Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ubi Caritas. . .

Fr Harrison on "pastoral care" from The Hapless Bench.

[A tip of the balmoral to Mr Eakins of CTNJogues for the reference.]

Hitler and Stalin: Only Seconds in Command

According to this piece in the Daily Mail, Fr Gabriele Amorth, the Roman exorcist, contends that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the devil. Not terribly hard to believe.

And it reminds me of a story I heard in school years ago. I was educated by the Salesians and one of our priests told this story he heard from one of the "participants" when he was in seminary. (Yes, it means this is a third, possibly fourth hand story, depending upon how you count. The hearsay objection would be sustained if this weren't my own blog.)

In the 1930's some German priests had already been arrested for their anti-Nazi activities. These two Salesian priests had been arrested and were in prison. (Not a concentration camp but as I recall a general common or garden variety sort of prison.) At one point the inmates were bused in to some sort of Nazi rally to swell the numbers. They were well out of the way and guarded but it looked good when photographed from a distance. Hitler was to speak at the rally. The two priests had talked of Hitler and had similar opinions about him. When he appeared they planned quietly to recite prayers of exorcism over him from wherever they happened to be. They did so. He was not very far into his speech and the priests not too far into the exorcism prayers, when Hitler stopped in mid sentence and fell to the floor as if he'd been sandbagged.

At which point the rally was over and the priests and other prisoners were shipped back to the prison and the rally was never mentioned again.

You can believe that or not as you please. I'm not altogether sure I do. But in any event that's how it was told to me. So Fr Amorth may not be alone in his view of who was behind at least one of the "great" men of the 20th century.

This Came in the Mail Yesterday

This really did come in the mail yesterday. It was in one of those envelopes that come every week with discount coupons from local merchants. It's usually carpet-cleaners, credit dentists, discount eyeglasses, and assorted pizza-delivery offers. This one included Catholic school. If you click on the illustration you can see a larger version of it. You get $25 off your registration fee and a free T shirt -- if you take the school tour.

Words fail.

And for the cynical amongst us, I swear on a stack of bishops: I don't even know how to work "Photoshop".

The Family That Sprays Together, Stays Together

On Avalon Street in Echo Park, Victoria Villicano is known as a devoted mother who is often seen behind the wheel of her SUV, driving her two teenage sons to stores and sporting events.

But Los Angeles Police Department detectives say the 42-year-old woman also drove a five-member tagging crew, including her two children, around Silver Lake and Echo Park, stopping long enough for the group to jump out and vandalize.

So says the L.A. Times this morning. Not the usual sort of fare for The Inn. But that headline was crying out to be used. The Press Telegram didn't use it. The Times wouldn't use it. So it was up to me.

(Even though. . .they probably aren't together. I'm guessing separate sections of the city jail facility down at Parker Center.) is Back

Hilary informs us this morning that "" is back on the web. Good news and bad news. The good news is that he is, as ever, an excellent read. The bad news is that, even with available "free" time shrinking, it still needs to be added to the "must reads".

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

God Bless Opera

Opera 9 - Always secure with Opera

Few are as ham-fisted as I, so it is highly unlikely that you, too, will lose half your template encoding. But if you should, download the Opera browser if you don't already use it. Find an archived blog page from the recent past and if you have only used the "save index" button rather than the save-the-whole-blog button you will find a full page with all the encoding. If you click "View >> Source" Opera will reveal to you all the coding on that page. A bit of copy/paste and the rest of your coding is back. Or the rest of my coding in this instance.

Laus sit Deo. I was not looking forward to entering all that stuff again by hand.

ADDENDUM: The Inn is not usually inundated with mail. So when I get two (2) notes on the same topic I really ought to comment. It seems Mickey$oft's Internet Exploder also has a "source" button. There is actually a copy of M$IE on this machine. It came with it (and court case or no court case to the contrary, it is pretty darn well integrated into windows) but I never use it. So you may not have to download Opera after all. But you ought to. It's a far better browser.

