Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

What shall I give you, Lord,
in return for all Your kindness?
Glory to You for Your love.
Glory to You for Your mercy.
Glory to You for Your patience.
Glory to You for forgiving us all our sins.
Glory to You for coming to save our souls.
Glory to You for Your incarnation in the virgin's womb.
Glory to You for Your bonds.
Glory to You for receiving the cut of the lash.
Glory to You for accepting mockery.
Glory to You for Your crucifixion.
Glory to You for Your burial.
Glory to You for Your resurrection.
Glory to You who were preached to men and women.
Glory to You in whom they believed.
Glory to You who were taken up into heaven.
Glory to You who sit in great glory at the Father's right hand.
Glory to You whose will it is that the sinner should be saved
through Your great mercy and compassion.
...Ephraem of Syria image

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Saturday 2013

LORD, God of my salvation;
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!

For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.
-Psalm 88 image

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday 2013: O sacred Head, now wounded

 O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.

Good Friday 2013

Blest Jesus, when Thy cross I view,
That mystery to th’angelic host,
I gaze with grief and rapture, too,
And all my soul’s in wonder lost.

What strange compassion filled Thy breast,
That brought Thee from Thy throne on high,
To woes that cannot be expressed,
To be despised, to groan and die!

For man didst Thou forsake the sky,
To bleed upon the accursed tree?
And didst Thou taste of death, to buy
Immortal life and bliss for me?

Had I a voice to praise Thy name,
Loud as the trump that wakes the dead,
Had I the raptured seraph’s flame,
My debt of love could ne’er be paid.

Yet Lord, a sinner’s heart receive,
This burdened, contrite heart of mine;
Thou knowest I’ve naught beside to give;
And let it be for ever Thine.
...Conrad Speece image

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday 2013

Be known to us in breaking bread,
But do not then depart;
Savior, abide with us, and spread
Thy table in our heart.
There eat with us in love divine;
Thy body and Thy blood,
That living bread, that heavenly wine,
Be our immortal food.

...James Montgomery image

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The God on whom we rely...

The God on whom we rely knows what suffering is all about, not merely in the way that God knows everything, but by experience. In the darkest night of the soul Christians have something to hold onto that Job never knew. We know Christ crucified. Christians have learned that when there seems to be no other evidence of God's love, they cannot escape the cross. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"(Rom. 8:32) … When we suffer, there will sometimes be mystery. Will there also be faith? Yes, if our attention is focused more on the cross, and on the God of the cross, than on the suffering itself. ...DA Carson image

Scrolling around...March 27, 2013

India's target-driven quotas for female sterilisation are producing horrific scenes, all with the aid of Western money
The end of the financial year has arrived in India, as it has in a number of other countries, but there the pressure of the bottom line has produced a very shocking effect. Early last month two doctors working at a hospital in the Malda district of West Bengal, performed sterilisation surgery on 103 women in one day. Since the hospital could only accommodate 30 women the rest were carried out on rough stretchers and dumped on an open field to recover. Some were loaded onto rickshaws, still bleeding and in semi-conscious or unconscious states, to be sent home. One woman fell off a rickshaw on her way home and had to be hospitalised with severe injuries...

UN report equates lack of access to abortion and reparative therapy for homosexuals with ‘torture’   A recent United Nations report on torture and mistreatment in health care systems around the world singled out lack of access to abortion as a form of “torture,” classifying it as a human rights violation on par with female genital mutilation, forced sterilizations and state-sanctioned beatings.
The report also says governments should recognize the preferred sex of ‘transgender’ individuals without regard to biology, arguing that forcing such people to undergo sex-reassignment surgery in order to prove their case is equivalent to torture.

Revealing What States Are Hiding About the Real Costs of Public Education
...In a new paper, Heritage expert Jason Richwine reveals that “Proper accounting would reveal tens of billions of dollars in extra teacher pension costs, equivalent to somewhere around $1,000 in unreported spending per student.”
That’s right—the real cost of education is far higher than we’ve been told, but it’s not because of extra classroom resources or newer facilities. It’s because of teachers’ pensions...

Albert Mohler: Marriage in the Dock—The Supreme Court Considers Same-Sex Marriage  ...Both cases are significant. Together they represent a monumental set of issues for the justices. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed by huge majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate back in 1996. It was then signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA requires the federal government to define marriage exclusively as the union of a man and a woman, and it makes clear that no state is obligated to recognize a same-sex union conducted in any other state. President Obama, whose constitutional responsibility requires him to defend the laws of the United States, has ordered his Attorney General not to defend DOMA in court. It will be defended by attorneys representing the House of Representatives...

