Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Merkel calls for religious freedom and tolerance at Luther ceremony

Updated / Tuesday, 31 Oct 2017 20:22

Angela Merkel speaking at a ceremony in Wittenberg, scene of the first move of the Reformation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for religious freedom and tolerance at a ceremony on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Wittenberg, where Martin Luther is said to have nailed his theses challenging Catholicism to a church door.

Ms Merkel said Germany should lend extra support to the children of refugees "who have experienced awful things."

"We have learned that tolerance is the soul of Europe," she said.

Luther argued against what he saw as abusive practices by Catholic preachers, though the reformation divided western Christianity and resulted in violence, persecution and discrimination.

Ms Merkel, the daughter of a protestant pastor, praised Luther's translation of the Bible into a standard form of written German, which she said made its teachings accessible to the population at large.

"Religious education was a fundamental concern of the reformation," she said, stressing the importance of education for everyone.

"To learn and develop skills, some children need to be given more support than others - for example when parental support is lacking. This applies too to integrating children from refugee families who have experienced and undergone awful things."

Earlier Catholic and Lutheran leaders begged forgiveness for the violence waged during the Reformation.

In a joint statement both the Vatican and Lutheran World Federation say that more unites them today than divides them.

Ms Merkel has come under fire for allowing more than one million migrants to enter Germany over the past two years - a decision that saw her conservatives bleed support to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in a national election last month.

People from different backgrounds often knew too little about each other, she said, stressing the importance of dialogue between religions.

"Just as the freedom of belief always has to be protected from religious fanaticism, so freedom of worship, on the other hand, requires that religion be protected from contempt," Ms Merkel added.

A public holiday was observed across Germany this year to honour the 500th anniversary of Reformation Day.

It is generally marked as a holiday in only a number of the country's states.


Catholics, Lutherans look toward Christian unity in Reformation statement

October 31, 2017 by CNA Daily News

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2017 / 10:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The Reformation anniversary gives us a renewed impetus to work for reconciliation, said a statement released jointly Tuesday by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation.

“We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation,” it said Oct. 31.

“Again, it has become clear that what we have in common is far more than that which still divides us.”

The statement was released to mark the end of the year of common commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is the Roman Curia's office for ecumenism, while the Lutheran World Federation is the largest communion of Lutheran ecclesial communities. In the US, the Lutheran World Federation includes the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but neither the Missouri nor Wisconsin Synods.

The common commemoration was opened last year with an ecumenical prayer service between Lutherans and Catholics at the Lutheran cathedral in Lund, Sweden during the Pope’s Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2016 visit.

During the service, Catholics and Lutherans read out five joint ecumenical commitments, including the commitment to always begin from a perspective of unity. Pope Francis and Munib Younan, then-president of the Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran bishop of Jordan and the Holy Land, also signed a joint statement.

Quoting the 2016 declaration between Pope Francis and Younan, this year’s statement acknowledged the pain of disunity, particularly that caused by the inability to share in the Eucharist.

“We acknowledge our joint pastoral responsibility to respond to the spiritual thirst and hunger of our people to be one in Christ. We long for this wound in the Body of Christ to be healed. This is the goal of our ecumenical endeavors, which we wish to advance, also by renewing our commitment to theological dialogue,” the statement declared.

The new statement also emphasized the commitment to continue this journey toward unity “guided by God’s Spirit…according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

With God’s help, we hope to continue to seek “substantial consensus” on issues pertaining to the Church, Eucharist, and ministry, it said. “With deep joy and gratitude we trust ‘that He who has begun a good work in [us] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ’.”

They gave thanksgiving for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation, as well as the need to ask forgiveness for failures and the ways in which “Christians have wounded the Body of Christ and offended each other” over the past 500 years.

One positive effect of the past year’s common commemoration has been viewing the Reformation with an ecumenical perspective for the first time, it concluded.

“In the face of so many blessings along the way, we raise our hearts in praise of the Triune God for the mercy we receive.”

Full text: Pope’s homily at service for 500th anniversary of Reformation

Latest News

Full text: Pope’s homily at service for 500th anniversary of Reformation

posted Monday, 31 Oct 2016

Pope Francis embraces Rev Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, as Lutheran Archbishop Ante Jackelen, Primate of the Church of Sweden, is seen in the background (AP)

Pope Francis delivered the homily at the ecumenical prayer service in Sweden

Abide in me as I abide in you” (Jn 15:4). These words, spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper, allow us to peer into the heart of Christ just before his ultimate sacrifice on the cross. We can feel his heart beating with love for us and his desire for the unity of all who believe in him. He tells us that he is the true vine and that we are the branches, that just as he is one with the Father, so we must be one with him if we wish to bear fruit.

Here in Lund, at this prayer service, we wish to manifest our shared desire to remain one with Christ, so that we may have life. We ask him, “Lord, help us by your grace to be more closely united to you and thus, together, to bear a more effective witness of faith, hope and love”. This is also a moment to thank God for the efforts of our many brothers and sisters from different ecclesial communities who refused to be resigned to division, but instead kept alive the hope of reconciliation among all who believe in the one Lord.

As Catholics and Lutherans, we have undertaken a common journey of reconciliation. Now, in the context of the commemoration of the Reformation of 1517, we have a new opportunity to accept a common path, one that has taken shape over the past fifty years in the ecumenical dialogue between the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church. Nor can we be resigned to the division and distance that our separation has created between us. We have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another.

Jesus tells us that the Father is the “vinedresser” (cf. v. 1) who tends and prunes the vine in order to make it bear more fruit (cf. v. 2). The Father is constantly concerned for our relationship with Jesus, to see if we are truly one with him (cf. v. 4). He watches over us, and his gaze of love inspires us to purify our past and to work in the present to bring about the future of unity that he so greatly desires.

Most People Don't Even Realize What's Coming

500 years ago today: The birth of Protestantism


Bill Federer remembers Martin Luther's famous, defiant action

Published: 7 hours ago

William J. Federer is the author of "Change to Chains: The 6,000 Year Quest for Global Control" and "What Every American Needs to Know About the Quran: A History of Islam and the United States."

Martin Luther

On Oct. 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther posted 95 debate questions on the door of Wittenberg Church, which began the movement known as “the Reformation.”

In 1521, 34-year-old Martin Luther was summoned to stand trial before the most powerful man in the world, 21-year-old Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Charles V of Spain’s empire spanned nearly two million square miles across Europe, the Netherlands, the Far East, North and South America and the Caribbean.

The Philippine Islands were named after his son, King Philip II of Spain. The sun never set on the Spanish Empire.

