Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Synod document takes inclusive tone toward youth who disagree with church

Jun 19, 2018

by Joshua J. McElwee

Pope Francis poses for a selfie during a pre-synod gathering of youth delegates at the Pontifical International Maria Mater Ecclesiae College in Rome in March 2018. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

ROME — The Vatican document outlining the initial working positions for October's global meeting of Catholic bishops on the needs of young people focuses on considering how church leaders can better help the rising generation deal with unique 21st century challenges such as the part-time economy, digital dependency, and even so-called "fake news."

The document, which will guide the opening discussions of the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops in Rome, also takes a notably inclusive tone towards both young Catholics who express disagreement with church teachings and young gay people.

Noting that some younger believers disagree with the church on contraception, abortion, or same-sex marriage, for example, it acknowledges that many of them also "express the desire to remain part of the Church."

Later, the document makes what appears to be the Vatican's first use of one of the preferred acronyms for the gay community, stating that "some LGBT youth ... wish to 'benefit from greater closeness' and experience greater care from the Church."

Released by the Vatican June 19 only in Italian, the new document is the preparatory working instrument for the October gathering, during which hundreds of bishops will come to Rome for discussions on the theme "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment."

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Did the 9/11 Commission Ignore the Real Facts and Circumstances?

The National Airspace System and its Design and Implementation Pre 9/11: Did the 9/11 Commission Ignore the Real Facts and Circumstances?

9/11: The Unanswered Questions

Available: On


Listen to:

Ramesh S Arunachalam

On 9/11, communication emanating from the FAA to NORAD, NORAD to FAA as well as other stakeholders (like the White House) was, at best, reported as ineffective, inaccurate and even confusing. If communication was sub-optimal and has been blamed for much of the systemic failure on that fateful day, then it is only fair to look at systems related to communication to fix responsibility and accountability for the 9/11 crime. This becomes even more important when one considers the fact that no less a person than the 9/11 Commission vice-chair, Lee Hamilton (along with Daniel Marcus, the General Counsel of the 9/11 Commission) acknowledged that there were not only confusing and inaccurate aspects but also several gaps in communication on 9/11.

What are these systems related to communication, especially at the FAA with regard to the 9/11 crime? All information systems across the FAA—that were collectively called the National Airspace System (NAS)—comprise the primary communication system that needed to be analyzed for failure on 9/11. The NAS may be viewed as an information system of systems that collectively supports all air operations in the US and related oceanic areas. Viewed in this light, the NAS can be divided conceptually into three parts:
Sources of information necessary to perform air operations,
Users, who use the information to perform air operations and who, in the course of performing them, produce additional information, and
Access and management of the information between sources and users.

It is apparent that significant US taxpayer dollars were invested in the design of FAA’s NAS that failed so miserably in protecting airspace, life, and assets on 9/11. Yet, you will be shocked to know that the NAS is mentioned just once in the 9/11 Commission’s final report. Page 16 of the 9/11 Commission report[i] notes:

“FAA headquarters is ultimately responsible for the management of the National Airspace System.”

That is all there is on the NAS in the entire 9/11 Commission report and that is puzzling. Why did the 9/11 Commission—which acknowledged poor, inaccurate, and confusing communication on 9/11— not pursue and conduct a thorough investigation of the NAS which is widely acknowledged to have failed that fateful day?

The first question they should have asked here was who designed this ‘ineffective’ NAS that failed and caused large scale devastation? That was very, very important. For any criminal investigation this would have been important and I am simply amazed that the 9/11 Commission failed to even look at the antecedents of the NAS, including aspects of who had designed this.

From a criminal procedural standpoint, understanding why the NAS failed was very important. And for that, one needed to know the stakeholders who designed and implemented the NAS, their antecedents (including security clearances), their access to FAA’s NAS on 9/11 and, also, most importantly, what exactly these stakeholders were doing on 9/11. That is a starter’s imperative for any criminal investigation of the 9/11 event and ought to have been done, but was not pursued by the 9/11 Commission as part of its wide ranging mandate. This is to set the record straight.

Three key questions are of relevance at this juncture:
Who (which stakeholders) developed the blueprint for the design of FAA’s National Airspace System (NAS) prior to 9/11?
Who (which stakeholders) actually designed and implemented the NAS for the FAA, prior to 9/11?
Was this exercise ongoing prior to and during 9/11 as well?

