S. Carolina Councilwomen describes Catholic beliefs as ‘hate’

Attention All Catholics:

Please take the time to drop Ms. Von Harten a note and tell her you accept her apology and forgive her.  Then ask for her resignation!  She can be reached at the following e-mail: lvonharten@bcgov.net or simply call her at (843) 379-1367.

 37007_2-15-2007_9-21-42_pm_0003_123_740lo Ms. Laura Von Harten, Councilwoman 

Charleston, Nov 21, 2008 / 02:56 am (CNA).- A South Carolina county councilwoman has apologized for remarks she made at a land management committee discussion considering whether to allow a Catholic church to expand. She had said she would oppose the expansion because she sees “hate” in the Catholic Church, criticizing the Church’s pro-life position and its lack of female clergy, which she called “an affront to my dignity and all of womankind.”

On Monday the Beaufort County Council heard a request from Saint Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton to rezone land for a proposed expansion.

The website of Saint Gregory the Great Church, whose pastor is named Father Ronald Cellini, reports it is seeing “unprecedented growth of this parish family,” increasing by more than 5,000 souls since 1995.

During a land management committee discussion, Laura Von Harten explained she would oppose the request of the parish at the full council meeting later in the week. Although Von Harten does not serve on the land committee, she took the floor to make plain her views about the Catholic Church.

According to the Beaufort Gazette, she cited “human rights issues” as a reason for her opposition.

“I could not have Father Cellini’s job or the Pope’s job if I wanted it and it’s an affront to my dignity as a woman and all of womankind,” said Von Harten, who is reportedly a Unitarian Universalist.

“I don’t want to support anything that will perpetuate that kind of ideology that would prevent me from being an active leader in an organization, and I don’t like the way they want to control women’s uteruses, and I just don’t want to do anything that would perpetuate that.”

If land must be rezoned, she said, “I want it to be to create a loving inclusive mixed-use community and that’s the only way I will give up rural land… I just have to vote in favor of love and against hate when I see hate.”

Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League, went so far as to call for the councilwoman’s resignation.

“Without the slightest provocation, Laura Von Harten decided to bash Catholicism,” Donohue said in a Wednesday statement. “This suggests an animus so deep as to call into question her fitness for public service. She should do more than recuse herself on matters Catholic-she should resign from her post as councilwoman. There is no legitimate role for bigots in public life.”

Following criticism of her remarks, Von Harten on Tuesday said she would abstain from any votes on St. Gregory the Great’s rezoning.

She made what she called a formal apology for her remarks on Wednesday, saying her reference to human rights pertain to “the Catholic Church as a political entity, with a seat at the United Nations, but I acknowledge that I offended individuals in my own community.”

The Holy See in fact has a permanent observer mission to the United Nations but no voting seat.

Saying she intended no infringement of anyone’s religious freedom and did not intend to disparage any individual member of the Church, she added:

“I respect the rights of all people to worship in the church of their choosing. Given the history of persecution endured by members of the Catholic Church, I regret my insensitivity on this matter.”

Saying she was “truly sorry” for having “interjected” her concerns about the Catholic Church into a zoning discussion, she claimed she had “meant only an extension of my overall opposition to development that restricts access on the basis of factors such as race, age or gender but it was an inappropriate forum.”

“Please be assured that I have been reminded of the importance of separation of church and state in matters of land use, and have learned a great deal from this incident,” Von Harten continued, asking for forgiveness and pledging “to approach my duties as councilwoman from a more restrained and objective viewpoint.”

Prayerful Protest at Bill Maher’s Gig in Indy

March of Reparation set for August 16

Prayerful event to coincide with local appearance by anti-Catholic ‘comedian’
By Dr. Timothy Thunell, DVM

 One of the most anti-Catholic personalities in the world today, Bill Maher, will be performing at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 8 p.m. A self-proclaimed “politically astute comedian,” Maher’s shows on television and stage – and soon to be at movie theaters – are notorious for their vulgar vitriol directed at all religion, most especially the Roman Catholic Church.

To counteract Maher’s offensive brand of comedy, local Catholic laity are organizing a March of Reparation, along with a Mass for the Defense of the Church, for Aug. 16. Catholics are being asked to turn out in large numbers to pray the rosary, sing hymns and make other acts of public prayer and reparation. It is especially hoped that large numbers of Catholics will be present outside the theater before and after the show.