At the Diet of Worms, Charles V initially dismissed Luther’s theses as “an argument between monks” and simply declared Martin Luther an outlaw. Martin Luther was hid by Frederick of Saxony in the Wartburg Castle, where he translated the New Testament into German. Charles V’s unruly troops sacked Rome and imprisoned Pope Clement VII for six months.

This was the same Pope that refused to annul the marriage of Henry VIII and Charles’s aunt Catherine of Aragon, leading Henry break away from Rome and start the Church of England. (Catherine had been married for six months to Henry’s older brother Arthur before he died in 1502.)

Charles V oversaw the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and began the Counter-Reformation. He eventually responded to the pleadings of the priest Bartolomé de Las Casas and outlawed the enslavement of native Americans.

Gold from the New World was used by Spain to push back the Muslim Ottoman Empire’s invasion of Europe. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent’s Ottoman fleet dominated the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Suleiman conquered into Christian Hungary, Christian Serbia and Christian Austria, in addition to controlling the Middle East and North Africa. In 1529, 35-year-old Suleiman the Magnificent sent 100,000 Muslim Turks to surround Vienna, Austria.

Martin Luther wrote: “The Turk is the rod of the wrath of the Lord our God. … If the Turk’s god, the devil, is not beaten first, there is reason to fear that the Turk will not be so easy to beat. … Christian weapons and power must do it. …”

Catholic and Protestant leaders unite to mark start of Reformation

An edition of The 95 Theses printed in Basel in 1517. The academic disputation on indulgences lit the fuse of the Reformation. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Catholic and Protestant leaders unite to mark start of Reformation

Archbishop of Canterbury to use service to present joint declaration described as ‘sign of healing after 500 years of division’

Harriet Sherwood Religion correspondent


Tuesday 31 October 2017 02.00 EDT
Last modified on Tuesday 31 October 2017 02.02 EDT

Catholic and Protestant leaders will stress their mutual bonds 500 years after the start of the Reformation, a movement which tore apart western Christianity and sparked a string of bloody religious wars in Europe lasting more than a century.

A service in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday will mark the anniversary of the date in 1517 on which the German theologian Martin Luther submitted The 95 Theses to the archbishop of Mainz as well as nailing a copy to the door of a church in Wittenburg, lighting the fuse of the Reformation.

The Guardian view on the Reformation: justification through faith
Editorial: Luther’s defiance of papal authority shaped Europe and the world in ways he could never have foreseen

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will present a text by the Anglican communion affirming a joint declaration by the Roman Catholic church and global Protestant bodies described as “a sign of healing after 500 years of division”.

Last week, Pope Francis said Catholics and Protestants were now enjoying a relationship of “true fraternity” based on mutual understanding, trust and cooperation.

He told Derek Browning, moderator of the Church of Scotland, who was visiting the Vatican as part of the Reformation commemorations, that the two traditions were “no longer … adversaries, after long centuries of estrangement and conflict”

The pontiff added: “For so long we regarded one another from afar, all too humanly, harbouring suspicion, dwelling on differences and errors, and with hearts intent on recrimination for past wrongs.”

The 95 Theses, written in Latin, was a backlash against increasing corruption in the Catholic church and, in particular, the highly profitable sale of “indulgences”. These promised a fast-track to heaven and were sold to fund the building of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Luther argued that salvation could not be bought or brokered by the church, but was a matter between an individual and God.

His challenge to the authority and elitism of the Catholic church was translated into German and other European languages. Thanks to revolutionary new printing presses, his message spread rapidly and was taken up by others, including the French theologian John Calvin.

Rome condemned Luther as a heretic and launched the Counter-Reformation, but by the end of the 16th century most of northern Europe was Protestant.

In England, Henry VIII, desperate to dissolve his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in pursuit of a male heir, launched his own, less clear-cut, separation from the Catholic church which involved the destruction of much of the country’s religious heritage.

In 1999, the Catholic and Lutheran churches agreed a “joint declaration on the doctrine of justification” that resolved many of the theological issues at the heart of the schism. This document has now been welcomed and affirmed by the Anglican communion.

A spokesperson for the Catholic church in England and Wales said: “The desire for reconciliation is such that mistakes can be recognised, injuries can be forgiven and wounds healed.

“We give thanks to the joy of the gospel we share as Christians, express repentance for the sadness of our divisions and renew our commitment to common witness and service to the world.”

But despite the warm words of reconciliation issued by leaders, there are issues blocking the prospect of a reunification of the two traditions, not least that of female priests.

Meanwhile, pockets of sectarianism remain in parts of northern Europe, including Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Last year, a document released by an evangelical Protestant group, Reformanda Initiative, drew a distinction between individual Catholics and the “unchecked dogmatic claims and complex political and diplomatic structure … [of the] the institutional Catholic church”.

It concluded: “The issues that gave birth to the Reformation 500 years ago are still very much alive in the 21st century for the whole church.”

Sunday, October 29, 2017

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POPE'S HALLOWEEN HOAX is Coming OCT 31!!! You Must Know This!!

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On Reformation's 500th anniversary, a German town buzzes with 'Luther mania'

A visit to Wittenberg is about more than Martin Luther and the creed that split the Christian world. It sheds light on German thinking about politics, values, traditions – and language.

Jan Woitas/picture-alliance/dpa/Newscom

Sara Miller Llana
Staff writer | @sarallana

OCTOBER 27, 2017 WITTENBERG, GERMANY—In this pretty town on the Elbe River, where Martin Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church doors on Oct. 31, 1517, a certain Luther mania has swept through as the world marks the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation.

The historic churches and buildings where Luther preached, married, and baptized his own children have been painstakingly renovated. The jubilee year has brimmed with art installations, history exhibits, books, talks, and concerts.

Some of the marketing gimmicks surely would not have pleased the austere monk: a Che Guevara-style T-shirt bearing Luther’s face and emblazoned with the words “Viva la Reformation.” Then there are the Luther figurines, Luther chocolate cake mix with cherries, and rubber duckies wearing his habit.

But a visit here is about more than the man and the creed that spread from Germany and split Christendom. It is also a lesson in what drives German thinking about politics, German values about freedom, work, and education, and even German traditions, including the simple love of singing together. “That comes from Martin Luther, to sing every day,” says Hanna Kasparick, director of the Protestant Preacher Seminary in Wittenberg, as she passes a room where pastors-in-training are singing hymns.