US withdraws from UN human rights council, calling it a 'cesspool' and alleging bias against Israel

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley threatened the pull-out last year, citing longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel.
But Tuesday's announcement also comes just a day after the U.N. human rights chief denounced the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents.
It also extends a broader Trump administration pattern of stepping back from international agreements and forums under the president's "America First" policy. 

Published 8 Hours Ago Updated 4 Hours Ago The Associated Press


Brendan McDermid | Reuters
United States ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addresses the U.N. Security Council, December 8, 2017.

The Trump administration announced its departure from the United Nations' main human rights body Tuesday, its latest withdrawal from an international institution.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivered the verdict on the U.N. Human Rights Council in a joint appearance at the State Department.

"For too long, the human rights council has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias," Haley said in announcing the withdrawal. "Regrettably, it is now clear that our call for reform was not heeded."

Haley threatened the pull-out last year, citing longstanding U.S. complaints that the 47-member council is biased against Israel. But Tuesday's announcement also comes just a day after the U.N. human rights chief denounced the Trump administration for separating migrant children from their parents.

The government's creepy obsession with your face


Illustrated | AndreyPopov/iStock, Wikimedia Commons

June 18, 2018

The government is obsessed with your face. Do not be flattered. This is more of a creepy stalker fixation.

From the federal Department of Homeland Security down to local police departments, governmental use of biometric facial recognition software has gained a startling amount of traction in recent years. And these agencies are getting help from big business, to boot.

For example, DHS is reportedlydeveloping a massive new biometric and biographic database with extensive data on citizens and foreigners alike. The Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will reportedly include at least seven biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, tattoos, DNA, scars, and other "physical descriptors" on as many as 500 million people. The agency has been remarkably hush-hush on how HART will be utilized — but the possibilities are frightening.

DHS expects to launch the new database next fiscal year, according to internal documents. By the following year, they anticipate having iris and facial matching capabilities, and by fiscal year 2021, the database is expected to be functioning in its full capacity. This massive and intrusive initiative will grant a whole host of federal, state, and local agencies access to intimate details about hundreds of millions of Americans and foreigners.

Here's how the government casts that:

"When HART is fully operational, it will offer a broader range of services to federal government agencies, state and local law enforcement, the intelligence community, and international partners," a DHS spokesman said in a press release. "HART will provide DHS with a flexible, scalable, and more efficient biometric system that supports core DHS missions and operations for the future."

In other words, DHS will know everything from what you look like to your birthday to any government ID numbers you may have. And, in a clear erosion of due process and privacy expectations, they'll be empowered to share this data with local and state police.

While HART will be the most expansive biometric database to date, DHS isn't the first federal entity to take an interest in using facial identification. As of 2015, the FBI's Next Generation Identification (NGI) database held records on nearly one-third of the American population, including 52 million mugshots. Half of the states in the country are either actively using NGI or have expressed interest in using it, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The fetishizing of facial recognition as a must-have for law enforcement doesn't stop at the federal level. Last month, Amazon announced it is selling its facial recognition software, known as Rekognition, to local police departments all over the country. This would allow law enforcement to cross reference surveillance camera footage from a crime scene with Amazon's collection of "tens of millions" of faces.

This all amounts to a gross violation of Americans' privacy and civil liberties — and in no small part because these technologies are not only abusively obtrusive, but often wrong. Indeed, the data on the efficiency of facial recognition is shaky at best. Researchers at MIT have found that these devices and software are essentially useless when it comes to recognizing the face of a person of color. There's a 12 percent chance the device cannot even recognize the person's gender, let alone their exact identity, if they are of darker complexion.

Granting DHS access to biometric data about hundreds of millions of people, and allowing local law enforcement to use unproven facial recognition technology in criminal investigations, should strike fear into anyone who ever leaves their house. This sort of biometric intrusion goes far beyond the legitimate purview of our government. Our faces are our own.


