Monday, 13 May 2013

Some oddities....

OK, sorry to be posting so much today, but I have a few bits and pieces that I wanted to post on, but couldn't resist leading with this one in particular.

Space Oddity!

It is completely outside my normal blogging areas of interest (and the kind of music videos I normal post!), but many people will have been following the adventures of the engaging Canadian Canadian who has been commander of the International Space Station for the last several months, Chris Hadfield.

He has posted some fabulous photos from space, opening our eyes to the wonder of creation with his entertaining and educational videos and much more through his tweets. He's an accomplished musician, even writing (and jointly performing) a song while up there.

And for his last day in space, he did a fabulous cover of the David Bowie 1969 classic, Space Oddity.

Now Bowie is not exactly my cup of tea, and his latest album, I gather is an outrage, and guitar twanging is not something I'm normally up for, but this is much watch stuff.

Lateline alert***

On a more somber note, Lateline tonight [now deferred to Friday 17 May] is scheduled to run a story on the decision of the NSW about the NSW Office of Public Prosecutions decision not to prosecute a Catholic School Principal for failing to report a paedophile to the police.

I've blogged on this one before - the DPP found that there is a case to answer - but for mysterious reasons, as with a number of other NSW cases, decided that proceeding was “Not in the Public Interest”.  Really?

Pope and March for Life

Pro-lifers often complain at the lack of public shows of support for the cause on the part of priests and bishops.

Well the bishop of Rome is setting the example in this regard.

Pope Francis not only mentioned the Rome March for Life in his latest Regina Caeli address, but also actually turned up, unannounced, for the March!  You can read more over at Life Site News.

Blog list

You may have noticed that I've done a bit of a clean up and reorganisation of my blog lists in the side bar.  If I've inadvertently left off a blog that you are the author of or read, or think there are others I should include, by all means let me know.

Year of Grace survey

Just in case you missed it, an alert that the ACBC blog has a survey on the Year of Grace you might want to consider doing.  It rather assumes that the Year for Grace actually has had some impact, so I'm not quite sure how you would answer some of the questions if you think its been a non-event!  Still, a chance to provide feedback to the bishops, including on what you think needs to happen in the Church, is not to be missed...

Otranto martyrs

You might recall that just before his abdication, Pope Benedict XVI announced the canonisation of some 800 Italians martyred at Otranto by Muslims demanding they convert.  Pope Francis formally canonised them yesterday.

The always excellent (he was one of my theology profs and supervised my thesis!) Dr Donald Prudlo has spoken and written on their importance:

“Mehmed II was one of the most powerful and successful emperors in Ottoman Turkish history. He had taken the impregnable city of Constantinople in 1453, and had pacified the Balkan regions. By the 1470s Mehmed 'The Conqueror' was preparing a death blow to Europe. His fleet sailed the Mediterranean without challenge. Having taken 'New Rome' he set his sights on 'Old Rome.' In order to test the resolve of Christian Europe he sent an exploratory raiding party in 1480. Its target was the small maritime town of Otranto in far south Italy. During this expedition thousands of people were massacred, in what was really an attempt to instill terror into the inhabitants of the peninsula. After the city fell, its civil and religious leaders were either beheaded or sawn into pieces. Eight hundred men of the town were offered the choice between conversion to Islam or death. Led by the tailor Antonio Primaldi, acting as spokesman for the group, they were beheaded, one by one, on a hill outside town while their families watched. 

“The significance of their sacrifice was clear. Antonio and his townsmen had, in reality, saved Europe – their bravery gave Christendom time both to regroup, and to realize the gravity of the threat. Mehmed II died the next year, at the age of only 49, frustrating Ottoman plans for expansion.

“The Martyrs of Otranto are an exceptional testimony of fidelity to Christ, even in the midst of terrible sufferings. Simple lay Christians, defeated, leaderless, yet bound by their profession of faith in a hostile world, the Martyrs will receive the greatest honor bestowed by the Church, canonization as saints this Sunday, 12 May.”

Pope Benedict

Finally, in an earlier post on the Otranto martyrs, Dr Prudlo wrote on their significance to Pope Benedict:

" the martyrs of Otranto, [he] had been on the vanguard of the fight to save Europe.  Like them he confronted an aggressive Islam.  More than that however, soon-to-be Saint Antonio and his companions died for their Catholic faith and their freedom to practice it.  They are martyrs of religious intolerance.  In reality they are living echoes of the Regensburg address, they gave their lives for the principles the Pope enunciated there.  In response to violence and intolerance they laid down their lives.  In a similar way the aging Pope has laid down his responsibilities after giving his whole life for the religion of Faith and Reason...."

There are continuing reports that Pope Benedict has lost an enormous amount of weight, and looks ever more frail.  Please do keep him in your prayers.

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