Sunday, September 30, 2018

Ceremony for the 202nd anniversary of the Vatican Gendarmerie 2018-09-30

Revelation 13 Beast

Caravans of migrants continue pouring over US-Mexico border

by Anna Giaritelli

| September 27, 2018 05:36 PM

Border Patrol agents are apprehending an increasing number of migrant groups that include more than 100 people on the northern side of the U.S.-Mexico border, and recorded two more incidents this week.

The total number of people found in large caravans wandering through southern Arizona in recent weeks now stands at 1,200, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Agents based at Ajo Station in south-central Arizona found a group of 164 people and another that included about 100 people in the desert just north of Mexican city Sonoyta Tuesday afternoon, a press release issued Thursday stated.

Every person in the group was taken in by federal law enforcement agents and determined to be from three Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The caravan members were between the ages of 11 months and 59 years.

Human smugglers flooded a portion of the Texas-Mexico border with 170 Central American families and children last week in an attempt to overwhelm U.S. Border Patrol and get adults who wanted to avoid getting arrested into the country while agents were busy elsewhere, CBP said in a statement.

[Also read: ICE: 3 in 10 illegal immigrant family units cut off ankle bracelets after being released from custody]

Officials say the use of these 100- and 200-person groups has become the newest way smugglers are illegally moving people into the country.

How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t

The historical Christian positions on social issues don’t match up with contemporary political alignments.

By Timothy Keller

Mr. Keller is the founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York.
Sept. 29, 2018

Singing hymns at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., before an appearance by Donald Trump in 2016. CreditCreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

What should the role of Christians in politics be? More people than ever are asking that question. Christians cannot pretend they can transcend politics and simply “preach the Gospel.” Those who avoid all political discussions and engagement are essentially casting a vote for the social status quo. American churches in the early 19th century that did not speak out against slavery because that was what we would now call “getting political” were actually supporting slavery by doing so. To not be political is to be political.

The Bible shows believers as holding important posts in pagan governments — think of Joseph and Daniel in the Old Testament. Christians should be involved politically as a way of loving our neighbors, whether they believe as we do or not. To work for better public schools or for a justice system not weighted against the poor or to end racial segregation requires political engagement. Christians have done these things in the past and should continue to do so.

Nevertheless, while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the onlyChristian one. There are a number of reasons to insist on this.

One is that it gives those considering the Christian faith the strong impression that to be converted, they need not only to believe in Jesus but also to become members of the (fill in the blank) Party. It confirms what many skeptics want to believe about religion — that it is merely one more voting bloc aiming for power.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Lost Sheep

Christ did not at this time remind His hearers of the words of Scripture. He appealed to the witness of their own experience. The wide-spreading tablelands on the east of Jordan afforded abundant pasturage for flocks, and through the gorges and over the wooded hills had wandered many a lost sheep, to be searched for and brought back by the shepherd's care. In the company about Jesus there were shepherds, and also men who had money invested in flocks and herds, and all could appreciate His illustration: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”

These souls whom you despise, said Jesus, are the property of God. By creation and by redemption they are His, and they are of value in His sight. As the shepherd loves his sheep, and cannot rest if even one be missing, so, in an infinitely higher degree, does God love every outcast soul. Men may deny the claim of His love, they may wander from Him, they may choose another master; yet they are God's, and He longs to recover His own. He says, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out My sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” Ezekiel 34:12.

In the parable the shepherd goes out to search for one sheep—the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one.

The sheep that has strayed from the fold is the most helpless of all creatures. It must be sought for by the shepherd, for it cannot find its way back. So with the soul that has wandered away from God; he is as helpless as the lost sheep, and unless divine love had come to his rescue he could never find his way to God.

The shepherd who discovers that one of his sheep is missing does not look carelessly upon the flock that is safely housed, and say, “I have ninety and nine, and it will cost me too much trouble to go in search of the straying one. Let him come back, and I will open the door of the sheepfold, and let him in.” No; no sooner does the sheep go astray than the shepherd is filled with grief and anxiety. He counts and recounts the flock. When he is sure that one sheep is lost, he slumbers not. He leaves the ninety and nine within the fold, and goes in search of the straying sheep. The darker and more tempestuous the night and the more perilous the way, the greater is the shepherd's anxiety and the more earnest his search. He makes every effort to find that one lost sheep.

With what relief he hears in the distance its first faint cry. Following the sound, he climbs the steepest heights, he goes to the very edge of the precipice, at the risk of his own life. Thus he searches, while the cry, growing fainter, tells him that his sheep is ready to die. At last his effort is rewarded; the lost is found. Then he does not scold it because it has caused him so much trouble. He does not drive it with a whip. He does not even try to lead it home. In his joy he takes the trembling creature upon his shoulders; if it is bruised and wounded, he gathers it in his arms, pressing it close to his bosom, that the warmth of his own heart may give it life. With gratitude that his search has not been in vain, he bears it back to the fold.

Thank God, He has presented to our imagination no picture of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. The parable does not speak of failure but of success and joy in the recovery. Here is the divine guarantee that not even one of the straying sheep of God's fold is overlooked, not one is left unsuccored. Every one that will submit to be ransomed, Christ will rescue from the pit of corruption and from the briers of sin. 

The Origins of Dispensational-Futurist Theology – the Jesuit Connection

I got this from I consider it the clearest and most thorough explanation I have heard to date of why evangelicals believe what they believe about the Endtime.

1. The Jesuits created the modern system of dispensational futurism. Although the Jesuits derived certain aspects of this myth from “futuristic elements” embedded in the teachings of the early church fathers, the evidence is clear that they elaborated the elements of this myth from the early church fathers as a tool to destroy and counter the Protestant Reformation by attempting to lift the heat off the Papacy as the identity of Antichrist.

2. The theological elements of Futurism are derived from the extra-biblical writings, such as: The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, The Sibylline Oracles, Baruch, 1st and 2nd Esdras, T. Levi, The Ascension of Isaiah, etc. etc.

3. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha writings were written by Hellenistic Jews. These Jews mixed Babylonian, Persian, and Greek paganism with Judaism.

4. Long before the first advent of Christ, mystical Jews believed that an anti-messiah would come and oppose the Messiah; the anti-messiah was called “Beliar”; and he was believed to be the devil incarnate in human form.

5. The early Church Fathers such as Ireneaus, Hippolytus, Apollinaris and others, borrowed Futurist elements from these mythical, pseudepigraphal writings, which served to shape their views of end-time events.

6. The Jesuits created Futurism from the Beliar myth found in these writings, indicating that modern Dispensational Futurist theology is nothing more than pagan mythology convoluted around real scripture.

7. The Protestants of the Reformation era knew about this fable, and Protestants separated the real Bible from the extra-Biblical writings.

8. When the Protestants studied the Bible without the fables of the Catholic Church fathers – the Beliar myth – they clearly identified the Papacy as the Antichrist.

