and feeding tube be withdrawn after doctors said she was in an irreverseable vegatative state. Monteiro told The Boston Globe for its Thursday editions that Haleigh is breathing without the ventilator that she has depended on for four months.
Monteiro would not say how Haleigh was responding or what tests she was responding to. She said doctors will perform more tests Thursday "to see what the movements mean." The girl's stepfather, Jason Strickland is already charged with beating the girl and could face a murder charge if she dies. He has fought to keep her on life support, but the Supreme Judicial Court ruled against him Tuesday.
One of Strickland's lawyers said Wednesday night he now wants more time before the defense decides whether to bring its case before a federal judge.
"This is exactly the point we were trying to make. What's the rush? Just give her a chance," attorney John Egan said. "Medical science is not that certain. We would hope the whole process will slow down, and everyone will step back and end the compulsion to end her life."
Haleigh has been in a coma since September when she was hospitalized with a damaged brain stem. Doctors have said she will die within a few days without the feeding tube. Haleigh's aunt and adoptive mother, Holli Strickland, also was charged with assault. But less than two weeks later, she was found dead alongside her grandmother in a possible murder-suicide.
Haleigh's biological mother, Allison Avrett, supported removing the girl from life support. She said she met with DSS officials and doctors Wednesday but would not comment on reports of her daughter's responses.
Along with deciding that Strickland has no say in Haleigh's medical care, the state's highest court also denied his request to unseal court documents related to Haleigh's life support.
The documents were not made public because of confidentiality laws. That has led to some concerns that DSS is making life-and-death decisions without any outside review.
Mark Dupont, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said the church is concerned that Haleigh's case "seems awfully rushed" and has received no input from anyone outside DSS.
A critical look at this article exposes certain things to the thinking mind.
1. The only person who had any legal authority over this girl was her step-father - who the courts later ruled against. He was pushing for her to stay alive so he would not be charged with her murder. So the only person with any legal authority over her (till the court ruled against him) was not about to sign to donate her organs....keep this thought in mind as we go on...
2. The article states that these infallible doctors, the same ones who declare someone "brain dead" said that she was in an irreverseable vegatative state. She was taken off of life support and began to breath on her own and then they say that there were possible changes in her condition! Possible -AMAZING - these people do not even know what reality is! Hmm - she is breathing and moving when given stimuli - but it is only "possible" that her condition has changed!
3. The defense attorney actually is the only one in the article who made any sense.
4. Note how the records of her lifesupport are SEALED - now we are back to my original point - the one that i asked you to keep in mind. I believe that it is quite possible that these records are sealed because they contain attempts by the state to have her organs donated - and if this was made public - all hell could break loose in the organ harvesting business! You see - the only person who could legally give consent to the donation of her organs was her legal guardian who was the step father who was accused of causing her injuries to begin with!
They don't even try to hide it anymore! Organ donation = MURDER!
A while back on Bridget's Blog we were discussing the barbaric and satanic practice of vital organ donation. It was clearly pointed out that the organs are taken from the LIVING DONOR who is literally murdered for his/her organs. This discussion led to one person, who was obviously of bad will to not post anymore.
Anyhow - here is a clip and link of an article about a teen that was gunned down by a para-military "swat" team at his highschool.
By TRAVIS REED, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 34 minutes ago
Family and friends gathered at a private candlelight vigil Sunday to mourn a 15-year-old they knew as a troubled but friendly boy who was shot during a confrontation with police at his middle school.
Christopher Penley was pronounced dead early Sunday, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office Web site, two days after a deputy gunned him down as the boy brandished a pellet gun that closely resembled a 9mm handgun.
The boy had been described as clinically brain dead Saturday, and was kept alive so his organs could be harvested, said Mark Nation, a lawyer for Penley's parents.
On Friday, he was in a Milwee Middle School classroom with the pellet gun when another boy scuffled with him for control of the weapon. Christopher was later cornered by sheriff's deputies and a SWAT team in a bathroom, authorities said.
Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said the boy was suicidal and couldn't be talked into surrendering the weapon. The teenager was shot after he raised the gun at a deputy, Eslinger said.
The sheriff said it wasn't until after the incident that authorities realized the weapon was only a pellet gun.
No one else at the 1,100-student school in suburban Orlando was injured.
The media was barred from the memorial service near Penley's neighborhood, which was reeling from the shooting. Family and friends say the boy was emotionally troubled, reportedly bullied at school and had run away from home several times.
