Saturday, September 30, 2017

How can we protect children from abuse online? A congress in Rome will seek solutions


Gerard O'Connell

September 29, 2017

A pioneering international congress on the risks and challenges to children in the digital world and how to protect them from online sexual abuse will be hosted by the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from Oct. 3 to 6.

“Child Dignity in the Digital World” is the first congress of its kind and “opens a whole new scenario,” said Hans Zollner, S.J., the president of the child protection center at the Gregorian, at a press briefing in the Vatican.

Today children make up over a quarter of the 3.2 billion internet users worldwide. This generation of over 800 million young users is vulnerable to new forms of harm and abuse, including trolling, cyberbullying, sexual extortion, sexting and grooming for sexual exploitation.

“Child Dignity in the Digital World” is the first congress of its kind.

It will open on Oct. 3 with welcome addresses from the Gregorian’s new rector, Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, S.J., and the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Father Arturo Sosa Abascal. Keynote addresses will be delivered by the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Baroness Joanna Shields, a British-American who served as the United Kingdom’s minister for internet and security and is the founder of WePROTECT, UK.

Pope Launches "Crusade" Against Fake News


Pope Francis makes his speech during Angelus prayer in Cartagena, Colombia, September 10, 2017. 
REUTERS/Federico Rios

Religion Reporter

5:29 PM 09/29/2017

Pope Francis announced that fake news will be the theme for World Communications Day 2018 on Thursday, advocating Journalism for Peace as a solution to harmful, false narratives.

Francis broke precedent by announcing the theme for the Church-sponsored World Communications Day on Twitter, for the first time in the history of the event, according to Crux Now. The church will focus its efforts to combat “baseless information” and the “distortion of facts” that perpetrate fake news and contribute to an increasingly polarized social, political, and religious landscape, according to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications.

“In a context in which the key companies of the social web and the world of institutions and politics have started to confront this phenomenon, the Church too wishes to offer a contribution, proposing a reflection on the causes, the logic and the consequences of disinformation in the media, and helping to promote professional journalism, which always seeks the truth, and therefore a journalism of peace that promotes understanding between people,” the Vatican’s statement reads.

Francis will deliver the actual World Communications Day address Jan. 24, the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists, in keeping with tradition. The announcement of the theme also traditionally comes Sep. 29 of the preceding year, which is the feast day of Archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel, who has been made the patron saint of telecommunications.

Polish bishops favour outright ban on Sunday shopping

PR dla Zagranicy

Paweł Kononczuk

22.08.2017 15:22

Poland’s Roman Catholic church leaders are in favour of legislation to completely ban shopping across the country on Sundays, Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.

Photo: paulbr75/ Creative Commons

"Free Sundays is what all Catholics, non-Catholics and non-believers need,” Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, head of the Polish Episcopate, has said, as quoted by IAR.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting of Poland’s diocesan bishops during which they plan to discuss issues including a proposal to ban shopping on Sundays.

In July, a Polish trade union leader rejected calls to relax a proposal -- filed by his union and several other organisations in parliament last year -- to ban shopping throughout the country on Sundays and urged its passage through parliament, according to IAR.

Piotr Duda, leader of the Solidarity trade union, told IAR at the time that his union did not agree to "any further concessions” amid a push to restrict trade on Sundays in Poland.

"Four free Sundays [a month], period, end of story," Duda said, as quoted by IAR.

He made the comment after an organisation representing some of Poland’s retailers suggested that grocery stores across the country should be allowed to keep their doors open every Sunday, while employees could be provided with guarantees of at least two free Sundays a month. (str)

Source: IAR

COMECE participates to expert meeting on religion and human rights

latest press releases

Webnews, 22/09/2017

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) seems to be willing to mark a new openness to Churches and religious communities, as a wide-ranging expert meeting was organised on the nexus between religion and human rights.

The event, held in Vienna on 12-13 September 2017, highlighted the past and present, paramount contribution of Churches and religious communities in the area of fundamental rights.

COMECE was invited to actively participate and to express the view of the Catholic Church in the discussions. This new initiative could be seen as a positive implementation of Article 17 TFEU Dialogue on the part of the EU Agency.

Religious literacy and respect for the role of religion in the public square were among the priority themes presented by COMECE, together with the need for a more balanced and legally sound approach to non-discrimination and freedom of religion.

COMECE will strive to foster, through bilateral contacts, improvements to the approach of the Agency to certain policy areas and welcomed the continuation of similar exercises of Dialogue between the FRA Agency and religious actors, in a spirit of mutual respect.

In the context of the event, COMECE recalled the importance of having specific Dialogues for religious and non-religious actors, thereby complying with EU primary law (Article 17(3) TFEU). According to the Treaties, such a setting is necessary to allow Churches and religious communities to fully express themselves without any dilution or dispersion of discussions, in full respect of their nature and functioning.

This event has also been an opportunity for COMECE to highlight some specific elements of the contribution it made to the Fundamental Rights Forum, which the FRA Agency will organise in September 2018 on the theme "Belonging".

The Keys and the Kingdom: The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis

The Keys and the Kingdom:
The British and the Papacy from John Paul II to Francis

by Catherine Pepinster

Synopses & Reviews

Tracing the relationship between the Catholic Church and the government, establishment and people of Great Britain, The Keys and the Kingdom tells a hitherto little understood story of faith, drama, enmity, occasional friendship and great misunderstanding.

Catherine Pepinster charts the relationship between the British and the Papacy in the modern era, looking at how the relationship is coloured by its turbulent past. Despite this past, Pepinster uncovers the surprising influence of the Papacy in British politics, the collaboration between Pope and politicians on key issues, the 'stealth minority' of Catholics occupying major positions in public life, and the modern relationship between the Papacy and the Crown.

Pepinster shows the crucial role of British bishops in the appointment of Pope Francis and discusses the modern style of the Papacy and how this functions on a global scale. Featuring exclusive interviews with Cardinals Nichols and Murphy-O'Connor, Rowan Williams, Lord Patten and former British Ambassadors to both the Holy See and Italy this account of the relationship between the British and the Pope offers both fundamental evidence and penetrating insights into this most fascinating of political relationships.

Release Date: 11/16/2017

Here's why a 45-foot tall nude sculpture may be coming to the National Mall

N'dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY

Published 8:26 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017 | Updated 9:00 p.m. ET Sept. 29, 2017

An artists rendering of what R-Evolution would look like on the National Mall, not to scale or showing the correct positioning.(Photo: Vladimir Herrera)

If you walk along the National Mall this November, you'll see the Smithsonian Museums, the Washington Monument, Capitol Hill, and, possibly, something else: a 45-foot tall nude sculpture of a woman.