9. Modern Protestant Churches the world over have abandoned the Protestant Reformation, and they now teach Catholic theology from the Council of Trent which commenced in 1545 A.D. The Jesuit Cardinals Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) and Robert Bellarmino (1542-1621) in the 16th and 17th centuries were foremost at setting out to accomplish this Protestant destroying task in scraping every bit of knowledge they could formulate from the Early Church Fathers to concoct and repackage the fantastical Jesuit scheme of Futurism. Jesuit Cardinal Manuel de Lacunza in the early 19th century, also an advocate of Futurism, deliberately attempted to take the pressure off the papacy by proposing that the Antichrist was still off in the future, and also laid the foundation for much of modern-day dispensational ideology. On the other hand, the Spanish Jesuit Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613) in the 16th and 17th century was set to the task of concocting the Preterist scheme. Both schemes blossomed about the same time and successfully got the “heat” off the Papacy from detection of Antichrist. It took about 300 years before the Protestant world allowed itself to become infected by these two deadly viruses. Dr. Maitland, James H. Todd, Henry Newman (who later became a Catholic Cardinal after accepting Futurism), Irving, and later Darby and Scofield all came to accept major elements of Ribera’s and Bellarmine’s fantastical views of a singled-out, future, one-man Antichrist (stemming from the Beliar myth that comes from Persian dualism and Zoroastrianism) as well as the incredible disjointed “gap” theory by which the Jesuits adopted from Hippolytus’ erroneous construing of the first 69 units, or weeks of years, as reaching from the first year of Cyrus (or Darius the Mede) to the incarnation of Christ–a chronological impossibility without elongating the period. This “faulty reasoning” of Hippolytus inspired modern Futurism’s “gap” theory.

10. Dispensationalism is simply another branch of Catholicism—developed by the Jesuits in the Counter Reformation. After all is said and done, the Roman Catholic Jesuits must still be identified as being responsible for concocting and inventing the Futurist schemes of prophetic interpretation seen so rampant today in the Protestant and Evangelical world. Why? Because they concocted their Futurist interpretations based on outdated futuristic elements embedded in the teachings of the Church Fathers who thought the world would end no later than AD 500, not to mention many of their Futuristic views were shaped through the lenses of the extra-Biblical, Psuedepigraphal books written by uninspired authors. After the passing of some 1000 years, the Protestant Reformers were able to look back in retrospect comparing history with prophecy and were clearly able to see the manifestation of Antichrist and that Little Horn of Daniel 7 in the Roman Church State.

Pope calls for strengthening relations with charismatics and Pentecostals

09/28/2018, 17.12

The pontiff calls for overcoming mistrust and mutual prejudices. “First of all,” he said, “we have the duty to discern and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in these communities, trying to construct bonds of authentic fraternity with them.” For him, it is “necessary to avoid settling on static and immutable positions.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke Friday to participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, whose theme was “Pentecostals, Charismatics, and Evangelicals: Impact on the Concept of Unity”. In his address, the pontiff called for overcoming mistrust and prejudices that exist between the Catholic Church and other Christian movements.

For him, “The constant growth of these new expressions of Christian life is a very significant phenomenon, which cannot be overlooked. [. . .] First of all, we have the duty to discern and recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in these communities, trying to construct bonds of authentic fraternity with them. This will be possible by multiplying the opportunities for meeting and overcoming mutual distrust, motivated many times by ignorance or lack of understanding. And I would like to offer you a personal experience and declare a mea culpa. When I was provincial [superior], I had forbidden Jesuits to enter into relationships with these people - with the Catholic Renewal - and I said that more than a prayer meeting it seemed like a “samba school”! Then I apologized, and as a bishop I had a good relationship with them, with Mass in the cathedral ... But it takes a journey to understand.

“Among the various shared activities are prayer, listening to the Word of God, service to the needy, the proclamation of the Gospel, the defence of the dignity of the person and of human life. In a fraternal mutual acquaintance, we Catholics can learn to appreciate the experience of many communities that, often in ways different from those to which we are accustomed, live their faith, praise God and witness the Gospel in charity. At the same time, they will be helped to overcome prejudices about the Catholic Church and to recognize that in the priceless treasure of tradition, received from the Apostles and kept in the course of history, the Holy Spirit is not at all extinguished or suffocated, but continues to operate effectively.”

“The fact that more than a few Catholic faithful are attracted to these communities is a source of friction, but can become, for our part, a matter of personal examination and pastoral renewal. At the same time, the pope acknowledged that relations with these communities “are not easy”. Yet, “many communities are inspired by these movements and live authentic Christian experiences in contact with the Word of God and in obedience to the action of the Spirit, which leads us to love, witness and serve. Even these communities, as the Second Vatican Council taught, are by no means devoid of meaning and value in the mystery of salvation (cf. Unitatis redintegratio, 3).

“Catholics can welcome those riches that, under the guidance of the Spirit, contribute greatly to the fulfilment of the mission of proclaiming the Gospel to the ends of the earth. In fact, the Church grows in fidelity to the Holy Spirit the more she learns not to tame it, but to accept without fear and at the same time with serious discernment its fresh newness. The Holy Spirit is always new. Always. And we have to get used to it. It is newness that makes us understand things more deeply, with more light, and makes us change so many habits, even disciplinary habits. But He is the Lord of newness. Jesus told us that He will teach us; He will remind us of what He has taught us, and then He will teach us.”

“We must be open to this. It is therefore necessary to avoid settling on static and immutable positions, to embrace the risk of venturing into the promotion of unity: with faithful ecclesial obedience and without extinguishing the Spirit (cf. 1 Thess 5:19). It is the Spirit Who creates and recreates the newness of Christian life, and it is the Spirit Himself Who leads everything back to true unity, which is not uniformity. For this openness of heart, the search for communion and careful discernment are the attitudes that should characterize our relationships according to the Spirit.”

Francis cited some recent ecumenical meetings of “great importance and comfort”, like the one in Bari (Italy) over the beloved and tormented Middle East, and the one in Geneva for the seventieth anniversary of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, which provided an “opportunity to renew our irreversible commitment to the promotion of ever greater unity between believers.”

Francis also mentioned the meeting with the Pentecostals on the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Rome, at the Circus Maximus, and finally the meeting he had during his recent visit to the Baltic States, in Riga and Tallinn.

Indonesian Quake, Tsunami Kills Hundreds, Death Toll Seen Rising

Why the Supreme Court is now America’s most dangerous branch

Why the Supreme Court is now America’s most dangerous branch

By Mary Kay Linge

September 29, 2018 | 11:44am

As members of Congress have shied away from passing unpopular laws, the Supreme Court has rushed to fill the void. AP

With its dramatic reveals, shocking allegations and stunning confessions, the fight over the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has had more plot twists than a telenovela.

And the Court has only itself to blame.

“The Court’s adventurism and self-aggrandizement has had insidious consequences,” said David A. Kaplan, author of “The Most Dangerous Branch” (Crown), out now.

This month’s bare-knuckle brawl in the Senate is all the proof we need that judicial activism has grotesquely warped American politics, Kaplan argues.