Are the Polyamorists Next in Line for Marriage Equality?
...Not to be outdone by their colleagues in Hollywood, the liberal news media has also gone out of its way to “innocently” ask questions about polyamory. In 2009, Newsweek asked if Polygamy was the next sexual revolution (because the old sexual revolution was not destructive enough of society). The article features a life and times of a Seattle “triad” made up of one woman and two men. This seemingly happy “family” figured out how to overcome the “hard-wired” tendency towards jealousy through the process called “compersion”—or learning to find personal fulfillment in the emotional and sexual satisfaction of your partner, even if you’re not the one doing the satisfying.”...

North Dakota Now First State to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome
With the governor’s signature on the ban today, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time...

Egyptian mosque turned into house of torture for Christians after Muslim Brotherhood protest
...Such stories have become increasingly common as tensions between Egypt’s Muslims and Copts mount, but in the latest case, mosque officials corroborated much of the account and even filed a police report. Demonstrators, some of whom were Muslim, say they were taken from the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in suburban Cairo to a nearby mosque on Friday and tortured for hours by hard-line militia members...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Some of us think at times that we could cry, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" There are seasons when the brightness of our Father's smile is eclipsed by clouds and darkness; but let us remember that God never does really forsake us. It is only a seeming forsaking with us, but in Christ's case it was a real forsaking. We grieve at a little withdrawal of our Father's love; but the real turning away of God's face from His Son, who shall calculate how deep the agony which it caused Him? In our case, our cry is often dictated by unbelief: in His case, it was the utterance of a dreadful fact, for God had really turned away from Him for a season. O thou poor, distressed soul, who once lived in the sunshine of God's face, but art now in darkness, remember that He has not really forsaken thee. God in the clouds is as much our God as when He shines forth in all the lustre of His grace; but since even the thought that He has forsaken us gives us agony, what must the woe of the Saviour have been when He exclaimed, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
...CH Spurgeon image

Does God really love us?

Does God really love us? I say look to the crucified Jesus. Look to the old rugged cross. By every thorn that punctured His brow. By every mark of the back lacerating scourge. By every hair of his beard plucked from his cheeks by cruel fingers. By every bruise which heavy fists made upon His head. God said, "I love you!" By all the spit that landed on his face. By every drop of sinless blood that fell to the ground. By every breath of pain which Jesus drew upon the cross. By every beat of His loving heart. God said, I love you. ...Billy Lobbs image

Scrolling around...March 26, 2013

Elizabeth Scalia: A Gospel Pasteurized for Our Protection
...This past Sunday—Palm Sunday—the assembly was invited to put down their missalettes. The priest celebrant was escorted from the sanctuary and into a pew, and members of the liturgy committee entered with bare feet and grave expressions to “act out” for us the Gospel “message” which dispensed with Luke’s narrative for a kind of scripted amalgam of all four Gospels.

It struck me as odd that the same people who say they wish to “build up the community of the People of God,” and who often decry what they see as “limitations” to the role of the laity, completely omitted any interaction between themselves and the people in the pews. The Gospel reading for Palm Sunday is the only one inviting lay participation, yet none was permitted. That seems a terrible mistake and a loss...

Do you own technology, or does it own you?
Have we all lost our minds and perspective?

Planned Parenthood Gets Pro-Life Teacher Removed, Holds Sex Toy Class  Last week, a Portland, Oregon math teacher was led out of his classroom by police and is expected to be fired for his opposition to Planned Parenthood. For years, Benson High School teacher Bill Diss has protested Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette (PPCW) building an abortion facility as well as their infiltration into the city’s schools....

Real Bullies: The Homosexuality Is Normal Movement
...My point is, homosexual activists are extremely aggressive while portraying themselves as innocent victims of an intolerant society. In reality, we who believe in traditional values are the ones being bullied. The MSM gang vilifies anyone who dares to stand up for traditional marriage. Come hell or high water, they are going to make us embrace homosexuality as being normal by severely punishing those who refuse to comply...

Are Benghazi Survivors Hiding In A Washington, D.C. Hospital?
..Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has learned that “as many as seven Americans have been or are currently being treated,” at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.—less than 11 miles from the U.S. Capitol. Rep. Wolf cited two independent confidential sources for his information.

And the number of survivors may be even larger than previously suspected. There may be more than 30 survivors, including State Department and CIA personnel as well as government contractors, according to a March 1, 2013 letter sent by Rep. Wolf and Rep. Jim Gerlach to Secretary of State John Kerry . As for those government contractors mentioned, they are believed to include former U.S Navy Seals and other former special-forces operators.

And it seems that the survivors have been told not to talk...

In times like these...

