Archive for June, 2011

Child abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Chuch

June 21, 2011
Father Kit Cunningham abused schoolchildren in his care at Soni, Tanzania.

Father Kit Cunningham abused schoolchildren in his care at Soni, Tanzania.

My conscience is deeply disturbed by the breach of trust that God placed in me as a Catholic priest. Many of you have suffered and been scarred by your experiences. After much reflection I have decided to return my MBE. — Father Kit Cunningham

In recent years there has been a litany of child sex abuse within and cover-up by the Catholic Church. The latest scandal is in Tanzania.

Sunday – BBC Radio 4
He was my priest and my friend. Then I found out he was a paedophile
Why didn’t the Rosminian order tell us the truth about Fr Kit?
Abused: Breaking the Silence

It was through a web site that victims learnt they had something in common other than being taught by the Catholic Rosminian Order, they had been subjected to child abuse.

They raised it with the head of the order, and unusually for the Catholic Church received an apology, but when they sought legal redress they were told they may have legal grounds but no moral grounds!

The responce of the Church was what it always is. To move the priests on.

the quasi-official Catholic Truth Society published a booklet on clerical sex-abuse that blames it on the “permissive society” of the 1960s.

‘Woodstock defence’ of abuse doesn’t hold water

The Pope when in Croatia had the gall to pontificate on family life. He was the one who in his previous office as head of the Office of the Inquisition covered up the child abuse scandals. Any apology has been like dragging blood out of a stone.

Statistically if you are brought up in a pious religious community lacking in grace, you are more likely to be an abuser and victim of abuse. Where normal sexual behaviour is demonised.

Rob Bell quotes Renee Altson (author of Stumbling Towards Faith) who says she was spiritually abused. Her father raped her whilst reciting the Lord’s Prayer, molested her whist singing hymns. [see Love Wins]

In The Shack, Mack witnesses his drunken father, a church elder, abusing his mother.

In Salt Lake City, Mormons think it their duty if not God-given-right to rape under-age girls to take as a wife.

If human beings are placed in abnormal situations, they behave in abnormal ways.

Some people are asexual, some are celibate by choice. It is when celibacy is an obligation it becomes a problem.

As Paulo Coelho has often said, if the Church treats normal sexual behaviour as a perversion, then sexual behaviour will turn to perversion.

My religious education

But nor should we go to the other extreme. The Lutherian Church in Tanzania requires its priests to be married. The Salvation Army requires its officers to marry within the army.

Jesus took a special interest and delight in children, they had a special place in His heart. His punishment for those who harmed children was to put an anchor around their necks and toss them in the sea.

Midsummer Feast with Eden people

June 14, 2011

Last week at Creative Arts at Costa I was invited to a Midsummer Feast with Eden People at Allen Gardens Pavilion in Guildford the following week in the evening.

A lovely sunny day. I thought lunch in Guildford, carry out a few chores, then as it was a lovely sunny day, I would read Love Wins under the shade of a tree until the evening.

Fate unfortunately had other ideas.

One of my chores was to hopefully to resolve a problem caused by a bank. I was in the bank all afternoon, from lunchtime until it closed. A day ruined.

I found the feast was more of a snack. I took along two punnets of strawberries. On arrival I wondered why everyone was inside on such a lovely evening. Until it got cold I sat outside chatting to a dog.

I was pleased to be able to pick up a few prayer and meditation cards which I will be happy to pass on.

I wondered why the event was held one week before the summer solstice. Walking home I noticed a lovely full moon.

Upcoming events

Summer Flower Festival incl choral performance on Sunday afternoon. St Mark’s Church in Farnborough. 24-26 June 2011.

George Abbott’s Guildford. A talk by Mary Alexander at St Mary’s Church in Guildford. George Abbott was a former Archbishop of Canterbury, a contributor to the King James’ Bible. 7-30pm Tuesday evening 28 June 2011.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

Also see

Eden People at Costa
Eden People demonstrating use of Jesus Cards
An Evening with Eden People
Eden People – Mind Body Spirit – Holy Trinity

Paulo Coelho on Luck, Coincidence, and Faith

June 14, 2011

To mark the 20th anniversary of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Hymns Ancient and Modern

June 14, 2011

The Victorians brought us sewers and railways. They also brought us Hymns Ancient and Modern.

It was not uncommon for each Victorian clergyman to have his own hymn book.

Two clergymen who met on a train decided it would be a good idea to publish a hymn book. They invited contributions. The result was Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Now celebrating 150 years, Hymns Ancient and Modern has stood the test of time. We find football anthems, spirituals and soul versions.

A pleasant contrast to the sacharine songs with their awful lyrics that are sung in too many churches.

Something Understood – Hymns

Love Wins

June 13, 2011

Controversial?