“By inserting themselves into our most controversial political issues, the justices raised the stakes and led us into to these confirmation battles,” he told The Post. “They didn’t intend that, but you can draw a straight line.”

If the Senate’s Republican majority holds together and seats Kavanaugh for the Court term that begins this week, the effects could be profound.

But in recent decades, dysfunctional legislators have prioritized incumbency and shied away from contentious debates. Their refusal to write laws that would force them to choose sides has conferred power on the judicial branch — and judges have leapt into the vacuum to make the rules themselves.

“I’ve talked to senators and congressmen who say, ‘Why should we get involved in tough political issues like immigration? Across the street at the Court, they’ll resolve it for us,’ ” Kaplan said. Supreme Court justices, who serve for life, never have to worry about re-election.

“Given the potential political costs, members of Congress are thrilled to stay out of the sewer,” he said. 

The G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires: Religious Perspectives for the 2018 Global Agenda

September 20, 2018
10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Berkley Center Third Floor Conference Room

The G20 Interfaith Forum, now in its fifth year, will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from September 26 to 28. Participants explored the central global issues at the heart of the 2018 G20 agenda, focusing on areas where the ethical and practical leadership of religious communities has special importance.

Meeting shortly before the forum convenes, experts previewed the Interfaith Forum agenda and explored possible recommendations that may emerge. Panelists addressed how religious leaders are involved, actually and potentially, in the G20 agenda focal issues, namely, the future of work, education, and food security. They also explored topics of central concern to religious communities, notably approaches to violence and extremism, the fight against modern slavery, fighting corruption, and reducing the negative effects of refugee flows on children. Broadly, the session explored how religious communities can help combat the core global challenges of inequality. In addition to highlighting recommendations to the G20 leadership for this year, participants discussed issues that will likely be at the heart of the 2019 G20 agenda—such as universal healthcare—when Japan assumes leadership.

G20 Interfaith Forum 2018: Argentina


The Puente de la Mujer, Buenos Aires, Argentina

“Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development:
Religious Contributions for a Dignified Future”

The 2018 G20 Interfaith Forum will take place 26-28 September 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Meetings will be held in the Auditorio Manuel Belgrano in the historic Palacio San Martín of Argentina’s Cancillería, the Ministry of Foreign and Religious Affairs, and in the nearby Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel and Convention Center. This is the fifth annual event in a series of G20 Interfaith Forums held in relation to the meetings of the international “Group of Twenty” (G20) Economic Summit. This year’s Forum takes place in anticipation of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires to be held 30 November-1 December.

The G20 Interfaith Forum is pleased this year to partner with meetings of the Argentinian project Ética y Economía, an ongoing dialogue on religiously–and ethically–informed dimensions of the economy, development, and society.

Previous Interfaith Forums have been held in Gold Coast, Australia (2014); Istanbul, Turkey (2015); Beijing, China (2016); and Potsdam, Germany (2016). (Summary videos and programs of previous events can be viewed here.)

Rationale. Practical and ethical insights of global religious communities make substantial if often unrecognized contributions to priority global agendas. The annual G20 Interfaith Forum aims to build a network of networks of faith and interfaith leaders from around the world, together with non-governmental organizations and other policy leaders. Through three days of discussion and dialogue, the culmination of extensive prior consultations, participants highlight the roles that religious communities can play in promoting the goals of successive G20 Economic Summits. The Forums draw on the expertise of a range of opinion leaders, including political leaders, academics, lawyers, and civil society leaders.

Objective. The Forum helps to identify and showcase the policy and societal contributions of faith traditions and philosophies on leading global issues. It creates opportunities for communication and relationship building, and raises the profile of participating communities, groups, and organizations. The aim is to develop recommendations on priority issues that draw on interfaith insight and experience. Particular attention is paid to ways that religious communities can contribute to the host country’s priorities. Thus, the agenda of this year’s Forum reflects topics that the Argentine government has identified for this year’s G20 Summit and broader objectives of the continuing G20 Summit process. The long-term objective is to enhance the capacity of different groups to work together to strengthen human development, understood in the broadest sense. Dialogue and networking facilitated by the Forum aim to raise the level and effectiveness of religious input on major global policy issues with recommendations and action geared to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a key outcome.

Forum Title and Theme

The overarching theme for this year’s G20 Interfaith Forum is “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development: Religious Contributions for a Dignified Future.” Over three days, presentations, panel discussions, and working group sessions aim to build networks and develop concrete policy recommendations on the following sub-themes:
Inequality, Religion, and the Future of Work
​Accommodating Religion in the Workplace and Schools of the Future
Changing Women’s Roles to Reflect Equal Rights and Opportunities: Religious Debates and Action
Religious Perspectives on Innovation, Labor, and Education
Religion, Environmental Change, and a Sustainable Food Future
Religious Contributions in Movements to Protect the Environment
Religion and the Fight against Hunger
Religious Action Regarding Extractive Industries
Urgent Priorities for Social Cohesion
Refugees, and Migration: Religious Insights and Action
Religious Perspectives and Action Regarding Violent Extremism, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding
The Role of Freedom of Religion or Belief: Practical Dimension
Religion, Good Governance and Sustainable Development
​Sustainable Finance and Financial Inclusion
Debates and Action on Economic Policies including Financial Inclusion (Infrastructure)
Priorities for Equal Opportunities and Respect for Human Rights
Structural Inequalities and Development 

Faith leaders, human rights activists seek solutions to religious freedom's image crisis

Faith leaders, human rights activists seek solutions to religious freedom's image crisis

Published: September 28, 2018 3:39 pm

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.
Gustavo Garello, For the Deseret News▲

Abdullah Al Lheedan, from Saudi Arabia talks at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018.
Gustavo Garello, For the Deseret News▲

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Faith communities and religious service groups change lives around the world, organizing soccer teams for refugee children and providing hygiene kits to victims of hurricanes.

This work is possible, in part, because of religious freedom protections, which enable personal religious convictions to lead to public service.

“Without the freedom to practice our faith, including serving those in need in the way our faith directs, the church and its members, and many other faith communities, could not effectively serve the poor and do the great work they do in society at large,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday, delivering his remarks in Spanish at a G20 Interfaith Forum on religious contributions to the G20 agenda.

Religiously inspired service is needed now more than ever before, according to forum participants. Around the world, millions of people lack food, clothes and shelter.

But it's getting harder to discuss and enact religious freedom laws that would allow faith groups to address increasing social needs, forum panelists said. Citing legal challenges like the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in the United States, they explained that religious freedom is losing public support because, at times, it has been used to only protect certain groups and can appear to foster intolerance.

To solve complex legal clashes and boost support for religious freedom, faith leaders must join with policymakers and legal scholars to find ways to protect freedom and equality at the same time, said Joelle Fiss, a human rights analyst and member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's panel of experts on freedom of religion.

“We must find a solution where we can maximize both rights," she said. “What we should try and really do is have our cake and eat it."

