June 30, 2010 - 10:06 AM | by: Greg Burke
The Italian government has appealed a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg that would remove crucifixes from Italian public schools.
The government made its appeal today before the Grand Chamber of the Court, in a case that the Vatican and many European nations will be watching closely.
Ten other countries signed on to show their support for Italy in the case, several of them Orthodox strongholds, including Greece, Russia and Cyprus.
The case stems from a woman who argued that that all the classrooms in her children’s school in a small town in Italy – a secular country -- had crucifixes on the wall.
While Italian courts ruled against her, the European Court of Human Rights upheld her argument last November, maintaining there had been a violation of the right to education, as wall as freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
The crucifix on the wall, the judgment said, “restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions, and the right of children to believe or not believe.”
Italian officials have argued that the crucifix is not only a religious symbol but also a cultural one, part of the national identity.
Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien said the court’s decision could have sweeping implications, and that that what’s at stake is the “precious religious heritage of many people and nations across Europe.”
Italy’s appeal will be studied by the Grand Chamber of the Court, whose decisions are final. Court officials say no decision is expected for six to nine months.
I thought this was pretty cool. Chatty wrote a post you can read here that has some pictures of the vehicle True North purchased for her.
Notice the TNC bumper sticker on the back of the vehicle.
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June 29, 2010 - 6:46 AM | by: Greg Burke
Pope Benedict’s decision to open a new office in the Vatican for the re-evangelization of countries that formerly had a deep and vibrant Christian faith was a startling admission of just how far secularization has gone in what was once known as Christendom.
Benedict made the announcement on the eve of today’s feast of Saints Peter and Paul, invoking the missionary spirit of the apostle Paul.
Pope Benedict referred to the “eclipse of the sense of God” in countries that formerly had deep Christian roots, a reference to what was once most of Europe.
“The process of secularization has produced a grave crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and of belonging to the church,” said Benedict, echoing a theme that has been a hallmark of his papacy.
While he made no reference to the sexual abuse crisis currently rocking the Catholic Church across Europe, Benedict said today that the biggest damage done to the church is the internal weakening of faith and Christian witness among its members, not the external persecutions it has suffered over the centuries.
While the European front may look pretty bleak from a Christian perspective, with church attendance down across various denominations, and the Catholic Church especially weakened because of the abuse crisis, Benedict saw signs of hope.
“Even in the deserts of the secularized world, man’s soul thirsts for God,” he said.Print This Post
Published June 22, 2010 | Associated Press
AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito
ROME — The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.
The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew. They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.
The paintings adorn what is believed to be the tomb of a Roman noblewoman in the Santa Tecla catacomb and represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity, Vatican officials said in opening up the tomb to the media for the first time.
Last June, the Vatican announced the discovery of the icon of Paul — timed to coincide with the end of the Vatican's Pauline year. At the time, Pope Benedict XVI also announced that tests on bone fragments long attributed to Paul "seemed to confirm" that they did indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint.
On Tuesday, Vatican archaeologists announced that the image of Paul discovered last year was not found in isolation, but was rather part of a square ceiling painting that also included icons of three other apostles - Peter, John and Andrew - surrounding an image of Christ as the Good Shepherd.
"These are the first images of the apostles," said Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of archaeology for the catacombs, which are maintained by the Vatican's Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.
The Vatican office oversaw and paid for the two-year, euro60,000 restoration effort, which for the first time used lasers to restore frescoes and paintings in catacombs. The damp, musty air of underground catacombs makes preservation of paintings particularly difficult and restoration problematic.
In this case, the small burial chamber at the end of the catacomb was completely encased in centimeters (inches) of white calcium carbonate, which under previous restoration techniques would have just been scraped away by hand. That technique, though would have left a filmy layer on top so as to not damage the paintings underneath.
Using the laser, restorers were able to sear off all the layers of calcium that had been bound onto the painting because the laser beam stopped burning at the white of the calcium deposits, which when chipped off left the brilliant darker colors underneath it unscathed, said Barbara Mazzei, the chief restorer.
Join us this Sunday as we begin our new series Summer at the Lake. The series will look at Jesus’ life at the Sea of Galilee. Get there early, donuts are being provided to honor all dads.
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We wrap up Once Upon A Marriage this Sunday in a way that I have never been a part of in a Sunday church service. I believe it will be an awesome experience and am really looking forward to it. If you don't know what I am talking about, well, you will have come and see. There will be a larger crowd than usual so I suggest you get a seat early and welcome all of our visitors.Print This Post