Category : Europe

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Hildegard of Bingen

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church History, Europe, Spirituality/Prayer

(NYT) Why Australia Bet the House on Lasting American Power in Asia

When Scott Morrison became Australia’s prime minister three years ago, he insisted that the country could maintain close ties with China, its largest trading partner, while working with the United States, its main security ally.

“Australia doesn’t have to choose,” he said in one of his first foreign policy speeches.

On Thursday, Australia effectively chose. Following years of sharply deteriorating relations with Beijing, Australia announced a new defense agreement in which the United States and Britain would help it deploy nuclear-powered submarines, a major advance in Australian military strength.

With its move to acquire heavy weaponry and top-secret technology, Australia has thrown in its lot with the United States for generations to come — a “forever partnership,” in Mr. Morrison’s words. The agreement will open the way to deeper military ties and higher expectations that Australia would join any military conflict with Beijing.

It’s a big strategic bet that America will prevail in its great-power competition with China and continue to be a dominant and stabilizing force in the Pacific even as the costs increase.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Australia / NZ, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, France, Politics in General, Science & Technology

A Prayer for the (provisional) Feast Day of Catherine of Genoa

Gracious God, reveal to thy church the depths of thy love; that, like thy servant Catherine of Genoa, we might give ourselves in loving service, knowing that we have been perfectly loved by thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Italy, Spirituality/Prayer

Congratulation to Daniel Medvedev, 2021 US Open Men’s Tennis Champion

Posted in America/U.S.A., Men, Russia, Sports

(New Scientist) World’s first 3D-printed steel bridge opens in Amsterdam

The first ever 3D-printed steel bridge has opened in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was created by robotic arms using welding torches to deposit the structure of the bridge layer by layer, and is made of 4500 kilograms of stainless steel.

The 12-metre-long MX3D Bridge was built by four commercially available industrial robots and took six months to print. The structure was transported to its location over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal in central Amsterdam last week and is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.

More than a dozen sensors attached to the bridge after the printing was completed will monitor strain, movement, vibration and temperature across the structure as people pass over it and the weather changes. This data will be fed into a digital model of the bridge.

Read it all.

Posted in Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Science & Technology, The Netherlands, Travel, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Prayer for the (Provisional) Feast Day of Argula von Grumbach

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Argula von Grumbach a spirit of wisdom and power to love thy Word and to boldly draw others unto its truth: Pour out that same spirit upon us, so that we, knowing and loving thy Holy Word, may be unashamed of Christ and may not sin against the Holy Spirit that is within us, Amen.

Posted in Church History, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Nathan Söderblom

Almighty God, we bless thy Name for the life and work of Nathan Söderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala, who helped to inspire the modern liturgical revival and worked tirelessly for cooperation among Christians. Inspire us by his example, that we may ever strive for the renewal of thy Church in life and worship, for the glory of thy Name; who with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Spirituality/Prayer, Sweden

Congratulations to Italy for winning the Euro2020 final today

Posted in England / UK, Italy, Men, Sports

(Philip Jenkins) What if the Nones Really Do Herald the Decline of Religion?

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Europe, History, Religion & Culture, Sociology

Congratulations to England for making the Euro2020 final

Posted in Denmark, England / UK, Men, Sports

Congratulations to Italy for making the Euro2020 final

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Posted in Italy, Men, Spain, Sports

Congratulations to Denmark, England, Italy and Spain for making the finals of the 2020 Euro tournament

Posted in England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports

(ESPN FC) England knock Germany out of Euro 2020, and in the process begin to heal their inferiority complex

Gareth Southgate’s biggest test as England manager ended with a result that can redefine how the nation views itself at major tournaments, beating Germany 2-0 on Tuesday in the round of 16 at Euro 2020 and ending Joachim Low’s time in charge of Die Nationalmannschaft.

The Three Lions may have reached a World Cup semifinal under Southgate in 2018, but they did so without beating any of the elite nations and arguably succumbed to the first proper test they faced in an extra-time defeat to Croatia. Biennial disappointment is woven into the fabric of England’s sporting consciousness, an inferiority complex built over decades that has previously manifested in a fear of failure, fatigue and frustration.

