Singing Nun Appropriate or Not?

After my recent posting on the Singing Nun, I found another Catholic site just blasting her for what she did.  Here is what was said:
This Is Utterly Inappropriate.
If this is inappropriate,
then this is inappropriate, too

I do not know the stupid details of this certainly stupid TV transmission. What I see:
1) tattooed people;
2) people making the horns
3) A nun making the horns
4) Other nuns behaving like teenies considered stupid by her own classmates.
5) A fully secular song, that no amount of “but she means to give everything to God” can hide. With this mentality, Sister could have sung “like a virgin”.
6) “Ho un dono, ve lo dono”, my foot. You're a nun, Sister. You are supposed to spend your time praying and helping, not jumping around like you're on cocaine.

7) “Non capisco piu' niente”, says Raffaella Carra', “I can't understand anything anymore”. She obviously can't understand (I mean, she says so) how a nun can behave in that way. She is not the only one.

Dear Mundabor,
Things may not be quite how you have perceived and reacted to.  Let me respond to your numbered points:
1) tatooed people
I too have a bit of a problem with that, especially considering Lev. 19:28.
2) people making the horns
I too am a bit concerned when I see that, and that one judge definitely made the sign of the horns - at least it seemed that way to me, an American.  I'm not sure what that may mean in the Italian culture.  Still, it bothers me.
3) A nun making the horns
Well, that would bother me, but let's look at the possible "horns" made by Suor Cristina Scuccia:
First one:
No, that's the symbol for "telephone" - and indeed, even in Italian you can hear her saying "telefono" while she's making that symbol.

Second one:

Well, that one appears to be more akin to "hang loose" (the "Shaka") - in Hawaiian hand gestures:
OK, the third one:
Well, not quite again...  in Sign Language, that's the sign for "I love you."
So, not necessarily "the horns" as you say, Mundabor.  
4) Other nuns behaving like teenies considered stupid by her own classmates.
They were excited for how well their sister was performing.  Consider the fact that not all nuns are cloistered in convents.  
5) A fully secular song, that no amount of “but she means to give everything to God” can hide. With this mentality, Sister could have sung “like a virgin”.  
Well, I beg to differ.  There's a HUGE difference between expressing one's love for "no one but you" (Jesus) and singing "like a virgin, being touched for the very first time."  Just because a song is secular that does not make it blatantly sexual - as Madonna's (the very name she chose for her stage name is offensive to me based upon what she sang, how she dressed, etc.) "Like a Virgin."  

6) “Ho un dono, ve lo dono”, my foot. You're a nun, Sister. You are supposed to spend your time praying and helping, not jumping around like you're on cocaine.

7) “Non capisco piu' niente”, says Raffaella Carra', “I can't understand anything anymore”. She obviously can't understand (I mean, she says so) how a nun can behave in that way. She is not the only one.
And again,  not all nuns are cloistered in convents or monasteries.  Now, if you have evidence that she belongs to a cloister - THEN you have a better argument.  There IS diversity in vocations.  

In short, I believe you have over-responded to this piece.  

Now, how could your response be better worded and not necessarily scandalous (like publicly calling out a nun when you might not have all the facts straight)?  How about asking some questions?

1) Why all the tattoos, people?  I know they are popular, but they are also contrary to God's Word in Lev. 19:28.

2) Does holding out the pinky and index finger mean the same thing in Italy as it does in the USA?  Just curious because we see that as "devil horns."

3) Sister Cristina, could you explain to us what appears to be "devil horns" gestures?  

4) I'd leave that one out completely - non-cloistered nuns can be out in public and excited for what one of their sisters is doing.

5) I realize that the song you selected can be directed to Jesus, but it is a secular song sung by Alicia Keys, and there are so many Christian songs to choose from, some of which have even crossed over to the secular charts.  Wouldn't your energies and talent be better served if you sang something which did not have such a secular interpretation to it?

6 and 7)  Again, I'd leave those out.  Unless you have evidence that she belongs to a cloistered convent and is in violation of her vows - such accusations are scandalous and need not be aired in public.  Now I repeat, if you have evidence that she does belong to such a convent, or worse, is not a nun at all and is dressed that way as a publicity stunt.  That thought crossed my mind too, and if you look at other youtube appearances, her habit is different or she's not even wearing the habit (which it is possible those clips were recorded before she entered the vocation).

The above being said, I did a little more research myself and found this article, which expresses many of the same thoughts I had in watching the video.

It would seem her order is called to go out and evangelize in the world - and not remain cloistered in a convent somewhere (and that is a good vocation too, for those who are called to it).  
I would also bring out that the first judge who turned around, rapper J-Ax, was brought to tears by her form of evangelization - so perhaps she is reaching people for the Lord in ways that might seem strange to you.

In short, Mundabor, I believe you should post an apology and retraction of your article.

Scott Windsor<<<
AKA: CathApol

Italy's Singing Nun!

On Italy's version of The Voice, this nun catches everyone by surprise.  Pretty amazing!

Discrimination on Moral Grounds?

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I have a friend who has asked me about my position on homosexuality in specific situations going on in society today.  He is asking for a "Catholic" response, and I said I would oblige.  I've also invited co-bloggers, cathmom5 and Nathan to add to this article and I have posted the same or similar questions to a group of Catholic friends and will include some of their comments too.  For the most part, the responses have been written without pre-reading what others have to say.  This article/blog has become truly a group project, and I invite those reading along to add their comments as well in the combox section.