Apparently Love Wins by Rob Bell has upset a few Christians.

Why?

I had a quick flip, dipped here and there. I could not see it was controversial. An interesting style! Maybe it upsets ‘Christians’ who have no understanding of their own faith.

Love Wins looks a book worth reading.

Why are evangalists such a pain in the arse?
A lack of grace

Why are evangalists such a pain in the arse?

June 13, 2011

I was standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus when a black woman walked up to me.

‘May I talk to you’, she asked.

She seeemd harmless and so I said ‘Yes’.

I expected her to then ask for money, or maybe proposition me for sex. But no.

‘Do you believe in God?’

I responded with the same question: ‘Do you believe in God?’

She then asked me ‘Did I know Jesus loved me?’

I asked ‘Are you a liar?’

She replied no, so I replied it must be true.

She then told me God talked to her. I asked did she hear voices in her head, was she schizophrenic?

She told me no.

I then explained to her that only a couple of days ago I was at a meeting with five different believers of five different faiths (Baha’i faith, Catholic, Buddhist, Jew and a Muslim) who discussed their faith. [see What is the Role of Faith in Your Life?]

This seemd to halt her in her tracks.

I then suggested she obtained and read The Shack. As she had not heard of it I explained that it was a deep meta-physical discussion on the nature of God. At this point my bus drew up, so I said goodbye and hopped on the bus.

I felt I was talking to an automaton, a programmed robot. A person who had been brainwashed.

A lack of grace

Free calls forever

June 13, 2011
Skypephone S2

Skypephone S2

Free skype-to-skype calls on pay as you go no need to top-up

That was the offer if you bought a skypephone S2 from 3 network, free skype. In addition, if you topped up with £10: free 150MB data allowance, free 300 texts (600 if topped-up on-line), free 3-to-3 calls. The top-up freebies valid for 90 days.

An offer too good to be true! So it proved to be.

3 network claimed a network designed and built for the Mobile Internet. This must be their idea of a sick joke.

For at least a year, the network did not work! Mobile to mobile calls were garbled and would cut off. Mobile version of facebook and twitter (which are primarily text) were like watching paint dry. Signal was non-existent or would go up and down like a yo-yo. Often 3G was not available. If you called 3, they would ask if you had a mobile on another network to call you on as their own network was so bad!

Now skype has been turned off. 3 claim it is not them it is skype, skype say it is not them it is 3.

Who to believe? Why would skype wish to lose customers?

If you try to connect to skype you get a message saying “Sorry, this version of Skype no longer works. Click here to see if there is an upgrade available for your phone”. There is nothing to click on. Skype has been disabled on what was sold as a skype phone with skype available forever. A clear breach of contract by 3 network.

Calls to 3 are as usual of little help. Download a new version, then pay £15/month for data allowance to use it. Buy a new phone.

3 shops little better. A shrug of the shoulders and what do you expect us to do about it. On a second visit to the sameshop they claimed they knew nothing about it!

No warning was given by 3 that skype would be disabled, the 3 website no longer offers the skypephone S2.

This violates 3’s own terms and conditions and the “Free Skype for life” promise leaving customers very angry and unable to use the arguably main functionality of this phone. A feature that was heavily promoted.

There is more than sufficient grounds for investigation by Ofcomm, Office of Fair Trading and local Trading Standards.

A complaint also needs to be raised with

http://www.ombudsman-services.org/communications.html

You and Yours today on BBC Radio 4 had a feature at the end of the programme on 3G networks not delivering the data speeds they claim to deliver.

Skype no longer works on 3 Skypephone …

Muhammad

June 11, 2011
Muhammad - Deepak Chopra

Muhammad - Deepak Chopra

Reading Muhammad I was reminded of writings by Kahlil Gibran and Paulo Coelho.

Deepak Chopra paints a portrait of Muhammad through the eyes of those who knew him. An image at times that is like Jesus at others an Old Testament Prophet. My lingering image was of a warlord delivering Islam at the point of a sword.

Muhammad and his followers were forced to flee Mecca. They sought sanctuary in Medina. They repaid the hospitality by driving out the Jews. Those who were left and remained neutral during the final conflict with Mecca were slaughtered in cold blood, the women and children sold into slavery.

On his death, his followers fought over the spoils, splitting Islam in two. Islam rapidly spread. It was able to spread out of Arabia due to the four centres of Christianity being at war with each other. The Turks were able to take Constantinople when the Christians in the West failed to come to their aid.

Many thanks to Jane for the gift and to Paulo for the recommendation.

Jesus the Son of Man
– Jesus Wars
Reconciliation
The Fifth Mountain

What is the Role of Faith in Your Life?