Some very eerie and prophetic words spoken by Jesus on the way to the cross
By Msgr. Charles Pope
March 24, 2013

...And the Lord Jesus, looking beyond 70 AD must have seen our times and had them in mind when he said to those women of old that they would see an enemy (Satan): dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.
Yes, Satan has deceived us with deceptions of power, distortions of freedom, and crushing lies of “choice.” 55 million dead in American alone since 1973, our children dashed to the ground.
The Lord goes on to say, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ Yes, and those days are here, days when people celebrate barrenness, have themselves surgically sterilized, and celebrate contraception. The days are here when the greatest danger seems to be the “terrible and fearsome proposition” of getting pregnant, of having “too many children.”
Yes, the days are here when most people cry out: blessed is barrenness, blessed are small families. Life it would seem, is a terrible burden to be contracepted and aborted away and some awful threat. It is an age that cries out “Blessed the career women who has not stymied her life and progress by the terrible and terrifying prospect of children.”
Yes, said the Lord to those ancient women, in effect, “You think this is bad? The days are actually coming when things will be so bad and so dark that people will celebrate NOT having children, will celebrate barrenness.”...   Full Essay image

Monday, March 25, 2013

The image of Christ...

Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of "The image of Christ' must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings.
...JC Ryle

Scrolling around...March 25, 2013

The Cyprus Deal ...The agreement avoids a controversial tax on bank deposits, a measure the country’s parliament rejected last week. But it’s likely to devastate the country’s financial-services sector—the source, according to the Cyprus Employers & Industrialists Federation, of 80 percent of the country’s GDP and 72 percent of its employment. In exchange for a 10 billion-euro bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, President Nicos Anastasiades agreed to shutter the nation’s second-largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, largely wiping out deposits above the insured limit of 100,000 euros. Depositors in the country’s biggest bank, Bank of Cyprus (BOC), could lose as much as 40 percent of their uninsured savings. “We don’t have any numbers or real data on how this will affect our lives,” says Kattou’s husband, Pambos Kattos, 52, a civil engineer who will likely lose his job at the bank that’s being folded. “But there will be great destruction.”...

Potentially harmful virus missing from a lab at U-Texas Medical Branch
...During a routine internal inspection last week, UTMB officials realized one vial of a virus called Guanarito was not accounted for at the facility....

U.S. Border Patrol Uniforms Manufactured in Mexico
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has granted uniform contracts to VF Imagewear, Inc., an apparel company that relies on manufacturing sites in Mexico for a “significant percentage” of its occupational garments...

Scam Cell: California’s embryonic stem-cell research institute fails to deliver ...In fact, CIRM directed a full 91 percent of its research funding to institutions with representatives on its governing board. Similarly, the CIRM board overruled the Institute’s own scientific reviewers, who twice rejected a proposal to fund a for-profit company on whose behalf CIRM founder Robert Klein had lobbied, and the board went ahead and gave the money to the company anyway. According to a Sacramento Bee report, “it was the first time in the board’s eight-year history that it approved an application twice rejected by reviewers.”...

Holy Land Catholics and Orthodox to celebrate Easter simultaneously Most of the Catholic communities in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus are preparing to celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week. However, they will be joining their Orthodox brethren in celebrating Holy Week during the first week of May, according to the Julian Calendar followed by the Orthodox communities. This bucks the practice of most Christians elsewhere who follow the Gregorian calendar, which celebrates Holy Week March 24-29, with Easter falling on March 30...

Obamacare Red Tape Tower will make you cower
A tower of 20,000 pages of Obamacare regulations, wrapped in a neat red ribbon and first unveiled publicly by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, made its way to the Senate floor today as the upper chamber debated the continuing resolution to fund the government. It took several GOP aides to haul the paper tower through the Capitol to make its appearance...(picture)

Clinic escort: woman who had 10 abortions is “empowered”
...Elsewhere in her blog, the clinic escort talks about sidewalk counselors offering to help the women with adoption or other alternatives. Pro-lifers often offer free help to pregnant women outside abortion clinics. To the escort, this is “shaming.”...

Bp. Julian Dobbs: Palm Sunday Visit 2013

Bp. Julian Dobbs and Brenda

Bp. Dobbs and Rector Brian Smith

Blessing the palms

Church of the Holy Trinity in Syracuse NY was blessed with a visitation by Bp. Julian Dobbs who along with his wife Brenda celebrated Palm Sunday with us.  -PD (pictures by Raymond Dague)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Ride On, Ride On, In Majesty!

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes Hosanna cry;
O Savior meek, pursue Thy road
With palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die!
O Christ! Thy triumph now begin
Over captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
The wingèd squadrons of the sky
Look down with sad and wondering eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
The Father, on His sapphire throne,
Expects His own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain,
Then take, O God, Thy power, and reign.
...Hen­ry H. Mil­man image

Friday, March 22, 2013

Scrolling around...March 22, 2013

Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity: The wealthiest Americans donate 1.3 percent of their income; the poorest, 3.2 percent. What's up with that?
...Lower-income Americans are presumably no more intrinsically generous (or “prosocial,” as the sociologists say) than anyone else. However, some experts have speculated that the wealthy may be less generous—that the personal drive to accumulate wealth may be inconsistent with the idea of communal support. Last year, Paul Piff, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, published research that correlated wealth with an increase in unethical behavior: “While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything,” Piff later told New York magazine, “the rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people.” They are, he continued, “more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, ass....."...