England had never won a European Championship knockout game in 90 minutes before Tuesday. Southgate was determined that this young squad would not be burdened by history, rather inspired to make their own. And he was right.

This is a Germany side palpably short of a typical vintage, but they are a four-time World Cup-winning nation. No country has won more than the three European Championships they took home in 1972, 1980 and 1996

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Posted in England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Isabel Hapgood

Loving God, we offer thanks for the work and witness of Isabel Florence Hapgood, who introduced the Divine Liturgy of the Russian Orthodox Church to English-speaking Christians, and encouraged dialogue between Anglicans and Orthodox. Guide us as we build on the foundation that she gave us, that all may be one in Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, unto ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer

(Sky Sports) Denmark Defeat Russia in the Euros today and qualify for the knockout stage

Denmark stormed to a brilliant and emotional 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen to claim second spot in Group B and set up a last-16 tie against Wales, as Belgium’s win over Finland helped them into the automatic spots.

At the same venue where, just over a week ago, Denmark and their supporters were left shocked and upset by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest, there were wild celebrations as the Danes produced a superb performance to blow away their visitors.

Twenty-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard (38) got the ball rolling with a wonderful, dipping strike from the edge of the box and Yussuf Poulsen (59) profited from an awful back-pass to double that lead.

Read it all.

Posted in Denmark, Men, Sports

(PD) Alexander Riley–Who Knew Émile Durkheim Was a Conservative on Sex and Marriage?

Durkheim was a trenchant critic of the contractual view of marriage, in which the relationship is said to involve only the two spouses and to depend entirely on their satisfaction with each other. In his 1906 essay “Divorce by Mutual Consent,” he criticized the liberalization of divorce that many secular intellectuals then championed. Like their counterparts today, the latter argued that it was clearly in the interests of both parents—and frequently of their children—for marriage to be dissolvable by agreement of the spouses alone. Durkheim countered that such a shift potentially harms the institution of matrimony itself.

Durkheim noted empirical evidence that divorce affects suicide rates. Marriage appeared to significantly reduce the likelihood of suicide, and in the parts of Durkheim’s France in which divorce was more common, this positive effect of marriage was weaker. Although married women were less likely to commit suicide only if their marriage had yielded children, for married men the risk was less in many scenarios. Absent an exterior regulatory force or presence, Durkheim reasoned, individual men are largely ineffective at moderating their sexual energies, and they end up emotionally distressed and dissolute. The marital institution regulates their desires. However, he went on, “Regulation from which one can withdraw whenever one has a notion is no longer regulation.” By removing the judge—the representative of society, whose authority historically extends from the religious origins of the polity—from the decision-making process of divorce, contractual marriage inevitably weakens the regulatory force of marriage.

Durkheim also insisted that marriage affects parties beyond the two spouses, most obviously their children. Children so change the marital relationship that, once they exist, they alter the marriage’s purpose. In Durkheim’s view, the couple, formerly the end of the relationship, becomes but a means to the end of the family for which they are responsible. Spouses’ obligation to their children clearly invalidates a model for divorce based merely on mutual consent.

Even the partners themselves may benefit from marriages that they would rather escape out of anger or spite. Although in a few marriages disharmony between the spouses may be so great that separation is the only reasonable path, Durkheim maintained that there are many, many more “simply mediocre marriages”—exciting and joyous only in an irregular, inconstant manner—that nonetheless produce “sufficient feeling for . . . [the] duty . . . to fulfill [one’s] function.” They thereby they provide a significant social good. This argument was almost perfectly consonant with that of the Christian conservatives of Durkheim’s day. It also scandalizes most contemporary sociologists, who have moved far from the origins of their discipline.

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Posted in France, History, Marriage & Family, Sexuality, Sociology

(ESPN FC) England rewriting historic failings as Raheem Sterling, Kalvin Phillips shine in Croatia win

Gareth Southgate is aiming to chip away at the historic tournament failings that have perennially undermined England’s chances, and Sunday’s 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley Stadium is another notable step along that path.