Monday, June 18, 2018

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Border policy fuels backlash against Trump

By The Associated Press
Jun 18, 2018 Updated 2 hrs ago

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., second from left, looks on as U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., speaks at the podium in front of members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus during a visit to the border, Monday, June 18, 2018, in San Diego. The members of Congress spoke about their visit to area immigration detention facilities. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Gregory Bull

The forced separation of migrant children from their parents fueled a weekend of intense criticism of President Trump's immigration policies. Both Democrats and some Republicans are now calling for an end to the practice at the U.S.-Mexico border. A look at the latest developments:


Amid the criticism, the president dug in Monday , again falsely blaming Democrats for the crisis. His administration put the practice in place and could easily end it.

Trump tweeted: "Why don't the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world's worst immigration laws? Where is the outcry for the killings and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13 , coming into our country illegally?"

The U.S. has tried for years to address the influx of families crossing the border. In April, Trump's administration adopted a zero-tolerance policy. That means if a person does not arrive at an appropriate port of entry to claim asylum, the crossing is prosecuted as a crime. With the adult detained, any minors accompanying that person are taken away.


President Trump: US 'Will Not Be A Migrant Camp' 6/18/18

WCC Ecumenical Institute at Bossey looks ahead to Pope Francis' visit

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Vatican in disarray

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 07, 2018

The past few weeks have brought several positive signs from Rome:


Each one of these new developments left some questions unanswered. (We don’t know how the Pope will react to the Chilean resignations, for instance; and the message to the German bishops could be read as “not yet” rather than simply “no.”) But at worst, these stories were not bad news for orthodox Catholics who have been shell-shocked by previous developments in Rome. Taken together, the welcome news items prompted both Jeff Mirus and myself to wonder aloud whether perhaps Pope Francis was shifting his sights. That question, too, remains unanswered—and is reason (as Jeff observed) for faithful Catholics to redouble their prayers.

However, to keep things in the proper perspective, it’s only fair to remark that there are also reasons to be discouraged about developments—or the absence of developments—at the Vatican. Casual readers may not have noticed, but…

Almost a full year ago (one week from today it will be exactly a year), the Vatican’s auditor general, Libero Milone, abruptly resigned. Milone was rushed out of office amid a flurry of charges and counter-charges. No full explanation was ever provided, but it seems that top Vatican officials decided that Milone was exceeding his authority, although he had been promised “full autonomy and independence” to do his work. The Vatican announced that a replacement would be found “as soon as possible.”

So are we to understand that it is not “possible” to find a competent auditor in the space of a year? Or, more likely, that no one capable of doing the job would accept it under the existing conditions?

Milone’s sudden departure is part of a larger pattern, in which the Secretariat for the Economy—created to bring accountability to Vatican finances—has been effectively gutted:
The prefect of the Secretariat, Cardinal George Pell, has been on leave for nearly a year, and is unlikely ever to return to duty at the Vatican. He has not been replaced. 

The cardinal’s #2 man at the Secretariat, Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, was appointed in February as apostolic nuncio to Korea and ordained an archbishop. He, too, has not been replaced. So the office is left with no chief, no deputy, no auditor, and no real ability to carry out its vital mission.

The Congregation for Religious has been forced to issue a public denial of complaints that it has been sheltering Luis Fernando Figari, the founder of the Sodality of Christian Life. Actually the Vatican has found Figari guilty of various abuses, and ordered his complete separation from the movement he founded. But he has appealed the sentence, and while the judicial process runs its course he remains in Rome. The process seems to be working in this case, albeit slowly. But complaints along these line will undoubtedly continue until the Vatican establishes a clear policy of holding leaders accountable for committing and/or tolerating abuse. To date we haven’t seen a clear commitment to effective discipline. And by the way, what is happening in Chile—where those bishops are still in place, waiting for the Pope to act on their resignations? 

In Argentina, the La Plata archdiocese is regarded as second in prominence only to the Buenos Aires see. Archbishop Hector Ruben Aguer had governed the La Plata archdiocese for 20 years, compiling an admirable record as a defender of orthodoxy and the culture of life. In May, upon reaching his 75th birthday, he duly submitted his resignation to the Pope, as required by canon law. In most cases, a healthy prelate is allowed to remain in office for months, even years, after turning 75. But not Archbishop Aguer. As he discussed during his homily on the feast of Corpus Christi, he was called by the apostolic nuncio just a week after his birthday, and told that his resignation would be accepted immediately. He was not to remain in La Plata as a retired archbishop; he was not even allowed to stay for the ceremonial installation of his successor. He was, in short, rushed out of town.