Interesting Things You Can Learn About Blogspot. . .

. . . .if you're not careful. If the "Save Settings" button hangs up and takes an unconscionable amount of time to load and one has to quit the programme and move on to something else that portion of the "settings" which has not been "saved" in this go-round will vanish. No matter how many times they've been "saved" in the past. That's why a large part of this template is missing.

Isn't that interesting?

#%@&^# Blogspot, anyway.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Travel Tips

Useful information when using your Eurorail Pass.

More "Signs"

The "insurance office" sign reminds of a story I read years ago in the old Irish Press, probably sometime in the '70s or '80s. It was during the height of "the troubles" and the loyalist parties up the north were protesting some government capitulation to the fenians. One of the parties was handing out bumper stickers, signs, and huge banners to all who would take them proclaiming "Ulster Says No". Some patriotic soul who owned a car park took one of the large banners to place on his business. Only after business fell off considerably did he notice that his business sign now announced that "Ulster Says No Parking".


One of our triumvirate took an unauthorized holiday from our weekly archdiocesan-sponsored scavenger hunt for the traditional Roman Rite Mass (you can find the details of the hunt here; if it's the fourth Sunday, it must be Los Angeles). So this morning it was only Carlo and me. This reduces the conversation somewhat as Carlo is extremely deaf and can hear very little of what I say. It doesn't stop him talking or me answering but the communication is haphazard. So we largely observe the surroundings. And as this is Los Angeles, the surroundings are a wonderland.

We pass, for instance, through a section of Koreatown. There is the Korean Presbyterian Church, the Korean Methodist Church, and assorted non-denominational denominations of Korean Protestantism. And almost all of them have advertisements for services in Spanish. So evidently there are Mexican Korean Presbyterians. My menu of approved stereotypes is having trouble adjusting to this. (By the way, these are not rinky-dink storefronts either. These are huge buildings on prime real estate.)

And then there was the little insurance office on La Brea. Now this one was a little storefront. It had signs plastered all over it announcing various deals. And over the main door was a larger sign that just said "Insurance Office". And over that an electronic sign providing more advertising. But only a few words at a time. And so the combination of electric sign and painted sign proclaimed to the passerby: "not a good Insurance Office". If you waited long enough, as we did waiting for the red light to turn green, the words "not a good" eventually changed to "driver?" And then "we can help". But for the better part of a sixty second minute somebody was not getting his money's worth on his electronic sign.

And finally one more sign conjunction. There was a Toyota which actually had several signs on the doors and elsewhere. But on the back were two: one said "Student Driver" and the other was a large Divine Mercy picture with "Jesus I trust in You". Well, of course, you have to, don't you. Especially in Los Angeles. And particularly if you're only learning.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Carmelite Calendar

In the proper calendar of the Discalced Carmelites, today is the feast of the Transverberation of the Heart of St Teresa. There is a concise explanation here and a more in-depth meditation on its meaning here. The second lesson of the feast is taken from St John of the Cross. He doesn't mention St Teresa by name but he is obviously referring to here. The text can be found here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

24 Augusti Nono Kalendas Septembris. Luna ...

Sancti Bartholomaei Apostoli, qui Christi Evangdlium in India praedicavit; inde in majorem Armeniam profectus, ibi, cum plurimos ad fidem convertisset, vivus a barbaris decoriatus est, atque, Astyagis Regis jussu, capitis decollatione martyrium complevit. Ipsius sacrum corpus, primo ad Liparam insulam, deinde Beneventum, postremo Romam ad Tiberinam translatiun insulam, ibi pia fidelium veneratione honoratur.

Thus the old Roman martyrology for today's feast of St Bartholomew. You can find more on him (and in English!) in the Catholic Encyclopædia here.

