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Oklahoma’s ban on Sharia law thrown out by federal judge

By DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer on Aug 16, 2013, at 2:28 AM
Updated on 8/16/13 at 3:02 AM
Tulsa World

MARK SCHLACHTENHAUFEN | THE EDMOND SUN Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, at the podium, announces the filing of a lawsuit challenging State Question 755 during a Thursday afternoon press conference at the state Capitol
Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council
on American-Islamic Relations, at the podium, announces the filing of
a lawsuit challenging State Question 755 during a Thursday afternoon
press conference at the state Capitol.
Photo:MARK SCHLACHTENHAUFEN / The Edmond Sun

An Oklahoma constitutional amendment that would bar the state's courts from considering or using Sharia law was ruled unconstitutional Thursday by a federal judge in Oklahoma City.

In finding the law in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the certification of the results of the state question that put the Sharia law ban into the state constitution.

"While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out, the Court finds that the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the judge wrote.

Muneer Awad, a Muslim and American citizen who was executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations at the time, filed the lawsuit on Nov. 4, 2010, seeking to block the so-called "Save Our State" constitutional amendment that had been approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters two days earlier.

Awad claimed that State Question 755 violated the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order on Nov. 8, 2010, finding that enjoining the certification of the election results for SQ 755 would not be adverse to the public interest.

On Nov. 29, 2010, she issued a preliminary injunction, finding that Awad had legal standing and that SQ 755 likely violated both the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause.

Miles-LaGrange also found then that the balance of harms weighed strongly in favor of Awad, that the alleged violation of Awad's First Amendment rights constituted irreparable injury and that the public interest demanded protection of these rights.

On Jan. 10, 2012, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Miles-Grange's preliminary injunction ruling, and on July 29, 2012, the lawsuit was amended, adding four additional plaintiffs.

In her opinion Thursday, Miles-LaGrange noted that the 10th Circuit wrote in January 2012 that "when the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad's in having his constitutional rights protected."

Miles-LaGrange found "that any harm that would result from permanently enjoining the certification of the election results is further minimized in light of the undisputed fact that the amendment at issue was to be a preventative measure and that the concern that it seeks to address has yet to occur."

She pointed out in a footnote that attorneys defending the amendment at the November 2010 preliminary injunction hearing admitted that "they did not know of any instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."

Miles-LaGrange also rejected the argument that the amendment could be salvaged by severing certain language that specifically mentioned Sharia law. That option would have retained less precise wording saying that Oklahoma courts "shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."

The judge wrote in her order that "it is abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law and to act as a preemptive strike against Sharia law to protect Oklahoma from a perceived 'threat' of Sharia law being utilized in Oklahoma courts."

She added that the plaintiffs "have shown that the voters would not have approved the amendment without the unconstitutional provisions."

She noted that "the public debate, public discussions, articles, radio ads and robocalls" regarding SQ 755 all primarily and overwhelmingly focused on Sharia law. "Given this context, the court finds any reasonable voter would have perceived SQ 755 as a referendum on Sharia law," she wrote.

Awad moved to New York City in August 2012 to accept a position with another CAIR affiliate, according to Thursday's opinion.

On Thursday night, Adam Soltani, the current executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma Chapter and a fellow plaintiff in the lawsuit, issued a statement in which he said: "As Oklahomans, we are incredibly thrilled at the decision and applaud the judicial system for upholding our constitutional rights. This is a victory not only for Oklahoma Muslims, but for all Oklahomans and all Americans."

Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, issued a written statement saying: "This law unfairly singled out one faith and one faith only. This amendment was nothing more than a solution in search of a problem. We're thrilled that it has been struck down."

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in the wake of the appellate court decision in January 2012 that his office "will continue to defend" the state's position.

However, spokeswoman Diane Clay said Pruitt would have no comment on Thursday night.

