14 Notes & Comments

posted Jul 25, 2018, 11:00 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 25, 2018, 11:00 AM ]

Carmelite nuns: our order born of the Mystery

Sr Marie Gemma, asianews.it

Living in Carmel is like being at the still point of the turning world. Information, requests for prayers, the "inside story" of so many persons and groups flow in like a gentle river. Men and women from a variety of backgrounds and Church affiliations, whose lives are being touched and sometimes shaken by the impact of contemplative gifts, migrate towards us for dialogue, support, and understanding. But who are we really?

Born of a Mystery, Carmel owes its continuity and existence to the Church, ever Mother and Guide. Its mysterious Beginnings: no identifiable person as a Founder, no date of birth – just a place i.e. Mount Carmel, Holy Land, a great Prophet that has been its inspiration – Elijah the fiery Prophet; he appears with zeal for the Lord God; for a Patroness, Carmel has the Virgin Mary.

Throughout the ages, philosophers have probed the many facets of our nature, composite of spirit and matter and capacity for self-awareness, freedom to choose, growth through human relationships. Yet, we bear in ourselves a mystery which human knowledge will never fully grasp, which touches the depths of our human being, the centre of our existence which makes us who we are; born from mystery, we are programmed for mystery. Hence, the Carmelite charism too, at its core, is that of a Lover's mysterious quest. It is a quest, a journey every Carmelite is called to make, being called to enter the mystery of God – ah, sheer grace!


Pope's appeal to guarantee the dignity of migrants


Pope Francis called on the "international community to act decisively and promptly" to avoid the "shipwrecks of boats loaded with migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean", in "respect for the rights and dignity of all."

The pontiff expressed July 22 his "pain faced with such tragedies" assuring "for the disappeared and their families my remembrance and my prayer."

On July 17, a boat with 153 people was wrecked off the Libyan coast. According to the NGO Open Arms, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued most of the people, but left three of them at sea; a woman was rescued by a vessel of the NGO; another woman and a child had perished, and their bodies floated on the water. The migrants were of African origin.

On July 19, 19 people died and 25 were missing, following the sinking of a boat north of Cyprus. At least 103 people were taken to safety. The migrants were Syrians.

Open Arms has accused the Libyan Coast Guard (and Italy) of failure to rescue. The Pope's appeal ignores polemics, but exerts a strong pressure "to ensure that the international community acts decisively and promptly in order to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring while guaranteeing security, respect for the rights and dignity of all."

Pope Francis had paused to comment on the day's Gospel, when Jesus tries in vain to bring His apostles to rest "a little", but they are reached by the crowd, and Jesus starts to "teach them many things."


Rape is all about power

Virginia Saldanha, mattersindia

The revelation that 110,333 cases of rape were registered in the country from 2014 to 2016, and 338,954 cases of crime against women were registered in 2016, by Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, does not come as a surprise. In fact, we should remember that these statistics are based only on reported cases, and not on the total incidents of rape and violence against women.

The threat of rape and violence is a reality that Indian women live with. The threat becomes more acute in direct proportion to a woman's social status and/or vulnerability; a poor Dalit girl/woman being the most vulnerable. Age has not been a bar for vulnerability to rape. Babies of a few months to an old woman in her 90s have been victims of rape in India.

Rape is forced sexual intercourse. Indian law amended in 2013 describes rape as penile and non-penile penetration of a woman's orifices. So it is clear that rape is not about anyone enjoying sex. Rape is not about sex! It is about power. Unless we address the issue of power, we will not be able to protect women/girls from rape.

Rape takes place when the perpetrator is sure of his power to force his victim to yield to him. Most rapists generally and literally ‘get away' with their crime, because of their power to silence the victim.

The socialisation of boys ensures that they grow up with a highly developed attitude of entitlement. On the other hand, women are socialised to believe that they belong to a man, and that they have to be protected by a man. Masculinity for a man means being macho by displaying his male prowess, while femininity requires that women be passive and yielding.