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In this issue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

February 2012

All hell let loose

World War II was not a straghtfoward death grapple between good and evil ......................................................... 3

The Prime Ministers speech

400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible ................................................................. . 4

Zeal for Gods House

An architects reflection on sacred space................................................................................................. 9

More time on line = less happiness for girls

Being hooked on facebook wont help their social welfare................................................................. 13

An ordinary path to holiness

Dora del Hoyos love of service...............................................................................................................13

Movie inspires a forgiveness movement

There be dragons impacts on personal life...........................................................................................15

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World War II was not a straightforward death grapple between good and evil, says an eminent military historian.

The eminent military historian Sir Max Hastings has already produced several weighty volumes on the Second World War, notably Armageddon, Nemesis and Finest Years: Churchill as Warlord 1940-45. This work, subtitled The World at War 1939-1945, completes the record. Hastings himself describes it as a book chiefly about human experience in which he tries to show the whole picture, relying as much on civilian reports, letters, memoirs and diaries as on military sources. Warfare, if not a commendable activity for mankind, is a very ancient one and although it routinely shows the darker side of human nature, it clearly fascinates the author; he has set himself to answer the question, what happens when almost everything which civilised people take for granted in time of peace [is] swept aside, above all the expectation of being protected from violence. The figures themselves almost overwhelm the reader: 60 million people died between 1939-45, both combatants and civilians, often in horrifying circumstances. Russias sacrifice of lives was immeasurably greater than all the other countries: 65 percent of the total. Hastings shifts his analysis from country to country as one by one they are dragged into the war, either by enemy invasion or in coming to the assistance of allies. Along the way he dispels certain myths that have hovered around the actual historical events; for example, that the German army in Eastern Europe was somehow untainted by the work of the SS death units which followed them. Hastings observes that from 1939, during the Polish campaign, the officer corps of the Wehrmacht already displayed the moral bankruptcy that would characterise its conduct until 1945. He also shows the bungling and incompetence that are a characteristic of war and which often caused most casualties, commenting that in England before peace came, accidents in the blackout killed more people than did the Luftwaffe. The magnificent Churchillian rhetoric which Hastings rightly extols in his study of the wartime prime minister could not hide the fact that the British armed forces demonstrated continual failures of will, leadership, equipment, tactics and training. Where there was a will to win, as the author points out, it could not compete with the Russian or German brutal acceptance of the inevitability of huge numbers of casualties. The Allied soldiers on the battlefield behaved like reasonable men; their opponents simply wanted to win, at whatever cost and showed what unreasonable men could do. There was a limit to what the Allied commanders could demand of their men; under democratic systems there would be a demand for enquiries and investigations, actions denied to the populations under Communism or Fascism. Unlike Japan, the concept of self-immolation was beyond the bounds of Western democratic culture and it would have been unthinkable that the British would have eaten each other, as happened in Leningrad, rather than surrender London or Birmingham. 3

Interestingly, given the intellectual eminence of Germany, the author suggests that Britains claim to genuine success lay in the superiority of its application of science and technology. The best civilian brains were mobilised in the war effort; the work of the boffins at Bletchley Park and the cracking of the German Enigma code were more effective in defeating the enemy than the campaigns in the field. Germanys invasion of Russia Operation Barbarossa is rightly given much space in the book. As Hastings comments, Hitlers march into the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 was the defining event of the War. Hitler had underestimated Russias military and industrial capabilities; and as with Napoleon, the sheer size of the country, coupled with the severity of its winters were critical in Russias eventual victory. Tellingly, on 28 November 1941, the German armaments chief, Fritz Todt, told Hitler, This war can no longer be won by military means. He favoured a political solution. Hitler dismissed the idea and in the four years that followed millions more were to die wantonly and needlessly. The siege of Leningrad and the Battle of Stalingrad are vividly evoked in all their horror. Yet as the author grimly reminds us, two million Russians also starved to death in territories controlled by their own governments; Stalin was as cynical about human life as was Hitler. His war aims, to grab as much territory in Eastern Europe as he could get away with, were equally selfish and at odds with human liberty. By the end of the war England and America were in no position to protest as the Iron Curtain came down. Hastings states, The price of having joined with Stalin to destroy Hitler was high indeed. He is dismissive of the German defence, We did not know when mass atrocities came to light after the War, concluding that it was impossible for most German civilians credibly to deny knowledge of the concentration camps or of the slave labour system. Again, referring to the Holocaust, he judges that it was easy, in one of the most highly educated societies in Europe, to find people willing to murder those whom their rulers defined as state enemies, without employing duress. His sober conclusion is that WWII was not, as is sometimes thought, a straightforward fight between good and evil. Yet the Allied victory did save the world from a much worse fate than would have followed the triumph of Germany and Japan. For those interested in the history of the last War this book provides an excellent summary and overview; detailed, impartial and reflective and including many poignant and eloquent testimonies by ordinary people on both sides, caught up in a seemingly endless nightmare not of their own making. Hastings builds the clearest case possible that war is to be avoided at (almost) all costs. Francis Phillips writes from Buckinghamshire, in the UK. www.mercatornet.com

The following is the prepared text of a speech by British Prime Minister David Cameron, recently delivered at Christ Church, Oxford, for the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. In it, Mr Cameron says the UK is Christian country and that when Christians are confident of their own identity it provides greater space for other religious faiths too. The King James Bible still forms the basis for modern English translations of the Bible, such as the New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. Its great to be here and to have this opportunity to come together today to mark the end of this very special 400th anniversary year for the King James Bible. I know there are some who will question why I am giving this speech. And if they happen to know that Im setting out my views today in a former home of the current Archbishop of Canterbury and in front of many great theologians and church leaders they really will think I have entered the lions den. But I am proud to stand here and celebrate the achievements of the King James Bible. Not as some great Christian on a mission to convert the world. But because, as Prime Minister, it is right to recognise the impact of a translation that is, I believe, one of this countrys greatest achievements.

