Archive for May 20th, 2013


Regarding our recent discussion about the comments of Fr Robert Taft, SJ,  Ric Ballard of the Eastern Catholic Spiritual Renewal blog says this:

The sad fact, which the congregation [of the Doctrine of the Faith] also points out, is that because of the estrangement that we Catholics share with the Orthodox the “the fullness of universality“of the Church is not yet realized. I think this realization as taught by the former inquisitors demonstrates a fact that makes many Catholics uncomfortable, which the Archimandrite himself speaks of when he says ”we are no longer the only kid on the block, the whole Church of Christ, but one Sister Church among others”. Some have claimed that what the Archimandrite said is an innovation of his part and doesn’t officially represent the Catholic Church. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth based on the following statement from the Balamand Declaration (par. 13), which is about the Catholic and Orthodox churches not holding the exclusive rights to be  known as the only true churches of Jesus Christ:   “On each side it is recognized that what Christ has entrusted to his Church – profession of apostolic faith, participation in the same sacraments, above all the one priesthood celebrating the one sacrifice of Christ, the apostolic succession of bishops – cannot be considered the exclusive property of one of our Churches“. For those that don’t know the Balamand agreement represents the official relations that Catholics currently hold with the Orthodox churches. As an official agreement it demonstrates that the Archimandrite represents well the official position of the Catholic Church.

Read the rest here.

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A Christian Orthodox pilgrim from Ethiopia displays her tattoos done in a shop owned by Razzouk family in Jerusalem.

While this article confuses the Oriental Orthodox -the non-Chalcedonian churches of Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, etc- with the Eastern Orthodox, I still found this fascinating (from Bloomberg Business Week):

JERUSALEM (AP) — Orthodox Christians visiting the Holy Land often return home with more than just spiritual memories. Many drop by a centuries-old tattoo parlor in Jerusalem’s Old City, inking themselves with a permanent reminder not only of their pilgrimage but also of devotion to their faith.

The same Jerusalem family has been tattooing pilgrims with crosses and other religious symbols for hundreds of years, testament to the importance of the ancient ritual. While Catholics can get a written certificate of their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Orthodox Christians opt for a tattoo, a permanent reminder of their visit.

In contrast to the bustling streets of the Old City outside, the Razzouk parlor is quiet, with only the buzz of an electric needle zigzagging across a pilgrim’s arm.

Pilgrims said the pain of the needle is worth the sacrifice.

“The pain I feel is like the pain that Jesus Christ felt when he was on the cross with his crown of thorns,” said Etetu Legesse, a nurse from Ethiopia, as a scene depicting the crucifixion was etched on her triceps.

Another Ethiopian woman wailed a song as an image of the Virgin Mary was tattooed onto her arm.

“I’m singing, God, I’m thinking about God; he died for us on the cross, that’s why I’m singing,” the 35-year-old woman, who gave her name as Mebrat, said.

Read the rest here.

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The Suburban Poor

From the LA Times:

Bucking longstanding patterns in the United States, more poor people now live in the nation’s suburbs than in urban areas, according to a new analysis.

As poverty mounted throughout the nation over the past decade, the number of poor people living in suburbs surged 67% between 2000 and 2011 — a much bigger jump than in cities, researchers for the Brookings Institution said in a book published today. Suburbs still have a smaller percentage of their population living in poverty than cities do, but the sheer number of poor people scattered in the suburbs has jumped beyond that of cities.

Authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube cited a long list of reasons for the shift.

More poor people moved to the suburbs, pulled by more affordable homes or pushed by urban gentrification, the authors said. Some used the increased mobility of housing vouchers, which used to be restricted by area, to seek better schools and safer neighborhoods in suburbia. Still others, including immigrants, followed jobs as the booming suburbs demanded more workers, many for low-paying, service-sector jobs.

Change also came from within. More people in the suburbs slipped into poverty as manufacturing jobs disappeared, the authors found. The housing boom and bust also walloped many homeowners on the outer ridges of metropolitan areas, hitting pocketbooks hard. On top of that, the booming numbers of poor people in the suburbs were driven, in part, by the exploding growth of the suburbs themselves.

Read the rest here.

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Top Ten

We haven’t visited our old friends Mario and Fafa for a while…

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