The 50-year-old is steeped in Three Lions history, standing prominently in the lineage of biannual disappointment dating back to 1966. As a player, he missed the decisive penalty in England’s Euro ’96 defeat against Germany before reshaping his place in the national consciousness as manager of a progressive team for the past five years.

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Posted in England / UK, Europe, Sports

Congratulation to Novak Djokovic winner of the 2021 French Open

Posted in France, Sports

(ESPN) Novak Djokovic serves up one of his best-ever matches to oust Rafael Nadal in semis stunner at the French Open

In arguably one of the best matches of his career, top-seeded Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 to end the King of Clay’s bid for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title and hand Nadal just his third-ever loss at Roland Garros.

We all know Nadal losing in Paris doesn’t happen often. Along with that 105-3 career record on the Paris clay, Nadal was 26-0 once reaching the semifinals at Roland Garros. But Djokovic is now the only player to beat Nadal twice here.

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Posted in France, Men, Sports

(WSJ) Adam O’Neal–Kazakhstan’s efforts at rehabilitation and reintegration put Europe to shame

“Kazakhstan made a very bold move by being the first country to repatriate large numbers of its nationals,” Chris Harnisch, a Trump State Department official who worked on the issue, said in an interview. “They were not dipping their toe in the water. They went all in.” The Kazakh government repatriated 607 citizens through a program called Operation Zhusan. Most were women (157) and children (413). Thirty-seven adult male fighters faced prosecution upon arrival. Another 32 women and 89 children returned themselves.

The Kazakh government sends women and children to rehabilitation centers, where they undergo a long process to help them reintegrate into society. Some return completely jaded, while others remain committed to ISIS: One woman tried to smuggle the group’s propaganda into Kazakhstan in a child’s toy.

“We are trying to bring them back to normal,” then-Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev told me earlier this year. “We would like to see them as ordinary people.” This created controversy domestically, but the government held firm.

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Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Kazakhstan, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Women

(NYT) The Mayor, the Teacher and a Fight Over a ‘Lost Territory’ of France

No setting was perhaps more potent than Trappes to debate that question. It is a crucible of France’s hopes, and fears. Trappes gave birth to some of the country’s brightest entertainment and sports stars, like Omar Sy, the lead actor in the recent Netflix hit “Lupin.” But Trappes also saw about 70 of its youths leave for jihad to Syria and Iraq, the largest contingent, per capita, from any French city.

The confrontation between teacher and mayor reflected broader forces reforging a society where French identity is being questioned more than ever. As his positions on Islam hardened following terrorist attacks in France in recent years, the teacher, like many others, moved further to the right politically.

Mr. Rabeh, the mayor, belonged to an outspoken generation, unafraid to express its identity and point out France’s failings, whose immigrant parents had preferred to pass unnoticed. He took for granted his role in France — and Islam’s place in it.

The fight became personal, as the teacher, saying his life was in danger, accused the mayor of calling him a racist and an Islamophobe. Much of the political establishment — pulled in different directions by facts, national myths and political imperatives — sided with the teacher. Even after much of his story began to unravel.

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Posted in France

Remembering D-Day–Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer on June 6, 1944

“My Fellow Americans:

“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

“And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

“Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

“Thy will be done, Almighty God.

“Amen.”

You can listen to the actual audio if you want here and today of all days is the day to do that. Also, there is more on background and another audio link there.–KSH.

Posted in France, History, Military / Armed Forces

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Boniface

Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland, and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Blandina and Her Companions

Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we who keep the feast of the holy martyrs Blandina and her companions may be rooted and grounded in love of thee, and may endure the sufferings of this life for the glory that shall be revealed in us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, France, Spirituality/Prayer

Congratulations to Chelsea Football Club, Champions League winners today

Posted in England / UK, Portugal, Sports

(DW) Antisemitism in Germany: ‘As Muslims, we must tackle this’

Eren Guvercin, the founder of the Muslim Alhambra Society in Germany, which promotes international understanding, isn’t surprised by the video. Antisemitism among Muslims in Germany becomes visible occasionally, and most commonly when violence in the Middle East escalates. “But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in quieter times as well,” he said.