The Amazonian figure would tower over the National Mall next to the Washington Monument, directly facing the White House until March 28 to promote women's equality.

Organizers are trying to raise funds to transport the R-Evolution sculpture from San Francisco to Washington. They've gotten approval from the National Park Service to have the structure on the grounds of the National Mall.

Event organizers have raised more than $21,000 in four days to transport the sculpture across the country and assemble it, although they still have a long way to go to meet their 30-day fundraising goal of $90,000.

The organizers have also put out a nationwide call for volunteers. After the event ends, the sculpture can remain on the Mall for four months, if it is guarded by volunteers at all times.

The sculpture was created by artist Marco Cochrane as part of The Bliss Project. He said the sculpture was meant to combat a culture that increasingly dehumanizes women and sexualizes the female form.

R-Evolution is just one of three giant nude female sculptures Cochrane created with his model and collaborator Deja Solis.

He said the series spawned from an idea of feminine safety that he says he's been wrestling with since the age of seven, when he learned that a friend had been sexually assaulted.

“These sculptures are about expressing what it would be like if women were safe,” Cochrane said. "To me this sculpture answers that question . . . She’s absolutely fearless and accepting and being able to do that is a really powerful thing."

Julia Whitelaw, Cochrane’s creative partner, said his early sculptures were often so life-like that people felt uncomfortable looking at them, until he scaled them up — way up.

“There was such this taboo that was happening,” she said. “Men would walk in, look at the sculpture, and they would have to avert their eyes.”

Cochrane was inspired to take his art to new heights by the burning effigies at Burning Man. Instead of working in bronze or clay, he created massive sculptures out of steel rods, tubing, mesh and LED lights.

“It made it okay to look at them,” Whitelaw said. “People feel emotionally connected to these sculptures, they don’t focus on the physical.”

In 2015, the series debuted where it was born, at Burning Man. The other two pieces, Bliss Dance and Truth is Beauty, have found homes on the Las Vegas Strip and the San Leandro Tech Campus in California.

The sculpture is being brought to Washington, D.C. by the organizers of Catharsis on the Mall, an annual three-day event that features 24-hour activities, music and an effigy burn. The theme of the event this year is "Nurturing the Heart."

"This year's theme is in response to a lot of the social disconnect and politics going on in our community right now," said Sanam Ememi, an activist and community organizer.

"We felt that R-Evolution represented that," she said. "That's why we’ve placed it in America’s front lawn."

The four-month long vigil is also intended to raise awareness of the Equal Rights Amendment. The constitutional amendment, proposed in 1972, would outlaw discrimination based on sex, but it has yet to be ratified.

The sculptures will inevitably produce some controversy wherever they go, but Whitelaw said she's confident that there are plenty of people excited to have art "supporting the end of violence against women and equal rights for women right there in the heart of the nation."

65th Annual Red Mass

 01 October 2017 - 10:00 till 14:00

Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington

65th Annual Red Mass | Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle | Sunday, 01. October 2017

Join us for the 65th Annual Red Mass, beginning at 10:00 AM at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, 1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW. Principal Celebrant: His Eminence, Donald Cardinal Wuerl. Homilist: Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Brunch to follow at The Capital Hilton, 1001 16th St., NW, with the JCS Pro Bono Legal Service Awards.

Brunch tickets may be purchased here:

Cathedral of St. Matthew the ApostleWashington

United States
1725 Rhode Island Ave NW

55 people attending

Light rain, temperatures from 13°C to 24°C. Pressure medium.

Pope responds to criticism of Amoris Laetitia: it's "respectable, but wr...

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Sabbath / The Test of Loyalty for all Mankind / The Seal of God


Vatican diplomat wanted for child porn offences should be sent back to Canada: Lawyer

'If Pope Francis has been nothing but a PR exercise this will prove it'

By Dan Taekema, CBC News
Posted: Sep 29, 2017 4:52 PM ET
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2017 7:07 PM ET

Lawyer Robert Talach says the Vatican should send Msgr. Carlo Capella, accused of child porn offences, back to Canada to face due process. (Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers)

A London, Ont. lawyer says it's time for the Vatican to "put its money where its mouth is" and send Monsignor Carlo Capella back to Canada where he faces child pornography charges.

"If Pope Francis has been nothing but a PR exercise this will prove it," said Robert Talach with Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers.

Catholic priest wanted for alleged child porn offences committed in Windsor church

Reports in American media state Capella, a high-ranking Catholic priest, was recalled to the Vatican after rumours U.S. authorities were planning to charge him with possession of child pornography began to swirl earlier this month.

On Thursday, Windsor police issued a Canada-wide warrant alleging a 50-year-old man named Carlo Capella committed child pornography offences at an area church during the Christmas holidays.

He is wanted for accessing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

The Diocese of London has confirmed it assisted in an "investigation around suspicions involving Msgr. Capella's possible violations of child pornography laws by using a computer address at a local Church," according to spokesperson Nelson Couto.

A Sept. 15 statement from the Vatican explains a "member of the diplomatic corps of the Holy See" who was working in Washington was brought back to the city where the "Promoter of Justice opened an investigation and has already commenced international collaboration to obtain elements relative to the case."

National Sunday Law Argument of Alonzo T. Jones (pt.7)

The Destruction of Jerusalem -The Great Controversy Between Christ And Satan - Chapter 1

How to avoid buying a flooded car in the wake of Harvey, Irma

How to avoid buying a flooded car in the wake of Harvey, Irma: In the destructive aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, hundreds of thousands of new and used cars were left flooded.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pope to Jesuits: Help Critics of Amoris Laetitia to See Its Morality Is Thomist

Pope to Jesuits: Help Critics of Amoris Laetitia to See Its Morality Is Thomist: In a question and answer session during his visit to Colombia, now published in La Civilta Cattolica, the Pope again defends the document against its critics, repeating that its moral basis is Thomistic, and dismisses theologians who take a “purely casuistic” approach to morality.

Steve Scalise Returns to Capitol Hill to Roaring Ovation & gives a speec...

Crowds jam Puerto Rico dock hoping for place on cruise ship

September 28, 2017

Thousands of people evacuating Puerto Rico line up to get on a cruise ship in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. The aftermath of the powerful storm has resulted in a near-total shutdown of the U.S. territory’s economy that could last for weeks and has many people running seriously low on cash and worrying that it will become even harder to survive on this storm-ravaged island. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)More

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Crowds jammed the cruise ship dock of San Juan on Thursday desperately hoping to get on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship the Adventure of the Seas, which was sent to help evacuate people struggling to find a way off Puerto Rico following the destruction of Hurricane Maria.

