Monday, March 31, 2008

Geaux Tigers On to the Final 4

I missed the game :(. Sorry for thelack of posting today. I was sick in major pain today. I was up by count 30 hours straight. Keep me in your prayers I think I shall be doing a medical procedure that I have been putting off after this in the near future.

Anyway I finally fell asleep at 3 pm and just checked the score :)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I know One Catholic Blogger Is Following the Tenn/ Notre Dame Women's Game

That is the Catholic Drudge Report itself Notre Dame is giving Tenn all they can handle even though Tennessee has grouped it appears.

For the Record Notre Dame is 0 and 19 against the the Volunteers. Notre Dame Ahead by 2 at the half

How I learned to quit worrying and love nuclear power

What a common sense Op-Ed.

More On the Newly Discovered St Augustine Sermons

Here is a tad more on the breaking news on the New St Augustine Sermons that were just found in Europe via this Wya of the Fathers Post More on the New Augustine Sermons .

Here is just a part:
Concealed in a medieval parchment manuscript amongst 70 other religious texts are ca. 26 sermons attributed to Augustine, 3 of them on brotherly love and alms-giving. These were known previously only by their titles cited in Possidius’ Indiculum. One sermon is on the martyrs Perpetua and Felicitas, and another on the recently martyred Cyprian, the latter of which condemns the copious drinking that took place on saints’ feast days. The final sermon deals with resurrection of the dead and biblical prophecies

Update- Thisis interesting about the location where these Sermons were found and perhaps while it took a while to find them. At Father's Z's entry More on the newly discovered sermons of St. Augustine of Hippo There are these two comments:

Ausgezeichnicht! An incredible find. Wish I could be there to work on the textual analysis. The Erfurt location gave me pause; the Augustine- Augustinian-Luther connection has always intrigued me. Perhaps Luther himself found some merit on these very pages?Comment by Denis Crnkovic — 29 March 2008 @ 9:25 am .


Actually Erfurt ought to be known not merely for Luther. There was a thriving Catholic culture there in the 1400s with large libraries at the Charterhouse and at the Benedictine monastery of St. Peter. The Carthusians were interacting extensively with lay people outside the monastery, providing counsel by means of written tractates on how to live a Christian life in the face of the rise of a new, well-to-do professional bourgeoisie. (This bourgeoisie has been claimed as the key demographic that “carried” the Reformation in Nuernberg and elsewhere, so the close and thoroughly Catholic leadership coming from cloistered religious in Erfurt is significant). Perhaps not coincidentally, Erfurt was one of the few cities to stay bi-confessional. Catholics retained a presence there and, under the Communists, managed to keep alive a seminary at which several Catholic theologians did very solid work in from the 1950s into the 1970s but which tended to be ignored in them major theological/historical centers in West Germany.
The fact that Erfurt was in the East Zone meant that it’s modest in number but remarkable in theological content manuscript collections did not receive the same kind of working over that was happening in the much larger centers like Munich, Vienna, Wolfenbuettel etc.Comment by Dennis Martin — 29 March 2008 @
7:29 pm

The Media Gives Unbalanced View on Iraq Again

Looking at CNN and other networks today one would think that Iraq is in free fall after the events of the last few days. The Strata-sphere gives a another viewpoint that should be considered and I suspect the media will pick up in the next few days. Go see Moqtada al-Sadr Surrenders.

Somehow I missed all this during all the coverage on the US networks
With the fifth day of fighting in Baghdad, Basrah and the South completed, the Mahdi Army has suffered major losses over the past 36 hours. The Mahdi Army has not faired well over the past five days of fighting, losing an estimated two percent of its combat power, using the best case estimate for the size of the militia.
A look at the open source press reports from the US and Iraqi military and the established newspapers indicates 145 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, 81 were wounded, 98 were captured, and 30 surrendered during the past 36 hours.
Since the fighting began on Tuesday 358 Mahdi Army fighters were killed, 531 were wounded, 343 were captured, and 30 surrendered. The US and Iraqi security forces have killed 125 Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad alone, while Iraqi security forces have killed 140 Mahdi fighters in Basra.
While the size of the Mahdi Army is a constant source of debate, media accounts often put the Mahdi Army at anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 fighters. With an estimated 1,000 Mahdi fighters killed, captured, wounded and surrendered, the Mahdi Army has taken an attrition rate of 1.5 to 2.5 percent over the past five days

I really recommend reading this also
Second-Hand Propaganda and More Media Distortions

Pope Benedict Talks About Divine Mercy at Today's Angelus

Thanks again to the Ratzinger Forum for the translation. More pics are available here also.

Dear brothers and sisters: During the Jubilee Year of 2000, the beloved Servant of God John Paul II decreed that in the whole Church the Sunday after Easter, also called Domenica in Albis (White Sunday), should also be designated as Divine Mercy Sunday. This came about together with the canonization of Faustina Kowalska, the humble Polish nun (1905-1938) who was a zealous messenger of the Merciful Jesus. Mercy is really the nucleus of the Gospel message - it is the name of God himself, the face with which he revealed himself in the Old Alliance and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive love.

This merciful love also illuminates the face of the Church, and is manifested both through the Sacraments, particularly that of Reconciliation, and through works of charity, individual and communal. Everything that the Church says and does shows the mercy that God has for man. When the Church needs to remind the faithful about a misunderstood truth, or a virtue that has been betrayed, it always does so with merciful love, so that men may have life and have it in abundance (cfr Jn 10,10). It is from divine mercy, which pacifies hearts, that peace in the world will come, peace among different peoples, cultures adn religions. Like Sister Faustina, John Paul II became in his turn the apostle of Divine Mercy.

That unforgettable evening of April 2, 2005, when he closed his eyes to this world, was the eve of the second Sunday of Easter, and many noted the singular coincidence that the date united in itself the Marian dimension, being the first Saturday of the month, and that of Divine Mercy. In fact, his long and multiform Pontificate also has that at its nucleus: his entire mission in the service of the truth about God and man and of peace in the world, is summarized in the message that he gave in Cracow-Lagiewniki in 2002, when he inaugurated the Shrine of Divine Mercy: "Beyond the mercy of God, there is no other source of hope for human beings". His message, like that of Sr. Faustina, leads us to the face of Christ, supreme revelation of God's mercy.

To contemplate that face constantly is the legacy he has left us, and which we have welcomed joyfully and have made our own. In the next few days, there will be much reflection on Divine Mercy at the first World Apostolic Congress on Divine Mercy in Rome, which will open with a Mass which, God willing,

I will preside over on Wednesday morning, April 2, on the third anniversary of the pious death of the Servant of God John Paul II. Let us place the Congress under the heavenly protection of Mary, our most Blessed Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy).

To her, let us entrust the great cause of peace in the world, so that God's mercy may fulfill what is impossible through men's efforts alone, and instill in men's hearts the courage for dialog and reconciliation.

After the prayers, he said:

I address my heartfelt greetings to the many pilgrims who are gahtered today in St. Peter's Square, and particularly to those who took part in the Holy Mass celebrated at the church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, on the occasion of this feast of Divine Mercy. Dear brothers and sisters, may the intercession of St. Faustina and the Servant of God John Paul II help you to be authentic witnesses to merciful love. As an example to imitate, I am happy to cite Mother Celestina Donati, founder of the Congregation of the Poor Daughters of St. Joseph Calasanzio, who will be proclaimed Blessed in Florence today.

In English, he said:

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that through faith we recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in the Church, and that we receive from him the gift of the Holy Spirit. During this Easter season may we strengthen our desire to bear witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ calling us to a life of peace and joy. Upon each of you present and your families, I invoke God’s blessings of happiness and wisdom. In Polish, he had a special message: I greet all the Polish pilgrims, but in particular, the faithful who are gathered at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Cracow-Lagiewniki. I entrust your personal concerns and the affairs of the Church in Poland to the Mercy of God. May the peace brought to us by the Risen Lord be always in your hearts. God bless you.