Despite the legal setbacks for SQ 755, Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1060 into law last April. Proponents said that without specifically mentioning Sharia law, the measure would prohibit the application of foreign laws when it would violate either the Oklahoma Constitution or the U.S. Constitution.


David Harper 918-581-8359
[email protected]
Source: http://www.tulsaworld.com/article.aspx/Oklahomas_ban_on_Sharia_law_thrown_out_by_federal_judge/20130816_11_A1_CUTLIN219102

Statement by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of The Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom highlighting the increasing incitement and violence threatening and claiming the lives of Christians in Egypt.

The Coptic Orthodox Church UK
Thursday, 8 August 2013

In the recent weeks and months there has been an escalation of attacks against Christians in Egypt, with unfounded, dangerous, and unlawful incitement emerging from various fringe Islamist leaders spurring on more violent acts and illegal behaviour that continues to injure and claim the lives of many Egyptian Christians.

A number of Egypt-based human rights organisations, with Amnesty International UK, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), have spoken out regarding attacks on Christians since the ousting of the former president, expecting similar acts in the coming period if these matters are not sufficiently addressed.

Most recently a violent attack on the Church of St George was followed by the raising of an Al Qaeda flag on its premises while congregation members were locked inside the church building. Churches across Upper Egypt including Minya, Asyut, and Luxor have suffered violent and destructive attacks and serious vandalism, with Christian homes and businesses also set alight. Callers to current affairs programmes on certain television channels, using hate speech, have rallied for the attack on, and eradication of, Christians and Churches. These acts and threats all contribute to a very real risk upon the life of every Christian, especially in the increasingly polarised and inflamed climate in Egypt. As a result of these threats, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II has suspended weekly public events out of concern over potential attacks on congregations.

At a time where attempts are being made to move Egypt into a more unified state, and where there is opportunity for collaboration and reconciliation, we are instead witnessing, once again, a polarised society in which unprecedented acts against Egyptian Christians are being carried out without fear of reprisal.

Imbalanced media coverage depicts scenes of violence in one part of the community as victimisation, while ignoring or labelling the savage attacks against Christians, on what is developing into a daily occurrence, as ‘sectarian’.
 

Sectarianism: Post-Sit-in Dispersal

Note: This is a collection of posts from a blog which is documenting the current attacks on Christians in Egypt. The full listing with updates, news reports, statements and reactions, can be found at http://nilerevolt.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/1198/.


August 14, 2013 · by

This has been put together as aggregated information that was shared online about attacks on churches and their institutions, Christians and their homes, and other relevant information. We started collecting information on August 14 and not before but are adding anything after.
 
The list has been compiled and managed by Mai El-Sadany, Amir Beshay, and myself, Amira Mikhail.
 
Many people have participated in supplying links, information, and tweets. We appreciate their contributions and encourage continued and joint efforts to properly document these attacks.
Please note that this is a work-in-progress and is being updated on a regular basis. Information so far is unverified although most is backed up with tweets and photos. We are hoping to continue the efforts to verify details. If you have any corrections or updates to church names, photos, or details, please reach out to [email protected] or my twitter.
 
A similar project is Into Oblivion by @moftasa and @MaliciaRogue.
 
AUGUST 16
Churches Attacked
Cairo
  1. St George Church | Hadeyek Helwan | Surrounded | Photo, AlMogaz (Arabic)
Gharbiya
  1. St George Church | Kotshinz | Attempted attack | Shorouk (Arabic)
  2. Al Malak Church | Hekma Street | Attempted Attack | Shorouk (Arabic)
Minya
  1. St Mary Church | Burned
  2. Evangelical Church in Malawi | Targeted with mortar | Watani (Arabic), Ahram Online
  3. Good Shepherd’s School | Burned | Watani (Arabic), Ahram Online
  4. Catholic Church | Burned | Watani (Arabic), Twitter, Facebook (Video), Ahram Online, YouTube
Sohag
  1. Abu Halqa Church, Tahta | Attacked by unknown assailants | AlMogaz (Arabic)

