Voices from Russia

Friday, 6 February 2015

Pope Francisco Declares Oscar Romero a “Martyr”

00 Juana Alicia. Monsenor Oscar Romero. 1996

Monseñor Óscar Romero

Juana Alicia

1996 

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This week, Pope Francisco Bergoglio declared Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez a “martyr” for the Catholic faith, the last major step on the road to becoming a saint. Almost thirty-five years ago, on 24 March 1980, American-trained and -backed death-squader Roberto d’Aubuisson ordered Romero’s assassination. The National Catholic Reporter wrote that there was unease with Romero’s case for sainthood amongst high-ranking prelates, including Benedict XVI Ratzinger, “because of Romero’s embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ didn’t just seek liberation from sin, but from every type of oppression”. In fact, the Vatican had a ban on Romero’s beatification, which the pope lifted with his declaration.

Liberation theology, which originated in Latin America, was a powerful force within the Catholic Church, aligning the church with the poor and condemning American-backed militarism. In Empire’s Workshop, I made the case that liberation theology posed an existential threat for the rising New Right, both its secular and religious versions. In many ways, it was the first “political religion” that united post–Vietnam War conservatives, before they moved on to Islam. Liberation theology’s threat was primal, since it represented a reformed and progressive version of Christianity that emphasised inherent rights… only not the kind of inherent rights our libertarian Mullahs emphasize (i.e., property rights). Liberation theologians had a vision of individual dignity based on social solidarity and earthly economic justice. In the 1970s, both respected conservative theologians like Michael Novak and fringe Bible-thumpers set their sights on liberation theology as an evil that they had to be doctrinally defeat and institutionally eradicate. It’s in this context that Oscar Romero being cleared for beatification (by a pope from Latin America who has his own complicated relationship to liberation theology) is important, which progressives should see as a rearguard battle in the culture wars, which are political wars, which are economic wars, which in Central America were real life-and-death wars.

5 February 2015

Greg Gindin

The Nation

http://www.thenation.com/blog/197073/pope-francis-declares-oscar-romero-martyr-faith-whose-faith

Editor:

This points up the inherent contradiction at the heart of the so-called “Pro-Life” movement. You can see that in a website called “Consistent Life”… they try to square support for rabid rightwing neoliberalism and American exceptionalism with “Pro-Life” rhetoric. It falls entirely flat, as they’re trying to combine inherently opposite concepts. If you were Pro-Life… you’d oppose capital punishment… but the Republican Party is all for it. If you were Pro-Life, you’d be for a vigorous social safety net (as both Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francisco support)… but the Republican Party is against it in its support of unbridled greed and cupidity. If you were Pro-Life, you’d oppose American aggression in foreign parts… but the Republican Party is all for it, as it profits its big donors. In short, Consistent Life spits on Archbishop Romero’s legacy by supporting a political faction that spat (and still spits) on what he held near and dear. Consistent Life supports the godless and theomachistic Republican Party… ergo, they’re hypocrites of the most noisome sort. On the one hand, you have Archbishop Romero, who died for his beliefs… on the other, you have Consistent Life, which spits on those beliefs by supporting the Republicans who killed him (and who continue to press for a godless Crapitalist Corporate Hegemony over the world). You can honour one or the other… they’re mutually exclusive. I know where I stand. What about you?

BMD

Sunday, 28 December 2014

RT Presents… Catholics Around the World Celebrate Christmas

00 Catholic Christmas 01. Bethlehem. 28.12.14

Thousands of believers gathered in the biblical town of Bethlehem (Bethlehem Governorate. PALESTINE) in the West Bank to celebrate Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity.

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00 Catholic Christmas 02. Bethlehem. 28.12.14

Pilgrims prayed inside a grotto where Christians believe the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus, under the Church of Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, during Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.

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00 Catholic Christmas 03. Bethlehem. 28.12.14

Catholic clergy waiting for the arrival of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal at the Church of the Nativity.

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00 Catholic Christmas 04. Vatican. Pope Francisco. 28.12.14         

Pope Francisco Bergoglio served a traditional Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at St Peter Basilica at the Vatican, urging the world to find courage, warmth, and tenderness.

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00 Catholic Christmas 05. Vatican. Pope Francisco. 28.12.14

Pope Francisco venerated a statue of the Baby Jesus as he arrived to serve Christmas Eve Mass at St Peter Basilica at the Vatican.

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00 Catholic Christmas 06. Baghdad. 28.12.14

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Sacred Heart parish in Baghdad (Baghdad Governorate) IRAQ.

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00 Catholic Christmas 07. Baghdad. 28.12.14

At Sacred Heart parish in Baghdad, they sang “Praise Jesus our Lord, O Praise Him”. Worshippers remembered the thousands of Christians displaced by Islamic State militants this year.

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00 Catholic Christmas 08. Jordan. 28.12.14

Refugee Iraqi Christians gather for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in Amman (Amman Governorate) JORDAN.