College Kicks Christian Group Off Campus for Beliefs
Rollins College is coming under fire for being the latest center for “higher education” to tell InterVarsity student group that it has to leave campus. The “crime”? InterVarsity requires that alll leaders in their group share their faith and agree to their doctrinal beliefs. A recent article explains: “The college was trying to force InterVarsity to allow any student to be a leader in their group, even if they don’t share InterVarsity’s biblical beliefs. The group refused to comply, so Rollins is revoking InterVarsity’s student funding and campus access. The same thing happened to Christian groups at Vanderbilt and several other colleges in recent years.”...

Health Insurers Warn on Premiums
Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans...

Florida Atlantic Univ. student claims he was suspended for not stomping on Jesus
...“So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value.”

Some students stomped; others, including Rotela, didn’t. He said he told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment offended his religious convictions.

Two days later, the junior alleges, he went to an FAU school official to express his unease with the assignment.

The result? Rotela has been suspended from the class.

An FAU official defended the decision, telling WPEC that the Jesus-stomping was part of a classroom exercise from a textbook...

Anglican Unscripted Episode 68

Mar 22, 2013

Dust off the Herald Trumpet and dry clean your vestments as we have a new Pope and a new Archbishop of Canterbury this week, meanwhile your AU hosts refuse to gush and talk at the same time. Also this week there are more details regarding the scandal over the elections in Tanzania and news from the Jersey shore... the other Jersey shore. Kevin talks with a special guest and George breaks next weeks top story this week.

'Out of our own traditions, and into the waves': the Archbishop of Canterbury's inaugural sermon

Mouneer Anise: Challenges facing the new Archbishop of Canterbury

Anglican Head Justin Welby Admits Gay Friends' 'Loving Relationships' Have Challenged Him

Catholic Church, Facing U.S. Priest Shortage, Now Using Anglican Converts To Serve Parishes

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Scrolling around...March 21, 2013

Big Three Networks Ignore Abortion Doc Who Snipped Babies’ Necks
ABC, CBS, and NBC’s morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which began on Monday. Gosnell is charged with murdering seven babies who were born after viability in his rundown abortion facility. The Big Three also gave the story minimal coverage back in January 2011, after the Philadelphia physician was arrested. ABC completely ignored it, CBS Evening News aired one full story, and NBC gave just 50 words on Today...

“Kermit Gosnell, Nihilism, Tolerance, and The Evil of The Blur”

Mark Steyn: The UnMourned

Pakistan: Christian girl rescued from forced conversion, marriage
A Pakistani court has annulled the forced marriage of a 14-year-old Christian girl to her Muslim abductor. Rafia Mansha was kidnapped in December and forced to convert to Islam.    Another Christian teen, Ryan Stanton, fled Pakistan with his family after he was accused of sending a text message that blasphemed Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Stanton said that Muslim friends had taken his phone and sent the message.

TV's 'The Bible' again finishes No. 1 for night
History Channel's "The Bible" miniseries climbed back into the top slot in its third week Sunday (March 17), finishing No. 1 for the night among all broadcast and cable programs thanks to an increase in viewership...

Study: Homeschoolers Are Healthier, Happier Than Public, Private School Students
A first-of-its-kind study conducted by the National Jewish Health (NJH) in Denver, Colo., reveals homeschoolers are happier, healthier and perform better academically and socially because they get more sleep.

For more than 20 years, researchers have studied the sleeping patterns of teenagers, especially high school students who wake up early for extra-curricular practices and then go to bed late after completing their homework.

Lisa Meltzer, a sleep psychologist and lead author of the NJH study, found students who are homeschooled sleep 90 minutes longer a night and wake up 18 minutes after traditional high schools have already started...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Scrolling around...March 20, 2013

Chinese Christians open smuggled bibles for the first time

Deceiver in Chief
Barack Obama’s most dangerous talent is his ability to make people believe he’s something he’s not. He is not recognized for whom and what he is, especially the fact that he does not like the country he’s governing. He is effective because he has successfully hidden his true objectives. He has convinced his followers that he has their interests at heart, that he cares about them and wants to help them. The key ingredient in his power lies in his ability to deceive. People do not want to believe that he does not like the country. Our country is in collective state of denial...

