Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lucia Louisa Wall: Gay Marriage debate to divide Grandparents and Grandchildren, should really ask if pornography is the main divider

The Labour MP behind the bid to legalise gay marriage expects the debate to divide grandparents and grandchildren.

With Labour MP Louisa Wall's Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill tipped for a final reading in May, same-sex marriage could be passed into law next year.

Ms Wall said the bill was a "talking point" with the potential to split families this summer.

"For me, it's an issue like the Springbok tour: you're either for it, or against it. I'm happy for it to be one of the topics of holiday conversation."

She said debate over marriage equality reflected a "generational issue", with pensioners proving to be the minority in opposition.

Oh, she wishes. Plenty of women my age (mid-40's) that I know are against it as well.

A recent Dominion Post readers' survey also reflected the divisiveness of the issue.

Of the 613 readers polled from December 13 to 20, 35 per cent identified themselves as being in support of same-sex marriage, while a further 35 per cent were against it.

Looks like pro and con are equal.
Just under a quarter described themselves as "neutral" on the subject, while a further 6 per cent had no opinion.
And neutrals are a large percentage as well. Seems to me, that in the Dominion Post at least, those that are for redefining marriage are in the minority,.

It's a typical propaganda technique to claim that you have the majority, and that is what Louisa Wall is doing by claiming that pensioners are the "minority in opposition".

Those in opposition were much more vocal than those in favour. Fewer than a quarter of the 176 respondents who took the optional opportunity to expand on their opinions spoke out in favour of marriage equality.

Which means that those against have more of an idea why they are against it, as opposed to the crowd followers who just want to be in with the current social advancements.

***

Then there's the influence of porn, as to how likely you are to be supportive of gay marriage. The verdict is, the more often you view porn, the more likely you are to be pro-gay marriage. Oh, I would love Louisa Wall to come out and say that there is a porn divide in New Zealand, with heavy porn users more likely to be on the side of the redefinition of marriage.

Data from the New Family Structures Study reveal that when young adult Americans (ages 23-39) are asked about their level of agreement with the statement “It should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry in America,” the gender difference emerges, just as expected: 42 percent of men agreed or strongly agreed, compared with 47 percent of women of the same age. More men than women disagreed or strongly disagreed (37 versus 30 percent), while comparable levels (21-23 percent) said they were “unsure.”

But of the men who view pornographic material “every day or almost every day,” 54 percent “strongly agreed” that gay and lesbian marriage should be legal, compared with around 13 percent of those whose porn-use patterns were either monthly or less often than that. Statistical tests confirmed that porn use is a (very) significant predictor of men’s support for same-sex marriage, even after controlling for other obvious factors that might influence one’s perspective, such as political affiliation, religiosity, marital status, age, education, and sexual orientation.

The same pattern emerges for the statement, “Gay and lesbian couples do just as good a job raising children as heterosexual couples.” Only 26 percent of the lightest porn users concurred, compared to 63 percent of the heaviest consumers. It’s a linear association for men: the more porn they consume, the more they affirm this statement. More rigorous statistical tests confirmed that this association too is a very robust one.

Well, I can't say I'm surprised. Porn is made by men for men, so those who look at it are going to be influenced by a male sex mindset, which involves a lot of gay sex with women as props (See Pornography - On purpose laid to make the taker mad.

Pornography is “homo” sex—that is it’s sex made by men to arouse men and boys. Pornography causes boys to have sex with themselves, psychopharmacologically conditioning them early to male sexual touch. Pornography claims our sisters, daughters, even our moms are nonhuman animals.

Related links: Gay marriage debate likely to split families ~ Dominion Post
Does porn use affect attitude to same-sex marriage? ~ Bob McCoskrie's Blog

ZenTiger People as objects

It's sad to hear that the Indian women who was gang-raped, beaten and abused on a bus has died from her injuries. "Give the harshest of punishments" said the father of some-one being questioned by the police in the matter.

Apparently, many rapes and attacks on women go unreported in India, and the cases that do go to court can languish in the backlog of cases, as the justice system cannot keep up. Hopefully, this case will galvanise the Indian government into action.

Maybe they can outsource?


Harshest of punishments is deserved

Lucia Dawkins is an embarrassment says particle physicist Peter Higgs, postulator of the "God Particle"

In an artist's conception, a Higgs boson erupts from a collision of protons. (Source: National Geographic)

This will be a blow to those who think Dawkins is right about everything, and that science always trumps religion.
Peter Higgs, the particle physicist who postulated the existence of the Higgs Boson, the so called ‘God particle’ has criticized Richard Dawkins as an embarrassment for his fundamentalist attacks on religion:

“What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind.

He agreed with some of Dawkins’ thoughts on the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from religious belief, but he was unhappy with the evolutionary biologist’s approach to dealing with believers and said he agreed with those who found Dawkins’ approach “embarrassing”.

In the El Mundo interview, Higgs argued that although he was not a believer, he thought science and religion were not incompatible. “The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers. But that’s not the same thing as saying they’re incompatible. It’s just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.

“But that doesn’t end the whole thing. Anybody who is a convinced but not a dogmatic believer can continue to hold his belief. It means I think you have to be rather more careful about the whole debate between science and religion than some people have been in the past.”

He said a lot of scientists in his field were religious believers. “I don’t happen to be one myself, but maybe that’s just more a matter of my family background than that there’s any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two.”

Dawkins did not respond to a request to comment directly on Higgs’s “fundamentalist” charge.

Here's an example of Richard Dawkins in action, where he says it's worse to raise a child Catholic where they believe in Hell, than it is for that child to be sexually abused by a priest.



Hattip: Protect the Pope

Related links: Peter Higgs criticises Richard Dawkins over anti-religious 'fundamentalism' ~ The Guardian
"God Particle" Found? "Historic Milestone" From Higgs Boson Hunters ~ National Geographic

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lucia NEW POLL: David Cameron splitting his party over "same sex marriage"

A new poll of Conservative Party members in the UK has found that Conservative MP, David Cameron, is out of step with his own party over gay marriage.
David Cameron has been warned that his backing for gay marriage is splitting the Conservatives and that he has underestimated the strong opposition to it in his own party.