The Bible is a book that has not just shaped our country, but shaped the world. And, with three Bibles sold or given away every second, a book that is not just important in understanding our past, but which will continue to have a profound impact in shaping our collective future. In making this speech I claim no religious authority whatsoever. I am a committed but I have to say vaguely practising Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith but who is full of doubts and, like many, constantly grappling with the difficult questions when it comes to some of the big theological issues. But what I do believe is this. The King James Bible is as relevant today as at any point in its 400 year history. And none of us should be frightened of recognising this. Why? Put simply, three reasons. First, the King James Bible has bequeathed a body of language that permeates every aspect of our culture and heritage from everyday phrases to our greatest works of literature, music and art. We live and breathe the language of the King James Bible, sometimes without even realising it. And it is right that we should acknowledge this particularly in this anniversary year. Second, just as our language and culture is steeped in the Bible, so too is our politics. From human rights and equality to our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, from the role of the church in the first forms of welfare provision, to the many modern day faith-led social action projects the Bible has been a spur to action for people of faith throughout history, and it remains so today. Third, we are a Christian country. And we should not be afraid to say so. Let me be clear: I am not in any way saying that to have another faith or no faith is somehow wrong. I know and fully respect that many people in this country do not have a religion. And I am also incredibly proud that Britain is home to many different faith communities, who do so much to make our country stronger. But what I am saying is that the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today. Values and morals we should actively stand up and defend. The alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option. You cant fight something with nothing. Because if we dont stand for something, we cant stand against anything. Let me take each of these points in turn. First, language and culture. Powerful language is incredibly evocative. It crystallises profound, sometimes complex, thoughts and suggests a depth of meaning far beyond the words on the page giving us something to share, to cherish, to celebrate. Part of the glue that can help to bind us together. Along with Shakespeare, the King James Bible is a high point of the English language, creating arresting phrases that move, challenge and inspire. One of my favourites is the line For now we see through a glass, darkly. It is a brilliant summation of the profound sense that there is more to life, that we are imperfect, that we get things wrong, that we should strive to see beyond our own perspective. The key word is darkly profoundly loaded, with many shades of meaning. I feel the power is lost in some more literal translations. The New International Version says: Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror The Good News Bible: What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror. They feel not just a bit less special but dry and cold, and dont quite have the same magic and meaning. Like Shakespeare, the King James translation dates from a period when the written word was intended to be read aloud. And this helps to give it a poetic power and sheer resonance that in my view is not matched by any subsequent translation. It has also contributed immensely to the spread of spoken English around the world. Indeed, the language of the King James Bible is very much alive today. Ive already mentioned the lions den. Just think about some of the other things we all say. Phrases like: strength to strength, how the mighty are fallen, the skin of my teeth, the salt of the earth, nothing new under the sun. According to one recent study there are 257 of these phrases and idioms that come from the Bible. These phrases are all around us from court cases to TV sitcoms and from recipe books to pop music lyrics.