LSU Football Team Get Their BCS Rings

LSUsports net has a nice story here at Miles Surprises Football Team With BCS Rings There is a real nice photo gallery here

Moslems Now Outnumber Catholics

Vox Nova has more at We’re Number Two

Congrat Lady Tigers- On to The Elite Eight and North Carolina

It was not a pretty start but we won. Geaux Lady Tigers. I went down to New Orleans to watch the Lady Tigers play Oklahoma State. Now we are on on to the Elite Eight and North Carolina on Monday!!!!! I left Baton Rouge in the wee hours to do the ride home but here are a few quick links I found.

LSU Sports net has of course their good overview and wrap up at Maintaining Elite Status: LSU Too Much for Riley, Cowgirls, 67-52. There is a photo gallery here .

From the Picayune LSU follows familiar script. Also LSU senior guard turns up the heat to guide Lady Tigers past Cowgirls and into Elite Eight . From the Shreveport Times Dueling point guards tussle in Sweet 16

From the Oklahoma news service Riley, White exchange words during game

The Advocate has A date with eight and Rabalais: Passion overwhelms polish. Also see the Advocates Lady Tigers gain Elite status and LSU's balance too much for Cowgirls

THe LSU paper has LSU guards propel Lady Tigers to victory -- 3/29

Friday, March 28, 2008

LIght Posting Today

and partly tomorrow. Hitting the ball games :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Louisiana Catholic Blogger Update for March 27th

I have decided I really need this :) Go to our Louisiana Catholic expat Blogger Alive and Young post for details

I missed updating yesterday our fine Louisiana Catholic bloggers so here we go. It is a short one today. Some Louisiana bloggers(not naming names) have been a tad lazy this week.

Catholic Tube has two interesting vids. Be sure to check out Catholic Blogger Interview and Peter Kreeft Interview

Unskilled Labor has Are You a Catholic Democrat?

Alive and Young has Cartoon that isivery good that ran this past Sunday at Twice a Year Church Goers . I just love this artwork. Gosh I need this!!! go see Jim Tweedy . Also go see The Angelic Doctor Is In

Full Circle has a few entries up. Go see Faith like a child. He is risen! and I got an iPhone

Ville Platte Catholic Youth Group has God vs. Scientists: Creation. Also a great pics here at 2008 Way of the Cross Photos

Fr. Victor Brown’s Catholic Daily Message has Easter Wednesday (26 Mar 2008)

From The Recamier has her daily update here.

Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has She Requested A... and Loving Well by Sally Clarkson. Nice Fam pics here at New Life in Christ

The Brown Pelican Society has a ton of links . Sadly I am having to rush across town and can not link each individual one but be sure to check him out

Breaking- Catholics About to Win in English Reformation Battle

HA, I knew we would win that whole English Reformation thing in the end :) Tip of the Miter to CVSTOS FIDEI

The UK Herald has the story Act of Settlement review in shake-up In the sake of friendship after we take all their great boy Choirs( ours as a general rule suck it seems) and take back the wonder English Churches we shall give them Father Mcbrien, the National Catholic Reporter, that ex priest that writes all those horrid article in the Boston Globe, and all the people that construct all those wonderful Felt banners for us.

Non Catholics Need To Care About Catholic Bashing

A very nice post here at Catholic Media Review entitled Why Catholic-Bashing Should Concern All Christians . I should say on the flip side Cathlolics should really care about Evangelical -Bashing. Some of the stuff said about Huckabee and alot of his Evangelical fans this past year was plain horrid. I use that as a example because I saw so much of it.

Reagan Liason- Catholics Crucial To John McCain

Tip of the Hat to Cathlete's wonderful site that led me this story Catholic vote could make or break McCain, says Reagan Catholic liaison

Needless to say the Catholic vote and John McCain will be a huge increasing part of the Blogcitement you shall be seeing on my blog till November.

A Christian Church Does Religion Without that Jesus Mess

The Anchoress has the details at Deconstructing Christianity, Itself

LSU Tigers Lose to UNO In Baseball Last Night- The Sky is Falling!!!

At Least we Have the Golden Girls to Think of on Days Like This!

Speaking of the Golden Girls are they at the Games? Perhaps we should get them there quick or would they prove more a distraction to the team? Pretty soon we might try to do some voo-doo or something.

Before we go the bad news as last drama let us stay with the the Golden Girls a sec. Do any of my LSU readers know the story on the cute Black head girl in the top row. When ever I see her on TV or at games(yes she is even more stunning in person) I always imagine she is the perfect LSU FOOTBALL Lovin , Latin mass Going, Used and Rare French Quarter Book Store lover , History Channel watching, Deer Hunting Republican Catholic Italian New Orleans girl you would want to take home to Momma.

When I am at the games I always take time to check out through my binoculars to see if she is eyeing me out among the other 95,000 Tiger fans. Who Knows? Ah some LSU guy will be very lucky. Please keep all Buzz about her g rated in the comment section since we are a "family blog". I hear though she is dating a football player :(.

Anywho on the game

Ok it is not all that bad. Yes losing to UNO- The University of New Orleans in Baseball is never pleasant. It is especially not fun when we had a nice lead. The Advocate has Late error costs Tigers. Check out the Advocate baseball blog and last nights entries for more details. I don't even have the heart to see what the Nawlins papers are saying. So go google that yourself :).

Now Tiger fans of course are being their nice calm rational self. NOT!!! Go see Some Comments on the Baseball Team , Introducing the Paul Mainieri Spelling Challenge!, The REAL issue with the baseball team, This baseball season will be a disappointment if... and Before the sky falls and the Rantards commit suicide...

Now we go and PLAY FLORIDA. Say Prayers. By the way the Tigers are taking a Charter Flight to the game. The Advocates Baseball blog has some interesting stuff behind that at 8:30 a.m. -- The story behind the charter flight

For those interested this is how other Louisiana Baseball teams are doing(last updated at 08:30 CST on march 26)

LSU 15-8, 2-4 SEC
RPI #39

New Orleans 14-8, 3-5 SBELT
RPI #44

Tulane 16-7, 0-0 CUSA
RPI #50

Louisiana-Monroe 14-8, 7-2 SBELT
RPI #51

Centenary 14-5, 0-0 SUMMIT
RPI #105

Northwestern State 13-10, 5-1 SOUTHLAND
RPI #118

Southeastern Louisiana 12-10, 3-3 SOUTHLAND

RPI #121

Louisiana-Lafayette 10-12, 4-5 SBELT
RPI #130

Louisiana Tech 13-10, 0-4 WAC
RPI #143

McNeese State 7-15, 3-3 SOUTHLAND

RPI #208

Southern 7-9, 6-3 SWAC
RPI #228

Nicholls State 5-17, 1-5 SOUTHLAND
RPI #251

Grambling State 10-13, 8-4 SWAC
RPI #261

There is Nothing More Southern than Wisteria

From Burke to Kirk and Beyond... has more on this wonderful creation of God and even makes a DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY CONNECTION!!! at Wisteria...

Christopher Hitchens Not an Obama Fan

Cruncy Con has the latest at his post Hitch savages Obama. Hitchens is a mixed bag and of course he is pretty hostile to religion. However like a lot of British political writers I can't help but to like him. As Rods puts it at the end of his post :A friend e-mails about Hitch: "He's like Sauron. One hopes his eye doesn't settle on one."

I have to admit what Hitchens says about the whole Grandmother thing bothers me a lot.

Breaking News Six New Sermons of St. Augustine Found!!!

Where Father Z told us rumors of this a couple of weeks ago. The Way of the Fathers has the Press Release that confirms it here at Stop the Presses! Six “New” Augustine Sermons Found!