AUGUST 14-15

Alexandria
  1. Father Maximus Church | Attempted attack (stones thrown)
  2. St George Church | Bakos | Attempted attack (launching shots)
Arish
  1. St George Church | Burned | Source
Assiut
  1. Good Shepherds Monastery | Nuns attacked
  2. Angel Michael Church | Surrounded
  3. St George Coptic Orthodox Church | Photo, Photo, Photo, YouTube
  4. Al-Eslah Church| Burned | Source
  5. Adventist Church | Pastor and his wife not kidnapped, were able to escape | Photo, Adventist News Network
  6. St Therese Church | Photo, YouTube
  7. Apostles Church | Burning | Source
  8. Holy Revival Church | Burning | Source
  9. Qusiya Diocese | MCN
  10. St John’s Church | Abnoub | Burning
  11. Coptic Orthodox Diocese | Abu Tig | Sieged
  12. St John Diocese | Qusiya | Attempted attack (stones)
Beni Suef
  1. The Nuns School | Photo
  2. St George Church | al-Wasta
Cairo
  1. St Fatima Basilica | Heliopolis | Attempted Attack
  2. Virgin Mary’s Church | Hakim Village | Burned | Photo
Fayoum (Five churches)
  1. St Mary Church | El Nazlah | Gallery
  2. St Damiana Church | Robbed and burned
  3. Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) Church | EgyNews (Arabic), Twitter
  4. Evangelical Church | al-Zorby Village | Looting and destruction
  5. Church of Joseph | Burned | Source
  6. Franciscan School | Burned | Source
Gharbiya
  1. Diocese of St Paul | Burned | Source
Giza
  1. Father Antonios
  2. Atfeeh Diocese/Bishoperic | Looted
  3. Church Archangel Michael | Kerdasa | Burned
  4. Church of the Virgin Mary | Sieged
Minya (Around twelve churches)
  1. Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram | Delga, Deir Mawas | Source, Photo
  2. St Mina Church | Abu Hilal Kebly, Beni Hilal | Source, photo
  3. Baptist Church | Beni Mazar | Source
  4. Monastery | Deir Mawas | Ahram (Arabic)
  5. Delga Church | Attacked (Previously attacked with fire)
  6. The Jesuit Fathers Church | Abu Hilal district
  7. St Mark Church | Abu Hilal district
  8. St Joseph Nunnery | Photo, photo
  9. Amir Tadros Church | Photo, photo, photo, album, photo, photo
  10. Evangelical Church | Photo
  11. Anba Moussa al-Aswad Church | Photo
  12. Apostles Church | Source
  13. Salvation of the Souls Church | Burning | Unverified
  14. St John’s Church | Burning| Unverified
  15. Coptic Secondary School for Boys | Burning | Unverified
  16. Diocese of Mallawi | Attempted attack (launching shots, molotovs, and stones) | Unverified
Qena
  1. St Mary’s Church | Attempted Burning
Sohag
  1. St George Church |Photo album, photo, photo, video, source, source, video
  2. St Damiana | Attacked and burned | Source
  3. Virgin Mary | Attacked and burned | Source
  4. St Mark Church & Community Center
  5. Anba Abram Church | Destroyed and burned | Source
Suez
  1. St Saviours Anglican Church | Source
  2. Franciscan Church and School | Street 23 | Burned |Photo, photo, source/photos, photos
  3. Holy Shepherd Monastery and Hospital | Photo
  4. Good Shepherd Church (molotov cocktail thrown)- Relationship with Holy Shepherd Monastery unknown.
  5. Greek Orthodox Church | Photo, Photo
Christian Institutions
  • House of Father Angelos (Pastor of Church of the Virgin Mary and Father Abram) | Delga, Minya | Burned | CBN News, Ahram (Arabic)
  • Properties and Markets of Copts | al-Gomhorreya Street, Assiut
  • Seventeen Coptic homes | Delga, Minya | Burned | Source, Source
  • YMCA | Minya| Burned | Photo| Aug 14
  • Coptic Homes | Qulta Street, Assiut | Attacked
  • Offices of the Evangelical Foundation & Oum al-Nour | Minya
  • Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels | Karnak and Cleopatra Streets, Luxor | Attacked and Looted
  • Dahabeya Nile Boat | Minya| Church-owned | Source, Photo, Photo
  • Bible Society bookshop | Cairo | Burned | Photo, Ramez Atallah
  • Bible Society | Fayoum | Photo
  • Bible Society | al-Gomohoreya Street, Assiut | Photo, Photo
  • Ezbet el Nekhl | Source, source, source (Arabic)
  • Soldiers of Christ Orphanage | Minya | Twitter, Photo

