In the constant stream of accusations, mainly from Jews in the Diaspora, Israelis are labelled self hating, for daring to criticise their government or systems.  It is a betrayal they are told. 

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liberation theology

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero

Monsignor RomeroA youthful Father Oscar Romero with Salvadorans
(Photo courtesy of the Archbishop Romero Trust)

Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 – March 24, 1980) was a prominent Roman Catholic priest in El Salvador during the 1960s and 1970s becoming Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977. After witnessing numerous violations of human rights, he began to speak out on behalf of the poor and the victims of repression. This led to numerous conflicts, both with the government in El Salvador and within the Catholic Church. After speaking out against U.S. military support for the government of El Salvador, and calling for soldiers to disobey orders to fire on innocent civilians, Archbishop Romero was shot dead while celebrating Mass at the small chapel of the cancer hospital where he lived. It is believed that those who organised his assassination were members of Salvadoran death squads, including two graduates of the School of the Americas.

Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino, O.P. (born 8 June 1928 in Lima) is a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest regarded as one of the principal founders of liberation theology in Latin America. He holds the John Cardinal O’Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He has been professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe. He is a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, and in 1993 he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his tireless work. He has also published in and been a member of the board of directors of the international journal, Concilium.

The church has not formally embraced the progressive movement, but Gustavo Gutiérrez’s upcoming visit another sign of rehabilitation under Pope Francis

Gustavo Gutierrez and the preferential option for the poor

By John Dear SJ

Created Nov 08, 2011 by John Dear SJ

“I hope my life tries to give testimony to the message of the Gospel, above all that God loves the world and loves those
who are poorest within it.”

That’s the recent summation of his life by 83-year-old Peruvian theologian Gustavo Gutierrez, founder of liberation theology and its central tenet, “the preferential option for the poor.”

In his introduction, Groody reviews Gutierrez’s three bottom-line principles about life and death at the bottom.

First, material poverty is never good but an evil to be opposed. “It is not simply an occasion for charity but a degrading force that denigrates human dignity and ought to be opposed and rejected.”

Second, poverty is not a result of fate or laziness, but is due to structural injustices that privilege some while marginalizing others. “Poverty is not inevitable; collectively the poor can organize and facilitate social change.”

Third, poverty is a complex reality and is not limited to its economic dimension. To be poor is to be insignificant. Poverty means an early and unjust death.

The Pope’s Holy War Against Liberation Theology

The election of a left-leaning former Bishop in Paraguay, and the growth of left movements around Latin America puts Pope Benedict and the Vatican on a collision course with Liberation Theology.

Nikolas Kozloff

Recognizing the pressing need for social justice, Liberation Theology was minted by Pope John XXIII to challenge the Church to defend the oppressed and the poor. Since its emergence, Liberation Theology has consistently mixed politics and religion. Its adherents have often been active in labor unions and left-wing political parties. Followers of Liberation Theology take inspiration from fallen martyrs like Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador and Dorothy Mae Stang, an American-born nun who was murdered by ranching interests in Brazil.

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About Egeria
Egeria, one of the earliest documented Christian pilgrims, visited the most important destinations of pilgrimage in the eastern Mediterranean between 381 and 384 AD. She wrote an account of her travels, which is among the earliest descriptions of pilgrimage travel to the Holy Land and beyond.

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Church attendance

Stories from Ghana – Open from james ault on Vimeo.

Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. The notion of “Europe” and the “Western World” has been intimately connected with the concept of “Christianity and Christendom” many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[14]

Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Europe.[15] Until the Age of Enlightenment,[16] Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, musicand science.[15][17] Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy,Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature etc.

