Sunday, December 26, 2010


Asia Bibi 'can be killed anytime,' says Pakistani priest
The fight against the blasphemy law continues in Pakistan

By Dan Wooding

Spero News is reporting that the "fight over blasphemy continues unabated in Pakistan" as appeals and initiatives on behalf of Asia Bibi, a jailed Christian woman sentenced to death, continue around the world.

This week, just before Christmas, the High Court in Lahore is expected to set the date for her appeal. However, the most extremist Islamic parties and organizations have launched a campaign in favor of Pakistan's blasphemy legislation, announcing street actions and strikes over the coming weeks.

"Maulana Fazl ur Rehman, head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islma Fazl party, launched the campaign at a press conference," said the Spero News story based on one released by Asia News. "He said that the campaign would unfold in three stages: demonstrations on December 24 after Friday prayers, a general strike on December 31, and a great rally on January 9, 2011 in Karachi."

Maulana Fazl said that religious parties are "united on the issue." He insisted that he would oppose any attempt by the government to change the blasphemy law.

Last week, President Asif Ali Zardari stated that he wanted to modify the controversial law which has been condemned around the world.

At a seminar titled "Protection of the blasphemy law and its importance," Justice Mian Nazeer Akhtar said that Punjab Governor, Salmaan Taseer, was also a blasphemer for protecting those who indulged in blasphemy.

"Section 295C was included in the Criminal Procedure of Pakistan in 1986, and a handful of people cannot be allowed to damage it," he explained.

At the same time, he accused the Federal government of allowing "dubious debates" on the blasphemy topic on various Pakistani television channels.

During Asia Bibi's trial, her attorney called the charges a "fanciful drama" by a Muslim majority "arrayed against a Christian minority."

The case began after Asia Bibi offered her fellow farm workers water which they refused because, as a Christian, she had made it "impure."

Both sides firmly defended their faiths, but Asia Bibi was charged with blasphemy.

The Rev Samson Dilawar, a parish priest who was wounded by gunmen in 1997 and saw his Catholic church burned to the ground in 2005, has claimed that he has been threatened by anonymous callers for assisting Asia Bibi.

He said that Bibi is "not safe in prison."

Dilawar said that the murder last year of a young Christian man accused of blasphemy in nearby Sialkot was a cautionary tale.

"That boy was killed in the jail. She can also be murdered in the jail as well. She can be killed anytime. So anything can happen," the Rev Dilawar said.

Meanwhile, millions of Christians around the world are praying for Asia Bibi in a case that, once again, appears to illustrate the unfairness of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I received the message below via email from an anonymous source out of Pakistan. As we in the U.S. celebrate in peace with our family and friends this year, let us take a moment out of the party to ask God to send his Holy Angels to guard and protect these desperately brave Christians who plan to observe this Christmas holy day by witnessing Christ to a hostile nation, a nation that declares in its official religion that "God has no son." Any one who declares Jesus Christ to be the only begotten Son of God, risks his life by doing so. Here follows the message.

A number of Pakistani Christian organizations have decided that they will observe Christmas as a Protest Day. The decision has been made in All Pakistan Christian Parties Conference, the Christians’ will also host black flags on their residences and business houses against the blasphemy laws and enormities toward minorities. According to a report published in the BBC Urdu human rights activists expressed fear of security risk attached with newly formed alliance of radical religious parties and it’s life threatening warning of anarchy if the civilian government attempts to repeal the nation’s strict blasphemy law and pardon Asia Bibi. The leaders of the All Christian Parties Conference have decided to take to the streets on Christmas Day to call on the government to repeal the blasphemy law and the conference also noted that President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Human rights activist Asma Jehanghir and Punjab Governor Salman Taseer have all concluded that Asia Bibi is innocent, Speakers have also expressed disappointment that they have not received justice from courts.

It potentials to be a dangerous and threatening Christmas for the Christian community in Pakistan. A radical alliance – which includes Pakistan Muslim Leagues, religious political parties allied with banned militant groups – has called a large mass national demonstration entitled Namos-e-risalat, that is, defending the honour of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) on 24 December, after Friday prayers, to say “no” to the release of Asia Bibi and any changes to the blasphemy law. Even JuD chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed attended the meeting. Addressing the gathering, Saeed stressed the need for a well-organised media campaign in favour of the blasphemy law.

The alliance has called on the “ummah” (Islamic community) in all the world, demanding universal support in the defence of the blasphemy law. Moreover, the radical leaders say: “Asia Bibi is a blasphemous woman and should be repudiated by Christians. Anyone who defends her, an ordinary citizen, politician or Minister, is guilty of blasphemy along with her.”

A pretty naked threat from extremist lobby will also put pressure on the PPP led civilian government as well as on Parliament, which in those days could examine the parliamentary motion presented by PPP’s lawmaker Ms Sherry Rehman, who is proposing substantial changes to the blasphemy law.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bi-Partisan Greetings!

To My Democratic Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thanks and a tip of the hat to my friend Judy Warner for sending me this.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Algerian Christians to Appeal Conviction for Worshiping

By Damaris Kremida

Four Christian men in Algeria will appeal a court decision to hand them suspended prison sentences for worshiping without a permit, saying the verdict could have repercussions for all the country’s churches.

The correctional court of Larbaa Nath Irathen, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the capital of Tizi Ouzou Province, gave two-month suspended prison sentences to four Christian leaders of a small Protestant church on Sunday (Dec. 12).

The pastor of the church, Mahmoud Yahou, was also charged with hosting a foreigner without official permission. The court gave him a three-month suspended sentence and a fine of 10,000 Algerian dinars (US$130), reported French TV station France 24 on its Web site. The prosecutor had asked for one-year prison sentences for each defendant.

Although the suspended sentences mean the four Christians will not serve prison time, Yahou said that he and the three other men plan to appeal the verdict because the outcome of their case could affect all Protestant churches of the country, none of which have official permission to operate.
“If they close us, they can close all the gatherings and churches that exist in Algeria,” Yahou said. “They could all be closed.”

In February 2008 the government applied measures to better control non-Muslim groups through Ordinance 06-03, which was established in 2006. Authorities ordered the closure of 26 churches in the Kabylie region, both buildings and house churches, maintaining that they were not registered under the ordinance. No churches have been closed down since then.

Despite efforts to comply with the ordinance, no churches or Christian groups have received governmental approval to operate, and the government has not established administrative means to implement the ordinance, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2010 Report on International Religious Freedom.

Though none of the churches have closed since 2008, their status continues to remain questionable and only valid through registration with the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA). The EPA, however, is also trying to gain official recognition.

“Actually, this law of 2006 has come to light: people are condemned as criminals for the simple act of thinking and believing different,” the president of the EPA, Mustapha Krim, said. “If we accept this [verdict], it means we are condemned to close our churches one after the other.”

Krim confirmed that based on Ordinance 06-03, none of the churches have actual authorization to operate, nor can Christians speak about their faith to other Algerians.
“If they condemn our four brothers, they need to condemn the others,” he said.

In a sign of solidarity towards the men and to demand the abolition of Ordinance 06-03, dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the courthouse on the first hearing of the case on Sept. 26. Demonstrators carried banners that read: “Places of worship for everyone,” “Freedom of religion = freedom of conscience,” and “Abolition of the Law of 06-03-2006.”

Attending the re-opening of a Catholic church in Algeria’s capital on Monday (Dec. 13), Religious Affairs Minister Bouabdellah Ghlamallah told reporters, “Religious freedom in Algeria is a reality,” reported Reuters. (ACP editor's note: The Roman Catholic Church has agreed to not proselytize and also to refuse any Muslims who approach the Roman Church seeking to convert.)

The Algerian Constitution gives the right to all citizens to practice their faith, although it declares Islam the state religion and prohibits institutions from behavior incompatible with Islamic morality.

Yahou said the judge did not pass a rightful judgment and thus had no real sense of justice.
“I think he has no conscience,” Yahou said. “We can’t be persecuted for nothing. He didn’t judge on the law and constitution, he judged on Islam. If he had read what is in the constitution, he wouldn’t have made this decision.”

The small church of Larbaa Nath Irathen, consisting only of a few families, had problems as early as 2008, when a group of Islamic radicals launched a petition against the church without success.

Yahou said that he knew very well the people in the village who brought charges against them, saying that they have tried to intimidate the church for the past few months in an effort to close it down.
“These are Islamists, and I know them in this village,” Yahou said.

Tizi Ouzou is part of Kabylie region, an area of Algeria where the country’s Protestant church has grown with relative freedom in recent years.

There are around 64 Protestant churches in the Kabylie region, where most Algerian Christians live, as well as numerous house groups, according to church leaders. The Kabylie region is populated by Berbers, an indigenous people of North Africa.

In October a court in the region acquitted two Christian men of eating during Ramadan in spite of a prosecutor’s demand that they be punished for “insulting Islam.”

In January Muslim neighbors ransacked and set on fire a church in Tizi Ouzou. In September a court in Tizi Ouzou ordered a local church to stop construction on an extension to its building and to tear it down.

Unofficial estimates of the number of Christian and Jewish citizens vary between 12,000 and 50,000, according to the state department’s report.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Ivory Coast on the brink
- a call to pray for Ivory Coast

By Elizabeth Kendal

Like Sudan and Nigeria, Ivory Coast sits atop a volatile ethnic-religious fault-line. Whilst the less-developed North has long been predominantly Muslim, the South – Ivory Coast’s economic and political engine – has historically been predominantly Christian and African Traditional Religion (ATR). Decades of mass immigration (1960-1993) from the neighbouring Muslim states of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea might have been great for the economy, but they have tipped the demographic balance so that Ivory Coast – officially about one-third Muslim – is actually majority Muslim.