The Solemn High Votive Mass for the Defense of the Church will be at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis at 6:00 pm, with the March immediately following. The celebrant, Fr. Dennis Duvelius, will be joined at the altar by Fr. Gerard Saguto and Fr. David Phillipson.

Anyone not familiar with Maher’s statements on the Catholic Church would likely be shocked by much of what he has said, repeatedly, throughout his career. A lengthy list of his quotes – almost all of which are too obscene to be printed here – has been documented by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Here is one of the few “clean” attacks he made on April 11, 2008, on the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher:

“I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound. And this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That’s right. The pope is coming to America this week, and, ladies, he’s single! … If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you ‘pope'” (source: transcript provided by Real Time with Bill Maher).

All Catholics on earth are considered to be members of the Church Militant, engaged in battle with the world, the flesh and the devil. The March of Reparation is a concrete, visible way to defend our Faith and stand up for all that we believe.

Organizers are asking participants in the March of Reparation to set a good example for others by displaying Christian modesty in their attire: no shorts, tight clothing, short skirts, no sleeveless, backless or cutoff tops, or other immodest clothing.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing”

Attributed to Edmund Burke (1729 -1797) was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher who served for many years in the British House of Commons as a member of the Whig party. He is mainly remembered for his support of the American colonies in the dispute with King George III and Britain that led to the American Revolution and for his strong opposition to the French Revolution. The latter made Burke one of the leading figures within the conservative faction of the Whig party (which he dubbed the “Old Whigs”), in opposition to the pro-French-Revolution “New Whigs”, led by Charles James Fox. Burke also published a philosophical work where he attempted to define emotions and passions, and how they are triggered in a person. Burke worked on aesthetics and founded the Annual Register, a political review. He is often regarded by conservatives as the philosophical founder of Anglo-American conservatism.

Jews debate anti-gentile prayers with Respect to Good Friday Prayer

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By MENACHEM WECKER

March 21, 2008 – Tensions between Catholics and Jews over a Good Friday prayer in the Latin Tridentine Mass have caused some Jews to take a harder look at their own exclusive prayers and to ask whether Catholics are getting a lopsided share of blame.

For instance, after the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations petitioned the Vatican to remove the Good Friday prayer, which calls for conversion of the Jews, Jeffrey Weiss wondered on The Dallas Morning News’ Religion Blog how the Catholic church’s claim of exclusivity was any worse than “the traditional Jewish claim that the Jews (and assuredly not the Catholics) are God’s Chosen People.”

But belief in “chosenness” is tame compared to inflammatory statements about gentiles (goyim in Hebrew) in Jewish prayer and scripture. Christians are often unaware of references to members of their faith in Jewish texts, while Jews either ignore potentially offensive prayers or justify them with arguments that Christian words have led to anti-Semitic persecutions, whereas Jewish prayers have never hurt anyone.

Even if Jewish prayers have not undergirded anti-Catholic pogroms, some are derogatory. Orthodox Jews, both in Israel and throughout the world, recite the prayer Aleynu (“Upon Us”) three times a day thanking God for distinguishing them from non-Jews, including Christians, who “pray to a God who doesn’t help.” The Orthodox version of the Passover Hagaddah, which has been variously edited by Conservative and Reform Jews, petitions God to “Pour out your anger toward the gentiles who do not know you” and “chase them with rage and destroy them.”

Fr. John T. Pawlikowski, director of the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union, acknowledged in an interview that these prayers “have not had a public role and have not negatively impacted Christians.” Still, “for the sake of Jewish integrity they should be surfaced and removed,” he said.

Pawlikowski added that the Good Friday prayer from the 1962 Roman missal is contrary to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and “echoes images of Jews that have been disastrous for Jewish safety throughout the centuries.” He said he is “very dissatisfied” with Pope Benedict XVI’s revision, which omits a reference to “the blindness” of the Jews, but still asks for their conversion. The pope, Pawlikowski said, “fails to understand how ‘conversion’ strikes a raw nerve in Judaism.”

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, vice president of the New York-based CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, takes another view. “Nobody should have to change their prayers for anyone else, especially those outside their prayer community,” said Hirschfield, who recently published You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism.

He added, “Communities may, however, alter their prayers because of the pain they cause others, and in so doing fall short of their own internal standards for appropriate liturgy. In other words, no community should change its prayers because of some external demand, but such external demands can provoke an internal awareness that changes how we feel about uttering certain words.”

