Thursday, September 21, 2017
THU SEP 21, 2017 / 11:25 AM EDT
Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley speaks as Pope Francis meets with members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors at the Vatican, September 21, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via
Pope Francis poses with members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors during the meeting at the Vatican, September 21, 2017. Osservatore Romano/Handout via
(Reuters) - Pope Francis, in some of his most candid and personal comments on the sexual abuse of children by priests, said on Thursday that the Catholic Church had "arrived late" in dealing with the problem.
Francis, speaking in unscripted remarks to a commission advising him on how to root out sexual abuse, also acknowledged that early in his papacy he had made one bad call in being too lenient with an Italian priest who later went on to abuse again.
He also said he had decided to change current procedures for dealing with abusive priests by eliminating appeals trials in cases where there was definitive proof.
Francis surprised members of the commission by putting aside his entire prepared speech and chatting to them.
"There is the reality that the Church arrived at the consciousness of these crimes a bit late," he said.
Msgr. Dario Edorado Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications - RV
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications and the Society of Jesus signed a Convention on Thursday.
Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, the Secretariat’s Prefect, said, “This signing comes only a few days after the 100th birthday of Fr. Stefanizzi.”
“Fr. Stefanizzi was the Director of Vatican Radio during the years of the Second Vatican Council, an event which needed to be recounted to those persons who understood neither Latin nor theology. From this point of view, therefore, Fr. Stefanizzi followed the model of ‘user first’, putting primary focus, that is, on the users of communication, which is today the center of the Vatican Media reform desired by Pope Francis. Fr. Stefanizzi knew how to mediate what happened in the Council room with what people needed to know, so as to avoid a double reading of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the Council, often highlighted by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis,” Msgr. Viganò said.
The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications also expressed gratitude, both his own and that of the whole dicastery, to the Society of Jesus, with which, during the last year and half, a process of discernment and rethinking has begun of the Jesuit’s presence within, no longer Vatican Radio, but a much larger reality. With the signing of the Convention, the Society makes itself available to this service according to the apostolic mission of the world of communications. Msgr. Viganò also relayed the gratitude and satisfaction of the Pope for this new form of collaboration within the reform process.
“We are fulfilling,” he concluded, “an act of obedience to the Holy Father regarding the criteria indicated by him. This new collaboration will bear much fruit because, when one lives in service to the Church, personal gratification is overcome. Service overcomes each of us, and the hope is that one’s vocation can be lived ‘in God’s way’. We are not only professionals but good professionals transfigured by the experience of the mystery of God.”
“Times change,” declared the delegate of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. “They are a part of the vocation of the Society of Jesus to serve the Church, as the Church requests. Our contribution in the field of communications makes us happy, because we can contribute to the reforms desired by the Holy Father.”
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
By CHRIS CIRILLO, NATALIA V. OSIPOVA, SARAH STEIN KERR and BARBARA MARCOLINI 1:47
Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico
Video Hurricane Maria reached Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday. Hours before, it had crossed the United States Virgin Islands as a Category 5 storm, and tore roofs off houses on the Caribbean island of Dominica.
CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS/REUTERS
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
SAN JUAN, P.R. — Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico with a one-two punch of high winds and driving rain on Wednesday, and sent thousands of people scrambling to shelters.
Electricity was knocked out on the whole island, a spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management said. The authorities warned weary residents not to let down their guard, because flash flooding and mudslides could be more deadly than the initial winds from the storm, now a Category 2system.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew effective Wednesday until Saturday.
“We find ourselves in a critical phase to help the thousands of Puerto Ricans who urgently need help and to determine the serious damages caused by Hurricane Maria,” Governor Rosselló said in a statement.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
By Colin Dwyer • 4 hours ago
People remove the debris of a collapsed building as they look for possible victims after the 7.1 magnitude quake rattled Mexico City on Tuesday.
Omar Torres / AFP/Getty Images
A woman is carried on a stretcher after being pulled from the debris of a collapsed building in Mexico City on Tuesday.
Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP/Getty Images
Monday, September 18, 2017
Sunday, September 17, 2017
SEPTEMBER 16, 2017
If we start speaking up about bad "Christian" reporting, maybe people will do it less.