And who would replace him? Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez , a close adviser to Pope Francis, who has welcomed the radical changes of this pontificate by saying that there must be “no turning back.” The incoming archbishop is author of Heal Me With Your Mouth—The Art of Kissing. He is also, reportedly, responsible for drafting Evangelii Gaudium and for inserting a passage of his own work, from a controversial 1995 essay, into Amoris Laetitia. His appointment—and the abrupt way it was handled—indicates that Pope Francis has not varied from his pattern of rewarding his allies, nor from his harsh treatment of those with whom he disagrees.

Border patrol chase ends in deadly crash

NGOs Are The Deep State's Trojan Horses

Where is your hope?

Bilderberg and the Digital New World Order

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Merkel Seeks Macron's Help as Asylum Crisis Threatens EU Unity

Photographer: Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP via Getty Images

Brian Parkin
‎June‎ ‎16‎, ‎2018‎ ‎8‎:‎14‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EDT

European remedy needed to solve European challenge, she says

French-German meeting June 19 will seek policy options

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will turn to France to help diffuse a domestic crisis over migration amid an increasing risk that the European Union may unravel unless its member states adopt a common policy.

At a regular meeting of their joint Cabinets on Tuesday, Germany will seek the support of French President Emmanuel Macron to find a common EU response for managing an influx of refugees, Merkel said Saturday in a weekly podcast. The stakes for the EU are high, she said.

A dispute in Merkel’s coalition over migration policy has escalated into one of the biggest tests of her chancellorship, while the populist government that took over in Italy this month has blocked refugee vessels from entering Italian ports.

Getting all of the EU states on board for an overhaul of asylum practices and rules is “in my view one of the most decisive issues for European unity,” the Christian Democrat chancellor said. The inflow of migrants is “a European challenge that requires a European answer.”

Read more: Merkel Risks Crisis in Refugee Clash With Allies

As the domestic storm unfolded this week, Merkel remained insistent that the EU-28 can only solve migration challenges as a group. That’s fomented a deep rift between her CDU and its Christian Social Union allies, who claim they have national and EU authorization to start turning away refugees arriving on Germany’s borders who first claimed asylum in other EU states.

A European solution “doesn’t convince me,” said Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Soeder in a June 14 Bild Zeitung interview. The move would mean “the majority of asylum seekers who come to Europe make their way to Germany.”

The joint cabinet meeting with France offers Merkel a chance to air proposals for revamping regional asylum policy ahead of a European Council meeting June 28-29. Merkel has asked the CSU to be patient, a request that the Bavarians have ignored.

Papal trip to Geneva marks 'new spring' in ecumenism

Pope Paul VI stands next to Eugene C. Blake, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, as he arrives at the headquarters of the WCC in Geneva June 10, 1969. Pope Francis is scheduled to attend an ecumenical prayer service and meeting at the WCC during a one-day visit to Geneva June 21. CNS photo/courtesy World Council of Churches

By Catholic News Service

June 14, 2018

VATICAN – Pope Francis' one-day pilgrimage to Geneva will mark another major ecumenical moment in his papacy.

While he will celebrate Mass for the nation's Catholics and meet with Vatican diplomatic staff working at U.N. agencies there, the trip's major focus is highlighting the Catholic Church's commitment to seeking Christian unity and recognizing the unique contribution of the World Council of Churches.

Of his 22 apostolic trips abroad, the upcoming June 21 pilgrimage with be his second that's so intently focused on ecumenism.

In 2016, he traveled to Lund, Sweden, for a joint commemoration with the Lutheran World Federation marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation begun by Martin Luther.

This time, Pope Francis heads to Geneva -- where John Calvin led the reformation in the 16th-century -- to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the World Council of Churches.

The WCC is a fellowship of 350 member-churches, representing Protestant communities and most of the Orthodox churches in the world. In total, these member churches represent 500 million Christians worldwide, making it the broadest coalition in the ecumenical movement.

Much like the United Nations grew from the desire to avoid war and divisions through the creation of a united body that could work together for peace, the WCC also grew from a similar desire -- not of nation states, but of Christians and church communities -- to join together for the good of the world in Christ's name.