First question:  On Dec. 20, 2013 Uganda passed a law criminalizing homosexuality.  Persons found guilty of homosexuality could be sentenced to life in prison (which previously it was a death sentence, they dropped that provision before passing the law).  Is it right for a country to make it a criminal offense (with a life sentence) for someone's choice in sexuality?
Scott's response:  Well, first off does a country have the "right" to set its own laws?  Yes.  Now, when those laws may impinge upon the human rights of their citizens, is it our responsibility to speak out?  I would say yes to that too.  So, to directly answer the first question, I do not believe it is "right" for a country to criminalize homosexuality.  At the same time, I reiterate my (already known) position - that homosexual acts are "wrong" and considered an abomination to our Lord.  In my opinion such morality should not be subjected to civil law, it is covered in divine law.  For those who do not share our Judeo-Christian belief system is it "right" to force our morality upon them?  I would say "No."

CathMom5's response:  No, I do not believe it is "right" for a country to make homosexuality a criminal offense; but I agree that we cannot control the legislature or laws of other countries.  In light of the Christian tradition, every person is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with respect.  While I believe that the homosexual act is against God's law also, I don't believe that someone should spend the rest of their life in jail (let alone lose their life) for it.  We, America, Christians, etc.,  have no business in foreign laws; however, we should speak out when human rights and human dignity are violated.  We cannot force them to change their laws but we can speak out against such laws that strip humans of their dignity.

Nathan’s answer to the first question:
Although countries have a right to make their own laws, as any sovereign country has, I personally disagree with these Uganda laws and as a country built on freedom I agree on its population to lobby their government to change those particular laws. 

In case you didn’t know, the Catholic Church actively lobbied the Uganda government against instituting these laws ever since they declared its intentions about this proposed law.  A Wikileaks headline tells us that a U.S. diplomatic cable dated December 15, 2009, reveals that the U.S. Embassy to the Vatican lobbied the Catholic church to oppose the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  According to the cable:

Embassy Vatican has actively lobbied Holy See officials to take a stand against pending legislation in Uganda that would criminalize homosexuality and in extreme cases, even punish it with death (reftel). On December 11, after the Ambassador raised USG (U.S. Government) concerns, Cardinal Antonelli Ennio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, reaffirmed the Church’s position that legal approaches to homosexuality are inappropriate. Antonelli admitted that he had not followed the Uganda controversy closely, but agreed that Catholic bishops there or anywhere should not/not support the criminalization of homosexuality. The Ambassador urged the Cardinal to make sure bishops in Uganda understood this.

And so we can see that not only do the US representatives of the Church but also the Vatican as well agreed that these laws should not be instituted because we can read later on in that same cable:

…The Vatican likely will not want bishops in Uganda to support the criminalization of homosexuality, so Embassy efforts may well translate into Vatican officials communicating with bishops in Uganda to reaffirm the Church teaching that homosexuality is a personal moral decision, which should not be penalized in any way by judicial authorities. The Vatican, however, likely will shy away from instructing the bishops directly to denounce the bill, as bishops everywhere are given a lot of leeway in deciding how to conduct pastoral work in their own dioceses.

On December 10, 2009, the Vatican confirmed this stand when it released a statement which opposed “all grave violations of human rights against homosexual persons,” particularly “the murder and abuse of homosexual persons are to be confronted on all levels, especially when such violence is perpetrated by the State.” The statement didn’t reference Uganda by name, but that last statement was taken as an oblique reference to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Shortly before Christmas Day that year, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Uganda, Cyprian Lwanga, denounced the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill in his annual Christmas message from Rubaga Cathedral. That message was broadcast over several Ugandan television channels.

These responses make sense since they are perfectly aligned with official Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality.  Here is a copy/paste from our official teachings of the Church, the Catechism of the Catholic Church on how we as Christians are to treat those with same-sex attraction:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Responses from other friends: 
"F" wrote:  I think the Uganda situation is indicative of what's wrong with our country. The people in any society have the right to decide for themselves what their society should stand for and what it will reject. Where the issues concerning homosexuality are put to the voters in our country, the homosexual agenda usually loses, which is why they go to the courts and legislatures.  Uganda and other African countries do not want homosexuality polluting their society, so they pass laws insuring it won't. I see nothing wrong with that.

And before anyone says homosexuality in itself is no sin, just remember what happens when you let the camel get its nose under your tent flap.

"A" wrote:   My personal view is that this law is on the same level as the repressive laws in the Islamic theocracies, those of pagan Rome and now of many other places.
Even after reading F's reply, I still would argue that the civil authorities - and that is who makes these laws and pretends to grant special rights  - whether in agreement or opposition to Divine Natural law - has no authority to do so.
IMO, civil authority is limited to control and regulate the safety and security of its citizens.  In all instances and matters where civil institutions have both authority and the duty to legislate the civil laws must coincide with natural and Divine laws.
Civil authorities may have the power and means to enforce laws, they have no right to impose sanctions nor to grant rights outside of their delegated authority - restrictions and punishments such as the 'law' you referred to, nor 'rights' to abortion, same sex marriages etc.
One can argue that civil laws which agree and coincide with Divine law are good, and I would grant that, but these laws would still be 'ultra vires' for the government, unless _all_ citizens agreed to live under that government - i.e I think that citizens can agree to abide to restrictions over and above what the strictest
minimum demands, but the government cannot impose extra duties or restrictions on its own, nor an a minority or even a large majority.
For, if we grant the majority that power, we have no reason to complain about the current state of affairs in the world.

