Category Archives: Educational

Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio


Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis warns against the corrupting effects of greed and accumulating wealth for ourselves, saying they are at the root of wars and family divisions. His words came during his homily at his morning Mass on Friday (June 19th) at the Santa Marta residence.

Listen to this report by Susy Hodges:

Taking his inspiration from the day’s gospel reading where Jesus warned his disciples not to accumulate treasures on the earth but instead in heaven, the Pope reflects on the many dangers posed by greed and human ambition. He said these vices end up corrupting and enslaving our hearts and rather than accumulating wealth for ourselves we should be using it for the common good.

Greed corrupts and destroys

“In the end this wealth doesn’t give us lasting security. Instead, it tends to reduce your dignity. And this happens in families – so many divided families. And this ambition that destroys and corrupts is also at the root of wars. There are so many wars in our world nowadays because of greed for power and wealth. We can think of the war in our own hearts. As the Lord said, ‘Be on your guard against avarice of any kind.’ Because greed moves forward, moves forward, moves forward… it’s like a flight of steps, the door opens and then vanity comes in — believing ourselves to be important, believing ourselves to be powerful… and then in the end pride (comes). And all the vices come from that, all of them. They are steps but the first step is avarice, that desire to accumulate wealth.”

Pope Francis conceded that it’s not easy for an administrator or politician to use resources for the common good and an honest one can be considered a saint.

“There’s one thing that is true, when the Lord blesses a person who has wealth, he makes him an administrator of those riches for the common good and for the benefit of everybody, not just for that person. And it’s not easy to become an honest administrator because there’s always that temptation of greed, of becoming important. Our world teaches you this and it takes us along that road. We must think about others and realise that what I own is for the benefit of others and nothing that I have now can be taken with me. But if I, as an administrator, use what the Lord gives me for the common good, this sanctifies me, it will make me a saint.

Don’t play with fire

The Pope said we often hear many excuses from people who spend their lives accumulating wealth but he stressed the only treasures we should be storing up are the ones that have value in ‘the handbag of Heaven’.

“It’s difficult, it’s like playing with fire! So many people calm their consciences by giving alms and they give what they have left over. This is not an administrator: the administrator’s job is to take (what is needed) for himself or herself and whatever is left over is given to others, all of it. Administering wealth means a continual stripping away of our own interests and not believing that these riches will save us. It’s fine to accumulate riches, it’s fine to accumulate treasures but only those who have a value, let’s say, in ‘the handbag of Heaven.’ That’s where we should be storing them u

via Pope Francis: Greed corrupts and is at the root of many wars Vatican Radio.

No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the report from euzicasa)


No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the story here)

No Global author at Vatican Event on Climate and poverty Reduction (access the story here)

(Vatican Radio) A Catholic climate scientist and a secular Jewish feminist formed an “unlikely alliance” in the Vatican press office on Wednesday to present a two day conference entitled ‘People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course’. The conference, which will take place at the Pontifical Augustinianum University in Rome, includes some 200 political, religious and civil society leaders from all continents who’ll be discussing Pope Francis’ new encyclical ‘Laudato Si’ in light of a climate summit to be held in Paris next December.  

The two day conference, which opens on Thursday, has been organised by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council, together with CIDSE, an international alliance of Catholic development agencies. Philippa Hitchen has the details….

via  ‘No Global’ author at Vatican event on climate and poverty reduction  

Radio Vaticana: The approach of Peter (A Photogalery at Radio Vatican website! Check it out from euzicasa!)


RADIO VATICANA_ THE APPROACH OF PETER

Radio Vaticana: The approach of Peter (A Photogalery at Radio Vatican website! Check it out from euzicasa!)

Saint of the Day for Saturday, July 4th, 2015: St. Elizabeth of Portugal


quotation: Consistency, madam, is the first of Christian duties. Charlotte Bronte


Consistency, madam, is the first of Christian duties.

Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855) Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Henry David Thoreau Begins Two Years of Simple Living (1845)


Henry David Thoreau Begins Two Years of Simple Living (1845)

In 1845, Thoreau, an American author and naturalist, built himself a cabin on the shore of Walden Pond in Massachusetts. He spent the next two years, two months, and two days there, observing nature, reading, and writing. He also kept a journal that he later used to write his masterpiece, Walden, or Life in the Woods, which compresses his time there into a single calendar year and uses the passage of the seasons to symbolize human development. What were Thoreau’s enigmatic last words? More… Discuss

Carbon Monoxide


Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and extremely poisonous gas. It is present in the exhaust of internal-combustion engines, such as in automobiles, and is generated in coal stoves, furnaces, and gas appliances that do not get enough air. Breathing air that contains as little as 0.1% carbon monoxide by volume can be fatal; a concentration of about 1% can cause death within a few minutes. What are the early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? More… Discuss

word: legate


legate

Definition: (noun) An official emissary, especially an official representative of the pope.
Synonyms: official emissary
Usage: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Caprara was the legate of Pope Pius VII in France. Discuss.

Antonin Dvorak, : The Wood Dove, Op. 110, B. 198 , great compositions/performances, (Fritz Lehmann · Symphony Orchestra of Radio Berlin)


The Wood Dove, Op. 110, B. 198

great compositions/performances: Schubert – String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804 (Pražák Quartet )


Schubert – String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804

Human dignity must be center of political debate – Pope on Greek debt crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)



Pope Francis greets Greek pilgrims at a General Audience address in St. Peter’s Square, June 25, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA.
Pope Francis greets Greek pilgrims at a General Audience address in St. Peter’s Square, June 25, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

By Ann Schneible

Vatican City, Jul 1, 2015 / 11:38 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis on Wednesday called for prayer for the people of Greece, shortly after the nation defaulted on a significant loan payment on its more than $300 billion debt.

