I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beatification of Pope Pius XII

In an Associated Press/Reuters report, the Vatican The Holy See] has been considering Beatification of Pope Pius XII, the preliminary procedure to canonization declaring sainthood to a person. He was the Pope during the time of the Holocaust period in Nazi Germany and there have been arguments over whether or not Pope Pius XII had turned his head during the persecution of Jews or whether he remained prudent in order to secretly save Jews through his diplomacy. According to an article at MSNBC: [See also
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano dedicated an entire page to praising Pius, including an impassioned tribute from the Holy See’s secretary of state, Italian Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone.
“It was precisely by means of a prudent approach that Pius XII protected Jews and refugees,” Bertone wrote in an introduction to a book by a nun about the late pontiff.
Last month, Pope Benedict XVI made one of the strongest defenses yet of Pius, whose death 50 years ago is being marked at the
Vatican. … Pius, as Italian prelate Eugenio Pacelli, had served as a Vatican diplomat in Germany and as the Vatican’s secretary of state before becoming pope in 1939, a few months before World War II erupted in Europe. The Vatican has started the process for Pius’ beatification, the last formal step before possible sainthood. Jews and others have accused Pius of not speaking out forcefully enough against the Holocaust. Bertone contended that research has shown that Pius “was neither silent nor anti-Semitic. He was prudent. If he had made a public intervention, he would have endangered the lives of thousands of Jews, who, upon his directive, were hidden, in 155 convents and monasteries in Rome alone …
Earlier this week, an Israeli rabbi
[Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen] who became the first Jew to address bishops’ gatherings at the Vatican pointedly omitted Pius when he spoke of the change in Catholic-Jewish relations from a “long, hard and painful history.”… The rabbi said some religious leaders “did not raise a voice in the effort or save our brethren, but chose to keep silent and help secretly.”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Turkish Theologians Begin Hadith Research Project

The Turkish Republic may be in for a Religious Reformation according to Daniel Pipes, Jerusalem Post, May 22nd 2008 …
TurkishFlag Accounts from Turkey suggest that the government is attempting a bold re-interpretation of Islam. Its unusually named ministry of religion, the "Presidency of Religious Affairs and the Religious Charitable Foundation," has undertaken a three-year "Hadith Project" systematically to review 162,000 hadith reports and winnow them down to some 10,000, with the goal of separating original Islam from the accretions of fourteen centuries. The hadith reports contain information about the sayings and actions of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. They augment the Koran and have had a major role in shaping the Shari‘a (Islamic law), thereby deeply influencing Muslim life. Despite their importance, Muslim reformers have devoted little scrutiny to them, due to their vast size, unwieldy nature, and the challenge of discerning "sound" from "weak" hadiths.
One of the project's 85 theology professors, Ismail Hakki Unal of Ankara University, explains its goal: "The Koran is our basic guide. Anything that conflicts with that, we are trying to eliminate." The project website explained that its work is "an important step for carrying the universal message of the Prophet of Islam to the twenty-first century."