Tag Archives: family

Dissenters voice doubt over John Paul II sainthood

Pope John Paul is slated to be declared a saint on Sunday, but some disagree with the declaration of his sainthood

JOHN PAUL II. A picture made available on April 7, 2014 shows a portrait of Pope John Paul II during the final preparations for the opening of The Holy Father John Paul II Family Home Museum in Wadowice, near Cracow, Poland, 05 April 2014. Jacek Bednarczyk/EPA

VATICAN CITY A much-loved pope will be declared a saint on Sunday but not everyone in the Catholic Church agrees.

John Paul II also alienated many left-wing Catholics and has been blamed for hushing up child sex crimes.

“Not all the people of God agree about canonisation,” the International Movement We Are Church said in a statement ahead of the canonisation ceremony in St Peter’s for John Paul II and his Italian predecessor John XXIII.

The group accused the late pope of “spiritual authoritarianism” and of putting too much emphasis on “hierarchical control” two traits it said left little room for victims and investigations of abuses.

“Pope John Paul II was a pope of great contradiction. His tragedy lies in the discrepancy between his commitment to reform and dialogue in the world and his return to authoritarianism,” it said.

The pontiff credited with helping to bring down Communism in Eastern Europe was accused of backing right-wing dictators in Latin America including Augusto Pinochet in Chile during the Cold War.

At the same time, the Vatican cracked down on the Liberation Theology movement of pro-social justice clergymen which it saw as being too Marxist.

Bishops accused of being leftists were replaced by ultra-conservatives and dissident priests were banned from teaching, while more conservative Latin American movements were given favourable treatment.

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Dissenters voice doubt over John Paul II sainthood

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13 questions with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

All eyes will be on Boston on Monday as the city hosts its first marathon after last year’s bombings. The marathon marks a major milestone for Mayor Marty Walsh, who was sworn in earlier this year — the first person not named Tom Menino to run Boston in more than two decades. We caught up with Walsh over the weekend to ask him about the marathon, the anniversary of the attacks, his first 100 days in office, whether Elizabeth Warren should run for president, and if Vice President Biden has figured out his phone number yet: AP Photo FIX: So the race is almost here.


13 questions with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

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The xx speak out against Croatian anti-gay marriage group

Croatian anti-gay marriage group stole music by The xx to soundtrack advert claiming marriage is 'a living union of a woman and a man' The xx have issued a statement in support of same-sex marriage following the unpermitted use of their music on an anti-gay marriage advert. The Croatian anti-gay marriage pressure group U ime obitelji , which translates as In the Name of the Family, used the …

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The xx speak out against Croatian anti-gay marriage group

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Prop 8 attorney changes his views on gay marriage

WASHINGTON — The lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court in favor of upholding California’s ban on gay marriage learned while he was handling the case that one of his children is gay and now is helping her plan her wedding with another woman.

Attorney Charles Cooper says his view of same-sex marriage is evolving after having argued in court that gay unions could undermine marriages between a man and a woman.

The revelation is an unexpected footnote in the years-long debate over Proposition 8, the California measure struck down by the Supreme Court last year. It is also offers a glimpse, through the eyes of one family, of the country’s rapidly shifting opinions of gay marriage, with most public polls now showing majorities in favor of allowing the unions.

Cooper learned that his stepdaughter Ashley was gay as the Proposition 8 case wound its way through appellate court, according to a forthcoming book about the lengthy legal battle. And with the Supreme Court ruling now behind him, Cooper cast his personal opinion on gay marriage as an evolving process.

“My views evolve on issues of this kind the same way as other people’s do, and how I view this down the road may not be the way I view it now, or how I viewed it ten years ago,” Cooper said in journalist Jo Becker’s book “Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality.”

Cooper’s words are reminiscent of the language President Barack Obama used throughout his first term to describe his “evolving” views on gay marriage. In 2012, Obama announced publicly that he did, in fact, support the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Other politicians have also voiced support for same-sex marriage after learning that their own children were gay, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, whose position was at odds with President George W. Bush. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, reversed his opposition to gay marriage last year, saying that his gay son had caused him to think about the issue differently.

In June, Cooper’s daughter plans to marry her partner in Massachusetts, one of 17 states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. In a statement to The Associated Press, Cooper said his family “is typical of families all across America.”

“My daughter Ashley’s path in life has led her to happiness with a lovely young woman named Casey, and our family and Casey’s family are looking forward to celebrating their marriage in just a few weeks,” he said.

California voters backed the Proposition 8 marriage ban in 2008, but the measure quickly faced legal challenges. Cooper was hired to defend the law by the organization ProtectMarriage.com, eventually taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Prop 8 attorney changes his views on gay marriage

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Factional battle: why Gladys Berejiklian could not be premier

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Government whip Jai Rowell confirms that Mike Baird has been elected NSW Premier and Gladys Berejiklian Deputy Premier.

Factional warring threatened to break out within the NSW Liberal Party if Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, a warrior of the party’s left-wing, became premier.

Just as Barry O’Farrell knew he risked being undermined by the right wing of his party if he stood as opposition leader after the resignation of Liberal Party leader John Brogden in 2005, Berejiklian stepped aside for the sake of party unity.