Sara Miller Llana/The Christian Science Monitor

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Wounded guard in Vegas shooting staying in hotel for free

Associated Press

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press
9 hrs ago

© The Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, personal belongings and debris litters the Route 91 Harvest festival grounds across the street from the Mandalay Bay resort and casino in Las Vegas. The upcoming Las Vegas…

LAS VEGAS — The corporate owner of the Las Vegas hotel where a gunman unleashed the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history is giving a free hotel room at one of its properties to a hotel security guard who is expected to be a key witness in lawsuits against the company, officials said Friday.

MGM Resorts International is concerned about the safety and well-being of Jesus Campos, 25, an employee on paid leave while he recovers from a leg wound received in a hotel hallway during the Oct. 1 massacre, company executive Alan Feldman said.

Fifty-eight people were killed at nearly 550 were injured when authorities say Stephen Paddock rained gunfire from the windows of a 32nd-floor hotel suite into a crowd of country music concertgoers.

A Houston-based lawyer suing MGM Resorts and other defendants on behalf of a California woman who was wounded in the shooting called the arrangement odd and said he believes the hotel company is trying to control Campos.

"I really think it's about not allowing reporters and lawyers and investigators to get to him," attorney Mo Aziz told The Associated Press. "I think they want to make sure he doesn't make any statement that could really become problematic. And the reason they put him up on their property is so that they'll know at all times where he is and who's talking with him."

Feldman said "a very unusual circumstance" arose when police and a union official identified Campos as a hero whose arrival in a hotel hallway unwittingly stopped the shooting.

"When his name became public, Jesus was inundated with media coming to his home," Feldman said. "Out of concern for our employee's well-being and privacy, we provided a room for him."

Campos' lawyer, Frank Flansburg III, said Campos and his family experienced "extensive and intrusive media attention."

Police said the wounded Campos remained at the Mandalay Bay in the immediate minutes after the shooting, and provided his account of what happened to investigators while he was being treated at a hospital.

Campos made no public appearances after his hospital release, and at the last minute canceled a scheduled live interview Oct. 5 with Fox TV's Sean Hannity and taped interviews with other networks.

The following week, Campos and Stephen Schuck, a hotel engineer who escaped injury when bullets whizzed down the hallway, taped an interview with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. It aired Oct. 11.

Flansburg, who said Campos is not agreeing to more interviews, confirmed that the weekend after the shooting, Campos traveled on a pre-planned trip to visit family members in Mexico.

Campos is a U.S. citizen who was born in the Southern California town of Paramount, his lawyer said.

MGM Resorts has 11 hotel properties in the Las Vegas area. Flansburg declined to say where Campos has been staying.

He said Campos "accepted and appreciated" the MGM Resorts offer of lodging for his "privacy and protection."

Two Allies The Beast and its Image / In the Stream of Time - Walter Veith

Published on May 4, 2017

In this lecture with Walter Veith we will study Revelation 13 to interpret its meaning for us today. This informative and historical lecture will open your eyes to the blasphemies the pope is committing by usurping Christ. Let us be ever vigilant and keep our eyes opened to the two allies, the beast and its image.

Reformation's impacts still felt locally after 500 years

Janet Heim 50 min ago

Gathered at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown are, left to right, Rev. Greg Shook, Rev. Marilyn Hembrock, and Rev. Kevin Munroe.

Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

It’s been just shy of 500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints’ Church, more commonly known as Castle Church, in Wittenberg, Germany, on Oct. 31, 1517.

“It moved Western society out of the Dark Ages,” said The Rev. G. Stanley Steele of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown. “It had a huge political, huge cultural impact.”

Indeed, the impact has resounded locally, where some experts argue it’s impossible to separate the Reform movement from the history of Washington County.

“The Reformation, it’s one reason why Hagerstown is here,” said the Rev. Kevin Munroe of Zion Reformed United Church of Christ in Hagerstown. “You can’t really separate the history of the migration that took place because of the Reformation with why Hagerstown was founded.

Munroe said that a large number of people immigrated to the United States as a result of religious persecution in Europe.

“And as you go forward in Hagerstown,” he said, “the leadership of the town came out of the churches.”

Churches around the world and in Washington County have been celebrating the anniversary in a variety of ways. Besides individual churches marking the anniversary, an ecumenical committee of local church members and pastors has been working behind the scenes to plan ways to commemorate the milestone.

The result is a Reformation 500 Hymn Festival featuring Dr. Wayne L. Wold Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown at 4 p.m.

The anniversary of the Reformation is celebrated on Reformation Sunday, the Sunday closest to Oct. 31.

It’s a long and complicated history and this story only begins to tell some of it.

Who was Martin Luther and what is the Reformation?

Martin Luther is one of the most influential and controversial figures of the Protestant Reformation movement.

The Reformation, a time of questioning and rebirth, took place during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries during the Renaissance, according to research done by Kent Shaffer of Zion Reformed United Church of Christ in Hagerstown.

Pope to European civil and Church leaders: men and women are different

Vatican City, Oct 28, 2017 / 10:36 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a lengthy speech to civil and ecclesiastical leaders of Europe on Saturday, Pope Francis defended the family as being made up of a man and woman open to life – saying that this fundamental community is also a model for secular communities.

“The family is the harmonious union of the differences between man and woman, which becomes stronger and more authentic to the extent that it is fruitful, capable of opening itself to life and to others.”

“Secular communities, likewise, are alive when they are capable of openness, embracing the differences and gifts of each person while at the same time generating new life, development, labor, innovation and culture,” the Pope said Oct. 28.

In the family we find an example for all types of community, he continued, where “diversity is valued and at the same time brought into unity.”

In this way, the person and community “are thus the foundations of the Europe that we, as Christians, want and can contribute to building,” he emphasized in an audience for a Vatican-sponsored conference on the future of Europe.

Taking place in Rome Oct. 27-29, “(Re)Thinking Europe: A Christian Contribution to the Future of the European Project” gathered together hundreds of high-level Church and E.U. political leaders, including academics, ambassadors, bishops and European politicians.
The Pope has addressed E.U. leaders several times over the last few years, beginning in Strasbourg, France in November 2014.

His most recent address took place in March of this year, when he spoke on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community and is one of the two most important treaties in the modern-day European Union (EU).

In a departure from his earlier speeches, however, Francis did not appeal to the “Christian roots” or cultural patrimony of Europe, but instead focused specifically on what the “Christian contribution” is and can be for Europe, specifically in politics.

He pointed to the common secular philosophy that seeks to omit religion from the political sphere, calling it a regrettable “secularist prejudice,” which is “incapable of seeing the positive value of religion’s public and objective role in society.”

The result of relegating religion to merely the private sphere results in a “certain groupthink,” he said; one which appears frequently in international meetings and which “see the affirmation of religious identity as a threat to itself and its dominance.”