READ THE REST HERE: http://nilerevolt.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/1198/

‘Horrible': Christian churches across Egypt stormed, torched

By Sarah Sirgany and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 16, 2013


Watch this video

Egypt's churches looted and torched

Kafr Hakim, Egypt (CNN) -- For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where it rests and where he has lived all those years.

But, as he swept its floors on Thursday, it was painfully obvious things had changed.
 
The night before, a mob -- chanting against Coptic Christians such as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an "Islamic state" -- had torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church.
 
"I didn't expect this to happen," El Sayeh said.

 
He's not alone. Christians all around Egypt are cleaning up in the aftermath of a spate of attacks, which came on the country's deadliest day since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
 
Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous Christians' homes and businesses.
 
Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.
 
Those churches reportedly set ablaze Wednesday included St. George Church in Sohag, a city south of Cairo on the Nile River.
 
And the new day brought new attacks. Prince Tadros Church in Fayoum, which is southwest of Cairo, was stormed and burned Thursday night, according to the official Middle East News Agency.
This and other attacks have been blamed by some on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement which backs recently deposed President Mohamed Morsy. Government efforts to clear the group's Cairo protest camps resulted in gruesome scenes in the capital: Egypt's health ministry says that at least 580 people were killed and more than 4,000 injured amid clashes involving security forces and Morsy supporters.
 
Against this backdrop, it may be some time before it's established what group, if any, is behind the church attacks, and how coordinated this violence has been.
 
Until then, Christians in Egypt are left to try to put things back together, as well as to attempt to make sense of what's transpired.
 
As Dalia Ziada of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, told CNN: "This is horrible to happen in only one day."
 
'A very dangerous game to play'
 
Egypt will have much to deal with if, and when, things do settle down. Once that happens, Angaelos says that a proper investigation of the church attacks should follow -- especially since, he feels, the sheer scale of incidents suggests they were orchestrated, rather than a byproduct of chaotic unrest.
"We would want the people who have done it to be brought to justice because I think they are trying to do something which is much more dangerous," he said.
 
"It's not just about burning churches, it's about burning churches to initiate a response that then spirals into even greater violence -- and that is a very, very dangerous game to play."
 
The targeting of churches and Christian properties was not unexpected, Angaelos said, given the tensions in Cairo and elsewhere and in light of escalating attacks on Coptic Christians in recent weeks.
 
The growing threat led him last week to issue a statement warning of "a very real risk upon the life of every Christian." Pope Tawadros II, the church's leader in Egypt, also suspended weekly public events for fear of attacks on Christian congregations.
 
But the warnings didn't prevent the violence, nor did security efforts to protect churches and Christian communities, according to Ibrahim.
 
Said Angaelos, "The ferocity and the speed with which it all happened ... was quite surprising."....
 
"This is an attack against the state by a violent minority in an attempt to destabilize the nation."
 
On it are sites in Alexandria, Arish, Assiut, Beni Suef, Cairo, Fayoum, Gharbiya, Giza, Minya, Qena, Sohag and Suez. They include churches and schools, as well as homes and businesses belonging to Coptic Christians. CNN has not been able independently to verify the reports.
 
