Laity Synod

Who is afraid of the Laity Synod?

The Laity Synod should contextualize catholic faith in the modern world.
By Chhoteb
Was Jesus afraid, or reluctant to empower his disciples? Did he not rather say that anyone who believed in him would in fact “perform even greater works” (Jn 14:12) than himself?

Jesus empowered his disciples; he did not feel threatened by them. The explanation lies in the same farewell discourse, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me … it is the Father living in me who is doing his works” (Jn 14:10).

Lending dignity to the lives of differently abled

Lending dignity to the lives of differently abled


As love and compassion take a backseat in this consumeristic world, many who have lost their mental balance tend to be neglected or tossed out of homes.

Some are left in the wild to get killed and Karnataka's Bandipur Tiger Reserve stands testimony to it.

A few of these intellectually challenged are lucky enough to stumble into Karunalaya, a shelter home run by Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo congregation close to the tiger reserve.

Around 55-odd intellectually challenged eke out their existence with dignity in the shelter home.

"These unfortunate people are immune from hope and despair. They do not know where they came from and who they are," says Sister Mary of Karunalaya.

“No one will come to take them back home," she says.

Karunalaya is home to "those dumped on the highway by truck drivers, who are paid to get rid off unwanted people".

Some were brought here by compassionate souls, while some were found dumped on the road in the wildlife sanctuary by truckers, says an official of the hospital-cum-care centre for the intellectually challenged.

The inmates come from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and even from Orissa and West Bengal.

Porta Fidei -Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith

Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data"

Porta Fidei of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI for the Induction of the Year of Faith

1. The "door of faith" (Acts 14:27) is always open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and offering entry into his Church. It is possible to cross that threshold when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace. To enter through that door is to set out on a journey that lasts a lifetime. It begins with baptism (cf. Rom 6:4), through which we can address God as Father, and it ends with the passage through death to eternal life, fruit of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, whose will it was, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, to draw those who believe in him into his own glory (cf. Jn 17:22). To profess faith in the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is to believe in one God who is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8): the Father, who in the fullness of time sent his Son for our salvation; Jesus Christ, who in the mystery of his death and resurrection redeemed the world; the Holy Spirit, who leads the Church across the centuries as we await the Lord’s glorious return.

Pope's butler charged over leaked Vatican letters

Damien Pearse and Tom Kington in Rome, Saturday 26 May 2012 13.48 BST

The pope's butler has been formally charged over suspicions he leaked a large number of confidential letters addressed to Benedict XVI which have lifted the lid on alleged corruption and nepotism at the Holy See.

Vatican magistrates charged Paolo Gabriele, 46, with illegal possession of secret documents and said a wider investigation would take place to see if he had any accomplices who helped him leak them.

Gabriele, who has worked as Benedict's butler since 2006, was taken into custody after investigators reportedly found a mass of documents in the Vatican apartment he shares with his wife and three children.

The arrest comes a month after the Vatican gave an investigative team led by Cardinal Julián Herranz, a member of Opus Dei, a full "pontifical mandate" to join Vatican police in rooting out the perpetrators of what has been dubbed Vatileaks.

Gabriele is a member of the 85-year-old pontiff's closest circle of helpers, assisting him in his papal apartment at the Vatican alongside four female members of the Italian religious movement Comunione e Liberazione who cook and clean.

The Rome-born butler is in custody in the Vatican's cells.

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July 4, 2012 A thin line separates science and religion: Dan Shechtman

Unlike religion, science is not dogmatic and is open to revision. “But in the frontiers of science there is not much of a difference between science and religion,” said Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman.

Prof. Shechtman is from Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel. “People have their beliefs and they would not listen.”

But is that how science should be? “You are absolutely correct. Science should not be this way, because sometimes people are wrong,” the Laureate said. “A good scientist is a humble person who is willing to listen and not somebody who thinks he knows everything.”

Prof. Shechtman won the Nobel Prize for chemistry last year for his 1984 discovery of quasicrystals (non-repeating regular patterns of atoms). He had used a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to study the quasicrystals.

“When I published my work many repeated my results and immediately said, hey, we have it,” he said.

His personal experience convinced him that in the frontiers of science there is little difference between science and religion. “It was a discovery challenging a community of X-ray crystallographers. They were really against me for ten years,” he noted.

SC won’t stay order for compensation to riot-damaged Gujarat shrines

State says Constitution does not allow government spending for religious bodies

The Supreme Court has declined to stay, at this stage, the Gujarat High Court order directing the State government to pay compensation to more than 500 shrines damaged during the 2002 riots.
When counsel sought a stay on the “erroneous” February 8 order, a Bench adjourned the hearing to enable the government to produce documents that might indicate “… which are the religious places affected by the communal riots, for which compensation has been claimed.”

The matter has been listed for further hearing on July 9, when the plea for stay would be considered.

New Delhi, July 3, 2012

The Islamic Relief Committee of Gujarat had filed a writ petition in the High Court for a directive to the government to pay compensation for the damage and destruction caused to religious places. The National Human Rights Commission, it pointed out, had made such a recommendation.

Agreeing with the plea, the High Court pulled up the government for its “inadequacy, inaction and negligence” that resulted in large-scale destruction of religious structures.

Western Ghats on World Heritage List

World Heritage Committee, meeting at St. Petersburg in Russia, decided to inscribe 39 serial sites of the Western Ghats on the World Heritage List on 1st July 2012.

“The Western Ghats was inscribed under criteria 9 and 10 of the Operational Guidelines of the World Heritage Convention,” Vinod B. Mathur, Dean of the Wildlife Institute of India, told The Hindu from Russia.

Criterion nine of the guidelines deals with properties which are “outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals.” Criterion 10 is relevant for “those properties which contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.”

“The discussion on the Ghats witnessed representatives from 17 nations — Algeria, Cambodia, Columbia, Estonia,, Ethiopia, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, the UAE and Thailand —coming out strongly in favour of India.

Indian Railway Talkal 2012

Railways have revised the time of booking of tatkal tickets with effect from July 10 in a bid to prevent touts from cornering tickets. Booking of tatkal tickets, permissible only one day in advance, will start at 1000 hours instead of 0800 hours for the general public, while no authorised agent, even from the IRCTC, will be allowed to book tickets online until 1200 hours.

The Railways have retained the restriction imposed on agents from booking general reserved tickets on the opening day for two hours, from 0800 hours to 1000 hours, to allow the general public to book tickets 120 days in advance.

The IRCTC is developing an e-ticket application to more than double the existing capacity to address online demand for tickets.

About 11.57 lakh berths and seats are booked a day, out of which tatkal accounts for 1.71 lakh seats and berths on 2677 trains. Tatkal booking yielded a revenue of Rs. 847 crore during 2011-12.

To prevent agents from cornering tickets, the IRCTC also proposes to capture their computers’ MAC ID, restrict booking per machine and link booking by individuals with UID and PAN

Conserving Western Ghats

June 29, 2012
Making these slopes less slippery
Source: The Hindu

Rather than seek to impose inflexible solutions, the expert panel on conserving the Western Ghats has suggested guidelines for consulting people right down to the level of villages for the right answers

The report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), uploaded on the Ministry of Environment and Forests website as of May 23, has triggered a vigorous public debate on several vital issues before us; issues relating to environment — development choices and the proper roles of people and government authorities in deciding on these choices.

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