Christianity had a significant impact on education and science and medicine as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,[18] and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[19][20] Many clerics throughout history have made significant contributions to science and Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science.[21][22][23] The Civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare,[24]founding hospitals,[25] economics (as the Protestant work ethic),[26][27] politics,[28] architecture,[29] literature[30] andfamily life.[31]

Although the Protestant reformation was a religious movement, it also had a strong impact on all other aspects of European life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.[32]

The Gallup International, a self-reporting survey conducted via telephone, indicates that 37% of Americans report that they attend religious services weekly or near-weekly in 2013.[1] However, self-reporting surveys conducted online indicate substantially lower attendance rates,[2] and methods of measurement that don’t rely on self-reporting estimate even lower rates; for instance, a 2005 study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion found that just 22% of Americans attend services weekly.[3]). This compares to other countries claims such as 20% of Canadian Citizens, 15% of French citizens, 10% of UK citizens,[4] 8.8% of Australian citizens and 5.6% of Dutch citizens.[5] In the U.K., in 2011, an average once-a-week attendance in Anglican churches went down by 0.3% compared with 2012, thus exhibiting a stabilizing trend.[6] Previously, starting from 2000, an average rate of weekly church attendance in Britain was dropping down 1% annually. In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 37% of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis.[7] In its turn, Gallup estimated the once-a-week church attendance of the Americans in 2013 as 39%.[8]

6 facts about South Korea’s growing Christian population

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Is holy war against Christians and Jews—“infidels”—a perversion of Islam? Here’s the evidence, from Islamic texts and history.

by Mark Hartwig, Ph.D.

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Below the Surface, Religious Tug-of-War Marks Chiapas Conflict

Indigenous beliefs, traditional Catholicism, and evangelical Christianity all play a part in the troubled region’s history

Sunday, Feb 15, 1998 2:00 PM 

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Our Lady of Guadalupe


Our Lady of Guadalupe (SpanishNuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (SpanishVirgen de Guadalupe) is a celebrated Roman Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary.

The shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was the most important Marian shrine in the medieval kingdom of Castile. It is revered in the monastery ofSanta María de Guadalupe, in today’s Cáceres province of the Extremadura autonomous community of Spain.

Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of three Black Madonnas in Spain. The statue was canonically crowned in 1928 with a crown designed and crafted by Father Felix Granda.

The shrine housed a statue reputed to have been carved by Luke the Evangelist and given to Saint Leander, archbishop of Seville, by Pope Gregory I. When Seville was taken by the Moors, a group of priests fled northward and buried the statue in the hills near the Guadalupe River inExtremadura. At the beginning of the 14th century, a shepherd claimed that the Virgin Mary had appeared to him and ordered him to ask priests to dig at the site of the apparition. Excavating priests rediscovered the hidden statue and built a small shrine around it which evolved into the great Guadalupe monastery.

Pilgrims began arriving in 1326, and in 1340, King Alfonso XI took a personal interest in the shrine’s development, attributing his victory over the Moors at the Battle of Rio Salado to the Virgin’s intercession. Our Lady of Guadalupe, along with Santiago de Compostela and Nuestra Señora del Pilar became rallying points for the Christian Spaniards in their reconquista of Iberia.

In 1386, the shrine was commended to the Hieronymites, who turned the popular devotion to the figure into a genuine cult. Copies of the statue were venerated in satellite chapels.

The name of the Mexican Lady of Guadalupe derives from the Extremadura, homeland of many conquistadors, including Hernán Cortés.

The Augustinians helped spread the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe (Extremadura) in the Philippines through mission works. The assignment of priests from Caceres, Spain contributed to the development of yet another devotion in this new Spanish territory. In 1843, an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe arrived in the Visayan province of Bohol. The image was brought from Spain by Augustinian Recollects who were charged to take care of ecclessiastical functions in Bohol after the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century.