This feast day has a lot of resonance in the Carmelite Order. It was on 24 August that St Teresa of Jesus founded the first of the reformed (Discalced) Carmelite convents, that of St Joseph in Avila. Her secretary, nurse, and constant companion was Blessed Sr Anne of St Bartholomew. St Therese of the Child Jesus had a brother who died in infancy on this day. And the Discalced Carmelite tertiary, the Venerable Anita Cantieri's memory is kept on this day. St John of the Cross was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 24 August 1926. On 24 August 1997, Pope John Paul II announced for the first time that he would proclaim St Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face a Doctor of the Church.

There are more "connections" but I seem to have lost my little list.

St Bartholomew, pray for us!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


It seems after many years I shall have to dispense with Eudora, probably the easiest-to-use e-mail programme available: beautiful look to it, loads of features, and very easy to use. Until now. My ISP refuses to recognize it: "connection aborted due to timeout or other failure (10053)". Mickey$oft's Outlook works a treat, as does Opera's e-mail client, and Thunderbird is rather hiccupy but useable. Right now I'm trying to figure out Pegasus. It's a German product with all that implies, i.e., magnificently constructed, does everything anyone could ever want, works flawlessly, is not at all intuitive, extremely convoluted mechanics for setting up one's preferences, and it may take the rest of my life just to read the instructions. And, yes, one needs to read the instructions. Vide the phrase about "not at all intuitive".

Sigh. I miss Eudora. You'd think a firm as big as Qualcomm would be a bit more aggressive at fixing bugs.

from Charles Moore's "The Spectator's Notes"

This from the 22 July 2006 number of the Speccie:

To Whitby Museum which is unreformed in its miscellany. 'Pair of tongs for removing dogs from church' is my favourite exhibit.

If I had seen it, it would have been mine, too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Red China has nuclear weapons. . .

. . .as does that model of sanity, North Korea, not to mention the serenely stable Pakistan, its unfriendly neighbor India, trigger-happy Israel, and Iran, the land of the mad mullahs, as we read every day is doing its best to get hold of some. Some unsavoury folks in Russia apparently have access to some and would like to sell them for a good price. And most, if not all, of these folks are working on their delivery capabilities.

So what to do? Why, close Cheyenne Mountain, the best-defended spot on the planet, of course. The place that tracked the North Korean missile launches a few weeks ago.

The mandatory "efficiency" and "strengthening our defense" bumpf aside, it seems to be something the bean counters came up with. The Washington Post has it here. As does this site, which brings to mind the law of unintended consequences.

And the whole thing first noticed here.

Still here. . .

. . .and still footering about with the new pc. It's like a newborn electronic baby; it has to be trained to do the simplest things that were second nature to the old one. And sometimes the best solutions are the simplest. An entire afternoon's tinkering and tweaking (and swearing and pounding the desk) could've been saved by un-installing and then re-installing the culprit software. And who knew so many passwords were needed for one small machine? The urge to use "swordfish" for everything was great but in the long run I suppose not. I can't be the only one in the world who still remembers "Horse Feathers".

Now to find out why my old address book won't load. . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Assumpta est Maria in Cælum

The Blessed Cardinal Schuster has much to say about today's feast of the Assumption. Three small chapters, in fact. Here is the introduction and a description of the earliest celebration of the "vigiliary" procession.

The feast of the “ Dormition “ or Assumption of the Mother of God into heaven is probably the most ancient of all the feasts of Mary, since, long before the Councils of Chalcedon and Ephesus, it appears to have been commonly and widely celebrated, not only among Catholics, but also among the schismatical sects and the very ancient national Churches such as the Armenian and the Ethiopian.

It is probable that the dedication in Rome itself of the Basilica maior of the Blessed Virgin on the Esquiline on August 5, in the time of Pope Liberius (352-366), or in that of Sixtus III, had some connection with the feast of the Assumption, which, even if it was kept in the Gallican rite on January 18, and in that of the Copts on January 16, yet it was celebrated by the Byzantines in the middle of the month of August, on a date which the Emperor Maurice fixed definitely in the time of St Gregory the Great.