More than 2,000 people sweltered in the hot sun forming a line stretching down the shore and a pier.
Related SearchesNew Cruise ShipsRoyal Caribbean Cruise ShipsCruise Ships IrmaCruise Ship JobsCruise Ships Stranded At Sea

"We've been in this line forever and it is hot," said Taylor McCloskey, who goes to school in Miami.

She said she came to visit family in the U.S. territory after Hurricane Irma shut down her school in Florida for three weeks, and then she got stranded in Puerto Rico when Maria hit last week.

"I need to get back, I need to get back to my life," she said. "There's no water, no electricity. I don't see anything coming anytime soon. It's bad."

It wasn't clear how many of those jamming the dock would get a spot on the ship. Puerto Rico officials said only about 800 of the 1,000 tourists caught on the island would be boarding, while the other passengers would be Puerto Ricans leaving the island or friends and family of Royal Caribbean employees.

"We've been standing in line since 8 a.m.," said Cara Rookwood of Philadelphia. "We have been trying to get on this supposed list that they have via email. I called my father and had him email the list but I don't think they're taking any more reservations at this point. But I'm getting a lot of conflicting information."

Rookwood and her husband, Davin Safer, were on the island of Vieques when the storm crashed in, and could not find a way back to the Puerto Rico mainland for several days, until they finally were given a ride on a private plane.

Safer said he has never experienced anything like the aftermath of the hurricane, which knocked out electricity across Puerto Rico, shut down businesses, blocked roads and ports, and left the island's 3.8 million people scrambling to find water, food and other necessities.

"Coming from a fairly normal stable background, I've never imagined that there could be so little security in America," he said.

His wife added, "It's been a strange, longer than normal vacation."

The Great Controversy, chap. 1 - The Destruction of Jerusalem

Ghosts and the Occult: The Truth behind the Spirit Realm (Ghostbusters 2...

I concur with the opinions expressed and the insights illustrated in this video, except @ approximately  11:44 mins., where the "trapped and tormented spirits of the Nephelim" is mentioned.  I do not agree with the erroneous definition of the word Nephelim as it's popularly interpreted by many people and accepted as conventional wisdom.

Let's examine the verses in the Bible where supposedly this Nephelim word comes from:
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
 Genesis 6
King James Version (KJV)

Somehow, many today believe the Sons of God were fallen angels who mated with the daughters of men and the children born of this angel and human crossbreeding produced Giants.

Angels fallen or without a fallen nature can not biologically reproduce.

In fact, the SONS OF GOD as mentioned in Genesis 6, refers to the humans obedient to the Creator God Almighty, and the daughters of men were the descendants of the sin loving masses who directly related to Cain, Adam and Eve's first Son, who murdered his brother Abel.  In contrast, the Sons of God were descendants of Seth, Adam and Eve's third son who eventually completely separated himself and his family from Cain and his descendants.  In essence, the Sons of God 'fell' for the daughters of men and the result was the world was filled with fallen people which the Lord then tried to destroy with a worldwide flood.


Monday, September 25, 2017

65th Annual Red Mass

65th Annual Red Mass

Sun., October 1, 2017 10:00am ·

The 65th Annual Red Mass will be held at the Cathedral on Sunday, October 1 at 10am. The John Carroll Society hosts the Red Mass for its members and guests, including many government officials with attendant security. It is open to the public, but attendance is very high. If you normally attend the 10am Mass, you may wish to consider attending another Mass that weekend. Please note that the 8:30am Mass is cancelled that day. If you plan to attend the Red Mass, please arrive early as the fire marshal will not allow entry once the Cathedral is filled to capacity. Thank you for helping us extend the Cathedral’s hospitality to the John Carroll Society for this celebration.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

September 24, 2017: we’re still here!

Air Force: Investigators reviewing statements by outspoken chaplain Hernandez


Published: September 22, 2017

WASHINGTON — After initially denying an investigation, the Air Force said Friday that its inspector general’s office is reviewing complaints against reserve chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez, who proclaimed that Christian servicemembers are wrong to support the rights of other faiths to practice their religion, actions that he said will lead them to hell.

“I can confirm that the Air Force is reviewing IG complaints made against Chaplain Hernandez that were referred to the Air Force Inspector General’s office,” Air Force spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder said Friday. “At this time it would be inappropriate to comment on the nature of those complaints or speculate on potential outcomes.”

An Air Force Reserve spokesman said earlier this week that the service was not investigating Hernandez.

Hernandez, with the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is strongly outspoken on his Christian beliefs. On the Christian blog, Hernandez wrote last week that Christians in the Armed Forces who support the constitutional rights of people from other religions to practice their faith are wrong. As a chaplain, he said he believes he cannot subvert his religion beneath Constitutional law. He wrote that if a Christian supports a person’s Constitutional right to an abortion, they are serving Satan.

Air Force Reserve Chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez.

“It is imperative the Bible-believing military chaplains align themselves with the right endorser that has sincerely held beliefs that appeal to Scripture alone and will not support or accommodate evil,” he wrote.

In the wake of the post, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a complaint against Hernandez with the Department of Defense Inspector General. The organization’s president and founder, Mikey Weinstein, said the complaint was in addition to others MRFF filed against Hernandez in April. He said he was surprised that the complaints were being reviewed by the Air Force, not Pentagon investigators.

Ryder did not say whether the complaints from April were still under review or why spokespeople the Air Force and the Air Force Reserves did not know about the inspector general’s review.

related articles

The controversy raises questions over the role of chaplains and where the boundaries lie between spiritual leadership and innate freedoms of religion and speech guaranteed under the Constitution that all servicemembers swear to “support and defend.”

All chaplains must be certified as “willing to function in a pluralistic environment ... and to support directly and indirectly the free exercise of religion by all members of the Military Services, their family members and other persons authorized to be served by the military chaplaincies,” according to the Department of Defense.

It also is further complicated by the fact that Hernandez is a reserve chaplain, meaning most days, he is a civilian. He told Stars and Stripes this week that he sees his role as that of missionary and said he was espousing purely theological arguments.
Twitter: @DiannaCahn

In Vatican trial, witness calls spending on cardinal’s apartment ‘anomalous'

John L. Allen Jr.
September 22, 2017

A shot showing the location of the remodeled apartment of Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, which is at the heart of a Vatican trial for financial crime. (Credit: Stock image.)
In the latest hearing of the Vatican's first-ever trial for financial crimes, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State said that a controversial remodeling project for the private apartment of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, bypassed the normal competitive bidding process and was "singular " and "anomalous."