She formed a “unity ticket” with Treasurer Mike Baird, making way for him to be elected as premier unopposed.

Made way: Gladys Berejiklian chose not to run against Mike Baird to be NSW premier. Photo: Britta Campion

While Mr Baird is said to be philosophically aligned with Berejiklian’s faction, known as the moderates, he is also supported by the right wing of the party. The right wing views Baird as a successful Treasurer, having maintained the state’s triple A credit rating. He is conservative in his economics, has a strong Christian faith, but is also progressive in social views on issues such as the treatment of asylum seekers.


The right wing of the Liberal Party is split into three sub-factions. The soft right is understood to include Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and upper house MP Matthew Mason-Cox. The centre right is said to include Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott, Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams, Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell. The so-called hard right, or “religious right”, is understood to include Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts, Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet, upper house MP David Clarke, Attorney General Greg Smith, upper house MP Marie Ficarra and former Energy and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher.

The dominant left-wing faction, the moderates, is understood to include upper house MP Don Harwin, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, Hornsby MP Matt Kean and Londonderry MP Bart Bassett. Mr O’Farrell was independent, but loosely associated with the moderates, which gave him its strong support.

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Factional battle: why Gladys Berejiklian could not be premier

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Red Sox Nation converges on the White House

Washington (CNN) – Chicago White Sox fan-in-chief President Obama honored the Boston Red Sox at the White House on Tuesday for their 2013 World Series championship, but he slipped in a quick plug for his hometown team while greeting the defending champs. Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Nation.

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Red Sox Nation converges on the White House

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Two kids severely hurt after house explosion

(WXYZ) – Two children and one adult are in stable condition after a house explosion in Detroit Thursday night. Detroit Police and fire crews responded to the scene on the 1900 block of Fairport. At least four people were transported to a local hospital including a 2-year-old boy and an 18-month-old little girl.

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Two kids severely hurt after house explosion

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My Son Qais

Mar 27 2014 / 3:38 pm

Qais Odwan.

By Rana Abdulla

My husband met Umm Qais last year in Jenin. She is a 56 year old Palestinian mother of five sons. Her son, Qais Odwan, was not only extra-judicially executed by Israel, he was also slanderously accused of a range of crimes he did not commit. Without arrest, without a trial, without a verdict, he was adjudged guilty. Of the evidence? We were told that there was more than enough evidence to prove his guilt, but that the evidence is deemed secret. You see, we were told, the only people who are trustworthy enough to view this evidence are members of the Israeli intelligence agencies. The Israeli state will not trust its own citizens or its own press with this information, and would certainly never allow the investigators from Palestine to learn anything about the facts behind these events. Instead, all inquiries were met with threats, and critics were silenced. The media were given no choice but to report the official, mostly fabricated, so-called secret evidence or to remain silent.

I am always deeply moved when I meet a mother who has lost a son. As my husband told me of this mothers story, my thoughts were such that I could not help but write down immediately what I had heard. At times, so overcome with emotion, I was forced to pause to compose myself while I, a mother of four myself, became immersed in the experience of another mother, whose family had been visited by such a terrible injustice. But I was not just distressed. As I wrote Umm Qais story about her son, my adrenalin was flowing. Even more than distress, the injustice visited upon Umm Qais and her family, filled me with determination and a strong sense of righteous indignation gave me strength. I felt myself transformed and equipped with the tools to fight this, and other similar injustices in the world. Qaiss story was not a happy one, but it was one to which I was determined to bring hope. Umm Qais story moved from the bleakest and most miserable, to one full of optimism for those with faith. Her son may have unjustly lost his life, yet if it teaches us anything it is that we can have compassion for the unfortunate, and remain vigilant and aware of the injustices around us.

Having made us aware of her painful, but all too familiar story, Um Qais can take comfort in our solidarity with her, and be secure in the knowledge that her experience will only strengthen our resolve to oppose this oppressive renegade yoke, known as the Israeli government. Men like Qais Odwan will always live in our memories and their heavy sacrifice will only spur us on to greater resistance.

The Real Qais Odwan

On 5 April 2002, during Operation Defensive Shield, Israel announced it had killed Qais Odwan, a 25-year-old engineering graduate student. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) informed the world that Odwan engineered the Netanya suicide bombing on Passover eve that killed 26 Israelis in late March 2002, and that he had been one of the most wanted members of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad. Due to the mainstream medias complicity in the suppression of the true history of the expropriation of Palestinian land in the cause of the Zionist political movement, too many people in Canada, Europe, and the United States are unaware of the enormity of the crimes committed by the government of Israel. The media reports are almost entirely dictated by the false information provided by the IOF, and it is not only to the eternal shame of the various international media that they fail utterly to criticise Israels breaches of international law, but they also fail to report Israels disgraceful human rights record. Although the general media is negligent in its duty to report the truth, the voice of Umm Qais will not be silenced, as I am fully committed to relating Umm Qais tale to all who care for justice, and the pillars of the rule of law and the right to a fair trial.