A survey of more than 2,500 Conservative Party members for The Independent found that a huge majority reject his arguments for legalising same-sex marriage.

The findings come amid renewed speculation among some Tory MPs that Mr Cameron could face a leadership challenge before the next general election. His critics fear that the UK Independence Party will exploit the opposition to gay marriage among natural Conservative supporters. They claim he will alienate Tory MPs further and if he fails to offer an "in or out" referendum on Britain's EU membership in a speech in the new year.

"Gay marriage is a toxic mix," one Tory MP said. "We are in danger of playing into Ukip's hands." Cameron allies dismiss leadership speculation as coming from long-standing critics.

The poll, carried out by the ConservativeHome website, found that seven out of 10 Tory members (71 per cent) believe that same-sex marriage is splitting the party and that three out of four (78 per cent) believe the Prime Minister has underestimated the strength of feeling.

Although Mr Cameron's standing among gay people has improved, according to another survey this week, most Tory members are unimpressed. Some 62 per cent believe he should worry more about traditional Tory supporters like church-goers and less about winning over others such as gay rights campaigners.

A majority of Tory members (64 per cent) think gay marriage is unnecessary because gay people can already opt for civil partnerships, while 32 per cent disagree. Almost six out of 10 (58 per cent) believe that marriage "should remain between one man and one woman", while 34 per cent disagree.

Only 38 per cent agree with the proposition that "marriage is an institution that brings two people together and there is no reason why two people should not be two men, two women or a man and a woman," while 58 per cent disagree. Mr Cameron's concessions to his Tory critics – including the proposal to make gay marriage illegal in the Church of England – appear to cut little ice. A minority (43 per cent) agree with the statement that they would not object to same-sex marriage as along as religious liberty is protected, while 51 per cent disagree.

Only one in three Conservative members (36 per cent) admires Mr Cameron for "standing up for gay equality", while 55 per cent do not.Seven out of 10 (71 per cent) think same-sex marriage will not be a "big issue" at the next election.

Some 2,568 Torys took part in the survey between 22 and 26 December.
There have been more than a few articles along these lines for a while now.  John Key here in New Zealand, should take note.

Meanwhile, a former speechwriter for David Cameron goes on and on about how Churches' hostility to gay marriage only underlines their impotence. Got to be careful with the type of person you get as a speechwriter, otherwise they can be unduly influence over a person's views, especially someone who needs to be popular like politicians.

Related link: Tories warn PM that he's splitting his party over gay marriage, as leadership speculation mounts ~ The Independant

Lucia Whale Oil has included this blog in his worst political blog awards [UPDATE]

You've got to laugh, really.

We should do a poll on the most anti-Catholic blogs in New Zealand. Whale Oil Beef Hooked would be right up there.

Related link: Whaleoil Awards – Worst Political Blog

UPDATE: I treat online conversations like I treat real conversations. If someone is being an asshole, I won't talk to them. Anyone that wants a conversation after acting like a real jerk needs to apologise and grovel profusely, and then accept that they don't have a right to have me respond to them. Continuing to attack me just makes it worse. I really wonder if some people on blogs actually know how to talk to real people face to face, or if all their interaction is just limited to the keyboard.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lucia Age divide on gay marriage should really be an ignorance divide

In my teenage years, I was your very typical, rebellious, indoctrinated Gen-Xer. When I left college, I didn't believe in marriage, had met lots of cool people who didn't seem to either, including quite a number of gay and lesbians. My hairdressers were gay men, and I deliberately sought them out as hairdressers, for they created more interesting haircuts than young women the same age. I was even a hair model in the local competitions in Wellington for a gay hairdressing couple in the late 80's. Those two men are both dead from AIDS, by the way.

When I moved to Sydney in 1990, I found myself another gay hairdresser and reacted with, oh how wonderful to a friend that came out gay to me. That same friend, a year later, I stayed up with all night trying to get him to see reasons to live as he admitted that his plan was to come over and then go kill himself.

Earlier this year, when I visited my sister and her husband in Sydney, I met up with a lesbian friend and her sister (I don't know if the sister is a lesbian as well), that I'd known from Wellington. They told me that a long-time friend of ours who married another long-time friend had separated from his wife and came out as gay and is now living with a man. Everyone was shocked, apparently, though the kids are dealing with it fine, and he was so supportive when his wife came down with cancer. Damn straight, he should have been.

As most readers of this blog now know, I have changed massively in my outlook on life. I ended up getting married to my boyfriend because I wanted children. I had this thought that no matter what I felt, it would be better for my future children to at least have married parents. After having my first child, when my gay suicidal friend told me he wanted to find a surrogate to have his baby, I tried to talk him out of it. I knew too much about what a drastic change a baby can have in your life, and it really makes a difference having a man and a woman looking after that baby, as we are both so different. All that crap about gender being just a construct kind of goes out the window when your body produces a baby, and both parents react differently to when that baby cries, for instance instant splurge of milk in the early days. I soon learnt to wear breast pads.

Anyway, having babies and needing the support of a husband really changed my ignorant theories on how life should be. It's easy to think that gay relationships are the same as straight relationships when you don't have children, when you don't know what that is like. Any studies that show that people are behind legalising gay marriage, should also differentiate between those that are married and those that aren't, and between those that have had children and those that haven't. Therefore, Louisa Wall's finding below is really based on ignorance and naivety of the mostly childless, rather than the coolness factor of being young.

Labour MP Louisa Wall, who is behind the bill to legalise gay marriage, said studies out of universities had found even stronger support among young people, above 80 per cent.

You might as well just say the young and/or ignorant support the bill to legalise gay marriage.

Related link: The age divide on same sex marriage ~ Kiwiblog

Andrei Who will inherit the earth?

An old fashioned Christian Family
A Modern Family

These relationships are not equivalent and it is absurd to try and pretend that they are.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lucia Merry Christmas!




