Friday, March 11, 2011

Indonesia Volcano Erupts, Prompting Evacuations

The eruption happened hours after a massive earthquake in Japan that triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami
Friday, March 11, 2011
By Staff, Associated Press
Jakarta, Indonesia

(AP) - One of Indonesia's most active volcanos has erupted, sending lava and searing gas clouds tumbling down its slopes.

Volcanology official Agus Budianto said Friday that authorities were still trying to evacuate residents living along the slopes of Mount Karangetang.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage. the rest

Japanese tsunami creates whirlpool

Footage aired on Japanese television shows a boat perilously close to the eye of a huge whirlpool. Story here

Earthquakes Put Japan's Nuclear Reactors on Red Alert


Added 2:25 pm:
Japan struggling to cool down nuclear reactor, minister says

Prayer for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami

God is our hope and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.

There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. ...Psalm 46: 1-4

For Times of Fear
Almighty God, the Refuge of all that are distressed, grant unto us that, in all trouble of this our mortal life, we may flee to the knowledge of Thy lovingkindness and tender mercy; that so, sheltering ourselves therein, the storms of life may pass over us, and not shake the peace of God that is within us. Whatsoever this life may bring us, grant that it may never take from us the full faith that Thou art our Father. Grant us Thy light, that we may have life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ...George Dawson

Prayer for Trust in Jesus
O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.
...St. Ignatius of Loyola

Compassionate God,
you are ever mindful of your children
and hear our prayers when we cry out to you.
We are faced with a disaster,
a disaster that rattles our bones
and sets our nerves on edge.
We truly have nowhere to turn
but to your loving and provident arms.
Listen to our prayers for the victims
of the earthquake and tsumani
who are in desperate need for assurance
of your presence in their lives at this moment.
Inspired by your mercy, may we reach out
through acts of kindness and compassion.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Found here

Huge quake unleashes tsunami on Japan

posted March 11, 2011

A massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake rocked northeast Japan late this afternoon, setting a nuclear plant ablaze, unleashing a 10-metre tsunami that tossed ships inland and left at least 60 people dead.

Police said many others were injured in Tokyo and coastal areas of the main Honshu island, while television footage showed scenes of widespread devastation and flooding.

A monster wave hit near Sendai city where a tide of black water sent shipping containers, cars and debris crashing through streets and across open farmland destroying everything in its path.

The government said the tsunami and quake, which was felt as far away as Beijing 2,500 kilometres away, had caused "tremendous damage" while aerial footage showed massive flooding in northern towns. the rest

Japan earthquake: CCTV video of tsunami wave hitting airport

Raw Video: Earthquake Triggers Tsunami in Japan

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Devotional: I have seen the Face of Jesus

I have seen the Face of Jesus—
Tell me not of aught beside;
I have heard the Voice of Jesus—
All my soul is satisfied.
In the radiance of the glory
First I saw His blessed Face,
And for ever shall that glory
Be my home, my dwelling-place.
...G. Tersteegen image

Pop Goes the Worship

Religion professor T. David Gordon says Muzak has shaped singing in church.
 Interview by Mark Moring

In his new book, Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns (P&R Publishing), T. David Gordon argues that modern worship choruses have trumped hymns in many congregations because for decades, we have been inundated with pop music—to the point that many of us don't know better. If you eat nothing but Big Macs, Gordon says, you will never appreciate a filet mignon.

A professor of religion at Grove City College, Gordon takes a media ecology approach, which he describes as the study of "the social and individual human consequences when a new medium is introduced to a culture." Regarding church music, Gordon says, media ecologists should ask how music, "once a participatory thing, became a passive thing. What happens when people who used to sing folk music around the house are now surrounded by Muzak? How does that alter our sensibilities of music?"

In the context of the church's "worship wars," Gordon's views may seem controversial and certainly will not stop the feuding. While not everyone will agree with him, his arguments can take the discussion about church music to a deeper, richer place. Christianity Today senior associate editor Mark Moring recently spoke with Gordon.  the rest

Albert Mohler: Doing Away with Hell? Part Two

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The doctrine of hell has recently come under vicious attack, both from secularists and even from some evangelicals. In many ways, the assault has been a covert one. Like a slowly encroaching tide, a whole complex of interrelated cultural, theological, and philosophical changes have conspired to undermine the traditional understanding of hell. Yesterday, we considered the first and perhaps most important of those changes — a radically altered view of God. But other issues have played a part, as well.