Mourners emerged from the church carrying candles, sobbing and hugging each other. "There were a lot of songs, praying, the minister spoke a few times — trying to comfort the family that he's in a better place," said Heather Sinclair, who mentored Penley in elementary school in Winter Springs.
Pastor Robbie Hall said he addressed the roughly 135 people in the church with a message of peace.
Outside, 18-year-old Steven Lewis, who had known Christopher for five years, said the teen "got along with everyone."
"Everyone was his best friend," Lewis said. "He's still with me in my heart." Funeral arrangements were pending.
"It's just unbelievable to me that he's gone," said Bucky Hurt, a family friend who had been with the boy's father, Ralph Penley, at the hospital. "It's very, very devastating. Good kid too — it's a tragedy."
More than 100 members of Congress visited Israel in 2005.
In his summary to the Israeli Cabinet this week on relations with the United States, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said 23 U.S. senators and 80 members of the U.S. House of Representatives visited Israel last year, some multiple times.
“The legislative branch has maintained its unique and long-standing status as a stronghold of support for Israel, transcending party lines and Congressional houses,” he said.
St. Judas? WHAT NEXT? This is the exact commentary as it appeared on novusordowatch.org
BREAKING:You can't make this stuff up:New Church moves to "rehabilitate" Judas Iscariot!Wow, not even Novus Ordo Watch would have thought this to be possible, at least not this soon. We thought they would first rehabilitate Martin Luther, but no, they go straight for the "Son of Perdition" (John 17:12). Folks, this says all you need to know. What more evidence do you need that the current Vatican establishment is not the Catholic Church? What's next? Will they canonize Satan? The Blessed Lord Jesus Christ specifically stated that Judas Iscariot would go to hell: "none of them is lost, but the son of perdition" (John 17:12), and "woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born" (Matthew 26:24).More on this soon...
Here is the story from the Times:
The Times January 12, 2006
Judas the MisunderstoodFrom Richard Owen, in RomeVatican moves to clear reviled disciple’s name
JUDAS ISCARIOT, the disciple who betrayed Jesus with a kiss, is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars.
The proposed “rehabilitation” of the man who was paid 30 pieces of silver to identify Jesus to Roman soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane, comes on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just “fulfilling his part in God’s plan”.
Christians have traditionally blamed Judas for aiding and abetting the Crucifixion, and his name is synonymous with treachery. According to St Luke, Judas was “possessed by Satan”. Now, a campaign led by Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, head of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Science, is aimed at persuading believers to look kindly at a man reviled for 2,000 years.
Mgr Brandmuller told fellow scholars it was time for a “re-reading” of the Judas story. He is supported by Vittorio Messori, a prominent Catholic writer close to both Pope Benedict XVI and the late John Paul II.
Signor Messori said that the rehabilitation of Judas would “resolve the problem of an apparent lack of mercy by Jesus toward one of his closest collaborators”. He told La Stampa that there was a Christian tradition that held that Judas was forgiven by Jesus and ordered to purify himself with “spiritual exercises” in the desert. In scholarly circles, it has long been unfashionable to demonise Judas and Catholics in Britain are likely to welcome Judas’s rehabilitation.
Father Allen Morris, Christian Life and Worship secretary for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, said: “If Christ died for all — is it possible that Judas too was redeemed through the Master he betrayed?” The “rehabilitation” of Judas could help the Pope’s drive to improve Christian-Jewish relations, which he has made a priority of his pontificate.
Some Bible experts say Judas was “a victim of a theological libel which helped to create anti Semitism” by forming an image of him as a “sinister villain” prepared to betray for money. In many medieval plays and paintings Judas is portrayed with a hooked nose and exaggerated Semitic features. In Dante’s Inferno, Judas is relegated to the lowest pits of Hell, where he is devoured by a three-headed demon.
The move to clear Judas’s name coincides with plans to publish the alleged Gospel of Judas for the first time in English, German and French. Though not written by Judas, it is said to reflect the belief among early Christians — now gaining ground in the Vatican — that in betraying Christ Judas was fulfilling a divine mission, which led to the arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus and hence to man’s salvation.
Mgr Brandmuller said that he expected “no new historical evidence” from the supposed gospel, which had been excluded from the canon of accepted Scripture.
But it could “serve to reconstruct the events and context of Christ’s teachings as they were seen by the early Christians”. This included that Jesus had always preached “forgiveness for one’s enemies”.
