Saturday, June 30, 2018

Jordan to Rosenstein: Why are you keeping info from us?

The 7 Last Plagues

One Foot in Babylon - John Nigem

The Ship That's Going Through - Important Message for Seventh-day Adventists

Pope Francis affirms Catholic Church's commitment to Christian unity

Peter Kenny |Thursday, June 21 2018


(Photo: Albin Hillert / WCC)Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches greets Pope Francis on his first papal visit to the WCC's Ecumenical Center in Geneva, Switzerland on June 21, 2018.

The thirst for material things blinds human beings to their companions and that indifference abounds in the world's streets today, Pope Francis said in a homily at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

Swiss government officials including Alain Berset, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, welcomed him at Geneva's international airport.

Berset told journalists that he shares the Pope's commitment to peace and human rights.

At the WCC's Ecumenical Center on June 21, Pope Francis spoke about walking towards Christian unity and the pitfalls that we encounter on the journey.

"For us as Christians, walking together is not a ploy to strengthen our own positions, but an act of obedience to the Lord and love for our world. Let us ask the Father to help us walk together all the more resolutely in the ways of the Spirit," said the Pope.

"I wanted to take part personally in the celebrations marking this anniversary of the World Council, not least to reaffirm the commitment of the Catholic Church to the cause of ecumenism and to encourage cooperation with the member churches and with our ecumenical partners.

"Whenever we say 'Our Father', we feel an echo within us of our being sons and daughters, but also of our being brothers and sisters. Prayer is the oxygen of ecumenism," said Francis.

The landmark visit of Pope Francis to the World Council of Churches on 21 June is the cornerstone of the ecumenical commemoration of the WCC's 70th anniversary.

Pope Francis' day at the WCC began with an ecumenical prayer service in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre from where he delivered his homily on "walking the ecumenical journey."

Pope Francis visits WCC Geneva 70th Anniversary

PESCHKEN reports

Published on Jun 23, 2018

Subscribe 263 Pope Francis’ visit of the WCC , World Council of Churches, 70th anniversary. This meeting also marked 50 years of cooperation between the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church in the quest for Christian unity.

The theme of the visit was: “Walking, Praying and Working Together”, and it started with a prayer service at the Ecumenical Centre chapel.

I met with H.E. Archbishop Thomas E. Gullickson, Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (located in Bern) asking him why it took 14 years between the last Papal Visit and this one.

© copyright 2018 by Christian Peschken – Broadcast via “Vaticano” at EWTN – All Rights Reserved

Serve the poor, shun 'palace intrigue,' pope tells new cardinals

June 28, 2018 / 11:58 AM / 2 days ago

Serve the poor, shun 'palace intrigue,' pope tells new cardinals

Philip Pullella

3 Min Read

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis installed 14 Catholic churchmen as cardinals on Thursday, putting another stamp on the group that will one day elect his successor.

Pope Francis leads a consistory ceremony to install 14 new cardinals in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, June 28 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

Presiding at a ceremony known as a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis told the new cardinals that their mission was to serve the poor and the Church and not seek privileges.

Francis has now chosen 59 of the 125 cardinal electors under 80 years old who would be eligible to enter a conclave after his death or resignation. Eleven of the new cardinals are under 80.

With each future consistory, Francis will add to the number of cardinal electors he has chosen, increasing the possibility that his successor will continue his policy of a more open, inclusive and forgiving Church.

“What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we are living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues that dry up our hearts and impede our mission?” Francis said at the service where he gave each man a three-cornered “red biretta” hat and a ring of office.

New cardinal Toribio Ticona Porco of Bolivia is seen during a consistory ceremony to install 14 new cardinals in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, June 28 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

He urged them to shun “palace intrigues” he said sometimes take place in the Vatican and in Church administrations around the world and avoid “useless wrangling about who is most important”.

The new cardinals, whose selection the pope first announced on May 20, come from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Iraq, Pakistan, Japan, Madagascar, Peru, Mexico and Bolivia.

In the past five years, Francis, an Argentine, has tried to make the Church less Euro-centric, choosing more men from Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, increasing the possibility that his successor will also be a non-European.

World Refugee Sabbath 2018 - Morning Programme (Live from Belgrade)

Adventist Theologians Approve Statement on Biblical Eschatology

(credit: Andreas Mazza)

Document reaffirms role of Bible prophecy and its missiological implications.

June 25, 2018 | Rome, Italy. | Biblical Research Institute, EUD NEWS.

