Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Is Catholicism at a Crossroad?" & other great stories

BURNING QUESTION OF THE WEEK: "What is the Communion of Saints?"
It's part of the Apostle's Creed, but do you know what it means? Share your thoughts with us. Post a comment today.

FEATURED BLOG OF THE WEEK: "Have Fun When You Can" by Bo Sanchez

Dear Friends,

Hollywood and Pope Benedict's misunderstood remarks in Germany are the top stories this week.

First the good news. The company that brought TV viewers racy and irreverent programs such as "Nip/Tuck," "Temptation Island" and "The Simpsons" has found religion. In the biggest commitment of its sort by a Hollywood studio, Fox Films unveiled plans today to produce and release up to 12 films a year - all of them aimed at the massive Christian audience that made "The Passion of the Christ" a global phenomenon.

And now the not so good news. The Pope's remarks in Germany last week has resulted in a Muslim backlash in capitals all over the world. Some Muslim groups have accepted the Pope's explanantion. But others have not. A radical Islamic group even called for a world-wide Day of Hate for today, Friday, Sept. 22, 2006. We have an article that tackles "Islam's unreasonable war against Pope Benedict XVI." Another writer ponders this question, "Is Catholicism at a Crossroad?" And yet another dissects the situation calling it "God's Strange Act."

In Rome, the Romans are worried as Muslim threats rattle their city. While in Somalia, a 79 year old nun - who was shot to death in what some say is a reaction to the Pope's remarks - reportedly died whispering the words, "I forgive, I forgive."

All this has not stopped the Pope from spreading God's message. He preached this week that Jesus excludes no one from his loving embrace because he came especially to save sinners and social outcasts. Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, also posed this reflective question to us all, "Who is Jesus for you?"

In other stories, we answer a question about whether Catholic cathedrals can be used as venues for non-liturgical music. And we report on a vanishing fixture in our Catholic schools: Catholic nuns.

In other Catholic News, the Vatican this week opened its secret vaults that hold papers dealing with its role in World War II. In Indonesia comes the news that three Catholics convicted of leading a mob that killed Muslims were executed by a police firing squad in Indonesia. From Hong Kong we have the story that Chinese Catholic youth can now study Catechism via the internet. This opens the floodgates of evangelization to millions of Chinese in mainland China.

And in U.S. political news, Sen. John Kerry talked to a crowd in Malibu, CA this week about his loss - and eventual renewal - of the Catholic faith. Critics, however, say he was just fishing for Catholic votes. We bring you both sides of the story.

GET INSPIRED with the story of a 9/11 survivor who saw the airliner approaching the window to his office before it came crashing in. And he miraculously survived to tell the story. "Proud To Be Catholic" is a great reflection by Kathi Scarpace. So is "Prayers from a Deserted Island."

In YOUTH and LIFESTYLE stories, Wash for Life, a new national organization based out of Washington D.C., has taken the concept of a fund-raising car wash and turned it toward pro-life issues. Over 179 youth groups from 38 states participated Sept. 16 in a variety of car washes to raise funds for the worthy cause.

Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu - a Catholic - is not an NFL superstar who happens to be a man of faith. Rather, in his heart, he is simply "a Christian with a passion for Jesus." Read his story. If back to school for your child means back to losing homework and forgetting their soccer gear at home, you're not alone. Organizing expert Elizabeth Mayhew offers tips for tackling teenage clutter.

And this coming week on Wordnet TV's "Power of Love," Fr. Mike Manning hosts Msgr. Jerry Lopez, Chancelor of the Diocese of San Bernardino, as they discuss what members of our Church heirarchy do every day. Tune in to TBN on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8:30 a.m. PST.

Another busy week in our Catholic World. May you have a blessed week ahead of you.

Keep the faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher and Editor in chief

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