“The news from Greece regarding the economic and social situation of the country is worrying,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, Holy See press officer, said in a July 1 statement. “Pope Francis invites all the faithful to unite in prayer for the good of the beloved Greek people.”

Greece faces a debate over the role of austerity measures, such as pension cuts and tax hikes, as it negotiates new financial bailouts with its creditors. The country’s unemployment rate is above 25 percent, and individuals are unable to remove more than $70 a day from ATMs.

The Vatican’s statement adds that “the dignity of the human person must remain at the centre of any political and technical debate, as well as in the taking of responsible decisions.”

“The Holy Father wishes to convey his closeness to all the Greek people, with a special thought for the many families gravely beset by such a complex and keenly felt human and social crisis.”

A June 30 deadline for Greece to make a roughly $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund came and went yesterday.

The country, which is part of the eurozone, has been in financial crisis for years. Economically the weakest nation in the eurozone, Greece was hit hard during the 2008 global financial crisis. Beginning in 2010, it began receiving financial bailouts, on the condition that it adopt austerity measures such as pension cuts, tax hikes, and public sector layoffs.

Greece’s unemployment rate is now around 25 percent and its banks have been closed, with ATM withdrawals limited to roughly $66 a day.

The current ruling party, Syriza, was elected in January on an anti-austerity platform. The next month, Greece negotiated an extension on repaying its debt, but yesterday’s default threatens a breakdown of the situation and raises fears of Greece leaving the eurozone.

Greece will hold a referendum July 5 whether or not to remain in the eurozone, and whether or not to support the terms offered by its creditors for a further, third bailout of some $32 billion lasting two years. Germany, the largest creditor to Greece, is strongly in favor of austerity measures in the Mediterranean country as a condition of another bailout.

Greece is also facing a July 20 payment deadline of more than $3.8 billion to the European Central Bank.

It is feared that without another bailout or an extension of Greece’s repayment deadlines, the nation’s crisis could affect the economic stability of the eurozone.

via Human dignity must be center of political debate – Pope on Greek debt crisis :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Saint of the Day for Friday, July 3rd, 2015: St. Thomas


Image of St. Thomas

St. Thomas

St. Thomas was a Jew, called to be one of the twelve Apostles. He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

today’s holiday: Marshall Islands Fishermen’s Day


Marshall Islands Fishermen’s Day

In the Marshall Islands, Fishermen’s Day is a public holiday sponsored by the Marshalls Billfish Club. During the contest, competing fishermen go out into the ocean and attempt to catch the most, the biggest, or the heaviest fish in several categories. In 1981, four friends, Tom Micheals, Wally Milne, Ramsey Reimers, and Ronnie Reimers, founded the Marshalls Billfish Club, and they were inspired to set up an annual tournament in the Marshall Islands every July. The Marshall Islands government endorsed the club, and since then the event has become a national holiday each year. More… Discuss

quotation: “To endure is greater than to dare;…” – William Makepeace Thackeray


To endure is greater than to dare; to tire out hostile fortune; to be daunted by no difficulty; to keep heart when all have lost it—who can say this is not greatness?

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) Discuss

today’s birthday: Robert Adam (1728)


Robert Adam (1728)

One of the greatest architects of the late 18th century, Adam was a Scottish architect and designer whose work influenced the development of Western architecture both in Europe and North America. Along with his brother James, he developed the Adam style, an essentially decorative style of architecture that is most remembered for its application in interiors and is characterized by contrasting room shapes and delicate Classical ornaments. What are some of Adam’s most famous projects? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Last Pair of Great Auks Killed (1844)


Last Pair of Great Auks Killed (1844)

Extinct since 1844, the great auk was a flightless seabird once found in great numbers on rocky islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, and Britain. The bird was hunted on a significant scale by humans for food, eggs, and down since at least the 8th century, but massive exploitation for its down and the collecting of its eggs eventually contributed to the demise of the species. Specimens are now exhibited in many museums. Where was the last pair of great auks killed? More… Discuss

The Tooth Fairy


The Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy is a character in modern Western culture that attends a child’s loss of a deciduous tooth. In Spanish and Italian culture, the tooth fairy takes the form of a little mouse. Typically, a child who has just lost a tooth places it under his or her pillow before going to sleep; in the morning, the child finds that the tooth has been replaced by a coin, a dollar bill, or a present. What is the origin of the tooth fairy character? More… Discuss

Anti-Catholic history in US shows Church has survived and will continue, historian says: CNA


.- As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

“It’s okay to realize that other people have gone on this same journey, a journey that’s involved persecution, a journey that’s involved a Catholic minority and a non-Catholic majority, and sometimes friction with governments,” said Fr. David Endres, assistant professor of Church history and historical theology at The Athenaeum of Ohio, in an interview with CNA.

“I think it’s important to remember the history, if nothing more than to realize that this is ground that has already been tread by our forefathers,” he added.

“Now is the time to take heart and realize that the compass of the Scriptures and Tradition now need to be emphasized more than ever as our guide; that we cannot look to politicians, we can’t look to the government, we certainly cannot look to pop culture and the media as our guide for morality.”

Fr. Endres spoke with CNA during the Fortnight for Freedom, a two-week campaign by the U.S. bishops to educate Catholics about religious freedom and the current threats to the public practice of religion in the nation.

Among the threats the bishops have warned of in recent years are the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, and Catholic adoption agencies being forced out of business because they will not place children with same-sex couples as mandated by state anti-discrimination laws.