Kermit Gosnell on Trial for Abortion "House of Horrors"
Today is the second day in the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the infamous Philadelphia abortionist charged with murdering seven newborn babies and one young woman in a botched abortion due to overdose of anesthesia. Gosnell killed the babies with scissors after they had been born – and he wasn’t the only one...

Jack Hayford's Grandson, Missionary in Mexico, Home Safe After Being Kidnapped
Kyle Bauer of The Foursquare Church Tells Congregants He Preached God's Forgiveness to Captors...

No Country for Burly Men
How feminist groups skewed the Obama stimulus plan towards women's jobs...

Biden, Pelosi Stir Controversy by Taking Communion
Vice President Joe Biden and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi received communion during a Mass marking the installation of Pope Francis in Rome Tuesday, setting off a storm of controversy about whether they should have been denied communion because of their pro-choice stand on abortion.

Some Catholic leaders say Catholic politicians who break with the church on abortion should be denied the sacrament. The Rev. Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, a Catholic anti-abortion group based in the U.S., says, "Vice President Biden and Nancy Pelosi should certainly not receive communion, either at the papal installation or anywhere else...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Scrolling around... March 18, 2013

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States
Western news articles about female genital mutilation routinely assert that it is solely a cultural practice, not justified by any religion. Yet again and again we see Muslim clerics justifying it, and it is sanctioned in Islamic law...

CAIR tells School: Don't Criticize Hamas and the Taliban
CAIR Bullies Teacher Who Said Hamas and the Taliban Use Violence to "Bully People."

1,000 Students Riot at Catholic College
This is sad. 1,000 students at a Catholic college rioted last night. Why? It seems because they were all drunk.

Sadly, it seems that this isn't the first time University of Dayton students rioted on Saint Patrick's Day. In fact, it's happened so often that the university has worked to change the time of spring break so that students are home and not on campus for St. Patrick's Day. (That's getting to the root of the problem!?)

Why does the devil in 'The Bible' look exactly like President Obama?
We report, you decide. Actually, I watched it last night and it didn't cross my mind at the time. -PD

Disagree with Christians? That’s fine. But do not silence them
...As Canada becomes increasingly secularized, there is growing intolerance to people of faith. We see the trend prominently in recent news that the leader of the Official Opposition has publicly criticized a Christian relief agency for their moral beliefs on sexuality — something entirely unrelated to their humanitarian work. Such positions are “un-Canadian” we are told, despite the fact that millions of Christians (Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Conservative Protestants, and Evangelicals), Muslims, Jews and other religious groups in Canada hold the same beliefs. Never mind that we are Canadian citizens; insofar as we fail to conform to a set of approved public positions on this matter, we are expected to be silent...

How The New York Times Smeared Pope Francis Today
When Benedict XVI was pope, the New York Times ran a scurrilous, distortion-infested campaign intended to link the former Joseph Ratzinger with the awful abuse scandals that have so harmed the Catholic Church. These pieces were manifestly dishonest and substance-free when you read them through. But the Times editors know most people don’t read the articles — they read the headlines and the first paragraph...

The Way of Pope Francis
From the moment he walked out onto the Vatican balcony following the papal election, Jorge Mario Bergoglio forged an image all his own. Having lived a life of simplicity, the new Pope Francis wasn’t about to abandon it, even with the honor and prestige his new office brings...

For the first time since the Great Schism, ecumenical patriarch to attend pope's inaugural Mass
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I will attend Pope Francis's inaugural Mass. The Ecumenical Patriarchate Press Office informed AsiaNews about the decision, noting that this is the first time such an event occurs since the Catholic-Orthodox split in 1054, an important sign for Christian unity...

...Relations between Catholics and Orthodox have been improving since the Second Vatican Council through mutual visits, acts of friendship and theological dialogue.

Under Benedict XVI, the dialogue picked up in earnest after a lull. In trying to promote it, the pope suggested ways to express the primacy of Peter's successor that could be acceptable to the Orthodox, finding his inspiration from the undivided Church of the first millennium...

What your hotel knows about you
...What has changed, in this brazen new world, is the sheer amount of data that hotels now collect on guests, and the often startlingly personal nature of that data. With the explosion of social networking, and our increasingly unguarded presence online, profiling guests has become a lot easier, and a hell of a lot more effective...

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Defends & Criticizes Radical Theologian in Anglican Controversy

Mark Tooley
March 15, 2013

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Shannon Johnston on March 15 defended his sponsorship of a diocesan event hosting radical Jesus Seminar writer John Dominic Crossan even though he called some of Crossan’s beliefs “offensive.” Meanwhile, a prominent Anglican pastor of a former Episcopal church in Virginia has severed his “peacemaking work” with Bishop Johnston over Crossan. The controversy was originally sparked by a report of Crossan’s presentation at a Northern Virginia Episcopal church by IRD Anglican staffer Jeff Walton.