The civil war that erupted in September 2002 was portrayed by the international media as a crisis of democracy and human rights caused by Southern xenophobia and Islamophobia. In reality, Ivory Coast’s crisis is the consequence of decades of mass Muslim immigration coupled with political ambition and an internationally-sponsored Islamic agenda. The civil war was fought essentially between those who want all Ivory Coast’s Muslim immigrants naturalized – giving Ivory Coast a Muslim majority overnight – and those who do not.

Though he denies it, former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara, a Northern Muslim, was doubtless behind the September 2002 failed coup that triggered the war. Ouattara and his party, the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), have been playing the race and religion cards for political gain. Ouattara’s intent has been to have all the Muslim immigrants naturalised (over 4 million: estimated to comprise between 30 and 40 percent of the total population) so that he (their champion) can dragnet the Muslim vote. Ouattara has long had his eye on the presidency.

The civil war left Ivory Coast totally polarised, split between a virtually ethnic-religiously cleansed, rebel-controlled Muslim North and a government-controlled predominantly Christian, non-Muslim South. Since the war the North has been in serious decline with AIDS, poverty and lawlessness increasing exponentially. In November 2004 Ivory Coast’s Christian president, Laurent Gbagbo, launched surprise airstrikes against rebel positions in the North in an attempt to reunify the country. However, former colonial power France (which backs the rebels for economic gain) intervened, razing all IC’s airforce planes, destroying runways and sending tanks against the Presidential Palace, around which loyalists formed a human shield.

The West had insisted that Ivory Coast could be reconciled, reunified and essentially saved by means of democratic elections, such is their faith in ‘democracy’ and the inherent goodness of man. In reality, the divisions are so profound and the stakes are so high that, unless genuine reconciliation occurred first, elections could only trigger conflict. Elections were held on 28 November 2010, with both Gbagbo and Ouattara claiming victory.

The US, European Union and African Union have recognised Ouattara as the winner and called for Gbagbo to respect democracy and step down. Russia meanwhile is blocking a UN statement that would recognise Ouatarra, saying that this is not the UN’s role. Ivory Coast’s non-Muslims are traumatised, fearing that their homeland—once the most prosperous ‘Christian’ nation in West Africa, home to the region’s largest cathedral, home-base to most of West Africa’s regional Christian ministries—is about to come under Muslim political domination.

(COMMENT: Ivory Coast’s crisis – the consequence of decades of Muslim mass immigration – is a foretaste of what several states in democratic Europe may be facing in a generation or two.)

give Ivory Coast’s Christian leaders – pastors and politicians – great spiritual wisdom and authority.

bring revival to the Church in Ivory Coast so believers will be compelled to go out with the gospel in boldness, empowered by the Holy Spirit, so that Ivory Coast might be spiritually transformed. For only then will the peoples ‘beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks . . .’ (Isaiah 2:4 ESV)

intervene in the tense climate by interposing a spirit of restraint, compelling the people to seek a negotiated solution as a means of averting another destructive civil war—a war that would certainly attract international jihadists.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi ‘has price on her head’

By Orla Guerin

Ashiq Masih has the look of a hunted man - gaunt, anxious and exhausted. Though he is guilty of nothing, this Pakistani labourer is on the run - with his five children. His wife, Asia Bibi, has been sentenced to death for blaspheming against Islam. That is enough to make the entire family a target. They stay hidden by day, so we met them after dark.

Mr Masih told us they move constantly, trying to stay one step ahead of the anonymous callers who have been menacing them.
“I ask who they are, but they refuse to tell me,” he said.
“They say ‘we’ll deal with you if we get our hands on you’. Now everyone knows about us, so I am hiding my kids here and there. I don’t allow them to go out. Anyone can harm them,” he added.

Ashiq Masih says his daughters still cry for their mother and ask if she will be home in time for Christmas. He insists that Asia Bibi is innocent and will be freed, but he worries about what will happen next.
“When she comes out, how she can live safely?” he asks.
“No one will let her live. The mullahs are saying they will kill her when she comes out.”

‘Noose around neck’
Asia Bibi, an illiterate farm worker from rural Punjab, is the first woman sentenced to hang under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law. As well as the death penalty hanging over her, Asia Bibi now has a price on her head. A radical cleric has promised 500,000 Pakistani rupees (£3,700; US$5,800) to anyone prepared to “finish her”. He suggested that the Taliban might be happy to do it.

Asia Bibi’s troubles began in June 2009 in her village, Ittan Wali, a patchwork of lush fields and dusty streets. Hers was the only Christian household. She was picking berries alongside local Muslim women, when a row developed over sharing water.

Days later, the women claimed she had insulted the Prophet Muhammad. Soon, Asia Bibi was being pursued by a mob.
“In the village they tried to put a noose around my neck, so that they could kill me,” she said in a brief appearance outside her jail cell.
Asia Bibi says she was falsely accused to settle an old score. That is often the case with the blasphemy law, critics say.

Anarchy threat
At the village mosque, we found no mercy for her. The imam, Qari Mohammed Salim, told us he cried with joy when sentence was passed on Asia Bibi. He helped to bring the case against her and says she will be made to pay, one way or the other.
“If the law punishes someone for blasphemy, and that person is pardoned, then we will also take the law in our hands,” he said.

Her case has provoked concern abroad, with Pope Benedict XVI joining the calls for her release. In Pakistan, Islamic parties have been out on the streets, threatening anarchy if she is freed, or if there is any attempt to amend the blasphemy law. Under Pakistan’s penal code, anyone who “defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet” can be punished by death or life imprisonment. Death sentences have always been overturned on appeal.

Human right groups and Christian organisations want the law abolished.
“It was designed as an instrument of persecution,” says Ali Hasan Dayan, of Human Rights Watch in Pakistan. “It’s discriminatory and abusive.”

While most of those charged under the law are Muslims, campaigners say it is an easy tool for targeting minorities, in this overwhelmingly Muslim state.
“It is a hanging sword on the neck of all minorities, especially Christians,” says Shahzad Kamran, of the Sharing Life Ministry, which ministers to prisoners, including Asia Bibi.
“In our churches, homes and workplaces we feel fear,” he says.
“It’s very easy to make this accusation because of a grudge, or for revenge. Anyone can accuse you. Even our little children are afraid that if they say something wrong at school, they will be charged with blasphemy.”

‘No compromise’
Asia Bibi’s story has sparked a public debate in Pakistan about reforming the law, but it is a touchy - and risky - subject which many politicians would prefer to ignore. Campaigners fear that the talk about reform of the blasphemy laws will amount to no more than that. When Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, raised the issue six months ago, he was threatened with death.
“I was told I could be beheaded if I proposed any change,” he told us.
“But I am committed to the principle of justice for the people of Pakistan. I am ready to die for this cause, and I will not compromise”.

Mr Bhatti, himself a Christian, hopes that Asia Bibi will win an appeal to the High Court, or be pardoned by Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari. He says she is one of dozens of innocent people who are accused every year.
“I will go to every knock for justice on her behalf and I will take all steps for her protection”.
But even behind bars Asia Bibi may not be safe. Several people accused of blasphemy have been killed in jail.

‘Electric shock’
Thirty-four people connected with blasphemy cases have been killed since the law was hardened in 1986, according to Pakistan’s Justice and Peace Commission, a Catholic campaign group.
In a neglected graveyard by a railway track in the city of Faisalabad, we found two of the latest victims of the blasphemy law. They are brothers, buried side by side, together in death, as they were in life.
Rashid Emmanuel was a pastor. His brother, Sajid, was an MBA student. They were gunned down in July during their trial - inside a courthouse, in handcuffs and in police custody.

Relatives, who asked not to be identified, said the blasphemy charges were brought because of a land dispute. After the killings, the extended family had to leave home and move to another city. They say they will be moving again soon.
“We don’t feel safe,” one relative told us.
“We are shocked, like an electric shock. We are going from one place to another to defend ourselves, and secure our family members.”

Once a month they come to the cemetery to pray at the graves of their lost loved ones.
They are too frightened to visit more often. They bow their heads and mourn for two men who they say were killed for nothing – except being Christian.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Dear Fr. John
Please find the update of Asia .

December 3, 2010
Pakistan Cleric Offers Reward for Killing Christian Woman

Screen shot 2010-12-03 at 1.40.50 PMBreaking News: Both MSNBC and theAFP are reporting on the Pakistani Cleric by the name of Maulana Yousuf Qureshi (pictured) who is calling for the death of Asia Bibi and offering a $6000.00 bounty for doing so.

Please keep praying for Asia Bibi and her family, and also pray for those who are persecuting her to come to faith in Christ Jesus.
Link to this post | Posted by Stacy L. Harp in Christian Action, Christian News, Christian Persecution

Court Prevents Pakistan’s President from Pardoning Asia Bibi

The high court in Pakistan told the president that he can’t pardon Bibi because the court has not yet decided on her appeal.

Washington, D.C. (November 29, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that today a court in Pakistan told the president of the country that he could not grant pardon to the Christian woman who has been sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ against Muhammad.

The Lahore High Court issued the order after lawyers argued that the president can not issue the pardon before Asia Bibi’s appeal to the High Court is decided.

Bibi had appealed to the High Court for the reversal of her death sentence, but the court has yet to set a date for the hearing of her appeal.

In a statement to ICC, Pakistan’s Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti said that President Asif Ali Zardari has pledged to intervene if the High Court unnecessarily delayed in deciding Bibi’s case. The president also asked Bhatti to investigate Bibi’s case and Bhatti found her to be innocent.

Bhatti added that the under Article 45 of the country’s constitution, the president of Pakistan has authority to free convicts. The article states that: “the President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority.”

Meanwhile, fundamentalist Muslims have stepped up their threats against the Pakistani officials, warning that there will be anarchy if Bibi is pardoned.

