Aid to the Church in Need, a great Catholic charity which supports Christians in many countries, will be presenting a petition to the (UK) Prime Minister in support of justice and human rights in Pakistan.
The petition reads:
We, the undersigned, petition the Prime Minister to call upon the government of Pakistan to take action to promote justice and equal human rights for all irrespective of faith or any other diversity.
The Blasphemy Law of Pakistan (sections 298A and 295 B&C of the penal code) is being used to settle personal vendettas. We ask that the Blasphemy Law provide universal protection for all faiths, with better auditing of authorities involved with its practical application, or that the law be repealed in its current form.
It would be great if as many as possible would sign the petition which is after all, just one small way of demonstrating our solidarity with Christians and other suffering minorities in Pakistan. Here is the link: http://www.acnuk.org/pages/petition-signup.html
There is lots more about Invocation 2011 at the website here , including a wonderful sermon, given during the final Mass of Invocation 2011, by Archbishop Antonio Mennini the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain.
Here's a little of what the Archbishop said:
In time we discover that the longing within us cannot be fulfilled by what we accumulate, experience, or by the power we wield. If we want happiness we must resist the temptation to act in ways that will alienate us from God and from our neighbour. Without God something will always be lacking. This was the experience of St Augustine who in his youth looked for excitement in external pleasures. It was only when he found that he remained unsatisfied and started to look within that he was able to recognise the presence of God and so discover true happiness and deep joy.
Never forget too, that when God calls us by name and asks us to follow him, he offers us true freedom, which is not just a freedom from..important though that be. Rather we are being offered a positive freedom and loved and trusted enough to be his workers in the world. God asks us, in the face of all that seems wrong in our world, to be positive, to build up his Kingdom and to change the world for the better. There is no place for pessimism here, for his call to each one of us is, in fact, liberation.
.....Is now a matter of weeks away; and is one of the reasons that things have been rather quieter than usual on this blog.Some months ago, I offered to make my daughter's wedding dress, which we have designed from scratch as we couldn't find any dress patterns that she liked. It's almost there, now, and I have so enjoyed making it! (pictures to follow, after the big day)
The disturbing news about Fr. John Corapi is now all over the Catholic blogosphere, and I keep bumping into the many views and commentaries on what Fr. Corapi has done/hasn't done. Clearly, Fr. Corapi is in a difficult and dark place; and others are affected by the events which seem to epicentre on him.
I don't want to comment on reports about reports, but I do want to draw your attention to two of the most charitable posts I have read on this sad matter. Try Fr. Finigan and Fr. Zuhlsdorf, and if you can, remember to pray, pray and pray for priests.
My niece Mary, and her husband David, have announced the arrival of their first baby, a daughter, Margaret Mary.
As well as being a name that appears in several generations of my family, Margaret Mary is the name of the great saint who made known to the world the wish of Our Lord to be venerated under the title of the Divine Mercy.
The Church has always encouraged the faithful to name their children after saints because of the powers of intercession that saints have, and because, to use a modern phrase, saints are the real 'role models'.
St Margaret Mary Alacoque, now thereis a patron!
Baby Margaret Mary has the further distinction of being the heaviest baby of my extended family (11lb12oz) as well as the first of this new generation.
The Catholic Truth Society (CTS) will be shortly publishing a report about the world wide Aids crisis.
From The Catholic Herald:
The report, The Catholic Church and the Global Aids Crisis, cites research estimating that if, instead of condoms, fidelity and abstinence were promoted across sub-Saharan Africa some six million new infections would have been averted in less than a decade, with four million fewer Aids orphans created. Such programmes might have saved 3.2 million lives in South Africa alone from 2000 to 2010, and prevented 80 per cent of HIV infections in the hardest hit areas of the continent, the report says.
The overwhelming body of epidemiological evidence tells us that we have very little to show for all the investments in risk reduction measures, despite assurances that they were the indispensible solution to the problem,” said the author, Matthew Hanley, an American public health expert who has worked on HIV prevention programmes in Africa. “Many would be surprised to learn that condoms … have not delivered as promised in the fight against Aids.
“They have, quite simply, not accounted for declines in HIV prevalence that their advocates had expected. Though condoms have been the priority intervention, and been promoted time and time again, they have a rather poor track record in general – for Aids in Africa as well as a range of other sexually transmitted infections in the West. Quite simply, each of Africa’s declines in Aids rates are most attributable to … changes in sexual behaviour – especially fidelity or what the public health community sometimes calls ‘partner reduction’.”
Pope Benedict XVI was severely criticised after he publicly doubted the efficacy of condoms to combat Aids during a visit to Cameroon in 2009. Among the few public figures to defend him, however, was Professor Edward Green, an adviser to US President Barack Obama and the director of the Aids Prevention Research Project at Harvard University.
“The best evidence we have supports the Pope’s comments,” said Dr Green. (my emphasis)