Oh and just by chance he had a cool prior entry. Want to see the Font where At Aug was baptzed? Go here to Patristic Slam Dunk

LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux Back On Team- Sorta

The Advocate had the story here at Perrilloux off suspension, but no practice. A few blurbs:

LSU went back to work on the football field Wednesday and troubled quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was still not involved.
But the junior is no longer suspended and could return before spring drills conclude April 5.
Tigers coach Les Miles put the team through its first official workout since the players returned from spring break, the same day the school hosted Pro Day at the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
And while Perrilloux wasn’t around in body, he’s not far from the minds of Miles and his teammates.

“The things that I hear, most are very positive,” Miles said when asked if Perrilloux was getting closer to returning to the practice field. “I just want to make sure he’s doing the work in the classroom and taking care of business. If he does that, I think we could see him this spring.”

Miles, who suspended Perrilloux in mid-February after the heir apparent to the starting QB job missed or was late to a series of team meetings and practices, seemed to be satisfied with the progress Perrilloux has made in getting reinstated.

“There’s absolutely contact and that contact is ongoing, but I’m not coaching him and there’s things I’m not going to do,” Miles said. “From what I hear, it’s going well.
He is no longer suspended. He’s on the team, but not with playing privilege or practice privilege.”
Until that changes, the LSU quarterback situation is in limbo.............

Now in that article there is interesting stuff about Hatch and Lee our two other guys that are competing to be the Stud QB.So check it out

I do hope and pray that Perrilloux is a success. Not just for selfish reason for LSU but for his own life. RP's problems are not the type that make me think he is a bad kid.

However I have to think this is it. If Miles can not break the wild Bronco that is Ryan Perrilloux after all this then it is a lost cause. The problem is LEADERSHIP. This is one of those qualities that every great team needs especially in the QB situation. It is a quality that fans know they need but will often throw under the bus when they get dazzled by the flashy new talent. For an example of this see last year when a lot of fans, upset that Matt Flynn was not the mythical version of J Russell they has their minds, wanted to put Perrilloux in by the 4th Game as number 1 QB. The talk radio shows were full of it. It took the whole Perrilloux getting suspended before the Bama game to wake fans up that Coach Miles knew what he was doing.

Coach Miles would love to be around these kids 24/7 but NCAA rules probibit that so Leadership on the team for all that stuff ours outside the alloted numbers of hours allowed for practice and Coach/Player things is essential. The LSU QB is an essential part of that.

Also let us admit this. We can't put too much into the whole Dual QB system thing. That is truly a ton of problems. First the fans are not and never will be mature enough for a true Dual QB system. We saw that last year with a fan base that just used it for endless QB controversies. Also it has practical problems. We saw that last year also. The Offensive Line gets used to a QB and the very cadence of his voice. We saw massive problems with false starts and the Offense jumping off the line and miscues. Also notice we had more problems getting the play off in time or just getting it off with 01 left for the play.

So Ryan needs to step up and if not Miles and the fans should just bite the bullet and put Lee or Hatch in charge.

Good Luck Ryan we need you but you can be replaced!!!

Cnn Talking Head "Freaked Out" that young celebrity loves Jesus

Creative Minority Report has the story at CNN Criticizes Miley Cyrus' Love for Jesus

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday 2008- Louisiana Style (Parish Locations and Events)

Please note this Entry is very incomplete. I was hoping to have more locations up by 2 pm Thursday(today) which was my goal. I intend to have severa more locations listed at the very least in each of the Seven Louisiana Dioceses where one can go and participate in Special Divine Mercy Sunday Devotions. I shall to continue to update with more Parishes and more info till Saturday morning so you might wish to book mark. If your Parish is not included leave it in the comments and I shall add. I shall also be providing links and info as to this Devotion as well as the great Graces and benefits that the Lord is giving through to those that participate this Sunday in His feast of Mercy.

Please note I have tried to list if Confession is available as to each the Divine Mercy Sunday Devotion and Service in each Parish. However if it is not and you wish to receive the Plenary Indulgence (Offical Church Decree located here) you can still go to Confession at any time up to Divine Mercy Sunday. See the bottom parapraph of the EWTN piece on the Divine Mercy itself another great Resource. Consult your priest but it appears that Confession a few days after will suffice. Oh if you are visiting and wondering about all this Indulgence stuff go here. For those ill or that can't go to Church that day also go here to see what to do. Oh and what is the relation between the Promise and the Indulgence. Go here to The Indulgence versus The Promise

Diocese of Alexandria
Divine Mercy Services:

Our Lady of Prompt Succor, Alexandria, 2-3 p.m., Confession, 3-4 p.m., Holy Hour

St. Alphonsus, Hessmer, 1 p.m. Confession, 3 p.m., Chaplet, prayers

Mary, Mother of Jesus, Woodworth, 2 p.m., Confession, 3 p.m., Singing Chaplet, 3:30 p.m. Mass

Immaculate Conception, Natchitoches, 3 p.m., Latin Mass, Chaplet following Mass

Diocese of Baton Rouge
St. Agnes Church in Baton Rouge will have a major service. Rosary starts at 2:30 pm. Chaplet follows at 3 p.m Mass Follows

St. Joseph the Worker Church in Pierre Part. Divine Mercy Mass at 3 pm according to their bulletin

Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge.I have taken a look at their Parish Bulletin and they are really involved in the Devotion and the Novena. The bulletin is encouraging people to go to St Agnes at 3 pm. It says the Feast will be celebrated at this Sunday Vigil and regular Masses. It is not clear to me from that if the chaplet itself will be said before or after . Call their office at 926-1883 for more details.

St John the Evangelist in Plaquemines. According to the Baton Rouge Catholic Newspaper they shall be having a service. Call their office 687-2402 or the Rectory for details 687-1587
Diocese of Houma- Thibodaux

ST. HILARY OF POITIERS in Mathews - Mass honoring divine mercy,Sunday, March 30. Confession
heard at 2 p.m. Divine mercy chaplet and Mass at 3 p.m. with Veneration of divine mercy picture.

Holy Savior in Lockport. Divine Mercy Sunday, exposition of the BlessedSacrament at 2:30 p.m.; and hourof mercy at 3 p.m. with praying of the divine mercy.

St Francis de Sales Cathedral In Houma. The feast of divine mercy traditionally celebrated on the first
Sunday after Easter will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St.Francis de Sales March 30 starting at 1:30 pm beginning with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The rosary will be prayed as well as the chaplet of
divine mercy. There will be time foreucharistic adoration as well asconfession. The celebration will end with Benediction. Everyone is invited to come and pray for theconversion and sanctification of
our families, our country and our world, for peace in Jerusalem and the countries at war. The feast day commemoratesthe message of God’s mercy as revealed to St. Faustina Kowalsha, a young Polish nun with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in Krakow, Poland.

Diocese of Lake Charles

St Theodore Catholic Community in Lake Charles. Begins at 1 PM with the showing f “Tell All Souls about My Mercy” and ending at :30 PM with an hour of prayer and adoration. Call Irene
at 855-6723 for more information.

Diocese of Lafayette:
Mercy Fest--full day outdoor event including music, children's and youth ministry, games, free food, national speaker, confessions, Eucharistic Procession and Mass 10am - 5 pm St. Francis Cabrini Field
910 N. Frederick St
.Kaplan, La
for more

Archdiocese of New Orleans

St. Joseph's Catholic Church, New Orleans 1802 Tulane Ave-1:30 p.m. adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, followed by the Holy Rosary, 2:30 p.m. Divine Mercy Chaplet sung by the renowned, Kitty Cleveland and Holy Mass at 3:00 p.m., with Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes as the main celebrant.

