Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Muslim demographics film sparks heated words at Synod
The film was shown to the assembled bishops by Cardinal Peter Turkson, who is known for his strong, controversial views.
- Vatican City
- October 17, 2012
Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Vatican's council for justice and peace â€“ and seen as a possible future pope â€“ played the disputed video in a discussion period on Saturday during a synod attended by 262 bishops from across the world.
Entitled Muslim Demographics, and viewed more than 13m times on YouTube since its release in 2009, the seven-minute long video claims Muslim immigration and higher birth rates means France will become "an Islamic republic" within 39 years.
But many of the statistics used have been shown to be false or unproven, including a claim that French Muslim families have 8.1 children on average, and that 25% of Belgians are Muslims â€“ the true figure is 6%. A German government official is falsely quoted as saying Germany will be a Muslim state by 2050.
On Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, sought to distance the holy see from the video, saying: "This video does not express the view of the synod or the Vatican. Turkson has said he is sorry if the video was wrongly interpreted since he did not intend it to be anti-Muslim, merely a comment on the nihilism in western society."
Bishops who watched the video were reportedly shocked by its content.
"I think it would be fair to say that several in the room questioned the veracity of the facts followed by, 'who can this be attributed to?' and 'who actually wanted this film to be shown?'" said Father Thomas Rosica during a press briefing on the synod.
Vatican radio was more critical, calling the video "fear mongering", adding: "Why one of the curial cardinals chose to show this piece of anti-Islamic propaganda is quite unclear."
Pope Benedict has stressed the importance of defending Europe's Christian identity, but he has also promoted dialogue with Muslims, most recently during his visit to Lebanon last month. Last week he read out a greeting in Arabic for the first time during his weekly general audience in a bid to ease religious tensions.
Turkson, who is from Ghana, has said over the years that theological dialogue with Muslims is impossible. Known for his strong views, the cardinal also proposed the creation of a global bank after the global economic crisis began in 2008.
One bishop at the synod asked about the spurious video shown was less critical, telling the National Catholic Reporter: "At least it got us talking about something more important than what order confirmation and first communion ought to be in."
Full Story: Vatican tries to create distance from row over Muslim Demographics video
Source: The Guardian