What this does, he said, is promote a false conflict between the right to religious freedom and other fundamental rights.

The Pope stated that instead, politics has a “fundamental responsibility” to favor dialogue, “in any form whatsoever.”

He pointed out that unfortunately politics is becoming a forum for conflict, dialogue being replaced by shouting and demands, the primary goal of the common good abandoned.

Extremist and populist groups, which are gaining ground in some countries, have made “protest the heart of their political message, without offering the alternative of a constructive political project,” he argued.

In the face of these challenges, “Christians are called to promote political dialogue,” he said, “especially where it is threatened and where conflict seems to prevail.”

Echoing previous messages, not just to European leaders, but also in general audiences, Francis urged Christians to be involved in politics, saying they’re called to restore its dignity, viewing it as a lofty service to the common good.

“This demands a suitable formation, since politics is not the ‘art of improvising,’” he said. “Instead, it is a noble expression of self-sacrifice and personal dedication for the benefit of the community. To be a leader demands thoughtfulness, training and experience.”

The Pope also emphasized that the European Union, at a time of crisis such as now, needs to work together to promote a positive future.

“A European Union that, in facing its crises, fails to recover a sense of being a single community that sustains and assists its members – and not just a collection of small interest groups – would miss out not only on one of the greatest challenges of its history, but also on one of the greatest opportunities for its own future,” he said.

Remarks by the Vice President at In Defense of Christians Solidarity Dinner

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2017

Remarks by the Vice President at In Defense of Christians Solidarity Dinner

JW Marriott Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

6:41 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Carl. Thank you for your eloquent words. Thank you for that overly generous introduction. To Patriarch Rai, to Patriarch Yazigi (ph), to Archbishop Oshagan, Archbishop Kawak, Metropolitan Joseph, to Mother Olga, all the faith leaders from across the Middle East who are here with us today, to distinguished members of Congress, to all of our honored guests, it is deeply humbling for me to join you here tonight at the Fourth Annual National Advocacy Summit and Solidarity Dinner for an organization that is making a difference in the life of believers all across the world -- In Defense of Christians. Thank you for the honor of joining you today, and thank you for all that you do. (Applause.)

And I bring greetings from my friend of mine and a friend to all who are persecuted for their faith around the globe, the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

The President asked me to be here tonight because we both believe, along with all of you, that “American leadership” is crucial to “securing the future of Christians in the Middle East” and to protecting all who are persecuted across the wider world.

And under the leadership of President Donald Trump, I can assure you: The United States of America will always stand with those who suffer for their faith, and we will always support them in the hour of their need. (Applause.)

Let me begin this evening by recognizing everyone gathered here for your compassion, for your commitment to those who have refused to be conformed to this world, as the Old Book says, willing to be mistreated outside the city gates for their faith.

Andrew Doran and all the members of In Defense of Christians, thank you. Thank you for your leadership in this noble cause. (Applause.) The Bible tells us that we’ll know followers of Christ by their fruits. Since the founding only three years ago, your work and your testimony has been evident for all to see.

And to Carl Anderson and the Knights of Columbus, thank you for your extraordinary work caring for the persecuted around the world. (Applause.)

And to Mother Olga, thank you for raising your voice on behalf of the victims of persecution in your homeland and across the Middle East. We are all inspired by your faith. (Applause.)

And let me also thank two leaders of Congress in particular who are with us here tonight, two men that I had the opportunity to serve with when I was a member of the House of Representatives. They are tireless defenders of believers across the Middle East and the wider world, my friend Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and the recipient of tonight’s Cedars of God award, my friend Congressman Chris Smith. (Applause.)

And finally, allow me to thank all the faith leaders who traveled from near and far to be with us tonight -- leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Antiochian Orthodox Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, the Maronite Catholic Church, and so many other faith traditions from across the Middle East. I had the opportunity to meet with many of these leaders at the White House not long ago. And I know I speak on behalf of everyone here when we look at these great examples of courage and faith, your witness in an inspiration to us all, and it’s an honor to share this evening with you. (Applause.)

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Ireland Wanted to Forget. But the Dead Don’t Always Stay Buried.


By DAN BARRY OCT. 28, 2017

TUAM, Ireland

Behold a child.

A slight girl all of 6, she leaves the modest family farm, where the father minds the livestock and the mother keeps a painful secret, and walks out to the main road. Off she goes to primary school, off to the Sisters of Mercy.

Her auburn hair in ringlets, this child named Catherine is bound for Tuam, the ancient County Galway town whose name derives from a Latin term for “burial mound.” It is the seat of a Roman Catholic archdiocese, a proud distinction announced by the skyscraping cathedral that for generations has loomed over factory and field.

Two miles into this long-ago Irish morning, the young girl passes through a gantlet of gray formed by high walls along the Dublin Road that seem to thwart sunshine. To her right runs the Parkmore racecourse, where hard-earned shillings are won or lost by a nose. And to her left, the mother and baby home, with glass shards embedded atop its stony enclosure.

Behind this forbidding divide, nuns keep watch over unmarried mothers and their children. Sinners and their illegitimate spawn, it is said. The fallen.

But young Catherine knows only that the children who live within seem to be a different species altogether: sallow, sickly — segregated. “Home babies,” they’re called.

The girl’s long walk ends at the Mercy school, where tardiness might earn you a smarting whack on the hand. The children from the home are always late to school — by design, it seems, to keep them from mingling with “legitimate” students. Their oversize hobnail boots beat a frantic rhythm as they hustle to their likely slap at the schoolhouse door.

A sensitive child, familiar with the sting of playground taunts, Catherine nevertheless decides to repeat a prank she saw a classmate pull on one of these children. She balls up an empty candy wrapper and presents it to a home baby as if it still contains a sweet, then watches as the little girl’s anticipation melts to sad confusion.

Everyone laughs, nearly. This moment will stay with Catherine forever.

After classes end, the home babies hurry back down the Dublin Road in two straight lines, boots tap-tap-tapping, and disappear behind those Gothic walls. Sometimes the dark wooden front door is ajar, and on her way home Catherine thrills at the chance of a stolen peek.

Beyond those glass-fanged walls lay seven acres of Irish suffering. Buried here somewhere are famine victims who succumbed to starvation and fever a century earlier, when the home was a loathed workhouse for the homeless poor.

But they are not alone.

Deep in the distant future, Catherine will expose this property’s appalling truths. She will prompt a national reckoning that will leave the people of Ireland asking themselves: Who were we? Who are we?

At the moment, though, she is only a child. She is walking home to a father tending to the cattle and a mother guarding a secret, away from the Irish town whose very name conjures the buried dead.