A second issue that has contributed to the modern denial of hell is a changed view of justice. Retributive justice has been the hallmark of human law since premodern times. This concept assumes that punishment is a natural and necessary component of justice. Nevertheless, retributive justice has been under assault for many years in western cultures, and this has led to modifications in the doctrine of hell. the rest

Part I here

Ethiopia Sends Military to Stop Muslim Violence Against Christians


Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Ethiopian government has sent military forces to put down the anti-Christian violence perpetrated by Muslims in Asendabo and the surrounding areas. Government officials have arrested several Muslims suspected of attacking Christians in the area.

When the attacks began on March 2, Muslims killed one Christian, wounded several others, burned down 55 churches, 30 Christian homes, a Bible school, a Christian orphanage, and a church office. More than 3,000 Christians are now displaced because of the violence.

The violence started after Muslims falsely accused Christians of desecrating the Qur'an. The local police and government officials did nothing to stop the attackers. Federal government officials have now stepped in and removed the local Muslim administrator for his failure to protect Christians.

A Christian leader told ICC that the attacks were organized by members of Kwarej, a radical Islamic group that fights to establish an Islamic state in Ethiopia. The Muslim attackers came from different parts of Ethiopia, including the Somali region. the rest

Thousands of Ethiopian Christians in need after fleeing violence
An estimated 10,000 Christians have been forced to flee from their homes in western Ethiopia after a series of attacks by Muslim extremists, says Barnabas Fund...

Christian-Muslim clashes in Egypt kill 13

Maine gets break in federal health care overhaul

By DAVID SHARP The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PORTLAND, Maine -- The federal government Tuesday granted Maine a waiver of a key provision in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, citing the likelihood that enforcement could destabilize the state's market for individual health insurance.

The U.S. Health and Human Services department said in a letter it would waive the requirement that insurers spend 80 cents to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement. Instead, the letter said, the state could maintain its 65 percent standard for three years, with the caveat that HHS intends to review the figures after two years.

The decision makes Maine the first state to receive a waiver of the requirement. Similar requests are pending from Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire. the rest

New York City’s Number One Public Enemy—Preborn Children

Wednesday, March 09, 2011
By Judie Brown

Expectant Mother Care (EMC) is one of the most successful crisis pregnancy organizations in the entire country. Now in its 27th year of operation, EMC has served over 100,000 clients, saved more than 32,000 preborn children and continues to grow daily.

EMC is led by its founder, Chris Slattery. It is Slattery’s dedication and personal sacrifice that has always made the difference—not to mention the cohesive network of volunteers and supporters that EMC has attracted over the years.

So is it any wonder that New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is poised to sign a City Council bill, passed this past Thursday, which would impose unnecessary regulations on EMC and potentially threaten its existence? And Bloomberg is going to do so without hearing one word of comment from the citizens. the rest

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Dust of Adam

Wednesday, March 9, 2011
David Mills

The rite has, as I said, two movements. The first dramatizes the truth that “in Adam all die.” The words “Remember, O man, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return” are a quote from Genesis, which comes at the end of the list in which God tells Adam (“man” in Hebrew) what his disobedience will cost him — which is a description of what our disobedience is costing us. So it begins as a statement of our identity and the consequences of our identity.

“Remember, O man”: Remember, you descendent of Adam; remember, in the phrase from the Narnia Chronicles, O son of Adam, O daughter of Eve; remember, O original sinner, that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return. Remember, you egotistical, preening, pathetic little fool, just who you really are. Or in the Living Liturgy: “Look, you dirtbag.” (More could be said about the significance of “O man,” given its generic use in Romans 2:1, 2:3, and 9:20.)

It is important to remember that we are not only children of Adam but willing children of Adam. We have provoked most justly God’s wrath and indignation against us, as the old Book of Common Prayer put it. It is not so much that we fell with Adam into sin, as that we jumped into it with our eyes wide open and a cheery wave to the crowd. We have chosen to return to the dust.  image

 Full Essay

21 Philadelphia priests accused of abuse suspended

Sweeping step follows grand jury report
By Katharine Q. Seelye
New York Times / March 9, 2011

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday that it had suspended 21 priests from active ministry in connection with accusations that involved sexual abuse or otherwise inappropriate behavior with minors.