John 8:11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee.
Go, and now sin no more.
Ultimately, in none of these cases do the human courts have full knowledge of all the circumstances related to these 'transgressions', nor will the transgressors escape judgment altogether.  For Catholics we have confession for the rest, I would leave them to the 'just judge'.
While I am sure there is much more to this, these are the ideas I would base my argument on.

"O" (responding to "A")
"...this [Ugandan] law is on the same level as the repressive laws in the Islamic theocracies, those of pagan Rome and now of many other places."
I think a law may be described as repressive if, and only if, the law constrains a natural human desire to act. Laws which constrain unnatural human acts are in principle just laws. Such laws may denounce, prohibit, or punish unnatural behavior; these are matters of degree.  I think the severity of the law ought to be  restricted to that level necessary to protect or promote the commonweal.  The severity of the law is a matter of prudence for the governing body of the community.

People living in community, assuming they possess suffrage and political freedom, give up personal autonomy and submit to the restraints of justice as reflected in the community's expressed values (norms) and evidenced in the community's laws.

If Ugandans as a community believe homosexual activity is unnatural human activity and believe that tolerating such activity is contrary to the promotion of the commonweal then, it seems to me, the governing authority is obligated to evidence those beliefs in the community's laws.  Whether the law merely denounces or punishes is a matter of degree and prudence, but I think not principle.
"A" responds to "O" with:
"Whether the law merely denounces or punishes is a matter of degree and prudence, but I think not principle."
Point well taken, but:
If it is not a matter of principle, then would reasoning according to the same 'rules' not also give the 'community/government' the 'right' to confer 'rights' on its citizens, rights which promote " unnatural human acts ", 'rights' which condone/facilitate abortion, euthanasia etc, etc. ?? 

"O" replies:

I think not.
If the positive statement is true then so is its contrapositive.
If a law constrains a natural human desire to act then the law is unjust.
If the law is [not un] just then the law allows [not constrains] a natural human desire to act.
Abortion and euthanasia are not natural human acts.

Scott says:
I would add, abortion and euthanasia are acts which do harm to others.  I believe laws should protect others, especially those who cannot protect themselves.  I tend to be on the side of saying we should not be legislating an act between two consenting adults which (other than to their eternal soul) is doing no direct harm.  

Nathan replies:
But Scott, the Ugandans could very well believe that homosexual behavior is an actual danger to their society as a whole seeing as even with less than 7% of the US population of men having sex with men but account for more than 78%% of new HIV infections among males in 2010. A good case can be made for Uganda to punish  homosexual behavior as a method of protecting Ugandan society as a whole. (Source)

"O" responding to Scott:
" ... we should not be legislating an act between two consenting adults which (other than to their eternal soul) is doing no direct harm."

May I interpret the above to the following conditional statement?

"If an evil act does no immediate harm to the actors then society ought not prohibit the evil act."

Since "immediate harm" does not include the universe of "harms," the following conditionals can stand with the above as equally true.

"If an evil act does non- immediate harm to the actors then society may prohibit the evil act."

"If an evil act does harm to the commonweal then society ought prohibit the evil act."

I would agree with all the conditionals stated above as true.  Society's prudence would  determine the immediate and  future states of "harm" as used above.
Second question:  Should states be allowed to establish in law that it is permissible to refuse business to homosexuals.
Scott's response: I would not necessarily be in favor of a law specifying that a business may be permitted to refuse business to any "class" of people.  I think we get into shaky territory when we legislate morality on one side or the other.  The fact is, businesses already may "reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."  Using the law to beat people into submission over personal choices is a bit crazy.  The New Mexico case, where a photographer refused to shoot pictures of a same-sex union should not have been taken to court over this - the judge should have thrown this out as a frivolous case, but since he did not and even ruled in favor of the homosexuals, this story still (as of this writing) isn't over.

CathMom5's response:  Yes.  This is a different situation.  What happened to "We reserve the right to refuse service to whomever we choose?"  I don't believe that any Christian should be forced to, say, bake and decorate a "wedding" cake for a homosexual couple if they feel that it means that they are implicitly approving of such a union when that union is against their Christian morals.  Or, a woman who owns a home that she rents rooms from as a Bed and Breakfast.  She was going to give the two women who showed up at her door a room until they told her that the were a couple.  She said that she did not want them in her home.  I would also say that it is a rare thing that there is only one business, a bakery, a B and B, etc. in the area.  So, why can't that homosexual couple find a baker, or a B and B, or whatever business, that will provide that service for them--I'm sure that they are out there.  I'm sure that in the cases that have gone to court and hit the news, the homosexual couple was not only looking for trouble but happy to have found it.   I don't believe someone should be sued out of business because they refused to provide a service for a homosexual couple. A business should have the "right to refuse service."  I believe that laws are overdue that uphold a business owner's right to refuse service.  Our laws, our courts, our society is bending over backwards to give this very small minority of our population not equality but privilege.