Thank you to every one that visits and reads this blog, and especially to those that comment. I have enjoyed interacting with you all, even though some of you might be profoundly annoying. I hope that you all have a wonderful day today, and that the Christ Child might be born in your hearts, if He doesn't live there already.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Andrei No Virginia, the Christ Child didn't have congenital syphilis

Countdown to Christmas replete with seasonal silliness.

Here is a beauty, the implication that the gifts of the Magi, the gold frankinsense and myrrh were in fact an eye ointment. To be fair having introduced syphilis into the stable the writer does posit "(t)his theory is, of course, speculative in the extreme". The flaws in "this theory" and the article that contains it are manifest, c'est Noel circa 2012.

And then from the sidebar this. A comic's claim that the Nativity story is stolen from that of Mithras, high on humour and short on historical vericity. It matters not - it's seasonal filler.

Of course there are other birthdays around this time of year, of other historical figures and myths people might weave ......


Saturday, December 22, 2012

ZenTiger Dawkins Scare Little Children

Richard Dawkins' latest rant against religion is actually a good example of the evil he speaks about.  He becomes guilty of the same sin, if only he was rational and logical enough to understand it.

Firstly, Dawkins view of Catholic theology is terribly flawed and incomplete. What he presents is only a weak caricature of Catholic Theology and focuses on the aspect of hell. Then he weaves that in with stories of the stereotypical pedophile priest. He reveals he was fondled once by a Latin schoolteacher. He doesn't bother to clarify, so the reader can assume the Latin Schoolteacher was a Catholic Priest in his spare time.

So the nub of his argument is that it is child abuse to teach children the Catholic religion because it is a form of mental abuse to scare people about going to hell. That form of mental abuse is worse, he suggests, than the sexual abuse, and he'd be all for the ruin of the church on lawsuits alone if he didn't hate lawyers slightly more.

He has no end of people stepping forward to document their mental abuse centred on the threat of going to hell, and therefore, all his arguments about Catholicism are supposedly irrefutable.

So let's try a little experiment. Let's imagine Richard Dawkins has won and there are no religions in the world anymore. We just have atheists.

Would children still be sexually abused? Indeed. It's not religion that is responsible for child abuse, it is perverted people, and religion is no special indicator.

Would children be subjected to mental cruelty? Indeed. The threats of the bogeyman would be another example of the "going to hell" tactic. Throw in threats of "tell anyone of this abuse and your brother/sister/parent/family will be killed/hurt/blame you for this information.

When looking at the total picture of child abuse, both physical and mental, the pattern will emerge that some people use scare tactics or physical cruelty to get their way. It doesn't matter that Catholic theology teaches love and forgiveness, and would classify such threats of hell made to children in an improper way a grave sin in itself - what actually matters here is that some people will show a tendency to twist anything they can to get the advantage they want.

There are of course varying degrees and varying motives of this sin. Threats of all sorts are made by basically good parents and teachers under stress where on reflection they pushed a little too hard. Richard Dawkins will not end this kind of abuse by focusing on the Catholic Church anymore than if he made it illegal to threaten children with the bogeyman, or the monster in the cupboard or the fact that Mrs Hammersmith, two doors down eats little children if they stray into her back yard.

I'd go as far to say that such bigoted tripe Richard Dawkins peddles against Catholicism no more than the same sort of scare tactics he is supposedly railing against - full of misinformation and wifully neglecting to provide the full picture. Will he be the first to suggest that there ought to be a law against Atheists preaching such hate? Who knows, maybe he will evolve?



Link: Richard Dawkins - Religion is child abuse

Postscript: We will leave aside the discussion of genuine theology where we learn more about what hell is, and how to avoid it whilst learning the full aspect of . Consider though if I made the argument that in liberal atheist land, it is immoral to suggest that looking both ways before crossing the road is prudent. Also, telling a 13 year old that condoms work 100% of the time and you can never, ever get a disease or infection if you use a condom is a moral thing to teach. But feel free to bring this up in the comments if I don't get around to a post covering that type of discussion.

Lucia Benedict XVI: The Church supports families and values


ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI ON THE OCCASION OF CHRISTMAS GREETINGS TO THE ROMAN CURIA ~ Vatican

Cue, outrage ... Pope Benedict Takes Anti-Gay Marriage To New Level In Christmas Speech On Family Values from the Huffington Post. Except that same-sex marriage is not mentioned in the speech, though it could be derived from what the Holy Father is saying about the nature of man himself.

On the family, the full paragraphs:

The great joy with which families from all over the world congregated in Milan indicates that, despite all impressions to the contrary, the family is still strong and vibrant today. But there is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations – especially in the western world. It was noticeable that the Synod repeatedly emphasized the significance, for the transmission of the faith, of the family as the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence. This is something we learn by living it with others and suffering it with others. So it became clear that the question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human. The challenges involved are manifold. First of all there is the question of the human capacity to make a commitment or to avoid commitment. Can one bind oneself for a lifetime? Does this correspond to man’s nature? Does it not contradict his freedom and the scope of his self-realization? Does man become himself by living for himself alone and only entering into relationships with others when he can break them off again at any time? Is lifelong commitment antithetical to freedom? Is commitment also worth suffering for? Man’s refusal to make any commitment – which is becoming increasingly widespread as a result of a false understanding of freedom and self-realization as well as the desire to escape suffering – means that man remains closed in on himself and keeps his “I” ultimately for himself, without really rising above it. Yet only in self-giving does man find himself, and only by opening himself to the other, to others, to children, to the family, only by letting himself be changed through suffering, does he discover the breadth of his humanity. When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child – essential elements of the experience of being human are lost.

The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naĆ®t pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.

Lucia Dusting St Peter's for Christmas


Video set to gorgeous music.

Lucia Hekia Parata is being savaged in the Dom Post this morning [UPDATE]

I've voted for Hekia Parata, as she has been the National candidate for the Mana Electorate for the number of years, or so. Around mid-year, we generally get a Happy Matariki card and calendar, with a picture of Hekia Parata and John Key on one side. Strangely enough, though, we never get a Happy Christmas message. I would have though Christmas would be a far more important time of year to acknowledge than Matariki. To me, that misjudgement typifies Hekia Parata's style, what she focuses on and thinks important isn't in step with the mainstream. Not that I'm mainstream, but I think most people in NZ would rank Christmas much higher up the festival scale than Matariki.