World leaders gather at U.N. General Assembly

Pope Francis asks for prayers to fight ‘attacks by the devil’

By Associated Press

September 29, 2018 | 7:06am

Pope FrancisAP

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is asking for daily prayers to protect the Catholic Church from what he says are “attacks by the devil,” in his latest response to the clerical sex abuse and cover-up scandal roiling his papacy.

A Vatican statement Saturday appeared to be an indirect response to accusations that Francis himself, and other Vatican officials before him, were complicit in covering up the sexual misconduct of a now-disgraced American ex-cardinal.

The Vatican said Francis invited Catholics worldwide to pray the Rosary each day during October “to protect the church from the devil, who is always looking to divide us from God and from one another.”

Francis also wants prayers so the church becomes ever more aware of its “guilt, errors and abuses committed in the present and the past.”

Jehovah's Witnesses ordered by jury to pay $35M to abuse survivor

The defendant said the church covered up her sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a congregation member.

by Associated Press / Sep.27.2018 / 6:42 PM GMT / Updated Sep.27.2018 / 8:03 PM GMT

Two women who were sexually abused as children say the Jehovah's Witnesses failed to report their abuser to authorities in Montana, and instead expelled him from the congregation as punishment until he repented. Seth Wenig / AP

HELENA, Mont. — The Jehovah's Witnesses must pay $35 million to a woman who says the church's national organization ordered Montana clergy members not to report her sexual abuse as a child at the hands of a congregation member, a jury ruled in a verdict.

A judge must review the penalty, and the Jehovah's Witnesses' national organization — Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York — plans to appeal.

Still, the 21-year-old woman's attorneys said Wednesday's verdict sends a message to the church to report child abuse to outside authorities.

"Hopefully that message is loud enough that this will cause the organization to change its priorities in a way that they will begin prioritizing the safety of children so that other children aren't abused in the future," said attorney Neil Smith Thursday.


RELIGION$35 million sex-abuse verdict puts spotlight on insular Jehovah's Witness community

The Office of Public Information at the World Headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses responded to the verdict with an unsigned statement.

"Jehovah's Witnesses abhor child abuse and strive to protect children from such acts. Watchtower is pursuing appellate review," it said.

The Montana case is one of dozens that have been filed nationwide over the past decade alleging Jehovah's Witnesses mismanaged or covered up the sexual abuse of children.

The case that prompted Wednesday's ruling involved two women, now 32 and 21, who allege a family member sexually abused them and a third family member in Thompson Falls in the 1990s and 2000s.

The women say they reported the abuse to church elders, who handled the matter internally after consulting with the national organization.

The elders expelled the abuser from the congregation in 2004 then reinstated him the next year, the lawsuit states, and the abuse of the girl who is now 21 continued.

The lawsuit claimed the local and national Jehovah's Witnesses organizations were negligent and violated a Montana law that requires them to report abuse to outside authorities.

"Their national headquarters, called Watchtower, they control when and if anyone within their organization reports child abuse," Smith said. "Watchtower instructed everyone involved that they were not to report the matter to authorities."

Attorneys for the Jehovah's Witnesses said in court filings that Montana law exempts elders from reporting "internal ecclesiastical proceedings on a congregation member's serious sin."

The church also contended that the national organization isn't liable for the actions by Thompson Falls elders, and that too much time has passed for the women to sue.

The jury awarded the 21-year-old woman $4 million for her injuries, plus $30 million in punitive damages against Watchtower and $1 million in punitive damages against the Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, another Jehovah's Witness corporation that communicates with congregations across the U.S.

The monetary award must be reviewed by the trial judge and could be reduced. A Montana law caps punitive damage awards at 3 percent of a company's net worth or $10 million, whichever is less. A legal challenge to that law is pending before the Montana Supreme Court.

The jury dismissed claims that the church should have reported the second woman's abuse by the same congregation member. Jurors concluded church elders did not receive notice of the 32-year-old woman's abuse in 1998 as she said they did, and therefore did not have a duty to tell authorities.

The third family member who claimed abuse was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are a victim of a sex crime.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Jesuit order’s America magazine urges withdrawal of Kavanaugh nomination


ROME – The magazine of the Jesuit religious order in the United States has publicly withdrawn its endorsement of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court justice following testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by the Jesuit-educated Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexually assaulting her decades ago.

In an editorial posted late Thursday, America magazine said it had no special insight into whether Kavanaugh or Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth. But it said that the nomination was no longer in the interests of the country and “should be withdrawn.”

“If Senate Republicans proceed with his nomination, they will be prioritizing policy aims over a woman’s report of an assault,” the editors wrote. “Were he to be confirmed without this allegation being firmly disproved, it would hang over his future decisions on the Supreme Court for decades and further divide the country.”

The reversal is significant given Kavanaugh has repeatedly cited his Catholic faith and Jesuit education in defending himself against Ford’s accusations. In his opening statement Thursday, Kavanaugh twice referenced his years as a student at the Jesuit-run Georgetown Prep school in Maryland. Ford has accused a drunken Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a house party in the summer of 1982, when he was a student at the school. Kavanaugh has vigorously denied her claims.

America in July had endorsed Kavanaugh on the grounds that he might have provided the Supreme Court with the vote needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. The Catholic Church firmly opposes abortion.

“Anyone who recognizes the humanity of the unborn should support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh,” the editors entitled their July 9 editorial, before Ford’s accusation was made public.

In their new editorial, America’s editors said they were still committed to finding a justice with Kavanaugh’s textualist approach to jurisprudence that is suspicious of the kind of judicial innovation that led to the Roe decision. But they said Kavanaugh was not the only candidate available.

“We continue to support the nomination of judges according to such principles-but Judge Kavanaugh is not the only such nominee available,” the editors wrote. “For the good of the country and the future credibility of the Supreme Court in a world that is finally learning to take reports of harassment, assault and abuse seriously, it is time to find a nominee whose confirmation will not repudiate that lesson.”

The magazine is not the only Jesuit institution to issue a public statement in response to the uproar over the nomination.

The president of Georgetown Prep, the Rev. James R. Van Dyke, has said the controversy over Ford’s accusations has compelled the school to “evaluate our school culture” and redouble efforts to help students develop a healthy understanding of masculinity.

“And it is a time to talk with them honestly and even bluntly about what respect for others, especially respect for women and other marginalized people means in very practical terms – in actions and in words,” Van Dyke wrote to the school community Sept. 20.

Bill Hughes - Part 3: The Omega Octopus

New Zealand Prime Minister calls any breakdown of multilateralism ‘catastrophic’

New Zealand Prime Minister calls any breakdown of multilateralism ‘catastrophic’

UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand addresses the seventy-third session of the United Nations General Assembly.
27 September 2018
UN Affairs

The collapse of multilateralism would be “catastrophic,” Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, said on Thursday in her first speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Opening her address with a Māori salutation, Ms. Ardern highlighted how the crumbling of multilateralism would negatively impact her country and others in the Pacific, especially on climate change.

“Any disintegration of multilateralism – any undermining of climate related targets and agreements – aren't interesting footnotes in geopolitical history. They are catastrophic,” she warned.

Given the challenges of today, with their global nature and impact, “the need for collective action and multilateralism has never been clearer,” stressed the Prime Minister.

