Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beckett play at Gate

Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, starring Michael Gambon and directed by Michael Colgan is running at the Gate. A great production and not to be missed.

While it all may be futile between the moments of joy, it does give hope to those heading into an older age. Or does it? But Krapp admits to experience a 'fire' in his older age. Great.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dublin's bikes for hire

Sean MacConnell's Irishman's Diary in today's Irish Times is worth a read and makes for a good laugh.

He makes some terrible assumptions. He presumes that someone who lives in Dublin and owns a bike would not bother with the bicycles for hire. The man is downright wrong.

The bike for hire scheme is the best thing that has hit Dublin in a long time. Yes, he is correct in saying, that there are many dodgy 'cyclists' availing of the scheme. But so too are there dodgy drivers, riders etc. How many spivs have availed of the scrappage scheme and driving about in flash 2010 cars?

It is striking that it seems to be a middle class sport.

Dublin City Council intends increasing the number of bikes available at present.

It is a pity that there are no stands or bays at the main rail stations. There should be bikes available at Heuston and Connolly stations. I wonder why they are not there?

Seán MacConnell could well be in breach of age and sex discrimination laws in this piece! The bikes are great and Seán, I reccommend you jump up on one and take a trip around the city.

But he is saying something about the 'type' of people who are moving over to the bicycle. The Government 'cycle to work' scheme seems to have put a lot of undesirables on to saddles. One gets the impression that some arrogant show-off car drivers have moved over to bikes and are now as selfish and arrogant on two wheels as they were on four. Pretentious gits. Why don't you write about those idiots Mr MacConnell?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moral theologian speaks to FR

Apologies that this is in German. But an English translation does not appear to be available at present.

It is in today's
Frankfurter Rundschau
and is well worth reading.

The church cannot avoid the issue any longer but unfortunatley it does. It also avoids any open and honest discussion within priesthood on the topic.

The media constantly gets the conservative/liberal divide on this issue so wrong. The media portayal is totally at odds with the reality.

Homosexuelle in der Kirche

Schwule Liebe "verdient Rückhalt"

Moraltheologe Eberhard Schockenhoff im FR-Interview über das Verhältnis der katholischen Kirche zur Homosexualität.


Herr Professor Schockenhoff, ist Homosexualität Sünde?

Die kirchliche Lehre ist differenzierter, als Sie Ihre Frage formulieren.

Das ist gar nicht meine Formulierung, sondern die des Essener Bischofs Franz-Josef Overbeck in der TV-Sendung "Anne Will".

Er hat die kirchliche Lehre dargestellt ...

. .. und da hat er gesagt, Homosexualität sei Sünde.

Streiten wir doch nicht um Worte in der hitzigen Situation einer Talkshow! Betrachten wir lieber das, was wirklich Lehre der Kirche ist!

Nämlich?

Erstens sagt die Kirche: Niemand darf wegen seiner sexuellen Orientierung diskriminiert werden. Die sexuelle Veranlagung eines Menschen ist keine Frage der Moral, und ein homosexuell empfindender Mensch, nach dem Ebenbild Gottes geschaffen, verdient die gleiche Achtung und Wertschätzung wie jeder andere.

So redet die Kirche aber noch nicht lange und nicht laut, oder?

Öffentlich wird leider nur wahrgenommen, was die Kirche zweitens sagt: Homosexuelle Handlungen sind in sich ungeordnet, sündhaft und daher strikt abzulehnen.

Hunger haben ist erlaubt, aber essen ist verboten?

Die Unterscheidung zwischen Veranlagung und Handlung ist vielen in der Tat zu abstrakt. Sie wird der Lebenserfahrung der Betroffenen nicht gerecht. Sie fühlen sich darum von der Kirche zurückgestoßen, ganz zu schweigen vom Unverständnis in weiten Teilen der Gesellschaft. Die Kirche muss homosexuellen Menschen eine Antwort geben, wie sie mit ihrer Veranlagung umgehen sollen.

Tut sie doch: "Kein Sex!"