Of course, there is a healthy debate about the extent to which it was the King James version that originated the many phrases in our language today. And its right to recognise the impact of earlier versions like Tyndale, Wycliffe, Douai-Rheims, the Bishops and Geneva Bibles too. The King James Bible does exactly that, setting out with the stated aim of making a good translation better, or out of many good ones, to make one principal good one. But what is clear is that the King James Version gave the Bibles many expressions a much more widespread public presence. Much of that dissemination has come through our literature, through the great speeches we remember and the art and music we still enjoy today. From Milton to Morrison and Coleridge to Cormac McCarthy the Bible supports the plot, context, language and sometimes even the characters in some of our greatest literature. Tennyson makes over 400 Biblical references in his poems and makes allusions to 42 different books of the Bible. The Bible has infused some of the greatest speeches from Martin Luther Kings dream that Isaiahs prophecy would be fulfilled and that one day every valley shall be exalted to Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg address which employed not just Biblical words but cadence and rhythms borrowed from the King James Bible as well. When Lincoln said that his forefathers brought forth a new nation, he was imitating the way in which the Bible announced the birth of Jesus. The Bible also runs through our art. From Giotto to El Greco and Michelangelo to Stanley Spencer. The paintings in Sandham Memorial Chapel in Berkshire are some of my favourite works of art. Those who died in Salonika rising to heaven is religious art in the modern age and, in my view, as powerful as some of what has come before. And the Bible runs through our music too. From the great oratorios like J S Bachs Matthew and John Passions and Handels Messiah to the wealth of music written across the ages for mass and evensong in great cathedrals like this one. The Biblical settings of composers from Tallis to Taverner are regularly celebrated here in this great cathedral and will sustain our great British tradition of choral music for generations to come. Its impossible to do justice in a short speech to the full scale of the cultural impact of the King James Bible. But what is clear is that four hundred years on, this book is still absolutely pivotal to our language and culture. And thats one very good reason for us all to recognise it today. A second reason is this. Just as our language and culture is steeped in the Bible, so too is our politics. The Bible runs through our political history in a way that is often not properly recognised. The history and existence of a constitutional monarchy owes much to a Bible in which Kings were anointed and sanctified with the authority of God and in which there was a clear emphasis on the respect for Royal Power and the need to maintain political order. Jesus said: Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods. And yet at the same time, the Judeo-Christian roots of the Bible also provide the foundations for protest and for the evolution of our freedom and democracy. The Torah placed the first limits on Royal Power. And the knowledge that God created man in his own image was, if you like, a game changer for the cause of human dignity and equality. In the ancient world this equity was inconceivable. In Athens, for example, full and equal rights were the preserve of adult, free born men. But when each and every individual is related to a power above all of us and when every human being is of equal and infinite importance, created in the very image of God we get the irrepressible foundation for equality and human rights -- a foundation that has seen the Bible at the forefront of the emergence of democracy, the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women even if not every church has always got the point! Crucially the translation of the Bible into English made all this accessible to many who had previously been unable to comprehend the Latin versions. And this created an unrelenting desire for change. The Putney debates in the Church of St Mary the Virgin in 1647 saw the first call for One Man, One vote and the demand that authority be invested in the House of Commons rather than the King. Reading the Bible in English gave people equality with each other through God. And this led them to seek equality with each other through government. In a similar way, the Bible provides a defining influence on the formation of the first welfare state. In Matthews Gospel, Jesus says that whatever people have done unto one of the least of these my brethren they have done unto him. Just as in the past it was the influence of the church that enabled hospitals to be built, charities created, the hungry fed, the sick nursed and the poor given shelter, so today faith based groups are at the heart of modern social action. Organisations like the Church Urban Fund which has supported over 5,000 faith based

projects in Englands poorest communities including the Near Neighbours Programme which Eric Pickles helped to launch last month. And St Ethelburgas Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in Londons Bishopsgate a building once destroyed by an IRA bomb but now a centre where people divided by conflict, culture or religion can meet and listen to each others perspective. In total, there are almost 30 thousand faith based charities in this country not to mention the thousands of people who step forward as individuals, as families, as communities, as organisations and yes, as churches and do extraordinary things to help build a bigger, richer, stronger, more prosperous and more generous society. And when it comes to the great humanitarian crises Ancient copies of the King James Bible are brought into the Oxford like the famine in gathering at which Mr Cameron spoke. Horn of Africa again you can count on faith-based organisations like Christian Aid, Tearfund, CAFOD, Jewish Care, Islamic Relief, and Muslim Aid to be at the forefront of the action to save lives. So its right to recognise the huge contribution our faith communities make to our politics and to recognise the role of the Bible in inspiring many of their works. People often say that politicians shouldnt do God. If by that they mean we shouldnt try to claim a direct line to God for one particular political party they could not be more right. But we shouldnt let our caution about that stand in the way of recognising both what our faith communities bring to our country and also just how incredibly important faith is to so many people in Britain. The Economist may have published the obituary of God in their Millennium issue. But in the past century, the proportion of people in the world who adhere to the four biggest religions has actually increased from around two-thirds to nearly three quarters and is forecast to continue rising. For example, it is now thought there are at least 65 million protestants in China and 12 million Catholics more Christians than there are members of the communist party. Official numbers indicate China has about 20 million Muslims almost as many as in Saudi Arabia and nearly twice as many as in the whole of the EU. And by 2050, some people think China could well be both the worlds biggest Christian nation and its biggest Muslim one too. Here in Britain we only have to look at the reaction to the Popes visit last year, this years Royal Wedding or of course the festival of Christmas next week, to see that Christianity is alive and well in our country. The key point is this. Societies do not necessarily become more secular with modernity but rather more plural, with a wider range of beliefs and commitments. And that brings me to my third point. The Bible has helped to shape the values which define our country. Indeed, as Margaret Thatcher once said, we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible. Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities these are the values we treasure. Yes, they are Christian values. And we should not be afraid to acknowledge that. But they are also values that speak to us all to people of every faith and none. And I believe we should all stand up and defend them. Those who oppose this usually make the case for secular neutrality. They argue that by saying we are a Christian country and standing up for Christian values we are somehow doing down other faiths. And that the only way not to offend people is not to pass judgement on their behaviour. I think these arguments are profoundly wrong. And being clear on this is