Some Vatican scholars have expressed concern over the reconsideration of Judas. Monsignor Giovanni D’Ercole, a Vatican theologian, said it was “dangerous to re-evaulate Judas and muddy the Gospel accounts by reference to apocryphal writings. This can only create confusion in believers.” The Gospels tell how Judas later returned the 30 pieces of silver — his “blood money” — and h anged himself, or according to the Acts of the Apostles, “fell headlong and burst open so that all his entrails burst out”.
Some accounts suggest he acted out of disappointment that Jesus was not a revolutionary who intended to overthrow Roman occupation and establish “God’s Kingdom on Earth”. In the Gospel accounts, Jesus reveals to the disciples at the Last Supper that one of them will betray him, but does not say which. He adds “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
But he also — according to St Matthew — acknowledged that Judas had a divine function to fulfil, saying to him during the arrest, “Friend, do what you are here to do” and adding that “the prophecies of the Scriptures must be fulfilled”.
The “Gospel of Judas”, a 62-page worn and tattered papyrus, was found in Egypt half a century ago and later sold by antiquities dealers to the Maecenas Foundation in Basle, Switzerland.
MORE than 500 army troops, backed by helicopters, armoured vehicles and artillery, will turn downtown Winnipeg into an armed camp as part of a military exercise to train soldiers for the modern battlefield.
Exercise Charging Bison will unfold for seven days and nights beginning April 30 next year in what is believed to be the largest urban warfare training exercise of its kind ever held in Canada. There won't be live ammunition, but there will be laser weapons and a variety of blanks and 'simunition' -- or simulated munitions -- that make noise and smoke or discharge harmless projectiles.
The drill is designed to simulate the kind of complex conditions soldiers would encounter in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where conventional warfare is conducted simultaneously with humanitarian relief operations and nation-building, said Col. Kelly Woiden, commander of 38 Brigade.
Urban battlefields are sometimes known as "three-block wars" because troops could help people on one block, fight insurgents on another, and guard convoys on another, Woiden explained.
What: Operation Charging Bison will involve 500 troops training in downtown Winnipeg. Who: The operation is run by 38 Brigade. Why: It’s designed to train troops in urban warfare. Where: A base camp will be set up on the western edge of the city, but most of the exercises will take place in the downtown. When: Day and night between April 30 and May 6.
"We're going to create a realistic environment of the situation that individual soldiers can face today," he said. "You could be doing humanitarian relief one moment and then fighting a war the next. It is the most complicated terrain for a soldier."
The operation is also part of a long-term plan to prepare 200 of the brigade's soldiers to support a 1,000-person task force in 2008, if necessary, he said.
The 38 Brigade is a reserve unit responsible for a dozen formations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.
It will provide most of the personnel for the exercise, although some will come from British Columbia and Alberta, and possibly from the United States, Woiden said, adding 17 Wing will also provide logistics support.
About 100 police officers and civilians will be given a role in the exercise, either as opposing forces or relief organizations.
The military may also recruit drama students from the University of Manitoba to play the roles of demonstrators or insurgents.
"The purpose is to learn and we may rerun the same scenario several times," Woiden said. The operation will occupy a large swath of downtown Winnipeg from Balmoral Street on the west, south to the Assiniboine River, north to the CP Rail tracks and east into The Forks and St. Boniface.
Woiden said the exercise is still in the planning stages and the boundaries could change. A base camp will be established on the western edge of the city, but there will be smaller camps downtown, he said.
The exercise will continue night and day, but Woiden said he did not anticipate any significant disruption of traffic or commercial operations.
Military observers will keep score and determine who was killed and who was wounded during the exercise.
"This is different than traditional training when the infantry were facing open ground in front of them, with soldiers in a different uniform," Woiden said. "This is much more complex because we don't know who the enemy is or where the threats are."
Reserve units have been used in the past to fill out the ranks of the regular force, but Woiden said the military now wants the militia trained to higher level of combat readiness.
These type of urban exercises have been quitely going on in American cities for several years - even before 9/11. They are desensitizing soldiers so that they will be able to occupy their own cities and towns when the time comes - and they are training the citizens to accept it!
BE READY - it is coming and much faster than we think.
The Blessed Mother warned that in the last days the blood of martyrs will flow like rivers!
What we are in for will be worse then what the first Christians endured during the Roman Persecutions!