Our Lady of the Lake in Mandeville.Parish celebration of this Feast will be on Sunday, March 30, 2008,
beginning at 3:00 p.m. with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, Reconciliation starting at 3:30 p.m., quiet prayer time with veneration of The Divine Mercy image, and concluding with Benediction from 4:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

St Genevieve Church in Slidell.11:00 am Mass until 3:00 pmSt. Genevieve will celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday withExposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacramentfrom12:15 pm - 3:00 pm, Holy Rosary at 2:00 pm, Chapletof Divine Mercy at 2:45 & closing Benediction at 3:00

Diocese of Shreveport

St John Berchmans Cathedral in Shreveport Louisiana. Divine Mercy Holy Hour starts at 2:30 pm.

Does Not McCain Walk the Talk that Obama Proclaims

The Anchoress had a good post called From Romney to Obama in two easy steps. This is in reference to the the whole Catholic Jurist Doug Kmiec endorsing Obama situation . Go to my post Leading Catholic Jurist Endorses Obama for background.

The Anchoress while pointing out the problems in reality with Obama rhetoric and the reality makes the sensible observation that:
"As I responded to the Professor, It doesn’t seem so strange to me. He’s has responded to Obama positively because he’s been attracted by a rhetoric that appeals to most Catholic’s built-in desires for unity and oneness, social equality - all of the enlarging positions that made Catholics, for generations, largely Democrat in political persuasion, before Roe v Wade.........
There is no denying that Obama is a powerful rhetorician and an exceptional orator. A smart Catholic, hearing a man speaking about justice, morality, equality and HOPE - and mentioning Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day in the bargain, can hear such a speech and think: Oh, thank God - rhetoric to admire in an uninspired age!"

Very true and I see that.

However this is what I find ironic. If one is looking for those qualities should we actually look at where those have been exhibited where the the rubber hit the pavement so to speak? To engage in the business of justice, morality, equality and hope means actually taking political risks. It means taking the arrows and being lampooned!!!! Besides some comments from Obama on problems with Teacher Unions and a few nice words about Reagan and conservatives what else is there?

What is ironic is this. John McCain that has come under criticism for a decade from people in his own party and held to ridicule has actually taken those risks

You might disagree with McCain on his advocacy of immigration reform but all that business of justice, morality, equality and Hope were a part of the reasons why he risked bringing up the subject of immigration reform knowing no doubt it could kill his Presidential hopes. Many Conservatives gleefully and wrongfully thought he was dead last August because of it . It appears the people had different ideas.

Shall we talk about the Gang of 14 and McCain reaching out for compromise so not to bring on another crisis? Was he early work on re establishing normal relations with Vietnam and the POW issue not yet another example? His position and his working with John Kerry was not met with universal glee at the time by many in the Republican camp. This all from a man that had to meet with people that gave him years of LIVING HELL.

There were many of instances we could recount. What evidence is there that Obama will have the courage of yes even Bill Clinton that worked with Tent Lott and others on Welfare Reform!!! It should not be forgotten that Clinton took some arrows on that?

Let me put it like this. There are worries that always broadcast as to McCain by certain segments of the Republican party. That is that McCain is too liberal and will be too quick to compromise core values in search of compromise adn "unity" with the democrats. I think those concerns are on the whole not valid. For eight years the "base" of the GOP has gone after Bush because they were only getting 70 percent of that they wanted instead of a hundred percent. Does it not worry anyone that Obama with all his talk of compromise and hope and unity is not getting a similar reaction from the progressive part of the party he represents? Why is that? From my reading of the progressives media and pundits I am not seeing they are prepared to do that.

I suppose my problem with Prof Kimiec is that as a jurist he should appreciate a good "oral argument" aka inspiring political speech. However a Jurist should look at the meat and the words and the evidence. I find his reasons for backing Obama all lacking in that department when I look at Obama as to his political career and yes even his speeches when you read them.

Pro Ecclesia noted this part of the Speech on Race by Obama:

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding...

Pro- Ecclesia then states:
Got that? Blue collar "anger" and "resentment" over race "have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation" - meaning that the conservative ascendency that began with the election of Ronald Reagan was a product of there being a whole lot of angry white male factory workers, whose anger was being misdirected toward black folks and exploited by cynical right-wing operatives "for their own electoral ends".So, in those 3 paragraphs cited above, Obama regurgitates the tired old leftist meme that the only thing that could possibly explain traditional Democrat voters supporting Ronald Reagan - thereby forging the "Reagan Coalition" - was because Reagan "made us comfortable in our prejudices".

Very true. I am not naive by the way. I know there was segment that had the above point of view. But let us remember that there were a ton of other issues and real ideas that really forged it. When i read the above the doubts about Obama and his forging of Unity seem well lacking.

Though I disagree with McCain on some things, I realize that the President of the United States is more than the President of the "base" of the party, or of just conservatives or Liberals , or of party as a whole. He is President of a Nation not just a subset of it. Where as Obama shown that like McCain he will risk his political hide to do that?

As to Catholic issues well Obama is real lacking. Kimec states in his endorsement as to Catholic Fundamentals that are absolute:
In various ways, Sen. Barack Obama and I may disagree on aspects of these important fundamentals, but I am convinced, based upon his public pronouncements and his personal writing, that on each of these questions he is not closed to understanding opposing points of view and, as best as it is humanly possible, he will respect and accommodate them.

What an odd use of words. Does Prof Kmiec really think that Obama will respect the Catholic positon on the Right to Life "as best as it is humanly possible". Perhaps he should rephrase it to as "as best as he can without upsetting the radical Pro-abortion and often hostile to Faith wing of the democratic party and causing him harm"

Are Catholics and Conservatives such Cheap dates that Obama saying that he too thinks abortion is bad thing but then to proceed to to protect it all cost sufficient? What about the other areas of Catholic fundamentals where we are profound disagreement with Obama?

Count me unconvinced.

Two Hard Hitting Italian Op-Eds On Pope's Baptism of Magdi Cristiano Allam

Here is post II of the reactions to the big Easter Vigil Baptism of the Pope . Go here for post one Interview with Crisiano Allam and Vatican Op- Ed on His Baptism

I was very much struck by this pieces that were in the Italian papers. They both are quite strong and take us down memory lane. I love how the first piece talks about how Catholics and converts should be quiet was the same tune that was being said in the Communist days. Those were dangerous days too. I have no real memory of this event but not too far ago on ancient history (The 1970's) there was also intimidation by the Red Brigades in Italy. John Allen had a piece on how a tragic event whose anniversary we just observed at that time changed Italy, European Politics and indeed the Church. Go see Aldo Moro affair a watershed for the West and for the Church for the details of a tragic event that Catholics, Non Catholics, and especially Post Cold War young Americans should read. Freedom comes at a cost at times.

Anyway thanks again to the Ratzinger Forum that have provided the translations. The bolding is all mine as to the text.

The Muslim and holy water, baroque enchantment and act of courage
by Giuliano Ferrara Translated from Il Foglio, 3/25/08
It was a stormy Easter at the Vatican. A Latin liturgy dense with the mystery of faith, darkened by rain on the day of the Resurrection, after the Chinese shadows of Good Friday and the Via Crucis. And in the heart of the Paschal Triduum, in the symbolic passage from the shadows to light after the procession of the Easter candle, lashings of faith with baroque enchantment to complement the rational architecture of the Regensburg lecture.

The conversion to Catholicism of the secular Magdi Allam, who was baptized with the name Christian, was a most public act, administered with courageous wisdom by the Church and similarly borne by its new member. I hope that the eventual polemical repercussions (I do not wish to think for now of any possible excess of intolerant violence against a perceived apostasy) may be faced with equal wisdom and equal courage. And bon voyage to Magdi Cristiano in the difficult course that awaits him.