absolutely fundamental to who we are as a people what we stand for and the kind of society we want to build. First, those who say being a Christian country is doing down other faiths simply dont understand that it is easier for people to believe and practise other faiths when Britain has confidence in its Christian identity. Many people tell me it is much easier to be Jewish or Muslim here in Britain than it is in a secular country like France. Why? Because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too. And because many of the values of a Christian country are shared by people of all faiths and indeed by people of no faith at all. Second, those who advocate secular neutrality in order to avoid passing judgement on the behaviour of others fail to grasp the consequences of that neutrality or the role that faith can play in helping people to have a moral code. Lets be clear. Faith is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for morality. There are Christians who dont live by a moral code. And there are atheists and agnostics who do. But for people who do have a faith, their faith can be a helpful prod in the right direction. And whether inspired by faith or not that direction, that moral code, matters. Whether you look at the riots last summer, the financial crash and the expenses scandal, or the on-going terrorist threat from Islamist extremists around the world, one thing is clear: moral neutrality or passive tolerance just isnt going to cut it anymore. Shying away from speaking the truth about behaviour, about morality has actually helped to cause some of the social problems that lie at the heart of the lawlessness we saw with the riots. The absence of any real accountability, or moral code allowed some bankers and politicians to behave with scant regard for the rest of society. And when it comes to fighting violent extremism, the almost fearful passive tolerance of religious extremism that has allowed segregated communities to behave in ways that run completely counter to our values has not contained that extremism but allowed it to grow and prosper in the process blackening the good name of the great religions that these extremists abuse for their own purposes. Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. Live and let live has too often become do what you please. Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles. To be confident in saying something is wrong is not a sign of weakness, its a strength. But we cant fight something with nothing. As Ive said, if we dont stand for something, we cant stand against anything. One of the biggest lessons of the riots last Summer is that weve got stand up for our values if we are to confront the slow-motion moral collapse that has taken place in parts of our country these past few generations. The same is true of religious extremism. As President Obama wrote in the Audacity of Hope: in reaction to religious overreach we equate tolerance with secularism, and forfeit the moral language that would help infuse our politics with larger meaning. Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and a much more active, muscular liberalism. A passively tolerant society says to its citizens, as long as you obey the law we will just leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. But I believe a genuinely liberal country does much more; it believes in certain values and actively promotes them. We need to stand up for these values. To have the confidence to say to people this is what defines us as a society and that to belong here is to believe in these things. I believe the church and indeed all our religious leaders and their communities in Britain have a vital role to play in helping to achieve this. I have never really understood the argument some people make about the church not getting involved in politics. To me, Christianity, faith, religion, the Church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions. So I dont think we should be shy or frightened of this. I certainly dont object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics. Religion has a moral basis and if he doesnt agree with something hes right to say so. But just as it is legitimate for religious leaders to make political comments, he shouldnt be surprised when I respond. Also its legitimate for political leaders to say something about religious institutions as they see them affecting our society, not least in the vital areas of equality and tolerance. I believe the Church of England has a unique opportunity to help shape the future of our communities. But to do so it must keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country. The future of our country is at a pivotal moment. The values we draw from the Bible go to the heart of what it means to belong in this country and you, as the Church of England, can help ensure that it stays that way. www.mercatornet.com

ZealforGodsHouse:Anarchitects reflectionsonSacredSpace
By Henry Harding Menzies Homelitic and Pastoral Review www.hprweb.com The sun was setting over the vast Valley of Mexico as I climbed up to the flat roof of a building at the Montefalco Conference Center to do a painting. The shades of brilliant scarlet from the sunset to the west threw the distant mountain range into waves of blue. I was anxious to get set-up fast in order to capture this strange beauty before it vanished. I wanted, especially, to capture at sunset the snow-capped Mt. Popocatepetl, (elevation: 17,887 ft.). Unfortunately, it was enshrouded in clouds. I fumbled to get everything ready. The eerie silence was broken only by the faint distant sounds of a mariachi band. A breeze came up. The sky darkened. I thought I had missed my chance. Then, all of a sudden, I looked up and saw, high above the hills to the north, the majestic snow-covered peak of Mt. Popocatepetl, emerging slowly from behind the lavender clouds, completely dwarfing the western mountains. Brilliantly illuminated in pale pink, the peak appeared like some ancient god towering above the lesser mountains in its distant majesty. No wonder the pagans worshipped this mountain! Its very silence seemed to say that it had been there, hidden all the time, towering above our little, mundane worldwatching, waiting, and suddenly deigning to show itself in its own good time to those whom it chose. It was awesome. I threw my brushes down in dismay. My poor abilities could never, even for a second, capture that silent, terrible splendor. Is it any wonder that the natives worshipped this mountain? They may have been ignorant of Christianity, but they respected what they could see of the Creator in his works. At least, they had a sense of the sacred, something which seems to be lost today in many Catholic churches. Normally, we go to church to worship him, to participate in the liturgy. We go there not only for Holy Mass, but to confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to be baptized, to get married, and for our funeral Masses. These are the most private, personal acts a person can perform throughout his life. But even when theres no liturgy going on, we go there to pray before his living Presence in the tabernacle. And, yet, today when you walk into many Catholic churches, they look like huge, cold auditoriums, warehouses, shopping malls or circus fun houses. Some are just confusing in their modern contortions. Where is the sacrifice? There is no apparent indication of sacrifice but only comfort and provision for every human convenience. And worship? There is no sign of reverence in that bland, antiseptic atmosphere. And Gods Presence? Just try to find the tabernacle. It is usually hidden out of sight behind a column, and given little more importance than a plaster statue. It is difficult to find anything of awe and reverence that would give any indication that God himself is truly present. Certainly, something vital has been lost in Catholic church architecture today, so much so that many of the faithful wonder, What happened to the glory? Hand-in-hand with the loss of the sacred is the loss of the sense of beauty. So many new and renovated churches are just plain ugly and barren. Some border on the grotesque. It is not a question of style. What has been lost is not a classical or gothic architectural style, but a total vision of the church edifice as a sacred space infused with beauty. Sacred Space But before considering sacred space, perhaps we Americans dont appreciate any special place, much less sacred places. Possibly, we live in such an immensely large country with so much space that we have lost the sense of the uniqueness of any one place. Historically, we