The bishops recently voiced grave concerns over the Supreme Court’s recent marriage decision Obergefell v. Hodges, which established same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Although the majority opinion “makes a nod” toward religious freedom, it does not mention the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion and this is very troubling, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore told reporters on a conference call after the decision. Archbishop Lori chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty.

“The free exercise of religion means that we have a right not only to debate it openly in the public square, but to operate our ministries and to live our lives in accordance to the truth about marriage without violence, or being penalized, or losing our tax exemption, or losing our ability to serve the common good through our social services and through education,” he said in the June 26 conference call.

The omission of “free exercise” in the Court’s majority opinion thus “could give rise to a lot of legal controversies,” Archbishop Lori warned. Without guarantees of the free exercise of religion, religiously-affiliated organizations which oppose same-sex marriage and businesses who cannot serve same-sex weddings could face legal challenges.

The current threats to religious liberty – state and federal laws regulating the free exercise of religion of charitable institutions – are eerily similar to a Supreme Court case from nearly a century ago, and Catholics should take note, Fr. Endres explained.

In 1922, Oregon passed a law forcing all children between the ages of eight and sixteen in parochial and private schools into public schools. The law, the Compulsory Education Act of 1922, was supported by the Ku Klux Klan as a measure to push for standard American education and to prevent what they saw as a foreign influence – the Catholic Church – from educating immigrant children.

The Society of Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, along with a military private school, fought the law in court. Three years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court resoundingly struck down the law in a unanimous decision, ruling that it violated the freedom of parents to send their children to parochial schools.

In the history of the U.S., this was perhaps the event that bears the closest resemblance to the present-day struggle between Catholic institutions maintaining their religious freedom, and state and federal laws looking to regulate their consciences, Fr. Endres said.

However, the law is also but one incident in a U.S. history that is checkered with anti-Catholic bigotry and violence. In “Sticks, Stones, and Broken Bones: the History of anti-Catholic Violence in the U.S.”, a 2014 article in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Fr. Endres detailed just how rocky has been Catholicism’s relationship with mainstream American culture.

Colonial-era laws forbade Catholics from becoming lawyers and teachers. In Maryland, Catholic parents could be fined for sending their children to Europe to receive a Catholic education. Distribution of anti-Catholic pamphlets and literature was commonplace.

Once European emigration to the U.S. increased in the 1840s and 50s, this established a largely Catholic minority of Irish and Germans.

Anti-Catholicism was mingled with xenophobia as the mainstream individualist culture was quite suspicious of Catholicism. Consequently, some U.S. residents tried to ensure that immigrants would not gain positions of power. A political party surfaced that at its root was anti-Catholic, the “Know-Nothing Party.”

Convents and churches were victim to mob violence in multiple cases. Two Philadelphia parishes were burned in 1844 after rumors circulated that Catholics were trying to oust Protestant bibles from public schools.

The visit of a papal ambassador from Bl. Pius IX to report on the state of the Church in the U.S. resulted in violent unrest in multiple cities, including the burning of the ambassador’s effigy.

Anti-Catholic violence waxed and waned through the years, but Catholics had never felt they fully “made it” in American society until the election of John F. Kennedy, an Irish Catholic, to the presidency. Afterward, many devout Catholics thought they would be accepted as a permanent part of the American mainstream culture.

“We felt like we had kind of come of age in this country,” Fr Endres told CNA. “And that in general, we were not on the fringes.”

The recent threats to religious liberty are proving more and more that this Catholic peace was a reprieve and not a permanent acceptance of Catholicism in the U.S., he added.

Why has there been so much anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States? The overall conflict between the Church and American culture has centered on freedom and authority, and the fault line still exists today, Fr. Endres explained.

“I would say part of it is the role of individuals vis a vis community and the Church has always upheld quite a communal emphasis,” he said. Historically, the mainstream American culture promoted individualism, and looked down on Catholics who followed the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

This conflict also extends to the debate of the role of community versus the freedom of the individual, he added.

“We have this strange idea that’s developed in this country that freedom means absolute autonomy of persons. And the Church has never believed that true freedom consisted of absolute autonomy, but instead, basically a relationship with God and with one another. We kind of have this path set before us that yes, we are responsible to other people. We are responsible to God in a special way, and absolute autonomy has no place in that kind of worldview.”

Historically, this played out in the Protestant individualistic culture of the U.S. against the Catholic view of community and authority.

This push for absolute autonomy has played out in the push for acceptance of same-sex marriage and of the transgender movement.

On the other side is a Christian anthropology, he said: “how we view our being made in the image and likeness of God, how we view marriage and family life, gender, sexuality, all those kinds of things.”

The question then becomes, “do I have an obligation to anyone but myself?” Fr. Endres asked rhetorically.

“The modern notion would be ‘it’s just you,’” whereas a Christian recognizes that he has an obligation to obey and love God and the Church, and to love his neighbor.

And Catholics are once again being moved to the margins, with laws prohibiting them from publicly practicing their religion and remaining true to Church teaching on sexuality.

However, “it’s important for us to realize then that to be on the margins of society is not always a bad thing,” he added.

The present hostility to Catholic teaching on sexuality might actually be a “call instead to remain faithful on the margins,” he said, because the Catholic faith is counter-cultural.

“We are speaking a truth that is not always popular, but which we believe very strongly comes from Christ and more broadly from the revelation of God to man. And if you really believe that, you can’t accommodate.”