Das überfordert aber viele. Und ich bezweifle, dass es das letzte Wort der Kirche sein kann, alle homosexuellen Handlungen gleich zu beurteilen, unabhängig vom Kontext. Wenn homosexuell empfindende Menschen eine feste, auf Solidarität und Dauer angelegte Beziehung eingehen, dann ist das ethisch wertvoll. Ihr Bemühen verdient Rückhalt und ein positives Echo der Kirche. Ich denke, in solchen Fällen muss das Urteil über homosexuelle Handlungen in den Hintergrund treten. Ich sage das auch, weil erkennbar immer mehr Gläubige auf Distanz zu einer kirchlichen Sexualmoral gehen, die ihnen insgesamt lebensfremd und lebensfeindlich vorkommt. Papst und Bischöfe sollten das ernst nehmen und nicht als Laxheit abtun.


Zur Person

Eberhard Schockenhoff, 57 Jahre alt, ist Professor für Moraltheologie an der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Der katholische Geistliche studierte in Tübingen und Rom. Von 2001 bis 2008 gehörte er dem Nationalen Ethikrat an, seither ist Schockenhoff Mitglied des Nachfolgegremiums, des Deutschen Ethikrates. jf Der homosexuelle Theologe David Berger hat sich am 23. April in der FR geoutet und der katholischen Kirche Bigotterie vorgeworfen: Nach außen bekämpfe sie Homosexualität, nach innen würden homosexuelle Geistliche und Mitarbeiter mit subtilem Druck gefügig gemacht. Teilen Sie seine Beobachtung?

In extrem konservativen Kreisen mag das so sein. Die Pfarrgemeinden sind zumeist durchaus aufgeschlossen gegenüber Homosexuellen.

Berger spricht ausdrücklich von den Bischöfen. Manche sollen gar behaupten, homosexuelle Priester gebe es in ihren Bistümern nicht. Ein "Programm der Unehrlichkeit" nennt Berger das.

Sicher erhöhen Bischöfe mit einer solchen Position die Gefahr, dass die Betroffenen sich verstellen und verstecken müssen. Manche in der Bischofskonferenz sagen, homosexuelle Männer könnten nicht zu Priestern geweiht werden, weil die ehelose Lebensform im Zölibat für sie ja kein Verzicht sei. Die meisten Bischöfe dagegen sehen - wie ich finde, zu Recht - im Zölibat eine Form des Einsatzes für die Glaubensverkündigung, unabhängig von der sexuellen Orientierung. Enthaltsam leben, ohne Sex - damit tun sich Homosexuelle genauso leicht oder schwer wie Heterosexuelle.

Interview: Joachim Frank

Lesen Sie auch
Missbrauchsskandal: "Leitlinien" können die Kirche nicht retten

Bekenntnis: Schwuler klagt Kirche an

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Walter Mixa offers his resignation

Walter Mixa has offered his resignation as bishop of Augsburg and as bishop to the Bundeswehr.

Tonight with Craig Doyle

On Saturday evening on the 'Tonight with Craig Doyle' show on RTÉ1 the Three Priests group featured. They spoke about their singing careers and their priesthood.

What impression of priesthood did these men convey? For the writer of this blog it was a worrying and disturbing portrait of profession/vocation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Heads deep down in the sand

The Vatican accepts the resignation of Belgian bishop Roger Vangheluwe.

A spokesperson for the Belgian Catholic Church said that the bishop resigned 'out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth'.

How long did it take for the notions of truth and respect to dawn on the bishop?

It is all becoming most distasteful.

Presumably, most of these bishops were appointed during the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul's 'acceptance' and praise for the founder of the Legionaries of Christ is most worrying. If it was clear to someone as lowly as the author of this blog that there was and is something systemically wrong with the Legionaries of Christ, then surely, why were questions not being asked in Rome.

But that same 'systemic problem' is now showing its head in other religious congregations and no one is asking pertinent questions.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

German bishop asks Mixa to go

At last and thankfully hope is on offer. The German bishops' conference president Robert Zollitsch has asked Mixa to retire.

Zollitsch would be considered to be a liberal bishop. Mixa is extreme conservative. Is there a story here. So too was the founder of the Legionaries of Christ an extreme conservative!

Is there a link between extreme conservative clerics and 'strange beahviour'? There is much evidence to support such a hupothesis.

Piece below is from today's Frankfurter Rundschau.


Freiburg. Die Deutsche Bischofskonferenz hat den Augsburger Bischof Walter Mixa öffentlich aufgefordert, sein Amt ruhen zu lassen. Der Bischofskonferenz-Vorsitzende Robert Zollitsch riet Mixa am Mittwoch zu einer "Zeit der geistlichen Einkehr und der räumlichen Distanz". Er und der Münchner Erzbischof Reinhard Marx hätten in den vergangenen Tagen mehrfach mit Mixa gesprochen und überlegt, ob dies hilfreich sein könne, "um eine Atmosphäre größerer Sachlichkeit bei den notwendigen und auch von ihm gewünschten Klärungen zu bewirken", sagte Zollitsch vor Journalisten in Freiburg.