have always been moving westward. On the other hand, we all reverence the sites of Civil War battlefields. We sense the special significance of Plymouth Rock, or of Independence Hall, or Ground Zero. We like to return to the places of our childhood. So, perhaps, the loss of unique space is not really totally lost but hidden somewhere, deep down inside all of us. However, there are indications that this loss of the sense of special places can be more harmful than we think. Edward T. Oakes in an essay, The Apologetics of Beauty, recalled the massacre at Littletons Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. After the event, one native of Littleton wrote an essay describing how the town had changed from the quiet village of his childhood, into just part of the suburban St Mary Star of the Sea Church Melbourne sprawl of Denver. I grew up, however humbly, in a town with a character and sense of place, and I had those things, too. What sense of place can there be in the Littletons of America now, in these malllands: where each Gap and McDonalds is like the next, where the differences between things are neither prized nor scorned, but are simply wiped from existence? Growing up in an anonymous landscape, how can anyone escape his own encroaching sense of anonymity? In this world, meaning evaporates. In a world of monotonous getting and spending, the need to shake things up, to make a mark, any mark, may overpower everything else, including sense. The trench coat Mafias particular brand of evil may have stemmed from a terrible absence, a loss of perspective, that might be one of the unforeseen consequences of the loss of place. Long before Christianity arrived, mankind had reverenced certain places in nature as sacred. Mt. Fuji in Japan is sacred to the Shintoists, who must make a pilgrimage to its peak at least oncebefore they die. There are groves sacred to the early Druids, as can be seen at Stonehenge. There are people in the Far East who make a festival of going to some vantage point to simply watch the sunset! Even people who have no religion occasionally have a spiritual experience when they walk through Californias redwoods, or peer into the Grand Canyon at sunset. St. Paul chastises those who ignore the Creator in his creation: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against the irreligious and perverse spirit of men, who, in this perversity of theirs, hinder the truth. In fact, whatever can be known about God is clear to them; he himself made it so. Since the creation of the world, invisible realities, Gods eternal power and divinity, have become visible, recognized through the things he has made. Therefore, these men are inexcusable (Rom 1:18-20). The sense of the sacred lies precisely in the fact that it is not something ordinary, but has to do with the extraordinary. Nor is it necessarily very pleasant, either. To us mortals, there can be something terrible and fearful about divinity. In almost every encounter mortal men have had with God in the Old Testament, there was both a radiant splendor but also terror, precisely because it was the Other. After Moses received the Ten Commandments, he had to cover his face since the brilliance of experiencing God emanated from him, and was too terrifying for the people to experience. Each time Christ appeared after the resurrection, the initial reaction was fear. Otherwise, why did he say to them: Be not afraid? Peter was so overcome while witnessing the glory of the Lord at the Transfiguration that, in his bewilderment, he impulsively blurted out something as irrelevant as building three tents there! In other words, he panicked. Perhaps, one unknown poet summed it up best: Let the Archangel in terrifying grandeur step but a pace hitherward from behind the stars. Our own heart in violent beat would destroy us.


But how is he there, more than anywhere else, since we know that he is everywhere, and that without him, all places would simply cease to exist? What makes any place sacred is that God is present there in some special way, the opposite of Gertrude Steins famous quip about Oakland, Theres no there there. Certainly, the Jewish people always considered the Temple the most sacred space of all places. When God spoke to Moses in the burning bush, he told Moses: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground(Ex 3:5). Obviously, God himself is very much concerned about sacred space, as A. Frossard has written: The Lord gave Moses very detailed instructions concerning the dignity to be accorded divine worship. He laid down specifications for the construction of the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the altar. He gave Moses guidelines for sacred utensils and priestly vestments. God wanted to give his people a profound respect for the sacred. Jesus Christ underlined this teaching with a new spirit. His zeal for the house of God is fundamental to the Good News. In St. Johns Gospel (2:15-17.), we read: He made a [kind of] whip of cords and drove sheep and oxen alike out of the temple area, and knocked over the money-changers tables, spilling their coins. He told those who were selling doves: Get them out of here! Stop turning my Fathers house into a marketplace! His disciples recalled the words of Scripture: Zeal for your house consumes me. Architecture Therefore, it is apparent both from the Old and New Testaments that the Creator of all has never been indifferent to the places of worship that his children have built for his glory. Although it is he who sanctifies places, he has given his children the freedom and the creative ability to give them form. So, it is in the art of architecture that we must search for the answer to the question, What is sacred space? Architecture is fundamentally the art of space. Etienne Gilson has written: What distinguishes architecture from painting and sculpture is its spatial quality. In this, and only in this, no other artist can emulate the architect. Therefore, we can say that architecture is not the art of a something, like sculpture or painting, but it is the art of nothing. That is, it is the space surrounding the somethings. Except in unusual circumstances, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Gaudis masterwork architecture provides the setting, the backdrop, and the atmosphere for our lives. But it is never the main event, except in monuments, world fairs, and Disney World, which must shout to be noticed. There is a kind of humility in architecture which does not call attention to itself. It must be discovered personally. I quote Etienne Gilson again: Architecture, being an art of space, attracts all the other arts of space, which obtrude to adorn it, but also to disfigure it, or, in any case, live off it parasitically. Or, as Lao Tse put it much earlier: We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel, but it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends. We turn clay to make a vessel, but it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the vessel depends. We pierce doors and windows to make a house, and it is on these spaces where there is nothing that the utility of the house depends. Therefore, just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the utility of what is not.