The Wages of Sin

Vatican to Host Conference on ‘Migration, Xenophobia, and Politically Motivated Populism’

Getty 16 Jun 2018

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced a joint venture with the Vatican to co-host a meeting next September on “migration, xenophobia, and politically motivated populism.”

The WCC said it is partnering with the Vatican department for Promoting Integral Human Development in preparing the conference to be held September 17-20 as part of ongoing work toward “peace-building and migration.”

The General of the WCC, Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, said the meeting would be a “very useful and significant workshop to dig a bit deeper” into the problems of xenophobia as an expression of populism, as well as its links to racism, conflict, and violence in countries around the world.

Last September, the Vatican launched a two-year campaign to change people’s minds about migrants and to encourage a more welcoming attitude toward them worldwide.

“Brothers, we mustn’t be afraid to share the journey! We mustn’t be afraid to share the hope!” Francis said in his weekly General Audience on September 27, in which he inaugurated the new project, titled “Share the Journey.”

The global Catholic charities network Caritas Internationalis spearheaded the campaign in its aim to promote awareness and action on behalf of migrants and refugees, assisting them in building connections with local communities.

According to Caritas, the project was launched as a response to Pope Francis’s frequent summons for a “culture of encounter.”

Our world “faces not a migration crisis, but a crisis of global solidarity,” Caritas said on its website. “Be part of a worldwide campaign to reach out to migrants, change perceptions, open hearts and minds, and strengthen the bonds that unite us all.” 

Chilean police conduct surprise raid on Catholic Church offices amid investigation on child sexual abuse

15 June, 2018


(Reuters/Rodrigo Garrido) Special Vatican envoys archbishop Charles Scicluna and father Jordi Bertomeu attend a news conference in Santiago, Chile June 12, 2018. 

Two separate offices of the Catholic Church in Chile have been raided by police and prosecutors on Wednesday as part of the investigation on allegations of child sexual abuse by priests.

According to the Associated Press, Chilean authorities have seized investigative reports and church documents related to the sex abuse allegations during the raids on the headquarters of the Ecclesiastical Court in Santiago and the bishop's office in Rancagua in the O'Higgins region.

Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, the archbishop of Santiago, vowed to cooperate with the authorities and said that church officials have provided all the documents requested by the prosecutor.

Jaime Ortiz de Lazcano, the Archbishop of Santiago's legal advisor, said that he was in a meeting with a Vatican envoy when he was asked to appear in court regarding the seizure of documents related to a probe on child sexual abuse.

"I was very surprised when they told me 'Father, go to the court because there's going to be a raid,'" Lazcano told reporters, according to Reuters.

"It's not common that (prosecutors) solicit information from a canonical investigation, but we are entirely willing to cooperate," he added.

The Vatican envoy, Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, stressed that it was "very important" for the Church to work with the government in protecting the victims of sexual abuse.

"The canonical process should in no way impede the right of people to exercise their right to civil justice," he said in a news conference in Santiago, as reported by Reuters.

Prosecutor Emiliano Arias insisted that the investigation is focused on "individuals working for the Catholic Church, not the Catholic Church itself."

Last month, the bishop of Rancagua suspended 14 priests following accusations of "improper conduct."

Local media have reported that Chilean prosecutors have already asked the Vatican for information about priests and church workers accused of sexual abuse.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of three bishops in relation to the sexual abuse scandals.

Around 30 active Chilean bishops have submitted their resignation last month over their failure to protect children from abusive priests.

Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu have traveled to Chile to take statements from abuse victims. The two church officials have recently submitted a 2,300-page report that prompted Francis to acknowledge that he had misjudged the situation in Chile.

According to the BBC, as many as 80 priests have been reported to the authorities for sexual abuse in the past 18 years.

Troublous Times Right Upon Us

Troublous Times Right Upon Us, June 16

After these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. Revelation 7:1.

Four mighty angels are still holding the four winds of the earth. Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full. The ... winds will be the stirring up of the nations to one deadly combat, while the angels hold the four winds, forbidding the terrible power of Satan to be exercised in its fury until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

The signs of the times give evidence that the judgments of heaven are being poured out, that the day of the Lord is at hand. The daily papers are full of indications of an intense conflict in the future. Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed by demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. All these things testify that the Lord's coming is near. 