It was a feast for every free-thinking individual to see him within the flagship of the Universal Church, on the night that is truly universal for all Catholics, the Easter of the Resurrection, as the helmsman blessed his flock with holy water. Secularist prejudice maintains that conversion, like one's faith, should remain a private matter, and that only in this way can it be considered sincere.

But the secularists are wrong. True laymen, secular non-believers, know the history of human spirituality, and know that interiority can only be either the first nucleus of a conversion or its final outcome when, after public examination of a new way of looking at the world and of being in the world, the convert arrives at the certainty of faith that the human being belongs as much toe earth that he inhabits as he does to the heaven he does not yet know.

And yet the choice to convert is completely up to the freedom and inclination of the individual concerned. A catechumen is not a prisoner coerced to undergo the radical transfiguration of his soul. He is a free man who freely chooses to follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ in communion with fellow believers and his pastors.

Some 25 years ago, Claudio Magris, an educated Catholic of weak thought, launched a very harsh attack on me based precisely on this prejudice that faith must be kept private, only he extended it even to one's way of thinking! At the time, it referred to a minor secular metaphor for religious conversion - the passage from being communist to professing anti-communism.

For a certain type of bourgeois but Communist-loving intellectuals, anti-Communism was something terrible - an 'unnecessary evil' or an inconvenient attitude. They thought that whoever turned his back on Communism should keep quiet, suffer his torments in private and consider himself benevolently ostracized from their society forever. I responded with bitter words at the time, and then by living an intractable petulant life in defiance of that prejudice.

Twenty years later, another Catholic leftist, the Vatican correspondent Giancarlo Zizola, who was my fellow presentor of a new book at the headquarters of the Radical Party, came back to the topic of this silence desired from converts with the same peremptoriness, calling me the prototype of the secular person who cozies up to the Church like a devout convert, and he too advised me to just keep silent [about the values and ideas I shared with the Church].

I responded that he was addressing the wrong person, because I was infinitely more secular than he and his radical friends, and that the literature produced by famous converts in the Church included several letters of St. Paul, that divinely petulant irascible preacher of the new Christian theology, and an entire library of St. Augustine, another convert who certainly never renounced the superb pleasure of talking about his conversion for the benefit of the rest of mankind.

One of the most beautiful things in life is the system of concordances. It is an encounter of acts, ideas and feelings of the time, with a range infinitely superior to that dictated by 'so-called 'coherence', the ideological model of the orthodox secularist-liberal school of thought. When John Paul II and Ronald Reagan sought to dismantle the dark certainties that imprisoned Europe during the years of the Cold War, 'convert' (to anti-communism) was an insult administered with contempt and accepted with honor

Now that the Europe of Benedict XVI must confront secularist conformism and Islamist radicalism - between the systematic aggressions against devalued human life and the threats of a death-lover who speaks from a cave in Waziristan - conversion to Christianity is a a regal ceremony and a rite of sanctification that is happily provocative. Christianity is now digging a wide trench away from the brief and unhappy Marxist century.

Always thinking the same things, keeping to first impressions despite a system that is changeable and changing, being every day 'true to oneself', rationalizing history in a way that is unfaithful to religion, and in the guise of idolatrous secularism - all this does not necessarily mean faithfulness, loyalty or an obligation of conscience, which are important criteria in life. Often, they stand rather for laziness, fear, and above all, a false concept of historical reality, which changes despite the stability of being, but eludes the self-imprisoned ego.

Magdi Cristiano Allam knows well - because he is a reader, and an attentive listener to the seemingly unhinged but rigorously composed secular cacophony that has accompanied the post-Marxist years - that we could not make him a better gift for his very special Easter (about which we knew nothing beforehand) than a quotation from Benedict XVI in which he recalls that personal adhesion to Christ was best summarized in the formula "I and no longer I".

That he may continue to investigate and report on the reality of radical Islam in Europe - which is ignored in the name of a vague multi-culturalism - is our wish as well as our prediction for him. That he will continue to expose with the courage that characterizes his abundance of critical ideas about Islam, matured in his personal and professional life, is more than ever obvious as well as legitimate.

Although they have some disputable aspects, his analyses and ideas have been habitually and tendentiously ostracized from legitimate discussion in a Europe where the passive reception of the 'philosophy' of Tariq Ramadan has accompanied the trials of Oriana Fallaci for Islamophobia and the big Islamofascist game hunt against those magnificently 'scandalous bessts' Theo Van Gogh and Robert Raedecker, not to mention those satirical Danish cartoonists and s handful of other European 'dissidents' who have been intimidated and isolated by Islam.

It is usually such isolated sentinels who sound the alarm in critical situations. But "I and no longer I": this majestic conversion that has now been reported and is being widely commented around the world is a highly charged symbol of what it means to govern with discernment, with a dynamic blend of passion and intellectual detachment.

The sense of the power of militant redeployment conveyed by the manner of the conversion itself, the catechumenate (preparation for conversion) that was kept secret until the very end, the list of the convert's authoritative guarantors within the faith (among them, Cardinal Ruini and Mons. Fisichella), the physical support of the member of Parliament (and of Communione e Liberazione) who stood as the new convert's godfather [Maurizio Lupi] - all this also gave a strong political imprint to the personal and ecclesiastic aspects of the conversion.

Magdi Cristiano Allam knows that, in the secular or religious form, conversions are the bete noire of modern cultural totalitarianism, and that they are fought against by the favorite method of consigning the convert to the symbolic status of pariah, provocateur, profiteer and renegade without principles.

Those who pass this kind of judgment will say this has nothing to do with God, that this is all just politics of the basest kind, and that the holy water of conversion contains the germs of intolerance. The epithets for the ostracized convert are easy to pin on, even through oblique and apparently invisible strategies. We can only hope that Magdi Cristiano can defend himself from such enemies, who pullulate in the West, and even a bit from his own self, by keeping close watch that what he says and writes may always be up to the level of the great event of which he became such a very public protagonist.
Il Foglio, 25 marzo 2008

How many Catholics have no love for them!
Translated from Libero, 3/26/08
Primed by Catholics who are zealots for dialog at any cost and the the idea that conversion should only be an intimate private affair (such as Claudio Magris and Franco Monaco, who were immediately heard from on this issue), now it's the turn of the imams, the ulemas, the ayatollahs and assorted judges in Muslim law to unleash themselves against the Pope.

And then there are the 138 Muslim leaders who sent a letter with assertively friendly intentions to Benedict XVI, to which he replied with every good will. And now, it seems they would take back everything since the Pope dared to pour water 'in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit' on a head that they would gladly see cut off. The 138 have been said to be moderate - more, they are held to be champions of moderation in the Muslim world, to whose representatives the Pope held open the doors of the Vatican last month.

Speaking for them now, or claiming to, is Aref Ali Nayed, director of the Royal Center for Strategic Islamic Studies in Amman, Jordan, who has roundly if indirectly attacked the Pope for what took place in St. Peter's Basilica at the Easter Vigil Mass. Nayed has anathematized the "deliberate and provocative act of baptizing (Magdi) Allam on such a special occasion and in such a spectacular manner."

The new Catholic is, of course, Magdi Christiano Allam, who has been considered a 'dead man walking' since 2003 by the very ones who now profess themselves scandalized because of his criticsms of Islam, the religion into which he was born. Nayed cites with horror the Easter Vigil homily in which Pope Benedict XVI contrasts light and darkness. It is not right to speak in such terms, this Islamic scholar claims, feigning ignorance that the Pope is merely citing Gospel text.

Then he demands that the Pope denounce Allam, proof if it is needed of an incapacity to tolerate religious freedom on the part of some Muslims - even supposed intellectuals - which casts doubt on whether there are really any 'moderates' in the bosom of Islam. In this case, they simply seem to show that Allam is right about his criticisms. It all seems predictable, and we said so right away. It now even seems as though Osama Bin laden's calculated lie about the Pope, whom he deliberately accused of being behind the Danish cartoons satirizing Mohammed, were in some way an intended deterrent to Allam's baptism by the Pope. But for now, let us leave aside the Muslims, some of whom make their living out of threatening others who do not think like them.