And in more modern terms: Space constantly encompasses our being. Through the volume of space, we move, see forms and objects, hear sounds, feel breezes, smell the fragrance of a flower garden in bloom. Yet, it is inherently formless. Its visual form, quality of light, dimensions and scale, depend totally on its boundaries as defined by elements of form. As space begins to be captured, enclosed, molded, and organized by the elements of form, architecture comes into being. (D.K. Ching, form space and order) Architecture is also mute. Others make words to describe it, to study it. Words are even needed to build it. But once built, it simply is. Gilson states: Architecture does not speak. IT IS. It is developed in a great silence, but man, being a talker, strains his ingenuity to make it speak. This silence is most apparent when architecture is used to serve the Church. It should be silent. It is not supposed to call attention to itself because it is not at the heart of worship. The liturgy is the heart of worship. Architecture plays only an auxiliary role. It is the setting. It provides the space for the sacred actions of the liturgy, and, in so doing, becomes sacred. Although its role is auxiliary, it is extremely important because it has the ability to help or detract, to contribute or mitigate against the liturgy itself. Pope Benedict XVI has written that: Here it is fitting to remember that the purpose of sacred architecture is to offer the church a fitting space for the celebration of the mysteries of faith, especially the Eucharist (Sacramentum Caritatis). Certainly, it cannot play its part properly unless it somehow shares in the great religious mysteries it expresses and serves. There is nothing more sacred than the liturgy of the Holy Mass and the Real Presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle. Furthermore, it is challenged to somehow incarnate Gods glory with a glimpse of heaven. Man strains his ingenuity to incarnate that vision in a human way. This striving is always intrinsic to the nature of the architectural design process. Architects are always striving to incarnate somekind of vision: whether its Mrs. Joness vision of her new kitchen, or a mayors vision of the new city hall. It encompasses the real tension that is found in any creative effort. In sacred space, it happens to be Gods vision; or put the other way around, it is the believers vision of God in his effort to capture the Unseen in the materiality of the Seen,silently. Sense of Beauty But along with the loss of the sense of the uniqueness of any spacemuch less, sacred spacewe have lost the sense of beauty; and that might be the connection. As the Austrian poet, Rainier Maria Rilke, stated: For the beautiful is nothing but the first degree of the terrible. Beauty is a powerful thing. It must be the primary goal of sacred architecture. Pope Benedict XVI suggests that: Beauty, then, is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. The profound connection between beauty and liturgy should make us attentive to every work of art placed at the service of the celebration (Sacramentum Caritatis). Many will agree, but maintain that beauty is only a marginal, relative thing, or merely a matter of taste or ornament, or private opinion. However, the Holy Father disagrees: Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. There have always been changing fashions in beauty throughout history, but God has instilled in all human beings, in all times, a sense of the beautiful. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote: Beauty is the neglected sister of Truth and Goodness, the three transcendental properties of Being. Without her, we lose them, too. But no longer loved and fostered by religion, beauty is lifted from its face as a mask, and its absence exposes features on that face which threaten to become incomprehensible to man. To fail to produce beauty in sacred art is to rob God of His glory. The building structure may be in place, the creature comforts may be in abundanceincluding air conditioning, padded pews, the latest technology may be there, together with plenty of parking spacesbut Gods glory is not. Finally, this loss of the sense of the sacred place and beauty could be caused by the sad fact that many Catholics have lost faith in Gods real presence in the Eucharist. Pope Benedict XVI had quite a bit to say about the Eucharist in his apostolic exhortation, Sacramentum Caritatis(Feb 22, 2007): Its within this great sacrament that the sacred and beauty come together.Certainly, an important element of sacred art is church architecture, which should highlight the unity of the furnishings of the sanctuary, such as: the altar, the crucifix, the tabernacle, the ambo and the celebrants chair. Here, it is important to


remember that the purpose of sacred architecture is to offer the Church a fitting space for the celebration of the mysteries of faith, especially the Eucharist.