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws stipulate that defaming the Islamic prophet Muhammad is punishable by death or life imprisonment. Muslim radicals have used the law to repeatedly incite violence against Christians, other religious minorities and even Muslims. In August 2009, a Muslim mob killed 11 Christians following a false allegation of the desecration of the Qur’an in Gorja, Pakistan. According to the State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom, 25 Ahmadis and 17 Muslims were arrested in 2008 alone for allegedly violating the blasphemy laws.

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said “We are deeply saddened by the plight of Bibi and her family. It’s disturbing that Muslim radicals are using the legal system in Pakistan to delay the release of Bibi. We urge Pakistan to immediately release Bibi and repeal the blasphemy laws that are causing persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.”

Please contact the Pakistani embassy in your countries and politely ask the Pakistani officials to release Asia Bibi.

Pakistani Embassies:

USA: (202) 243-3254 (Phone), (202) 686-1534(Fax)
Canada: (613) 238-7881 (Phone), (613) 238-7298 (Fax)
UK: 0870-005-6967 (Phone)
The Archdeacon Fr. Mushtaq Andrew
Diocese of Lahore
Church of Pakistan CIPBC
2 Province of Anglican Catholic Church


No pardon for Asia Bibi, orders Chief Justice LHC
Lahore: November 29, 2010. (PCP) The Chief Justice of Lahore High Court LHC, Khawaja Sharif bared President Asif Ali Zardari to pardon Asia Bibi, a Christian mother sentenced to death on accusation of blasphemy.
The interim orders were issued by Chief Justice LHC Khawaja Mohammad Sharif on a petition pleaded by Allah Bukhsh Advocate praying to stall any may be attempt of pardon to one Christian woman sentenced to death on defiling name of Prophet Mohammad by ADSJ of Nankana Sahib.

The petitioner Shahid Iqbal,s advocate pleaded that accused have filed her appeal in Lahore High Court against her death sentence and decision of appeal is awaited but it seems that President of Pakistan tends to pardon her while President can not pardon when an appeal is pending.

In a report in Pakistan Christian Post, it was feared that Asia Bibi will not be able to avail opportunity of Pardon by President Of Pakistan when family of Asia Bibi on directions of one NGO filed her appeal in LHC in haste.

On one hand, Governor of Punjab was visiting Asia Bibi in Seikhupura District jail and taking her thumb impressions on Affidavit to file her Pardon appeal with President of Pakistan, on other hand some NGO,s based in Lahore were taking her thumb impression to file her appeal against decision of ADSJ verdict. The race among government and NGO,s complicated release of Asia Bibi which benefited forces which consider blasphemy law soul and spirit of Islam.

Asia Bibi recorded her statement in Saddar Police Station, in Additional District and Session Judge Court and before Pakistani media that she never defiled name of Prophet Mohammad or commented against Islam but no one is ready to accept her statement and she is living in fear of life in Prison and her family is fled from her village Ittanwali and taken refuge in undisclosed location in Pakistan.

The Islamic leaders are holding Press Conferences and rallies to maintain sentence of death to Asia Bibi on accusation of blasphemy which can pressure Higher Court.

Pakistani Embassies:

USA: (202) 243-3254 (Phone), (202) 686-1534(Fax)
Canada: (613) 238-7881 (Phone), (613) 238-7298 (Fax)
UK: 0870-005-6967 (Phone)

The Archdeacon Fr. Mushtaq Andrew
Diocese of Lahore
Church of Pakistan CIPBC
2 Province of Anglican Catholic Church

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I have received the letter below just this morning from Fr. Andrew in Pakistan. Many thanks for your prayers. Please keep praying for our Christian people in Pakistan. Fr. Andrew is seated third from the left, wearing a brown jacket, in the second photo from the top.

His Grace Mark Haverland, His Grace John Augustine,
His Lordship Brian Iverack, dears bishops,
Dear priest brothers

Greetings in our Saviour Jesus Christ

30th November 2010 is the historical and remarkable day for the
Anglican Catholic Church in Pakistan.
This day officially foundation stone laying ceremony took place at
Model Town Gujranwala.
His Excellency Kamran Michael Province Minister for Minorities and
Human Rights was invited to lay the foundation stone.
Due to emergency meeting with Chief Minister of Punjab on Asia Bibi he
could not come to us. But His Excellency sent his representative for
this ceremony.
Our Lord made possible to start our own ACC Church building in Pakistan.
We thank all our Anglican brothers and sisters who made possible to
create his day as historical day for the ACC in Pakistan.

Please have a look on Photographs;
in Christ
Fr. Andrew

*The Archdeacon Fr. Mushtaq Andrew
Diocese of Lahore
Church of Pakistan CIPBC
2 Province of Anglican Catholic Church*

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Photo: Son of Fr. Mushtaq Andrew stands guard outside of tent where his Father is holding a service.

Not far from Lahore, Pakistan is an Anglican Catholic parish of the Diocese of Lahore/Pakistan, Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon. This is the same country where Asia Bibi lives. Christians are not safe in this country, the government has proven repeatedly that it cannot protect the Christian minority from attacks from violent Muslims, murderous attacks.

Fr. Mushtaq Andrew is the archdeacon of this tiny diocese and leads a small flock of Christians. This group of Christians also provide medical and social services to the poor. Now they feel so threatened that Father has posted his own son to guard the tent where the parish holds religious services lest they be attacked while at prayer. His son is in effect a one man Christian militia. This is a situation that elicits both admiration and horror at the same time. Admiration for one so young and all alone to bravely stand watch so that his earthly father might preach the gospel of the heavenly Father, and horror at the prospect that the daunting odds against this young Christian might get him killed.

The events of the past few weeks in Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan reveal a new tactic on the part of al-Qaeda that calls for direct attacks on native Christian populations in Islamic dominated lands. In Iraq and Egypt there is no Christian militia to defend the faithful from these attacks. The national governments seem incapable of defending Christian homes and churches from attacks, in fact often the government is aiding in covering up for the attackers and even on occasion arresting Christians who call the police for protection.

With a sister parish of my own church under threat, the horror of what is transpiring in these countries is made real to me in a way that others perhaps cannot comprehend. We need to pray earnestly for Christians in all of these countries and we need to support them financially so that they can create a more secure environment for their families. They need a building to worship in. In a tent they are most vulnerable. If you want to help them build a church please contact me and I will tell you how you can help.

In Christ,
Fr. John

Friday, November 26, 2010


Conflicting Stories on Asia Bibi’s Release

International Christian Concern (ICC) issued a press release on November 22 entitled “Pakistan Releases Christian Woman Sentenced to Death For Blasphemy.” Since the issuance of the press release, we have received conflicting stories about Asia Bibi.

Some of our sources still insist that Asia has been released. However, Pakistani officials denied that they have released Bibi. The officials have publicly spoken about her possible pardon. Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, said that Bibi is innocent.

In a statement to CNN, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, indicated that Bibi would be pardoned by the president of Pakistan. Asia still awaits the outcome of her plea for mercy to the High Court.

Farhatullah Babar, spokesperson for Pakistan’s president, also told CNN that “Asia cannot be executed now. Under the law, a death sentence issued by a session court cannot be carried out until it has been endorsed by the high court.”

There has already been backlash against Bibi’s possible release. According to the Associated Press, close to 250 hard-line Muslims held a demonstration in Lahore today warning the president not to pardon Bibi.

We are closely monitoring Bibi’s situation and will update you once we obtain new information.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In this issue:
Pakistan Releases Christian Woman
Asia Bibi’s daughters hopeful of reunion
Mystery Surrounds the Case Of The Christian Woman Facing Death For Blasphemy

Pakistan Releases Christian Woman
Sentenced to Death for ‘Blasphemy’

International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that today the president of Pakistan has pardoned a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi was sentenced on November 8 after a court in Punjab province found her guilty of making blasphemous statements against the Islamic prophet Muhammad. According to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, it is a crime punishable by death to blaspheme the Islamic prophet.

Her release came after intense international pressure by politicians and church leaders as well as coverage by several media outlets.

Asia has now been taken to an undisclosed location for her safety. In the past, Christians have been killed by vigilantes after being accused of blasphemy. On July 19, gunmen killed Pastor Rashid Emmanuel and his brother, Sajid Emmanuel, while police were transporting them from the court in Faisalabad to jail. The gunmen also seriously wounded a policeman accompanying them.

Some Muslim lawyers and other fundamentalist Muslims are preparing to demonstrate against Asia’s release.

ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, Jonathan Racho, said, “We are delighted to learn about Asia’s release and we would like to commend Pakistan’s president for taking the right action. It’s high time for Pakistan to repeal the blasphemy laws that have caused so much persecution against Christians and other religious minorities.”

Asia Bibi’s daughters hopeful of reunion
By Jamal Shahid, a reporter with DAWN newspaper in Pakistan

Blasphemy convict Asia Bibi’s daughters - Sidra and Ashi - have put their trust in God that they will be united with their mother.
“She has done nothing wrong. The allegations are baseless,” said Sidra in a melancholic tone sitting in the office of Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti here Saturday.

An additional district and sessions judge at Nankana Saheb recently handed Asia death penalty and Rs100,000 fine under the controversial blasphemy law - that many believe has been used as a tool for suppression.
Charges against Asia had been brought as a result of statements which she allegedly made during a water dispute with local women in a fruit farm in her hometown at Nankana in November 2009.

“The women instigated the imam (clergy) of the local mosque who then made a mountain out of a mole hill,” said Asia’s husband Ashiq Masih, who was forced into hiding with his five children, the youngest less than 10year-old, because the clergy and people of the town threatened to kill his children and set them on fire if they returned.
“They dragged my mother out of the house. We tried to free her from an angry mob. They ripped her clothes. My younger sister ran to save her too. But a mob member slammed her into the wall,” said Sidra while explaining how her mother kept shouting that she had committed no wrong.