ROME - In the latest hearing on Friday of the Vatican’s first-ever trial for financial crimes, an official of the Government of the Vatican City State testified that a remodeling project for the private Vatican apartment of Italian Cardinal Tarcisio bypassed the normal bidding process, and was “singular” and “anomalous.”

That remodeling project is at the heart of the case, since two Italian laymen and former officials of a foundation for a papally-sponsored pediatric hospital in Rome called the Bambino Gesù are accused of diverting roughly $500,000 of the hospital’s money to help cover the costs.

The defendants are Giuseppe Profiti, the former president of both the hospital and its foundation, and Massimo Spina, who served as treasurer during Profiti’s tenure.

The Government of the Vatican State is responsible for the 108-acre physical footprint of the Vatican, and generally approves and oversees all building projects within its territory.

On Friday, Marco Bargellini, also a layman who’s responsible for building projects within the Government of the Vatican City State, told a three-judge panel that normally, projects costing more than 50,000 Euro require a competitive bidding process with at least three qualified firms involved, with their bids registered.

In this case, Bargellini said, Bertone, the former Secretariat of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, deposited a set of plans for the work on his roughly 4,500-square foot apartment with the Government of the Vatican City State, and then wrote directly to his fellow Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, who heads the city-state, informing him that the work would be carried out by a firm belonging to Italian business Gianantonio Bandera, a longtime friend of Bertone’s from Genoa.

Daniel's 70 Weeks Prophecy and the Jesuit Lie of Futurism (Full)

Vatican 666

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Conservative Catholics accuse pope of spreading heresy

Pope Francis talks to an infant during his visit to the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome Friday (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

More than 60 Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy after the pontiff opened the door last year to allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.

In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month and provided Saturday to The Associated Press, the 62 signatories issued a "filial correction" to the pope — a measure they said hadn't been employed since the 14th century.

The letter accused Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life and the sacraments with his 2016 document "The Joy of Love" and subsequent "acts, words and omissions."

The initiative follows another formal act by four tradition-minded cardinals who wrote Francis last year asking him to clarify a series of questions, or "dubbia," they had about his 2016 text.

Francis hasn't responded to either initiative. The Vatican spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Saturday.

None of the signatories of the new letter is a cardinal, and the highest-ranking churchman listed is actually someone whose organization has no legal standing in the Catholic Church: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X. Several other signatories are well-known admirers of the old Latin Mass which Fellay's followers celebrate.

But organizers said the initiative was nevertheless significant and a sign of the concern among a certain contingent of academics and pastors over Francis' positions, which they said posed a danger to the faithful.

"There is a role for theologians and philosophers to explain to people the church's teaching, to correct misunderstandings," said Joseph Shaw, a spokesman for the initiative, signatory of the correction and senior research fellow in moral philosophy at Oxford University.

When it was released in April 2016, "The Joy of Love" immediately sparked controversy. Church teaching holds that unless divorced and civilly remarried Catholics obtain an annulment — a church decree that their first marriage was invalid — they cannot receive the sacraments, since they are seen as committing adultery.

"The Joy of Love" didn't create a church-wide pass for these Catholics, but suggested — in vague terms and strategically placed footnotes — that bishops and priests could do so on a case-by-case basis after accompanying them on a spiritual journey of discernment. Subsequent comments and writings have made clear he intended such wiggle room, part of his belief that God's mercy extends in particular to sinners and that the Eucharist isn't a prize for the perfect but nourishment for the weak.

Shaw said none of the four cardinals involved in the initial "dubbia" letter, nor any other cardinal, was involved in the "filial correction."

Organizers said the last time such a correction was issued was to Pope John XXII in 1333 for errors which he later recanted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

How to Survive the Apocalypse


SEPT. 23, 2017

Credit Leo Acadia

President Trump threatens to “totally destroy North Korea.” Another hurricane lashes out. A second monster earthquake jolts Mexico. Terrorists strike in London. And that’s just this past week or so.

Yes, the world is clearly coming to an end. But is there anything you can do to prepare?

That is not a philosophical question, or a theological one. And if it is a question that seems to beg any explication, you may stop reading now.

But if you are among the swelling class of weekend paranoiacs of affluent means who are starting to mull fantasies of urban escape following the endless headlines about disasters, both natural and manufactured, you may be starting to see a different image in your mind when think “survivalist.” You may no longer see the wild-eyed cave dweller in camouflage fatigues, hoarding canned goods. You may even see one in the mirror.

In a world where the bombproof bunker has replaced the Tesla as the hot status symbol for young Silicon Valley plutocrats, everyone, it seems, is a “prepper,” even if the “prep” in question just means he is stashing a well-stocked “bug-out bag” alongside his Louis Vuitton luggage in a Range Rover pointed toward Litchfield County, Conn. Here is a checklist for the neo-survivalist preparing for the apocalypse.

1. Satchels for Survival

A bugout bag is essential for survivals. Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The power grid has collapsed. Supermarkets are looted. With the city teetering on the brink of collapse, the first thing you want to reach for — after the Xanax — is a well-stocked “bug out” bag.

Related Coverage

For Doomsday Preppers, the End of the World Is Good for Business AUG. 11, 2017

These suddenly chic survival satchels, also known as go bags, are typically lightweight military-grade backpacks stocked with provisions for at least 72 hours. Ready-made bug-out bags containing staples like water purification tablets, a 20-hour body warmer and a multifunction shovel are available on Amazon for under than $200.

Hard-core preppers, however, would never leave their survival up to a mouse click, which is why some sites suggest endless creative tweaks to the standard equipment. Graywolf Survival recommends a chain-saw blade stashed in an Altoids tin to harvest firewood. Survival Life touts feminine hygiene products, even for men, to soak up blood from wounds.

“As long as the gear gets the job done, that’s what matters,” said Andrew Pontius, a marketing consultant and disaster preparedness instructor in Kansas City, Mo., who helps run a site called Bug Out Bag Academy.

New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

By christine armario, christopher sherman and maria verza, associated press

MEXICO CITY — Sep 23, 2017, 9:42 AM ET


The Associated PressLocals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. (AP Photo/Nico Gonzalez)more +

A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the new, magnitude 6.1 temblor was centered about 11 miles (18 kilometers) south-southeast of Matias Romero in the state of Oaxaca, which was the region most battered by a magnitude 8.1 quake on Sept. 7.