The mass suspension was the single-most sweeping in the history of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, said Terence McKiernan, president of, which archives documents from the abuse scandal in dioceses across the country.

The archdiocese’s action follows a damning grand jury report issued Feb. 10 that accused the archdiocese of a widespread cover-up of predatory priests, stretching over decades, and said that as many as 37 priests remained active in the ministry despite credible accusations against them. the rest

New York Television Executive Gets 25 Years for Beheading Wife

March 09, 2011
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A judge on Wednesday gave a Pakistani former television executive the harshest punishment he could for beheading his estranged wife: 25 years to life in prison and a withering assessment of his character.

Muzzammil Hassan, who'd claimed his wife abused him, stood with his head bowed as the judge told him that even his own children had nothing but contempt for him. He scoffed at the idea that Hassan stabbed Aasiya Hassan more than 40 times and decapitated her because he was afraid of her.

"You bought two hunting knives, you tested them for sharpness, you laid in wait in a darkened hallway for your unsuspecting wife and you butchered her," Judge Thomas Franczyk said. "Self-defense? I don't think so." the rest

Hundreds of Anglicans start move to Catholic church on Ash Wednesday

 Associated Press
 March 9, 2011

LONDON - Hundreds of disaffected Anglicans left the Church of England to become Roman Catholics on Ash Wednesday, the Christian day of penance.

The day set by the church to welcome converts wishing to join the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a unique grouping created by Pope Benedict XVI for Anglicans left feeling isolated since the Church of England decided in 1992 to ordain women as priests.

Tensions have grown further as the governing General Synod moves to allow women to become bishops while denying special structures to protect the sensitivities of the objectors. the rest

Anglican Perspective: Repentance

Episcopal split over gay clergy goes back to high court

March 9, 2011

St. James Anglican Church in Newport Beach went back before the state Supreme Court Tuesday in the latest chapter in its long-running battle with the Episcopal Church.

St. James was one of three Episcopal churches in Southern California to split from the denomination in 2004, after the national church ordained a gay man as bishop in New Hampshire. The Los Angeles Diocese, later joined by the national Episcopal Church, sued St. James after the split, asserting ownership of the church property at 3209 Via Lido.

The state Supreme Court heard the case in 2009, siding with the Episcopal Church. It is now being asked whether the 2009 ruling was meant to be the last word, or whether it was sending the case back for trial in a local court.

The Supreme Court has 90 days to issue an opinion. Attorneys on both sides of the case expect a decision sooner. the rest

The Relinquished Life...

"I am crucified with Christ." Galatians 2:20

No one is ever united with Jesus Christ until he is willing to relinquish not sin only, but his whole way of looking at things. To be born from above of the Spirit of God means that we must let go before we lay hold, and in the first stages it is the relinquishing of all pretence. What Our Lord wants us to present to Him is not goodness, nor honesty, nor endeavour, but real solid sin; that is all He can take from us. And what does He give in exchange for our sin? Real solid righteousness. But we must relinquish all pretence of being any thing, all claim of being worthy of God's consideration.

Then the Spirit of God will show us what further there is to relinquish. There will have to be the relinquishing of my claim to my right to myself in every phase. Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess, my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?
Oswald Chambers Photo

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Eleven marks of spiritual health

Eleven marks of spiritual health [in] matters concerning ourselves:

(1) Brokenness of spirit.
(2) Spiritual battles.
(3) Godly loathing for sin.
(4) True self-denial.
(5) Willingness to stay in hard and difficult service.
(6) Spiritual contentment in God’s will.
(7) Joy in sorrow.
(8) Christians weaned from this world’s comforts.
(9) God glorified in all earthly businesses.
(10) The true watch of God’s people over their tongue.
(11) God’s people shun the appearance of sin.
...Roger Williams image

Union Myths

Private-sector workers haven't been immune to unions' deleterious effects as government workers have.

Thomas Sowell
March 8, 2011
 The biggest myth about labor unions is that unions are for workers. Unions are for unions, just as corporations are for corporations and politicians are for politicians.

Nothing shows the utter cynicism of the unions and the politicians who do their bidding like the so-called “Employee Free Choice Act” that the Obama administration tried to push through Congress. Employees’ free choice as to whether to join a union is precisely what that legislation would destroy.

