17 Oct

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective





Talks over captured Israeli resume

Hamas says discussion over possible swap for Gilad Shalit continues, but Israeli PM’s position is an obstacle to a deal.
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2010 16:23 GMT



Nun becomes first Australian saint

Pope Benedict canonised Mary MacKillop, a 19th-century nun, whose religious order exposed a paedophile priest.
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2010 17:01 GMT

A cheer broke out in the crowd when MacKillop’s name was announced by Pope Benedict XVI [AFP] 

Pope Benedict XVI has given Australia its first saint, canonising Mary MacKillop, a 19th-century nun, in a Mass attended by tens of thousands of people.

Speaking in Latin on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Sunday, Benedict solemnly read out the names of MacKillop and five other new saints, declaring each one worthy of veneration by the Catholic Church.

MacKillop was briefly excommunicated by the church, in part because her religious order exposed a paedophile priest.

A cheer broke out in the crowd when her name was announced, evidence of the significant turnout of Australians celebrating the humble nun’s canonisation.

Serving the poor

Born in 1842, MacKillop grew up in poverty as the first of eight children of Scottish immigrants. She moved to the sleepy farming town of Penola in southern Australia to become a teacher, inviting the poor and the Aborigines of the area to attend free classes in a six-room stable.

She co-founded her order, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, with the goal of serving the poor, the sick and the disadvantaged, particularly through education.

As a young nun in 1871, MacKillop and 47 other nuns from her order were briefly dismissed from the Roman Catholic Church in a clash with high clergy.

In addition to bitter rivalries among priests, one of the catalysts for the move was that her order had exposed a paedophile priest.

Five months later, the bishop revoked his ruling from his deathbed, restoring MacKillop to her order and paving the way for her decades of work educating the poor across Australia and New Zealand.

In his homily, Benedict praised MacKillop for her “courageous and saintly example of zeal, perseverance and prayer.”

Miracle worker

MacKillop became eligible for sainthood after the Vatican approved a second miracle attributed to her intercession, that of Kathleen Evans, who was cured of lung and brain cancer in 1993………………………………………….


Injustice in the age of Obama

Barack Obama, a former law professor, should have a healthy respect for civil liberties, but his actions suggest not.
The treatment of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is symbolic in the minds of many Muslims. Her treatment has caused more damage to US-Muslim relations (particularly in Pakistan) than any ‘soft power’ state department program could undo [EPA] 

Since being the defendant in about six trials after I was arrested for protesting the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations, it’s my experience that the police lie. Period.

However the lies don’t stop at street law enforcement level. From lies about WMD and connections to “al Qaeda,” almost every institution of so-called authority – the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, FBI, all the way up to the Oval Office and back down – lie. Not white lies, but big, Mother of all BS (MOAB) lies that lead to the destruction of innocent lives. I.F Stone was most definitely on the ball when he proclaimed, “Governments lie”.

Having clarified that, I would now like to examine a case that should be enshrined in the travesty of the US Justice Hall of Shame.

In February of this year, Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani mother of three, was convicted in US Federal (kangaroo) Court of seven counts, including two counts of “attempted murder of an American.” On September 23, Judge Berman, who displayed an open bias against Dr. Siddiqui, sentenced her to 86 years in prison……………………………


Resurrection! The debt we all owe Chile’s inspirational miners

By Peter Stanford

One billion of us watched Los 33’s incredible, uplifting return from the dead – and our faith in humankind was reborn. This weekend at least, the world feels a better place.

Few events have the power to unite evangelists of religion and science nowadays. But the rescue of the 33 miners after 69 days trapped 2,000ft underground in the San Jose Mine in Chile’s remote Atacama desert has touched in equal measure preachers and physicists – and, indeed, everyone in between. The global TV audience that watched live and – like me – blubbed as, one by one, these men miraculously emerged from a living hell, has been estimated at somewhere over one billion.

For some, the miracle was a traditional one. At 64, grey-haired Mario Gomez was the oldest miner to escape from the bowels of the earth. When he stepped out of the Fenix 2 rescue capsule that had carried him to the surface, he fell to his knees in prayer. “I have come back to life,” he announced, recalling the return from the dead of Lazarus in the gospels


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