It swayed buildings and set off a seismic alarm in the capital, promping civil defense officials to temporarily suspend rescue operations in the rubble of buildings downed by Thursday's magnitude 7.1 quake in central Mexico.

That quake dimmed activity in the stylish Condesa neighborhood, where young revelers typically spill out from dimly lit bars and restaurants on a Friday night. But the first weekend since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake toppled buildings just blocks away began on a somber note.

Instead of crowds gathered with beers, small handfuls of rescue workers still dressed in reflective vests took breaks from digging through rubble. Entire restaurants with white linen tables were empty. Metal gates shuttered others.

"It feels lifeless," said Mariana Aguilar, 27, a hostess at a bar and restaurant who stood waiting for guests yet to arrive. "I walk through these streets every day and you never imagine something like this would happen."

HAL MAYER - America In Trouble Before The Sunday Law!

Women’s Ordination and Authority Wars

September 21, 2017


When my wife started college she was sure that she was going to do music and be a performer when she grew up. Then people told her that she wouldn’t be able to make a living that way so she needed to do something else. She decided to study religion and thought that she might be able to be a pastor. But then people told her that it’s hard for women to become pastors in the Adventist church, so she switched her major to psychology. The problem was her gifting and calling was in music and ministry. She couldn’t ignore the way that God had made her so she switched back to studying religion and preparing for ministry. She was one of the top communicators in preaching class and she loved to love on people and care for them. She was clearly gifted for ministry…but what should she do when it came time to graduate? Would she be able to be hired as a pastor or as a music minister? Why is this such a hard thing to do in the Adventist church? Was it true that her church didn’t really want her?

Discussion Questions:

What are your gifts and talents?
What kind of ministry have you felt called to be a part of?
Have you ever felt like God called you to do something and then the church shut you down?
Have you ever felt like God called you to do something and the church made it a reality for you?
Why or why not do you feel like you are wanted by the church?

The Issue:

The problem is multi-multifaceted and focused on the tricky word “ordination.” First there are strait-up practical/authority concerns when it comes to structure, payment, taxes, and tradition. Second there are biblical-hermeneutical-spiritual concerns that are being raised and the arguments are getting fierce…girl are they ever.

Sydney (Australia) Adventist Hospital Physician Resigns From Australian Medical Association Over Same-Sex Marriage Statement

September 18, 2017: A prominent pediatrician at Sydney Adventist Hospital resigned from the Australian Medical Association after the body endorsed same-sex marriage.

Dr. Robert Hardwick claimed that the AMA’s stance supporting same-sex marriage “completely overlooks the best and largest studies that have documented considerable long-term adverse outcomes for children raised in same-sex marriages.”

He called the AMA’s position “flawed, deceitful, unscholarly and unscientific.”

“They have only referenced very poor quality, biased studies to back up their claims,” said Hardwick.

The Australian reported on August 29 that the physician’s resignation follows that of Chris Middleton, a former president of AMA Tasmania.

Middleton renounced his life membership in the AMA’s roll of fellows because the organization publicly supported same-sex marriage without consulting its membership.

The AMA controversy mirrors tension over a similar statement from the New South Wales Law Society which critics claim led the public to believe that all of the 29,000 solicitors in the body support same-sex marriage.

Legal action may be taken against the law society as pressure builds over the alleged misrepresentation.

Robin Speed, a solicitor in Sydney, has demanded that the organization clarify that its membership “is not in unison on the issue and may vote as they choose.”

Mark Finley: We Need to Stay with the Church despite the Truth - Bill Hughes

David Gates Vs Ted Wilson - Interview

Friday, September 22, 2017

God's Church is the Voice of God - The General Conference is not

"God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God."--AA 164

Many when hearing these quotes will immediately apply it to their manmade organization called the General Conference. An organization that has applied our good name to it's hospitals killing babies by means of abortion, bringing others before the courts in trademark lawsuits, investing our tithe in warplanes and missile developing businesses that destroy millions. The Papacy brought many before tribunals during the dark ages as well the Jewish Church brought Christ before the Sanhedrin when they crucified Christ. Our General Conference has followed in the same footsteps.

God's Church is the voice of God. But would anyone dare say that the Jewish Church was the voice of God when they crucified Christ? Would anyone dare say that the Jewish Church was God's commandment keeping Church? I would certainly hope that we could all recognize that God's Church was not that building made by men with hands that denied that Christ was truly the Son of God.

Certainly the voice of God would not deny the very fact upon which the true Church is built. (Matt 16:16-18). Certainly it could not be "The Church of God".

Certainly that was not the "voice of God". Yet these men took the label of "God's Church" and applied it to their man-made organization. They called themselves "The Church" or "The voice of God".

The Church that is the Voice of God

“God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).Where Christ is even among the humble few, this is Christ’s church, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternitycan alone constitute a church” (The Upward Look, p. 315).

God has a Church. It is the PEOPLE. Not the building, not the national establishment, not the denomination. It is "The PEOPLE who love God and keep his commandments". When these people go and take the title "God's Church" and apply it to their national establishment which is in violation of God's commandments, they are no different than Babylon and her harlot daughters. "Ye are the temple of the living God"(2 Cor 6:16). "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house"(1 Pet 2:5) Be not deceieved.

The General Conference is not the Voice of God and thus is NOT "The Church"

"Let those in America who suppose the voice of the General Conference to be the voice of God, become one with God before they utter their opinions." - Testimony To Elder Haskell, November 16, 1899

This is what people fail to understand. This is a pretty straight trstimony, one of many implying that those who are saying that the Conference is the voice of God need to become one with God. Then their eyes will be opened. In other words those who utter such things are not one with God. The voice of God could speak through them had they allowed it. Thus the General Conference could have been part of the Church. But the General Conference is NOT and was NOT "The Church" spoken of in the bible or the Spirit of Prophecy.

In not following God's commandments they were not the voice of God, they were not "the Church". They however after being rejected pushed themselves into a position of King and ruler and Pope professing to be "The Church". And here we have today many who have viewed this organization in the same way that the multitudes during the dark ages viewed the Papacy. In the same way that those in Christ's day viewed the Jewish leaders.

Many have professed that this body of the General Conference and all under it's umbrella are "God's Church" and that in order to be part of "The Church" you must therefore be a member of the General Conference. They say that anyone who would speak out against the sins commited by this National Establishment is speaking out against "God's Church". This is confusion and not at all what the bible teaches nor the Spirit of prophecy.