So, here's Tracy Watkins with a devastating article on Hekia Parata. I almost feel sorry for her.

When Hekia Parata was promoted to the education portfolio, she was pegged by some as a future leader, ruffling a few feathers among her colleagues.

All the ingredients were there - a rags to riches back story, professional success and powerful mentors, including Finance Minister Bill English and Prime Minister John Key, who saw in her an echo of his own rise to the top.

But she also had the all important X-factor - supreme self-assurance, an engaging personality and a guffawing laugh that could fill a room.

So, an egotist, in other words. It seems it's the type of politician that makes it in New Zealand, except they have to be able to perform as well. I'm not sure about a guffawing laugh being part of the "X-factor", but maybe Tracy threw that in there just to mock. Certainly the type of person I'd look for would be radically different.

As blunders mounted one on top of the other in the education portfolio, however, Ms Parata's poise deserted her. Hard questions were met with obfuscation and, when under stress, she reached for the bureaucrat's trick of papering over the cracks with jargon.

The pressure began to tell in other, more personal, ways. Beehive insiders talk about a tense and poisonous atmosphere within her ministerial office, brought on by an increasingly demanding minister, who was out of her depth and casting around for others to blame. She churned through several private secretaries and lost a senior adviser just two months into a two-year secondment.

Ouch, ouch, ouch. I don't see how Hekia Parata can survive this sort of thing. The only way to stop it at this point, because politics loves a good savaging, and Hekia Parata's blood is in the water right now, is to fight back effectively (ala Judith Collins and the Binnie Report) or to resign. Going to ground and hoping Christmas (bet there wasn't even a consideration Matariki could do the same thing if this happened mid-year) will smooth things over, is not a good idea. Journalists will come back from holiday and take up where they left off, for want of better stories.

Related link: Parata loses her poise under pressure ~ Dominion Post

UPDATE: The NZ Herald has a piece by Audrey Young that is much softer: Leap-frog minister in a class of her own

Fletch Why The Rainbow?

I note that St Matthews in the City has another billboard this year (which I won't bother posting an image of) which depicts the baby Jesus with a rainbow halo around his head, and (they say) begging the question of how do we know Jesus wasn't gay? It made me think: why is the rainbow now a "gay" sign?  I still take issue with the gay crowd trying to appropriate it is as their symbol. Why should they? What has a rainbow got to do with same-gender sexual conduct? Nothing really; in fact, in the Bible it is given as a symbol from God to his people that he will never destroy the Earth by flood again -

"God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.“It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” ~ Genesis 9: 12-17
Just like the enemy to take something that is God's symbol of peace between Himself and mankind and pervert it for his own use. Looks like they have got a lot of exposure. Even the Drudge report has a post on the billboard. I think we ought to take the rainbow back.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lucia Employing married women and Stuff Nation posts

Stuff Nation posted a story on a man not employing married women, and saying that they should be home raising their children instead, gained a bit of notoriety and generated discussion on talkback shows a few days ago.  Soon after, David Farrar posted about it and another opinion post, complaining that about these sorts of opinion type posts from Stuff Nation mascarding as news items devalue the work of the Stuff journalists.
But here’s an example of what I was complaining about. I follow NZ Stuff Politics on Twitter. My expectation is that tweets from that account will be linking to stories written by journalists on politics. One tweet this afternoon was:
Call for new Education Minister
I clicked through on this, thinking it was a significant story. That a lobby group or school or union or MP had called for a new Education Minister.

Instead the link was to this Stuff Nation story. It was basically a letter to the editor, or a short piece by a reader called Peter Condon that he thinks Parata should go.

This shouldn’t be tweeted as a political news story by the Stuff NZ Politics twitter account. It isn’t a story. I’m not saying don’t have the opinion on the website somewhere, but this treating of a Stuff Nation opinion as no different to a news story is I think bad.
I agree with him, as that "story" appeared on my Google News feed as a supposedly genuine news item.  Stuff is not the only site that does this sort of thing, however, but it is annoying when you have your news contaminated with reader's opinions.

As for not employing married women because they should be home raising their children, I think that an employer that acts this way should also be paying all his married male employees a generous enough salary so that they can support a wife and children on their paycheck alone. It's incredibly hypocritical to be telling a woman that she needs to be home looking after her children if you are contributing to ensuring that women need to be working to support their families because their husbands aren't being paid enough in order to do so themselves.

Lucia The end of the world explained, it's like 31 Dec, 1999

The world is not going to end, it's just a calendar click over, kind of similar to our change from 31 December, 1999 to 1 January, 2000. There was a bit of worry about the year 2000 bug, but luckily programmers around the world worked really hard to ensure that the apocalypse that might have been, didn't happen.

If you are still worried, read Jimmy Akin's explanation of the Maya Calendar. You'll feel much better.

Lucia Ruminations on Blogging and Links to Blogs

I started blogging in early 2005 on the now defunct blog, Sir Humphrey's. A couple of years later I moved to this blog and soon after, Sir Humphrey's died, with some of the remaining bloggers moving over to No Minister.

Generally bloggers are quite a helpful bunch. Most will link to other blogger that post regularly on their sites, unless that particular person trolls or they have a major aversion to them. If you look at my sidebar, you'll see quite a few sites that I do not agree with, but that I have some sort of history with, so I link.

Bloggers normally link to other sites, as we all benefit when this is done. Over the last few years, live updates showing the latest post of linked blogs has greatly enhanced the blogging experience. I've noticed quite a few readers use this blog to keep an eye out for new posts of interest in our sidebar.

It's unusual for blogs not to have a sidebar of blogs. When I was at Sir Humphrey's, which was a very popular blog, I considered it a civic duty to link to other, less popular blogs that I thought deserved an audience, or at least a chance. So, Whale Oil Beef Hooked, which is undoubtedly the most popular blog in New Zealand, is somewhat of an anomaly in this regard, as there are no blogs linked to it that I can see, anywhere.