I am more outraged by the finger-wagging that some Catholic intellectuals have been inflicting on the Pope. There are legitimate concerns, of course, that, in the current climate of fear of Islam, has crossed even the minds of simple churchgoing Catholics. But this time the ringmasters of political correctness have presumed to get into the head of Papa Ratzinger and to divine his motivations. He may not be infallible in matters like these, but he certainly deserves more respect for his mind. Now, they're telling him that a more intimate ceremony for Allam's baptism would have been more appropriate and desirable.

Writing in Corriere della Sera, one of the most 'a la page' among our writers today, Claudio Magris, who has been a member of Parliament for the Ulivo party, pontificated: "Baptism is an act of interior life, not of media spectacle or political logic..." He calls Allam a VIP, and says the Pope would have done better to baptize some 'anonymous' person instead of Allam.

Perhaps Magris has a catalog of 'anonymous' persons from which the Pope could have chosen! - as though it were a lottery. But that is not the case. Every person is unique, no one is anonymous. Magris then reproaches Magdi for having been too prudent about criticizing the Church and for seeking to convert Muslims! He exhorts: "The moment of Baptism is not the most opportune time to make bellicose declarations" and he mocks the new Catholic for 'presuming to tell the Church, mater et magistra, (mother and teacher), what the right way is".

On the contrary, it is Magris who presumes he can lead the Pope by the nose even though he uses oblique language to do so. "Fortunately, Catholicism shows off her grace and grandeur even in the smallest details, which can even make up for the tiaras." [The tiara is the three-tiered crown of the Popes that has not been used since Paul VI decided to renounce it early in his Pontificate.] It seems Popes have to make amends for the tiara! Even Vittorio Messori, also in Corriere, while defending the Pope and Allam, reproaches what he considers excressive prudence while he questions 'a provocative and arrogant attitude'.

To console Magdi, he tells him that his objections against Islam had a couple of precedents. Above all, a homily by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi dated September 20, 2001 [9 days after 9/11]: "There is a precise order from the Lord which does not admit of any exceptions. He did not say: Preach the Gospel to every creature, except to Muslims, Jews and the Dalai Lama." The same admonition is found more formally in a document (doctrinal note on evangelization) from the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith last December.

The Church's oldest and most humble catechisms may help us understand what takes place on Easter eve. It asks Catholics to 'believe, celebrate and testify to their faith'. The verb 'celebrate' has the same root as the word 'celebrity'. Etymologically, it has to do with glory. Must we then reproach Jesus for having gone to John the Baptist to be baptized, rather than to a more modest local prophet without John's reputation (of which there were quite a few]? Or would Magris perhaps reproach St. Ambrose for having performed that momentous baptism in Milan on the Easter Vigil in 387.

According to tradition, that night, the Te Deum was alternately chanted by the bishop and his famous catechumen. Augustine at the time was already a VIP thinker, a recognized philosopher of Manichaeism, and his conversion caused a sensation. He never ceased to denounce the religion of deceit from which he had emerged, nor cease to say how unworthy he was of the new religion.

The Pope obviously decided on the gesture of baptizing Allam on Easter eve, despite reasons of prudence that may have argued against it. In this way, he wished to put all converts under his wings: Who touches them, touches me. He identifies with the example of Jesus who was not ashamed of anyone. And just as Francis kissed the leper, so too did Benedict symbolically kiss our Magdi, who has been declared a pariah, a contaminated outcast, by the universal chorus of conformists. Benedict has shown that the right way to bear witness is that of the man who was born blind with mud over his eyes. Despite the certainty of 'persecution' if he proclaimed Jesus as his savior, he did so without fear. There is no truth about love that cannot and should not be proclaimed from the rooftops - just as lovelorn people leave their graffiti of love on bridges and on public buildings. Religious freedom deserves nothing less, or it is not worth anything.
Libero, 26 marzo 2008

Interview with Crisiano Allam and Vatican Op- Ed on His Baptism

I am breaking up this into two posts. This post will have the short page one Op Ed that was in Osservatore Romano, which is the Vatican News Paper. There is also a very good interview of Magdi Cristiano Allam by the Italian paper Libero I am putting up. Both of these it appears are being referenced in news wire reports today. The next post I shall be putting up has has two very good hard hitting Op Ed from Italina papers that I think are worthy of reading. Again thanks to the Ratzinger Forum(that thank goodness knows Italian) for the translation.

Religious freedom and dialog
Translated from the March 25-26 issue of
Osservatore Romano

The heart of the Christian year, Easter calls on every man and woman - those who are baptized as well as those who are simply in search of the truth - to conversion. That is why, from the earliest times, the liturgy of the Church provides for the baptism of neophytes during the Easter Vigil and the renewal of baptismal promises by those who are already baptized.

On the death and resurrection of the Word incarnate - an event that truly 'changed the course of history' - Benedict XVI meditated profoundly during the celebration, baptizing at St. Peter's Basilica seven adults coming from every part of the world, to whom he later administered Confirmation and Communion as well, as has become traditional every year in the papal liturgy for Easter Vigil.

Among the seven is an Egyptian-born Italian journalist, Magdi Allam, deputy editor ad personam of Corriere della Sera, the most important Italian newspaper. Allam, after a long personal quest and the preparations necessary for this step, freely asked to be baptized with the name Cristiano. The event, which was as singular as it was solemn and joyous, was not played up [by the Vatican], as shown by the silence that was maintained about it until the last moment, just before the Easter Vigil ceremonies began, when the director of the Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, said: The Pope does not make 'distinctions among persons', who are all important in the eyes of God and are all equally welcome to the community of the Church.

Benedict XVI's gesture at the same time has an important meaning because it affirms religious freedom in a clear and gentle way. Religious freedom is also the freedom to change religion, as it was underscored in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (even if, subsequently and unfortunately, the declaration was amended on precisely this point). Therefore, anyone who, without constraints, asks for baptism has the right to receive it.

Just as there was no undue emphasis made [on Mr. Allam's baptism], likewise there was no hostile intention towards a great religion like Islam. For many decades, the Catholic Church has shown a readiness for confrontation and dialog with the Muslim world, nothwithstanding a multitude of difficulties and obstacles.

But difficulties and obstacles should not obscure what we have in common and what can come in the future, as stated in the conciliar declaration Nostra aetate, and since then, repeated often by the Roman Pontiffs. With baptism - Benedict XVI said during the Vigil and later in his traditional Easter messaage to the city and to the world, the light of God enters us to transform the very shadows, and Easter signifies that Christ is 'the true hope for every human being' - calling on everyone to conversion and penitence - that is, "to live, rejecting all hatred and selfishness". Because truly, in the love of Christ, "the heart of God and the heart of man come together".

Now to the Libero Interview

"Christian at last, and happy - thanks to the Pope'
Translated from Libero, 3/25/08

What would it be like to change one's name when one is 56? We asked that of Magdi Allam who is now Christian. In fact and in name. Baptized, confirmed and given First Communion. Three in one, By Papa Ratzinger himself. And on Easter night. At St. Peter's Basilica. Remarkable for someone who was Muslim. "It's not just the name. It's my entire life that has changed. It means nullifying everything that went before, starting anew in the sign of a new faith, based on values I have always believed in and defended, but which have now become more consolidated in me - in participation with so many other Christians who until now were friends but who are now my brothers, too," he says.

So how should your friends call you now, Magdi or Cristiano?
I am keeping the name Magdi because it is what I was born with and how I am known, but integrating it with Cristiano - Magdi Cristiano Allam.... So it's a double name. That's not uncommon in Italy. I can be addressed with either name, it's fine.