And yet, global debates and dialogues are not on the relevance and importance of international institutions but instead, “we find ourselves having to defend their very existence,” which begs the question: “How did we get here, and how do we get out?”

Prime Minister Ardern recounted that when Pacific Island leaders gathered at the Pacific Islands Forum two weeks ago, they declared climate change as “the single biggest threat” to the security of their region.

“The impacts of climate change are not academic, or even arguable,” she underscored. “They are watching the sea levels rise, the extreme weather events increase, and the impact on their water supply and food crops.”

She called it “a grinding reality” to hear someone talk about where the sea was when they were a child, and potential loss of their entire village as an adult.

Noting that action in the wake of this global challenge remains optional, she stated: “But the impact of inaction does not.”

She detailed New Zealand’s efforts to combat this phenomenon, such as curbing offshore oil and gas exploration permits; setting a goal 100 per cent renewable energy goal by 2035; establishing a green infrastructure fund for innovation; and planting one billion trees over the next 10 years.

“These plans are unashamedly ambitious,” she maintained, adding “The threat climate change poses demands it.”

Explaining that her country only represents less than 0.2 percent of global emissions, she said: “That's why, as a global community, not since the inception of the United Nations has there been a greater example of the importance of collective action and multilateralism, than climate change.”

“It should be a rallying cry to all of us,” she asserted, urging the world leaders to “rebuild and recommit to multilateralism” because international action works “in all of our best interest.”

“In the face of isolationism, protectionism, racism – the simple concept of looking outwardly and beyond ourselves, of kindness and collectivism, might just be as good a starting point as any,” she said. “So, let's start here with the institutions that have served us well in times of need, and will do so again.”

Full statement available here.

The mental and moral powers that God gave to man

In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell. It will finally be decreed that they shall be put to death. See Rev. 13:11-17. But to the obedient is given the promise, "He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." Isa. 33:16. By this promise the children of God will live. When the earth shall be wasted with famine, they shall be fed. "They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied." Ps. 37:19. To that time of distress the prophet Habakkuk looked forward, and his words express the faith of the church: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Hab. 3:17,18.

Top Minimum Wage in U.S., $19, Approved for New York’s Airport Workers

As many as 40,000 workers at La Guardia, Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International Airports would get the new $19 an hour minimum wage.CreditCreditJames Estrin/The New York Times

By Patrick McGeehan
Sept. 27, 2018

For years, the three main airports that serve New York City have been the site of one of the country’s biggest fights over the minimum wage. A Republican governor and airline companies were pitted against Democratic officials and labor leaders over how much to pay workers who clean planes, load luggage and perform many other duties.

On Thursday, the campaign ended in victory for as many as 40,000 airport workers who are now on a path to earning at least $19 an hour, the highest minimum wage target set by any public agency in the country. The pay increase, which was approved unanimously by the commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will raise the wages of tens of thousands of workers over the next five years.

It will go well beyond the $15 minimum hourly wage that several cities have enacted and that New York State will adopt as the base wage for many workers at the end of the year. And it may add impetus to union-led campaigns to reverse the widening gap in incomes between rich and poor Americans even amid a robust economy.

The vote by the Port Authority board came after several months of deliberation and years of pleading and pressure from unionized airport workers. The airlines that contract with the companies that employ many of the workers also complained about raising wages, arguing that such a move could ultimately force them to pass along the costs to travelers.

The Port Authority operates three of the busiest airports in the country: La Guardia Airport and Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. The staggered wage increase will apply to most workers at those airports, including baggage handlers, cabin cleaners and caterers.

Citing contributions to U.S., migrants demand permanent status

Sep 27, 2018

by Rhina Guidos, Catholic News Service

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., a Catholic, consoles Brian Pineda June 30 after Pineda told Kennedy about the Temporary Protected Status held by his father, Jose, following Kennedy's address to a crowd of thousands of protesters on Boston's City Hall Plaza as they prepared to march against immigration policies of U.S. President Donald Trump. Citing contributions to the U.S., migrants with TPS status are demanding permanent immigration status. (CNS/EPA/C.J. Gunther)

WASHINGTON — Some attended the rally with hard hats on as others spoke about how an immigration program in peril helped them over the years pour millions into the U.S. economy, and also contributed to their role in physically rebuilding the country's iconic structures and cities after disasters.

"Honest workers who have been here more than 20 years rebuilt the Pentagon [after the 9/11 attacks], New Orleans and now Houston," Edwin Murillo, of the National TPS Alliance, said Sept. 25, speaking at a rally about migrants protected by a program known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS.

Some beneficiaries, who have worked as construction workers, hotel workers, nurse's aides and caretakers, looked on nearby as Murillo spoke near the base of the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Those who gathered at the rally called on Congress to help them keep benefits they have had for a decade or more under the program, which allows people from certain countries affected by humanitarian crises to legally live and work in the U.S. Like other immigration programs, TPS came under fire by the Trump administration, which has swiftly moved over the last year and a half to end it, threatening to take away work permits and legal documentation from some recipients.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security, which administers the program, announced it was ending TPS status for recipients from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador in late 2018 and throughout 2019, saying conditions in those countries had improved and the migrants could safely return, even as the U.S. Department of State warned against travel to those nations. In May, the administration added Honduras to the list of countries for which it was halting TPS. 

Top Vatican diplomat calls for universal abolition of death penalty

Anne Condodina

Sep 27, 2018


In a file photo, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister, addresses the 72nd U.N. General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York. (Credit: Cia Pak/United Nations via CNS.)

ROME - Abolishing the death penalty worldwide would reflect the brave and hope-filled belief that crime can be dealt with without capital punishment and that a criminal should be given the chance to reform, a top Vatican diplomat told world leaders.

“Respect for the dignity of every human person and the common good are the two pillars on which the Holy See has developed its position” of advocating for an end to the death penalty, Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister, said Sept. 25 at the United Nations in New York, where he led the Vatican delegation at the 73rd session of the U.N. general assembly. The Vatican released a copy of his speech Sept. 26.

Speaking at a high-level U.N. side event on the death penalty and the role of poverty and the right to legal representation, the archbishop said that the universal abolition would be a “courageous reaffirmation” that humanity can successfully deal with crime while also refusing “to succumb to despair before evil acts, offering the criminal a chance to reform.”

The archbishop cited Pope Francis’ recent revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and the church “works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

The catechism’s paragraph on capital punishment, 2267, had been updated by St. John Paul II in 1997 to strengthen its skepticism about the need to use the death penalty in the modern world and, particularly, to affirm the importance of protecting all human life.

The original text recognized “the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with the gravity of the crime, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty.” However, as Pope Francis recently highlighted, there have been steady improvements of the penal system, and countries have the capability to protect the public order and safety with means other than the death penalty.

Additionally, the pope has warned against the possibility of judicial error and the misuse of capital punishment in totalitarian and dictatorial regimes as a way to suppress political opposition or to persecute religious and cultural minorities.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center based in Washington, D.C., 56 countries still retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes. The remainder of countries have abolished it, either in law or practice.