Asked about the attacks on churches Wednesday, U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States was deeply concerned. "We will continue speaking out against this and continue talking to all parties and all sides about renouncing this violence, about moving forward with a democratic process."
 
Daniel Sinclair, director of communications at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said the group was "deeply concerned at the unwarranted and continuing targeting of the Coptic community. We urge the government to ensure comprehensive security to all Egyptians, regardless of their religion."
 
Long history in Egypt
 
Egypt's Christian minority has been the target of a number of attacks in recent years. The bombing of a major church in Alexandria in January 2011 killed 21 people and sparked worldwide condemnation.
The situation has only become worse since Egypt's popular revolution overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, said Angaelos.
 
"In the past two-and-a-half years, we've had more deaths of people just because they are Christians than in the last 20 years," he said, adding that this had not triggered violent retaliation.
 
He hopes for forgiveness and reconciliation among all Egyptians going forward, to help build a unified country.
 
Christians have been in Egypt since the 1st century and were, for centuries, the majority. Some 90% of Coptic Christians still live in the country, he said, making up the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
 
Angaelos puts the proportion of Christians in Egypt at 15 to 20% of the population. The CIA World Factbook says 10% of Egypt's population is Christian, while the Pew Research Center, which says firm numbers are hard to come by, puts the figure at about 5%.
 
Back in Kafr Hakim, Atia Ghattas told CNN his family's houses were attacked on the same night the church was looted. There was incitement against the Coptic community through the mosques in the area, he said.
 
Father Boktor Saad, of Kafr Hakim's Virgin Mary Church, said he believes that a small group of extremists were responsible for inciting groups to attack his church.
 
But, he and other church staff said, not everyone participated, and some non-Christians prevented the situation in that village from getting worse.
 
They credited moderate Muslims with putting out the fire at Virgin Mary, and halting further attacks on Coptic Christians' homes and shops.
 
Journalist Sarah Sirgany reported from Hafr Hakim, Giza, and CNN's Laura Smith-Spark reported from London. CNN's Greg Botelho, Arwa Damon, Sarah Brown and Richard Allen Greene contributed to this report.
 

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – August 16, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on August 16

4:00 - Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century: Now in Paperback!
In recent years the Catholic Church has gone through turbulent times with the uncovering of horrible abuse. As a result many positive aspects of what the Catholic Church teaches and practices are now being overlooked, not just by the media, but by people in and out of the pews. This is not only unfortunate, but detrimental to society at large. As Bill Donohue makes plain, the Church's teachings remain the best guide to good living ever adopted. Moreover, the content of these teachings defy today's typical ideological categorizations; the Church is decidedly conservative in matters of morality and compellingly liberal in social and economic affairs. Bill is here to tell us Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century.
  
5:00 - Consuming the Word: The New Testament and The Eucharist in the Early
Long before the New Testament was a document, it was a sacrament. Jesus called the Eucharist by the name Christians subsequently gave to the latter books of the Holy Bible. It was the "New Covenant," the "New Testament," in his blood. Christians later extended the phrase to cover the books produced by the apostles and their companions; but they did so because these were the books that could be read at Mass. This simple and demonstrable historical fact has enormous implications for the way we read the Bible. Dr. Scott Hahn is here to examine some of Christianity's most basic terms to discover what they meant to the sacred authors, the apostolic preachers, and their first hearers.

A jihadist sees the day approaching when Islam will conquer America

If the bad Muslims are just a tiny minority, why don’t the good Muslims get rid of them?

Aug 15, 2013
The Christians

Bombing this spring: Al Qaeda threatens total chaos in Iraq
Bombing this spring: Al Qaeda threatens total chaos in Iraq

An al Qaeda man in the Gaza Strip made modest headlines across the United States last week by warning Americans: “Islam is coming, and there is no other choice. This is something that no one can prevent. We will raise the Islamic flag on every point on earth where Muslims live, and we will chase all enemies of Islam wherever they are. Even in the West, in Europe, and in the United States.”