Whatever may have been the origin of its introduction, it is certain that the festival was kept at Rome long before the Pontificate of Pope Sergius, for, as we have already said, this Pontiff, in order to surround it with greater splendour, ordained that a solemn procession should take place every year on this occasion, starting from the Basilica of St Adriano sul Foro, and proceeding to St Mary Major, where the Pope celebrated the stational Mass.

He also prescribed that the same ceremony should take place on the Purification, the Nativity, and the Annunciation of the Mother of God, and in this he was probably influenced by the custom of the Byzantines, who had already been keeping these festivals for several centuries.

Leo IV, about the year 847, ordered that the feast of the Assumption should be preceded at Rome by a solemn vigil, to be kept by the clergy and the people in the Basilica of St Mary Major, and he also appointed that on the day of the Octave the station should be celebrated outside the Porta Tiburtina in the Basilica Maior dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, which had been built by Pope Sixtus III in front of the apse of the Constantinian Church of St Lawrence.

The order of the solemn stational procession introduced in the time of Sergius I is still known to us. Early in the morning, the people, carrying lighted candles and to the singing of antiphons and of solemn litanies, went in procession to the Church of St Adrian, where they awaited the coming of the Pontiff. As soon as he had arrived, having come on horseback from the Lateran, both he and his seven deacons exchanged their usual garments for sombre penitential pænulas, and the procession set off.

First walked seven crossbearers with their crosses, the people followed praying aloud, then came the clergy attached to the palace with the Pope escorted by two acolytes, carrying candelabra with lighted torches according to the Roman imperial custom. A subdeacon came next, swinging a thurible with incense, then two more crossbearers the one behind the other, each bearing a precious stational cross, and finally the procession was closed by the schola, of the choir, composed of the boys of the Orphanage, who sang alternately with the clergy the antiphons and litanies appropriate to the occasion.

When this interminable procession at length reached St Mary Major at the break of dawn, the Pope with his deacons withdrew to the secretarium in order to change their garments and prepare for the celebration of the Mass, while the rest of the clergy together with the people, humbly prostrate before the altar, as is still the custom on Holy Saturday, sang for the third time the Litany ternaria of the Saints, that is to say each invocation was repeated three times.

In course of time this vigiliary ceremony, comprising nocturnal processions with crosses, candles and antiphons, which is so different from the customary Roman pannuchis and which consequently at once betrays its Eastern origin, developed very considerably and became one of the most characteristic ceremonies of medieval Rome.

Monday, August 14, 2006

A New Blogger

Probably not joining St Blog's and probably not showing up any time soon on The Inn's blog roll on the left, is President Ahmadinejad of Iran's new blog. You can find it here. But you may have trouble reading it unless you read Persian (I don't) and unless you have Persian script loaded on your computer (I miss out again).

Since you can end up in the Persian pokey for maintaining a blog in Iran without a gummint license, we're going to assume that Mahmood has signed up for one.

First noted on the website maintained by "The World".

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Referenced on NPR. . . .

. . .but fascinating anyway. The New Bedford Whaling Museum has a website here with wonderful pictures illustrating the New England whaling days.


A.K.A., "The World Pipe Band Championship". It's being held today in Glasgow. In fact, --{{checks watch; does mental time differential calculation}}-- it's over. And it looks like Ulster's own Field Marshal Montgomery PB is the winner of the Grade I. The P&D has the full results here.

The Scots have really come back into their own this year. For the past several years, Irish bands have largely owned the lower grades. Not this time; the Scots are placing well across the board. North America isn't getting much metal this time either. Canada's Robert Malcolm Memorial placed first in Grade II. The only other North American first is - as always - St Thomas Episcopal School's PB in the Juvenile Grade. St Thomas hails from Texas.