Image: credit shutterstock.com
Again, we must deal with fake news. I’ve written on this numerous times before here and here, and undoubtedly, this won’t be the last time.
In this case, it’s making Christians look silly.
But, there it is on the front page of Fox News, “Christian doomsdayers claim world will end next week.”
It’s under the heading “Science.” When you click on it, the article headline proclaims, “Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on Sept. 23, Christian numerologists claim.”
No, the world won’t end on September 23rd and, Fox News, believe it or not, there is no such thing as a ‘Christian numerologist.’ (And, who are the otherChristian numerologists in the headline, beyond the one quoted?)
Every time end-of-the-world predictions resurface in the media, it is important that we ask ourselves, “Is this helpful? Is peddling these falsehoods a good way to contribute to meaningful, helpful discussions about the end times?”
Of course, the answer to this is no, they most definitely do not.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
July 7, 2015
13 min read
Pastor Andrew Henriques, in this interview shares his thoughts, insights and the implications based on Bible history and prophecy, of the North American Division of Seventh-Day Adventists inviting and allowing Sunday-keeping ecumenicist, Becky Pippert, and Sunday pastor, teacher, and author, Dr. Tony Evans to present at a convention for Seventh-Day Adventist pastors and their families named “CALLED.” The well-attended meeting in Austin, Texas was held June 28—July 1, 2015. During this Conference, Pippert spoke twice. Her presentation titles were: “Talking about Jesus without Sounding Religious” and “Reaching the Secular Mind.”1 Dr. Evans presented on how pastors can impact the communities in which they serve.2
Interviewer: Pastor Henriques, thank you for your willingness to address this topic and to give us your perspective.
Pastor Henriques: Well, my perspective of this issue is based upon the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. If my reasoning is not anchored in God’s Word, it has no value; it’s all about what the Word of God has to say, not my opinion.
Interviewer: Thank you for the clarification. That is one thing that I appreciate, and I think others who listen to you regularly do as well, about you and your ministry; and that is, whatever is taught or presented is based upon, not man’s opinion, culture, emotion, or otherwise, but a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” But I want to get right into this, so I will begin by asking: “Is this something that Seventh-Day Adventists need to be concerned about? Is it of any importance that non-Seventh-Day Adventists were invited to address Seventh-Day Adventist pastors? This is nothing new, it has been happening for years, and the denomination is still in existence.
Pastor Henriques: It may still be here, but it is not the movement that it was when it first came into existence. It has degenerated to such a point, that if the pioneers were still around, it would hardly be recognizable to them. But to answer the question, yes! This is absolutely something that should raise concern for Seventh-Day Adventists. Pastors of Seventh-Day Adventist churches should be educated according to the distinctive Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine. And when non-Adventists are brought in to educate Adventist pastors on anything, evangelism in this case, with the North American Division, they [the Sunday-keeping presenters] will bring their fallen theology and indoctrinate the pastors, who will then indoctrinate their members by their false teachings and the implementation of practices that lead away from the Seventh-Day Adventist message and mission and lead toward ecumenism. Interestingly, if you were to look at the backgrounds of both Becky Pippert and Tony Evans, you will find that they are both strong proponents and leaders of various ecumenical movements. Ecumenism is nothing more than a discarding of doctrinal differences across the various denominations and uniting upon points of doctrine held in common to accomplish certain missions and projects. And students of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy understand that ecumenical movements lead, not only to Seventh-Day Adventists giving up their distinctive messages of Revelation 14:6-12, but finally to the enforcement of the National Sunday Law. I encourage everyone to read The Great Controversy, pages 444 and 445.
Interviewer: What would you say to the person who argues that the position you are taking is nothing more than elitism, separatism and pride? You mean to tell me that there is nothing worthwhile theologically or even practically that anyone outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination can offer Seventh-Day Adventists?