Throughout U.S. history, some Catholics have remained faithful to the Church, while others accommodated to the culture. For example, some German Catholic immigrants and priests in the 19th century left the Church to become Protestant because they couldn’t endure the anti-Catholic hostility.

“Americanists,” the subjects of the 1899 encyclical Testem benevelentiae nostrae of Leo XIII, were American Catholics who had been so affected by the American culture that they were no longer authentically Catholic. This problem exists today.

“Americanism shows that more or less constant feature of American Catholic history, where Catholics have to make that choice of whether they are going to identify primarily as American, and then Catholic secondarily, or Catholic as a primary identity and American as a second,” Fr. Endres said.

“So what’s going to be the noun, and what’s going to be the adjective?”

Tags: Religious freedom, Fortnight for Freedom, Supreme Court, Religious liberty, SCOTUS, Obergefell v. Hodges, US Catholic history

Saint of the Day for Thursday, July 2nd, 2015: St. Bernardino Realino


Image of St. Bernardino Realino

St. Bernardino Realino

St. Bernardino Realino was born into a noble family of Capri, Italy in 1530. After receiving a thorough and devout Christian education at the hands of his mother, he went on to study medicine at the … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

today’s holiday: Ommegang


Ommegang

Ommegang is a medieval pageant presented on the Grand-Place of Brussels, Belgium, and one of the country’s most popular attractions. The pageant is preceded by strolling musicians, followed by a parade of people representing the magistrate and city officials, the court of Marie of Hungary, and the Court of Charles V. Then the actual procession takes place, led by the Knight of Peace. Participants include trade groups with floats, archers, and groups of dancers and clowns dancing around symbolic animals, including the legendary horse Bayard, a unicorn, dragon, and serpent. More… Discuss

quotation: Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters. Joseph Conrad


Criticism, that fine flower of personal expression in the garden of letters.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Discuss

today’s birthday: Thurgood Marshall (1908)


Thurgood Marshall (1908)

As the chief legal counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for more than 20 years, Marshall argued 32 cases before the US Supreme Court, successfully challenging racial segregation, most notably in Brown v. Board of Education. In 1967, he became the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. How many of the 32 cases that Marshall argued before the Supreme Court did he win? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Incident at Xuanwu Gate (626 CE)


Incident at Xuanwu Gate (626 CE)

After Tang Dynasty founder Emperor Gaozu named his son Li Jiancheng the crown prince, an intense rivalry developed between him and his younger brother, Li Shimin. Each prince was advised by his staff members to act first against the other, and, in 626, believing that Li Jiancheng was plotting to kill him, Li Shimin ambushed and killed the crown prince and another brother of theirs at Xuanwu Gate, which led to Emperor Gaozu’s palace. What did the emperor do when he learned of his sons’ deaths? More… Discuss

Midwifery


Midwifery

Midwifery is the art of assisting at childbirth. In ancient Greece and Rome, midwives had some formal training, but as the medical arts declined during medieval times, the skills a midwife possessed were gained solely from experience and lore. With the upsurge in medical science in Europe in the 16th c., formal medical training became more prevalent and professional schools of midwifery were established. How are the criteria for becoming a midwife in the US different from those in the UK? More… Discuss

word: turncoat


turncoat

Definition: (noun) One who traitorously switches allegiance.
Synonyms: apostate, deserter, ratter, recreant, renegade
Usage: He was a turncoat who betrayed his friends to curry favor with the King. Discuss.

Cetatea Făgăraşului added a new photo. – Cetatea Făgăraşului: Cetatea Rupea


Cetatea Rupea

Cetatea Rupea, Tara Fagarasului, Romania

Astazi ne indreptam privirea asupra unei Cetati vecine!

Cetatea Rupea este unul dintre cele mai vechi vestigii arheologice de pe teritoriul României, primele semne de așezări omenești datând din paleotic si neoliticul timpuriu (5.500-3.500 î.H.). Prima atestare documentară datează din anul 1324 când sașii răsculați împotriva regelui Carol Robert, al Ungariei s-au refugiat în interiorul cetății, Castrum Kuholm. Numele de Kuholom face referire la roca pe care a fost ridicata: bazaltul. Documente din secolul al XV-lea menționează cetatea ca fiind un important centru comercial și meșteșugăresc, cu 12 bresle. Cetatea a servit de-a lungul timpului ca fortificație dar și refugiu pentru populația ce locuia dealurile și valea din împrejurimi, așezarea ei fiind strategică: la îmbinarea drumurilor ce făceau legătura între Transilvania, Moldova și Țara Românească prin pasurile sud-estice.

Cetatea Rupea, ridicatǎ pe Dealul Cohalmului, dominând de sus orașul, a fost construitǎ și extinsǎ în secolele al XIV-lea– al XVII-lea, ca cetate și refugiu pentru satele din împrejurimi. În prezent este în stadiu de ruinǎ. Curtinele formează 4 incinte, fiind întărite din loc în loc cu turnuri poligonale, circulația fiind controlatǎ de mai multe porți interioare care compartimenteazǎ ansamblul fortificat. Incinta centralǎ este prevăzută cu un reduit și cu o capelă.

sursa info: wikipedia

sursa foto: Johann Hantzy Kessler

via Cetatea Făgăraşului added a new photo. – Cetatea Făgăraşului.

Chewed or brewed: A brief history of Popes and coca leaves :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)


Coca leaves. Credit: Naira Teixeira Dias via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

By Mary Rezac

Vatican City, Jun 30, 2015 / 04:21 pm (CNA).- Pope Francis might chew coca leaves – or maybe sip coca tea – during his visit to Bolivia next week, the Vatican has said.

Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao told local media that Francis had asked to chew coca leaves in the country, one of several stops during his visit to South America July 5-13.

The coca leaf, whose daily use and cultural importance in the Andes region rivals that of coffee in the United States, is embroiled in controversy in the international community because of its use as the main ingredient in the addictive drug, cocaine.

In 1961, the U.N. convention on narcotic drugs declared coca an illegal substance, and tried to phase out its cultural use by 1989 – but the local coca culture refused to die.

Many indigenous Bolivians believe the coca leaf to be sacred, and people of all social classes can be found either drinking the plant’s tea or chewing its leaves throughout the country.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, a former coca farmer himself, has staunchly defended the plant as a cornerstone of his country’s culture and economy, fighting for the use of the plant in its natural form.

Morales has revived the natural coca economy, and Bolivia now turns out coca products ranging from flour to toothpaste, shampoo and lotions.

“This leaf,” Morales told a 2007 U.N. General Assembly, “represents…the hope of our people.”

A number of international studies, including one published by Harvard University, found raw coca leaves to be packed with nutrients including protein, calcium, iron and other vitamins. A 1995 World Health Organisation report said there were “no negative health effects” from coca use in leaf form.

In its natural form, coca leaves have a mild stimulant effect considered similar to coffee, and they can be chewed or brewed into tea to fight hunger, exhaustion or altitude sickness – likely the reason Pope Francis might partake of the plant upon his arrival in the country.

And he’s following in his predecessor’s footsteps – Pope John Paul II drank tea made from coca leaves during his 1988 visit to Bolivia, and Pope Paul VI is reported to have drank the tea during a visit to the Andes region in 1968. Queen Sophia of Spain, and the British Princess Anne, are also said to have partaken in the plant in its natural form.

When asked if the Pope would have some coca leaves or tea in Bolivia, Vatican spokesperson Fr. Federico Lombardi said he couldn’t confirm what the Pope would do one way or another, though he acknowledged that Pope Francis likes to take part in local cultures.

“(I) wouldn’t be surprised because the Pope likes taking part in popular customs. The Pope will do as he sees fit. From what I know there are ways of dealing with the altitudes that form part of popular culture: some drink a sort of mate tea, others chew coca leaves. The Pope hasn’t talked to me about what he plans to do, we shall see. We’ll see if he follows local customs.”

Tags: Pope Francis

via Chewed or brewed: A brief history of Popes and coca leaves :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

From Radio Vatican: 01/07/2015 15:25: The Pope expresses his closeness to Greece in time of crisis


Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends

 

Pope Francis \ Activities

Pope Francis: Christians and Jews, brothers and friends

Pope Francis on Tuesday met with members of the International Council of Christians and Jews. – OSS_ROM

30/06/2015 12:34
 
(Vatican Radio) This week members of the International Council of Christians and Jews have been meeting to discuss “The 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate: The Past, Present, and Future of the Christian-Jewish Relationship”, and it was on this theme that Pope Francis addressed the participants on Tuesday in the Clementine Hall in the Vatican.

He told them that Nostra Aetate represented a definitive “yes” to the Jewish roots of Christianity and an irrevocable “no” to anti-Semitism adding, that both faith traditions were no longer strangers, but friends and brothers.

Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s report

The Holy Father said that in celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of this document,  “we are able to see the rich fruits which it has brought about and to gratefully appraise Jewish-Catholic dialogue.  He then added, “ in this way, we can express our thanks to God for all the good which has been realized in terms of friendship and mutual understanding these past fifty years.”

The Pope underlined that despite different perspectives, both Christians and Jews confess one God, Creator of the Universe and Lord of history.  And he, Pope Francis continued, “in his infinite goodness and wisdom, always blesses our commitment to dialogue.”

Elaborating further, the Holy Father explained that both faith traditions, “find their foundation in the One God, the God of the Covenant, who reveals himself through his Word.”  “In seeking a right attitude towards God”, he Pope said, “Christians turn to Christ as the fount of new life, and Jews to the teaching of the Torah.  This pattern of theological reflection on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity arises precisely from Nostra Aetate and upon this solid basis, he noted, can be developed yet further.  

In conclusion, Pope Francis stressed the importance the Holy See places on relations with the Jewish community and praised the International Council of Christians and Jews’ annual meetings, which he said, offer a notable contribution to Jewish-Christian dialogue.  

#Greece may be getting a lifeline after all… and investors around the globe like it— CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) July 1, 2015


L’histoire tragique de l’homme qui refusa de faire le salut nazi (anglais) — L’important (@Limportant_fr) July 1, 2015


It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose. Joseph Conrad


It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Discuss

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968)


Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968)

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an international agreement to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. It was originally signed by the US, Britain, the USSR, and 59 other countries in 1968. The major signatories agreed not to help nonnuclear states obtain or produce nuclear weapons, while the nonnuclear signatories agreed not to try to obtain them. The treaty was extended indefinitely in 1995, and nearly 190 countries are now party to it. Which nations have never signed it? More… Discuss

word: cesspit


cesspit

Definition: (noun) A pit for refuse or sewage.
Synonyms: sump, sink, cesspool
Usage: The cesspit smelled foul, but without it all the refuse would have been strewn around the town. Discuss.

Greece: imagine how the population in Greece feels about all these! (IMF A threat to every Greek!)


wpid-screenshot_2015-07-01-02-58-32.png

here is the full letter:  BN_070115_9315

The IMF: A threat to Greeks!

Holy Mass with the imposition of the Pallium 2015.06.29


Holy Mass with the imposition of the Pallium 2015.06.29

Pallium


Pallium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
For other uses, see Pallium (disambiguation).