Seventh-day Adventist theologians and administrators from around the world meeting in Rome, Italy, for the Fourth International Bible Conference from June 11-21, 2018, voted a Consensus Statement at the closing of the event on June 20. The conference theme was biblical eschatology, or the study of last-day events according to the Bible. The document voted reaffirms the Adventist understanding of biblical prophecy, end-time events, and its missiological implications for the church. Below is the full text of the document approved. ~ Editors


Fourth International Bible Conference
Rome, Italy
June 11-21, 2018 


The Fourth International Bible Conference was held in Rome, June 11-21, 2018, with the theme of “Biblical Eschatology.” Almost four hundred Adventist scholars, pastors, educators, and church leaders, sharing a deep commitment to Scripture and a biblical worldview, gathered from around the world to explore biblical, theological, historical, ethical, missiological, and scientific perspectives on eschatology. The goal of the Conference was to affirm and explore biblical eschatology, foster fellowship and unity, and to bring about a renewed sense of the times in which we live so as to be better equipped to serve the Lord and His Church. We have been spiritually and intellectually enriched through Bible study and worship, seasons of prayer, lectures, discussions, and educational tours to significant biblical, historical, and archaeological sites.

As Seventh-day Adventists, we are impelled by the personal and profound conviction of the nearness of Christ’s coming as a literal, visible, personal, and worldwide event. We are keenly aware of the challenges being made to the historicist approach to biblical eschatology. These challenges include preterist, futurist, and idealist approaches to the books of Daniel and Revelation, scientific cosmologies that breed skepticism toward a divine supernatural resolution of the problem of sin and death, and speculation regarding things that have not been revealed.

Earthquake, Hail, Nova, Comet Record | S0 News Jun.30.2018

'Weed Apocalypse' dawns for California pot dealers on Sunday

By Rollo Ross, Reuters • June 29, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Customers queue for recreational marijuana outside the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California U.S. January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File PhotoMore

By Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Six months after California made recreational marijuana use legal, the so-called "Weed Apocalypse" arrives this weekend, as tight state regulations going into effect on Sunday have dispensaries scrambling to unload non-compliant product.

But while the deadline is giving pot shop owners headaches, it is creating an opportunity for consumers. They are already anticipating deep discounts on their favorite marijuana products on what has been dubbed "Green Saturday" - for the color of cannabis - and for black market dealers.

"There's going to be a lot of massive sales, a lot of retails fire-selling a lot of products," said Nick Danias, manager of The Pottery cannabis dispensary in mid-city Los Angeles.

"It's about getting rid of a lot of older product that doesn't meet city and state requirements and getting through that old inventory and moving on to the next steps after July 1," he said.

The state Bureau of Cannabis Control regulations require shops to sell only marijuana that has been tested for pesticides, potency and microbiological contaminants.

The government-approved pot will be marked with a harvest and "best use by" date and sealed in child-resistant packaging. The rules were designed to take effect on July 1, six months after legalization approved by voters in November formally took effect on Jan. 1.

Business owners say they have struggled to meet the deadline because of a lack of approved testing facilities in California, which has created a bottleneck in the supply of compliant marijuana that could drive customers to the black market.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control lists 31 labs for testing on its website but says only 19 are operational.

"We issued our emergency regulations back in November, and at that time, we were pretty clear about the fact that there would be a six-month transition period for retailers to use up their existing supply," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the bureau. "We felt that was a sufficient amount of time to deplete stock on hand and adapt to California’s new rules."

‘Drag Tots!’ and ‘Super Drags’ cartoons wooing kids

Michael Haverluck,

6:40 am June 23, 2018

Adding more controversial programming to its lineup this year, Netflix – along with another network – has announced plans to air a new animated series about cross-dressing drag queens to introduce, desensitize or incite children to the homosexual lifestyle.

The sexual and perverted nature of Netflix’s and the World of Wonder channel’s disturbing cartoons has spurred Christian entertainment and movie critics to send out a warning to parents.

“More than ever, parents need to be on top of what their children may be watching, because the days of innocent Saturday morning cartoons is officially over – honestly, it’s been over for a while,” MovieGuide advised. “Two new shows coming this year are pushing cross-dressing lifestyles on children.”

Shows for the whole family to avoid

The World of Wonder channel is premiering one of the disturbingly perverse cartoon series on June 28, using the world’s most recognized drag queen as a voiceover for one of the characters.

“The first is Drag Tots! – a disturbing cartoon from the production company that makes Rupaul’s drag race about toddler drag queens,” MovieGuide’s Dr. Ted Baehr informed. “The cast voicing the toddlers are famous drag queens, like RuPaul himself.”

Netflix – which has already pushed the controversial envelope with its arguably suicide-glorifying 13 Reasons series and its new series paying the Obamas $50-million – is also getting into promoting alternative lifestyles to kids through its debut of Super Drags this year.