The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, disasters by sea and by land, follow one another in quick succession. The signs thickening around us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause.... 

The time is right upon us when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. Even before the last great destruction comes upon the world, the flattering monuments of man's greatness will be crumbled in the dust. God's retributive judgments will fall on those who in the face of great light have continued in sin. Costly buildings, supposed to be fireproof, are erected. But as Sodom perished in the flames of God's vengeance, so will these proud structures become ashes. I have seen vessels which cost immense sums of money wrestling with the mighty ocean, seeking to breast the angry billows. But with all their treasures of gold and silver, and with all their human freight, they sank into a watery grave.... But amid the tumult of excitement, with confusion in every place, there is a work to be done for God in the world. 

Maranatha, p.175

International Bible Conference Convenes in Rome with Emphasis on Eschatology

More than 360 attendees gather at the Fourth International Bible Conference in Rome, Italy. [Photo: Adventist Review/Adventist World]

 June 15, 2018

Over 100 theological presentations to be made over the next 10 days

By: Costin Jordache, director of communication & news editor, Adventist Review

More than 360 Seventh-day Adventist theologians, college and university professors and church administrators have convened in Rome, Italy from June 11-21, for the fourth International Bible Conference (IBC). The gathering, which takes place every few years, seeks to explore a chosen theme associated with theological studies through the presentation of papers, discussion panels and professional networking.

The event is organized by the Biblical Research Institute (BRI), which exists to “promote the study and practice of Adventist theology and lifestyle as understood by the world church,” by providing research-based theological resources and by “facilitating dialogue within the Adventist theological community.”

Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, greets attendees before presentations begin at the Fourth International Bible Conference in Rome, Italy. [Photo: Adventist Review/Adventist World] 

In Rome, the chosen theme is eschatology, a word that literally means “the teaching of the last things” and describes the study of last day events and associated subjects. The choice of location, partnered with the theme is meaningful, explains BRI director Elias Brasil de Souza. Depicted as the legs of iron in Nebuchadnezzr’s epic dream, Rome—representing both a secular and a religious power—plays a significant role in the prophetic narrative. “It is not without significance that we gather precisely here to attend a conference on eschatology,” wrote Brasil de Souza in the event’s program booklet.

As part of introductory remarks, Ted Wilson, president of the Adventist Church, greeted the scholars, sharing his deep interest in the subject. “The thing that drives me, animates me, keeps me moving toward the goal is Jesus’ soon coming,” said Wilson. “I believe that this is going to be an extraordinary time, focusing on an extraordinary topic.”

What is Adventist Eschatology?

Plenary presentations began with Ángel Rodríguez, former BRI director, providing insight into the intersection of Adventist theology and eschatology in general. Rodríguez provided a seven-part analysis of Adventist eschatology, emphasizing the Bible’s central role. “Since the divine plan has been preserved in the Scriptures as the depository of God’s special revelation, the Scriptures are our only canonical source of information about apocalyptic eschatology,” explained Rodríguez. “Any Adventist discussion about eschatology must be grounded and flow from the biblical text.”

Rodríguez added that “it is true that we also have the writings of Ellen White, which in many cases flesh out some of the biblical information—particularly with respect to the historical fulfillment of the prophecies—and provide significant theological insights on the topic, but this information only enriches the biblical data and should never take its place.”
Among other points, Rodríguez also explained that Adventist eschatology should be “understood as hope in the sense of waiting for or expecting the arrival of the good from the Lord.” Further points elaborated on this, emphasizing that “eschatology and the future it announces is the exclusive work of God on behalf of His creation and not the result of human ingenuity manifested through social, scientific, and technological progress, or the use of self-improvement technics.”

Nicaragua opposition stage general strike

Citizens rushed to supermarkets to stock up on basics ahead of a day-long economic shutdown. Nicaragua's Catholic Church supported the strike and announced its new effort to mediate between the government and opposition.

The Nicaraguan opposition coalition will carry out a national strike on Thursday, in their latest attempt to pressure the government of Daniel Ortega to acknowledge their demands.

The strike takes place in the midst of a sharp escalation in violence in the Central American nation, since protests began in April. The continuous turmoil has left 152 people dead and led to calls for President Daniel Ortega to step down and new elections to be held.