Ritual and Remembrance

In Ireland, the departed stay present.

Crowns Being Prepared for the Faithful

October 28

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.

When the Lord makes up His jewels, the true, the frank, the honest, will be looked upon with pleasure. Angels are employed in making crowns for such ones, and upon these star-gemmed crowns will be reflected, with splendor, the light which radiates from the throne of God.

Talk of heavenly things. Talk of Jesus, His loveliness and glory, and of His undying love for you, and let your heart flow out in love and gratitude to Him, who died to save you. O, get ready to meet your Lord in peace. Those who are ready will soon receive an unfading crown of life, and will dwell forever in the kingdom of God, with Christ, with angels, and with those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

A crown of glory ... is laid up for us who wait, and love, and long for, the appearing of the Saviour.

It is the waiting ones who are to be crowned with glory, honor, and immortality. You need not talk ... of the honors of the world, or the praise of its great ones. They are all vanity. Let but the finger of God touch them, and they would soon go back to dust again. I want honor that is lasting, honor that is immortal, honor that will never perish; a crown that is richer than any crown that ever decked the brow of a monarch.

In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and His Son. The angels of heaven, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King, and those who are the trophies of His victory—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and self-sacrifice has not been in vain.

Maranatha, p.309

Friday, October 27, 2017

The war against Pope Francis

His modesty and humility have made him a popular figure around the world. But inside the church, his reforms have infuriated conservatives and sparked a revolt. 

By Andrew Brown

Friday 27 October 2017 01.00 EDTLast modified on Friday 27 October 2017 19.11 EDT

Pope Francis is one of the most hated men in the world today. Those who hate him most are not atheists, or protestants, or Muslims, but some of his own followers. Outside the church he is hugely popular as a figure of almost ostentatious modesty and humility. From the moment that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became pope in 2013, his gestures caught the world’s imagination: the new pope drove a Fiat, carried his own bags and settled his own bills in hotels; he asked, of gay people, “Who am I to judge?” and washed the feet of Muslim women refugees.

But within the church, Francis has provoked a ferocious backlash from conservatives who fear that this spirit will divide the church, and could even shatter it. This summer, one prominent English priest said to me: “We can’t wait for him to die. It’s unprintable what we say in private. Whenever two priests meet, they talk about how awful Bergoglio is … he’s like Caligula: if he had a horse, he’d make him cardinal.” Of course, after 10 minutes of fluent complaint, he added: “You mustn’t print any of this, or I’ll be sacked.”

This mixture of hatred and fear is common among the pope’s adversaries. Francis, the first non-European pope in modern times, and the first ever Jesuit pope, was elected as an outsider to the Vatican establishment, and expected to make enemies. But no one foresaw just how many he would make. From his swift renunciation of the pomp of the Vatican, which served notice to the church’s 3,000-strong civil service that he meant to be its master, to his support for migrants, his attacks on global capitalism and, most of all, his moves to re-examine the church’s teachings about sex, he has scandalised reactionaries and conservatives. To judge by the voting figures at the last worldwide meeting of bishops, almost a quarter of the college of Cardinals – the most senior clergy in the church – believe that the pope is flirting with heresy.

Why the only future worth building includes everyone | Pope Francis

Happy Sabbath

IT'S HERE - The Great and Powerful Beast of Revelation

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Liberty of Conscience Threatened

The Great Controversy
by Ellen G. White

Chapter 35: Liberty of Conscience Threatened

Could the civil and religions freedom that America stands for be quickly eroding away?

Illustration © Pacific Press Publ. Assoc.

Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed! {GC 563.1}

The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been maligned, and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments. [564] {GC 563.2}

Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the nineteenth century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that the "church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err" (John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter 2, section 9, note 17), how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages? {GC 564.1}

The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution. {GC 564.2}

A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal hierarchy as regards freedom of conscience, and of the perils which especially threaten the United States from the success of her policy: {GC 564.3}


Pope’s liturgy reforms risk taking Catholics ‘back to the 1970s’: liturgy expert

Seminarians, calling themselves The Dameans, set liturgical music to guitars in the 1970s. Photo credit: thecatholiccommentator.org

Diane Montagna

Tue Oct 24, 2017 - 3:30 pm EST

ROME, October 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — What might be the repercussions of Pope Francis’ public letter to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Vatican’s liturgy chief, correcting him for seeking to rein in the Pope’s new liturgical decentralization?

To gain perspective on the significance and potential impact of the Pope’s letter to the cardinal, we spoke with Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, a prolific writer and international lecturer on the liturgy, as well as a cantor, conductor, and composer of sacred music.

LifeSite: Dr. Kwasniewski, what in your view is the most significant aspect of Pope Francis’ letter to Cardinal Sarah?

Dr. Kwasniewski: The most significant aspect by far is the rather blunt setting aside of key provisions of Liturgiam Authenticam, which was the fruit of years of responding to egregious difficulties and errors on the part of many vernacular translations. The original ICEL translation of the Roman Missal and other books was a pathetic travesty of the source texts and led to the entrenchment of numerous bad mental and liturgical habits. (As a bishop once said to a member of the original ICEL team: “I see the dynamism, but where’s the equivalency?”) The process that led to the new English translation, while certainly not perfect from any number of viewpoints, at least ensured a substantial correspondence in the lex orandi or law of prayer. I still notice when attending OF Masses [Novus Ordo] how much richer and more Catholic the texts are, in spite of their remaining defects in comparison with the traditional Roman Missal. In the Pope’s letter to Cardinal Sarah, it is clear that the principles for which Wojtyla and Ratzinger fought are being retired or sidelined so that we can go back to the 1970s – “always backwards, never forwards” seems to be the motto of the liturgical progressives, who are nostalgically stuck in a certain “spirit of Vatican II” mentality and cannot advance beyond the narrow agenda characteristic of that phase.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

MIND GAMES : Media and Perception Management (2017)

Rothschild: ‘New World Order’ Will Be In Place By 2018

A Lot More States May Need Passports For Domestic Flights Starting In 2018 – Is Your State Real ID Compliant?

September 21, 2017

Danny Cox

Earlier in the summer, it was revealed that residents in nine states could end up needing passports for domestic air travel by January of 2018, but they are certainly working on trying to avoid that. By 2020, the Real ID Act is requiring all states to be compliant as a regular driver’s license will no longer be accepted for flights within the United States. Well, there has been a huge update on every single state regarding compliance with the Real ID Act and if you’ll need a passport to fly or not.

Now, there are a lot more states that have still not met the requirements needed to be compliant with the Real ID Act and could require passports starting next year.