Moretimeonline=lesshappinessamong girls
By Carolyn Moynihan
Family Edge (Blog for mercatornet.com) Girls who spend a lot of time using multimedia seem are less happy and socially comfortable than peers who spend less time on screens, a study from Stanford University suggests. Researchers came to that conclusion after analysing an online survey taken by 3,400 8- to 12-year-olds. The survey was offered through Discovery Girls magazine, which markets itself to that age -group (if indeed it is an age group, since there is, or ought to be, a big difference between 8 and 12-year-olds). The more time they spent in online communication and video use, the less happy they seemed to be. There are problems with the survey: the girls self-report the time they spend on media, and they may not be a representative sample. Theres also the causality caveat: it could be that girls already less well-adjusted avoid face-to-face relations and have more recourse to the screen. With those reservations parents may still feel affirmed in their instinct to limit media time for both daughters and sons. There is a hint that girls, in particular, need face time rather than Facebook time: The reason, say the researchers, is that on a basic, even primitive level, girls need to experience the full pantheon of communication that comes from face-to-face contact, such as learning to read body language, and subtle facial and verbal cues. Humans are built to notice these cues the quavering in your voice, perspiration, body posture, raise of an eyebrow, a faint smile or frown, said Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communication who led the study. Social media, he added, leaves the conversation two-dimensional. If Im not with you face to face, I dont get these things. Or, if Im face to face with you and Im also texting, Im not going to notice them. I recall that girls use social media much more than boys because they are more inclined to confide in their friends anyway. However, they are not likely to benefit from texting and online networking that is displacing real friendship

February 14, 1928 is the date that the womens section of Opus Dei was founded, when St Josemaria was moved by a clear light while celebrating Mass in a small private chapel in Madrid. The women of Opus Dei are representative of virtually all strata of society, occupational roles, as well as many distinct cultures and personal and family circumstances. Most are married and dedicated to their families, carrying out an apostolate of friendship with those life brings them in contact with. Some dedicate themselves entirely to the corporate activities of the Work. This is the case of the numerary assistant members. Dora del Hoyo was the first woman to join Opus Dei as a numerary assistant, shortly after meeting the Founder, in 1946. She was 29 years of age. She died on January 10, 2004 on the eve of her 90th birthday. Her fame of sanctity has led the Prelate to seek formal testimonies of her life


with a mind to a possible process of canonization. Here we publish an interview with her first biographer, Fr Javier Medina. www.opusdei.org Why did you decide to write about Dora del Hoyo? Did you know her personally? I didnt have the good fortune of meeting Dora. I have gotten to know her through the written accounts of her Dora appears on the left in this photo life from several women who lived with her during her years in Rome. Reading those accounts, I discovered a rich and attractive personality, and felt prompted to make her life known to others. So I started writing this book. What was Doras connection to the Founder of Opus Dei? Dora was the first numerary assistant in Opus Dei. St. Josemara found in this spiritual daughter of his a faithful and dedicated woman with great human gifts, who always knew how to say yes to God. Thats why she holds special importance for Opus Dei. The book refers to domestic work as a real profession. How does that apply to Dora? In regard to work, the term profession designates occupations that require a high level of specific capabilities; and a professional is a person whose actions reflect a high degree of competence. All the testimonies about her life concur in affirming that Dora carried out her domestic work with the competence of a first-class professional. She mastered every aspect of that work and exercised it at the highest level. Is this type of professional work still relevant today? One often hears the complaint today that the world is becoming ever more de-humanized. At the same time, we would all like to see more agreement, more solidarity, more understanding among people. How can we achieve this? Certainly there is no single remedy. But in my opinion, if we want social relations to improve, we have to begin with the most basic unitthe family. Young peopleand in fact everyoneneed the warmth of a home. And if they fail to find it, it becomes very difficult to learn how to relate to others in a truly human way. From that perspective, it is evident that homemakers like Dora play a very important role in the well-being of society. Those who govern need to be convinced of this reality and give a strong impetus to the work of those who exercise this professionas a fundamental investment in societys future. What is especially notable about Doras personality? If I were to mention just one characteristic, without a doubt it would be her love for God and neighbor. She was a woman with a great heart. Some testimonies cited in the book recall Dora as a heroic woman in the midst of a very ordinary life. What sort of heroism was it? Christian heroism does not mean doing what is the most difficult or the greatest. It takes place in ordinary life, the consequence of a love shown continually in apparently small details. Thats how Dora lived: taking care of others, out of love. (The biography, "Una luz encendida,"is available from Palabra publishers inMadrid. Hopefully an English translation will appear soon.).