Please make sure that the argument does not start to go the "that is exactly what happened to African Americans" route.  This false similarity keeps popping up.  I remember arguing about the "rights" of homosexuals in a 90's philosophy class and this came up.  "This is just like what happened to blacks before the civil rights movement."  While there may be parallels on the surface, it is not the same.  African Americans and those of other races in this country should, and now do, have the same rights--heterosexual or homosexual.  Our society was biased against Blacks because of their skin color, not biased on moral grounds. In my opinion, homosexuals would not have much bias against them if their sex life didn't become their whole identity.  They get away with bullying people because they cry "prejudice," and our society lets them be bullies because of a guilt complex over the despicable things people have done in the past.  

Nathan's response:  States should not institute laws that permit some to refuse service to homosexuals PROVIDED that the government does not COMPEL business owners to perform actions that directly go against their deeply held religious beliefs.  A bakery owner cannot refuse to bake a cake for a homosexual individual simply because the owner disagrees with his lifestyle BUT the owner shouldn’t be compelled to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple if he feels that to do so would be a public expression of agreement with ‘same-sex marriage’.  It’s not that business owners want to “refuse service” to gays simply because they’re gay; it’s that some business owners — particularly people who work in the wedding industry — don’t want to be forced to employ their talents in service of something that defies their deeply held religious convictions.

Cathmom5 responds to Nathan: I think you expressed what I meant to say better than I.  I don't believe any business should be "compelled" to do business with anyone.   I agree that a business (like a bakery) should not refuse service solely upon a person's sexual or perceived sexual orientation.  However, the owner of  a bakery may feel that baking a wedding cake crosses the line into condoning or participating in the celebration of a ceremony, and they should neither be compelled to make the "couple" a cake nor be sued out of business because they refused to do so.  And as I said--Why can't they go to another bakery?  I doubt there are many towns where there is one, single bakery (especially in a place large city like Seattle where a small business is having a tough time surviving after being sued by a homosexual couple for refusing to make them a wedding cake).  It seems that some homosexual couples go out of their way to make trouble for business owners who take a stand on moral principles.  

Responses from other friends:
"A" replies:
Based on my previous comments, my answer would be 'No.'

"M" answers:
This is a double edged question because what gives anybody the right to discriminate against another person just because of sexual orientation. However, having a law in place to protect such individuals harms others because those same individuals have the propensity to make vexious law suits. 

Third question:  Should states be allowed to define "marriage" as the union between a man and a woman, only - directly excluding the possibility of "same sex marriages?"
Scott's response: While I do believe states have the right to define marriage for which they grant licenses to, for those states which are permitting same sex unions, they should not use the term "marriage."  The term "marriage" should be reserved to what it has always stood for, the union of a man to a woman, period.  Like it or not, in our Judeo-Christian based society, "marriage" has scriptural roots, not secular.  Even in most non-Judeo-Christian societies, the norm is that marriage takes place within religious ceremonies.  The term "marriage" should be reserved for those who partake in Holy Matrimony.  By the same token, those who are non-religious and are contracted by the state and have that union overseen by non-religious magistrates should refer to their contract the same way homosexuals should - as civil unions, not marriages.  I realize that it is commonplace to refer to any such union as a "marriage," but in reality, without the witness of God's representatives, it is just a civil union.

CathMom5's response:  Yes.  I do believe that should be up to the states.  If the vast majority of the people in that state want "marriage" defined as only a union between a man and a woman, than they should have the right to vote that into state policy or law.  After all, our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles which includes the efficacy and morality of marriage.  However, it seems the politically correct minority of the moment gets to make laws in their favor.

Nathan's response:  Should states have a right to define marriage as between one man and one woman?  Since marriage has been defined as between one man and one woman for many millennia, the question should be ‘should states have a right to define marriage in any way they choose?’  And I believe we ought not change what has been tried and true for thousands of years.   The States have no right to change the definition of any word, especially at the whim of what is popular at the moment.  The best they can do is possibly invent a new word, like ‘civil union’ and give the individuals in such a union the same rights as a married couple has with whatever exception the States population might deem exclusionary (like adoption for example).

Responses from other friends:
"F" responds:
Of course they should. States, i.e., the people, have a right to define the moral and cultural parameters of their society.  Above all, they should not be subject to the deviant behavior and questionable morals of minorities who live in their jurisdictions.

"A" posits:
While I do wish the state's laws always agreed with my own convictions, it seems an inescapable conclusion for me, that if we give the state the 'right' to define morality, how will we argue against any law which defines something against our convictions, something we consider immoral?

"M" writes:
Homosexuals are a minority group and they are intent upon imposing their values on the rest of us.   I disagree with the Dalai Lama on this matter since I do not believe that the state can redefine marriage so that deviants can destroy what we have.

HOWEVER, that being said, maybe we need to look at the whole picture of marriage. At the present time the act of marriage is carried out according to the civil law.   If we were to rely upon the Scripture then we might view marriage in a different way because in the ancient times there was no ritual, just a coming together with the consent of the parents, and a brief ceremony where the marriage took place.   When we marry we say vows to each other and this is in fact the act of marriage.  The celebrant is nothing more than a witness to those vows that the bride and groom say to each other, the rest is just ritual.  There is a lot more to marriage than that ceremony and I think we all know this to be the truth. It is a coming together and it is a commitment to each other to live the rest of our lives together.

Our civil authorities are out of control and this is true because the wrong kind of people get elected to the Parliament. These are the people with an agenda to destroy our civil society in order to rebuild according to their vision, and heaven forbid that they should ever get the chance to carry out their plans.