Mixa wird vorgeworfen, in seiner Zeit als Stadtpfarrer von Schrobenhausen, Kinder verprügelt und Stiftungsgeld zweckfremd für Kunstschätze und Wein verwendet zu haben. Nachdem Mixa wochenlang Gewalt gegen Kinder abgestritten hatte, räumte er vor einigen Tage ein, möglicherweise Kinder geohrfeigt zu haben. Am Dienstag entschuldigte sich Mixa vor den Priestern des Bistums.

Zollitsch erklärte, eine "vorübergehende räumliche Distanz" könnte Mixa auch "die Möglichkeit geben, nach sehr erhitzten Wochen neue Kräfte zu sammeln und die Geschehnisse mit mehr Ruhe zu bedenken".

Mixa and Twomey share a common ideology

And Walter Mixa is not yet gone. Please go and then in your retirement try to track down all those you humiliated and offer them a gentle hand of true kindness.

In The Irish Times of Monday, April 19 Vincent Twomey writes a comment piece on Pope Benedict.

Kueng's article may well have not been given the time it needed but Twomey calls it 'atrocious'.

He talks about the 'wrong type of reform' of the Vatican Council as being partly driven by the media. But later on to support the pope, he refers to supporting quotes from Pravda.

When referring to something he said about the pope the evening of his election, Vincent Twomey write: "I announced on Prime Times that he would surprise us all".

Most of us 'say', magesterial pronouncements are announced.

The article shows a sense of superiority, just that superiority that has the church in such a terrible place right now. The arrogance and self certainty that is portrayed is truly frightening. This certainly is a man 'preaching down' to us simple people.

Mixa and Twomey have so much in common.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mixa hides behind 'relativism'

This is what Mixa is reported to have said. It is below in the original.

In explaining his hitting people, he said, "It was completely normal then and all teachers and pupils know that".

Walter Mixa, for God's sake go. Your words have been used by others too. The shame of it is unspeakable, especially for a German. In fact you give insult to all those great Germans who knew that 'completely normal behaviour' can never be the standard for justifying actions. Walter Mixa think of the Scholl sisters.

The logic of your words leads to a frightening conclusion. To hit a young boy or girl in the face on a regular occurrence, especially children living in an orphanage, is a cruelty and it is never right. You talk grand words about the evils of relativism. Please go and go now.

The pomp and nonsense of such an excuse spoken by a man surrounded in such grandeur and 'refinement' is obscene.


Mixa wird vorgeworfen, in seiner früheren Zeit als Stadtpfarrer von Schrobenhausen (Oberbayern) und Vorsitzender des Kuratoriums der dortigen Waisenhausstiftung Kinder geschlagen zu haben. Der Bischof hatte dies in der vergangenen Woche erst nach längerem Zögern und unter großem öffentlichem Druck zugegeben - und das in einer Wortwahl, die nicht eben von Einsicht zeugte: Er könne "die eine oder andere Watsch´n" von vor zwanzig Jahren "natürlich nicht ausschließen", sagte Mixa. "Das war damals vollkommen normal und alle Lehrer und Schüler dieser Generation wissen das auch." Das Züchtigungsrecht an Schulen wurde in der Bundesrepublik 1973, in der DDR 1949 abgeschafft.

Vicar general denies Spiegel report

Gerhard Grueber has denied the report in Der Spiegel, which was quoted on this blog. The former vicar general of the diocese of Munich and Freissing says that it was his decision to allow the priest to work in the diocese. He did not discuss the issue with the then archbishop, Josef Ratzinger. Below is the piece from today's Suddeutsche Zeitung.