Interview of Joaquin Navarro Vals by Jess Colina


Without intending to do so, the movie "There Be Dragons," has set off a "movement of many people who feel moved to forgive," says Joaqun Navarro-Valls. Navarro-Valls, known as the long-time Vatican spokesman from 1984-2006, told ZENIT that the producers of the movie, which is set during the Spanish Civil War, "are daily receiving messages of thanks (some are on the Internet) from people who see the movie and decide to return home after years of separation, from spouses who are reconciled, from parents and children who have come to accept one another again, from others who return to God after a long time of being distanced from him." "There Be Dragons" is an historical drama, directed by Roland Joff (The Mission, The Killing Fields, City of Joy), that evokes the youthful years of St. Josemara Escriv (19021975), Opus Dei's founder (played by Charlie Cox), and his attitude to the Spanish Civil War. Robert (played by Dougray Scott) is a journalist who, on investigating the figure of the founder of "the Work" to write an extensive report, discovers that his father, Manolo (played by Wes Bentley), with whom he has had no relationship for the past eight years, was a friend of Escriv during his childhood. From that moment, the plot leads the journalist and with him the public, to discover unimaginable surprises that would change his life forever. On the eve of the U.S. premiere, ZENIT spoke with Navarro-Valls, who is investor in the movie, on his personal relationship with St. Josemara Escriv and why he became involved with "There Be Dragons." ZENIT: You lived for more than 20 years with the now Blessed John Paul II as his spokesperson and a close collaborator. You also lived for five years with St. Josemara Escriv, who is one of the characters in this movie. What common elements do you see between these two holy persons? Navarro-Valls: From the human and psychological point of view, I would say that they shared a great sense of humor, which both maintained up to the moment of their deaths. Another characteristic was their capacity to take the initiative. They were able to foresee the needs of others and the needs of their time and did not simply react to the problems or challenges that arose in each moment. On the spiritual plane, they both had a strong awareness of being in the hands of God and of fulfilling his will. St. Josemara referred to himself as a "madman" for the love of God. Blessed John Paul II would lose track of time when he was praying before a tabernacle. At the same time, however, Josemara Escriv and Karol Wojtyla were men of flesh and bones and very much men of their time. When we have known a saint, when our own life has crossed paths with theirs, I think that we have to modify the idea of holiness that appears in baroque art, which centers above all on the extraordinary moments. Such an idea lacks realism, consistency and proportion. These two saints show us that holiness is joined to the material world and to everything that is human. I saw how they would make their own the joys and sufferings of the people around them, laughing and empathizing with them. It seems to me that a saint is always a realist, with the realism that allows one to see things with the eyes of God. Josemara Escriv and Karol Wojtyla make us see that in our concrete and human world there is "a divine something" that is there waiting for anyone who knows how to find it, that every


activity and every moment has its divine transcendence. I would also say that in these men we can find some shared theological views, such as an interest for what is known as the "theology of the laity." From the time he founded Opus Dei in 1928, Josemara Escrivas contribution to this has been immense. And I think that John Paul II, by going ahead with St. Josemaras canonization, also wanted to proclaim, in a most solemn way, this ideal of sanctity in ordinary life. ZENIT: Why did you decide to become personally involved in "There be Dragons?" Navarro-Valls: As you yourself mentioned, in my life I have lived with two saints. In a certain way, I feel in my conscience that I have a responsibility to transmit this unique experience, and I thought that the theater might be a suitable means. In 2005, I collaborated with an Italian-American co-production about Karol Wojtyla, which the producer Lux Vide led from Italy. A little later, when Roland Joff and the producers of "There be Dragons" spoke to me about the project, I found it attractive, and I decided to invest in this movie. I found Joff's approach interesting. He constructs a story with parallel lives (as in "The Mission" and "The Killing Fields") in which Josemara Escriv is one of the central characters. The film does not present a saints life, but the complicated lives of several people deeply touched by a holy priest. The plot turns on the meaning of forgiveness, which has eternal significance in human history. ZENIT: And what do you think of the results? Navarro-Valls: I think what we have here is a film full of humanity and dramatic strength that draws in the viewer. You can see this in the box-office results in Spain, where it has been in the theaters for seven weeks now. Roland Joff has returned to his best moments and has made a movie that is both moving and entertaining. I think that it is a great story of passion that finds its resolution in the theme of forgiveness. The nucleus of the movie is the narration of an ambiguous character, Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley), who, at the end of his life, resolves the problems he has with his son. It is a very emotional moment in the film but, above all, it is the films moment of truth. Without planning to do so, Roland Joff has started a movement of many people who feel moved to forgive. The producers are daily receiving messages of thanks (some are on the Internet) from people who see the movie and decide to return home after years of separation, from spouses who are reconciled, from parents and children who have come to accept one another again, from others who return to God after a long time of being distanced from him. As an investor, these reactions have been wonderfully gratifying and represent an incalculable value, far superior to any financial return on the investment. ZENIT: Some have seen "There Be Dragons" as a response to The Da Vinci Code." Navarro-Valls: The films director and producers have said on numerous occasions that they do not see the film as a response to anyone, among other reasons, because they consider their movie to be at a higher level, both artistically as well as from the point of view of pure entertainment. The movie contains a great deal of visual and musical beauty, and there are many passions and emotions that will leave hardly anyone indifferent. Nevertheless, while they do not consider themselves to be answering anyone, I think that "There Be Dragons" is in fact a powerful answer to "The Da Vinci Code," because it expresses in a film the truth about questions related to the Christian message and the Church that were falsified in Dan Brown's story. I would be delighted if many of the fans of "The Da Vinci Code" saw and enjoyed "There Be Dragons." They would discover a more complete and more real picture of the supernatural themes of God's grace and holiness, which are the things to which every human being aspires. I am convinced that Mr. Brown himself would appreciate this story, if he were to see it.
The film There Be Dragons is being shown at the Kino Theatre, 45 Collins St, Melbourne on Friday, February 17, at 7pm. Tickets on line www.therebedragons,com. Price $20