Homosexuals had a legitimate complaint regarding discrimination that they have faced because their relationships have not been legally recognized.  The question is: do they need marriage to have those relationships recognized.  There has been a shift in how they are expressing their angst about the discrimination that they have faced from insurance companies etc. as well as hospitals.  Yes, they have legitimate concerns, but do they need the institution of marriage to remove those legitimate issues?   Some of what the homosexuals are doing to formalize their relationships is absolutely ridiculous, and that includes two women dressing up as brides, or one woman dressed as a groom and the other as a bride.

If they want to have a commitment ceremony then fine… let them have their ceremony.  The State can recognize the partnership by simply recognizing that these couples have the same relationship as two heterosexual people living together who do not have that piece of paper that is called a marriage certificate.  I see no reason as to why homosexuals could not have a civil union agreement. It seems that they want more for their own devious reasons.

Scott rewords Question 3:
Rewording that a bit.... Is a state allowed to define *civil* marriage to allow for unions that could never be considered sacramental by the Church? (e.g., granting civil marriages to divorced persons; civil marriages to someone who has not been released from a religious vow or is a priest; or, in this case granting a civil marriage to 2 people of the same sex?

"O" replies:
... if we give the state the 'right' to define morality ..."
The state's  right to define morality is, I think, a sine qua non.
  • To be effective, a state must assume to itself a monopoly on violence. 
  • To insure domestic tranquility, the state must provide a civil means for citizen redress.
  • Morality is defined as the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior
  • Therefore, the state must set moral standards.   
" Is a state allowed ... ?

When can one state judge another state's morality -- its definition of human rights?  Legal positivism, I think, prevents ever making such  judgments.

The philosophy of legal positivism prevents arguing for human rights outside the legal system per se.  Legal systems cannot criticize each other.  Other than lacking in internal consistencies, legal positivism does not allow argument regarding another state's jurisprudence.

If legal system A, claims that legal system B is immoral it must do so only from a reference to itself.  System B does not recognize the validity of system A, so the criticism by system A of system B is correctly disregarded as baseless by system B.

The Nazis leaders used legal positivism to defend themselves at Nuremberg. The only reason, the Nazis claimed, that they found themselves in the defendants' chair at Nuremberg was that they had the misfortune of losing the war.

The Nazis granted that their legal system was different than the Allies, and granted that fundamental German values were different than the Allies, one of which was the supremacy of the Aryan race. They incorporated their values into their laws that included the de-valuing of Jews relative to Aryans. The Nazis argued, therefore, that the systematic elimination of Jews was, in the German legal system, entirely valid. And, since, under legal positivism, the Allies could not judge the Nazis legal system as invalid, the Allies could not judge the defendants acts as criminal.

Jackson, the lead prosecutor, had to depart from the philosophy of legal positivism and proceed to a higher authority, a new and higher vantage point to prosecute the legal system of another country. He appealed to the basic principles of civilization in order to prosecute the jurisprudence of the Nazi legal system.
To transcend human law, Jackson successfully took recourse to natural law -- the Creator's law. 
One, I think, cannot appeal this particular Ugandan law to natural law successfully because the natural law and the Ugandan law are harmonious.

Who Was Pharoah During Joseph's Day?

Donny Osmond playing Joseph and his coat of many colors.
The Egyptians were descendants of Noah's son, Ham.  The Hyksos family are direct descendents of Ham which may have led to the welcoming nature of the Hebrews when Joseph was empowered by Pharoah.[1] 

Exodus 1:8 speaks of a "new king, who did not know about Joseph" so that sounds like a new dynasty - which could be the Berbers, who came from the southern part of Egypt, the Upper Nile region.  Which was approximately 1700 BC, or about 150 years before the biblical account of Moses. [ibid]

The person who was most likely Joseph himself was known to the Egyptians as Imhotep, the "genius" and "architect" who brought Egypt through the great famine.  That, according to National Geographic, 1995.[2]

The "Ark Discovery" web site puts Imhotep at about 2600 BC, in the reign of Djoser.[ibid]

2293 BC - Noah leaves the Ark
1750 BC - The birth of Joseph
1711 BC - Jacob enters Egypt
1640 BC - Death of Joseph
1576 BC - Birth of Moses
1496 BC - Exodus from Egypt

So, according to this timeline, the Hebrews were only in Egypt for 135 years [3].  That being said, 135 is quite a long time especially when one considers that even in our own country (the USA) 135 years ago it was 1879.  In a time where putting a man on the moon is like "ancient history" to today's youth, in 1879 we didn't have planes, automobiles, public electricity or even indoor plumbing was not gaining in popularity until the mid 19th century - and "outhouses" were still commonplace in 1879. [4]  In 1879 the US population was a bit over 50 million [5] - in 2014 it is 317 million [6] - in 135 the US has increased over 6 fold - and that is with modern "birth control" efforts preventing literally millions of US citizens every year.  Now, imagine the 12 tribes of Jacob, all living in Egypt for 135 years - and no "birth control!"

Let's use a conservative number and say there were only 5 sons born to each family in the descendants of Jacob (and only Jacob)...