According to Ashiq Masih, his wife was then judged before a local landlord who forced her to confess the guilt but she denied the allegation.
Failing to extort a confession, the charged mob threatened the police to register an FIR under 295-C for “abusive and insulting utterances against their religion,” said Ashiq Masih.

The children met their mother on Tuesday from behind a steel cage at the Sheikhupura jail where she has been imprisoned for the last one and a half year.
“She tried to touch us with her finger tips. She was so weak we could barely hear her,” said Ashi.

The minister for minorities expressed his confidence that the dispute was personal and nothing more.
“The allegations are baseless and victimization of a weaker people. The blasphemy law has been misused on several occasions because it is vague and the government should repeal it to stop its abuse,” he said, vowing to protect the woman’s life, return her to her family and provide justice to the family.

“The President has taken notice and he is the legal authority to pardon,” the minister said.
Back home, according to Ashiq Masih, the local clergy has again announced through his mosque loudspeaker to decapitate Asia if the court pardoned her and if she returned home.
Ashiq Masih’s family was one of the two Christian households in Itanwala, Nankana district, living among 7,000 to 8,000 Muslim families.

Mystery Surrounds the Case Of The Christian Woman Facing Death For Blasphemy Who Some Sources Say Has Been ‘Freed’
Asia Bibi was said to have been pardoned by the Pakistani president, but other sources say that this is not true

By Dan Wooding

Mystery surrounds the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four who was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010, for alleged blasphemy.

Several sources inside of Pakistan had claimed that Asia Bibi, also known as Asia Noreen, who had already spent the last year and a half in prison, was set free today (Monday, November 22, 2010), after being pardoned by Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari.

According to a source in Pakistan, “She has gone now into hiding over fears for her safety.”

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told ANS that it “welcomes the release of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan.”

But now other sources are saying that this claim is premature. A respected source close to the case has said that, according to their latest information, Bibi has not been pardoned and that her mercy plea has been sent to the Punjab Home Department, which will forward it to the Interior Ministry for onward submission to the Presidency.

The source went on to say that the presidential spokesman has just made a statement that President Zardari has not “received any such plea” but he may consider it on the “advice of the prime minister.”

It is also believed that, if and when she receives a possible presidential pardon, a strike has being called for Wednesday with threats of violence that could erupt if Asia is released.

Bibi was found guilty of blasphemy despite there being no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges laid against her.

She was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by Muslim field workers following a dispute over their different faiths. When she was asked to bring a cup of water, the women refused to drink from it, saying that it had been touched by a Christian and was therefore “unclean.”

She was arrested in June 2009 in her home village of Ittanwalai, west of the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, and prosecuted under Section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death penalty.

The case has made international headlines and thrown the spotlight on what many Pakistani Christians believe are unjust blasphemy laws.

Nasir Saeed, Coordinator of CLAAS in the UK, told ANS: “The ordeal faced by her and her family is unimaginable to most people outside of Pakistan who are largely unaware of the abuse and discrimination faced by the tiny Christian minority there.

“The blasphemy laws smack in the face of democracy and human rights and only reinforce the notion that Christians and other religious minorities in the country are somehow inferior and less human.”

ANS will continue to follow this case and will bring you the latest news as it becomes available.

-- -- -- -- --


By producing a small written item to present the leadership of your nation, picture the current situation as to persecution and/or missions, add information on spiritual combat and frontlines of confrontation, report on the situation of the poor and needy in your society we will be able to come alongside in prayer.
By writing on these subjects or by sending articles written by others you will draw the attention of many intercessors, who are eager engage in the most rewarding pursuits available to man – PRAYER.
Please, do not hesitate to try to describe urgent prayer targets. . .
Blessings on every effort in this realm. . .

Lars W.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


PHOTO: Iraqi Christian women grieve as they walk in funeral procession for two murdered priests in Baghdad.

Iraq and Egypt: al-Qaeda declares war on Christians

By Elizabeth Kendal

In July 2010 Camilia Shehata Zakher disappeared after a quarrel with her husband, a Coptic priest in Minya Governorate. Unaware that she was with relatives in Cairo, he reported her missing and accused Muslims of abducting her for forced conversion, a fate not uncommon for Coptic girls in Egypt. When Egyptian Security Forces found Camilia in Cairo and returned her to her husband, Muslims protested, claiming that Camilia was now Muslim and was being held by the church against her will.

One fundamentalist sheikh claimed to have heard her say the shahada, the declaration of Muslim faith. Digitally edited photos purportedly of Camilia in full Islamic dress started appearing on the web. Islamic militants urged that Christian tourists be kidnapped and killed in retaliation. On 1 September a Mauritanian cleric issued a fatwa permitting the killing of Egyptian Copts. Camilia came to be personifying the Muslim fantasy of Coptic girls converting to Islam and of the church as causing fitna or persecution.

Then on 8 September Camilia appeared on national TV denouncing the rumours of torture, drugs and captivity. ‘I am appearing,’ she said, ‘in order to defend my husband, my child, my church and my religion which is Christianity.’ Fundamentalist sheikhs subsequently claimed the woman on the TV was not Camilia, but her ‘double’. Egyptian State Security immediately refuted this and the Chairman of the Committee of Declaration of Islam at Al-Azhar University, Sheikh Saeed Amer, stepped in and denied that Camilia ever came to Al-Azhar or that her case ever came before him.

Islamist propagandists subsequently asserted that Camilia was kidnapped by State Security forces while on her way to Al-Azhar to formalise her conversion. The Islamists claim therefore the State actually prevented her conversion to Islam. The truth is: Camilia is a Christian who never converted to Islam. The Camilia of Islamic fantasy – the convert to Islam who is suffering persecution at the hand of the church – is a myth. Nevertheless this totally debunked myth is being used as incitement and as an excuse to kill Christians.

On 15 September, as religious tensions soared, the former secretary-general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Muhammad Salim al-Awwa, raged on Aljazeera international TV, falsely accusing Egypt’s Copts of ‘stocking arms and ammunition in their churches and monasteries’ in preparation for war against Muslims. He also perpetuated the lie that the Coptic Church was holding female Coptic converts to Islam captive in desert monasteries.

As the rhetoric escalated, riots multiplied, forcing the government to urge media restraint for the sake of national unity. Then on 31 October ten al-Qaeda militants in Iraq laid siege to a Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad. Fifty-eight died and more than 70 were wounded in the subsequent massacre. In claiming responsibility, the al-Qaeda-linked ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ gave Egypt’s Coptic Church 48 hours to release from captivity Camilia Shehata and Wafa Constantine, an almost identical case from 2004. Otherwise jihadists would retaliate against Christians everywhere. The incitement in Egypt being linked to the massacre in Baghdad and the threat from al-Qaeda shocked Egypt, prompting restraint there and temporarily settling the situation somewhat.

Nothing, however, has settled in Iraq. On 9 November three Christian homes were bombed at night in the suburb of Mansour, western Baghdad. The following morning two Christian homes in al-Dora were hit by mortar fire. Bombs also exploded outside a church in Kampsara and outside about a dozen Christian homes across Baghdad. At least four Christians were killed and dozens were wounded and terrorised. The targeted homes could be seen to be Christians because of funeral notices and visible Christian insignia.

Then on Monday evening 15 November Islamic militants in the northern city of Mosul stormed two adjacent homes of Christian families in the eastern al-Tahrir neighbourhood and killed the two male heads of those households, a Syrian Catholic and an Armenian. Almost simultaneously a bomb exploded outside a Christian home in central Mosul. The next day a Christian man and his daughter aged six were killed by a car bomb in Mosul. This terror has led to a surge in Christians fleeing Iraq. They will join the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians struggling to survive as refugees in Syria, Turkey and Jordan. They no longer see any reason to risk their lives for a state where, even if they survive, they will be condemned to live as second class citizens (dhimmis).
In Egypt, the lives of Copts are conditionally ‘protected’ as dhimmis. This means they will not be killed and plundered provided they submit to the injustice, persecution and humiliation inherent in abject subjugation under superior Islam. After years of impunity for attacks on Copts, their security is now extremely tenuous. On Monday 15 November 22 homes, two commercial shops, a bakery, and livestock, all belonging to Copts, were burnt when Muslims—reportedly nearly 1000 -- rioted in the Upper Egyptian village of el-Nowahed after hearing a rumour that a Christian boy was in a relationship with a Muslim girl. (According to the rules of Islam, a Christian boy may not approach a Muslim girl but must convert to Islam first.)

Due to years of radicalisation and the re-establishment of dhimmitude, the situation in Egypt is now pre-genocidal. Meanwhile the situation in Iraq is undoubtedly genocidal, partly because Iraq has become a base for foreign-sponsored sectarian Islamic militias. Additionally there is the factor that, as a Western experiment in Islamic democracy (like Lebanon previously), the West doesn’t want to see or admit failure in Iraq. Especially that would challenge the West’s firmly held belief that democracy – as distinct from the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is the solution to noble (rather than sinful) humanity’s problems.

The West must end the denial and be responsible for securing and rescuing Iraq’s Christian remnant. Once US troops with draw and the ‘real’ war begins, it will be too late.

level the paths, open the doors and provide safe passage for all Iraqi Christians fleeing Islamic terror and genocide for what may be an extended period of exile.
draw the hearts and minds of all Iraqi Christians to him, that they might put their faith in him alone, for he is their only hope.

intervene in Egypt, to still the brewing storm; may all Egypt’s Christians – Copts and Arab converts – look to Christ and put their faith in him alone, for he is their only hope.
frustrate the plots and programs of the wicked, while pricking the conscience of the alliance states to Christian duty and moral obligation that they might respond with commitment and generosity to the humanitarian catastrophe that is befalling Iraqi Christians.