What prompted this rumination is noticing a new conservative blog on KiwiBlog's sidebar. When Sir Humphrey's died, No Minister made it to KiwiBlog's sidebar, this blog didn't. Fair enough, I thought, David Farrar is a liberal and he doesn't like conservatives (or me), therefore it's his call as to whom he links on his sidebar. But over the years, other conservative blogs have made it to his sidebar. At the last count, three of them that are obvious to me.

There are other blogs listed in our sidebar that don't link to us, run by bloggers who have commented here and we there. I supposed I've offended them in some way, as I tend to do that from time to time. Blogging for me is a real test of my charity towards others, and I admit I do fail frequently in this regard.

Lucia Sandy Hook killer was a Satanist

Now it all starts to make sense. The mother and the children killed would have been sacrifices to the devil before the sacrifice of his own life.

The Sandy Hook gunman worshiped the devil and had an online page dedicated to Satan, a former classmate revealed, as his childhood barber recalls Adam Lanza never spoke and would stare at the floor every time he had his hair cut.

Lanza's worshiping page had the word 'Devil' written in red, Gothic-style letters against a black background, Trevor L. Todd told The National Enquirer, something which he said was 'weird' and 'gave him the chills'.

The FBI are trying to piece together his smashed up hard drive to see if his online footprint will reveal any motive for the killing, but they strongly believe he made use of devil-worshiping and suicide sites and boasted of his murder plans on message forums.

My younger son came across a teenage Satanist on Instagram. She had tried to commit suicide a number of times, and posted a few graphic fiction pieces of murder. It wouldn't surprise me if she ended up killing someone at some point in the future if she doesn't kill herself first. Regardless, my son no uses Instagram. It's a dangerous place for children, lots of narcissists and suicidal teenagers there posting pictures of their self-mutilation and their desire to die.

Previously I posted on the number of mass murderers that are most likely insane. I know this is not politically correct to say, but there is a strong link between insanity and demonic activity in some cases. In my family I had an aunt who was committed to a mental asylum that was convinced she saw the devil. In my own experience with a person I knew who tried to kill himself and was committed for a time, there was definitely something not right going on there that affected me as well that felt extremely oppressive. Another person I knew years ago that tried to kill himself as well was a practising witch, and even though I was involved in some creepy New Age stuff at the time, I found the item he gave me in thanks for helping him get through one of his episodes made me feel physically ill. The spiritual battle that is raging around us is far more dangerous than the physical one.

Related link: 'I am the devil': Former classmate reveals school gunman had 'online devil worshiping page' as childhood barber recounts how he never spoke and just stared at floors

Lucia John Key in a mock gay marriage ceremony [UPDATE]

Added to an article on the inablity of Hekia Parata to listen to warnings by board members and education experts over the closure of Nelson's Salisbury School, is a small addition over the way Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, spends his time.

It emerged yesterday that he had been doing a round of private radio station Christmas appearances on the day Ms Longstone's resignation was announced, and took part in a "mock" gay marriage ceremony.

What the heck was this "mock" gay marriage ceremony about? Was it some sort of renewal ceremony to ensure John Key's compliance and leadership of National in helping Labour's Louisa Wall's same sex marriage bill will pass? The mind boggles as to why the Prime Minister would spend the time to participate in a "mock" ceremony, if there weren't some other purpose in mind.

Also, why "mock", rather than mock in the article. If it's not a real ceremony, then mock without the quote marks is appropriate. "Mock" with the quote marks indicates that the participants thought it was real, and it's only the reporter that's not sure.

As to Hekia Parata, she is abysmal as Education Minister. Most times that I've heard her on the radio, she seems to just be a front person with a script that she delivers and seems to have very little knowledge of her portfolio.

UPDATE: Here's the mock gay marriage ceremony, performed on radio. Very disturbing, especially John Key giving his "bride" a whack on the bottom at the end.

Related link: Parata did not heed warning over closure ~ Dominion Post

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lucia Are guns really the problem?

In aftermath of the Newtown shooting of children and teachers in the United States, not everyone is thinking about guns being the problem. What about policies around how those who are mentally ill are cared for?

The debate on gun control may be a good one if it reminds us once again exactly who these shooters are. Rather than focusing exclusively on guns themselves, the debate will be fruitful if we begin to pay closer attention to those who are committing these violent acts. A true commitment to social justice demands that we begin to take notice of the real health and safety needs of the mentally ill living among us. While progressives claim the moral high ground in their calls for gun control, they tend to ignore the fact that progressive policies on mental illness may have contributed to this dark day in Newtown.

For more than 40 years, we have been defining down the risks posed by the violent mentally ill. Dismissing the potential for violence within the population of the mentally ill was a noble goal in the beginning—an enlightened society needed to move away from the values and norms surrounding mental illness in the 18th century, when aristocratic elites visited the “mad” in London’s Bedlam Hospital and called it “entertainment.” But the social cost of defining down the risks posed by the violent mentally ill has been high—as the parents of the children of Newtown know.

To understand how mental illness went from a being considered a form of great deviance to an alternative lifestyle, it is helpful to look back at the efforts of the 1960s advocates who began lobbying for the rights of the mentally ill. Inspired by sociologist Erving Goffman’s book Asylums, progressives began to claim in the 1960s that coercive treatment for mental illness actually exacerbated the bizarre behavior of those labeled mentally ill. This outlook was reinforced by Michel Foucault, who asserted in Madness and Civilization that modern conceptions of mental illness were “socially constructed” when bourgeois society prevailed and demanded greater conformity.

From Foucault’s postmodern perspective, notions of madness and increased institutional warehousing were the result of the elite’s decreased tolerance for “difference.” Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz began writing about the “myth” of mental illness, and R.D. Laing drew upon existentialist philosophy to reject what he called the “absurdity of the normal.” By the time Ken Kesey’s book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (later adapted into a film starring Jack Nicholson) was released in 1975, audiences were well prepared for the idea of the mental institution as the ultimate agent of social control, and for the parallel notion that insanity is really a sane response to an insane world.