My personal favourite, Dublin's St Lawrence O'Toole: only 7th place, alas. And of course I'm not prejudiced. How can you even think such a thing.

Some of the overseas bands are going to have even more grief leaving the U.K. with the new travel restrictions. Putting 19th century silver and ivory Henderson pipes in the hold of an aeroplane is just not on. Even if the people who handle the baggage were not a bunch of thieves, which in my experience they are, the pipes may still be on the bottom of half-a-ton of luggage and subjected to 50° below zero in-flight temperatures.

According to this, two members of SFU's PB are already missing both uniforms and instruments.

No News is Bad News

And there won't be any more news from Seattle Catholic: The time and effort required to maintain the site has become too great a strain. With numerous demands on my time and responsibilities that could not all be adequately met, I have decided this change was necessary to allow for sufficient focus on my spiritual and family life.

I'm very sorry to see the "news" feature of Seattle Catholic go but I see his point. Even this little site always seems to take more time than I think it will. (But then I don't have a life or any sense of priorities so, Deo volente, The Inn will continue to chug along.)

Best wishes for the future, Mr Miller, and thanks for what you have done.

Sudden Thought Over Breakfast

If you own a Hallmark Store, are you then a cardiologist?

Thankyouverymuch. And with thy spirit.

Truro Cathedral.


Officiant: An Elvis Impersonator.

The good news is Truro Cathedral is C-of-E. For a change, it wasn't one of our guys.

Pope Benedict Sends Personal Envoy to the Lebanon

To celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Maronite Patriarch.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oh, one more thing. . .

. . .before I unplug the monitor again. Today would be my mother's 99th birthday were she alive. If you have a spare prayer wandering about without an intention attached, I (and she) would appreciate a memento mori.

Life Among the Semi-Connected

We are getting a new computer. The monitor on the old computer, the orignal computer in this family, breathed its last a few days ago. How old was it? I got as much RAM as I could when I bought it; as much as they'd sell me: 32megs. That's how old. So it really wasn't worth while getting a new monitor for it. This machine, then, will go in the library, the new one will replace this one in the office, and the Ur computer will go to the recycler after I deal with the memory. So at the moment the good monitor is moving back and forth between machines. And whole geological strata of books, magazines, articles, essays, old mail, cds, dvds, old computer stuff, and assorted other bumpf are being shifted from the desk (and the floor and the comfy chair next to the desk and the ottoman in front of the comfy chair) to various file drawers, book cases and rubbish bins in order to make room for the new machinery.

I will soon have lebenty-leben megs of thingummy, a bazillion gigahertz of whatchacallit and a hard drive suitable for containing the sum total of human wisdom. Soon. Eventually. In the fullness of time. In the meantime, things are in something of a kerfuffle. Blogging will resume shortly. If I owe you a response, it will happen. Patience, as Holy Mother Teresa reminds us, gains all things.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

Today's Sunday liturgy of the 9th Sunday after Pentecost is eclipsed by the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. St Matthew relates the event in his Gospel here in the first 9 verses of chapter 17.

The Blessed Cardinal Schuster gives this background on the feast:

A special reference to this great divine manifestation, which the Fathers justly regard as one of the chief miracles wrought by God for a testimony to the Messianic character of His Christ, is to be found in the ancient Roman Liturgy on the solemn vigil of Ember Saturday in Lent. On that solemnity, St Leo the Great delivered several striking homilies on the Gospel story of the Transfiguration; homilies that were all the more effective from being delivered during the nocturnal synaxis which was held at the tomb of Peter, one of the three witnesses of the miracle of the Transfiguration.

When, moreover, the people had ceased to have a clear understanding of the Liturgy, and consequently entered less into the traditional treasures of the Roman Missal, it was felt to be necessary to supply that which was lacking by instituting a new feast in honour of the Transfiguration, with the object of arousing popular devotion to this mystery.