Workers already have a free choice in secret-ballot elections conducted under existing laws. As more and more workers in the private sector have voted to reject having a union represent them, the unions’ answer has been to take away secret-ballot elections. the rest
Under the “Employee Free Choice Act,” unions would not have to win in secret-ballot elections in order to represent the workers. Instead, union representatives could simply collect signatures from the workers until they had a majority.

Babies who are born at 23 weeks should be left to die, says NHS chief

By Sophie Borland and Emma Cox
7th March 2011

Babies born after just 23 weeks of pregnancy or earlier should be left to die, a leading NHS official has said.

Dr Daphne Austin said that despite millions being spent on specialised treatments, very few of these children survive as their tiny bodies are too underdeveloped.

She claimed keeping them alive is only ‘prolonging their agony’, and it would be better to invest the money in care for cancer sufferers or the disabled. the rest

Atheist to present BBC’s new Bible series

The BBC has chosen an atheist Hebrew scholar as the presenter of its new series on the Bible.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In The Bible’s Buried Secrets, Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou will guide viewers through some of the latest archaeological discoveries in the Middle East and consider how these may shape the world's understanding of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Some of the topics to be explored by the programme include the origins of the story of the Garden of Eden and the historical context of King David and his kingdom. the rest

Albert Mohler: Doing Away with Hell? Part One

Current controversies raise this issue anew among American Christians and even among some evangelicals. Nevertheless, there is no way to deny the Bible’s teaching on hell and remain genuinely evangelical. No doctrine stands alone.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

After reviewing the rise of the modern age, the Italian literary critic Piero Camporesi commented, “We can now confirm that hell is finished, that the great theatre of torments is closed for an indeterminate period, and that after 2000 years of horrifying performances the play will not be repeated. The long triumphal season has come to an end.” Like a play with a good run, the curtain has finally come down, and for millions around the world, the biblical doctrine of hell is but a distant memory. For so many persons in this postmodern world, the biblical doctrine of hell has become simply unthinkable.

Have postmodern westerners just decided that hell is no more? Can we really just think the doctrine away? Os Guinness notes that western societies “have reached the state of pluralization where choice is not just a state of affairs, it is a state of mind. Choice has become a value in itself, even a priority. To be modern is to be addicted to choice and change. Change becomes the very essence of life.” Personal choice becomes the urgency; what sociologist Peter Berger called the “heretical imperative.” In such a context, theology undergoes rapid and repeated transformation driven by cultural currents. For millions of persons in the postmodern age, truth is a matter of personal choice –- not divine revelation. Clearly, we moderns do not choose for hell to exist. the rest image by Dave Hogg

Virginity making a comeback, government data says

 Mar 7, 2011
 by Erin Roach

WASHINGTON (BP)--A growing number of teenagers and young adults are virgins, according to a study by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics described as "the largest and most in-depth federal report to date on sexual behavior" in the United States.

What's more, the mainstream media is recognizing that the trend may be attributable in part to abstinence education. An Associated Press article stated, "... perhaps emphasis on abstinence in the past decade has had some influence."

According to the CDC report released March 3, 27 percent of men and 29 percent of women ages 15-24 have never had a sexual encounter, up slightly from 22 percent for both men and women in a 2005 survey based on 2002 data. the rest

Bleak future for Christchurch as population flees

by Amy Coopes
 Sat Mar 5, 2011

(AFP) – After a deadly earthquake left homes creaking and wiped out buildings and jobs, thousands of residents have turned their back on Christchurch, raising questions over the city's future.

City officials estimate one-sixth of Christchurch's 390,000 population -- some 65,000 people -- have fled New Zealand's second city, terrified by incessant aftershocks or because their workplace has been affected.

The key question is how many of those departures will prove to be permanent. the rest

Critics Slam ABC Pilot for 'Inappropriate,' 'Damaging' Title

By Hollie McKay
March 04, 2011

An ABC pilot called “Good Christian Bitches” has religious and women’s groups up in arms over what they describe as an extremely offensive and distasteful show title.

The dramedy, based on Kim Gatlin’s novel of the same name, will be brought to life by famed “Sex and the City” and “90210” executive producer Darren Star. The plot centers on the life of reformed “mean girl” Amanda, played by “Talladega Nights” actress Leslie Bibb, who returns to her hometown of Dallas to find herself fodder for malicious gossip from the women in the Christian community.