Why did you choose Easter night and the Vatican for receiving the first sacraments?
It's customary around the world for the Church to give the sacraments of initiation into Christianity to catechumens at the Easter Vigil. So even at St. Peter's, the Pope administers baptism, confirmation and communion to a few adults representing the various continents,to underscore the universality of the Church.

Of course, but you are not just anyone. Until then, you were Muslim and have spent much of your life fighting Islamist extremism.
If we were in a normal country where religious freedom is truly protected by law, then we would not even be asking this question. But we are in a country where, if an Italian converts to Islam, nothing untoward happens to him as a consequence. But if a Muslim converts to Christianity, then he immediately receives a sentence of death for apostasy.

But isn't it true that by choosing the place, the date, and the 'priest' for your conversion, you were raising a provocation?
No. It's absurd to even imagine that I - much less the Pope - could be considered provocateurs of Islamic terrorism. It should be clearly understood that the right to religious freedom is inalienable and something to be affirmed clearly and openly.

Don't tell me you did not expect a severe reaction from the Islamic world!
I did consider the possibility.

Well, the Arab press has already launched a landslide of attacks against you and against the Pope...
I've been in this business for more than 30 years, and I know the Arab and Muslim worlds quite well. I have seen events which have been likewise considered provocative.

For example?
The Pope's lecture in Regensburg and the Danish cartoon showing Mohammed as a terrorist.

And did you not think that the Muslims might consider your baptism at St. Peter's a 'second Regensburg'?
It would not surprise me, but I don't intend to surrender nor be intimidated in any way. I know I am doing right. It would be an enormous mistake to give in to the threats of those who through repirsals and condenations imagine they can conquer our minds and subjugate our spirit.

Who proposed the idea of the Easter Vigil baptism at St. Peter's?
I had already decided for some time to profess the Christian faith, and I communicated this to a priest whom I trusted, who happens to be close to the Pope.

Are you referring to Mons. Rino Fisichella?
Yes. It was he who accompanied me through the initiation process, the necessary instruction in the faith. During the course of this initiation, the possibility was raised about being baptized by the Pope. The matter was considered and the decision was favorable.

Did you not think that the action would expose the Holy Father himself to risk?
The Holy Father is very well aware of Muslim reality. His decision was taken in full autonomy and awareness of the situation. I think that such testimony on his part demonstrates that, between the duty of faith to welcome to Christianity those who ask to be baptized and the possible consequences in terms of a possible outbreak of violence, reasons of faith outweigh those of a political and diplomatic nature. So even in this, Benedict XVI has shown again that he is a truly great and courageous Pope.

Muslim sites have been unanimous in condemning you, calling you an apostate and accusing you of 'embracing the West for personal and economic interests'. Are you not afraid they may try to kill you?
For five years now I have lived with a police escort wherever I go and a permanent police survellance at home. I have been condemned to death and repeatedly threatened by Islamic terrorists. Yes, but this is no longer just a fatwa against you. They are talking apostasy. They want to criminalize me, saying that after selling myself to the Israelis and writing a book called Viva Israel, I have now betrayed Islam by embracing Catholicism. But no, I am not afraid to die. I am convinced that one should just move ahead. Everyone should follow the way of truth, of freedom, of affirming life. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the terrorists, whether they are literal cutthroats or those who would simply silence us, whether they make bombs or use intruments which Western law and democracy allow them to use in order to muzzle free spirits and those who fight terrorism. This is a battle we should all meet with heads high and firm backbones. Otherwise, we are finished as a nation and as a civilization.

But even some Catholics think your baptism was an act of exhibitionism. Don't you think that it would have been just as good at any other time and place?
I really cannot understand why some people are bothered over the fact of being baptized by the Pope at the Easter Vigil. They are reasonig in the same terms as the Islamic extremists, who say, "If you really want to convert, then you should do it in secret, so that no one knows, because it is shameful that you should convert." But on the contrary, I am proud that the Pope agreed to baptize me in public. I want to show that religious freedom is a sacrosanct right that one must display with pride.

Franco Monaco, a Catholic, said of you: "I find the public ostentation of an intimate conversion and above all, the motivations of Magdi Allam, questionable."
I am astounded by such an attitude. First of all, a Catholic should respect the Pope. To call the baptism an act of exhibitionism is to criticize the action of the Holy Father.

Shortly before the Easter Vigil began, there was talk that even your son Davide was also going to be baptized. My son is 9 months old and he was baptized a month ago by Mons. Luigi Negri. My wife and I agreed on this, when my own coversion was already well under way.

You have two sons aged 19 and 14 from your first marriage. Are they Christian or Muslim?
They are not Muslim. We could call them non-believers, which is what their mother and myself were, in practice.

How did they react to your conversion?
With great respect, but also with great concern.

You married your second wife, Valentina, in a civil ceremony. Do you plan a church wedding?
Absolutely. We are planning to do it on April 22, but we have not yet decided where.

Update -Post II here at Two Hard Hitting Italian Op-Eds On Pope's Baptism of Magdi Cristiano Allam

Vatican Radio Interview with US Ambassador to the Holy See

Vatican Radio had a interview with the new US . Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon.(audio interview) The following excerpts I found here and are pretty interesting.

26 Mar 08 - RV) The United States Ambassador to the Holy See, Mary Ann Glendon, presented her credentials to Pope Benedict on February 29th of this year. Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Glendon was the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1995, Pope John Paul II appointed her head of the Vatican delegation to the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing.

In March 2004, the same Pope named her President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In addition to teaching at Harvard, she has been a visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Regina Apostolorum Athenaeum, both here in Rome. She sat down with Charles Collins for a 14 minute interview, discussing her work, Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to the United States, and her plans on marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See.... HERE


Ambassador Glendon: Most of the work that I did for the Holy See over the past several years has been as an academic, as a person whose scholarly work and research was concentrated in fields that are central to the common concerns of the United States and the Holy See, human rights in particular, so the big transition for me is really from chiefly academic work to a more public and political role.


Ambassador Glendon: The planning for the visit are largely in the hands of the Holy See on this end, and the American Catholic Bishops on the other end, and as far as I can see the preparations are well in place and there is a good deal of anticipation on both sides of the Atlantic about the visit.


Ambassador Glendon: The announcement from the White House is interesting. It is a very short announcement, but the wording is significant. It says that the Pope and the President will continue the discussions that they have been having about the role of faith and reason in advancing their shared goals. I think that is significant, because that word “continue” relates to the fact that apparently the last time they met they developed a personal relationship: They hit it off, so to speak. They both said afterward that they had enjoyed the conversation and the companionship of the other, so I think they have something to build on. And it is interesting that the announcement picked up the theme of faith and reason, which is so central to this pontificate. And then when the announcement went on to speak of the shared goals, it spoke of the common interest in promoting tolerance and understanding among cultures and religions. It spoke of promoting peace in the Middle East and other troubled regions. It spoke of promoting human rights and especially religious freedom.


Ambassador Glendon: As you know both the president and the Holy Father issued statements after the murder of the Archbishop, statements that are very much in the same vein, condemning the violence, condemning terrorism, and especially condemning religion as a pretext for terrorism. And of course both the Holy See and the United States have as a central concern the plight of Christians and other minorities in Iraq. They have both pledged to do what they can, but it is a very difficult situation when there are elements in society that are determined to defeat the common aim of the United States and the Holy See, now, after some initial disagreement there is a common aim to promote the building of a free and democratic and stable society where persons of all religious faiths will be protected, but it is an uphill battle all the way. I think we are making some progress, but it is very, very difficult.

Full Translation of Pope Benedict's Easter Octave Wednesday Audience

The Holy Father had his regular General Audience today. He flew in by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo where is resting up after the busy Easter season. Since it is the Easter Octave it was expected he would not return to the Church Father discussions but continue to discuss the significance of the Easter message. The Ratzinger Forum has the translation which I will post in full.