They will take some quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy which speak of "God's commandment keeping Church" which talks about his true people who are receiving a "refreshing from heaven" and which talk about his true Church not being called Babylon and they apply these quotes to a commandment violating organization that kills babies in their hospitals, and brings others before tribunals in efforts to force them to retract their faith despising their liberty of conscience as well as the first amendment. Can we call that "the commandment keeping people of God", "God's Church", "The voice of God"?

"These men cast aside the counsel God has given, and do the very things He has bidden them not to do. They show that they have chosen the world as their judge, and in heaven their names are registered as one with unbelievers. Christ is crucified afresh, and put to open shame. Let these men know that God does not hear their prayers. They insult His holy name, and He will leave them to the buffetings of Satan until they shall see their folly and seek the Lord by confession of their sin.

The Panama Papers: Secrets of the Super Rich - Full Documentary

Defendant in Vatican trial says cardinal ‘clarified’ affair with the Pope

John L. Allen Jr.

September 21, 2017EDITOR

A sign designating the Vatican's judicial offices, where the first-ever trial for financial crimes is being held. (Credit: John L. Allen Jr./Crux.)

On the second full day of testimony in the Vatican's first-ever trial for alleged financial crimes, one of the defendants told the court he was informed there should be "no problems" with spending money from a children's hospital on remodeling an Italian cardinal's private apartment, because that cardinal had spoken personally to Pope Francis and "clarified" the situation.

ROME - In the second full day of the Vatican’s first-ever criminal trial for financial crimes, a defendant testified he was told that Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who stands at the heart of the case even though he faces no charges, had personally “clarified” the situation with Pope Francis and there should be “no problems.”

The defendant, Italian layman Massimo Spina, served as the treasurer of a foundation administering Rome’s papally-sponsored Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital in 2013 and 2014. He and the foundation’s president at the time, another Italian layman named Giuseppe Profiti, now face potential jail terms and fines for diverting roughly $500,000 of the foundation’s funds to pay for the remodeling of a private apartment belonging to Bertone.

Spina was in the witness chair for roughly six hours before the three-judge panel in a Vatican courtroom on Thursday, after Profiti gave his testimony on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

You Are Being Gamed

Pope candidly admits Church 'arrived late' in confronting abuse

THU SEP 21, 2017 / 11:25 AM EDT

Philip Pullella

Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley speaks as Pope Francis meets with members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors at the Vatican, September 21, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via

Pope Francis poses with members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors during the meeting at the Vatican, September 21, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via

(Reuters) - Pope Francis, in some of his most candid and personal comments on the sexual abuse of children by priests, said on Thursday that the Catholic Church had "arrived late" in dealing with the problem.

Francis, speaking in unscripted remarks to a commission advising him on how to root out sexual abuse, also acknowledged that early in his papacy he had made one bad call in being too lenient with an Italian priest who later went on to abuse again.

He also said he had decided to change current procedures for dealing with abusive priests by eliminating appeals trials in cases where there was definitive proof.

Francis surprised members of the commission by putting aside his entire prepared speech and chatting to them.

"There is the reality that the Church arrived at the consciousness of these crimes a bit late," he said.

Vatican Secretariat for Communications signs convention with Jesuits

Msgr. Dario Edorado Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications - RV

21/09/2017 12:50

(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications and the Society of Jesus signed a Convention on Thursday.

Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, the Secretariat’s Prefect, said, “This signing comes only a few days after the 100th birthday of Fr. Stefanizzi.”

“Fr. Stefanizzi was the Director of Vatican Radio during the years of the Second Vatican Council, an event which needed to be recounted to those persons who understood neither Latin nor theology. From this point of view, therefore, Fr. Stefanizzi followed the model of ‘user first’, putting primary focus, that is, on the users of communication, which is today the center of the Vatican Media reform desired by Pope Francis. Fr. Stefanizzi knew how to mediate what happened in the Council room with what people needed to know, so as to avoid a double reading of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Council, often highlighted by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis,” Msgr. Viganò said.

The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications also expressed gratitude, both his own and that of the whole dicastery, to the Society of Jesus, with which, during the last year and half, a process of discernment and rethinking has begun of the Jesuit’s presence within, no longer Vatican Radio, but a much larger reality. With the signing of the Convention, the Society makes itself available to this service according to the apostolic mission of the world of communications. Msgr. Viganò also relayed the gratitude and satisfaction of the Pope for this new form of collaboration within the reform process.

“We are fulfilling,” he concluded, “an act of obedience to the Holy Father regarding the criteria indicated by him. This new collaboration will bear much fruit because, when one lives in service to the Church, personal gratification is overcome. Service overcomes each of us, and the hope is that one’s vocation can be lived ‘in God’s way’. We are not only professionals but good professionals transfigured by the experience of the mystery of God.”

“Times change,” declared the delegate of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. “They are a part of the vocation of the Society of Jesus to serve the Church, as the Church requests. Our contribution in the field of communications makes us happy, because we can contribute to the reforms desired by the Holy Father.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hurricane Maria Live Updates: Puerto Rico Loses Power and Sets a Curfew


Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico

Video Hurricane Maria reached Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday. Hours before, it had crossed the United States Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm, and tore roofs off houses on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico with a one-two punch of high winds and driving rain on Wednesday, and sent thousands of people scrambling to shelters.

Electricity was knocked out on the whole island, a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management said. The authorities warned weary residents not to let down their guard, because flash flooding and mudslides could be more deadly than the initial winds from the storm, now a Category 2system.

The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew effective Wednesday until Saturday.

“We find ourselves in a critical phase to help the thousands of Puerto Ricans who urgently need help and to determine the serious damages caused by Hurricane Maria,” Governor Rosselló said in a statement.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

EARTHQUAKES! Prophecy and Science Come Together

Secrets In Plain Sight-America In Prophecy

Bill Hughes Spiritual Formation 8-18-2017

Powerful Earthquake Devastates Central Mexico, Leaving Dozens Dead

By Colin Dwyer • 4 hours ago

People remove the debris of a collapsed building as they look for possible victims after the 7.1 magnitude quake rattled Mexico City on Tuesday.
Omar Torres / AFP/Getty Images

A woman is carried on a stretcher after being pulled from the debris of a collapsed building in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP/Getty Images

Men help a woman injured in Mexico City during the earthquake on Tuesday.
Emily Green / NPR

Originally published on September 19, 2017 7:42 pm

FULL: President Trump First Speech at 72nd U.N. General Assembly (9/19/17)

Watch Live: Trump Addresses the United Nations General Assembly

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Big Double Solar Flare from FARSIDE Sunspot | Big Guy is Still Active

No, the World Won't End Next Week and There's No Such Thing as a Christian Numerologist

SEPTEMBER 16, 2017

If we start speaking up about bad "Christian" reporting, maybe people will do it less.

