Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mob Burns Christian Slum in Pakistan

From the National Catholic Register (which is still good after EWTN brought it from the Legion of Christ) comes this article on the continuing persecution of Christians in Pakistan:

Mob Burns Christian Slum in Pakistan

"LAHORE, Pakistan — Like so many tragic incidents, it started with two alcohol-soaked young men getting into an argument. It ended with 250 homeless families.

On March 6, in a northern suburb of Lahore, Pakistan, 28-year-old Christian sanitation worker Sawan Masih visited Muslim childhood friend Shahid Imran’s barbershop.

Although Pakistan is officially a dry country, one can easily procure spirits there, and it was liquor that fueled the squabble. It ended with Imran accusing Masih of blasphemy against Islam.

This is a particularly loaded charge in a nation where no proof is needed to bring charges, where a guilty verdict brings a death sentence, and where mere accusations typically lead to egregious violence against the republic’s Christians, who account for just 1.6% of Pakistan’s population.

And so it was that three days later, on March 9, the local mosque’s loudspeakers announced Masih had blasphemed Muhammad. This provoked an evidently coordinated mob of 3,000 Muslims to march on the Christian ghetto of Joseph Colony, even though Masih was already in jail.

As the throng grew, police urged residents to leave the slum at once. Those who could went to relatives’ homes. None who escaped realized they would never again see their homes or their few personal possessions — some of which provided their livelihood — for these were either first looted or burned in the ensuing inferno."
CNN reports:

Pope Francis tasks cardinals with studying reform of Catholic Church

My reaction:  Meh, we'll see.  I think it will take a lot more than some Cardinals to reform the Church but it is a start.

" Rome (CNN) -- Pope Francis has appointed a group of eight cardinals from around the world to look into ways of reforming the Catholic Church, the Vatican said Saturday.
The group, which includes U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley from Boston, will examine ways to revise the Vatican constitution, Pastor Bonus, which sets the rules for running the Roman Curia, or church hierarchy.
The cardinals -- who come from North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe -- will first meet in October, the Vatican said.
The move follows on from suggestions made during the General Congregations, a series of meetings that brought together all the cardinals last month before they elected Francis as pope, the Vatican said.
The other seven cardinals are: Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Vatican City State governorate; Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa from Chile; Oswald Gracias from India; Reinhard Marx from Germany; Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; George Pell from Australia; and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras.
An Italian bishop, Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, will act as secretary for the group."

Catholic Culture

I have always enjoyed the blog by JP Sonnen - orbis catholicus secundus.  The blog always has great pictures of Catholic culture from around the world especially Italy.  This post introduced me to a great priest who just died at the age of 100:

HERO: One of the Greatest Living Legends in the Face of Modern Evil - Fr. Leon Stepnia (RIP 1913-2013)

The post links to this article on the priest's death:

"The oldest surviving inmate of the Dachau concentration camp has died at the age of 100.
Leon Stepniak, a Polish priest, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1940 in the village of Klebowiec.
He spent the next five years in Dachau, a site in south-east Germany which was the first concentration camp to be opened by the Nazi goverment.
After being released at the end of the Second World War, he returned to Poznan in Poland, where he died over the weekend.
The clergyman was well-known for a speech he made at a commemoration to mark the liberation of Dachau.
He told the audience that the camp's legacy should not be as a demand for revenge or recrimination, but as a sign of reconciliation."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Catholic Church is Leading the Way on Ethical Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine

Deacon Keith Fournier discusses adult stem cell research at

"VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - On Thursday April 11, 2013 an extraordinarily important conference began with the enthusiastic approval of the Vatican. The topic is stem cell research and regenerative medicine. In fact, the conference is entitled Regenerative medicine: A Fundamental Shift in Science and Culture and you can read much more about it here. The conference continues through Saturday, April 13, 2013 and is hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, STOQ International, NeoStem and the Stem for Life Foundation. The conference brings together medical researchers, politicians, Church leaders, scholars, scientists and students to educate the world and promote ongoing work in the use of adult stem cells."

He lists some of the many examples of stem cell breakthroughs, which he correctly points out are often mentioned in the press in a way that does not clarify they are adult stem cells:

"Back in May of 2011 Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston, Massachusetts announced the they used stem cells which they derived from ADULT skin to re-grow areas of the retina and improve vision. Chinese researchers announced they have taken stem cells derived from ADULT skin and prompted them to become liver cells, thereby restoring a liver in a laboratory animal. That same month and year, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that scientists discovered that adults have stem cells within their lungs which are capable of being used to regenerate damaged lungs. They found "undifferentiated human lung stem cells nested in niches in the distal airways. These cells are self-renewing, clonogenic, and multipotent in vitro."


"In 2011 the first of these conferences supporting, promoting and endorsing was held in Vatican City. It was entitled  Adult Stem Cells: Science and the Future of Man and Culture It was sponsored by the same alliance including the Vatican. When it concluded Pope Benedict XVI made this observation: "the potential benefits of adult stem cell research are very considerable, since it opens up possibilities for healing chronic degenerative illnesses by repairing damaged tissue and restoring its capacity for regeneration. The improvement that such therapies promise would constitute a significant step forward in medical science, bringing fresh hope to sufferers and their families alike. For this reason, the Church naturally offers her encouragement to those who are engaged in conducting and supporting research of this kind, always with the proviso that it be carried out with due regard for the integral good of the human person and the common good of society."

Friday, April 3, 0033 @ 3 PM

Is this the exact date of Jesus' death?  See Jimmy Akin's explanation here.