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me . . . Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (From Matthew 25:40,45 ESV.)

By writing on these subjects or by sending articles written by others you will draw the attention of many intercessors, who are eager to engage in the most rewarding pursuit available to man – PRAYER.
Please, do not hesitate to try to describe urgent prayer targets. . .
Blessings on every effort in this realm. . .

Lars W.

God is looking for believers who will seek a revelation of him that is all their own – a very deep personal intimacy that unlocks “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”

-- -- -- -- -
The above information was obtained via "Intercessors Network" an international Christian prayer network of which I have been a member for many years. The network is run by Lars Wiederberg. If you are interested in becoming a member contact me by email for more information.

In Christ,
Fr. John

Monday, November 08, 2010

But You Can't Display the Ten Commandments

This incredible federal court ruling is a sad indicator of the sorry state of affairs of our republic. The Ten Commandments have been physically removed from state court houses by federal authorities, but this attempt of the State of Oklahoma to insure separation of church and state against Islam is blocked by that same federal authority. What's going on here? It would seem that the federal authority is not against religion in general, but just Christianity.

Photo: "Birth of the Anti-Christ"

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Tim Talley, Associated Press –

OKLAHOMA CITY – A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking a state constitutional amendment that prohibits state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled Monday morning in Oklahoma City following a brief hearing. It prevents the state election board from certifying the results of Tuesday's general election in which the amendment was approved by 70 percent of the voters.

The order will remain in effect until a Nov. 22 hearing on a requested preliminary injunction.

It was issued in a lawsuit filed by the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma. Muneer Awad said during the hearing that the law stigmatizes his religion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


At left is the funeral procession for two priests who were murdered in their church last Sunday. At least 58 Christian laypeople in the Baghdad church were also killed. Once again there is no outrage over these murders committed by Muslim fanatics. Try and imagine the cacophony coming from world leaders and the mainstream press if a Christian militia (there isn't one in Iraq) had stormed a mosque, killed two imams and 58 Muslim worshipers. Instead, one has to dig to get any details on this story. Here is a report from CNN.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Well, it is official now, nearly three weeks after the story concerning the mass burning of Bibles in Iran, not as a protest, but of Bibles stolen from their rightful owners, (see previous post below)appeared on this blog, and even longer after the Christian group in Iran released it, presumably at great risk to themselves, there has been no outrage of any sort. In fact not even a teensy little complaint from any official organ of church or state.

One may draw several conclusions from this lack of concern and studied indifference, but I think that it is a mix of indifference and fear. Indifference to any insult or attack on Christianity, and fear of becoming a target of "radical" Muslims who are anything but indifferent and apparently utterly fearless in spite of the U.S. and Western powers assertion that they are "cowards."

To paraphrase a popular saying, "sometimes history is made by those who just blow up." If they want it more than we do, they win.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hundreds of Bibles Burned by the Iranian Government Security Forces

By Dan Wooding

Following the outrage in the Islamic world about the possible Koran (Qur’an) burning that was due to take place at the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainesville, Florida, which had launched “International Burn a Koran Day” to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, it is interesting to note that Muslims have been silent about a shocking Bible burning that took place in Iran.

But now it can be revealed that the Farsi Christian News Network has reported that Iranian Government Security Forces burned hundreds of Bibles back in May of this year.

A spokesperson for FCNN told the ASSIST News Service (ANS), “This action [of burning the Bibles], which has been confirmed by informed sources, was aired on a site belonging to the Pasdaran paramilitary organization, is nothing less than shameful and the persons responsible must be identified and exposed to the whole world.”

The report said that on Saturday, May 29, 2010, Ati News, a site belonging to Morteza Talaee, the previous head of the security forces and the current member of the Tehran’s city council, their “social-life reporter” had disclosed that shipments of so-called, “Perverted Torah and Gospels” had entered Iran through its Western borders.

Two days later, on Monday, May 31, 2010, the same report was reiterated by the official anti-crime website of the Pasdaran Army called “Gerdaub” which said that a large shipment of Jewish and Christian Scriptures had entered Iran through the Western Azerbaijan province and, according to security officials of that province, the “occupier forces” that operate in the Western regions of Iraq “were responsible for such activities.”

FCCN stated that Gerdaub, the official website of the Pasdaran Army [also known as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRCG] continued its report by quoting the security official who had stated: “Some of these books are distributed locally, but most of the books are smuggled and distributed all over the country. In just the last few months, hundreds of such ‘perverted Bibles’ have been seized and burned in the border town of Sardasht.”

The same unidentified security source added that his intention has been to “inform and enlighten” people.

“While the depiction of the Prophet of Islam and other historical religious leaders, whether in good or bad taste, has caused uproar and violent protests, threats of retaliation and assassinations, closure of embassies, long and mournful marches in various parts of countries of the world such as Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, it is quite interesting that the official website of the most powerful military wing of the Islamic Republic of Iran engages in the shameful act of reporting the burning of Bibles,” said the FCNN spokesperson.

“Of course, the security officials have not clarified the difference between these so called ‘perverted Bibles’ and those that are commonly used by people around the world - including Iran.

“These officials shamefully label the Holy Scriptures of the Christians ‘contraband’ without realizing that over two billion people around the world, and at least five hundred thousand people in Iran, revere and consider these scriptures holy. This action is no different than what the government has wrongfully accused many Christians of, insulting the sacred beliefs of Islam.

“On the hand the defenders of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the international organizations and human rights forums claim that religious minorities such as Jews and Christians enjoy constitutional protection and the adherents of these religions not only can elect their own representatives to the parliament, but exercise their religious rights freely and openly.

“But, as with many other rights and freedoms granted to the people in the constitution, this fundamental right has also been violated and repressed by the Islamic government.”

The spokesperson went on to say, “The leaders of the Islamic Republic not only use the weapon of their pre-selected parliamentary candidates to control who gets into the legislature, but severely suppresses the religious minorities by demanding the names of those attending church services, banning the entry of Farsi-speaking members into church buildings, any preaching in the Farsi language, rejecting any building permits for church buildings, and the publishing of Bibles and other Christian literature which amounts to nothing but direct interference in the religious affairs of the very people it claims to be protecting.

“For these reasons Christians have taken refuge at homes and congregate in home-style churches. Even then, many of these Christians are harassed and often pursued by security agents and are arrested and detained. Many Christian leaders have been detained for long periods of time in undisclosed locations and often very expensive bails have to be posted to secure their freedom.

“The question remains as to how long the Christian community outside of Iran can tolerate such persecutions and atrocities. Moreover, and not withstanding the fact that Iranian Christians do not have the right to publish their holy scriptures, those Christians from around the world who donate Bibles to their brothers and sisters inside Iran are insulted by labeling their donated Bibles as contraband and burned by the security agents.

“It is only appropriate that the official website of the Pasdaran army that has published this report and has confirmed the validity of this news through one of its security agents be condemned by the international Christian community and the world to demand the identification of those who perpetrated this shameful act.

“Such insults and offensive actions in burning the Christian Bible coincides with the Islamic community’s full enjoyment, freedom, and the blessings of the Western nations that allow them to publish the Islamic Holy Book, the Quran, and to build as many mosques as is needed in various European and North American cities.

“The Quran states that the Torah and the Gospels are Holy Scriptures as well. Nevertheless, the Islamic leaders claim that the Bibles used by Christians and Jews are not the authentic scriptures but have been changed by the church. Considering the fact that the Quran also states that no man can destroy the word of God, the question remains that if the currently used Bible is, as the Islamic leaders so claim, a changed and untrustworthy document where is the real Torah and the Gospels?

“If the Quranic claim that the word of God can never be perverted and changed, then there must be a copy of the real Torah and the Gospels somewhere. To this question Muslims have no credible answers. There is no such difference or variance between today’s Scriptures and the original writings. Our modern Bibles go back to the very ancient copies of the scriptures that in some cases date back to only 50 years from Christ Himself. There are even copies of the Old Testament that date several hundred years before Christ.

“Definitely, and for sure, one can not find any ancient writings that have been as carefully and precisely copied and preserved as the Bible has been. There are thousands of ancient manuscripts in world museums that testify to this fact. Therefore the claim that the Bible is a changed and false scripture is totally baseless and is nothing but a ploy to confuse and mislead people by the Islamic leaders.”

The spokesperson concluded by saying, “In any event, the burning of any book, especially one that is honored and revered by a great majority of people around the world, is an unacceptable and immoral act and must be condemned by the world community.”

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


At left, Father Christopher Jamison participates in protest with unidentified nun.

According to a report in the BBC web pages Father Christopher Jamison, Papal visit spokesman for the Pope's upcoming visit to the UK, said, "The 21st Century is a religious century, and secular Britain is to be commended for being open to giving a public platform to religious voices in this country.

He added,"The Catholic Church wants to build a multi-faith society in Britain. And the Pope will have important messages about the role that religious faith can play in civil society."

How many faiths does the Vatican recognize, and why would it want to help build other faiths outside of the Christian one?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


(This article is a reprint from 2006. The building of the Islamic Center in Manhattan near ground zero, ironically called the Cordoba Project, prompts me to rerun this.)The photo above is of the sanctuary of St. Hilda of Whitby Anglican Catholic Church in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14th, 2004. The church is vested for the celebration of the feast of a martyr bishop, Blessed Leonidas Polk. June 14th is also the feast of Ss.Anastasius, Felix, and Dignii. They constitute a part of those saints known as the New Martyrs of Cordoba.

Martyed by the Moors at Cordoba about 852. Anastasius was an old priest of Cordoba, Felix was a monk originally out of North Africa, Dignii was a fiery young nun who was ordered killed after she upbraided the Judge in open court for the injustice of the sentences against Father Anastasius and Brother Felix

Another New Martyr of Cordoba is St. Columbii also a nun who confronted the authorities directly about the Islamic prohibition on preaching Jesus.