 
Pope Innocent III depicted wearing the pallium in a fresco at the Sacro Speco Cloister

The pallium (derived from the Roman pallium or palla, a woolen cloak; pl.: pallia or palliums) is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has remained connected to the papacy.[1]

The pallium, in its present Western form, is a narrow band, “three fingers broad”, woven of white lamb’s wool from sheep raised by Trappist monks, with a loop in the centre resting on the shoulders over the chasuble and two dependent lappets, before and behind; so that when seen from front or back the ornament resembles the letter Y. It is decorated with six black crosses, one on each tail and four on the loop, is doubled on the left shoulder and sometimes is garnished, back and front, with three jeweled gold pins. The two latter characteristics seem to be survivals of the time when the Roman pallium was a simple scarf doubled and pinned on the left shoulder.

In origin, the pallium and the omophor are the same vestment. The omophor is a wide band of cloth, much larger than the modern pallium, worn by all Eastern Orthodox bishops and Eastern Catholic bishops of the Byzantine Rite. The theory that explains its origin in connection with the figure of the Good Shepherd carrying the lamb on his shoulders, so common in early Christian art, may be an explanation a posteriori. The ceremonial connected with the preparation of the pallium and its bestowal upon the pope at his coronation, however, suggests some such symbolism. The lambs whose wool is destined for the making of the pallia are solemnly presented at the altar by the nuns of the convent of Saint Agnes. The Benedictine nuns of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere later weave the lambs’ wool into pallia.

great compositions/performances: Richard Wagner – Siegfried Idyll (BBC Proms 2012)


Wagner – Siegfried Idyll (Proms 2012)

greaat compositions/performances: Pepe Romero: Concierto de Aranjuez ( Joaquin Rodrigo), Recuerdos de la Alhambra ( Francisco Tarrega)


Pepe Romero: Concierto de Aranjuez ( Joaquin Rodrigo), Recuerdos de la Alhambra ( Francisco Tarrega)

Researchers discover what powers enzyme that helps cancer grow – UPI.com


Although researchers have long been aware of an enzyme that helps cancer cells to grow, they have just identified a protein that assists it and may be able to find a way to prevent the runaway growth of tumors by blocking the helper protein. Photo by Tatiana Shepeleva/Shutterstock

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, June 29 (UPI) — Researchers have discovered the protein that allows the enzyme ADAM17 to remove molecules from the surface of cancer cells, helping them to grow.

The protein PACS-2 helps ADAM17 transport into and out of the cell. However, if the protein is blocked, the enzyme returns to the cell surface less often, meaning it can’t help cells to grow.

via Researchers discover what powers enzyme that helps cancer grow – UPI.com.

picture of the day: Geronimo



Geronimo

Geronimo (June 16, 1829?February 17, 1909) was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache. For over 25 years, Geronimo fought against the U.S.’s encroachment on his tribal lands and people.

Photo: Library of Congress (1886)

Saint of the Day for Tuesday, June 30th, 2015: First Martyrs of the See of Rome


Image of First Martyrs of the See of Rome

First Martyrs of the See of Rome

The holy men and women are also called the �Protomartyrs of Rome.� They were accused of burning Rome by Nero , who burned Rome to cover his own crimes. Some martyrs were burned as living torches at … continue reading

More Saints of the Day

Pool parasite can live in chlorine for ten days – UPI.com


The Centers for Disease Control recommends that swimmers shower before geting in the pool to prevent them from carrying infectious bacteria into the water. Photo: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that swimmers shower before geting in the pool to prevent them from carrying infectious bacteria into the water. Photo: Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

ATLANTA, June 29 (UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control is warning swimmers to shower before going into the pool in order to avoid spreading the chlorine-resistant pathogen cryptosporidium, which has caused several outbreaks in recent years.

While E. coli and norovirus are killed within hours by chemicals used for treating pools, cryptosporidium survives in pools and hot tubs for up to ten days, and can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.

“This parasite is extremely chlorine-resistant,” Michele Hlavsa, an epidemiologist at the CDC, told CBS News. “Swimmers bring it into the water when they are sick with diarrhea.”

Researchers reviewed data from 2011 and 2012, finding that 90 outbreaks related to recreational water resulted in at least 1,788 cases, 95 hospitalizations and 1 death, according to the CDC’s study, which is published on its website.

Of the outbreaks, 77 percent of them were in treated bodies of water such as pools and spas.

Cryptosporidium was responsible for 52 percent of the treated water outbreaks, and was also responsible for 54 percent of all the outbreaks cause by infectious pathogens.

“Since 1988, the year that the first U.S. treated recreational water-associated outbreak of Cryptosporidium was detected, the number of these outbreaks reported annually has significantly increased,” researchers wrote in the report.

If contracted, the parasite can be cleared from the body in about two to three weeks, however it can be fatal in a person with a weakened immune system, Hlavasa said.

“With these outbreaks, we see they disproportionately affect young children,” Hlavasa told ABC News. “They’re the ones who can go to a pool and young children tend to carry lots of germs.”