Odwan was described as a simple, kind, disciplined and diligent young engineer. He was a leader, and a popular figure. His mother affirmed that her son never carried a gun in his life and never killed an insect. His brother Nassar, five years younger and a civil engineering student at the time of his brothers killing, said he was once shown a newspaper by a friend, and he and the friend discussed what was written in the paper about Odwan. Nassar then asked his brother: Why are you listed as the most wanted by Israel? Odwan told his brother: Whats being said about me is not true. How is it possible that I can be responsible for all this terrorism? I am motivating my people, I stand for justice and revealing the truth. I lead 13,000 students at Al-Najah University and I am a critical thinker, so I suppose in their world that automatically makes me a terrorist.

As Umm Qais spoke, she cradled a trophy her son had won for his design of a prototype of the Al-Najahs university building. Odwan was artistic and creative, and he designed and painted the model for the building, which was of a blue, white and gold colour. She looked at Odwan watercolor hanging on the wall. It was a depiction of an old Palestinian stone house with its windows and iron bars, engraved and leading to a gate. His teacher described him as a committed student academically and politically. I cannot imagine that hes a terrorist, Odwan spent his time either at school or with his grandfather in the mosque.

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My Son Qais

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Toronto-area Liberal association condemns move to block candidate

The local Liberal association in a Toronto riding has denounced Justin Trudeaus decision to disqualify a candidate from seeking the partys nod in a coming byelection, the latest chapter in an ongoing debate about whether political parties support open nominations.

The executive of the Trinity-Spadina Liberal riding association condemned the national partys decision to block two-time federal candidate Christine Innes from running in the newly vacated riding, calling the decision undemocratic and not in line with the partys promise to hold open nominations. The ridings previous MP, New Democrat Olivia Chow, recently resigned to run for the mayors job.

The ultimate goal is to have a process that gives us a fair shot at a nomination in any riding, said Julia Metus, president of the federal riding association. We want our members to decide who the candidate is.

Liberal national election readiness chair David MacNaughton said he was surprised by the local ridings stance. I talked to the president last week and she didnt express any of those views and was anxious to move on and help find a candidate as soon as possible.

The national party has said it disqualified Innes because of bullying by some of her campaign workers. But in a statement March 13, she suggested the decision was due to her refusal to agree to run in a specific riding during the 2015 federal election.

MacNaughton said he had been trying to figure out how nominations for the future, reconstituted ridings in the area could work. During the time that I was having those conversations, it came to our attention that people came forward and said they were being intimidated and bullied, said MacNaughton.

Thursday, Metus and the executive took issue with how communication was handled from the Liberal Party after Inness campaign was halted.

We heard about it in the news, and we didnt hear about it officially from anyone, said Metus. At no time did I, or any members of the executive, receive any complaints of bullying and intimidation over Inness campaign.

Metus also added that Innes was informed of the decision in a letter, which Metus said was after the fact and coincided with the media drop of the same message, giving neither Innes nor the executive any time to react.

In its statement Thursday, the executive backed Inness assessment, accusing the party of making unproven and malicious allegations against the candidate and her family to cover up its desire to control the nomination process.

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Toronto-area Liberal association condemns move to block candidate

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West Bank woman overcomes hardships to enter LSU Medical School

Three generations of hardship finally had a happy ending for Lily Truong, a 25-year-old West Bank resident entering LSU Medical School this fall. Her journey and the journey of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents began in China, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Truong’s maternal and paternal great-grandparents were from China. Her grandmother was born and raised in Cambodia. Her grandfather was adopted and brought to Cambodia by a Chinese mother. They grew up learning Chinese in a Chinese school in Cambodia.

Truongs mother and her siblings were born in Cambodia. Her grandparents worked as merchants, selling everything from bicycles to fine china. To increase their sales, her grandparents bought items in Cambodia to sell in Vietnam. When the war broke out in 1975, her grandparents were stranded in Vietnam while her mother and siblings were in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge, the new government and the name given to followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia, asked the residents to leave the city for at least three days,

They told my family the United States planes were going to bomb the cities, she said. (The Khmer Rouge killed approximately 2 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979 while controlling the country.)

Truong’s grandmother, mother and siblings walked for 23 days to get to Vietnam. Her mother told Truong how they ate snails found on the side of the road and salt while walking from Cambodia to Vietnam.

My mom who was a child actually picked up a grenade mistaking it for a weird-looking snail, Truong said.

The Vietnam War broke out within a matter of weeks after their arrival. The Khmer Rouge then pushed into the border of Vietnam and confiscated everything including her familys belongings.

During that time, my grandparents were put in jail for two years and accused of aiding the Vietnamese to escape from Vietnam into the surrounding countries, she said. During that time, her mother and siblings and her grandmother lived in Saigon. They had to bribe someone to get her grandparents out of jail.

In 1980, the family moved to Kien Giang and tried to establish a normal life. In April 1981, they left Vietnam by boat to Thailand. For three days, they sailed to Thailand on a boat that was 6 feet by 30 feet long and carried 19 people.

My family lived in the Thailand refugee camp for three months. They were then transferred to Indonesia for 6 1/2 months, Truong said.

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West Bank woman overcomes hardships to enter LSU Medical School

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