Here is how the streaming network giant is introducing the release of its new kids’ animated TV series:

All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing

It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,” and the sleeping virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who had made preparation for the event. Both parties were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency, and the other was found without preparation. So now, a sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes at the close of human probation, when it will be too late for the soul’s need to be supplied.

The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this earth’s history. All claim to be Christians. All have a call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God’s service. All apparently wait for Christ’s appearing. But five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed, outside the banquet hall.

At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ’s kingdom, saying, “We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.” “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works?” But the answer is, “I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me.” Luke 13:26, 27;Matt. 7:22. In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. “What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” 1 Cor. 2:11.

Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 412,413.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

All Roads Lead To Rome (Part 1 - 3)

Cardinals for a global church

Protestantism Unites with the Papacy

June 28

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. Revelation 17:12, 13.

As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord's instrumentalities. The world is filled with storm and war and variance. Yet under one head—the papal power—the people will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses.

What is it that gives its kingdom to this power? Protestantism, a power which, while professing to have the temper and spirit of a lamb and to be allied to Heaven, speaks with the voice of a dragon. It is moved by a power from beneath.

“These have one mind.” There will be a universal bond of union, one great harmony, a confederacy of Satan's forces. “And shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” Thus is manifested the same arbitrary, oppressive power against religious liberty, freedom to worship God according to the dictates of conscience, as was manifested by the papacy, when in the past it persecuted those who dared to refuse to conform with the religious rites and ceremonies of Romanism.

In the warfare to be waged in the last days there will be united, in opposition to God's people, all the corrupt powers that have apostatized from allegiance to the law of Jehovah. In this warfare the Sabbath of the fourth commandment will be the great point at issue; for in the Sabbath commandment the great Lawgiver identifies Himself as the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.

Maranatha, p.187.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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Former Irish President: Infant Baptism Violates Human Rights

Posted by Catholic News Agency on Tuesday Jun 26th, 2018 at 10:03 

Mary McAleese has said that the baptism of infants is a form of coercion and is calling on the Church to change its practice.

DUBLIN — Former Irish President Mary McAleese has said that the baptism of infants is a form of coercion and is calling on the Catholic Church to change its practice.

“You can’t impose, really, obligations on people who are only two weeks old, and you can’t say to them at 7 or 8 or 14 or 19, ‘Here is what you contracted; here is what you signed up to’ — because the truth is, they didn’t,” she said in a June 23 interview with The Irish Times.

Baptizing babies, she said, makes “infant conscripts who are held to lifelong obligations of obedience.”

French President is bestowed a vatican title - Perspectives Daily

Monday, June 25, 2018

List of Allentown Diocese priests publicly accused of sexual abuse or other offenses

Monsignor John Mraz, former pastor of St. Ann's Catholic Church in Emmaus, pleaded guilty in 2017 to possessing child pornography and was sentenced to six-to-23 months in jail. He is no longer in ministry (APRIL BARTHOLOMEW / THE MORNING CALL)

These priests have been accused in court cases or published reports over the past two decades. This listing includes summaries of their cases and their status with the Allentown Diocese.

The Rev. Thomas Bender, former pastor of Most Blessed Sacrament in Bally, was sentenced to seven years' probation in 1988 for molesting a teenage Pottsville boy in the 1980s. A civil case with the boy and his family was settled by the diocese out of court. Bender was laicised, or defrocked.

Monsignor Lawrence J. Bukaty, former pastor of St. Katharine Drexel in Carbon County, was charged with public lewdness after a park ranger saw him fondling himself on a nude New Jersey beach in 2008. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received probation. The diocese at the time said he was sent for treatment. He is no longer in ministry.

Monsignor Bernard Flanagan was removed from ministry in 2010 when a review board set up by the diocese found credible allegations that he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1980s while serving at Reading Central Catholic High School. The diocese informed police.

Everything You Know About THE DEVIL Is About To Change. (Extremely Impor...

Ex-Vatican Diplomat Found Guilty of Child-Pornography Charges

St. Peter's Basilica (Pixabay)

VATICAN | JUN. 25, 2018

Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, who admitted guilt, was given a five-year prison sentence and fine of 5,000 euro at the close of his two-day trial.

Elise Harris/CNA/EWTN News

VATICAN CITY — At the close of his civil trial in the Vatican, former Holy See diplomat Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography and given a five-year prison sentence.

The priest was also asked to pay a fine of 5,000 euro. The penitentiary where he will serve his prison term is unknown.