Still in the early stages, the pilot has not been guaranteed a spot on ABC’s lineup. And though the show’s title may change before it goes to broadcast, “Good Christian Bitches” is already causing uproar.  the rest

Monday, March 07, 2011

Devotional: To love at all is to be vulnerable...

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoiding all entanglements; lock it up safe in the coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket; safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
...CS Lewis image

Canada: Anglicans to consider opening communion to unbaptized

Charles Lewis March 7, 2011

Canadian Anglicans will hold discussions this spring about whether baptism is necessary for taking part in communion — questioning a requirement of Christianity that has existed for 2,000 years.

“Official teaching is you have to be baptized first. But a number of clergy across the country feel strongly about this as an issue and many have approached their bishops about allowing for an ‘open table’ in which all could take communion,” said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, who is the principal secretary to Archbishop Fred Hiltz, head of the Anglican Church of Canada.

It will be discussed when the House of Bishops meet in April, but not as an official topic, he said.

The idea — already rejected as a dangerous step by more orthodox Anglicans — was raised in an article this week in the in which an Ontario church pastor argues that removing the requirement of baptism would help stop the decline in the number of Anglicans attending services. the rest

Number of Obamacare waivers climbs above 1,000

By Jason Millman

The number of temporary healthcare reform waivers granted by the Obama administration to organizations climbed to more than 1,000, according to new numbers disclosed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law. the rest

ObamaCare's March Madness
Sports fans relish this time of year for the NCAA Championship Basketball Tournament, aka "March Madness." But this year the tournament has a serious contender for that title. March is also ObamaCare's anniversary month.
Last year, President Obama gave Congress an arbitrary deadline to pass his health-care takeover legislation before the Easter recess at the end of March. This forced lawmakers to hurry their votes on a deeply flawed bill that very few of them had read. Worse, many made false promises to secure final passage.

We're already seeing ObamaCare's madness in its first year of implementation, which is why the American people continue to call for defunding, repealing and replacing it with more sensible reforms. Here are a few examples of the mayhem...

Parents Under Siege in Global Battle Against State Control of Children

by Dave Bohon
Monday, 07 March 2011

Two recent cases, one in the U.S. and one in Europe, demonstrate the extent to which government is aggressively militating to control and regulate children and families.

In a case that goes all the way back to 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court will listen to arguments to decide whether an Oregon social worker and a deputy sheriff violated the rights of a nine-year-old girl (known in the case as “S.G.”) when they removed her from her elementary school classroom, without a court order or the consent of her mother, and spent the next two hours grilling her about allegations of sexual abuse on the part of her father.

While the girl originally denied that her father had sexually abused her, “she later testified that she was coerced into telling the investigators he had abused her because she thought it was the only way they would allow her to leave,” explained John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, a pro-family legal advocacy group that has taken an interest in the case. “The encounter reportedly so scared S.G. that she was physically sick that night and could not eat.”

The girl’s mother subsequently sued the sheriff and social worker, charging that the pair had violated her daughter’s 14th Amendment guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. In 2009 the case made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ruled that the government tag-team had indeed violated the girl’s constitutional guarantees, and further, that their actions at the school had “constituted an unauthorized seizure of S.G., which is not exempt from the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement,” noted Whitehead. the rest

I am so tired of winter....

Video-March 7, 2011

Syracuse's seasonal snowfall now No. 4 on 60-year list
Syracuse, NY – The winter of 2010-11 now is the fourth-snowiest winter in the past 60 years.

The winter storm that cruised through the Syracuse area from Sunday afternoon through this morning dumped 13.4 inches of snow at Hancock International Airport, the National Weather Service's Binghamton office reported shortly after noon.

That vaulted the season’s total to 173.5 inches, hurling this winter into fourth place on the list of snowiest Syracuse winters since 1950, the year the weather service started measuring at the airport...

MA: Breakaway Anglican church buys former Catholic property

Despite pain of split, both Hamilton and Danvers parishes are moving on
March 7, 2011
By Ethan Forman
Mon Mar 07, 2011

DANVERS — In less than two years, founders of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church have not only managed to fill the pews, they have raised enough money to buy the former St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church property outright.