12 sons of Jacob x 5 sons = 60 grandsons
20 years
60 grandsons of Jacob x 5 sons = 300 great-grandsons
Now 40 years
300 great-grandsons of Jacob x 5 sons = 1500 great-great-grandsons
Now 80 years
1500 great-great-grandsons x 5 sons = 7500 great-great-great-grandsons
Now 100 years
7500 great-great-great-grandsons x 5 sons = 37500 great-great-great-great-grandsons
Now 120 years
37500 great-great-great-great-grandsons x 5 sons = 187500 great-great-great-great-great-grandsons
Now 140 years
187500  g-g-g-g-g-grandsons x 5 sons = 937500 g-g-g-g-g-g-grandsons

So, in approximately the same length of time from Jacob going to Egypt till the time of the Exodus of Moses, there are, conservatively, about one million Hebrew descendents.  Keep in mind, I only went with 5 sons and Jacob had 12 sons!  I did not account for the daughters and/or for those Hebrews who intermarried with the Egyptians.  Also keep in mind, by the time Jacob was brought into Egypt, his twelve sons were already prolific and he brought with him a small nation of what the Egyptians called "the Shepherd Kings" or "the Hyksos (whose migration to Egypt actually begins at least a couple hundred years before Joseph) [7].   Easily we can see it would have been well over a million, and considering the Hyksos, it would have been several million.

Some believe the Pharoah of Joseph's time (who would not have gone by the name "Pharoah," as was common in Moses' time - and it was Moses who wrote the Joseph account) would have been Sesostris II of Dynasty 12. [8]









The Church Doesn't Need Apologists? Pope Francis

Wait!  Did Pope Francis say that?  Well, let's look at it.  This, according to the Washington Post (a full English translation is not currently available) the Pope said to a meeting of cardinals who make up the Congregation for Bishops:
“The church doesn’t need apologists for their own agendas or crusaders for their own battles,” he added, “but humble and faithful sowers of the truth.”
Well then, yes, he did say that!  But what was the context?  Again, he's speaking to the Congregation for Bishops, and he's commissioning them to go out and get some good bishops - and included in that he is saying that those candidates for the bishoprick do not need to be "apologists for their own agendas, or crusaders for their own battles."  So, it is not a statement against apologists - nor is it even a statement against bishops who are also apologists for the Catholic Faith - but against those who might be apologists for "their own agendas or crusaders for their own battles."  In short, a priest who has a personal agenda may not be the best candidate for the bishoprick.  When the full statement is available in English we'll either post and/or link it here on CathApol, your Catholic Apologetics Blog.

Other articles on this topic:
Apologist, Jimmy Akin, on Sunday, March 9, 2014, click here.  
Catholic Online reported on March  3, 2014, click here.
The "CE" (Collective Evolution) reported on March 2, 2014, click here
Crooks and Liars reported on February 28, 2014, click here.

There are several more, but above gives you a variety of sources... and links to these sources should not be taken as consent or approval of other things they may have posted.

Here is a translation of the original text from the official French version, as done by, again when an official English translation is put out by the Vatican, we'll post and/or link it on CathApol:

Bologna room
Thursday, February 27, 2014
1. The essential mission of the Congregation
In celebration of ordination of a bishop, the Church met after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, calls to order the nominee. One who presides asks then: "Do you have a mandate? ". In this issue resonates that the Lord has made: "It designations him the Twelve and began to send them out two together ..." (Mk 6, 7). Basically, the question could also be expressed thus: "Do vou s certain that his name was given by the Lord thy Ê you certain that it is the Lord who has counted the number of conscripts to be? with Him in a unique way and to entrust the mission that is not hers, but that has been entrusted to the Lord by the Father? ".
This Congregation is to help write this mandate, then that will resonate in many churches and bring joy and hope to the holy people of God. This Congregation is to ensure that the name of the one chosen was initially given by the Lord. That is the great mission entrusted to the Congregation for Bishops, the most demanding task: to identify those whom the Holy Spirit himself at the head of his Church.
Lips of the Church will in any time and in any place demand: give us a bishop! The holy people of God continues to speak: we need someone watching us from above and we need someone who looks at us with the magnitude of the heart of God, we do not need a manager, a managing director of a company, or someone who is at our pettiness or our petty claims. We need someone who can rise to the height of the light of God to guide us to Him. It is only in the eyes of God that there is a future for us. We need that, knowing the breadth of God more than the narrowness of his own garden, we guarantee that what our hearts yearn is not an empty promise.
People travel with barely plain everyday and they need to be guided by who is able to see things from above. That is why we must not lose sight of the needs of the particular Churches which we must respond. There is no standard pastor for all the churches. Christ knows the uniqueness of the Church requires that any pastor to respond to their needs and help them achieve their potential. Our challenge is to get into the perspective of Christ, taking into account the uniqueness of the particular Churches.
2. The horizon of God determines the mission of the Congregation
To select these ministers, we all need to speak out, we also mount the "higher level". We can not fail to rise, we can not content ourselves with low measures. We must rise above and beyond our contingent preferences, sympathies, memberships or trends to enter the size of the horizon of God and to find those who bear his gaze from above. Not men conditioned by the fear of the bottom, but with pastors of parresia capable of ensuring that there is in the world a sacrament of unity (Constitution Lumen gentium , n. 1) and therefore the Humanity is not intended to drift and error.
This is the main objective, drawn by the Spirit, which determines how this unfolds generous and demanding task for which I am immensely grateful to each of you, beginning with Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect and kissing you all , cardinals, archbishops and bishops members. I would also like to address a special word of gratitude for the generosity of their work, officiales this Pontifical Council, which silently and patiently contribute to the success of the service to provide the Church pastors they need.
By signing the appointment of each bishop, I wish I could touch the moral authority of your discernment and grandeur horizons with which ripens your board. For this, the spirit that works, the arduous task of officiales to Expediency and members of the congregation, may be this humble, quiet and laborious process exercised in the light that comes from above . Professionalism, service and holiness of life: if we move away from this triad, we are deprived of the greatness to which we are called.
3. The Apostolic Church as a source
So where to find this light? The height of the church is still in the depths of its foundations. In the Apostolic Church, there is what is high and deep. The future of the Church still lives in its origins.
That is why I invite you to memory and "visit" the apostolic Church to seek certain criteria. We know that the College of Bishops, which will be inserted in the bishops through the sacrament, succeeds the apostolic college. The world needs to know this exists unbroken succession. In the Church at least, this link with the divine arket has not broken. People already know the suffering of so many breaks, they need to find in the Church an indelible permanence of grace from the beginning.
4. Bishop as a witness of the Risen
Let therefore when the Apostolic Church must redial the Quorum of the Twelve after the betrayal of Judas. Without the Twelve, the fullness of the Spirit can not descend. The successor must be sought among those who have been following along the path of Jesus and can now become "with the twelve" a "witness of the resurrection" (cf. Acts 1: 21-22). Must select among the disciples of Jesus witnesses of the Risen.
From here derives the essential criterion to sketch the face of the bishops that we want. Who is a witness of the Risen? This is someone who has followed Jesus from the beginning and is made with the apostles witness of the Resurrection. For us, this is a unifying criterion: the bishop is the one who knows how to make present what happened to Jesus and know especially with the Church be a witness to his resurrection. The bishop is above all a martyr of the Risen. This is not an isolated but together witness to the Church. His life and ministry should make credible the Resurrection. By uniting with Christ in the cross really engaged himself, he brought forth his Church life that does not die. The courage to die, generosity to offer his own life and burn for the herd are listed in the "DNA" of the episcopate. Renunciation and sacrifice are congenital to the Episcopal mission. And I want to emphasize this: renunciation and sacrifice are congenital to the Episcopal mission. The episcopate is not for himself but for the Church, for the flock, for others, especially for those who, in the world, would be discarded.
Therefore, to identify a bishop, accounting human gifts, intellectual, cultural or even pastoral is not necessary. The profile of a bishop is not the algebraic sum of its virtues. It is clear that we need someone who excels ( cic , can 378 § 1.): his human integrity ensures its ability to healthy relationships, balanced, not project onto others his own shortcomings and become a factor instability, its Christian strength is essential to promote brotherhood and communion, his behavior just testament to the high extent of the disciples of the Lord, his cultural preparation allows him to interact with people and cultures, his orthodoxy and his fidelity to the whole truth preserved by the Church is a pillar and a reference point, its internal and external discipline allows you to be in possession of itself and opens a space for the reception and the conduct of others, the ability to govern with paternal firmness ensures the safety authority that helps to grow, its transparency and detachment in the administration of community property confers moral authority and raise the esteem of all.
However, all these essential gifts should be a variation of the central witness of the Risen subject to this priority commitment. It is the Spirit of the Risen One who makes his witnesses, that perfect and student quality and value by building the bishop.
5. God's sovereignty elector
But back to the apostolic text. After the difficult discernment, prayer is the apostles: "Thou, Lord, which knowest the heart of all men, show us which of these two you have chosen" (Acts 1: 24) and "they cast lots" ( Acts 1: 26). Learn what the atmosphere of our work and that is the real author of our choices. We can not get away from this "show you, Lord." It is always essential to ensure the sovereignty of God. The choice can not be dictated by our claims, conditioned by any "teams", factions or hegemonies. To ensure that sovereignty, two fundamental attitudes are necessary: ​​the court of our own conscience before God and collegiality. And this is a guarantee.