The speaker was Abu Saqer, a leader of the extremist Muslim group Jihadiya Salafiya, and he was speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” over WABC in New York. While he did not suggest Islam would take America by violence, he did mention that when the jihadists finish off President Bashar Assad in Syria, they would next turn their anger on Israel and the United States because both are “enemies of Islam.”

Far from dying, al Qaeda is more alive than ever Several points are of interest here. He is, for one, evidence that al Qaeda is not quite so dead as was pronounced by the U.S. administration before last fall’s election. A year before that, Praveen Swami, diplomatic editor of London’s Daily Telegraph who covered Asian security issues for almost 20 years, assessed al Qaeda’s power as far greater than it had ever been before, and it has been steadily gaining strength ever since. Today it is at the center of violence in Pakistan and Syria and last week was described by the Washington Times as “driving Iraq towards chaos.”

Yet in August of 2008, Peter Bergen, a fellow of New York University’s Center on Law and Security, could confidently write: “Today al Qaeda in Iraq is dead.” Well, it wasn’t, and it is so far from dead now that it was named by the U.S. State Department as the chief reason for shutting down some 30 diplomatic posts in the Middle East this month. What becomes ever more unnerving, however, is the determination of the U.S. not to recognize the self-evident fact that they are in a religious war.

 See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/532&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=12ea24451c-TCH-Issue0093-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-12ea24451c-57142977#sthash.bFJRt9BP.dpuf

St. Francis and Brother Duck

By
Posted on
Catholic Mom
 
With the election of Pope Francis, people are clamoring to learn more about his chosen namesake, St. Francis of Assisi. Paraclete Press has published a new way for children to familiarize themselves with St. Francis of Assisi in Saint Francis and Brother Duck. It is the first graphic novel adaptation of the real life of St. Francis of Assisi. The author, Jay Stoeckl, a secular Franciscan, was inspired to use his skills as a cartoonist in his first book.

You might be like me and thinking a graphic novel (comic book style) about St. Francis of Assisi and a Duck? Huh? And in truth, it is an adorable book that easily relates the story of Saint Francis in a colorful, visual way to young readers.
The description reads…

Saint Francis and Brother Duck
Saint Francis and Brother Duck
See Saint Francis come to life as never before in this colorful graphic novel set in the hill-towns of Italy. Francis saves the life of an innocent duck, the only fictitious character in the story, and the two become each other’s inspiration. As they grow in faith and friendship, Francis recognizes in Brother Duck everything that he desires in living the life of the gospel: humility, poverty and a childlike imagination.
When we received Saint Francis and Brother Duck, my nine year old son picked it up instantly due to his curiosity of a graphic novel about a Saint he was familiar with. The added bonus that made him sit down to read it immediately was the humor brought to the story by the fictional character of Brother Duck.

Read the rest here:  http://catholicmom.com/2013/08/15/st-francis-and-brother-duck/

Assumption of Mary, Where Science and Theology are Met


I’ve never understood why people who have no problem with Elijah and Enoch being assumed into paradise have a problem with Mary — the greatest, and most blessed of all created creatures — being assumed into heaven. “It’s not in scripture” doesn’t cut it, (as Msgr. Charles Pope demonstrates here) because what did the early Christians reference before the bible as we know it finally came into being in the fifth century? Teachings and traditions, as Saint Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “…stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

While the dogma was only made definitive by Pope Pius XII in 1950 (Munificentissimus Deus), the tradition of Mary’s assumption after her death at Ephesus is an old, old one that, as demonstrated by early-fourth century Ethiopian apocrypha (Liber Requiei Mariae (The Book of Mary’s Repose), pre-dates the Bible.