The Holy Father held his Wednesday General Audience today in St. Peter's Square, flying in by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo, where he is staying during the Easter Octave. It was the first GA held outdoors since the venue shifted to Aula Paolo VI at the start of winter last year. Here is a translation of his words:

Dear brothers and sisters!
"Et resurrexit tertia die secundum Scripturas" – "And on the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures".

Every Sunday, with the Credo, we renew our profession of faith in the resurrection of Christ, a surprising event that represents the keystone of Christianity. In the Church, everything is understood from the perspective of this great mystery which changed the course of history and which becomes actual in every Eucharistic celebration. But there is a liturgical period when this central reality of the Christian faith - in all its dostrinal richness and inexhaustible vitality - is proposed to the faithful in a more intense manner, so that the more they rediscover it, the more they can live it more faithfully.

That is at Eastertide. Every year, in the "Most Holy Triduum of Christ crucified, dead and resurrected", as St. Augustine called it, the Church retraces, in an atmosphere of prayer and penitence, the conclusive stages of the earthly life of Jesus - his condemination to death, his ascent to Calvary carrying the Cross, his sacrifice for our salvation, his deposition in the sepulchre. Then on the 'third day', the Church relives his resurrection: it is Easter, Jesus's 'passover' from death to life, in total fulfillment of ancient prophecies.

All the liturgy of Eastertide sings the certainty and joy of the resurrection of Christ. Dear brothers and sisters, we should constantly renew our adherence to Christ who died and rose again for us. His Easter is also ours, because in the Risen Christ we are given the certainty of our own resurrection. The news of his resurrection from the dead never grows old and Jesus is always alive. His Gospel is always alive. "The faith of Christians", St. Augustine observed, "consists of the resurrection of Christ." The Acts of the Apostles explain it clearly: "God has provided confirmation of Jesus for all by raising him from the dead" (17,31).

Death alone, in fact, was not enough to show that Jesus is truly the Son of God, the awaited Messiah. In the course of history, how many have consecrated their lives to a cause they believed in and died for it! But they have remained dead. The Lord's death shows the immense love that he had for us to the point of sarificing himself for us. But only his resurrection is the 'sure proof', the guarantee of certainty that what he says is the Truth which is valid even for us, for all men, for all time. In resurrecting Jesus, the Father glorified him. Thus, St. Paul writes in the Letter to the Romans: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (10,9).

It is important to reiterate this fundamental truth of our faith, the historical truth of which has been amply documented, even if now, as in the past, there is no lack of those who would cast doubt on it or even deny it outright. The weakening of faith in the resurrection of Jesus consequently renders weak the testimony of believers. If indeed there should be a diminution in the Church of faith in the resurrection, then everything would stop, everything woudl fall apart. On the other hand, our adherence with mind and heart to Christ who died and rose again changes the life of pesons and peoples and illuminates their entire existence. Was it not the certainty that Christ rose again that gave courage, prophetic audacity and perseverance to the martyrs of every epoch? Was it not the encounter with a living Jesus that has converted and fascinated so many men and women who, from the beginnings of Christianity, have left and continue to leave everything, in order to follow Christ and place their life in the service of his Gospel?

"If Christ has not been raised," wrote the Apostle Paul, "then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith." (1 Cor 15,14). But he is risen! The announcement that in these days we shall hear constantly is precisely this: Jesus is risen, he is the Living One, and we can meet him. Like the women met him, who, on the morning of the third day, the day after the Sabbath, came to his tomb. Like the disciples did, who were surprised and greatly affected by what the women had told them. As many other eyewitnesses did, who met him in the days that followed his resurrection. Even after his Ascension, Jesus continued to be present among his friends as he had promised: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time" (Mt 28,20). The Lord is with us, with his Church, to the end of time.

Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the members of the early Church started to proclaim the Easter message openly and without fear. This announcement, transmitted from generation to generation, has come down to us to resound every year at Easter with an ever new power. Particularly in this Easter Octave, the liturgy invites us to personally encounter the Risen Lord and to acknowledge the vivfying force of that event on history and on our daily life. Today, for instance, Easter Wednesday, we are asked to meditate on the very moving episode of the two disples at Emmaus (cfr Lk 24,13-35).

After the Crucifixion of Jesus, immersed in sorrow and disappointment, they were headed home, disconsolate. Along the way, they spoke of the things that had happened in Jerusalem in recent days. At which point, Jesus approached them, joined their discussion and advised them: "Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" (Lk 24,25-26). Starting with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them everything in Scriptures that referred to him. Christ's teaching - his explanation of the prophecies - was for the two disciples at Emmaus a revelation that was unexpected. luminous and comforting. Jesus gave them a new key to read the Bible and everything then became clear, priented precisely towards that moment. Won over by the words of the unknown traveller, they asked him to have supper with them. He accepted and sat down at table with them. The evangelist Luke says: "While he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them" (Lk 24,290-30)

At that moment, the disciples' eyes were opened and they recognized him, "but he vanished from their sight" (Lk 24,31). Full of wonder and joy, they said to each other: "Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?" (Lk 24,32). During the entire liturgical year, but msot especially during Holy Week and the Easter Octave, the Lord is walking beside us and explaining the Scriptures to us, to make us understand the mystery: that everything [in Scriptures] speaks of him. This should make our own hearts 'burn' so that even our eyes may be opened. The Lord is with us - he is showing us the true way. And just as the two disciples recognized Jesus when he broke the bread, so too, we today recognize his presence in the breaking of the (Eucharistic) bread. The disciples at Emmaus recognized him and remembered the moments when Jesus had broken bread. This breaking of the bread reminds us in fact of that first Eucharist celebrated in the context of the Last Supper, when Jesus broke bread and thus anticipated his death and resurrection, giving of himself to the disciples. Jesus breaks bread even with us and for us, he is present with us in the Holy Eucharist, he gives us himself and opens our hearts.

In the Holy Eucharist, in the encounter with his Word, we too can encounter and recognize Jesus, in this double meal of the Word and consecrated Bread and Wine. Every Sunday, the Christian community relives the Easter of the Lord and receives from the Savior his testament of love and fraternal service. Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of these days makes even more firm our faithful adherence to the Crucified and Risen Christ. Above, all let us allow ourselves to be conquered by the fascination of his resurrection. May Mary help us to be messengers of the light and joy of Easter for so many of our brothers. Once again, to all of you, my most heartfelt wishes for a Happy Easter.

Later, he said in English:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Christ is risen! The mystery of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead stands at the heart of the Christian faith. Throughout this Easter season, the Church contemplates the infinite richness of this mystery and strives to live the new life brought to us by the Risen Lord. Christ’s resurrection is also our resurrection; in his passover from death to life, Jesus has assured us of our salvation. The Church’s joyful proclamation that Christ is risen has the power to change lives and to shed new light upon human history. Today, as in every age, Christ comes to meet us and to remain in our midst with his saving power.

During these days of the Octave of Easter, the Liturgy invites us to reaffirm our faith in the Risen Lord, to hope more firmly in his promises, and, like the disciples on the way to Emmaus, to recognize him in the breaking of the bread (cf. Lk 24:31). In the Eucharist, the living memorial of Christ’s sacrifice and the celebration of his real presence, we truly encounter the Risen Jesus in his word and in the sacrament of his body and blood. Through the prayers of the Virgin Mary, may the joy of this Easter make us faithful messengers of the light and hope of the resurrection. Happy Easter to you and your families! I offer a warm welcome to the international group of School Sisters of Saint Francis gathered in Rome. I also thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims, especially those from Wales, Ireland, Indonesia, Japan, Canada and the United States, I cordially invoke the joy and peace of the Risen Christ.