The CDC recommends swimmers shower before entering the pool, not swallow the water, and not urinate or defecate in the water while swimming; swimmers are discouraged from entering pools altogether if they have diarrhea.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com

Related UPI Stories

Memory, thinking tests may indicate Alzheimer’s earlier than thought

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment returns pigment to vitiligo patient’s skin

Scientists develop cancer drug that starves tumor cells

via Pool parasite can live in chlorine for ten days – UPI.com.

today’s holiday: Guatemala Army Day


Guatemala Army Day

Guatemala‘s Liberal Revolution, which called for the end of the dictatorship of Vicente Cerna, culminated with a revolt in Guatemala City on June 30, 1871. Originally known as Revolution Day, the anniversary of the revolt became Día del Ejército (Army Day), an official holiday recognizing the service of the armed forces. It has been marked over the years by annual parades, usually in Guatemala City. In 2007, protests against the parade spawned violence in the streets, and the ongoing resistance compelled the government to cancel the official parade the following year. More… Discuss

quotation: “It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts….” (Joseph Conrad (1857-1924))


It’s extraordinary how we go through life with eyes half shut, with dull ears, with dormant thoughts. Perhaps it’s just as well; and it may be that it is this very dullness that makes life to the incalculable majority so supportable and so welcome.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Discuss

today’s birthday: Lena Horne (1917)


Lena Horne (1917)

An iconic American singer and actress, Horne began dancing at Harlem’s Cotton Club as a teen and, with the help of her stunning voice and good looks, was soon singing with popular bands. She went on to record and perform extensively and appeared in a number of musicals and films, including Stormy Weather, whose title song became her signature. Her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, was hailed as her masterpiece. Why was Horne blacklisted in the 1950s? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: Einstein Introduces Special Relativity (1905)


Einstein Introduces Special Relativity (1905)

In physics, the theory of special relativity generalizes Galileo’s principle of relativity—that all uniform motion is relative and that there is no absolute state of rest. Though physicists Hendrik Lorentz and Henri Poincaré had made contributions to the theory already, Einstein provided a radically new interpretation in his 1905 paper “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies.” In it, Einstein redefines the concepts of space and time and abolishes the concept of “aether,” which is what? More… Discuss

Vieques, Puerto Rico


Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques is an island-municipality of Puerto Rico, located east of the Puerto Rican mainland. Most of Vieques was within US military installations from the 1940s. The facilities included a live-ammunition training area for the US navy, a use that was the subject of protests by many Puerto Ricans. In 2001 the federal government announced that it would halt all military exercises on the island by May, 2003. The former installations are now being converted to what? More… Discuss

word: rancor


rancor

Definition: (noun) Bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will.
Synonyms: bitterness, resentment, gall
Usage: After a year Edinburgh dropped him, thus supplying substantial fuel for his ingrained poor man’s jealousy and rancor at the privileged classes. Discuss.

8 Simple Ways To Eat Less Sugar


Eating too much sugar is bad for your health. You’ve heard it before. Excessive consumption can increase your risk for obesity, heart disease and a host of other health complicatio sugary sugar giphy

The World Health Organization recommends the average adult consume no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, but exceeding this is all too easy. A single 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola, for instance, packs 39 grams of the stuff. And added sugar sneaks into unsuspecting edibles, like hamburgers and “healthy” Greek yogurts.

Cutting back on your sugar intake is a smart choice, but it’s tough to know where to start. If you’re looking to taper off, start with a few of the tweaks below. Introduce them to your everyday routine, and eventually they’ll turn into a habit.

1. Make over your morning coffee.

The two sugars you routinely put into your cup of joe can add up. Try reducing the amount of sugar you use little by little, and rely on full-fat dairy to provide satisfaction. See if your taste buds respond well to cinnamon; the spice pairs perfectly with coffee’s nutty hints, and is, above all, sugar free.

2. Quit your soda habit.

Diet or regular, drinking any kind of pop promotes weight gain and amplifies sugar cravings. We’ve mentioned that a standard can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, enough to fill a person’s daily recommended intake and then some. And even though the diet kind has no sugar marked on its label, it won’t do any good in the war against sugar. According to a study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, the artificial sweeteners in these drinks lead people to overeat, or overcompensate, for the lack of calories contained in the beverages. Artificial sweeteners don’t offer the same hunger-dampening biological rewards that natural sweeteners do, causing the drinker to seek out something caloric. The sweetness in both diet and non-diet soda prompts side effects similar to addiction, making drinkers crave more sugar.

3. Snack on something healthy before food shopping.

Researchers from Cornell University found that snacking on something nutritious before supermarket shopping, like an apple, can actually encourage shoppers to purchase 25 percent more fruits and vegetables than they normally would. Fewer sugary items in your cart means there will be fewer sugary items at home, and fewer sugary items in your belly.

4. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.

Now that you’ve had your apple, stick to the outer aisles of the supermarket, where conventional stores place the produce, meat and seafood departments — the foods you should focus on. If you avoid the aisles that contain shelves of near-irresistible sugary sweets, you’ll be less likely to buy them.

5. Find a new favorite condiment.

Ketchup is a miracle flavor, but one of the reasons we all love it so much could be because it contains a whole lot of sugar. The sad reality is that dousing your fries in the red stuff is comparable to pouring a couple sugar packets on top. If you’re already eating fries, consider switching to a condiment with less sugar — like mustard or vinegar — instead.

6. Drink more water.

Are you sure you’re hungry? Thirst and dehydration can often disguise themselves as hunger. To determine whether you’re actually hungry or simply thirsty, drink a cup of water and wait a moment. If you’re feeling good, your body was probably trying to tell you it was parched.

7. Eat the grape, not the raisin.

When given the choice, choose fresh over dried fruit. Dried fruit boasts many of the same benefits of its plumper counterparts, but removing a food’s water content concentrates the amount of sugar and calories per serving. A cup of grapes, for instance, contains 15 grams of sugar and around 60 calories. A cup of raisins contains 98 grams of sugar and nearly 500 calories.