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00 Catholic Christmas 09. Jordan. 28.12.14

Iraqi refugees at St George the all-Victorious Catholic Church in Amman JORDAN for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.

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25 December 2014

RT

http://rt.com/in-vision/catholics-world-celebrate-christmas/

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Sputnik International Presents… Christmas Spirit in Every Corner of the World

00 Christmas Spirit 01. Seoul KOREA. 25.12.14

Volunteers clad in Santa Claus costumes throw their hats in the air as they gather to deliver gifts to the poor in downtown Seoul (Seoul National Capital Area) ROK.

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00 Christmas Spirit 02. Kaliningrad RUSSIA. 25.12.14

Christmas at St Adalbert of Prague Roman Catholic parish in Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad Oblast. Northwestern Federal District) RF.

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00 Christmas Spirit 03. Sydney AUSTRALIA. 25.12.14

British travellers Liam Wadeson (left), Jemma Wild and Ashley Colotta, (right), frolic in the waves as they celebrate Christmas Day at Bondi Beach in Sydney (Sydney Region. New South Wales) AUSTRALIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 04. Nairobi KENYA. 25.12.14

The choir at Shrine of Mary Help of Christian Church sings during Christmas Mass in Nairobi (Nairobi County. Nairobi Metro Area) KENYA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 05. Beijing CHINA. 25.12.14

A Chinese man prays during Christmas Eve mass of at the South Cathedral official Catholic church in Beijing (Beijing Municipality) PRC.

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00 Christmas Spirit 06. Guiyang CHINA. 25.12.14

Members of a local parachute club wearing Santa Claus costumes fly past residential buildings dropping presents to pedestrians during a promotional event celebrating Christmas in Guiyang (Guizhou Province) PRC.

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00 Christmas Spirit 07. Islamabad PAKISTAN. 25.12.14

A Pakistani Christian family gathers around a fire to warm themselves from the evening cold in an alley of a Christian neighbourhood decorated with festive lights for Christmas in Islamabad (Islamabad Capital Area) PAKISTAN.

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00 Christmas Spirit 08. Chilpancingo MEXICO. 25.12.14

Men look at a Christmas tree, with pictures of the 43 missing trainee teachers, in the Ayotzinapa Teacher Training Raul Isidro Burgos College in Ayotzinapa, on the outskirts of Chilpancingo de los Bravo (Guerrero) MEXICO.

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00 Christmas Spirit 09. Bethlehem PALESTINE. 25.12.14

On Christmas Eve, a Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus holds balloons at Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem (Bethlehem Governorate) PALESTINE.

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00 Christmas Spirit 10. Ahmadabad INDIA. 25.12.14

A man exits an illuminated Church on Christmas Eve in Ahmedabad (Ahmedabad District. Gujarat State) INDIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 11. Moscow RUSSIA. 25.12.14

Archbishop Paolo Pezzi (centre) during Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Moscow (Federal City of Moscow. Central Federal District) RF.

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00 Christmas Spirit 12. Mumbai INDIA. 25.12.14

Indian girls pose for photos near decorative statues of Santa Claus outside a church on Christmas in Mumbai (Mumbai City District. Maharashtra State) INDIA.

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00 Christmas Spirit 13. Laghman Province AFGHANISTAN. 25.12.14

A US Army soldier from the 3 Cavalry Regiment dressed as Santa Claus greets fellow soldiers eating Christmas lunch at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman Province of Afghanistan.

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00 Christmas Spirit 14. St Peter Basilica VATICAN CITY. 25.12.14

Pope Francisco Bergoglio kissed the statue of baby Jesus as he arrived to lead Christmas Midnight Mass at St Peter Basilica in Vatican City. He prayed for peace in the Ukraine and decried the “brutal persecution” of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria in his traditional Christmas address, known as the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and the world).

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Christmas is one of the main Christian holidays. It’s an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, observed as a religious and cultural tradition among billions of people across the world. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world’s nations, and a great number of non-Christian people celebrate it. According to the Gregorian calendar, the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant churches celebrate Christmas on 25 December. Roman Emperor Theodosius II made the decision to celebrate Christmas on 25 December at the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431.

Advent precedes Christmas, which starts four weeks before Christmas. This period is supposed to prepare the faithful the birth of Jesus. The festive customs associated in various countries with Christmas mix pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular customs of the holiday include gift giving, completing an Advent calendar, Christmas music and carolling, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, such as Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and garlands.

Christmas is associated with Santa Claus, also known as also known as St Nicholas and Father Christmas, a cultural figure with legendary, folkloric, and historic origins. In many Western cultures, folklore has it that Santa Claus brings presents to the homes of good children the night before Christmas. According to early Roman Christian traditions, three special liturgies are served on Christmas… a midnight Mass, a Mass at dawn, and a Mass during the day. In the Roman Catholic Church, Christmas celebrations last for eight days, from 25 December to 1 January, a period known as the Octave.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus when he leaves his official residence in the North Pole and flies around the world in his sleigh. NORAD has tracked Santa’s journey for more than 50 years. As gift-giving and many other Christmas customs involve heightened economic activity, the holiday became a key sales period for retailers and businesses all around the world. Groups and schools often perform Nativity plays and Christmas pageants during the holiday period. They depict the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The tradition dates from the 10th-century Roman Empire.