China, Iran and Saudi Arabia executed the most people in 2016, according to Amnesty International figures. Amnesty says that China carries out judicial killings in the thousands every year, reporting the country as “the world’s top executioner.”

In 2016, the United States dropped out of the top five executioner countries for the first time since 2006. The U.S. put 20 people to death, which was the lowest number since 1991, according to Amnesty.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

ACMS Movie (Adventist Church Management System)

140 House Democrats Refuse to Condemn Illegal Aliens Voting .

140 House Democrats Refuse to Condemn Illegal Aliens Voting


Matt York/AP

26 Sep 2018

About 140 House Democrats voted “present” or against aresolution condemning localities across the United States for giving illegal aliens and noncitizens the right to vote in local elections.

On Wednesday, about 71 Democrats and one Republican — Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) — voted against House Resolution 1071, which admonishes localities for giving illegal aliens and noncitizens voting rights.

Another 69 House Democrats voted “present” on the resolution, while 49 Democrats joined 230 House Republicans to support the measure.

The resolution calls out localities for giving local voting rights to illegal aliens and noncitizens, noting that giving noncitizens the right to vote disenfranchises American citizens from the electoral process:

Recognizing that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens. Whereas voting is fundamental to a functioning democracy; Whereas the Constitution prohibits discrimination in voting based on race, sex, poll taxes, and age; Whereas it is of paramount importance that the United States maintains the legitimacy of its elections and protects them from interference, including interference from foreign threats and illegal voting; Whereas the Constitution allows States and localities to grant non-citizens the right to vote in non-Federal elections; [Emphasis added]

Whereas the city of San Francisco, California, is allowing non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to register to vote in school board elections; and Whereas Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in elections for Federal office: Now, therefore, be it 1 Resolved, That the House of Representatives recognizes that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of 4 United States citizens. [Emphasis added]

The vote comes before the 2018 midterm elections, where House and Senate Democrats have led their campaigns on a promise to abolish all immigration enforcement across the U.S., including abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

In July, nearly 170 House Democratsvoted “present” or voted against a resolution in support of ICE, which arrests and deports criminal illegal aliens, along with busting human smuggling rings and drug trafficking organizations.

A number of American cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, a number of Boston suburbs including Cambridge, and others, have given illegal aliens and noncitizens the right to vote in local elections.

Already, illegal aliens are counted in congressional apportionment, giving blue states with high illegal alien populations — like California and New York — potentially 20 additional congressional seats while states with low illegal populations — like Alabama and West Virginia — are set to lose congressional representation.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

India’s Top Court Rules Massive Biometric Identity Database Legal—With Restrictions

Aadhaar program is constitutional and helps the poor, the court says, ruling it can continue for disbursing welfare benefits

An eye scan for India’s Unique Identification database system, Aadhaar, in New Delhi earlier this year. PHOTO:SAUMYA KHANDELWAL/REUTERS

Newley Purnell and
Krishna PokharelUpdated Sept. 26, 2018 8:05 a.m. ET

NEW DELHI—India’s highest court ruled that the world’s largest biometric identification database doesn’t infringe on citizens’ privacy rights—but needs some new limitations.

The country’s controversial Aadhaar program uses photos, finger and eye scans and has already signed up more than 1 billion people. It has sparked an intense global debate over how far a democracy should be able to go in collecting the personal data of its citizens and how that data can be used, shared and protected.

Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling was a response to multiple challenges to the system.

A five-judge panel ruled in a 4-1 decision that the program is constitutional and helps the poor by streamlining disbursement of welfare benefits. Being in the database, however, shouldn’t be required for using mobile phones, opening bank accounts or for school admissions, according to the 1,448-page document outlining the court’s decision. It had been unclear for some time whether such organizations could compel people to supply Aadhaar numbers.

“It’s a historic judgment,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. “Everyone must realize, including critics of Aadhaar, that you can’t defy technology or ignore it.”

From the Archives

Can Technology Solve India's Biggest Problem?

January 2017: India’s government is giving a unique ID to each of its 1.2 billion citizens, creating the world’s largest biometric data set. Photo: Karan Deep Singh/The Wall Street Journal

Aadhaar has provided an important way to prove identity to society’s marginalized citizens, particularly “those who are illiterate and living in abject poverty or without any shelter,” the court said. Still, “there needs to be balancing of two competing fundamental rights, right to privacy on the one hand and right to food, shelter and employment on the other hand.”

They will conform to the world

I would say that we are living in a most solemn time. In the last vision given me, I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. Many will get above the simplicity of the work. They will conform to the world, cherish idols, and become spiritually dead. The humble, self-sacrificing followers of Jesus will pass on to perfection, leaving behind the indifferent and lovers of the world.

I was pointed back to ancient Israel. But two of the adults of the vast army that left Egypt entered the land of Canaan. Their dead bodies were strewn in the wilderness because of their transgressions. Modern Israel are in greater danger of forgetting God and being led into idolatry than were His ancient people. Many idols are worshiped, even by professed Sabbathkeepers. God especially charged His ancient people to guard against idolatry, for if they should be led away from serving the living God, His curse would rest upon them, while if they would love Him with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their might, He would abundantly bless them in basket and in store, and would remove sickness from the midst of them.

A blessing or a curse is now before the people of God--a blessing if they come out from the world and are separate, and walk in the path of humble obedience; and a curse if they unite with the idolatrous, who trample upon the high claims of heaven. The sins and iniquities of rebellious Israel are recorded and the picture presented before us as a warning that if we imitate their example of transgression and depart from God we shall fall as surely as did they. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, pp. 608, 609.

U.S. stocks rise as investors await Fed decision

By Sue Chang, Ryan Vlastelica
Published: Sep 26, 2018 12:41 pm ET

S&P 500 bounces back from a three-day decline

U.S. stocks rose modestly Wednesday, pushing key benchmarks back near all-time highs, though trading action remained muted as investors focused on a Federal Reserve decision that’s fully expected to deliver a rate increase in the afternoon.
Where are the major benchmarks trading?

The Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA+0.25% rose 61 points, or 0.2%, to 26,551. The S&P 500 SPX+0.27% gained 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2,922. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP+0.34% added 27 points to 8,034, a move of 0.3% that could extend the index’s recent gains to a third straight session.

Read: Fed interest-rate hike today — a September rarity — could pressure stocks

At current levels, the Dow and the S&P 500 are both less than 1% from their all-time intraday peaks.
What’s driving the market?

Investors are looking ahead to a Fed policy decision that is seen as almost certain to deliver a quarter-percentage point interest-rate increase at 2 p.m. Eastern. The meeting will be followed a half-hour later by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s news conference during which investors are expected to seek further insight into the state of the economy, the impact of trade issues, and the path of future rate moves.

Read: Here’s how the Fed’s statement, dot plot and forecast may shift

See also: Why stock investors shouldn’t fear rising interest rates, in one chart

Stocks have recently seen modest weaknesson Fed days, and there could be additional volatility if Powell gives any commentary about the impact that trade policy is having on the economy.

