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Posts Tagged ‘Roman Catholic Church’

Why Mother Teresa Still Matters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 25, 2012

How we remember a religious figure says a lot about ourselves
TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

TIM GRAHAM / GETTY IMAGES Mother Teresa accompanied by children at her mission in Calcutta, Dec. 5, 1980.

How do secular people remember a saint? As Mother Teresa‘s birthday on August 26th and the anniversary of her death on September 5th approach, I found myself thinking about this. I tried to imagine what I would know about the woman, 15 years gone, if I didn’t write about religion for a living. Probably that she was good to the poor. Short. A friend of Lady Di’s. I concluded that unless I were a pious Roman Catholic, I would know very little, which led me to consider the difference between the way the Roman Catholic church treats its deserving dead and the way society at large does.

(PHOTOS: For the Centenary of Mother Teresa’s Birth, a Trove of Rare Photos)

Here’s how her Church remembers a Teresa. The moment she dies, a clock starts ticking. After a year the Vatican commences an investigation into her possible sainthood. That process’s first step is to determine that — in life — she had exhibited qualities (“heroic virtue”) that Catholicism finds amazing and exemplary. Next the focus shifts to her post-life. In 2002, the Vatican validates as miraculous the disappearance of a tumor in a woman who prayed to Teresa in heaven, and consequently, 250,000 people flock to Rome to attend her “beatification” as the Blessed Teresa. There is anticipation of and perhaps some impatience about a second miracle — not yet identified — that will enable her to be canonized as a saint. There are hurdles and steps, disappointments and triumphs, through which Teresa’s afterlife becomes nearly as eventful as her pre-death. Year after year, believers are led through a dynamic process defining and testing her meaning to the church.

Now compare this to the way in which non-Catholics are remembering — or rather, rapidly forgetting — Mother Teresa. For the most part, Americans are the opposite of the kid in The Sixth Sense: we don’t see dead people. Actors and artists may live on through films or novels; athletes perhaps on videotape. Save for U.S. presidents and Martin Luther King, Jr., moral and political heroes quickly devolve into name-checks. It’s as if the more polarized and fragmented a society we become, the less agreement there is on who should be remembered. Read the rest of this entry »

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Notre Dame, Catholic Groups Suing Obama Administration Over Birth Control Mandate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 22, 2012

By RACHEL ZOLL  APShare on Google+

                                                                                                HOLY WAR: Notre Dame Sues Obama

Notre Dame Obama Lawsuit
US President Barack Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen(not seen) during the NATO Summit May 20, 2012 at McCormick Place in Chicago. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages)

NEW YORK — Roman Catholic leaders opened a new front against the Obama administration mandate that employers provide workers birth control coverage, filing federal lawsuits Monday on behalf of dioceses, schools and health care agencies that argued the requirement violates religious freedom.

Among the plaintiffs is the University of Notre Dame, which in February had praised President Barack Obama for pledging to accommodate religious groups and find a way to soften the rule. Notre Dame president, the Rev. John Jenkins, said the school had since decided to sue because “progress has not been encouraging” in talks with administration officials.

The lawsuits have been filed in eight states and the District of Columbia by the Archdioceses of Washington and New York, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities in Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Indiana, health care agencies in New York and two dioceses in Texas.

“We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress, and we’ll keep at it, but there’s still no fix,” said New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.”

Erin Shields, a spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department, said Monday the agency does not comment on pending litigation. The liberal advocacy group Catholics United accused the bishops of serving a “right-wing political agenda.” Read the rest of this entry »

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As Islamist Group Rises, Its Intentions Are Unclear

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 3, 2011

By SCOTT SHANE

WASHINGTON — After maintaining a low profile in protests largely by secular young Egyptians, the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition force, appeared to be taking on a more assertive role Thursday, issuing a statement asking for President Hosni Mubarak to step aside for a transitional government.

“We demand that this regime is overthrown, and we demand the formation of a national unity government for all the factions,” the Brotherhood said in a statement broadcast by Al Jazeera.

The Obama administration has spoken cautiously about the future role of the Brotherhood, which has long been banned by Mr. Mubarak’s government, saying only that all parties must renounce violence and accept democracy. But one of the few near-certainties of a post-MubarakEgypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood will emerge as a powerful political force.

The unanswered question, according to experts on the region, is whether that will prove a manageable challenge for the United States and Israel or a catastrophe for American interests in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »

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