But I’m not interested in apologetics or in re-arguing sola scriptura, an idea which, ironically enough, is also not found in scripture. I believe in the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary not because my church tells me to, or because I am particularly pious. I believe it because of scripture and science, and frankly, for me science has the edge in the argument, because of microchemerism. I’ve written about this these past four years; learning that every child leaves within his mother a microscopic bit of himself — and that it remains within her forever — made the dogma of the Assumption a no-brainer for me.

In Psalm 16 we read a curious reference to body and soul:
And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your Holy One know decay.
Christ’s divine body did not undergo corruption. It follows that his mother’s body, which forever contained a cellular component of the Divinity — and a particle of God is God, entire — would not be allowed to corrupt as well, but would be taken into heaven and reunited with Christ. Mary was a created creature and moral. But she was no mere mortal; she could not be, once the particles of God had entered her chemistry.

In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, we share a small portion of Mary’s larger reality, but it is a temporary portion — the Christ-food goes into our digestive system and is fed into our blood and our cells, but our blood and cells live and die and are ultimately sloughed off as new ones are created: this Eucharistic unity cannot last, and this is why we seek repeated reception of this Divine Meal — if we’re not lazy, we seek it every day, so this supernatural Sustenance and Presence can remain with us. But for us it will never be as it was for Mary, who lived every day of her life, from the moment of the Incarnation until her death (or, as our Eastern brothers and sisters say, her Dormition) with the very cells of the Living God dwelling within her own flesh. Do we bury God, even on the cellular level? Christ’s own resurrection says no. The Holy One will not undergo corruption.

In the the book of Revelation we read (as explained by Father Dwight Longenecker) about the place of the Ark of the Covenant in cosmic design:
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. (Rev. 11:19a)
We bible-believing Christians understand that there is an ongoing supernatural battle taking place all around us — a pageant of good and evil, things seen and unseen — and that all things will be revealed in God’s own time, when we will finally comprehend all of what seems to us mysterious and unknowable, today. But scripture, science and common reasoning (if it is undertaken) all serve to inform us that Mary is no bit-player meant to bear God himself to the world and then exit, stage right, with no further relevance to this great drama.

Read the rest here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2013/08/15/assumption-of-mary-in-which-science-and-theology-are-met/

Paolo Dall’Oglio reported killed by Islamic rebels in Syria

Thursday, 15 August 2013 14:18
Communio


The Reuters news agency, and several other agencies are reporting, though not the Holy See as yet, that Al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria killed Jesuit Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, 59, who was kidnapped on 29 July.

Pope Francis mentioned his name at Mass on the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola on 31 July.
For the past 30 thirty years Father Dall’Oglio has been leading a religious and cultural life at the Monastery of Saint Moses (Deir Mar Musa).

The Monastery and its community was known to be an interfaith center devoted to Muslim-Christian friendship. Rebuilding this 6th century but abandoned monastery was Father’s and his small community’s attempt at preserving Syrian Christian establishments. One of the stunning pieces of Syrian religious patrimony Dall’Oglio preserved was an 11th century fresco of the Last Judgment.

Father Dall’Oglio was ordained as a Syrian Catholic priest; he spoke Arabic and studied Islamic theology and philosophy. His doctoral studies and writing at the Gregorian University concentrated on the virtue of hope in Islam.

Father was expelled from Syria in 2012, though he would sneak back into the country from time-to-time.

More recently his voice has been heard in calling for the deposition of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and some Islamist rebel groups.

Eternal memory.

Source: http://communio.stblogs.org/index.php/2013/08/paolo-dalloglio-reported-killed-by-islamic-rebels-in-syria/

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – August 15, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on August 15
   
4:00 - If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod
Parenting is hard . . . but it's not impossible. As a parent, you know that raising children presents greater questions every day. Aristotle has the answers . . . you just have to know how to find them. Conor Gallagher masterfully weaves Aristotle's ancient philosophy, scientific studies, pop culture, and parenting tales together making If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod a funny, rich, and informative read, and an indispensable guide for any parent who wants to pass on the secrets of a happy life to their kid.

5:00 - Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith
Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.
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