A number of airports had started putting up signs in their terminals to advise travelers that starting on January 18, 2018, an alternative ID would be needed for domestic flights if your ID or driver’s license was from one of these nine states:

South Carolina

Real IDs are going to start being distributed to citizens beginning in 2019, and by 2020, everyone will need one to fly domestically. While that may still seem far away, the Real ID Act requires that all states be in compliance much earlier than that and these nine states have at least received somewhat of a reprieve.

[Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

According to The Points Guy, the nine states have all filed for an extension to become compliant with the Real ID Act. With that extension, it doesn’t necessarily change anything for those with a driver’s license from those states, as the extension is only until Oct. 10, 2017.

While that may sound like good news, it really only gives you a slight moment to breathe. Those nine states now join 15 others who have not yet become compliant with the requirements for Real IDs, but still need to do so.

As shown on the website for the Department of Homeland Security, those states will need to show that they have met the requirements or file for another extension. While another extension may be granted, they will definitely need to have everything in place by Jan. 22, 2018, or travelers will need a passport or other ID to travel on a domestic flight.

U.S. Ran $666 Billion Deficit In Fiscal 2017, Sixth Highest on Record


U.S. revenue and spending both hit record highs in fiscal 2017, according to department

The U.S. Treasury Department building in Washington. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

Kate Davidson
The Wall Street Journal
BiographyKate Davidson
kate.davidson@wsj.com Updated Oct. 20, 2017 2:54 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON—The federal budget deficit widened in fiscal year 2017 to the sixth highest deficit on record as government spending growth outpaced growth in tax collections for the second year in a row, the Treasury Department said Thursday.

The budget shortfall rose to $666 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, up $80 billion, or 14%, from fiscal year 2016. That tracks with an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, which had predicted a $668 billion deficit for the last fiscal year.

Federal tax receipts reached a record high in fiscal year 2017, at $3.3 trillion, thanks to slightly faster growth, according to a senior Treasury official. But government outlays also hit a record high last year at nearly $4 trillion, 3% higher than they were in the previous fiscal year, thanks to increased spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as higher interest payments on the public debt.

As a percentage of gross domestic product, the deficit totaled 3.5%, up from 3.2% in fiscal year 2016.

“Today’s budget results underscore the importance of achieving robust and sustained economic growth,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement accompanying the report. “Through a combination of tax reform and regulatory relief, this country can return to higher levels of GDP growth, helping to erase our fiscal deficit.”

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, said the figures “should serve as a smoke alarm for Washington” and a reminder to “get our fiscal hour in order.”

But deficit hawks, including some in Congress, have warned that a GOP plan to rewrite the tax code could make the country’s fiscal situation worse if it adds to the deficit. The Senate approved a budget resolution Thursday that would allow Congress to pass a tax cut that lowers federal revenues by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Declining government revenues and long-term costs associated with an aging population, including higher Social Security and Medicare spending, are expected to continue pushing up deficits over the coming decades.

Treasury said Friday the government ran an $8 billion surplus in September, much smaller than the $33 billion surplus in September 2016. Receipts fell 2% while outlays grew 5% last month compared with the same period a year earlier.

Write to Kate Davidson at kate.davidson@wsj.com

Why a former minister is challenging churches' tax privileges in US

values & ideals

This month, a federal judge in Wisconsin ruled that tax-free housing for clergy is unconstitutional, while in Texas, a federal judge ruled that the governor infringed on an atheist group's constitutional rights when he removed their 'winter solstice' nativity. Dan Barker is the former Evangelical behind both cases.

Pastor Mark Harris of First Baptist Church gives his sermon during the fifth and largest 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday' in Charlotte, N.C., in October 2012. More than 1,300 pastors across the country climbed to the lectern and endorsed a candidate for public office, in defiance of the Johnson Amendment prohibiting tax-exempt churches from endorsing politicians.
John Adkisson/Reuters/File

Harry Bruinius
Staff writer | @HarryBruinius

October 20, 2017 NEW YORK—When Dan Barker was a Pentecostal minister in California, he knew he could exclude his clergy housing allowance from his income tax returns, taking advantage of an IRS benefit that the federal government grants to “ministers of the Gospel” – though not to anyone else.

Back then, he didn’t give much thought to this special social benefit, which today gives American ministers a tax break worth some $800 million a year. Today, his efforts stand behind the ruling of a federal judge in Wisconsin who declared this benefit a violation of the separation of church and state.

In the 1970s, Mr. Barker was never that concerned about the nitty gritty of social policy. And he felt many of his fellow religious conservatives, who were getting involved in the emerging “religious right,” were too caught up with worldly concerns.

“I was a pure soul-winner,” Mr. Barker says. “I never preached about homosexuality or abortion or birth control or race or anything relevant to the so-called culture wars.”

By age 16, he was working for the televangelist Kathryn Kuhlman – a forerunner of what today is known as “the prosperity gospel.”

Are you smarter than an atheist? A religious quiz

“I was the true believer, a Bible-believing fundamentalist,” says Barker, who went on to be an evangelist himself for nearly 20 years, both as a Christian musician and preacher. “I was a person praying for miracles and faith healings – all of that,” he says. “I believed it.”

He didn’t stop believing all at once, but over the years Barker experienced what can only be called a dramatic conversion.

It was as if he had been born again, his life turned inside out. He married a third-generation atheist activist, Annie Laurie Gaylor, eventually joining her as the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis.

Now Barker and his wife are on the vanguard of the so-called culture wars, in particular the push and pull in the legal battles that draw the lines between church and state, and as caught up with worldly concerns as his former Evangelical peers.

And the legal push and pull has become more volatile over the past few years. In some ways, the Supreme Court’s epoch-changing 2015 decision making same-sex marriage a constitutional right has galvanized religious conservatives to work to strengthen the country’s robust traditions of religious freedom – and even carve out new spaces for conscience, especially for those with religious objections to same-sex marriage.

Members of the clergy arrive for the annual Red Mass for Supreme Court justices, judges, and government officials, at Cathedral of St. Matthew in Washington on Oct. 1.
Mike Theiler/Reuters

THE DAY LUTHER WENT VIRAL; Reformation 500 Blogs Part 7

In 1398 Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany. God, the author of history, gifted this young man with abilities, that would not only change the world, but prepare the way for the spiritual explosion that was the Protestant Reformation. Johannes Gutenberg must surely rank among the illustrious inventors in human history. He is equal to Stevenson and his steam locomotive, to Ford and the Model T, to the Wright brothers and human flight, to Bell and the telephone, to Baird and the television and in more recent times to Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web. Gutenberg’s contribution to humanity and especially to our Christian Heritage was the printing press. While he did not set out to progress faith through his invention, God was moulding and shaping the gifts of this German, so that the dissemination of theology and, more particularly the Bible, would never be the same again.