It was in this climate that the Supreme Court declared in its 1975 O’Connor v. Donaldson decision that mentally ill individuals who pose no obvious danger to anyone cannot be confined against their will. And, for the past four decades, rather than focusing on the well-being of the mentally ill—and their neighbors, family, and friends—efforts have focused instead on reducing the stigma associated with their condition.

Yeah, that's been the case here in New Zealand as well. The same spirit of letting loose the mentally ill has been running rampant in the disability area as well, closing down workshops and facilities and "mainstreaming" those who really need to be in separate environments.  I did wonder where that idea came from.

The Newtown shooter has been described in the media as having suffered from a “personality disorder” as well as Asperger’s syndrome. He is described as having a “flat affect” and refusing to make eye contact with others. Although unconfirmed as yet, we can expect to learn much more about the young perpetrator’s history of mental instability. As one might expect, the Autism Self Advocacy Network quickly denounced suggestions made by the media regarding the perpetrator of the Newtown school shooting and autism, posting a statement on their website that reads in part:

Recent media reports have suggested that the perpetrator of this violence, Adam Lanza, may have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, or with another psychiatric disability. In either event, it is imperative that as we mourn the victims of this horrific tragedy that commentators and the media avoid drawing inappropriate and unfounded links between autism or other disabilities and violence.
These advocates are indeed correct in their claims that the overwhelming majority of people with diagnosed mental disorders—including personality disorders like the one Lanza has been described as having—are not dangerous. But there is a well-documented connection between severe mental illness, substance abuse, and violence.
It's more politically correct to blame the guns, however.  While it's true that the guns did kill 26 innocent victims on that terrible day in Connecticut, the guns didn't do it by themselves.  They needed a madman to pull the trigger.  I say mad, rather than just evil, because the killer killed himself as well.  It's the height of madness to take your own life, it goes against every instinct of self-preservation that we have as human beings.

So, how many of these mass murderers are insane?  Quite a few, as it turns out.

For a series on “rampage killers,” in 2000 the New York Times examined 100 multiple-homicide incidents that occurred in the United States over the previous 50 years. Reporters gathered extensive information on all the cases and looked even more closely at a subset of more than 25 of them. The analysis included reviews of court cases, news coverage, and mental health records, as well as interviews with families and friends, psychologists and victims. In some cases, reporters questioned the killers themselves.

Based on this information, the Times investigation revealed a high association between violence and mental illness. Nearly half (47) of the 100 rampage killers had a history of mental health problems before they killed, 20 had been hospitalized for psychiatric problems, and 42 had been seen by mental health professionals. Psychiatric drugs had been prescribed to 24 of the killers at some point before their rampages, but most were not taking their prescribed medication when they committed their crimes.

Even more revealing, the Times reporters found that the killers were so noticeably unstable that in their own social circles they had been awarded nicknames like “Crazy Pat” or “Crazy John.” [...]

Guns do allow a "Crazy Pat" to kill far more people in a short space of time than just pushing a random person in front of a train, or bashing them with a rock, or stabbing a baby in the face with a pen, but unfortunately we end up focusing too much on the gun and not enough on the person behind it.  We will never be able to take away every single gun to make every person safe.  Even without a gun, a person can do a lot of harm to another, but it doesn't make the news as these mass killings do, and so we all just get used to random killings that affect only a few rather than many.

Related link: The Real Social Justice Issue: Taking Care of the Violent Mentally Ill 


* * *

One of the blogs on my sidebar, by Msgr Charles Pope, has his sister's story and his family's battle to get her institutionalised for her own safety.  They were unable to do so, as she was considered an adult who had control over her own life, and sadly she died in fire that she lit herself. It just goes to show how crazy the situation with the mad has become.

Related link : A Brother’s Reflection on the Struggle of the Mentally Ill, in the wake of a great tragedy.

Lucia The Pope Tweets

Pope Benedict XVI's English tweet page is @Pontifex.  He currently has over 1,229,000 followers.

His tweets so far from last week have been:

Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart.

How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?

By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need

How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?

We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful

Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?

Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you

This post is inspired by Whale Oil's promotion of a person who pretends to be the pope. (See The pope is a tweeter now, The pope tweets, ctd, The pope tweets, ctd 2 and The pope tweets, ctd 3).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lucia Christmas is not a pagan holiday [UPDATE]


This is the time of year when we are told that Christmas is really a pagan holiday that was taken over by the Christians in ancient Rome in order to replace paganism with their own beliefs. Atheists love this and are happy to promote this idea because it reduces the historical certainty of the entry of Christ into our world, and erodes the credibility of Christianity as a whole if it's just paganism transformed into something slightly different. Some Christians also believe that the origins of Christmas are pagan, following in the footsteps of the old Puritans who hated celebrations of any kind, but I hope that if they investigate they will realise that nothing could be further from the truth.

There are two major arguments: that Christmas somehow copied the Roman feast week of Saturnalia, celebrated December 17-23, or that Christmas replaced the birth of the Roman Sun god, that had been celebrated on December 25. Both are ridiculous, as you shall see.

Let's start with Saturnalia, in the words of Fr Longenecker, who has a certain way with them.
When trying to solve the mystery of the relationship between Christmas and the Saturnalia we have to consider not only the similarities, but the differences. The Saturnalia was celebrated from December 17 – 23. Okay that’s pretty close to the December 25 date for Christmas–but if they were copying the Saturnalia, why didn’t the early Christians celebrate the Nativity of Christ on December 17? At the Saturnalia they had a feast. Good. Christians had a feast too. The Romans gave each other gifts as part of the celebration. There’s a match. Christians did too. However, the Romans also wore silly hats, got drunk, danced naked in the streets, propped up the statue of Saturn on a couch to observe the revelries, reversed roles between slaves and masters, and put green drapes around their doorways. None of those fun activities are part of Christmas.