I have in my possession first class relics of Anastasius, Dignii and Columbii.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Why the Anglican Catholic Church?

At the risk of beating a dead horse I am posting one more expose' of the strong support given by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the extreme left. This time they are actually funding abortion and the promotion of abortion as a right and also providing political and financial support for the promotion of same sex marriage. As in the past this is an internal expose so the investigators have no agenda to make the Roman Church look bad as they themselves are Roman Catholic zealots. I like these people.

As you listen to the commentator explain the subterfuge involved, those of you who were in the Episcopal Church in the sixties and seventies will have a sense of dejavu. Anglicans thinking about submitting their futures to the uncertainty of who the next pope might be should think again before trading their Anglican birthright for a mess of Roman Catholic pottage. Copy and paste this url into your browser to see the presentation.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Church blasts gay priests leading 'double life'

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer Nicole Winfield, Associated Press Writer – Fri Jul 23, 2:37 pm ET
ROME – The Catholic Church in Italy, still reeling from the clerical sex abuse scandal, lashed out Friday at gay priests who are leading a double life, urging them to come out of the closet and leave the priesthood.
The Diocese of Rome issued the strongly worded statement after the conservative Panorama newsweekly said in a cover story and accompanying video that it had interviewed three gay priests in Rome and accompanied them to gay clubs and bars and to sexual encounters with strangers, including one in a church building.
Read it all here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sitting in Satan's Lap

My good friend and colleague Dan Cassidy, for whom I have boundless admiration and the highest personal regard, has responded to my posting pointing out the tremendous influence and power that the organized left wields in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the Roman Seminaries which are in large part dominated, so I and others assert, by a "gay" clique of leftists.

Dan, while not denying that the situation as described here and elsewhere existed in the recent past, has written that the current and previous pope have taken positive steps to ameliorate this state of affairs.

I am posting here a collection of observations on the gayness of the Roman seminaries, some quite old and some quite recent, by various authorities within the Roman hierarchy. Then follows a list of references that contain great detail about the same.

My challenge to Dan and others is to make me believe that the situation as described in these writings no longer exist. Explain to me what concrete and tangible steps have been taken to correct this deplorable state of affairs in the Roman seminaries, show me the measurable impact of the papal reforms.

I can find nothing to refute that many, if not most, Roman seminaries are oppressed by an unwholesome homosexual atmosphere.

Let the reader be the judge.

This from
Father Donald Cozzens wrote that several studies have concluded that about 50% of priests and seminarians are gay.

David France of Newsweek, referring to St. John's Seminary in Camarillo, CA, wrote: "Depending on whom you ask, gay and bisexual men make up anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of the student body at the college and graduate levels."

Rt. Rev. Helmut Hefner, rector of St. Johns Seminary "accepts that his gay enrollment may be as high as 50 percent."

Gay journalist Rex Wockner commented: "When I was in the Catholic seminary in my early 20s (St. Meinrad College, St. Meinrad, Ind., 1982-1983; University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill., 1983-1984), at least 50 percent of the students were gay....At St. Mary of the Lake, the straight students felt like a minority and felt excluded from some aspects of campus life to such an extent that the administration staged a seminar at which we discussed the problem of the straight students feeling left out of things..."

Author and sociologist James G. Wolfe estimated that 55.1% of seminarians were gay.

Does the gay sub-culture in seminaries affect heterosexual seminarians?
Many priests and theologians have commented about the gay sub-cultures in Catholic seminaries:
An anonymous priest from the Boston area commented in an interview with Joe Fitzgerald of the Boston Herald: "there's a subculture of gay priests and everyone knows it. I went through seminary with a lot of them and got hit on. And when I reported it, I was harassed to a point where, emotionally, it was very difficult to get ordained. I'm not the only one who had to fight to get through it; I know guys who left because of it. It was clear there was a cabal tacitly saying, 'Don't bother reporting this stuff.' You wouldn't believe the self-justifications, like, 'Well, celibacy only applies to not getting married, so since we're not getting married we can do whatever we want.' It was horrible, with a lot of intimidation, but I stayed because I felt this was what God was calling me to do; besides, if I'd walked, they'd have won."

Father McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame, commented that some seminary students "...who feel they have a genuine vocation for priesthood go into a seminary and feel very alienated by the gay culture. I don't say this in any homophobic sense. It's just the reality."

Pope John Paul II held a meeting with the American cardinals which dealt with the clerical sex scandals. Afterward, Bishop Wilton Gregory, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said: "One of the difficulties we do face in seminary life or recruitment is made possible when there does exist a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexual men think twice [about entering.] It is an ongoing struggle to make sure the Catholic priesthood is not dominated by homosexual men."

R. Scott Appleby, a history professor at Notre Dame, said: "People I know quite well have left the seminary either in disgust because people are not keeping vows, or in alienation because they’re not gay. In some cases it’s a serious problem."

The Most Rev. Wilton Gregory said: "[T]here does exist a homosexual atmosphere or dynamic that makes heterosexual men think twice."

The Rev. Charles Bouchard, president of the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis said: "I think straight priests and seminarians shouldn’t be whining. I just don’t think it’s a big deal."

Father Donald Cozzens wrote: "What impact does the gay subcultrue have on the straight priest and seminarian?....straight men in a predominantly or significantly gay environment commonly experience chronic destabilization, a common symptom of which is self doubt...Their psychic confusion, understandably, has significant implications for both their spiritual vitality and emotional balance."

Timothy Radcliffe, Master of the Order of Preachers, commented on the emergence of a homosexual sub-culture within a seminary or religious order: "It can threaten the unity of the community; it can make it harder for the brethren to practice the chastity which we have vowed. It can put pressure on brethren to think of themselves in a way that is not central to their vocation as preachers of the Kingdom..."

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
1. "Gay Priests," Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, 2002-MAY-10, at:
3. David France, "Gays and the Seminary," MSNBC, 2002-MAY-20, at:
4. "Catholic Seminary Admissions Tighten in Scandal," The Data Lounge, 2002-MAR-27, at:
5. "Vatican threatens gay purge of priesthood," The Data Lounge, 2002-MAR-6, at:
6. Rex Wockner, "The end of Catholicism in America," PlanetOut, at:
7. James G. Wolf, "Gay Priests," Harper and Row, 1989, Pages 59-60. Cited in Father Donald Cozzens, "The Changing Face of the Priesthood: A reflection on the priest's crisis of soul," Liturgical Press, (2000), Page 99.
8. Joe Fitzgerald, "Priest fears gays in ranks pose threat to Church," Boston Herald, 2002-MAR-6, at:
9. Melinda Henneberger, "Pope delivers apology to victims of sex abuse," New York Times, 2002-APR-24, at:
10. Op Cit, Father Donald Cozzens, Page 101.
11. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., "The Promise of Life," International Dominican Information, # 361, 1998-APR, special number, A Letter to the Order, Page 96.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Pictured at left is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Savannah, Georgia J. Kevin Boland preparing to march in procession at a recent "consecration" of the Episcopal Church. The priest that was being consecrated has performed same sex blessings, but apparently Bishop Boland approves of such since he lent his and the Roman Church's prestige to the event.

In the interest of full disclosure to Anglicans considering accepting the terms of conversion to Roman Catholicism outlined in Anglicanorum Coetibus I am posting excerpts and links to two articles, one from News Week and another from Ignatius Press. The one in News Week is approving of the capture of the Roman Seminaries by organized leftists homosexuals. The one from Ignatius Press is an account from a young man who endured the "gay" atmosphere that was imposed on the seminary.
From News Week By David France

May 20 issue — There will never be a gay students’ group—or gay film series or gay dance—at St. John’s Seminary, one of the most respected training grounds for Catholic priests in the nation.

YET THE 64-YEAR-OLD institution, nestled in the hills of Camarillo, Calif., may be one of the country’s gayest facilities for higher education. Depending on whom you ask, gay and bisexual men make up anywhere from 30 percent to 70 percent of the student body at the college and graduate levels. “I don’t want people to think that in a negative way,” says a 28-year-old gay alumnus, who believes all seminarians there are chaste, regardless of orientation. “It isn’t like Christopher Street or West Hollywood. But some seminarians are gay, openly gay, and very loud about it.”

Though they constitute just over 5 percent of the population, gay men may make up half the student body at the 76 high-school, college and graduate-level seminaries across the country, according to broad estimates. For decades Roman Catholic Church leaders have quietly reckoned with this surprising truth about seminary life. There is no rule against celibate gays as seminarians, theologians say. But for a church where priests preach that homosexuality is an “intrinsic evil,” it is at the least incongruous that so many would-be priests are gay.

Read it all here:

Here follows what the personal experience is like in such an institution.