Two accounts, published in the 1640s, one in Spanish, one in Nahuatl, tell how, while walking from his village to Mexico City in the early morning of December 9, 1531 (then the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire),[1] the peasant Juan Diego saw on the slopes of the Hill of Tepeyac a vision of a girl of fifteen or sixteen years of age, surrounded by light. Speaking to him in Nahuatl, the local language, she asked that a church be built at that site, in her honor; from her words, Juan Diego recognized the Lady as the Virgin Mary. Diego told his story to the Spanish Archbishop, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, who instructed him to return to Tepeyac Hill, and ask the lady for a miraculous sign to prove her identity. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill. Although December was very late in the growing season for flowers to bloom, Juan Diego found at the usually barren hilltop Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, which the Virgin arranged in his peasant tilma cloak. When Juan Diego opened the cloak before Bishop Zumárraga on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and in their place was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, miraculously imprinted on the fabric.[2]

The icon is now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited Marian shrines.[3] The icon is Mexico’s most popular religious and cultural image, bearing the titles: the Queen of Mexico,[4] and was once proclaimed Patroness of the Philippines (but later revised) by Pope Pius XI in 1935. In 1999, Pope John Paul II proclaimed the Virgin Mary Patroness of the AmericasEmpress of Latin America, and Protectress of Unborn Children[5][6][7] under this Marian title.

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the battlefiled

The Battle-Field
By William Cullen Bryant
ONCE this soft turf, this rivulet ’s sands,
  Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
And fiery hearts and armed hands
  Encountered in the battle-cloud.
Ah! never shall the land forget         5
  How gushed the life-blood of her brave—
Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
  Upon the soil they fought to save.
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still;
  Alone the chirp of flitting bird,         10
And talk of children on the hill,
  And bell of wandering kine are heard.
No solemn host goes trailing by
  The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain;
Men start not at the battle-cry,         15
  Oh, be it never heard again!
Soon rested those who fought; but thou
  Who minglest in the harder strife
For truths which men receive not now,
  Thy warfare only ends with life.         20
A friendless warfare! lingering long
  Through weary day and weary year,
A wild and many-weaponed throng
  Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.
Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,         25
  And blench not at thy chosen lot.
The timid good may stand aloof,
  The sage may frown—yet faint thou not.
Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
  The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;         30
For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
  The victory of endurance born.
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
  The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,         35
  And dies among his worshippers.
Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,
  When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
  Like those who fell in battle here.         40
Another hand thy sword shall wield,
  Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet’s mouth is pealed
  The blast of triumph o’er thy grave.
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Historia Calamitatum

Historia Calamitatum (known in English as “Story of His Misfortunes” or “A history of my Calamities”), also known as Abaelardi ad Amicum Suum Consolatoria, is an autobiographical work in Latin by Peter Abelard (1079-1142), a medieval French pioneer of scholastic philosophy. The work, written in 1132 or soon after, is one of the first autobiographical works in medieval Western Europe, written in the form of a letter (and, as such, is clearly influenced by Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions).

This extensive letter provides an honest self-analysis of Peter Abelard’s up to the age of about fifty-four. The Historia Calamitatum provides readers with knowledge of his views of women, learning, monastic life, Church and State combined, and the social milieu of the time. Within this important piece of literature, not only is one side of one of history’s best-known love stories told, but integral parts of the history of the Middle Ages are revealed. It should be particularly noted that this book was written at a time when Western Europe was just surfacing into the world of philosophy. The Historia is exceptionally readable, and presents a remarkably honest self-portrait of a man who could be arrogant and often felt persecuted. It provides a clear and fascinating picture of intellectual life in Paris before the formalization of the University, of the intellectual excitement of the period, of monastic life, and of his affair with Heloise, one of history’s most famous love stories. Throughout this letter, Abelard emphasizes how persecuted he feels by his peers. He quotes saints, apostles, and at one point, compares his struggles in likeness to those of Christ.

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Do Ostriches Bury Their Heads in the Sand?

Animal experts will tell you that this belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid predators is nothing more than a myth. After all, if an ostrich buried its head in the sand, it would soon die of asphyxiation. Given what we know about ostriches, though, it’s easy to see how this myth got started.

Ostriches are the largest and heaviest living birds in the world. Despite standing seven to nine feet tall and weighing as much as 350 pounds, these birds have relatively small heads. When nesting, they dig shallow holes in the ground to use as nests for their eggs. They use their beaks to turn their eggs several times each day. From a distance, an ostrich leaning into a hole to turn an egg could easily look like it’s burying its head in the sand!

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