Pastor Henriques: Remember, this is not my personal position or interpretation. I will get to your question. But let me just say that I find it ironic that this conference in Texas was themed “CALLED.” If we look at the very words of 1 Peter 2:9, we find the mission of Seventh-Day Adventists and the calling they are to fulfill. Let me quote it from the Bible. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” It is clear that God’s peculiar people were called out of darkness, and are to point individuals to the marvelous light of the gospel. Of course this text can be applied on a personal level. However, we can also apply it to the mission of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. Therefore the context points us to 1844 when God called Seventh-Day Adventists out of the fallen churches that rejected the First Angel’s Message and the Midnight Cry and became Babylon as a result. Testimonies for the Church Volume 5, page 455 states “God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself.”3 Why then would any Seventh-Day Adventist, who has come out of the gross darkness of Babylon, go back in to invite pastors and teachers, who have rejected the very messages that have separated them, and allow those Babylonians to teach and train them? What confusion! By inviting these Sunday ministers, Seventh- Day Adventists are rejecting the Three Angels’ Messages; the second of which is to call people out from Babylon. But Seventh-Day Adventists are doing the opposite, calling people from Babylon to teach them.
Interviewer: So pastor, are there ever any exceptions? Are there times or circumstances where inviting people from outside of the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination to preach, teach or train may be appropriate or acceptable?
Pastor Henriques: I am glad that you asked that question because it brings to mind a startling statement from Early Writings, which says that all the truths from God’s Word have been committed to Seventh-Day Adventists, therefore they need not go elsewhere in search for truth. Since I have the book right here, I will read from page 124 and allow that statement to answer the question; it can do a much better job than I can. It is a bit lengthy, but our readers and listeners need to be aware of just how dangerous it is to sit and listen to those in error and darkness.
And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. Revelation 16:1.
When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of God's people. Says the revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: “There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.” The sea “became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.” And “the rivers and fountains of waters ...became blood.” Terrible as these inflictions are, God's justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares: “Thou art righteous, O Lord, ... because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” Revelation 16:2-6. By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands....
In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun “to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat.” Verse 8, 9....
These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy.
The bolts of God's wrath are soon to fall, and when He shall begin to punish the transgressors, there will be no period of respite until the end. The storm of God's wrath is gathering, and those only will stand who are sanctified through the truth in the love of God. They shall be hid with Christ in God till the desolation shall be overpast.
Friday, September 15, 2017
The first-ever United Nations summit on oceans took place in June. It represents a major turning point in mobilising the international community to act to protect marine life, especially in the high seas.
Immensity, ignorance and delusion
When you look at the sea, you see waves, light effects and colour. You are captivated by the enormousness of the ocean: 70.8% of our planet’s surface is covered by ocean. Yet below this surface there is an extraordinary volume which has an average depth of 3.7 kilometres.
The bio-habitable volume of the ocean is 300 times greater than that of terrestrial habitats.
Knowledge of the ocean still remains incomplete. We know more about lunar landscape than we do about the ocean bed. We think that 91% of oceanic life remains to be discovered. We have for a long time believed, or have wanted to believe that the effects of human activity would be diluted in the immensity of the marine environment.
Collective awakening is slow. Gradually, as catastrophies follow one after another, humanity is becoming aware of the effects of its unconsciousness. It was only after the apparent eradication of whales in the North Atlantic that the international community brought into force the International Whaling Commission in 1948.
The story is repeated in terms of oil slicks and so many other forms of overexploitation. With a great deal of hindsight, humanity is slowly learning to behave in an adult-fashion in relation to the ocean: it is a slow and tedious process along which humanity does not advance in a straight line.
The Encyclical Laudato Si’ asks the question ‘Who has transformed the marvellous marine world into an under-water cemetery deprived of life and colour?’ (LS, §41). It’s time to read the Encyclical again.
On the epistemological level, we have since 1950 been witnessing the emergence and the construction of oceanographic science in all its multidisciplinary complexity. On the economic level, the utmost exploitation, masterfully filmed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (Ocean Planet, 2012) is no longer the model to follow. Alternative paths are emerging. Protected marine areas could form 10% of the ocean in 2020 (in 1993 it was a mere 0.3%), the vast majority of them located in waters falling under national jurisdictions. On the regulatory level, the United Nations took 30 years to negotiate the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) signed at Montego Bay in 1982, and diplomats aim to supplement measures in the area in which regulation is most lacking, namely the management of the high seas. In terms of living together, access to and sharing resources from the sea crystallises deep tension among individual interests; tackling these tensions and seeking the common good constitutes an immense challenge.