“Admittedly, Dr. Crossan is quite controversial with respect to some of his views concerning Jesus’ life, the historical context, and the resulting theology of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection,” Bishop Johnston said in his public statement. “But these very controversies are precisely why I believe it is important to have the opportunity to hear directly from him, to think critically (in the larger sense of the word) about what he has to say, and to ask probative questions so as to gain the clearest possible understanding.”...   the rest

Churches and Christianity’s Critics
Should churches and related institutions ever sponsor speakers who reject key tenets of Christian faith?

A Jesus Seminar radical theologian’s appearance at a Northern Virginia Episcopal Church under sponsorship by the Diocese of Virginia has rightly sparked controversy. Bishop Shannon Johnston defends the sponsorship of Crossan’s “provocative” beliefs even while calling some of them “offensive,” such as rejecting Christ’s bodily resurrection. Johnston seems to think that Crossan, even when not countered by a defender of orthodox faith, is a legitimate teacher for Christian clergy and laity. His is a conventional liberal Protestant view that often sees the church not as unique proclaimer of Gospel but a host for dialogue...
Fifteen years ago I attended a Jesus scholarship conference at United Methodism’s Duke Divinity School. Crossan was a featured speaker, as was fellow Jesus Seminar pundit Marcus Borg. Only one orthodox scholar was included as a panelist, N.T. Wright. At the start, the seven authors were asked which Gospel stories definitely were not true. Crossan cited the Last Supper, the 12 disciples, and the Lord’s Prayer, all of which the early church invented as part of its “crisis management.” Cleverly, Wright responded that the gnostic Gospel of Thomas was untrue.

All but Wright denied Jesus’ bodily resurrection, with one comparing stories of resurrection to sightings of Elvis. Crossan agreeably said. “It doesn’t matter where Jesus’ bones are. It doesn’t matter where Elvis’ bones are either because Elvis is still around. The real question is: Why is Elvis important? Faith doesn’t need superstition.” He denied that the early church believed in bodily resurrection, showing himself more ideologue than scholar.
Raymond Dague: The Theology of Heresy in Central New York
[Raymond wrote this back in June 2005 when we heard that Bp. Skip Adams had invited Marcus Borg of the Jesus Seminar to come and speak to CNY clergy. It was one of the main reasons I started my blog; to help get the word out about the ongoing deconstruction of Christianity in the Episcopal Church. It is interesting to read this if only to remember what what going on at the time: clown masses, druid priests, "women's eucharists" etc. -PD]

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chaplains sing Doxology

Mar 17, 2013

Pope Francis appears for first angelus

By John Bingham and Nick Squires in Vatican City
March 17, 2013

"Thank you for your welcome, and for your prayers," the first pope from Latin America said from a window of the papal apartment high above the square. "Pray for me," he added.

Dozens of flags from Francis's native Argentina were waving in the crowd as the former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio recited the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer, the first of his papacy.

The occasion has traditionally been a moment to comment on international issues, but Francis instead used the occasion to emphasise his Italian roots... the rest

Pope Wades Into Crowds, Surprising Onlookers
Walking up to crowds, shaking hands with surprised bystanders in the street, mixing his formal speeches with off-the-cuff remarks, Pope Francis stamped his own style on the papacy Sunday...

Pope Francis in 2005: Defend the right to life even if they ‘have you killed’

Friday, March 15, 2013

Scrolling around...March 15, 2013

Francis' Agenda: "To Walk, To Build, To Profess Christ Crucified"
Here, a Vatican English translation of Jorge Mario Bergoglio's first extended message on Peter's chair – which, in a shift from papal protocol, wasn't delivered from the chapel's throne, but with the new Pope standing at the pulpit (above), sin miter... not to mention a braccio (that is, off-the-cuff)...

The Pope From Beyond the Seas
Philip Jenkins "...In crude terms, the choice of Cardinal Bergoglio meant symbolically picking a pope from the Global South, while in fact opting for the most European alternative and the closest thing to an Italian..."

The First American Pope
 George Weigel: "The swift election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, S.J., as bishop of Rome is replete with good news — and not a little irony. To reverse the postmodern batting order, let’s begin with the good news..."

Dr. Albert Mohler Reflects On Pope Francis
"Well, that’s why I think being a Jesuit indicates a deliberate kind of activist distinction from that. John Paul II was a philosopher. Benedict was a true theologian. I mean, he was heart and soul committed to doctrinal theology as his focus. And I think what you’re going to find in Francis is probably going to be a more pastoral activism, which evidently the College of Cardinals thought that the Roman Catholic Church needed at this time."