Capella, 51, a former Vatican diplomat, was recalled from the U.S. nunciature in Washington, D.C., last September, after the U.S. State Department notified the Vatican of a “possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images” by a diplomat.

His June 23 sentence came after the priest admitted his guilt in the trial’s opening session the day before, saying he committed his crimes during a period of “personal crisis” and weakness after being transferred to Washington, D.C.

During the trial, Capella admitted to opening an account on Tumblr, where he obtained and exchanged lewd images and videos of children online. Some 40 to 55 images were found downloaded onto his cellphone, computer and a cloud storage device.

The images were divided into two primary categories, one for images from Japanese comics and the other for images of children aged 14 to 17. At least one video showed a child depicted in an explicit sex act with an adult.

At the start of Saturday’s hearing, Vatican Promoter of Justice Gian Piero Milano asked that Capella be jailed for five years and nine months, paying a fine of 10,000 euro since he “knowingly and willingly” acquired “huge quantities” of pornographic images involving children, shared them and downloaded them to his devices.

The images of the comics, Milano said, were worse than other images found, since they were hand drawn and thought out with intent and creativity.

However, Capella’s lawyer asked that the sentence be reduced to the minimum, arguing that the priest was psychologically unstable due to a personal crisis at the time his crimes began and that Vatican law does not specify what the term “huge quantities” means.

The final sentence of five years and a fine of 5,000 euro brought the two-day trial to a close.

In his closing remarks before receiving the sentence, Capella said what he did is “evident” and happened in the context of a “period of fragility.”

“I am very sorry,” he said, “because my weakness has shamed the Church, my diocese, the Holy See and my family.”

Capella said he viewed his crime as “a bump in the road of my priestly life” and voiced hope that his case would help others in the future.

Originally from Capri, Capella was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milan and in 1993 was asked by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini to enter the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

In 2004, after studying at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, he was sent to the apostolic nunciature in India, and three years later, in 2007, he was transferred to the nunciature in Hong Kong. He was then transferred back to the Vatican in 2011 and worked in the Secretariat of State’s Office for Relations With the States.

In June 2016, he was asked to move to Washington, D.C., and was upset by the decision, but said nothing. Capella began using Tumblr shortly after his arrival to the U.S. in July 2016 to look at memes, and he eventually started viewing pornography and child pornography.

The U.S. State Department flagged Capella’s activity and informed the Vatican of a possible violation Aug. 21, 2017.

In September of that year, Canada issued a nationwide arrest warrant for the priest, who was then recalled to the Vatican. Police in Ontario said he had accessed, possessed and distributed child pornography while visiting Windsor over the 2016 Christmas holiday.

Before his trial, Capella had been held in a Vatican jail cell since April 9, 2018, and was indicted by the Holy See June 9.

EU leaders call for joint solutions to migrant crisis

Celebration, defiance mix at New York City gay pride parade


Published June 24, 2018

FILE - In this June 28, 2015 file photo, crowd waves rainbow flags during the Heritage Pride March in New York. Tennis legend Billie Jean King will be one of the grand marshals of New York City's gay pride march as cities around the world hold LGBT pride events. New York's march will pass by the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village on Sunday, June 24, 2018, before heading up Fifth Avenue. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Celebration and pride mixed with defiance in New York City on Sunday as throngs of people crowded the streets, rainbow flags waving, for the annual gay pride march.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King was one of the grand marshals, along with transgender advocate Tyler Ford and civil rights organization Lambda Legal. The event, and others like it around the country, commemorated the riots that erupted in response to a police raid at a New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in June 1969.

Onlookers and participants in New York noted those origins at Sunday's event, which was both a celebration of the diversity of LGBT culture and a statement against anti-LGBT policies promoted by President Donald Trump, such as the Republican president's attempt to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. They also spoke out against policies aimed at other communities, like immigrants and minorities.

Why Sunday Is the Most Important Day of the Week for Your Wellbeing


Your business will benefit when you prioritize time for yourself and the important people in your life.

Image credit: Maskot | Getty Images

Co-founder of Vimle Limited

June 24 7 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Hustle. Grind. Long hours. Go big or go home. Fake it ’til you make it.

Entrepreneurs hear these statements daily, often from the people who inspire them. Our culture believes we must forgo personal lives in pursuit of business success.

Of course, running a successful business is hard work. It’s stressful, it can feel chaotic, and the tasks sometimes seem downright impossible. But as an entrepreneur, you need to do more than simply push through. Research shows you must take a step back if you hope to achieve any measure of life-work balance and truly relish your accomplishments.

Former emergency-room physician and author Matthew Sleeth explained the importance of taking a day of rest in a recent interview with CNN. "For almost 2,000 years," Sleeth said, "Western culture stopped -- primarily on Sunday -- for about 24 hours."