June 9, 2011

‘In my Father’s house there are many mansions.’ — Jesus

A talk by five people of five different faiths on the role of faith in their life.

Nabil Mustapha (Baha’i faith): Faith is a covenant. Medicine is a noble profession, to be practised to help others, not to earn lots of money. The Baha’i faith is a choice to be exercised, a choice not to be exercised until one reaches the age of sixteen.

Mark Bishop (Buddhism): Grew up in India then UK in the Protestant and Catholic tradition. Did not become a Buddhist until late in life. Belongs to a sect that has no monks. Chant a mantra half an hour before breakfast then again in the evening.

Ray Traynor (Catholism): Taught in many countries. Chance conversations, chance meetings, led to these opportunities. Like Santiago in The Alchemist, risks were taken.

Irene Black (Judaism): One is born a Jew. It is who your parents are that determines that you are a Jew. Difficult to say what the impact of faith has on ones life. Easier to say what the lack of faith means, life would have no meaning. A close parallel between Hinduism and Judaism. Faith is seen through action. There are as many interpretations of Judaism as there are Jews.

Adel Sharif (Islam): We all have faith. Religion is man made. Prophets are messengers of God, their names in Arabic reflects their function. There is only one Koran, but many interpretations. Translations are often bad as the translator does not understand the Arabic. Muslims recognise the same God, the same prophets as Jews and Christians. The Quran is a continuation of what went before, not something new. The Quran tells believers of the One Faith to recognise Jews and Christians. Believers are seekers after truth. A scientist is a seeker after truth. Education should be for the betterment of mankind, not to earn more money. The proposed Multi-Faith Centre at Surrey University is to be renamed the Faith Centre. [also see The Role of Science and Faith in the Development of Civilisations]

Gifts: We all have gifts. We should share those gifts.

Peace: Something we should all strive for.

Prayer: God listens. Maybe we should heed the advice of St Benedict and learn to listen. Prayer is two-way communication. We have to learn to read the signs. [also see Does it matter how we pray?]

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho describes those who say their faith is the only way as religious bigots. A devout Catholic, at his St Joseph Party in Istanbul he quoted from the Quran. He invited his guests to join him in prayer. Prayers were said in several languages by people from different religious backgrounds.

In The Shack Jesus is asked: Do you have to be a Christian to follow Him? He replies no, as even He is not a Christian. He adds, Jews, Muslims, even Buddhists, follow him.

Publicity: The meeting was very poorly publicised. Even St Joseph’s lacked a poster on the church notice board! As an absolute minimum posters and flyers in local churches, libraries, Guildford Institute.

Meeting hosted by Guildford and Godalming Interfaith Forum at St Joseph’s Church in Guildford (Eastgate Gardens). 7pm Thursday 9 June 2011.

Guildford and Godalming Interfaith Forum is an informal collective. For more information on future meetings please contact Bernard Jones (bernard.jones@btinternet.com).

Upcoming events

Midsummer Feast with Eden people – evening Tuesday 14 June 2011 – Allen House Pavilion, Guildford.

George Abbott’s Guildford. A talk by Mary Alexander at St Mary’s Church in Guildford. George Abbott was a former Archbishop of Canterbury, a contributor to the King James’ Bible. 7-30pm Tuesday evening 28 June 2011.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September. Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street. With Eden People, a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

Eden People at Costa

June 9, 2011
Creative Arts @ Costa

Creative Arts @ Costa

It was the first Tuesday of the month, famers market in Guildford. I decided to hang around and go along that evening to Eden People at Costa.

Eden People are at many of the festivals – Glastonbury, Ambient Picnic (which seems to have died after the disaster of last year), Guilfest.

At Costa I found music and poetry. The perfomers had come to Eden People.

Costa was packed. As I was near the door, I answered as best as I could questions about Eden People, said when and where the next events would take place.

Creative Arts @ Costa, a celebration of music, word and the visual arts, takes place at Costa in Swan Lane in Guildford on the first Tuesday of the month (same day as the farmers market). The next event is Tuesday evening 5 July 2011. There will be no events in August and September.

Swan Lane is the narrow lane that runs between the High Street and North Street at the lower end of the High Street.

Eden People are a Christian collective.

The Keystone Spirit is a regular meeting of Eden People at The Keystone Pub (3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, GU2 4BL).

Midsummer Feast – evening Tuesday 14 June 2011 – Allen House Pavilion, Guildford.

Interfaith Meeting: Various speakers talking about what faith means to them. 1900 Thursday 9 June 2011. St Joseph’s Catholic Church (East Gate Gardens, Guildford, GU1 4AZ).

Top story in The Religion Daily (Friday 10 June 2011).

Eden People demonstrating use of Jesus Cards
An Evening with Eden People
Eden People – Mind Body Spirit – Holy Trinity


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