In addition to this, as for many centuries the Greeks had celebrated on August 6 a special festival entitled “H ‘ agia Metamorphosis ton Kurion”, on which day the Christian forces won a famous victory over the Turks, so Callixtus III instituted in 1457, on the same day, the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord as an annual act of thanksgiving to God for the favour received..

The ancient Roman festival of St Sixtus II and his six heroic deacons was in consequence almost obliterated, being reduced to a simple commemoration.

Since the Blessed Cardinal has brought up St Sixtus in his commentary on the Transfiguration, perhaps his remarks on the saint himself and his companions, whose great feast day this once was, will be worth quoting:

On this day there were two Masses at Rome: Sixti in Callisti et in Praetestati, Agapiti et Felicissimi. We must go back to the year 258, when the persecution under the Emperor Valerian is raging. Pope Sixtus, notwithstanding the decree forbidding it, is holding a synaxis in an oratory at the cemetery of Callixtus. He is surprised by the police, and is hardly allowed the time necessary to finish the Mass when he is beheaded as he is seated on his throne.

With him are put to death four deacons who stood around the altar, Januarius, Magnus, Vincent, and Stephen; two other deacons Felicissimus and Agapitus are decapitated on the same day, whilst the archdeacon Lawrence is reserved in order to die a more cruel death three days later. The persecution of the Christians receives fresh impetus from this slaughter, so much so that the Roman clergy are obliged to wait several months before they can choose a successor to the martyred Pontiff.


Station at the Cemetery of Callixtus

Sixtus II was buried in the papal crypt in the place of honour, in a loculus excavated in the end wall; the four deacons who were beheaded with him shared with him also the honour of being buried in the papal vault; whilst Felicissimus and Agapitus, for some unknown reason, were laid to rest in the neighbouring cemetery of Pretextatus on the other side of the Appian Way.

The tragic death of the Pontiff and of his seven deacons deeply impressed the minds of the faithful, so much so that the name of Sixtus II was not only inserted in the Canon of the Mass, together with that of St Lawrence, but it may even be said that his memory dominates the subsequent history of the entire necropolis of Callixtus.

In the Itineraries, indeed, we see the devotion with which the pilgrims of the early Middle Ages, before going down into the subterranean labyrinth, visited the ecclesiam parvam ubi decollatus est sanctus Xystus com diaconibus suis -- as the Salzburg Ininerary attests.

. . . . . .


Station at the Cemetery of Pretextatus

Felicissimus and Agapitus were either not made prisoners with Sixtus or else were dragged before the judge previously to being executed, as was also done in the case of Lawrence the archdeacon. It is certain that they perished by the sword on the same day as the Pontiff; but as it was not any longer possible to bury them in the cemetery of Callixtus, the access to which was perhaps guarded after the massacre, they were honourably interred in the neighbouring cemetery of Pretextatus.

Their earliest burial-place has, in fact, been discovered near the speulunca magna mentioned in the Itineraries. There, also, Pope Damasus had placed the following. . .inscription:

”Behold this tomb; it contains the sacred relics of two saints whom heaven suddenly called to itself. Followers and ministers of the invincible cross, they shared the faith as well as the merits of their Pontiff, and thus attained to the eternal mansions and to the kingdom of the blessed. It is especially the people of Rome who rejoice in this, since the two martyrs led by Sixtus have merited from Christ the highest honours..
Damasus to Felicissimus and Agapitus.”

The tomb of the two deacons is full of graffiti inscribed by priests who said Mass there in early days, and by devout pilgrims who begged the prayers of the martyrs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Israel Strikes Christian Cities North of Beirut

Israel’s offensive in Lebanon has reached Christian cities in the Mount Lebanon area, now full of refugees from three weeks of war between the Jewish State and Hezbollah’s militias.

“Jounieh, Byblos and Fidar were hit”, Former Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz told AsiaNews.