From the first step of our complex work (nunciatures labor officiales, members and senior), these two attitudes are essential: the conscience before God and peer engagement. Not decide arbitrarily, but discern together. Nobody can have everything in hand, each posing with humility and honesty his own tesserae in a mosaic which belongs to God.
This fundamental vision drives us to abandon our small coastal boats to follow the road of the great ship of the Church of God, the universal horizon of salvation, strong compass in the Word and in the ministry, the certainty of the breath of Spirit which grows and certainty port awaits.
6. Bishops' kerygmatic "
Another criterion we are taught by Acts 6: 1-7: the apostles lay hands on those who must use the table because they can not "ignore the Word of God." Since faith comes from the announcement, we need bishops kerygmatic. Men who make available this "you" of which Paul speaks. Guards doctrine men, not to measure how the world lives from the truth that it contains, but to fascinate the world for enchanted by the beauty of love, to seduce him with the offers the freedom given by the gospel. The Church does not need apologists its own causes or crusades for his battles, but humble and confident purveyors of truth, who know that it is always their discount new and have confidence in its power. Conscious that even when making night and the day's work will be found tired bishops in the field, the seed will be germinating. Male patients, because they know that the tares will never intrusive as to fill the field. The human heart is made of wheat, it is the enemy who threw the bad seed in secret. However, the time from the chaff is already irrevocably fixed.
I would like to emphasize that: male patients! It is said that Siri used to repeat: "The virtues of a bishop are five in number: first patience, second patience, patience third, the fourth and last patience patience with regard to those who invite us to have patience. "
It is therefore rather embark on the preparation of the land, the extent of sowing. Act as confident sowers, avoiding the fear of one who has the illusion that the harvest depends only on him, or desperate students who, having failed to do their homework attitude, exclaimed that he now n ' nothing more to do.
7. Worshipers of Bishops
The text of Acts 6, 1-7 refers to prayer as the one of the essential tasks of the bishop: "select from among you, brothers, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, and we préposerons to this office and as for us, we will devote to prayer and to the ministry of the word "(vv. 3-4). I mentioned kerygmatic bishops, now I note another feature of the identity of the bishop a man of prayer. In prayer, it must have the same parresia in the proclamation of the Word, he must have in prayer, because it deals with God our Lord the good of his people, the salvation of his people. Be courageous in his intercessory prayer as Abraham, who was negotiating with God's salvation of the people (cf. Gn 18, 22-33) as Moses, when he felt powerless to guide the people (Num. 11, 10-15 ), when the Lord is tired of his people (cf. No. 14, 10-19), or when he tells her he is going to destroy the people and that he promises to appoint the head of another people. Have the courage to say no, I do not negotiate my people before Him! (Cf. Ex 32, 11-14.30.32). A man who has not the courage to talk to God on behalf of his people can not be a bishop - I say this from my heart, I am sure - no more than that is not capable of assume the mission to lead the people of God to the point that He, the Lord tells him (cf. Ex 32, 33-34).
And this also applies to the apostolic patience it must have the same prayer hypomone he must exercise in the preaching of the Word (cf. 2 Cor 6: 4). The bishop must be able to "get in patience" before God, watching and letting himself look, finding and letting find patiently before the Lord. Often falling asleep before the Lord, but this is good, it feels good!
Parresia hypomone in prayer and forge the heart of the bishop and the accompanying parresia and hypomone it must have in the proclamation of the Word in the kerygma. This is what I understand when I read verse 4 of Chapter 6 of the Acts of the Apostles.
8. Pastors bishops
In words that I sent to papal representatives, and I traced the profile of candidates for the episcopate: they must be relatives of pastors, "fathers and brothers, they are soft, and patients merciful, they like poverty, inner freedom as to the Lord and also outside, as simplicity and austerity of life, they do not have a psychology of "princes" ... they are not ambitious and they do not seek the episcopate ... they are the spouse of a church without being constantly in search of another - it is called adultery. They are able to "monitor" the flock entrusted to them, that is to say, to take care of everything united guard; ... able to "ensure" to the flock "( 21 June 2013 ).
I repeat that the Church needs genuine pastors, and I would like to pursue this profile pastor. Let the will of the Apostle Paul (cf. Acts 20, 17, 38). This is the only speech by the apostle in the book of Acts is addressed to Christians. He does not talk to his opponents Pharisees nor the Greek sages, but to his own. He speaks to us. He says the pastors of the Church "to the Word of grace who has the power to build and to give the heritage." They are not the masters of the Word, but they are given to it, they are servants of the Word. Only in this way it is possible to build and get the inheritance of the saints. To those who torment themselves with the question about their heritage - "What is the legacy of a bishop? Gold or silver? "- Paul answers: holiness. The Church remains when spreads God's holiness in its members. When the depths of his heart, which is the Holy Trinity, holiness springs and reaches the whole body. It is necessary that the anointing flows from the top to the hem of the coat. A bishop could never stop worrying that the oil of the Spirit of holiness comes well until the last piece of the habit of his Church.
The Second Vatican Council asserts that the bishops' pastoral care, that is to say, the usual daily care and their sheep, is fully recovered [them] "( Lumen gentium , n. 27). More must be done to stop these two qualifiers care of the flock: normal and everyday. In our time, habit and are often associated with everyday routine and boredom. That is why we often seek to escape to an "elsewhere" permanent. This is a temptation for pastors of all pastors. Spiritual fathers are well explained to us so that we understand and that we do not let victims. Even in the Church, we are unfortunately not free of risk. This is why it is important to reaffirm that the mission of the bishop requires attendance and everyday. I think that this time of meetings and conferences, the decree of the Council of Trent residence is present it is very current and it would be nice if the Congregation for Bishops write something about it. The herd needs to find its place in the heart of the pastor. If it is not firmly established itself in Christ and His Church, it will be constantly buffeted by the waves in search of ephemeral compensation and will not provide shelter to the flock.
At the end of my speech, I ask myself: where can we find such men? This is not easy. Exist? How to select? I think the prophet Samuel in search of a successor to Saul (cf. 1 Sam 16, 11-13) which asks the old Jesse: "In what is done with your boys? "And hearing that little David was tending the flock, he ordered:" Send and fetch. " We also can not fail to examine the fields of the Church in seeking to present to the Lord, for He says, "Give him the anointing: this is it! ". I'm sure they exist, for the Lord will not abandon his Church. Maybe is it we who are not going quite in the fields to search. Maybe we need to Samuel's warning: "We will not sit down to table before he came here." This is the holy zeal that I want this lively congregation.

Feast of the Assumption

 The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - another example of "not-so-ordinary" days! These are COUNTING days - and...