Friday, December 10, 2010

Martyrdom under the "Religion of Peace"

I found this disturbing story via FrZ. Pray for our persecuted brethren!

Youcef Nadarkhani, a 32-year-old Protestant pastor who became a Christian at the age of 19, has been sentenced to death for renouncing Islam. Nadarkhani maintains that he did not practice any faith before his conversion to Christianity.

The “draconian language in the verdict makes it very clear that the Iranian authorities mean business,” said Leonard Leo, chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. “He could be executed at any time. And for what? For being a Christian.”

“We call upon the Obama administration and the international community to use every means available, to raise this issue and demand the unconditional release of Mr. Nadarkhani.”

Nadarkhani’s attorney has appealed the verdict to the nation’s supreme court.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Obedience, stability and conversatio morum

Zoe Romanowsky writing in Inside Catholic has a perceptive and worthwhile critique of the Swiss Capuchins' attempts to recruit new friars; unfortunately she makes the all too common error of calling them monks.

While Friars (e.g. Dominicans or Friars Preachers, Franciscans or Friars Minor etc.) do keep a common life, with common prayer and keep the Evangelical Counsels, they lack a basic element of Monastic life, especially the normative version in Western Christendom based on the Holy Rule of St Benedict. Stability is at the heart of Monastic life in a way that isn't true of religious life more generally. If we look at a figure like Blessed Columba Marmion we can see that he left his Abbey of Maredsous only twice; once, under obedience, to become Prior at Mont César/Keizersberg, and a second time when threatened by invading German forces. By contrast, a Dominican can be asked to go wherever he is needed; the fine priest who solemnised our vows is in Switzerland studying, having been in Rome and even briefly in Jerusalem! All of this was, we hasten to add, under obedience.

So a monk is obedient, stable in one place and works constantly at conversatio morum or conversion of life; on the other hand a friar is personally poor, obedient and chaste. Or sometimes, just chased!