The most glaring difference is in the meaning of the celebration itself. If there were some sort of link with the birth of Christ you would expect that the meaning of the Saturnalia might have something to do with the coming of light in the dark time of the year or the birth of new life in the midst of the cold and dark. The Saturnalia has none of those themes [...]
And then there's the Roman celebration of the birth of their sun god on December 25.  Would be pretty damning, if it weren't for the fact that there is no evidence that this feast was celebrated by the Romans before A.D. 360.  It might even be that December 25 was chosen by them for the birth of their sun god in an attempt to supplant Christmas, which by that time had grown enormously and was no longer persecuted by the Romans, causing more that a bit of consternation by those who believed that the old Roman gods needed to be appeased in order for Rome to regain her strength and vigour.

So, why is Christmas celebrated on December 25?  Fr Longenecker again:

In 386 St John Chrysostom preached a sermon linking the date for Christmas to the date of the Annunciation. He does so in a way that suggests that this was already an established belief. The date of the Annunciation was based on a Jewish tradition that the world was created on March 25. The Jews also believed that a great man would die on the same day as his conception. The date for Jesus Christ’s death was Nisan 15 according to the Jewish calendar, or March 25 according to the Roman calendar. The early Christians (who were of course Jews) concluded that Jesus was therefore conceived on March 25. Thus the day of the world’s creation, and the day of the world’s redemption (and therefore the beginning of the new creation) was March 25.
Nine months after March 25, the conception of Our Lord, is of course, December 25, which is why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.

I'll leave you to discover why Fr Longenecker includes Frodo Baggins in his post title.

Read more: Christmas, Pagan Romans and Frodo Baggins ~ Fr. Dwight Longenecker (Archived copy as original no longer available, Apr-2016)

UPDATE: With the related question, Was Easter Originally A Pagan Holiday? Short answer - No.

Lucia Same sex divorce ramifications highlight ridiculousness of the redefinition of marriage

Gay partners who have an affair with someone of the same sex will not be able to use adultery as grounds for divorce because the legal definition involves intercourse between a man and a woman.

Under the government’s plans, same-sex couples will also be unable to annul their marriages on the basis of non-consummation, for similar reasons.

However, heterosexual married couples will continue to be able to use adultery and non-consummation as grounds for divorce, a discrepancy which lawyers said amounted to “clear discrimination”.

The Government has suggested that creating an equivalent of adultery and non-consummation for same-sex relationships would change the law “unnecessarily”.

It's like watching a train crash in slow motion.

Some one in New Zealand pre-empted same-sex marriage coming in a number of years back as consummation being necessary for a real marriage in law was removed at some point in the distant past, so we are not getting the debate delving into areas that show just how ridiculous redefining marriage to include couples of the same-sex really is. But the Brits are getting the whole freak show.

Related link: Gay marriage: divorces over adultery face legal challenge

Monday, December 17, 2012

Andrei Glynn's been gazumpted

Silly season.

And an annual presser from St Matthews in the city: Was Jesus Gay? Controversial Christmas billboard at St Matthew-in-the-City

Poor Revs Glynn and Clay.

Powershop got in before them with the gay thing this year.

What a yawn.......

Sunday, December 16, 2012

ZenTiger Attacks on Children

Whilst 20 children were gunned down in Connecticut, 22 children were also stabbed in Chenpeng Village Primary School in the Henan province. Thankfully none were killed, but some have apparently lost fingers and ears.

If we take away guns, do we also need to take away knives? I suspect then that such people will turn to using explosives, poisons and improvised weapons.

It's very disturbing in general that innocent children are being targeted. Perhaps that is the key question to answer, when we begin to search for answers. Although, I think the Boomtown Rats provided one possible answer to that riddle long ago:

And he can see no reasons
'Cos there are no reasons
What reason do you need to die, die?


Saturday, December 15, 2012

ZenTiger Naked Justice


Getting to be old news now, but a high court in New Zealand has upheld the right to go jogging nude in a case involving a naked man who was arrested by police in a forest in the morning. He scared the willies out of a lady who happened to be walking in the forest, and thought perhaps the man might be insane as well as naked, and that would not be a great combo. But the judge thinks it is alright.

I guess the next time a man turns up in the backyard of a neighbour with their 6 year old daughter, he can simply claim he was out jogging?

But this win is fantastic for my wife, who likes biking without wearing a helmet. The next time she is arrested for riding the bike with a nude head, it's off to the High Court we go, because she can plead that she is a "head naturalist" and declines to wear such items in public places. Sure, you can argue about the need for safety, but don't you tell me a naked man jogging near gorse is a safe activity.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lucia Powershop advertisement offensive to Catholics [UPDATE]



Thanks to John Stringer for pointing it out, in his post: Elton John opposes gay marriage. No, Elton John does not oppose gay marriage, but imagine if his image was being used to advertise that view. It would be propaganda of the worst kind, using a culturally iconic individual to potentially influence people who admire and respect Elton John's opinions with an outright lie.

Likewise with this advertisement by a state owned power company, Powershop. Pope Benedict XVI, whether you are Catholic or not, represents in the mind of many, the Church and Church authority. It is highly offensive to use him in this way, to suggest that the Church and he could ever change his mind about the redefinition of marriage, and that he would be right to do so, that his current stance is wrong.

Images form subconscious ideas in the mind, that's why so much money is spent on them in advertising, for advertising works. So, Pope Benedict XVI in a picture approving of a same-sex "marriage" is placing a lie in the minds of everyone who looks at the image uncritically and without much knowledge of the pope or the Catholic faith.
Electricity company Powershop says a billboard depicting Pope Benedict XVI marrying a male couple is not targeted at Catholics.

The four-and-a-half storey billboard is part of a campaign by Powershop, with the slogan "Same Power, Different Attitude".

The signs have recently been put up in central Auckland and Wellington.

Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent said it had received a mostly positive reaction from the public.

The billboard's message of freedom of choice and equality aligned with the company's values, he said.

He said the billboard was not targeted at Catholics "per se", but the Pope was an analogy of big power companies.

"(It's) making the point that some larger institutions can often lose touch with their constituents."

It was never their intention to offend anyone, he said.

"We're certainly trying to provoke debate, we make no apology for that."
I, for one, think it's very, very wrong of the state to support this type of obvious propaganda. At the very least, as a head of state, and highly influential person, loved by millions, the pope should not be mocked by New Zealand in this way.