As a young boy he entertained himself in his Father’s workshop carving the separate letters of his name out of soft wood. As he was lining the letters up to spell his name the “H” fell from the table into a bucket of purple dye. Retrieving the letter he wiped off the dye and left the letter on a piece of paper. As he removed the “H” and seeing the shape printed on the paper, the impression upon his young mind would never be erased. The concept for the printing press with moveable type was born. It would take forty years before the concept would become reality.

In 1455 the now famous Gutenberg Press issued it’s first print run. It was certainly providential that an invention which would transform the dispersion of words, would first print Bibles; The Word of God. Gutenberg printed between 150 and 180 copies of the Latin Bible on paper. Each page had two columns of 42 lines and each Bible had a total of 1,282 pages. Only forty-nine copies, either complete or substantial, of the Gutenberg Bible remain, and they are among the most valuable books in the world.

Gutenberg, however, while being a brilliant inventor was no business man. Accruing large debts he lost his press and died in 1468 destitute and forgotten. But his invention survived and printing became the technological revolution of the medieval era. Indeed, it was through this technology that medieval ignorance and superstition was overcome. The modern era of mass communication had commenced.

By the time Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg this technology was readily available everywhere, and the stage was set for the message of one man to capture Europe. Luther, however, had no intention of going to the printers with his arguments. In addition to nailing it to the door of the Castle Church he shared it with close friends and colleagues. Crucially he also, sent it, along with a letter to the Archbishop of Mainz, to warn him of the activities of Tetzel. Luther anticipated a fair hearing, he was was hoping for considered discussion and he believed that reason would prevail. He was attempting to be helpful as the matter in his judgement, was so clearly demonstrated in Scripture. In later life he would share with the students of Wittenberg:

“I thought I had done the Pope a favour”

We can be certain that Martin Luther never handed his Ninety-Five Theses to a printer. An anonymous person leaked the document. It was certainly not in the interests of the Pope and his Archbishop to promote someone who was exposing their rather sordid business deal, which involved employing Tetzel to sell indulgences for the repaying of debts and for the building of a Cathedral in Rome. The truth was, Germans were growing rather tired of the Vatican’s interference in their affairs. Germany was ready economically, politically and spiritually for someone to challenge the established order. It has been long thought, that someone sympathetic to Luther’s arguments, within the court of the Archbishop, handed the document to a printer, who instantly saw the potential of the monk’s radicalism.

Everything about Luther was appealing to the German consciousness. From his self deprecating description of himself as “an insignificant clod” through to his denunciations of the power of the Papacy in the matter of forgiveness – the Ninety-Five Theses hit a raw nerve. The Augustinian Monk’s words were soon making their way across Germany, with artists embellishing the content with attractive woodcuts, so that even the illiterate could appreciate the import of the arguments. Luther himself, was taken aback by the reaction as he later reported that the document “went throughout the whole of Germany in a fortnight.” In 21st Century language Luther had gone viral. As Tetzel’s sales of the Papal Indulgence dramatically declined, the evidence was incontrovertible, Luther had many supporters. He could not be ignored. Neither could he himself ignore the movement that he had unwittingly produced!

In 1518 he decided to go to print with “A Sermon of Indulgence and Grace”. While the Ninety-Five Theses were written in Latin, to be translated by a printer without the author’s consent, this sermon was printed by Luther in German. In this work he further developed his arguments and the response was electric. In 1518 alone it was reprinted fourteen times with each run producing 1,000 copies. There was an obvious demand for Martin Luther’s writings. He was the small man confronting the power of empire. He was the German asserting the independence of the German peoples. As he did so, however, he gave the people the precious seed, the Gospel of Grace, and God was blessing his endeavours. As he published his second work of 1518, “Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses”, it was apparent that the Wittenberg Doctor was no longer an unwilling leader. He accepted his position, granted by God, with the enormous responsibilities and challenges that accompanied it.

Wittenberg became a major publishing centre, as a result of Luther’s prodigious works. Another book more precious still would be published at Wittenberg; The Bible. A business man by the name of Lufft, would in Luther’s home city, publish 100,000 copies of God’s Word for the German people!

…and so the printing revolution was used by God as the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.

“The LORD gave the word: great was the company of those that published it”

Psalm 68:11

Pope: Conflict, Climate Change Cause Worldwide Hunger

Posted by News Editor in Food, Latest News, RSS on October 16, 2017 6:23 pm

ROME, Italy, October 16, 2017 (ENS) – Pope Francis today urged governments around the world to work together to make emigration a safer and more voluntary choice, saying that food security for everyone requires tackling climate change and ending conflicts.

The Pope made his appeal in a speech to the audience at the official World Food Day ceremony at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, headquarters in Rome.

Pope Francis and Jose Graziano de Silva, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization at the World Food Day ceremony in Rome, Oct. 16, 207 (Photo courtesy FAO)

“It is clear that wars and climate change are the cause of hunger, so we do not present hunger as if it were an incurable disease,” said the pontiff.

After steadily declining for over a decade, hunger is on the rise again and of the 815 million hungry people on the planet, 489 million live in countries affected by conflict, the annual UN report on food security and nutrition revealed last month.

The Pope has called for a total commitment to a gradual and systematic disarmament, and he has called for a change in lifestyles and resource use as well as food production and consumption to protect the planet.

“What is at stake is the credibility of the entire international system,” he said.

About the development of the Global Pact for safe, regular and orderly migration, the first agreement of its kind negotiated by governments under UN auspices, Pope Francis said, “Human mobility management requires coordinated and systematic online intergovernmental action with existing international standards, full of love and intelligence. ”

He then said that unfortunately some countries are moving away from the Paris Agreement on climate, which was agreed by consensus of world leaders in 2015.

The executive director of the UN World Food Programme made an impassioned plea for peace amid mounting evidence of the links between conflict, migration and rising hunger.

Concerns are growing that progress in defeating global hunger is being reversed as record numbers of people flee their homes to escape fighting.

“Someday in the future, World Food Day will be a celebration of a peaceful and well-fed world. Sadly, that day seems very far off right now. We have far too much violence and conflict, and that is why we have more people who are hungry and in need of assistance,” said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

“I call on the people in power, the people with guns, to stop the fighting now,” said Beasley, who has met many people fleeing conflict and violence in Yemen, South Sudan and Bangladesh over the past few months.

