Category Archives: Faith & the Public Order

Claudio Celli advicates for greater use of social media

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, has urged Catholics to evangelize the “digital culture.” He made his remarks on March 18.  A common theme spoken of  in recent weeks from various Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict. Celli’s office has been working overtime in recent weeks in tackling media in its various forms. And one must remember that it has taken aliong time to get where we are today, thanks in part to the good work of many laity, lower clergy and a Franciscan Sister of the Eucahrist Sister Judith Zoebelein. The Vatican has been on the web since 1995.

Archbishop Celle told L’Osservatore Romano in a March 17 interview that after Easter, the Holy See will launch a new news website that will gather all the Vatican media services into one portal in English, French and Italian with the hope to offer its media services in additional languages.

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Fr Corapi placed on administrative leave

Father Corapi .jpgThe sad news of Fr Corapi being placed on administrative leave is making the rounds. His own testimony of the facts is noted here.

Let us pray that Saint Joseph will intercede before his son and our redeemer, Jesus Christ, for a quick resolution. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Shahbaz Bhatti remembered by Pope

Last week’s murder of Pakistani Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, 43, was remembered by Pope Benedict. Bhatti was the Minister for Minorities in Pakistani government. Mr. Bhatti leaves behind his Mother, 4 brothers and a sister; his father died in January. He was not married.

Shahbaz Bhatti said “I want to send a message of hope to the people living a life of disappointment, disillusionment and despair. Jesus is the nucleus of my life and I want to be his true follower through my actions by sharing the love of God with the poor, oppressed, victimized, needy and suffering people of Pakistan.”
Benedict prayed to Jesus that death of Minister Bhatti would be an occasion for renewed work, awakened consciences, for religious freedom and human dignity in Pakistan but in other parts of the world where Christians are persecuted, like Libya.
Rome Reports’ news story of the Pope’s recent remarks is here.
Sara Angle’s CNS story speaks of Bhatti as being a martyr.

Shahbaz Bhatti, Christian, murdered in Pakistan

Shahbaz Bhatti.jpg

Yesterday, Pakistani Christians –indeed, the world– lost a voice of reason and hope in the heinous, tragic death of Shahbaz Bhatti. He was the minister for minorities for the Pakistan government. 
Let us pray for the peaceful repose of Shahbaz Bhatti, his mother and siblings. We’d do well to pray for the Church in Pakistan!
Read the story.

Asma al-Assad on St John the Baptist

Syria should be on your radar screen if you have an interest in the life of the Church. It’s openness to
Christianity today is startling bad. Freedom of religion and human rights lack;
political oppression and basic needs are always in question. The current regime
very likely nervous given the recent wave of political take-back. John Juliet
Buck’s Vogue magazine article on the Syrian First Lady, Asma al-Assad, “
A Rose in
the Desert
” speaks to many issues in Syria, not least is religion. Thoughts of
St John the Baptist’s tomb hearken back to when in 2001 Pope John Paul II visited Syria
and prayed at the tomb of the Baptist.

At first thought Ms al-Assad’s deference to the importance of the Baptist is impressive but there’s something that strikes me as false given recent history of her husband’s family’s rule of Syria viz. religious freedom. Plus, her interest in Christianity in Syria is not because the gospel is true, good and beautiful; her interest in the Church is cultural. The gospel in this context has been reduced to a system of culture and ethics –exactly what it’s not. Syria is  Indeed, many religions have passed through those lands and one seems fairly certain that the current regime wants religions like Christianity to leave Syria and not turn back. Historically, Christianity has been in Syria since St Paul visited the country. It is the place, as we know, where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians.” Christians in Syria comprise 10% of the population with the largest group being the Greek Orthodox Church.

For me here’s the relevant paragraph in the article:

Back in the car, Buck was answered about
his investigation “what religion the orphans are?” “It’s not relevant,” says
Asma al-Assad. “Let me try to explain it to you. That church is a part of my
heritage because it’s a Syrian church. The Umayyad Mosque is the
third-most-important holy Muslim site, but within the mosque is the tomb of
Saint John the Baptist. We all kneel in the mosque in front of the tomb of
Saint John the Baptist.
That’s how religions live together in Syria–a way that
I have never seen anywhere else in the world. We live side by side, and have
historically. All the religions and cultures that have passed through these
lands–the Armenians, Islam, Christianity, the Umayyads, the Ottomans–make up
who I am.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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