8. Make your own salad dressing.

Even if they taste savory, bottled salad dressings typically contain lots of sugar. Two tablespoons of Kraft’s Tuscan House Italian dressing, for example, contains two grams. This seems pretty minuscule, but chances are you’ll be dousing your greens in a serving way over two measly tablespoons. Making your own dressing at home is incredibly easy — and cheap! — and will help you control how much sugar you’re ingesting when you’re eating something as healthy-seeming as a salad.

via 8 Simple Ways To Eat Less Sugar.


Saint Peter’s tomb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

 
The floor above Saint Peter’s tomb (see text)

 
St. Peter’s baldachin, by Bernini, in the modern St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s tomb lies directly below this structure.

Saint Peter’s tomb is a site under St. Peter’s Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of St. Peter’s grave. St. Peter’s tomb is near the west end of a complex of mausoleums that date between about AD 130 and AD 300.[1] The complex was partially torn down and filled with earth to provide a foundation for the building of the first St. Peter’s Basilica during the reign of Constantine I in about AD 330. Though many bones have been found at the site of the 2nd-century shrine, as the result of two campaigns of archaeological excavation, Pope Pius XII stated in December 1950 that none could be confirmed to be Saint Peter’s with absolute certainty.[2] However, following the discovery of further bones and an inscription, on June 26, 1968 Pope Paul VI announced that the relics of St. Peter had been identified.

The grave claimed by the Church to be that of St. Peter lies at the foot of the aedicula beneath the floor. The remains of four individuals and several farm animals were found in this grave.[3] In 1953, after the initial archeological efforts had been completed, another set of bones were found that were said to have been removed without the archeologists’ knowledge from a niche (loculus) in the north side of a wall (the graffiti wall) that abuts the red wall on the right of the aedicula. Subsequent testing indicated that these were the bones of a 60-70-year-old man.[4] Margherita Guarducci argued that these were the remains of St. Peter and that they had been moved into a niche in the graffiti wall from the grave under the aedicula “at the time of Constantine, after the peace of the church” (313).[5] Antonio Ferrua, the archaeologist who headed the excavation that uncovered what is known as the St. Peter’s Tomb, said that he wasn’t convinced that the bones that were found were those of St. Peter.[6]

The upper image shows the area of the lower floor of St. Peter’s Basilica that lies above the site of St. Peter’s tomb. A portion of the aedicula that was part of St. Peter’s tomb rose above level of this floor and was made into the Niche of the Pallium[7] which can be seen in the center of the image.

Death of Peter at Vatican Hill

 

The earliest reference to Peter’s death is in a letter of Clement, bishop of Rome, to the Corinthians. (1 Clement, (a.k.a. Letter to the Corinthians), written c. 96 AD. The historian Eusebius, a contemporary of Constantine, wrote that St. Peter “came to Rome, and was crucified with his head downwards,” attributing this information to the much earlier theologian Origen, who died c. 254 AD.[8] St. Peter’s martyrdom is traditionally depicted in religious iconography as crucifixion with his head pointed downward.

Peter’s place and manner of death are also mentioned by Tertullian (c. 160-220) in Scorpiace,[9] where the death is said to take place during the Christian persecutions by Nero. Tacitus (56-117) describes the persecution of Christians in his Annals, though he does not specifically mention Peter.[10] “They were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt.” Furthermore, Tertullian says these events took place in the imperial gardens near the Circus of Nero. No other area would have been available for public persecutions after the Great Fire of Rome destroyed the Circus Maximus and most of the rest of the city in the year 64 AD.

This account is supported by other sources. In the The Passion of Peter and Paul, dating to the fifth century, the crucifixion of Peter is recounted. While the stories themselves are apocryphal, they were based on earlier material, helpful for topographical reasons. It reads, “Holy men … took down his body secretly and put it under the terebinth tree near the Naumachia, in the place which is called the Vatican.”[11] The place called Naumachia would be an artificial lake within the Circus of Nero where naval battles were reenacted for an audience. The place called Vatican was at the time a hill next to the complex and also next to the Tiber River, featuring a cemetery of both Christian and pagan tombs.

Tracing the original tombs

Dionysius of Corinth mentions the burial place of Peter as Rome when he wrote to the Church of Rome in the time of the Pope Soter (died 174), thanking the Romans for their financial help. “You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time.”[12]

 
Fourth century glass mosaic of St. Peter, located at the Catacombs of Saint Thecla.

Catholic tradition holds that the bereaved Christians followed their usual custom in burying him as near as possible to the scene of his suffering. According to Catholic lore, he was laid in ground that belonged to Christian proprietors, by the side of a well-known road leading out of the city, the Via Cornelia (site of a known pagan and Christian cemetery) on the hill called Vaticanus. The actual tomb was an underground vault, approached from the road by a descending staircase, and the body reposed in a sarcophagus of stone in the center of this vault.[11]

The Book of Popes mentions that Pope Anacletus built a “sepulchral monument” over the underground tomb of St. Peter shortly after his death.[13] This was a small chamber or oratory over the tomb, where three or four persons could kneel and pray over the grave. The pagan Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate, mentions in 363 A.D. in his work Three Books Against the Galileans that the tomb of St. Peter was a place of worship, albeit secretly.[14]

There is evidence of the existence of the tomb (trophoea, i.e., trophies, as signs or memorials of victory) at the beginning of the 3rd century, in the words of the presbyter Caius refuting the Montanist traditions of a certain Proclus: “But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. For if you will go to the Vatican, or to the Ostian way, you will find the trophies of those who laid the foundations of this church.”[12]