There is a Carmelite house in Journieh, which houses the Lebanese provincialate. I have seen no news mentioning them specifically.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rosenborg: A Recommendation

Still sampling my way through the Danish products available in this country. (You remember Denmark, the land par excellence of the un-pc cartoons?) Yesterday I found some Rosenborg Blue at Trader Joe's. This is wonderful stuff, the full-bore, 12 gauge stuff -- not the dainty, sweetish bleu cheese-product marketed in these parts as salad dressing. This is pungent and sharp and a perfect accompaniment to a good lager. (Mine was Spaten.)

Credo. . .visibilium omnium et invisibilium. . . .

And then there's invisibilium secundum quid.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Christians Under Fire

There are some pieces showing up occasionally that treat of the Christians in the Lebanon but not very many. I've seen none in the Times since the last time I mentioned it here. But that's to be expected. Rather more sadly I've seen very little concern for the fate of the oldest Christian communities in the world from professedly Christian blogs in this country while Israel can do no wrong. Any criticism of tactics is equivalent to bigotry.

This description of the terror in Christian villlages appeared in the press yesteray:

The archbishop of nearby Tyre visited yesterday to steel the spirits of those who had remained behind.

"We are caught in a conflict of Jews and Muslims. We have a mission of peace," said Monsignor Nabil Hage as he walked slowly through Ain Ebel's deserted streets. "This is a holy land. Christ passed here, the Virgin Mary passed here, the apostles passed here. It is a holy land that we must defend."

At the sight of the archbishop, tearful residents came running out of their homes to greet him.

"Pray for us!" a middle-aged woman wailed. "Give us hope!"

And the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem prays for peace here:

The publication of his message coincides with the start of the traditional period of prayer and fasting for the feast of the Assumption of Mary. The patriarch said: “This year, we will fast and pray for peace, for the end of hostilities in Gaza and South Lebanon. We pray for all the parties involved, Palestinians, Israelis and Lebanese. To all of them we wish peace and security.”

As does Cardinal Sfeir, the Maronite Patriarch:

During Mass held today at the summer seat of the patriarchate in Dimane (north Lebanon), Patriarch Sfeir said: “This morning the bad news reached me about the murder by Israel of 50 defenceless civilians in the village of Qana, a village that has already tasted the bitterness of death and hatred in the not distant past, again at the hand of Israeli forces. Once again I make my appeal, launched on Friday together with all the Maronite bishops, for an immediate ceasefire. Lebanon is no longer able to endure, our people is in agony while the world looks on. The crime of Qana must be condemned by all.”

The patriarch also reiterated his request to “open humanitarian corridors and to respect the life of each and every person, which is a gift from God”.

As does the Holy Father, Pope Benedict:

“In the name of God, I appeal to all those responsible for this spiral of violence to immediately lay down their weapons on all sides! I ask rulers and institutional institutions not to spare any effort to attain this necessary cessation of hostilities. . . .I entrust this heartfelt appeal to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Prince of Peace and Queen of Peace, so venerated in mid-eastern countries, where soon we hope to see reigning that reconciliation for which the Lord Jesus offered his precious Blood.”

A Maronite Archbishop stays with his flock:

Archbishop Chucrallah-Nabil El-Hage, Maronite Catholic Archbishop of Tyr, went into the hills of his war struck archdiocese yesterday, in search of those who have been unable or unwilling to abandon their homes. . . .In a visit to the mostly Christian village of Ein Ibil, the archbishop encountered an abandoned convent and 20 of his flock still in the town, who rushed to greet him.
. . . .
"This is the Holy Land," the archbishop said. "We have a spiritual mission as Christians here to bring peace between Jews and Muslim people. I am coming here to tell the people who have stayed that they are the ones who will bring a new spring. I pray to God that Lebanon may be protected and will continue its mission to the world as a country where different religions and cultures have come together, and not a country of conflict."

Hezbollah Uses Christian Villages As Shields in Missile Attacks