25 December 2014

Sputnik International

http://sputniknews.com/photo/20141225/1016225951.html

Thursday, 18 December 2014

President Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz’s Speech to the Cuban Nation and People on the Recent Developments in Cuban-American Bilateral Relations

04 Raul Castro with Patriarch Kirill

President Raúl Castro Ruz’s policies align Cuba in a tacit alliance with the BRICS; it remains close to both Russia and China in their struggle with the West

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Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers, on many occasions, I’ve reiterated our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the USA based on sovereign equality, to deal reciprocally with a variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people. On several occasions, both publicly and privately, Comrade Fidel conveyed this stance to the US Government during our long-standing struggle, stating our willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities, and sacrifices, proved their continued faithfulness to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we’ve kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died to defend our principles since the beginning of our wars of independence in 1868. Today, despite difficulties, we’ve embarked on the task of updating our economic model to build a prosperous and sustainable Socialism.

Because of dialogue at the highest level, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we’ve been able to make headway to solve some topics of mutual interest for both nations. As Fidel promised on June 2001, when he said, “They shall return!” Gerardo, Ramon, and Antonio arrived today in our homeland. Hundreds of solidarity committees and groups, governments, parliaments, organisations, institutions, and personalities, who for the last sixteen years made tireless efforts demanding their release, share the enormous joy of their families and of all our people, who relentlessly fought for this goal. We convey our deepest gratitude and commitment to all of them. President Obama’s decision deserves the respect and acknowledgement of our people.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support of the Vatican, most particularly the support of Pope Francisco, in the efforts for improving relations between Cuba and the USA. I also want to thank the Government of Canada for facilitating high-level dialogue between the two countries. In turn, we decided to release and send back to the USA a spy of Cuban origin who worked for that nation. On the other hand, for humanitarian reasons, today, we also sent the American citizen Alan Gross back to his country. Unilaterally, as has always been our practise, and in strict compliance with the provisions of our legal system, the concerned prisoners received legal benefits, including the release of those persons that the US Government had conveyed their interest in.

We also agreed to renew diplomatic relations. In no way does this mean that we’ve solved the heart of the matter. The economic, commercial, and financial blockade, which causes enormous human and economic damages to our country, must stop. Although the blockade is part of American law, the President of the USA has the executive authority to modify its implementation. We propose to the US Government that we adopt mutual steps to improve the bilateral atmosphere and advance towards normalisation of relations between our two countries, based on the principles of International Law and the UN Charter. Cuba reiterates its willingness to coöperate in multilateral bodies, such as the United Nations.

Whilst acknowledging our profound differences, particularly, on issues related to national sovereignty, democracy, human rights, and foreign policy, I reaffirm our willingness to dialogue on all these issues. I call upon the US Government to remove the obstacles hindering or restricting ties between peoples, families, and citizens of both countries, particularly restrictions on travelling, direct post services, and telecommunications. The progress made in our exchanges proves that it’s possible to find solutions to many problems. As we’ve reiterated, we must learn the art of coexisting with our differences in a civilised way.

raul castro17 December 2014

Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz

President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba

President of the Council of State of Cuba

First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) 

Greanville Post                         

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2014/12/17/the-new-opening-with-the-usa/?utm_campaign=Newsatme&utm_content=The%2BNew%2BOpening%2BWith%2Bthe%2BUSA&utm_medium=news%40me&utm_source=mail%2Balert

Editor:      

By doing this, President Obama makes it clear that he, not the GOP Greedsters, will set the tone of debate for the next two years. I expect further actions… firstly, he acted unilaterally on immigration, now, he’s acting unilaterally on Cuba. You see, the pinheaded Republican Affluent Effluent didn’t expect these actions, so, they’re not reacting in a reasoned way. BHO is carefully turning up the heat under the ignoranus Know-Nothing GOP to provoke them into stupid statements (not a hard task, truly… the GOP isn’t called the “Stupid Party” for nought). Instead of pursuing their own agenda, the Republicans HAVE to respond to BHO’s moves or have their crackbrained base savage them. In short, its sweet revenge for BHO… he’s FAR smarter than the Republican imbeciles think that he is. His foreign policy towards Russia is a shambles… but I’d say that Russia is VERY low on his list of priorities. His real focus has always been domestic policy. I expect that the next executive order could involve the ACA or homosexual rights… with an anti-Wall Street action an outside possibility.

BHO seized the high ground from the clueless Republican stumblebums (any bloc with the likes of Ted Cruz in the leadership certainly isn’t stellar in the brains department)… he’s looking forward to 2016. Don’t bet on Hillary… remember WHY the Democrats nominated BHO… “He wasn’t Hillary”. Ponder that.

BMD

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