Christ the Redeemer, which broke away from Christ Church in Hamilton over what they saw as "moral drift" in the Episcopal Church as a whole, had been leasing the former Catholic church since 2009.

On Feb. 16, the Anglican church paid $1.6 million for the property, after raising $800,000 for a down payment in just six months. The deed was placed on the altar. the rest

The Western Taliban

Local Ministries for the Promotion of Virtue and Suppression of Vice are hard at work. They have 2,000 years of rubbish to cleanse from society.
Constance Kong
Sunday, 6 March 2011

Make no bones about it: the West – Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand – is ruled by the Taliban. True: they are not the same Taliban that ruled Afghanistan and beat people for listening to music or dancing, or who stoned people to death for committing adultery. The West’s Taliban’s style is different – they stone you psychologically by marginalising you for your beliefs. But in substance they are the same as Afghanistan’s Taliban – their specialty is intolerance.

The West’s Taliban are the secularists who will persecute anyone with a religious perspective on philosophical or moral issues, or any matter of public discourse for that matter. And we all live in fear of them just as the men, women and children of Afghanistan fear their Taliban. We go quietly about our business to avoid their persecution. We keep our own counsel and do not talk about our religious faith or the value Judaeo-Christian principles have provided Western Civilisation for fear of being psychologically beaten and stoned.

Indeed, I am writing this article anonymously for fear of what it could do to my career or the persecution it might bring my children studying at schools and universities where the Secular Taliban rule. the rest
In one class debate a fellow student went so far as to say that a law was needed to ban anyone of any religious faith from holding public office. No one challenged this view. Not even the professor!

Mexican Church Takes a Closer Look at Donors

March 6, 2011

 PACHUCA, Mexico — The large orange chapel here, with its towering cross, would be just another Roman Catholic church if not for a bronze plaque announcing that it was “donated by Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano” — better known as “the executioner,” commander of the ruthless crime syndicate called the Zetas.

Mass at a Pachuca church whose major donor was a Zetas leader, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano. Longtime government restrictions made the Catholic Church in Mexico reliant on the wealthy.

The nameplate goes on to quote Psalm 143: “Lord, hear my prayer, answer my plea.” But Mexican Catholics are the ones struggling with how to respond.

Ever since the chapel’s financing spawned a government investigation four months ago, the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico has been trying to confront its historic ties to drug traffickers. Long dependent on gifts, but often less than discriminating about where they come from, the church is grappling with its role as thousands die in turf wars among rich, and sometimes generous, criminals. the rest

Planned Parenthood Reports Record Abortion Rate

Up By More Than 8,000 in One Year
Monday, March 07, 2011
By Penny Starr

( – Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Web site shows that it performed a record number of abortions in 2009, up 8,270 from 2008. According to a fact sheet posted under “History of Planned Parenthood,” Planned Parenthood clinics in 2009 performed 332,278 abortions – up from 324,008 in 2008, or a 2.5 percent increase.

Planned Parenthood also distributed more than 1.5 million emergency contraception kits, which contain hormones that can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a women’s uterus.

Planned Parenthood received $349.6 million in tax dollars in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2008, according to its annual report. the rest

Pope Benedict XVI: Excerpts from Jesus of Nazareth

Mar 7, 2011
Pope Benedict XVI

The Scripture Must Be Fulfilled

Understandably, the prophecy of the betrayal produces agitation and curiosity among the disciples. “One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus: so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, ‘Tell us who it is of whom he speaks.’ So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him: ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered: ‘It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it’” (13:23–26). . . .

Jesus’ answer, as given here, is quite unambiguous. Yet the evangelist says that the disciples still did not understand whom he meant. So we must assume that John retrospectively attributed a clarity to the Lord’s answer that it lacked at the time for those present. John 13:18 brings us onto the right track. Here Jesus says, “The Scripture must be fulfilled: ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me’” (cf. Ps 41:9; Ps 55:13). This is Jesus’ classic way of speaking: he alludes to his destiny using words from Scripture, thereby locating it directly within God’s logic, within the logic of salvation history. . . .