The Death of a Catholic Seminary
Due to the nature of the information contained in this article, it is necessary to protect the identity of the young author. The seminarian who wrote this story is known to the editor. The following is a truthful account of what has been going on in one of the major seminaries in the United States.
After spending four years in a Neo-Modernist Roman Catholic seminary, I have come to the firm belief that the source of the current crisis in the Church in the United States can be traced directly to the seminaries. The seminary is literally the seedbed of the faith.
Seminary education has traditionally been seen as one of the most important apostolates. Those charged with the formation in seminaries had upon their shoulders a very great responsibility: they were not simply forming a future priest, but the entire Church. Hence, the absolute necessity of quality spiritual and academic formation was clear.
One might argue that this sense has been lost in the torrent of the many erroneous interpretations of the "spirit" of the Second Vatican Council. It is not infrequent that one finds many aberrations in contemporary Catholicism, to the point where many of the faithful, even bishops, are unclear about what the Church really teaches.
Formation for the priesthood has changed drastically in most seminaries since Vatican II. In some seminaries, the changes were well implemented and orthodoxy was retained. In others, disaster followed, and has remained deeply rooted. Many embittered, frustrated priests and nuns continue to work in seminaries with an agenda for "reform" and "change" so that their corporate and personal ambitions and desires can be met. Many want to see priestesses, married clergy, allowance for dissent, and acceptance of homosexual and lesbian lifestyles, and believe the Spirit of the Council called for this kind of "openness" and change. Almost all of them are highly educated and experienced seminary educators.
The kind of formation one receives in seminary depends on the way the particular seminary leadership and faculty interpret the meaning of priesthood, and for that matter, ministry, worship, revelation, and even God himself. With the great political struggles going on deep within the fabric of the Church today, the essential meaning of our very religion is at stake. It is the same when one begins in seminary with the basic question of his vocation to the priesthood.
Because of this divisive crisis, there are now "correct" and "incorrect" ways to talk about priesthood.
Simply a "presider"
The "correct" version may involve a de-emphasis on the word "priest" because it is cultic and exclusive to some. It is more rightly referred to only as "ordained ministry," with an emphasis placed on the fact that some ministries are for regulating power. An "ordained minister" is commissioned in the name of the community to lead that community in worship. The "modernization" of the priest's role means that he is a social worker with religious politics, or a "community animator" with a dynamic personality and flair for drama and entertainment. He may also be simply "a leader of the community, " a "presider" who arranges worship and leads others as a conductor for an orchestra, and also runs the parish as another kind of business. He may also be the "counselor on call" who helps people feel better about themselves. In a time when pride causes us to so easily confuse personal ambition with vocation, it is becoming more and more common to find notions of priesthood that increasingly exclude rich sacramental definitions. Because of the inevitable and increasing envy and jealousy over the priest's unique ontological status and sacramental ministry, there is a mounting movement to demythologize the priesthood and remove its sacred and unique character, and have the priest be essentially no different than anyone else. If others cannot have what he has, then what he has must be removed. If it cannot be removed, it should be watered down.
In the seminary where I went, the more liberal and watered-down definitions of priesthood mentioned above would fall well within the acceptable parameters of a "correct" description of a priestly character. "Social Justice" was the key term to profess at all times. It was in an erroneous interpretation of this term that one could find considerable room within which to form his own notion of priesthood - as long as it maintained a prophetic witness against "unjust structures."
A man would inevitably find trouble, however, if he used language like "the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." He would have two strikes against him if he in turn stood in opposition to the concept of "priestesses" in the Roman Catholic Church. Such a position would not be respected or looked upon as being even remotely reasonable in light of the experience of "modernity." To think and hold such ideas privately was considered allowable. To hold these things with conviction would not.
The course of formation I experienced, sadly enough, depended heavily upon the guiding principles of political, and especially theological, correctness. These principles controlled the spiritual and academic climate of the seminary institution and its faculty. They were opposed to an adherence (in a spirit of conviction and fidelity) to the authentic teachings of the Church, exhibited through the Holy Father, Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition. The Church's Tradition and traditions were studied from a certain subtle but consistently biased perspective, so that the meaning of many events and personal contributions would be perverted or cast in a negative, offensive light. The spirit of "reform" became most attractive and was perhaps best inculcated after the student could be substantially convinced of the overwhelming "unattractiveness" of the Church's past.
For example, St. Thomas Aquinas was rarely if at all used for our instruction in philosophy or theology. Instead, certain select writings were chosen or referred to for the purpose of exemplifying the limitations of antiquated medieval thought. Particularly underscored were Aquinas's "sexist and demeaning attitudes toward women," and his "erroneous" understanding of human biology. From there it was no difficult task to argue his disqualification from serious contemporary theological discourse. He was consulted as an authority, however, when he was shown to "deny" the Immaculate Conception.
Latin, Greek and Hebrew were deemed irrelevant or useless for the needs of parish ministry, hence these were not part of our seminary training. Patristics were infrequently mentioned and not encouraged, and the lives of the Saints and Doctors of the Church were implicitly written off as antiquated piety. The Rosary was looked upon as being suitable for those without the capacity to approach God intellectually, and it was beneath one of theological sophistication.
Through various erroneous interpretations of the "Spirit of Vatican II," a certain spirit of "sophistication" paved the way for many different "ecclesiologies," not all of which are from Christ. Many are laden with ideologies foreign or contrary to the Gospel. Moral theologies have collapsed into versions of proportionalism anchored vaguely in the "fundamental option" - to the point that mortal sin is nearly impossible to commit, and one may have allowance to live any way he chooses - as long as he is fundamentally "oriented" in the direction of God. An authentic Catholic spirituality of moral discernment may easily collapse into values wedded to the world, naturally heading towards moral and spiritual relativism.
Theological "rigidity"
All of these elements found their way into the fabric of our seminary instruction, one way or another. Even if one did not directly espouse pure relativism, there was still a pervasive, insistent demand for "dialogue" with various perspectives with relativism as a subtle philosophical basis. Faith could venture too close to a seemingly innocent, though mortal, compromise. It didn't seem far from the curb to the gutter. But to hold to "official" teaching, i.e., magisterial documents, was perceived as theological rigidity, disagreeing with certain dubious or erroneous philosophical positions was considered intolerance.
Built upon this drive was the relentless emphasis on the "oppressive and sinful structures" in the world, but perhaps mostly in the Church. This eventually led to the "patriarchy" of Sacred Tradition and contemporary Catholic culture. This form of "oppression" was considered to be the source of many great evils, especially in the Church (not to mention throughout Salvation History). The fury of the radically feminist ego, its lust for power, and ambition for rule was considered justified because of the pain caused by this ancient form of male oppression - as if this form of "activism" was what Christ came to institute. If one were to question how this was supposed to be a vision of good formation for the Catholic Priesthood, that man might find himself cornered with accusations that he was "self-righteous."
In some seminaries, this would not be a problem. The man would be evaluated against certain criteria, some of the most important qualities being personal character, moral fibre, prayer life, and fidelity to Papal and Magisterial teaching. Faculty should be more interested in supporting the teachings of the Holy Father, not dissenting theologians.
In other seminaries however, like the one I attended, this was not so. An attempt to identify the components of the Catholic priest and his spirituality in light of Papal and Magisterial documents, or the Church's traditional Doctors, i.e., St. Alphonsus Liguori, no matter how well articulated, would be deemed "inadequate."
The difference in perspectives was well symbolized by our way of worship. To begin with, we were instructed upon entry to the seminary that we could not kneel at the consecration during Mass, nor could we kneel after receiving communion. This would "break community." We were told that standing was also a posture of reverence on par with kneeling, and that it was more in keeping with Vatican II's "call to mission" of Social Justice - hence standing to be ready to "go out" to enact this justice. Kneeling was considered a "privatistic" worship disconnected from others. It also reflected a repressed piety, a spirituality of "Ghetto Catholicism." This was said to be incompatible with the theology of the Council, and the spirit of the liturgical reforms.
I learned early on that everything done at the seminary had reasoning behind it, although not always good reasoning. The reality behind the theory was that our worship and training were being watered down. We were in practice living a protestantized version of worship. What had always been distinctively Catholic in our Tradition was circumvented, de-emphasized, omitted or excluded. The way we pray is the way we believe.
Inclusive language was the most powerful of all corrosive agents. Not only were the most vocal "justice-conscious" seminarians rewarded for their attacks in class against "insensitive" theological language and oppressive liturgy in the Church's worship, they were considered "courageous men" and commended for their concerns for justice. All through our community Masses, one could not keep from hearing the deliberate and loud references to God in repetitious neutral or even feminine pronouns. The result was the total disruption of the Mass, transforming it from worship to a battle of words.
Collar was sign of "clericalism"
At Mass, the priest was often simply referred to as the "presider." He was the one leading us in prayer, "animating" the community. Many "presiders" improvised upon the Mass, adding their own touch to the eucharistic prayers. Making sure the readings were inclusivized was the responsibility of the reader for the day. The chalice was normally done away with (unless a visiting bishop or dignitary were present), replaced with a standard wine glass. Some priests often would either not attend the daily community Mass, or would cantor instead of concelebrate. Others would just sit in the congregation to show their solidarity with the feminist nuns, typically with their collar undone. The feminist nuns used to give their "communion reflections" (homilies) after the communion song; these were nearly always filled with a spirit of resentment and a call for "reform."
We, as Roman Catholic seminarians, were not allowed to wear clerical clothing. This was because the collar was a sign of "clericalism." Though the rector had been known to tell bishops he did not want to "confuse ministry with the wearing of the collar," the reality behind abolishing the collar in our seminary was that it was a cause of great anxiety for the feminists. In many ways it was, for them, a great symbol of oppression - it was a form of ministry that "excluded" women, and therefore an excessive wearing of the collar was unjust and insensitive.
We were told from the beginning that seminarians were not to refer to any of the faculty as "Father" or "Sister." We were not to be caught up with "titles," as this was another form of clericalism. These things would also offend against the "ecumenical" mission that the seminary was committed to. In terms of a "confusion of ministries," one might question the very practice inculcated in the seminary.