Antisemitism is a central ideological component for a number of extremist Islamist organizations, Guvercin explained, and these also try to promote it in more moderate Muslim communities. “This is something we have to deal with as Muslims first and foremost. But often this fails because the problem cannot even be named.”

Clearly antisemitic slogans were shouted in some cases, conceded Bulent Ucar, a professor of Islamic theology at Osnabrück University. “There are good arguments against Israel’s policy of occupation and dispossession, which is against international law,” he told DW. “But there are also polarizing actors, who are loading this political dispute in the Middle East with antisemitism, and then trying to transfer it to Europe. This is not at all acceptable. There is no justification for Jews in Germany to be threatened and harassed. That’s inexcusable and a total no-go.”

Orkide Ezgimen, who heads the Discover Diversity project at the Kreuzberg Initiative against antisemitism in Berlin, agrees that different motivations were on display at the demonstrations. There was criticism of Israel’s actions against the Palestinians but also a lot of potential for aggressive behavior, some of which include antisemitic sentiments. “These reference German history, such as the Holocaust,” she said. “That is clearly antisemitic. Of course, in a democracy one has the right to demonstrate against the policies of another country — but not in all forms. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you have to distinguish very clearly between legitimate criticism and antisemitism.”

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Posted in Germany, Judaism, Psychology, Religion & Culture, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

A Prayer for the (provisional) Feast Day of Johann Arndt and Jakob Böhme

Holy God, who dwellest with them that are of a contrite and humble spirit; Revive our spirits; purify us from deceitful lusts; and cloth us in righteousness and true holiness; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

(Chr History) Nikolaus von Zinzendorf–“There can be no Christianity without community”

Nearly two centuries after Luther posted his 95 Theses, Protestantism had lost some of its soul. Institutions and dogma had, in many people’s minds, choked the life out of the Reformation.

Lutheran minister P.J. Spener hoped to revive the church by promoting the “practice of piety,” emphasizing prayer and Bible reading over dogma. It worked. Pietism spread quickly, reinvigorating Protestants throughout Europe””including underground Protestants in Moravia and Bohemia (modern Czechoslovakia)

The Catholic church cracked down on the dissidents, and many were forced to flee to Protestant areas of neighboring Germany. One group of families fled north to Saxony, where they settled on the lands belonging to a rich young ruler, Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf.

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Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Germany, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Nicolaus von Zinzendorf

God of life made new in Christ, who dost call thy Church to keep on rising from the dead: We remember before thee the bold witness of thy servant Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, through whom thy Spirit moved to draw many in Europe and the American colonies to faith and conversion of life; and we pray that we, like him, may rejoice to sing thy praise, live thy love and rest secure in the safekeeping of the Lord; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Germany, Spirituality/Prayer

The 100th Anniversary of John Stott’s Birth (IV)–His Address to the World Congress on Evangelism in 1966

All this implies a recognition that Jesus of Nazareth was no mere Jewish teacher who founded a Jewish sect, but rather the Saviour of the world who summons all nations of the world to His allegiance.

The Church, in other words, is fundamentally a missionary society, commissioned and committed to proclaim the Gospel of salvation to the whole world. Insofar as any inhabitants of the globe have not heard the Gospel, the Church should have a heavy conscience. Christ has sent us to herald forgiveness to all the nations, but we have not done so. role have failed to ‘fulfill His final commission. We have been disobedient to our Lord.

There is still time to make amends, however. As the world population explodes, the Church’s task might seem to be getting harder and the goal of world evangelization more remote. But as modern means of mass communication increase, and as the Church humbly seeks fresh spiritual power, the task once again appears possible. This spiritual power is, in fact, the fifth and last aspect of the Lord’s commission which Luke mentions. We are to proclaim the forgiveness of sins on the ground of Christ’s name and on condition of repentance to all the nations.

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Posted in Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Germany, Missions, Theology: Evangelism & Mission