On the ontological level, more and more voices are calling for another relationship to the ocean. We are all members and stewards of creation. The ocean is the source of life on earth. Our responsibility for the ocean stems from our human condition.
14 September, 2017 01:00
A century after the Marian apparitions at Fatima were first reported, their messages still attract powerful devotion.
Thousands of people, for example, were drawn to make pilgrimage to a statue of Our Lady of Fatima as it visited parishes across Ireland this year.
The statue was one of those blessed by Pope Francis to be brought around the world to appeal for prayer and peace and to promote the sanctity of family life.
Each October 13 is an important date for Our Lady of Fatima devotees, but in this centenary year it has added resonance
Parishes and groups also held their own commemorations to mark the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on six occasions between May 13 and October 13 1917.
The children - Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto - described various prophecies and 'secrets' given by Our Lady, including instructions to say the Holy Rosary daily.
The final apparition on October 13 became known as the Miracle of the Sun on account of how the heavy rain and dark sky was replaced by sunshine, with the sun appearing as "an immense silver disc" according to contemporary newspaper reports.
By then, the fame of the apparitions reported by the children had spread far and wide, with around 70,000 people gathering in Fatima in expectation.
The Catholic Church declared the Fatima miracle 'worthy of belief' on October 13 1930.
Each October 13 is an important date for Our Lady of Fatima devotees, but in this centenary year it has added resonance.
Galbally and Donaghmore in Tyrone is typical of many Irish Catholic parishes with a particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.
The Our Lady of Fatima statue being carried into St John the Baptist Chapel in Galbally. Picture by Jim Hamill
September 15, 2017 RELIGION NEWS SERVICE
Travelers make their way up the arrival ramp at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport on June 29, 2017. After months of wrangling, tighter restrictions on travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim nations took effect in June after the Supreme Court gave its go-ahead for a limited version of President Trump's plans for a ban. (Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP.)
An interfaith group is arguing that Trump’s March 6 executive order imposing a travel ban from six countries is “anathema” to the core tenet of religious tolerance that they share. They say the order “selectively targeted” six Muslim-majority nations cited in State Department reports on terrorism but excluded at least two Christian-majority nations — Venezuela and the Philippines — that meet the same criteria applied to the Muslim countries.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An interfaith coalition has told the Supreme Court there is “no principled basis” for President Trump’s travel ban on Muslim-majority nations.
The group’s amicus brief, filed Sept. 5, was signed by groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the National Council of Churches, the Sikh Coalition and Catholic, Jewish and Muslim leaders.
“The Episcopal Diocese of Washington and I believe our nation’s security is imperiled, not secured, by policies that discriminate solely on the basis of religion,” Washington Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, one of six Episcopal bishops who signed the brief, said in a statement Thursday (Sept. 14).
“I’m proud to join this interfaith effort to urge the Supreme Court to overturn the travel ban, so that visitors to the U.S. and refugees, once fully vetted, may enter the country without discrimination on the basis of religion.”
The ban temporarily prevents citizens from the following nations from entering the U.S.: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The interfaith coalition members argue that Trump’s March 6 executive order is “anathema” to the core tenet of religious tolerance that they share. They say the order “selectively targeted” six Muslim-majority nations cited in State Department reports on terrorism but excluded at least two Christian-majority nations - Venezuela and the Philippines - that meet the same criteria applied to the Muslim countries.
The six nations named in President Trump’s travel ban, and the proportions of their populations that are Muslim. (Credit: Chris Mathews/RNS.)
While not contending that those two countries should be included in the ban, the coalition argues that the order violates the Constitution’s establishment clause, which calls for the government not to favor one religion over another.
Another interfaith group challenged the ban in a separate June 12 friend-of-the-court brief, arguing that it targeted Muslims and harms the ability of faith organizations to aid refugees fleeing persecution and war.
Numerous other groups also have filed briefs in the case. They range from the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund, which argues in support of Trump and states that “aliens abroad have no constitutional rights,” to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which argues that a different aspect of the Constitution - the free exercise clause - should be considered in this case. Becket’s brief is not in support of either party in the case.
On Tuesday, the high court blocked a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that would have eased aspects of the ban and allowed the entry of tens of thousands of refugees by the end of October.
The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments related to the ban on travelers from the six countries for Oct. 10.