Obama couldn’t eat at Hill meeting without food ‘taster’
...“Unfortunately, you know, the president can’t,” said Collins when asked if Obama ate at the lunch meeting.
“He looked longingly at it,” Collins continued. “He honestly did look longingly at it, but apparently he has to have essentially a taster, and I pointed out to him that we were all tasters for him, that if the food had been poisoned all of us would have keeled over so, but he did look longingly at it and he remarked that we have far better food than the Democrats do, and I said that was because I was hosting.”...

Obama's Approval Ratings Worldwide Plummet from 2009
By the time Barack Obama reached his fourth year in office in 2012, the world had grown far more disenchanted with American leadership, according to a new Gallup poll. Obama's erstwhile worldwide popularity dipped by the end of his first term. In 2009, 130 countries were polled, and the median approval level of United States leadership was 49%. That number dropped to 41% in 2012, which was approaching worldwide approval numbers posted for George W. Bush’s last two years, when his numbers stood at 38% in 2007 and 34% in 2008....
Obama’s Second Term Troubles Have Begun

Bishops to Meet With Gov. Cuomo to Stop His Bill for Late-Term Abortions
...The Catholic Bishops of New York State will meet with Cuomo on Tuesday at the State Capitol in Albany. Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, will be unable to attend the meeting as he will still be in Rome, where Pope Francis’ formal Mass of Installation will be held that same day...

MOVIES: The profanity counter vs. the eye-rollers
...At the end of a press screening for some R-rated film, I discussed the subject with a fellow critic who views movies from a decidedly secular viewpoint. As I often do, I brought up the picture's offensive language. He said he didn't mind bad language in a film ... so long as it wasn't gratuitous. A bit perplexed, I remember responding, "They used the f-word nearly 70 times. How gratuitous does it have to get?" He had no answer. But at least he was gentleman enough not to roll his eyes...

Court Rules Fifth Grader Can Invite Classmates to Church Party
A U.S. Appeals Court ruled on Tuesday that a then-fifth-grade student should have been allowed to pass out fliers to her classmates to invite them to a Christmas party at her church as it wouldn't cause "substantial disruption."...

Hateful school play mocking Bible and religion with blatant homosexual themes attracting national attention
...The school is performing the play, "The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told," by Paul Rudnick. It's billed as a "comedy." But it's described by many as "blasphemous and hateful." The play retells stories from the Bible using homosexual characters in a pornographic and mocking fashion.

The play begins with a retelling of Genesis using a homosexual couple, Adam and Steve, instead of Adam and Eve, along with other homosexual characters who are are very sexually explicit in their speech and actions. As one review puts it, this re-telling of Genesis "gets so specific as to be a gay how-to sexbook."

It includes a depiction of Steve having a sexual relationship with an animal during the Noah's Ark scene. After several other hideous defamations of Bible stories, the first act ends with Adam and Steve being two of the wise men at the Nativity. The second scene appears to be a modern-day depiction of the birth of Jesus in a New York apartment with the "wise man" Steve now being HIV-positive and the pregnant Mary being a lesbian who (among other things...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Scrolling around...March 14, 2013

America’s New Theocracy: Liberals and the Gospel of Banning
Please take a pew while we kneel reverently and pray the Gospel of Banning.

Guns. Soda. Salt. SUVs. Trans Fats. Plastic bags.

Have I mentioned:

The Bible.
Rush Limbaugh.
Conservative talk radio.
Fox News.
Plastic bags.
Shark fin soup.
Paper Bags
The internal combustion engine.
Incandescent light bulbs...

City University of New York officials raised some eyebrows last week when they revealed that 80 percent of the high school grads who enroll in CUNY can’t read, write, or do basic arithmetic. If you’re a New York City high school grad, that means eight out of ten.

Not to worry: tests administered by the U.S. Dept. of Education show that, nationwide, only 30 percent of eighth-graders in the public schools—that’s just three out of ten—can read like eighth-graders.

Do you still wonder why Obama’s president?...

File:CMS Higgs-event.jpg
Physicists say they have found long-sought Higgs boson
...The elusive particle, called a Higgs boson, was predicted in 1964 to help fill in our understanding of the creation of the universe, which many theorize occurred in a massive explosion known as the Big Bang. The particle was named for Peter Higgs, one of the physicists who proposed its existence, but it later became popularly known as the "God particle."... image

White House tour move backfires on Obama
With Obama’s poll numbers dipping to near 50 percent, Republicans have seized on the issue, criticizing the president for canceling the tours as a stunt to hurt Congress, where lawmakers have long arranged White House tours for their constituents...

President Obama Meets with Hezbollah-Defending Groups ahead of Mideast Trip On Monday, President Obama prepared for his trip to the Middle East by meeting with around 10 Muslim and Arab officials that provided him with “recommendations.” The attendees included representatives from the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, two anti-Israel groups with a record of pro-Hezbollah advocacy. The meeting came four days after his meeting with Jewish leaders...