The opposition has blamed police and pro-government paramilitaries of carrying out state repression, by attacking activists and protesters with live ammunition. Attempts for dialogue between the government and civil society groups have so far failed.

Read more: Nicaragua's student protest leaders determined to win back democracy

After two more people were killed this week, the coalition of civil society groups mobilized its supporters in favor of the strike. The Superior Council for Private Enterprise (Cosep), which represents many businesses in the private sector, called for a 24-hour labor stoppage to take place on Thursday.

"We urge all business owners, entrepreneurs from small and medium sized firms, independent professionals and the self-employed, to close their shops and cease labor activities," said Jose Adan Aguerri, the head of Cosep.

Aguerri added that the strike should apply to all economic activity, except those related to the preservation of life and the coverage of basic services for the population. 

Spring General Assembly 2018 - Day 1 Morning Session A

Catholic bishops rebuke Trump’s asylum changes, suggest ‘canonical penalties’

Catholic bishops rebuke Trump’s asylum changes, suggest ‘canonical penalties’ 

June 13, 2018

3 Min Read


Clergy attend the the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Spring Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on June 13, 2018. RNS photo by Jack Jenkins

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (RNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opened its spring meeting this week with a stern reproach of the Trump administration’s latest immigration policies, with the group’s president suggesting the new rules on asylum are a “right to life” issue.

Some bishops followed by urging protests, including “canonical penalties” for those who carry out the administration’s new rules.

Within minutes of opening the USCCB’s biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday (June 13), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB and archbishop of Galveston-Houston, read aloud a statement deeply critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recent announcement regarding asylum qualifications.

“At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life,” DiNardo said, reading from the statement. “The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection.

“This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence,” DiNardo continued. “We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.”

On Monday, Sessions reversed an immigration appeals court decision granting asylum to a Salvadoran woman who had claimed domestic abuse in her home country. His ruling effectively overturned an Obama administration practice of allowing women with credible claims of domestic abuse or those fleeing gang violence to seek asylum in the United States.

DiNardo also criticized the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, announced in May, which calls for prosecuting all those who cross the border illegally and separating children immigrating with parents from their families. 

Intervention of the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin at the Second Holy See - 6/14/2018

Intervention of the Cardinal Secretary of State at the Second Holy See – Mexico Conference on International Migration”, 14.06.2018

The following is this morning’s intervention by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin at the Second Holy See – Mexico Conference on International Migration”, held at the Casina Pio IV:

Intervention of the Cardinal Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary Videgaray,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I cordially welcome you, Mr. Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, and all the distinguished delegates, speakers and participants gathered here, to participate in this meeting that expresses the common interest of the Holy See and the United States of Mexico for the issue of migration.

At the beginning of this Conference, an ideal continuation of the one that took place in Mexico City in 2014, held at the proposal of the Mexican Chancellery and in which I had the honour of participating, we had the opportunity to listen to the message of the Holy Father, who - I am convinced - it will be a sure inspiration for the work that will follow.

Today, unfortunately, we see that increasingly pressing and complex challenges characterize the migration phenomenon, while many of the problems that we are discussing in our time still remain without an adequate response. To these challenges [as we have heard] as response was sought, in 2016, by the member states of the United Nations with the New York Declaration, undertaking paths of dialogue, consultation and negotiation, both in the area of responsibility that each one has about the protection of refugees, and in the shared management of the migratory phenomenon in general.

These are ongoing processes that, we hope with Pope Francis, can lead to reverting the logic of the globalization of indifference, replacing it with the globalization of solidarity, which, attentive to the needs and the just expectations of the indigenous peoples, will also be able to help those who, in the human family, find themselves in a state of need and in situations of vulnerability.

While consultations for the adoption by the United Nations of a Global Compact on Refugees are underway in Geneva, this time the focus has been on the parallel negotiation process currently underway in New York for the adoption, under the auspices of the United Nations, of a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, which involves the Heads of the Permanent Missions of Mexico and Switzerland as co-facilitators.

It is a difficult task, considering that the international climate has objectively changed since 2016, due to the unwillingness of many countries to reconcile the just demands of national sovereignty with the urgent need to respond globally to those who are forced to leave their own country because of wars, violations of human rights, natural disasters or conditions of extreme poverty. 

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