Ex-Generalvikar wehrt sich

München - Der ehemalige Generalvikar des Münchner Erzbistums, Gerhard Gruber, hat gegenüber der Süddeutschen Zeitung Berichten widersprochen, wonach ihn das Erzbistum gedrängt habe, die Verantwortung für den Einsatz des pädophilen Priesters H. auf sich zu nehmen, um den heutigen Papst Benedikt XVI. aus der Schusslinie zu nehmen. Es sei tatsächlich seine Entscheidung gewesen, H. im Jahr 1980 in einer Gemeinde einzusetzen; er habe sie gemeinsam mit dem inzwischen verstorbenen Personalreferenten Friedrich Fahr getroffen, aber nicht mit Erzbischof Joseph Ratzinger besprochen. Auslöser für die Berichte ist offenbar ein Rundbrief, den zwei Freunde Grubers verschickt haben. Gruber sagt, er habe mit einem Freund telefoniert, der Inhalte des Gesprächs "wohlmeinend, aber unglücklich" weiterverbreitet habe. Der Brief enthalte "Ungenauigkeiten und gravierende Falschmeldungen". Er habe dem Freund zu verstehen gegeben, dass er unter Zeitdruck gestanden habe. Aber weder sei ihm ein vorgefertigtes Schriftstück zur Unterzeichnung vorgelegt worden noch sei er ins Erzbischöfliche Ordinariat zitiert worden. mai

Walter Mixa go and go now

Below is a report which appears in today's German media.

Note the language Mixa uses. The man should stop misusing words. He has 'apologised' because he was found out. He ahs spent the last number of weeks not telling the truth.

The Vatican goes to great effort in appointing priests with a 'clean pair of hands' to be bishops. In truth, nothing could be further from the truth. Mixa's hands are far from being clean.

Mixa is described as being conservative and close to Pope Benedict.

According to the Times newspaper, Mixa is outspoken and "has railed against the German Government for making "birth machines" out of women" and has "compared abortion to the Holocaust". He has also condemned Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and has said of the 2010 child abuse scandal that "The sexual revolution of the 1960s is at least partly to blame for this".

Mixa asks for forgiveness as Church begins abuse inquiry
Published: 20 Apr 10 11:26 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/society/20100420-26657.html

Controversial Augsburg bishop Walter Mixa has asked for forgiveness as church officials look into accusations that he physically abused children at a church orphanage and spent the institution's money on art, wine and jewellery.

“This pains my heart and I am sorry that I created trouble for many people,” he said during a diocese priests’ council meeting in Leitershofen on Monday night. “I ask for forgiveness.”

In recent weeks Mixa was accused of physically abusing several former wards of St Josef children’s home in Schrobenhausen, north of Munich, in the 1970s and 1980s – allegations he strongly denied until this weekend when he said he could not rule out possible “cuffs around the ear.”

Meanwhile a special investigation into activities at the orphanage and the charitable foundation which ran it has now been completed by lawyer Sebastian Knott, whose ten-page report highlights a number of seemingly incongruous purchases by the orphanage.

These include spending 15,000 Deutsche marks on a Mary icon, DM43,000 on what was likely a counterfeit Piransi engraving, DM70,500 on a fancy crucifix. Thousands were also spent on wine, which was forbidden in the home.

Knott’s report does not make any conclusions over whether Mixa, as head of the board of trustees of the Catholic Orphanage Foundation, or the actual head of the Schrobenhausen home, was responsible for the purchases. But he confirmed that many of the bills were signed by Mixa.

“The priests’ council shares the concerns of many about the credibility of the church,” the diocese said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that they supported a thorough investigation of the accusations.

One unnamed member of the priests’ council told daily Süddeutsche Zeitung that many council members were asking when, not if, Mixa would be removed from his post.

“This bishop is no longer tolerable,” he told the paper, adding that there had been a “massive loss of trust” among church members.

Mixa's alleged conduct is just the latest in a series of scandals to hit Germany's Catholic church. The institution has been embroiled in a crisis over recent months as victims of widespread sexual and physical abuse continue to come forward. Most cases date back years or even decades, a fact that has politicians debating a possible extension to the statute of limitations on such crimes.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Mixa should not be a bishop

Why has there not be a word in the media from the priests in the diocese of Augsburg concerning the behaviour of Walter Mixa?

And if the report on the former vicar general of the diocese of Munich is true and that he was pressurised into taking the blame for a mistake made 30 years ago by Josef Ratzinger concerning the case of a paedophile priest, then our church really is in a terrible place.

Der Spiegel alleges it has seen a letter written by Fr Gerhard Gruber to a friend where he says he was 'begged' to sign a prepared statement.