Germany To Legalize Anonymous Hospital Birth
The German government wants to allow women to use false names when giving birth in hospitals while still ensuring that children born this way can learn the mother's name after turning 16...

Porn is destroying a generation of young people: expert
An expert on sexual ethics and pornography has used a disturbing new report out of the UK to describe how the culture of easy access to pornography and sexual promiscuity is destroying a generation of young people... Scotland: “Police chief: If you don’t curb porn, number of sex crimes will rise”

Religious-based adoption services may be leaving Colorado
Religious-based adoption agencies might be forced to close when civil unions for same-sex couples become law.
A measure allowing civil unions for gay couples has cleared the Colorado Legislature and is headed to the governor's desk, where it's expected to be signed...

My father, the hate preacher: Nate Phelps on escaping Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps, whose bizarre protests have made his tiny church reviled around the world, has a terrifying hold over his congregation. But one escapee is now Fred’s fiercest critic – his own son...

Quiet thunder in Argentina

This profile of Cardinal Bergoglio first appeared in The Catholic Herald on October 7 2005
By Jose Maria Poirier
Wednesday, 13 March 2013

José Mariá Poirier explains why the self-effacing Archbishop of Buenos Aires may well be the next pope

What a surprise: it turns out that the main opponent to the unstoppable Joseph Ratzinger in the April conclave was none other than the severe, shy figure of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The revelation comes in the “secret diary” of one of their colleagues in the Casa Santa Marta – a cardinal’s account of the election published recently in an Italian magazine.

The spotlight the news has placed on Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio – whether or not it is true – will be agony for this notoriously media-shy Jesuit, whose face will have gone even redder with the speculation by vaticanisti that Bergoglio should now be seen as the leading contender to replace Benedict XVI when his time comes: the first Jesuit, and the first Latin American, in Church history to occupy the See of St Peter.

For Bergoglio’s enemies, the revelation will come as no surprise. It only proves, they will say, what we thought all along: that behind all that humility what Bergoglio really cares about is ambition. the rest

Pope Francis: A Disappointment for Catholics Who Don't Like Being Catholic
How can we tell that the conclave made a good decision in elevating Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the papacy? Exhibit A (through at least D): liberals are annoyed. But leftists' problems with Pope Francis, well-emblazoned as they were within hours of the announcement, reveal some crucial truths about the Church that even many Catholics are loath to confront...

Found this at First Things: Coincidence?

Francis I a friend to Argentine Anglicans
The Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Iglesia Anglicana del Cono Sur (Anglican Church of the Southern Cone), the Most Rev. Greg Venables, has applauded the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio saying the Argentine Archbishop is a devout Christian and friend to Anglicans, who has stood in solidarity with the poor against government corruption and social engineering.

In a note released after the election of the new Pope, Francis I, on March 13 Bishop Venables wrote:

“Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary. He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans. I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him."... 
Also: Justin Welby greets the 265th successor of St. Peter

Pope Francis on Same-Sex Marriage: 'A Move of the Father of Lies;' 'A Total Rejection of God's Law'
...Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made these observations in a letter to a group of monasteries in Argentina, in which he asked the sisters for their prayers in defeating the same-sex marriage legislation...

New pope slips out of Vatican for morning prayer visit

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam Franciscum

The First Latin American Pope: Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires

Pope Francis Makes His First Appearance

Abp. Chaput on New Pope: "A Man from the heartland of the Global Church"

Slideshow: Growing Up Argentine: Pope Francis

New pope elected: Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina
Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church today, and said he would take the name Francis I.

Pope Francis, 76, appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica just over an hour after white smoke poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel to signal he had been chosen to lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics...

The New Pope: Bergoglio of Argentina
...Formerly the head of the church’s influential Jesuit order, Francis is known as a humble man who led an austere life in Buenos Aires. He was born to Italian immigrant parents and was raised in the Argentine capital...

Wikipedia: Pope Francis

Pope Francis, first South American pontiff, cheered by crowd
Throngs jamming St. Peter's Square roared with joy as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, stepped onto the balcony as the new pope and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The crowd grew silent as Bergoglio, 76, recited the Lord's Prayer and a Hail Mary.
"Let us pray for the whole world," he told the crowd.
"I ask you a favor: Before the bishop blesses the people, I want to ask you to ask the Lord to bless the bishop," the new pope said, according to a translation by NBC News. "Please, pray in silence for me."...

Vatican sends first tweet under Pope Francis I
The official Twitter account for Pope Francis has sent out its first tweet under the new papacy.

"Habemus papam franciscum," tweeted the pope's official account @Pontifex. The Latin phrase translates to "we have a new pope [Francis I]."

The Twitter account for the Vatican was changed to reflect that a new pope had been chosen shortly after it was announced from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City...