Issues surrounding trade remained at the top of investors’ list of worries. While Wall Street has repeatedly ignored the threat of rising trade tensions, focusing instead on strong economic data and corporate fundamentals, trade jitters have led to short-term volatility on fears that the situation could spiral out of control.

Earlier this week, Chinese officials fired back against President Donald Trump, accusing him of “trade bullyism” and pushing an “America First” agenda at the cost of international relations. The comments came as the latest exchange of tariffs took effect—10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which was met with $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods by China.

In the latest economic data, new-home sales rose 3.5% in August, more than had been expected.
What are market analysts saying?

“With a rate rise today more or less a done deal, attention will be less on the fact that this will be the third rate rise this year, than on how the Fed sees the glide path for further policy actions,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“Today’s Federal Reserve meeting will be important in the context of the projections for future inflation and GDP forecasts, but also future expectations of how many more increases in the fed-funds rate we can expect to see between now and the end of next year,” he said.

What stocks are in focus?

Dow component Nike Inc. NKE-1.07% fell 1.5% after it late Tuesday reported fiscal 2019 first-quarter earnings that were above expectations but said its expenses increased.

International Business Machines Corp.IBM+2.46% shares rose 2.7% after UBS upgraded the stock to buy from neutral.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s ALXN+5.61% stock rallied 5.2% after the drug company agreed to buy Syntimmune for $1.2 billion, including potential milestone payments.

Worthington Industries Inc. WOR-7.78% skidded 7.9% after it reported first-quarter earnings and sales that missed expectations.

DowDuPont Inc. DWDP-1.14% shares shed 1.1% after the stock was downgraded by Instinet, which cited expectations of “noticeably lower commodity earnings” in the second half of the year.

Shares of Omnova Solutions Inc. OMN+0.98% edged up 0.2% after the company reported a third-quarter loss driven by asset write-downs related to the company’s strategic decision to exit from the commodity-coated paper market.
Where are other markets trading?

Shares in Asia were broadly higher, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index up more than 1% while Japan’s Nikkei rose for seven straight sessions. Major European markets were also modestly higher.

Crude oil CLK9-0.48% fell in a slight retreatfrom a recent rally that has taken prices up about 2% this week while gold pricesGCM9-0.56% were also down. The U.S. Dollar index DXY+0.13% edged higher.

See original version of this story

Pope Stonewalls Journalists to Duck Questions on Sex Abuse

25 Sep 2018

Pope Francis masterfully controlled the press briefing aboard the papal plane Tuesday in such a way as to make sure that he did not have to face embarrassing questions about how he handled the case of serial abuser Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

The Q&A session with journalists on the return trip from the Baltic states Tuesday began with an announcement by papal spokesman Greg Burke that the first questions had to deal with the trip itself, saying the pope would later open up the floor to “other questions.”

The pontiff proceeded to take several questions from local journalists before launching into a 40-minute monologue, effectively crowding out questions on the thorny issue of how he had dealt with the McCarrick case.

When an Austrian journalist attempted to turn the conversation toward the sex abuse issue, which the pope had in fact briefly touched on during an address in Estonia, the pope said he would speak about it later.

“I will respond, but first questions about the trip. This is the rule. But, it will be the first question after the trip,” he said. He never returned to the question.

When Mr. Burke finally announced that “the questions about the trip are finished,” the pope himself took the floor rather than opening to further questions, announcing, “I would like to tell you some things on some points of the trip that I have experienced with a special strength.”

This maneuver effectively precluded any more questions on the sex abuse issue.

Italian and American journalists in particular had been poised to return to issues dodged by the pope in the last such press conference, when he had been asked exactly when he learned of McCarrick’s history of homosexual abuse. They also intended to ask why the pope had not yet launched a full-scale investigation into the McCarrick case, which the U.S. bishops’ conference had explicitly requested.

Over the last month Francis has kept silent over a series of allegations brought against him by the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, going so far as to paint himself as the victim of attacks.

In his daily homilies at Mass, the pope suggested that whistleblowers who level accusations against bishops are in league with Satan, while accused pastors who keep silence are like Jesus on the cross.

Archbishop Viganò released an 11-page report on August 25 declaring that the pope had been aware of McCarrick’s misdeeds at least since 2013 and yet lifted sanctions against McCarrick that Pope Benedict had imposed, reinstating him to a position of prominence in the Vatican.

When a journalist later asked the pope whether these allegations were true, the pope refused to confirm or deny the report, saying he had no comment to offer and telling the journalists to “do their job” and investigate for themselves.

Secret files suggest Catholic bishop shielded alleged 'predator priests' from the public

By Rosa Flores and Kevin Conlon, CNN

Updated 7:36 PM EDT, Tue September 25, 2018

Buffalo, New York (CNN) In this hardscrabble Rust Belt city with deep Catholic roots, the Catholic Church's top official is facing calls for his resignation over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests.

Documents obtained by CNN suggest Bishop Richard J. Malone did not sanction priests accused of sexual abuse and concealed the identities of alleged "predator priests" from the public.

In a preemptive move in March, Malone released a list of 42 priests in the Buffalo diocese who had left the priesthood after facing accusations of sexually abusing minors. "The diocese of Buffalo is committed to correcting the mistakes and sins of the past," he said at the time.

But a trove of secret diocesan records, first reported by CNN affiliate WKBW and obtained by CNN, show the number of accused priests could be up to 200.

The records are stashed by diocese officials in what they call the "Secret Archives" -- confidential files of living priests who are still being monitored -- or "the Well," which contains case files that are to be shredded.

Part of the trove comes from a thick black binder kept in a closet next to a vacuum cleaner, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source told CNN that the binder is a 300-page briefing book prepared by the dioceses' attorneys for Malone when he became bishop in 2012.

It contains "pending matters" in "anticipation of litigation," and lists the names of dozens of accused priests as well as a number of victim accounts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Rise of Authoritarian Nationalism

Conference Call — September 19, 2018 — 63 min

The Rise of Authoritarian Nationalism

from Academic Conference Calls

Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, and distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, discusses how the reemergence of authoritarian nationalism is shaping the world today.

​​​​​​Learn more about CFR’s resources for the classroom at CFR Campus.



Madeleine K. Albright

Former U.S. Secretary of State; Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University


Irina A. Faskianos

Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations

FASKIANOS: Good afternoon from New York and welcome to the CFR Academic Conference Call Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president for the National Program and Outreach here at CFR.

Today’s call is on the record, and the audio and transcript will be available on our website, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy.

We are excited to have Secretary Madeleine Albright with us today to discuss “The Rise of Authoritarian Nationalism.” Secretary Albright is chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and chair of Albright Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that is focused on emerging markets. She is also the Michael and Virginia Mortara Endowed Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

In 1997 Dr. Albright was named the first female secretary of state of the United States and became at that time the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. In that role she reinforced U.S. alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. She has served as U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, member of the president’s Cabinet, and was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council.

In 2012 Secretary Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama.