Here are three specific ways the Sunday step-back benefits your business while it helps recharge your batteries, fend off depression and make you more personally productive.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sessions' pastor addresses 'firestorm' over church charges against AG

By Daniel Burke

Updated 7:55 PM ET, Sun June 24, 2018

Sessions urges bump stock ban through regulation

(CNN) One of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' pastors told her congregation on Sunday that she does not agree with the "zero-tolerance" immigration policies that led to family separations, but urged the United Methodist church in northern Virginia not to be torn apart by political differences.
"This week, we in the congregation have been surprised to find ourselves at the center of a firestorm over our nation's immigration policy, more specifically the policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents as they are apprehended after crossing the US-Mexico border," said the Rev. Tracy McNeil Wines, pastor at Clarendon United Methodist Church.

"Some in our denomination are calling on us to distance ourselves from Sessions or to do what we can to get him to change," she told her congregation during two Sunday sermons. "There has been an outcry about that."

Wines said her inbox has been overflowing since Tuesday when more than 600 United Methodistsfrom around the country issued a formal complaint against Sessions, a fellow church-member.

Thy God reigneth!

Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

2 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

3 For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.

4 For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.

5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed.

6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.

7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.

9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.

10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

11 Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.

12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.

13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Isaiah 52

Friday, June 22, 2018

The religious world is growing, fast

Worshippers at a mosque in Somalia, where 98% of people said religion was very important to them. Photo: Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Pew's study on religion around the world shows significant generation gaps, with younger people less likely to consider religion a very important part of their lives.

The flipside: Populations are growing fastest in countries that tend to be very religious (particularly in sub-Saharan Africa) and shrinking in some of the world’s least religious countries (Japan, Eastern Europe). Thus, the authors write, “it is not necessarily the case that the world’s population, overall, is becoming less religious.”

The U.S. is right at the global average, with 53% of people considering religion a very important part of their lives. It is also a massive outlier: Every other country among the world’s wealthiest is far less religious. Compare: Canada (27%), U.K./Germany/Japan (all 10%), Israel (36%).

Religious observance tends to be higher in countries with lower levels of education and higher levels of income inequality. “Regardless of how religious commitment or prosperity are measured, the general pattern holds: Religious commitment is lower in places where life is easier.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Catholic Cardinal In Washington Accused of Sex Abuse

Vice President Mike Pence Swears in U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell May 3, 2018

Published on May 3, 2018

Vice President Pence Swears in U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell who celebrates with his Partner making for an awkward moment for Mike Pence May 3, 2018


President Donald Trump signs VITAL Executive Order on Immigration

The Pope slams Trump policy via Reuters - Perspectives Daily


Synod document takes inclusive tone toward youth who disagree with church

Jun 19, 2018

by Joshua J. McElwee

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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

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

9/11: The Unanswered Questions

Available: On


Listen to:

Ramesh S Arunachalam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published 8 Hours Ago Updated 4 Hours Ago The Associated Press


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

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

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

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

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

The government's creepy obsession with your face


Illustrated | AndreyPopov/iStock, Wikimedia Commons

June 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

Here's how the government casts that:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, June 18, 2018

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Border policy fuels backlash against Trump

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

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

Gregory Bull

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


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

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

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


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

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

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Vatican in disarray

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Border patrol chase ends in deadly crash

NGOs Are The Deep State's Trojan Horses

Where is your hope?

Bilderberg and the Digital New World Order

Saturday, June 16, 2018

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

Photographer: Louisa Gouliamaki
AFP via Getty Images

Brian Parkin
‎June‎ ‎16‎, ‎2018‎ ‎8‎:‎14‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EDT

European remedy needed to solve European challenge, she says

French-German meeting June 19 will seek policy options

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

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

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

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

Read more: Merkel Risks Crisis in Refugee Clash With Allies

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

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

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

Papal trip to Geneva marks 'new spring' in ecumenism

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

By Catholic News Service

June 14, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wages of Sin

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

Getty 16 Jun 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 June, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Troublous Times Right Upon Us

Troublous Times Right Upon Us, June 16

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

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

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

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

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

Maranatha, p.175

International Bible Conference Convenes in Rome with Emphasis on Eschatology

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

 June 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Adventist Eschatology?

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

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

Nicaragua opposition stage general strike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spring General Assembly 2018 - Day 1 Morning Session A

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

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

June 13, 2018

3 Min Read


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intervention of the Cardinal Secretary of State

Mr. Secretary Videgaray,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

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

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

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

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

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

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