Mixa changes his story - under pressure

The story of Mixa, the bishop of Augsburg, is shocking. This man now admits to hitting young people on the face, boys and girls. And this man was appointed a bishop and is still a bishop. It so happens Mixa is one of these men who is staunchly conservative.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bertone's comments must lead to debate

Tarcisio Bertone's comments linking paedophilia with homosexuality will cause ripples around the world.

His comments may allow people to talk about many issues within the clerical state, and if it does that, then his comments may have some value.

According to the people who know, clinical psychiatrists there is no link between homosexuality and paedophilia.

The church, at least in the last 100 years, and of course longer too, has made the issue of sexuality within the priesthood a taboo subject. Tarcisio Bertone has changed that forever. His comment surely allows people to discuss the issue openly and honestly.

It is clear there are men and women who are heterosexual and others who are homosexual. In the past many homosexual men and women were forced to hide their orientation.

Is it possible that priesthood was a refuge for men who were/are homosexual in orientation?

Is there a greater proportion of homosexual men in priesthood than in other vocations/groupings?

What happens if in a religious community or within a diocese there is a significant number of homosexual men?

Are these issues ever discussed within communities/dioceses?

What happens if homosexual priests are forced to hide their orientation?

Is there a link between men, who are forced to hide their homosexual orientation, and their interest in ceremony and liturgical practice?

Then practical questions; is it appropriate for a man, who is homosexual in orientation but has to hide it, be a head master in a boys' boarding school?

Is it appropriate for a man who is homosexual in orientation and again has to hide it, be in charge of the formation of men studying for the priesthood?

Is there a link between priests who have to hide their sexual orientation and misogyny?

Are these issues, can these issues ever be discussed in openness, charity and honesty?

Do priests who have to hide their homosexual orientation develop 'belief systems' that seem far removed from the world of ordinary men and women?

The Bertone comment is a wonderful opportunity for the church to make a real effort in allowing for open and honest dialogue on these issues. Will they examine the number of priests who took their own lives because of the difficulties they had with their homosexual orientation.

When the Wall in Berlin fell it cast away all the nonsnese and madness that surrounded the communist system. Bertone has knocked a wall. He has afforded the church a wonderful opportunity. It should be grasped.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The air brushing of Macial

Anyone who logs on to the Legionaries of Christ website today will get a perfect example of what airbrushing is about. There is not a mention of their founder to be seen. Up to two years ago the man's name was on every page. He was revered as a saint. His name is not even mentioned on their home page when they refer to the beginnings of their organisation.

If the congregation/organisation was so fooled by its leader how can they claim to have any sort of discernment when it comes to talking about God? One might ask were the people in 'leading positions' fooled or were they aware of the behaviour of their founder.

Will there be an audit and thorough investigation to the wealth of the Legionaries of Christ? Have they charity status in Ireland?

But unfortunately the behaviour of Macial is not unique to his organisation.

Did John Paul II know about what was going on? Watching Legionaries prance about at church events was always odious.

And now the Vatican secretary of state, Tarcisio Bertone, says that it is homosexuality that is linked to paedophilia and not celibacy. Does the man know the can of worms he is opening by making this comment.

Damning programme on Legionaries

On Sunday between 22.25 and 23.25 RTE1 showed a film on the Legionaries of Christ and their founder.

Presumably the programme was factual and accurate. It was an expose of the Legionaries. It gave some insight into the life of the founder. It showed the link there is between pseudo conservatism, pious deceit and an ability of making large sums of money.

Between 1974 and 1976 this blogger studied with members of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome. At the time he was convinced there was something seriously wrong with the institute. The behaviour of the young men was most unusual and not at all in keeping with the behaviour of young men of that age.

And today there is a great similarity between the 'style' of a significant number of young men studying for the priesthood with those Legionaries in the mid 1970s.

Saturday's Irish Times reports the pope's spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, saying that the greatest incidence of clerical child sex abuse cases coincided with the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

How does he explain the behaviour of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ?
It is most unedifying and upsetting to see the Vatican involved in lies and spin.

The RTE programme is one of the first documentaries to make that link between a pseudo conservatism, sexual perversion and an inordinate ability of collecting money from people. The programme makers may well not be aware of the discovery they have begun.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lidl accused of poor practice

People who shop in Lidl may be interested in the story below.

Faire 80 Stunden Arbeit pro Woche

Die Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg zieht gegen Lidl vor Gericht. Der Discounter werbe mit fairen Arbeitsbedingungen, obwohl Textil-Zulieferbetriebe Sozialstandards nicht einhielten.