This post is intended to send a message to Ari Sargent, that the billboard is offensive to Catholics.  As a Catholic, I was horrified when I first heard about it on the radio, and my opinion hasn't changed after seeing it.

UPDATE: The Catholic Bishop of Auckland has written to Powershop and asked them to take the outrageous and highly offensive billboards down: RNZ Morning Report Audio.  Hattip: Bob McCoskrie.

Related link: Pope gay marriage ad not targeted at Catholics ~ New Zealand Herald

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lucia Catholic Hobbits

With Hobbit fever having gripped the capital of New Zealand, I thought I'd just point out that J.R.R Tolkien was Catholic and the world that the Hobbits inhabit is full of Catholic themes and ideas and symbols.

The new film “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (opening Dec. 14) has got action and adventure galore, just like “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy that preceded it. But the director and actors who worked on the movie are well aware of the deeper themes that lie at the heart of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), who authored all the original books, published between 1937 and 1955.

At a recent press conference about the film in New York City, Richard Armitage, who portrays the Dwarf warrior Thorin Oakenshield, said, “One of the things I find when I look into that book [The Hobbit] is a sense of Tolkien’s Catholicism, his Christianity – not necessarily in a denominational way, but in terms of his chivalric view of the world, his nobility which is expressed through kindness and mercy. It’s present in most of his characters and I find that inspiring.”

Tolkien did in fact acknowledge taking that approach in his stories. In a letter, he once wrote, “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision. That is why I have not put in, or have cut out, practically all references to anything like ‘religion’, to cults or practices, in the imaginary world. For the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism.”

No harm in getting a plug in.

Related links: The Director and Stars of “The Hobbit” Share Thoughts on Bravery, Mercy and Tolkien’s Christianity ~ Christopher Closeup
J.R.R Tolkien - Truth and Myth ~ CatholicAuthors.com

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lucia Pope Benedict is on Twitter and I am one of his followers [UPDATE]

Pope Benedict XVI now has an English language Twitter account (no tweets yet) and I just joined as one of his more than 300,000 followers.  I forgot to keep track of which follower number, specifically, and the numbers are rolling on too quickly to even hazard a guess, except I think it may have been somewhere in the 312,000 range.

The Twitter Blog has a welcome post for the Pope's account : Welcome Pope Benedict XVI.

It looks like it's all being set up for now, with the first tweet on December 12 or 13, depending on the time it goes out from Rome.

It will be awesome getting a tweet from the Holy Father, I can't wait!

Related link: Pope Benedict's Twitter Account

UPDATE at 5:20pm and 317,417 followers: Whispers in the Logia has published the Holy See Press Office's "Explanatory Note":

The Pope’s presence on Twitter is a concrete expression of his conviction that the Church must be present in the digital arena. This initiative is best understood in the context of his reflections on the importance of the cultural space that has been brought into being by the new technologies. In his Message for World Communications Day 2009, which was published on the same day as the Vatican’s YouTube channel was opened, Pope Benedict spoke of the necessity of evangelizing the ‘digital continent’ and he invited young believers, in particular, to introduce into the culture of this new environment of communications and information technology the values on which you have built your lives. 
In 2010, he invited priests to see the possibility of sharing the Word of God through their engagement with new media: the new media offer ever new and far-reaching pastoral possibilities, encouraging them to embody the universality of the Church’s mission, to build a vast and real fellowship, and to testify in today’s world to the new life which comes from hearing the Gospel of Jesus, the eternal Son who came among us for our salvation. In his Message for 2011, he specified that: The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). In this year’s Message, the Holy Father was even more precise: Attention should be paid to the various types of websites, applications and social networks which can help people today to find time for reflection and authentic questioning, as well as making space for silence and occasions for prayer, meditation or sharing of the word of God. In concise phrases, often no longer than a verse from the Bible, profound thoughts can be communicated, as long as those taking part in the conversation do not neglect to cultivate their own inner lives. 
The Pope’s presence on Twitter can be seen as the ‘tip of the iceberg’ that is the Church’s presence in the world of new media. The Church is already richly present in this environment – there exist a whole range of initiatives from the official websites of various institutions and communities to the personal sites, blogs and micro-blogs of public church figures and of individual believers. The Pope’s presence in Twitter is ultimately an endorsement of the efforts of these ‘early adapters’ to ensure that the Good News of Jesus Christ and the teaching of his Church is permeating the forum of exchange and dialogue that is being created by social media. His presence is intended to be an encouragement to all Church institutions and people of faith to be attentive to develop an appropriate profile for themselves and their convictions in the ‘digital continent’. The Pope’s tweets will be available to believers and non-believers to share, discuss and to encourage dialogue. It is hoped that the Pope’s short messages, and the fuller messages that they seek to encapsulate, will give rise to questions for people from different countries, languages and cultures. These questions can in turn be engaged by local Church leaders and believers who will be best positioned to address the questions and, more importantly, to be close to those who question. Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue (Communications Day Message, 2012). 
Part of the challenge for the Church in the area of new media is to establish a networked or capillary presence that can effectively engage the debates, discussions and dialogues that are facilitated by social media and that invite direct, personal and timely responses of a type that are not so easily achieved by centralized institutions. Moreover, such a networked or capillary structure reflects the truth of the Church as a community of communities which is alive both universally and locally. The Pope’s presence in Twitter will represent his voice as a voice of unity and leadership for the Church but it will also be a powerful invitation to all believers to express their ‘voices’, to engage their ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ and to share with them the hope of the Gospel that speaks of God’s unconditional love for all men and women. 
In addition to the direct engagement with the questions, debates and discussions of people that is facilitated by new media, the Church recognizes the importance of new media as an environment that allows to teach the truth that the Lord has passed to His Church, to listen to others, to learn about their cares and concerns, to understand who they are and for what they are searching. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge (Message, 2012). It is for this reason that it has been decided to launch the Pope’s Twitter channel with a formal question and answer format. This launch is also an indication of the importance that the Church gives to listening and is a warranty of its ongoing attentiveness to the conversations, commentaries and trends that express so spontaneously and insistently the preoccupations and hopes of people.