Although Jews have suffered under Catholic anti-Semitism, Hirschfield said it is important for the Jewish community to examine itself before becoming trigger-happy with accusations. “It would be helpful if we admitted that our distress is based on past hurt more than present reality,” he said. At the same time, he said, Catholics should be aware their prayer seems to depict non-Catholics as “somehow defective or in need of salvation.”

Rabbi David Rosen, chairman of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations, said his organization is merely calling for the Vatican to respect its own teachings that “affirm the unique relationship with the Jewish people,” such as the 1965 declaration Nostra Aetate.

“Of course, the church can use whatever prayers it wants,” Rosen said. “It just has to face the consequences of them. The consequence of the pope’s ‘new’ text is that we understand that the relationship is not one of true mutuality as we were led to believe by some.”

Rosen also questioned whether Jewish prayer is really anti-Christian.

The passage from Aleynu “is only inferred as relating to Christianity,” he said. “One could argue that the language of prayer should not be derogatory at all and that ‘Pour out your anger,’ for example, should be removed, but it is about those idolaters who deny God and persecute Jews, so it’s rather different.”

Rabbi Ruth Langer, academic director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, also argued that Jewish prayers are not specifically anti-Christian — a perspective she published two years ago in “Theologies of Self and Other in American Jewish Liturgies” in the CCAR Journal: A Reform Jewish Quarterly. CCAR is the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Langer admits Jewish liturgy has “legitimately problematic prayers,” but said these prayers were removed from Jewish prayer books for good in the mid-16th century. Langer called the pope’s reinstitution of the 1962 prayer “a clear step backward from the theology of Vatican II and the esteem for Judaism’s integrity expressed in the 1970 liturgy.”

Still, the discussion and the apologetics rage on. One prominent Orthodox Jewish blog, Hirhurim Musings, which warns on every page, “Consult your rabbi before following any practices advocated here,” invited David Berger, the Rabbinical Council of America’s representative to the International Jewish Committee for International Consultations, to comment on its petition to the Vatican.

“Jewish objections should be carefully formulated and should not indicate that the Christian belief that Jews will convert at the end of days is itself objectionable or tinged with anti-Semitism,” wrote Berger. “But Jews have every right to ask the church to declare explicitly that … the purposes of interfaith dialogue exclude entirely the objective that Jewish participants come to recognize that conversion to Christianity is necessary to attain full communion with God.”

Menachem Wecker, a writer in Washington, is a frequent contributor to Jewish magazines and newspapers.

John McCain Rejects Radical Evangelical’s AntiCatholic Bigot Viewpoint

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McCain “categorically rejects” Hagee’s anti-Catholic statements

New Orleans, Mar 8, 2008 (Catholic News Agency). – Senator John McCain made efforts on Friday to do more than just distance himself from the anti-Catholic teachings of John Hagee by repudiating any comments made by the well known televangelist.

In an interview with the Associated Press the Republican presidential candidate said, “We’ve had a dignified campaign, and I repudiate any comments that are made, including Pastor Hagee’s, if they are anti-Catholic or offensive to Catholics”.

McCain also brought up the fact that he sent his children to Catholic schools as proof of his acceptance of Catholics. “I sent two of my children to Catholic school. I categorically reject and repudiate any statement that was made that was anti-Catholic, both in intent and nature. I categorically reject it, and I repudiate it,” McCain said.

He also tried to strike a conciliatory tone for his campaign by saying, “we can’t have that in this campaign. We’re trying to unite the country. We’re uniting the country, not dividing it.”

McCain started to take flak when televangelist John Hagee endorsed him on Feb. 27, but until Friday, his response was simply that he doesn’t agree with everyone who endorses him. At the time of the endorsement, Senator McCain called Hagee “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement,” and praised his pro-Israel stance.

This embrace of Hagee‘s backing provoked Bill Donahue of the Catholic League to point out the pastor’s anti-Catholic beliefs. “Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church, said Donahue. “For example, he (Hagee) likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system’,” he pointed out.

The senator’s acceptance riled other Catholics besides Donahue, and according to McCain he had been hearing from Catholic supporters that they find Hagee’s teachings offensive.

Hagee’s endorsement had been intended to bolster McCain’s support among evangelical Christians, many of whom distrust McCain for some of his more moderate views and his willingness to work with Democrats.