Von Roland Bunzenthal

Die Lidl-Welt (Bild: ddp)

Frankfurt a.M. Neue Vorwürfe gegen die Billigkette Lidl: Die Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg hat nach eigenen Angaben den Discounter wegen Verstoßes gegen das Wettbewerbsrecht abgemahnt. Lidl werbe damit, auf faire Arbeitsbedingungen bei Zulieferern von Textilien zu achten.

Nach Recherchen der Kampagne für saubere Kleidung (CCC) und des European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) bei Zulieferbetrieben in Bangladesch werden die versprochenen Sozialstandards aber verletzt, etwa durch überlange Arbeitszeiten und Unterbindung der Organisationsfreiheit der Beschäftigten.

Da Lidl eine geforderte Unterlassungserklärung verweigert habe, haben die Verbraucherschützer und Menschenrechtsorganisationen nun Klage beim Landgericht Heilbronn eingereicht.

Die Verbraucherzentrale wirft dem Discounter vor, die Kunden zu täuschen. Die Werbung des Unternehmens sei irreführend und damit unlauter. Denn Lidl suggeriere, bestimmte Sozialstandards bei der Produktion sogenannter "Non-Food-Waren" einzuhalten. In Wahrheit aber würden diese Maßstäbe, wie die Untersuchung in Bangladesch belege, keineswegs beachtet.

So besuchten mehrere Kontrolleure drei Textilfirmen im Umkreis der Hauptstadt Dhaka. Sie hätten festgestellt, dass die Näher und Näherinnen weitaus länger arbeiten, als die Konventionen der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILO) gestatten. Nach sechs Arbeitstagen müsse eigentlich ein freier Tag folgen. Von einigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, werde diese Regel nicht eingehalten. Sieben Tage Arbeit pro Woche seien normal.

Außerdem betrage die Arbeitszeit bei den Lidl-Zulieferern pro Woche bis zu 80 Stunden, argumentieren die Kritiker – erlaubt seien maximal 48. Oft werde für diese Mehrarbeit kaum bis gar nichts gezahlt.

Die Gehälter entsprächen zwar meist den örtlichen Mindestlöhnen, also um die 30 Euro im Monat, dies reiche den Mitarbeitern zufolge aber oftmals nicht aus, um eine Familie zu ernähren. Auch würden Mitarbeiter immer wieder mit Lohnabzügen bestraft, wenn sie sich weigerten, Überstunden zu leisten.

In einer Pressemitteilung wirbt Lidl mit seinem sozialen Engagement. Dort heißt es wörtlich: "Bereits 2008 hat Lidl im Rahmen der Kooperation mit der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) ein Unterstützungsprojekt zur Sicherstellung von sozialen Mindeststandards bei 34 Produzenten in China und Bangladesch ins Leben gerufen. Mit der Auftaktveranstaltung im Juni 2009 gab Lidl den Startschuss für die sofortige Erweiterung des Projekts auf nunmehr 73 Produzenten in beiden Ländern. Wie bereits im Vorjahr, finanziert Lidl dieses Projekt in Höhe von 1,4 Millionen Euro selbst."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The symbolism of events in Katyn today

Today at Katyn Forest the Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and his Polish counterpart will lay wreaths to honour the 22,000 Polish troops killed by the Soviet Army in 1940. The two men will also hold talks and listen to the latest historical research into what happened at this spot close to the Russia city of Smolensk.

It was 1940, Hitler and Stalin had drawn up a secret pact and the Wehrmacht had not yet moved on the Soviet Union. It would be some two years later on the Volga that Stalin changed the course of history.

Katyn was used by both the Nazis and the Soviets to prove the cruelty of the other side. Goebbels used it to prove the barbarism of the Bolsheviks and Stalin claimed it was a Nazi atrocity.

And until 1990 the Russian authorities refused to accept blame for what happened at Katyn.

Mikhail Gorbachev who began the open window policy in the Soviet Union handed over files of what happened at Katyn, which proved it was the work of the NKVD.

So it was an attempt at being open that has helped lead to the healing of wounds. One might say the Russians were forced to be open and honest. What matter.

Katyn was yet another catalyst to influence relations between Poland and Russia. People who are not the best of friends will find reasons to support the reason for their disagreements. And the bigots are always on the 'other side'.

What's going on concerning the Catholic Church today must be far more complicated than appears in the latest breaking news.