Why millennials are ditching religion for witchcraft and astrology

By Kari Paul

Published: Oct 20, 2017 2:29 p.m. ET

In tumultuous political times, the 18-30 demographic is reaching for the stars.

Co?Star Co-founders of astrology app Co—Star.



When Coco Layne, a Brooklyn-based producer, meets someone new these days, the first question that comes up in conversation isn’t “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” but “What’s your sign?”

“So many millennials read their horoscopes every day and believe them,” Layne, who is involved in a number of nonreligious spiritual practices, said. “It is a good reference point to identify and place people in the world.”

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012.

Meanwhile, more than half of young adults in the U.S. believe astrology is a science. compared to less than 8% of the Chinese public. The psychic services industry — which includes astrology, aura reading, mediumship, tarot-card reading and palmistry, among other metaphysical services — grew 2% between 2011 and 2016. It is now worth $2 billion annually, according to industry analysis firm IBIS World.

An image from a market hosted by Catland, where customers can buy occult accessories.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Pope Francis proposes rethinking the market rules which guide society

Never on Sunday

Never on Sunday


Published on Jun 12, 2017

Sunday is a day of rest, even for your lawn. Be an angel and follow the mandatory summer watering restrictions. Don’t water on Sundays.

A cashless society: Is the old guard being dragged into the Digital Age again?

A cashless society: Is the old guard being dragged into the Digital Age again?:

WHETHER the traditionalist likes it or not, paper-based currency is very much an endangered species, and in a few decades' years time, we may well be living in a cashless society. A number of significant trends indicate that cash and cheques will be replaced with electronic methods of payment.

Trump, Clinton Best Punchlines From Al Smith Dinner 2016

Paul Ryan Röast Trump, Schumer, Bannon, Clinton at Al Smith Dinner |Oct ...

Why Big Oil Conquered The World

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why You Might Need A Passport Card To Travel Domestically In 2018

FBI Rescues More Than 80 Children In Nationwide Human Trafficking Sting

An Open Secret (2014) - 720p Uncut.

Callista Gingrich, Washington's new face at Vatican

Ivan Couronne,

October 17, 2017

Callista Gingrich, wife of former House speaker and Republican US presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, is the next US ambassador to the Vatican (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)

Washington (AFP) - The next US ambassador to the Vatican is no veteran diplomat: Callista Gingrich is the third wife of Newt Gingrich, the former leader of the 1990s Republican revolution who has reaped rewards for backing Donald Trump.

The US Senate confirmed her late Monday on a 70-23 vote, five months after she was nominated by the president.

Several Democrats joined all Republicans in supporting Gingrich, but her opposition was relatively high for an ambassadorial nominee: only the deeply controversial David Friedman, Trump's ambassador to Israel, received more "no" votes this year.

"It's a very strange appointment," Michael Sean Winters, a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, told AFP.

"It's hard to imagine anything in Callista Gingrich's resume that shows she could be good at that" position at the Vatican.

Traditionally about one third of envoys are political appointees, especially people who were major donors to a president's campaign.

But at the Vatican, the 51-year-old Gingrich succeeds a former president of humanitarian group Catholic Relief Services, who himself succeeded a professor of theology.

Gingrich has published seven children's books featuring Ellis the Elephant, who navigates his way through different periods in American history.

She and her husband run Gingrich Productions, a multimedia company which has produced several documentaries, including one on Pope John Paul II.

During her July confirmation hearing, Senator Johnny Isakson highlighted her role as a choir member at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

She is "a lady of great talent," Isakson said, someone who could "not only convince Newt to marry her, but convert him to Catholicism, which will serve them well in the Holy See."

- Out of wedlock -

Gingrich's husband Newt, now 74, was the architect of the remarkable Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994 during Bill Clinton's presidency, thanks to an ultra-partisan strategy whose effects reverberated for decades.

After his fall in 1998, Newt Gingrich remained ever-present within the party, seeking the presidential nomination in 2012 and 2016 before backing Trump and proposing, in vain, himself as vice president.

The Gingrich couple's story is not without controversy.

Callista Biseck had been a congressional aide in 1993 when she began a romantic relationship with Newt Gingrich, who was married at the time. Their affair lasted six years, until Gingrich divorced his second wife and married Callista.

The illicit romance was occurring just as Gingrich himself pressed for the impeachment of Bill Clinton over his sexual encounters with intern Monica Lewinsky.

While Newt's career rose, Callista's never reached the same professional pinnacles.

"Callista doesn't have what Newt does. Newt can pick up the phone and get to the president," columnist Winters said.

Still, envoys play a less crucial role today than in 1984, when Ronald Reagan and the Vatican re-established diplomatic relations.

In 2017, Trump's priorities -- on refugees, climate, poverty -- seem diametrically opposed to those of Pope Francis.

But Democrats declined to mount fierce opposition to his Vatican ambassador.

"They've got bigger fish to fry," Winters said.

U.S.P.S Postman Delivers Mail Santa Rosa Fires Drone Video (By Douglas Thron)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

G Edward Griffin Creature From Jekyll Island Second Look at the Federal ...

Pope announces Synod of Bishops for Pan-Amazon region


Pope Francis's pastoral staff is hit by a ray of the sun during the canonization mass for 35 new saints in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct.15, 2017. (Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Medichini.)

Pope Francis on Sunday announced that he's calling a special Synod of Bishops in October 2019 for the Pan-Amazon region in Latin America, meaning the countries of the Amazon -- Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Perú, Venezuela and Surinam. It's the first time Francis has called a synod for a specific region, something that St. John Paul II used to do to signal a special concern.

ROME - Pope Francis on Sunday announced a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for October 2019, to involve prelates from Latin America’s Pan-Amazon region, meaning Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Guyana, Perú, Venezuela and Surinam.

“Accepting the desire of some Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Latin America, as well as the voice of various pastors and faithful from other parts of the world, I have decided to convene a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, which will take place in Rome in the month of October 2019,” Francis said at the end of the weekly Angelus prayer.

There’s already a Synod of Bishops on youth, faith and vocational discernment scheduled for Oct. 2018.

This is the first time Francis has called a Synod of Bishops for a specific region, although St. Pope John Paul II did so on different occasions to signal a special concern. John Paul called a special synod for the Netherlands in 1980 and for Lebanon in 1995, in addition to special synods for each of the continents of the world.

The main purpose of the Amazon gathering, Francis said, will be to identify new paths for the evangelization in the region. Particular attention, he added, will be paid to the indigenous people, “often forgotten and without the prospect of a serene future,” and to the crisis of the Amazonian rain forest, considered one of the world’s “lungs” because of the amount of oxygen produced by its abundant vegetation.