BY STEFAN GIGACZ
French Catholic couple Daniele and Rene Sirven travelled last week from their Montpellier home to Houston to witness the death of their long time friend, Ricky Lynn Lewis, a convicted murderer whose execution is scheduled for Wednesday morning Australian time.
According to La Vie, Daniele and Rene first made contact with Lewis in 2003 after founding an association in 1999 to combat the death penalty.
Now La Vie is blogging the final days of the 'compte à rebours' (countdown) to the execution. Lewis denies taking part in the rape and killing for which he was convicted although he admits being part of the burglary during which the crimes took place. More about that from the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
Daniele and Rene's latest post indicates that they spent eight hours on Friday with Lewis, who is apparently also a Christian. Earlier posts here, here and here. (Open in Chrome browser for English translation.)
Later update: Rickey executed.
Final report from Daniele and Rene here in French. (Open in Google Chrome for translation.)
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Rorate Coeli reports that as Jesuit provincial for Argentina Fr Jorge Mario Bergoglio faced great difficulties with the leadership of the order in Rome:
Ignazio Ingrao reports for Italian weekly Panorama:
With a letter, the Superior General of the Society blocked Bergoglio from being received
Marginalized by his own Jesuit brothers, forced for six years to be a confessor in a church in Cordoba, more than 700 km from Buenos Aires, and even forbidden from visiting other Jesuit communities. The story of the relationship between Jorge Mario Bergoglio and the Society founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola is very painful. There is even a letter of the Superior General of the Society, Dutchman Peter Hans Kolvenbach, that establishes an express prohibition to other houses and communities to receive Bergoglio, at any moment he might have wished to leave the church assigned to him in Cordoba. A true a proper ostracism, that takes place within the most difficult and troubles years of the Society, guided first by Spanish Father Pedro Arrupe, then intervened by John Paul II through Father Paolo Dezza, then returned to the hands of Father Kolvenbach.
His sister Marta and his brother-in-law Enrico Narvaja were direct witnesses of those difficult years for Father Bergoglio: the enfant prodige, chosen Provincial superior of Argentina at 37, destined to a brilliant career, seemed to have been definitely set apart up to when he was 50.
On a lighter note, Clay and Spittle shows here in a series of photos comparing Pope Francis with Pope Benedict that the two pontiffs are not as different as the media have made out. That's not the whole story, however, according to Gerry O'Connell...
Pope Francis has released a wave of enthusiasm +joy in Rome such as we have not seen for many years.He's really connecting with people— Gerard O'Connell (@gerryorome) April 7, 2013
As if to illustrate that point, @Pontifex and his various linguistic alter egos now have more than 5 million Twitter followers.
And this from Rocco Palmo:
In latest change, Pope shelves gold ferula made for B16 in 2009, resurrects silver staff used by Paul VI, JPII: twitter.com/roccopalmo/sta…— Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) April 7, 2013
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This week marks the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII's landmark encyclical Pacem in Terris, issued on 11 April 1963 at the height of the Cold War. Appropriately, last week brought news of two significant developments for the cause of peace, notes Drew Christensen at America Magazine:
First, the United Nations approved a Treaty on Small Arms Trade. By a vote of 154 to 3 with 23 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly approved a treaty intended to limit the transfer weapons to potential human rights abusers and perpetrators of genocide.
A second New York Times story related growing levels of cooperation between the Obama administration and the International Criminal Court, breaking with the policy of studied indifference it, like the George W. Bush administration, had followed earlier. The latest developments include its assistance in transferring Bosco Ntangenda to the International Criminal Court and funding rewards for information leading to the arrest of people sought by the court.
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PALMS Australia assistant director Brendan Joyce reflects on what it means to work for a faith-based development NGO:
Despite the similarities between some faith-based and some secular NGOs in terms of program objectives and operations, it is important not to think faith could be removed from development entirely. Significant numbers of individuals are motivated by faith and will seek programs which reflect these values. If these agencies were to drop their faith in pursuit of inclusiveness (noble an aim as it is), those who identified with the organisation because of their faith may feel unsupported or misunderstood, possibly moving on to less established or ethical organisations professing these values but perhaps implementing different, even nefarious, aims.
There is also a great risk that the increasingly secular ‘developed’ world neglects the importance of the spiritual in many of the cultures in which development activities occur. Many of Palms Australia’s partners, even some non-faith-based ones, identify something in the particular values informing our work which appeals to them more than a secular alternative. Understanding someone else’s values is a vital step in building a mutual relationship of trust and respect with them. Community Development (and long before that, the “catholic social teaching” principal of Subsidiarity) tell us that the decisions should be made as much as possible at the grassroots level. If a community in Timor-Leste, Indonesia or India feels more comfortable working with a Catholic, Muslim or Hindu organisation, then that should be respected by aid workers and donors.
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Our washer flooded and I spent an hour mopping, annoyed. Then I thought: I'll bet Pope Francis wouldn't get annoyed. And felt better. #WWPFD— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) April 7, 2013
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