John gives a new depth to the psalm verse with which Jesus spoke prophetically of what lay ahead, since instead of the expression given in the Greek Bible for “eating”, he chooses the verb trogein, the word used by Jesus in the great “bread of life” discourse for “eating” his flesh and blood, that is, receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist ( Jn. 6:54–58). So the psalm verse casts a prophetic shadow over the Church of the evangelist’s own day, in which the Eucharist was celebrated, and indeed over the Church of all times: Judas’ betrayal was not the last breach of fidelity that Jesus would suffer. “Even my bosom friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me” (Ps 41:9). The breach of friendship extends into the sacramental community of the Church, where people continue to take “his bread” and to betray him.

Jesus’ agony, his struggle against death, continues until the end of the world, as Blaise Pascal said on the basis of similar considerations (cf. Pensées VII, 553). We could also put it the other way around: at this hour, Jesus took upon himself the betrayal of all ages, the pain caused by betrayal in every era, and he endured the anguish of history to the bitter end. More here

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble...

 The LORD reigns, let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
 Great is the LORD in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.

 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done what is just and right.
 Exalt the LORD our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.

 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the LORD and he answered them.
 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

 LORD our God, you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
 Exalt the LORD our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the LORD our God is holy.
-Psalm 99 image

R.I. Episcopal Bishop Geralyn Wolf to retire

Sunday, March 6, 2011
By Richard C. Dujardin
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE –– The Right Rev. Geralyn Wolf, a convert from Judaism who stepped into the history books 15 years ago by becoming only the second woman in U.S. Episcopal Church history to be ordained a diocesan bishop, is planning to retire as Rhode Island’s Episcopal bishop late in 2012.

Wolf, who turns 64 next month, broke the news to some of her staff Thursday, her first day back after undergoing knee replacement surgery on Jan. 31.

She made a more public disclosure on Saturday at the close of an evangelism convocation attended by priests and lay people at the Providence Marriott. the rest

Facebook blamed for 1 in 5 divorces in the US

By Emil Protalinski
March 1, 2011

Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source, the AAML said.

It’s not that Facebook is solely to blame: already-strained marriages are bound to break with or without the service. Still, a couple doesn’t have to be experiencing marital difficulties for an online relationship to develop from mere online chatting into a full-fledged affair.

In the end, Facebook is a social tool. For single people, social networks can help them meet that special someone. Even for marriages, social networks can help further along a relationship. Just like with any other social medium, however, even the most innocent of intentions can turn ugly with improper use. the rest

Muslim Mob Attacks Coptic Village, Church in Egypt
Sunday, March 06, 2011

Christian homes in the southern Egyptian village of Soul were attacked Saturday evening by a mob of Muslims, according to unconfirmed reports.

Witnesses say the angry throng also set fire to the Saints Mina and George Coptic Church. A priest and two deacons were reported missing following the attack.

Saturday's violence was reportedly triggered by a taboo love affair between a 40-year-old Coptic Christian and a Muslim woman. the rest

Nearly 4000 Muslims Attack Christian Homes in Egypt, Torch Church

Muslim mob assaults Christian students in Ethiopia
Christian students recently suffered an attack by a Muslim mob in Ethiopia. The students were on a mission trip to a Muslim village when they were attacked. Jonathon Racho of International Christian Concern tells OneNewsNow they were handing out Bibles and witnessing to villagers.

"Then one of the villagers angrily argued with the Christians,” Racho explains, “and then he incited the Muslim mob to attack the Christians. Then the attackers shouted 'Allah Akbar,' which means 'God is great,' as they hurled stones at the Christians and beat them with rods."...

B.C. Anglican priest earns doctorate in spirituality of snowboarding

While living in England a dozen years ago, 'soulriding' captured his imagination
By Janet Steffenhagen
 Vancouver Sun
March 5, 2011

An Anglican priest in British Columbia has earned a PhD for his research into the spirituality of snowboarding.

Rev. Neil Elliot of St. Andrews Anglican Church in Trail began his studies 10 years ago in England, pulling together a love of snowboarding, an interest in spirituality and a desire to understand the relationship between spirituality and religion.

It was the word "soulriding" that first captured his attention more than a dozen years ago, while he was living in England and snowboarding in the Alps in Europe. The term made him wonder if there was a spiritual dimension to carving a path down a mountain.

"It's not a well-used term [and] it's kind of vague. I was interested in this term possibly as some kind of indicator of what was happening about spirituality. Was soulriding some kind of spirituality? Was it organized in some way? I had a whole bunch of questions about it," he said Friday in an interview.  the rest