Ed Stetzer

Image: credit

Again, we must deal with fake news. I’ve written on this numerous times before here and here, and undoubtedly, this won’t be the last time.

In this case, it’s making Christians look silly.


But, there it is on the front page of Fox News, “Christian doomsdayers claim world will end next week.”

It’s under the heading “Science.” When you click on it, the article headline proclaims, “Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim.”

No, the world won’t end on September 23rd and, Fox News, believe it or not, there is no such thing as a ‘Christian numerologist.’ (And, who are the otherChristian numerologists in the headline, beyond the one quoted?)

Every time end-of-the-world predictions resurface in the media, it is important that we ask ourselves, “Is this helpful? Is peddling these falsehoods a good way to contribute to meaningful, helpful discussions about the end times?”

Of course, the answer to this is no, they most definitely do not.

Every time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Catholics Need Not Apply

The THIRD ANGEL's Prophet

NAD CALLED Out: An Interview With The Pastor

July 7, 2015

13 min read

Pastor Andrew Henriques, in this interview shares his thoughts, insights and the implications based on Bible history and prophecy, of the North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists inviting and allowing Sunday-keeping ecumenicist, Becky Pippert, and Sunday pastor, teacher, and author, Dr. Tony Evans to present at a convention for Seventh-Day Adventist pastors and their families named “CALLED.” The well-attended meeting in Austin, Texas was held June 28—July 1, 2015. During this Conference, Pippert spoke twice. Her presentation titles were: “Talking about Jesus without Sounding Religious” and “Reaching the Secular Mind.”1 Dr. Evans presented on how pastors can impact the communities in which they serve.2

Interviewer: Pastor Henriques, thank you for your willingness to address this topic and to give us your perspective.

Pastor Henriques: Well, my perspective of this issue is based upon the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. If my reasoning is not anchored in God’s Word, it has no value; it’s all about what the Word of God has to say, not my opinion.

Interviewer: Thank you for the clarification. That is one thing that I appreciate, and I think others who listen to you regularly do as well, about you and your ministry; and that is, whatever is taught or presented is based upon, not man’s opinion, culture, emotion, or otherwise, but a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” But I want to get right into this, so I will begin by asking: “Is this something that Seventh-Day Adventists need to be concerned about? Is it of any importance that non-Seventh-Day Adventists were invited to address Seventh-Day Adventist pastors? This is nothing new, it has been happening for years, and the denomination is still in existence.

Pastor Henriques: It may still be here, but it is not the movement that it was when it first came into existence. It has degenerated to such a point, that if the pioneers were still around, it would hardly be recognizable to them. But to answer the question, yes! This is absolutely something that should raise concern for Seventh-Day Adventists. Pastors of Seventh-Day Adventist churches should be educated according to the distinctive Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine. And when non-Adventists are brought in to educate Adventist pastors on anything, evangelism in this case, with the North American Division, they [the Sunday-keeping presenters] will bring their fallen theology and indoctrinate the pastors, who will then indoctrinate their members by their false teachings and the implementation of practices that lead away from the Seventh-Day Adventist message and mission and lead toward ecumenism. Interestingly, if you were to look at the backgrounds of both Becky Pippert and Tony Evans, you will find that they are both strong proponents and leaders of various ecumenical movements. Ecumenism is nothing more than a discarding of doctrinal differences across the various denominations and uniting upon points of doctrine held in common to accomplish certain missions and projects. And students of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy understand that ecumenical movements lead, not only to Seventh-Day Adventists giving up their distinctive messages of Revelation 14:6-12, but finally to the enforcement of the National Sunday Law. I encourage everyone to read The Great Controversy, pages 444 and 445.

Interviewer: What would you say to the person who argues that the position you are taking is nothing more than elitism, separatism and pride? You mean to tell me that there is nothing worthwhile theologically or even practically that anyone outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination can offer Seventh-Day Adventists?

Pastor Henriques: Remember, this is not my personal position or interpretation. I will get to your question. But let me just say that I find it ironic that this conference in Texas was themed “CALLED.” If we look at the very words of 1 Peter 2:9, we find the mission of Seventh-Day Adventists and the calling they are to fulfill. Let me quote it from the Bible. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” It is clear that God’s peculiar people were called out of darkness, and are to point individuals to the marvelous light of the gospel. Of course this text can be applied on a personal level. However, we can also apply it to the mission of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. Therefore the context points us to 1844 when God called Seventh-Day Adventists out of the fallen churches that rejected the First Angel’s Message and the Midnight Cry and became Babylon as a result. Testimonies for the Church Volume 5, page 455 states “God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself.”3 Why then would any Seventh-Day Adventist, who has come out of the gross darkness of Babylon, go back in to invite pastors and teachers, who have rejected the very messages that have separated them, and allow those Babylonians to teach and train them? What confusion! By inviting these Sunday ministers, Seventh- Day Adventists are rejecting the Three Angels’ Messages; the second of which is to call people out from Babylon. But Seventh-Day Adventists are doing the opposite, calling people from Babylon to teach them.

Interviewer: So pastor, are there ever any exceptions? Are there times or circumstances where inviting people from outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination to preach, teach or train may be appropriate or acceptable?

Pastor Henriques: I am glad that you asked that question because it brings to mind a startling statement from Early Writings, which says that all the truths from God’s Word have been committed to Seventh-Day Adventists, therefore they need not go elsewhere in search for truth. Since I have the book right here, I will read from page 124 and allow that statement to answer the question; it can do a much better job than I can. It is a bit lengthy, but our readers and listeners need to be aware of just how dangerous it is to sit and listen to those in error and darkness.


Seven Last Plagues Begin to Fall

September 16

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth
. Revelation 16:1.

When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God's people. Says the revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the rivers and fountains of waters ...became blood.” Terrible as these inflictions are, God's justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares: “Thou art righteous, O Lord, ... because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Revelation 16:2-6. By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands....

In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun “to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.” Verse 8, 9....

These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.

The bolts of God's wrath are soon to fall, and when He shall begin to punish the transgressors, there will be no period of respite until the end. The storm of God's wrath is gathering, and those only will stand who are sanctified through the truth in the love of God. They shall be hid with Christ in God till the desolation shall be overpast.

Maranatha, p.267.