And she was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations Board of Directors. We appreciated her service on our board.

Her most recent book is Fascism: A Warning, published in April of this year.

Welcome, Secretary Albright. It is an honor to have you with us today. We look forward to having you talk to us about the emergence of fascism and how it is shaping the world today.

ALBRIGHT: Irina, thank you very much for that introduction, and my thanks to CFR for organizing this call. And I’m really delighted to do this not only because I am an emeritus CFR board member, but because I am a professor, and there’s nothing I like more than a captive audience of students.

So I want to have—I want to leave plenty of time for discussion, so I will try to be brief. But as you mentioned, I have just written a book on this topic, and so I have a few things to say about the resurgence of fascism. And I’d like to begin, as I begin my first chapter, on a personal note because, for me, fascism isn’t just an academic theory; it had a major and direct impact on my life.

Full-blown trade war would cost jobs, growth and stability: WTO's Azevedo

TUE SEP 25, 2018 / 2:11 PM EDT

Roberto Azevedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), attends an event of ''The Future of International Trade, New Issues, Challenges and Opportunities'' in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 19, 2018.

(Reuters) - A full-blown trade war would have serious effects on global economic growth and there would be no winners in such a scenario, the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Roberto Azevedo, said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a Berlin industry event against the backdrop of growing trade tensions between China and the United States, Azevedo said: "The warning lights are flashing. A continued escalation of tensions would pose an increased threat to stability, to jobs and to the kind of growth that we are seeing today."

A full-blown global trade war with a breakdown in international trade cooperation would reduce global trade growth by around 17 percent and GDP growth by 1.9 percent, Azevedo said.

"There would be no winners from such a scenario and every region would be affected," Azevedo said. The European Union itself would have about 1.7 percent taken off its GDP growth, he said, adding: "Clearly, we cannot let this happen."

Azevedo pointed to several reform proposals that addressed trade-distorting practices and the WTO's existing mechanisms to resolve trade disputes, adding that members had to agree on which reforms they wanted to focus on.

"Clearly, this informed debate is gaining significant momentum and that is positive," Azevedo said, adding the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November would be crucial to agree on the next steps to safeguard the rules-based free trade order.

"Of course, the system can be better, in fact it must be better. But it's nonetheless vital. So while we work to improve it and ensure that it's more responsible to evolving economic needs, we must also preserve what we have - and I count on your support to that end," he said.

(This version of the story corrects figure in third paragraph to 17 from 70 percent)

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Riham Alkousaa)

Trump speaks at the United Nations General Assembly

President Trump delivers speech at the 73rd session of the UNGA

Tackling climate change to be a key issue at U.N. summit

Posted September 23
Updated September 23

Ministers from major economies will discuss who will pay to help poor countries avoid the worst effects of global warming.



BERLIN — With global temperatures rising, superstorms taking their deadly toll and a year-end deadline to firm up the Paris climate deal, leaders at this year’s U.N. General Assembly are feeling a sense of urgency to keep up the momentum on combating climate change.

That’s why, in between discussing how to tackle wars, poverty and deadly diseases around the world, leaders will be devoting substantial time in New York this week to the question of global warming and how to rein it in.

There’ll be talk of emissions targets and the need to adapt to the inevitable changes already underway when small island states take the floor at the annual gathering. Ministers from major economies, meanwhile, will be meeting behind closed doors to discuss who will pay to help poor countries avoid the worst effects of global warming – and prevent a wave of climate refugees in future.

Outside the confines of the United Nations, campaigners and businesspeople will meet during New York Climate Week, while Wednesday will see the second edition of French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit.

About the only leader not expected to dwell on climate change is President Trump, who last year announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord. He says it represents a bad deal for the American people.

His stance isn’t shared by many U.S. governors, mayors and businesspeople who met recently in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, an event designed to show that parts of America are firmly behind the Paris agreement, with its ambitious goal of limiting the worldwide temperature rise by 2100 to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

“These meetings are incredibly important for building confidence and cooperation,” Svenja Schulze, Germany’s environment minister, told reporters on a recent conference call from Canada, where she was meeting with her counterparts from other Group of Seven countries.

By December, leaders need to agree on what’s known as the Paris rulebook, which sets out how countries will track their climate efforts in a way that is transparent, fair and meaningful, Schulze said. “All the conferences are building blocks leading up to that,” she said.

Like many European countries, Germany experienced an unusually dry summer this year, forcing the government to bail out thousands of farmers whose livelihoods were threatened by crop failures. Still, Europe’s largest economy keeps burning coal, considered the most harmful of all fossil fuels.

Failure to reach an agreement by the time the annual climate meeting is held in Katowice, Poland, would mark a major setback for the 180 countries that have ratified the Paris accord.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ellen G White - The spirit of Prophecy. (Walter Veith) Must Watch!!

Pope Francis.JESUITS Unite w/ UN on CLIMATE Deal.Paul McCartney song on ...

Festival Draws 30,000 Advocates to Celebrate Religious Liberty In Rwanda,...

A crowd of 30,000 watched as ministries of the Rwanda Union Mission paraded in support of religious freedom in Amahoro National Stadium, Kigali, Rwanda, on September 15, 2018. [Photo: Abraham Bakari]

Marcos Paseggi

Senior Correspondent, Adventist Review

SEPTEMBER 22, 2018

Festival Draws 30,000 Advocates to Celebrate Religious Liberty
In Rwanda, church members and friends called to uphold freedom of conscience.

By: Marcos Paseggi, 
Adventist Review

A30,000-seat stadium filled with church leaders, government officials, religious liberty advocates, and Adventist church members was the venue to celebrate religious freedom in Rwanda and the African continent on September 15, 2018. The “Religious Freedom for All” festival, which took place in the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali, the country’s capital, crowned the proceedings of the 3rd All Africa Congress and Festival of Religious Liberty, which had begun two days earlier.

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What the church owes New York Catholics: Legal moves and cash settlements are not enough


SEP 23, 2018 | 4:05 AM

God help us all. (Richard Drew / AP)

As a sexual abuse scandal threatens to engulf the Catholic Church globally, local dioceses scramble to get ahead of the tsunami.

They aren't going far enough.

Last week, the Brooklyn diocese was part of a $27.5 million settlement paid out to four young men who detailed horrifying molestation from 2003 to 2009 by a lay teacher at a now-closed church in Clinton Hill. The perp, thank God, is in prison, but church officials, to their shame, failed to stop him.

And just weeks after the state attorney general's office issued civil subpoenas to all eight New York dioceses and partnered with local district attorneys for possible criminal probes, Timothy Cardinal Dolan tapped retired federal Judge Barbara Jones to review his archdiocese's record on abuse incidents.

She must work swiftly, fearlessly and independently.

Meantime, the New York and Brooklyn dioceses already have reconciliation programs paying sums to victims who come forward and forego the courts.

A true commitment to transparency means the dioceses must stop blocking Albany's Child Victims Act — including a "lookback" provision giving victims a year to seek justice in court for past failures.

We know the church failed to stop abuse. Let victims seek justice, now.