Another divisive factor in the seminary was the reputation of a large homosexual culture. Having gone there for four years, I had seen much that was demoralizing. This was a volatile issue in the seminary, as there were sizeable numbers of men on both sides of the issue. During a class conference, the question that was raised was the unchecked effeminate, scandalous behavior of some seminarians, the negative reputation of the seminary gained by this recurring image, and the kinds of role models the seminary was tacitly approving in recommending these men for orders. The Vice Rector replied by saying the seminary admitted men of both orientations, but the policy was that all had to be celibate. The general split of the house policy was toleration. On the other hand, I did learn through experience that what was not condoned was "intolerance" and "homophobia."
As soon as it was learned that I was one who disliked and criticized such behavior, I was labeled "homophobic." I was even criticized by some seminarians and faculty as being "too masculine." I was concerned what my friends and family would think of the priesthood if I invited them to see where I lived and studied. Because I found these things embarrassing or shameful, many who were charged with evaluating me felt I was the one who had the problem.
Desensitizing occurs
The sad thing is that a man can go into the seminary and be shocked by what he sees, and yet by the time he graduates he may be so desensitized that he may no longer see these things as a problem. It becomes just another facet of "the reality of the Church today." But was everything included in this "reality" of the Church necessarily good and fostered by the Holy Spirit?
Most of the seminary faculty felt my observations and concerns about the seminary to be "judgmental." Therefore, I was dubbed "pastorally insensitive."
To accentuate and build upon these spiritual and moral collapses, the textbooks we used for coursework nurtured and enhanced the growth in our minds of doubt. This brought the seeds of "false doctrines" to complete maturity. It was a hand-in-hand dynamic: the formation would confirm the agenda in the texts, and the agenda in the texts would affirm, enhance, and further strength the sour spirit of formation.
For our entire first academic year, we had to study Richard P. McBrien's Catholicism. This book set the most fertile foundations for doubt and intellectual departure from the true Catholic Faith. It was through subtle and clever deception by veiled, ambiguous language, that McBrien's book was so effective. It became the basis for the reasonableness and goodness of dissent. Some of his more exemplary ideas, implied and cleverly suggested throughout the book, are that we don't have to believe in the virginity of Blessed Mother; that we don't have to believe or assent to follow Church teaching unless it explicitly states it has dogmatic status; and that we must admit to Jesus having been ignorant and in error. McBrien expertly employed his language so that he remained within a "legal" framework, and made outrageous suggestions which to some appear compelling. I recall seeing the firsthand results of this book's use in a discussion I had with another seminarian - he was firmly convinced that "It's totally naive to think that Mary didn't have sex." He was not an isolated case - he was among a common class of seminarian that absorbed the philosophy of McBrien's book. So this seminarian's "openness" and capacity for "dialogue" was lauded; he was considered a "model" seminarian. As far as the spirit of this seminary went, it was permissible to believe as this man did. It was also acceptable to believe that Mary was a virgin; but what was not acceptable was a conviction that our Blessed Mother was always a virgin. To adhere to any orthodox position with fidelity and conviction would be perceived as intolerant of "dialogue," and would reveal some kind of unhealthy "rigidity."
A parallel magisterium
I had an important discussion with the Vice Rector regarding my evaluation, where he criticized my sense of fidelity to the Holy Father's teachings, and my position on the impossibility of priestesses. He said that my position was "inadequate" because the Pope could change the teaching at any time - and since I was so convinced of the impossibility of the ordination of priestesses, he saw that as evidence for my rigidity and how I did not know anything about the levels of authority in the Church. "When the Pope changes tomorrow," he said "and decides to ordain women - then where will your 'fidelity' be? Will you change also, or will you be a source of division in the parish? This is our concern with you."
Although the seminary faculty believed they did "technically" teach what the Church teaches, the reality was that they taught a version - and most seminarians innocent or ignorant of authentic Church teaching would have no reason to believe otherwise. Church teaching would be mentioned, but it was always "nuanced" or muted, or given a relative status with other, liberal theologians. A parallel magisterium of popular liberal theologians was often presented and considered with equal authority. We often studied Protestant theologies right alongside Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Kung, Boff (even on occasion Matthew Fox) and so forth. Since there was no reliance upon the Magisterium for guidance or point of reference in most theological discussions, we seminarians would be adrift in a sea of opinion and interpretations, both Protestant and Catholic. To bring Magisterial positions into a "serious theological discussion" was somehow an offense to "academic freedom" and was thus perceived as an insult.
The study of moral theology was characterized by Charles Curran and the fundamental option, proportionalism and the subtle ridicule of traditional moral theologies. Papal encyclicals and theologians like Thomas Aquinas and Alphonsus Liguori were bumped because they were "old," and because of a few examples of apparent contradiction in their writings, chosen without appropriate and necessary contextualization. The impression was that the Pope was very fallible, traditional theologies were irrelevant or ridiculous in light of modern science and psychology, and the Magisterium was an agent of the Vatican for control over theological discussion. The components that were attacked were precisely those pillars preventing the various agendas of "the world" from entering and taking root in the mind and heart of the Church.
Confronted with a choice
In the area of spirituality, we had workshops on "women's spirituality," or something about "collaborative ministry" and "social justice," because this was perceived as "where the Spirit was" in today's world. Devotion to Mary as "Blessed Mother" was allowed, but generally not encouraged, as such a "servile" image and traditional feminine values were seen by many as not in keeping with feminist theology and the "contemporary experience of women." The Rosary, prayed in the main chapel by a group of seminarians, was tolerated for a time. But eventually the tension created in the seminary over this group brought it to an end. However, to please bishops, and as a kind of token gesture to the conservative element in the seminary, the Rosary was suddenly allowed again - with official seminary approval - but then only in a small hall chapel where there was no Blessed Sacrament, one day a week, between breakfast and classes. The reason behind not allowing the Rosary in the main chapel was that "the chapel is for liturgical celebrations - not devotions." And yet the chapel was used for a number of functions outside Catholic worship, including on occasion the rehearsals of a local symphony orchestra.
The greatest of spiritual tests came in my fourth year, in a course of so-called "Pastoral Counseling. " A laywoman with a very vocal agenda taught the course. Not only did she proudly inform us one day that she'd be taking off a class to attend the Call to Action seminars in Chicago (where everyone joined in the Eucharistic prayers as a woman in stole "presided"-and with a Catholic Bishop in the congregation), but she openly canvassed for gay and lesbian rights, radical feminism, and even abortion. Because I openly questioned this woman's arguments, I was penalized. To add to the irony, I was paid a visit by the Vice Rector, who wanted an explanation as to the reasons for my "making trouble" in her class.
My question to the faculty of the seminary involved whether it was formation we were receiving, or deformation. And, in turn, the question the faculty put to me was whether I was "open to where the Church is going today." But was doctrinal confusion, homosexuality, feminist anger and destruction of the priesthood where the Holy Spirit was truly leading us?
Through a discouraging dilemma, I knew that what was being taught directly contradicted what the Church taught, and I knew that the bishop in my home diocese supported me. He always expressed support of my orthodox values and beliefs, and told me on more than one occasion, "Remember I'm the one who ordains you, not they."
After four years in the seminary of standing up for what was right, I was finally punished with dismissal. I was asked to leave at the end of the academic year and to not return. Even though I was pointing out direct cases where the seminary stood contrary to Catholicism in its spiritual climate, members of the faculty protected themselves and the institution by making it appear I was the one who opposed the Church, her authority, and seminary formation.
I did not compromise what I believed and knew to be true. It was no longer a question of being prudently silent here and there when necessary. Rather, I was being directly confronted with a choice: either I had to admit to the problems being mine, which would in turn mean seeing a therapist, or hold fast to what I knew to be the truth. If I didn't answer "correctly," if I continued to maintain my position, I would certainly be voted down as a candidate for Holy Orders.
I was called into board meetings and forced to answer to charges of being "narrow," "rigid," "not open to dialogue," "having problems with women," "not trusting of the faculty," and "combative."
In order, these things were reactions to the truth - "narrow" was another way of saying I was too much the "papist" in my thinking, and that I couldn't appreciate other "ecclesiologies." "Rigid" meant that I would not compromise the teachings of the Church, or water them down to accommodate theological correctness. "Not open to dialogue" meant that I did not entertain dissent as an option in my faith. "Having problems with women" simply meant that I was critical of feminism and feminist theology, and the feminist agendas being forced on me. "Not trusting the faculty" referred to my wariness around the thick duplicity I encountered in my dealings with nearly all the faculty at the seminary. It was wise to maintain prudence in what one told a frustrated liberal faculty member who asks pointed and probing questions, because it somehow always became "incriminating evidence" during evaluations.
If I were to deny my faith -what I believed to be true about the Church, indeed what all orthodox Catholics and even the Pope himself believes and teaches - I would in effect be denying Christ, the Church's Author and Bridegroom.
Because of the ramifications of the rector's rage, and to my surprise, the bishop in turn also "released" me, as the matter had become quite political for him. The man who once told me in private not to compromise my beliefs compromised me, even after I had made him aware of everything I experienced at the seminary through letters. I was disappointed that he declined to intervene on my behalf, and that he could look the other way after all I had told him. He compromised because he did not want confrontations with a pandora's box.
I began to think long and hard about the substance of faith. I knew that the price to pay for faith in our Church's history was sometimes death. The early Christians arrested by the Romans faced such a situation: all they had to do was deny Christ and burn incense to the gods. They could then go free. They could have done this and continued to worship in the privacy of their hearts. But they knew that a faith existing in the heart must also be professed on the lips - it could not be compromised. The reality of what was at stake was all too clear for them, and therefore compromise was unthinkable. I wondered if, in seminaries like the one I attended, men are in a sense still being placed before the images of various gods and told to make a choice. After the first few compromises are made, the rest are easy.
Perhaps the burning of incense to the gods is more common now than in centuries past. The externals may have changed, so we are fooled into thinking such situations no longer occur. And so they happen all the more. Today, compromise is not only permitted, it is a way of life. We don't want to "offend" anyone, and we don't want confrontations.
Let the fruits speak for themselves as we look into the history of our Catholic conscience and find the incense of compromise now billowing in the halls of Christ's seminaries.
Published in the May '95 issue of The Homiletic & Pastoral Review
Homiletic & Pastoral Review