For over 40 to 50 years there has been a simmering disdain, at least in Ireland, towards the institutional Catholic Church. Why was that? Was it that the church spoke down to people, that it had too much power, that it was perceived 'to know best'?
And especially in areas dealing with human sexuality, the church never stopped telling people what to do. Their ministers ran dances and made sure people kept the 'correct' distance from one another. Many of its ministers behaved and still behave in a crazy fashion.

And then comes the great child sex abuse cases, the horrific stories and the even more horrific cover-ups.

The teenagers who were told how to behave at the dance can now rub their hands in gleeful delight knowing all along that the priest at the dance was crazy. And they knew it all along.

And there is something in that. There is something amiss with the institutional priesthood. For proof of that simply look at the Legionaries of Christ and the nonsense they preach and live and then check out their founder. And that reality is not simply confined to the Legionaries of Christ.

And then in yesterday's English Independent, a high-ranking anonymous civil servant claimed that New Labour government was only ever interested in tomorrow's newspaper headlines and it was/is impossible for them to plan any serious long-term policy.

There will be those who will say the pope needs our prayers. Others will demand a root and branch examination of an organisation that thrives on secrecy and cover-ups.

Will the church say the Word of God will always be attacked by the world. Those who oppose, will say that the Word of God might well be hijacked by an all male misogynist organisation. Where at all is reality and truth?

Right now is a Katyn wreath-laying ceremony possible where cardinals prime ministers and victims play lead roles?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The celebration of Holy Thursday

Around the world today the Mass of the Last Supper is being celebrated. These days afford Christians the opportunity to give time and thought to the central tenet of their belief - the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

For many of us the church has trundled along. In Ireland it has been part of the establishment. There has been little or no theology discussed. The church was/is the priests and then there were the few who were close to the priest. The Vatican Council never worked its way into the life of the church in any sort of real or significant manner.

All the current scandal and upheaval may force the church, the people of God, to give a second thought to what it means to be Christian and part of the Christian community.

When John XXIII spoke about opening the windows of the church was he aware of what was hidden behind? We need to pray for the transparency he preached.

There has to be great hope in the Christian message. It has to be about the salvation of humankind.

The Christian message is about the grace of God working in and through human beings.

When we say Christ is risen we actually believe, in spite of our own weariness, our own crazy servility to tradition and fashion, Jesus Christ rises from the dead and in so doing conquers sin and turn death into life. It sounds a crazy contradiction but we believe it.

The rings, red slippers and all the obfuscation can never be part of the true meaning of what we celebrate on Holy Thursday.

Authorities examine allegations against Mixa

The piece below is from today's Frankfurter Rundschau.

The allegations against Bishop Walter Mixa are being examined by the authorities in Upper Bavaria. It goes on to mention what the allegations are and then it comments that a spokesperson for the authorities in Upper Bavaria said that there is nothing about the allegations in the files from that period.

The last sentence says that former residents at the home accused Mixa and also sisters of using corporal punishment. (dpa - German Press Agency)

Regierung Oberbayern prüft Misshandlungsvorwürfe gegen Mixa

Augsburg. Die Misshandlungsvorwürfe gegen den Augsburger Bischof Walter Mixa werden jetzt von der Regierung Oberbayern geprüft. Mixa soll vor 30 Jahren als Stadtpfarrer im Kinder- und Jugendhilfezentrum St. Josef in Schrobenhausen Minderjährige gezüchtigt haben. Ein Sprecher der Regierung Oberbayern sagte, über die angeblichen Vorfälle sei in den Akten von damals nichts zu finden. Ehemalige Heiminsassen hatten neben Mixa auch Nonnen beschuldigt, in der 70er und 80er Jahren geprügelt zu haben. (dpa)

Legionary style spreads to orders and dioceses

The behaviour of the Legionaries of Christ, their style, wealth and an over emphasis on conservative thinking needs to be properly investigated in the light of the revelations about its founder. Why was the man not handed over to State authorities?

But what is the phenomenon of the Legionaries of Christ is now spreading to religious orders and dioceses. Unfortunately bishops and religious superiors are turning a blind eye to it. And just as the Legionaries in the past attracted large numbers joining their ranks, exactly the same reality is now being experienced throughout the church.

It is going to prove a great disaster. Bishops and religious superiors because of their ineptitude and simple laziness are doing nothing to stop the trend.

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