Friday, September 15, 2017

The UN Ocean Conference: an important step for humanity in motion

The first-ever United Nations summit on oceans took place in June. It represents a major turning point in mobilising the international community to act to protect marine life, especially in the high seas.

Immensity, ignorance and delusion

When you look at the sea, you see waves, light effects and colour. You are captivated by the enormousness of the ocean: 70.8% of our planet’s surface is covered by ocean. Yet below this surface there is an extraordinary volume which has an average depth of 3.7 kilometres.

The bio-habitable volume of the ocean is 300 times greater than that of terrestrial habitats.

Knowledge of the ocean still remains incomplete. We know more about lunar landscape than we do about the ocean bed. We think that 91% of oceanic life remains to be discovered. We have for a long time believed, or have wanted to believe that the effects of human activity would be diluted in the immensity of the marine environment.

Waking up

Collective awakening is slow. Gradually, as catastrophies follow one after another, humanity is becoming aware of the effects of its unconsciousness. It was only after the apparent eradication of whales in the North Atlantic that the international community brought into force the International Whaling Commission in 1948.

The story is repeated in terms of oil slicks and so many other forms of overexploitation. With a great deal of hindsight, humanity is slowly learning to behave in an adult-fashion in relation to the ocean: it is a slow and tedious process along which humanity does not advance in a straight line.

The Encyclical Laudato Si’ asks the question ‘Who has transformed the marvellous marine world into an under-water cemetery deprived of life and colour?’ (LS, §41). It’s time to read the Encyclical again.

On the epistemological level, we have since 1950 been witnessing the emergence and the construction of oceanographic science in all its multidisciplinary complexity. On the economic level, the utmost exploitation, masterfully filmed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Ocean Planet, 2012) is no longer the model to follow. Alternative paths are emerging. Protected marine areas could form 10% of the ocean in 2020 (in 1993 it was a mere 0.3%), the vast majority of them located in waters falling under national jurisdictions. On the regulatory level, the United Nations took 30 years to negotiate the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) signed at Montego Bay in 1982, and diplomats aim to supplement measures in the area in which regulation is most lacking, namely the management of the high seas. In terms of living together, access to and sharing resources from the sea crystallises deep tension among individual interests; tackling these tensions and seeking the common good constitutes an immense challenge.

On the ontological level, more and more voices are calling for another relationship to the ocean. We are all members and stewards of creation. The ocean is the source of life on earth. Our responsibility for the ocean stems from our human condition.

An important date is approaching for Our Lady of Fatima devotees

14 September, 2017 01:00

A century after the Marian apparitions at Fatima were first reported, their messages still attract powerful devotion.

Thousands of people, for example, were drawn to make pilgrimage to a statue of Our Lady of Fatima as it visited parishes across Ireland this year.

The statue was one of those blessed by Pope Francis to be brought around the world to appeal for prayer and peace and to promote the sanctity of family life.

Each October 13 is an important date for Our Lady of Fatima devotees, but in this centenary year it has added resonance

Parishes and groups also held their own commemorations to mark the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on six occasions between May 13 and October 13 1917.

The children - Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto - described various prophecies and 'secrets' given by Our Lady, including instructions to say the Holy Rosary daily.

The final apparition on October 13 became known as the Miracle of the Sun on account of how the heavy rain and dark sky was replaced by sunshine, with the sun appearing as "an immense silver disc" according to contemporary newspaper reports.

By then, the fame of the apparitions reported by the children had spread far and wide, with around 70,000 people gathering in Fatima in expectation.

The Catholic Church declared the Fatima miracle 'worthy of belief' on October 13 1930.

Each October 13 is an important date for Our Lady of Fatima devotees, but in this centenary year it has added resonance.

Galbally and Donaghmore in Tyrone is typical of many Irish Catholic parishes with a particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

The Our Lady of Fatima statue being carried into St John the Baptist Chapel in Galbally. Picture by Jim Hamill

Interfaith coalition says ‘no principled basis’ for Trump’s travel ban

September 15, 2017 RELIGION NEWS SERVICE

Travelers make their way up the arrival ramp at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport on June 29, 2017. After months of wrangling, tighter restrictions on travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations took effect in June after the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for a limited version of President Trump's plans for a ban. (Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP.)
An interfaith group is arguing that Trump’s March 6 executive order imposing a travel ban from six countries is “anathema” to the core tenet of religious tolerance that they share. They say the order “selectively targeted” six Muslim-majority nations cited in State Department reports on terrorism but excluded at least two Christian-majority nations — Venezuela and the Philippines — that meet the same criteria applied to the Muslim countries.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - An interfaith coalition has told the Supreme Court there is “no principled basis” for President Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority nations.

The group’s amicus brief, filed Sept. 5, was signed by groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the National Council of Churches, the Sikh Coalition and Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders.

“The Episcopal Diocese of Washington and I believe our nation’s security is imperiled, not secured, by policies that discriminate solely on the basis of religion,” Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, one of six Episcopal bishops who signed the brief, said in a statement Thursday (Sept. 14).

“I’m proud to join this interfaith effort to urge the Supreme Court to overturn the travel ban, so that visitors to the U.S. and refugees, once fully vetted, may enter the country without discrimination on the basis of religion.”

The ban temporarily prevents citizens from the following nations from entering the U.S.: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The interfaith coalition members argue that Trump’s March 6 executive order is “anathema” to the core tenet of religious tolerance that they share. They say the order “selectively targeted” six Muslim-majority nations cited in State Department reports on terrorism but excluded at least two Christian-majority nations - Venezuela and the Philippines - that meet the same criteria applied to the Muslim countries.

The six nations named in President Trump’s travel ban, and the proportions of their populations that are Muslim. (Credit: Chris Mathews/RNS.)

While not contending that those two countries should be included in the ban, the coalition argues that the order violates the Constitution’s establishment clause, which calls for the government not to favor one religion over another.

Another interfaith group challenged the ban in a separate June 12 friend-of-the-court brief, arguing that it targeted Muslims and harms the ability of faith organizations to aid refugees fleeing persecution and war.

Numerous other groups also have filed briefs in the case. They range from the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund, which argues in support of Trump and states that “aliens abroad have no constitutional rights,” to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which argues that a different aspect of the Constitution - the free exercise clause - should be considered in this case. Becket’s brief is not in support of either party in the case.

On Tuesday, the high court blocked a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would have eased aspects of the ban and allowed the entry of tens of thousands of refugees by the end of October.

The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments related to the ban on travelers from the six countries for Oct. 10.