Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekly News In Review


May 18 - Pope: Mary, Star of the Sea for Genoa and the young
Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

He recalled that his predecessor Benedict XV, who was from Genoa, was so devoted to the Virgin of the Guard that he had a statue of the Virgin placed in the Vatican gardens (see photo). "I myself", the pope said, "pray every day in front of that statue".

Benedict XVI recalled the words of Mary in her apparition to a farmer, Benedetto Pareto, urging him to build the shrine without fearing the difficulties: "Trust in me! You will not be without the means to do so. With my help, everything will be easy for you. Only keep your will firm".

The pope continued: "'Trust in me!' Mary repeats these words to us today. An ancient prayer, deeply rooted in the popular tradition, has us address to Her these trustful words, which today we make our own: 'Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession, was left unaided'. It is with this certainty that we invoke the maternal assistance of the Virgin of the Guard over your diocesan community, over your pastors, consecrated persons, lay faithful: the young, the families, the elderly. We asked her to watch, in a special way, over the sick and all the suffering, and to make fruitful the missionary initiatives that are in preparation to bring to all the proclamation of the Gospel. Together we entrust to Mary the entire city, with its varied population, its cultural, social, and economic activities; the problems and challenges of our times, and the efforts of those who are working for the common good".

Before the Marian prayer, he invoked the protection of Mary "Star of the Sea" over the city and above all over the young people, "that they may follow, with her help, the correct route through the often stormy sea of life".



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April 24 - Update: Lakeland Revival Intensifies
Article: Experience Based Christianity

Thousands of people longing for a physical or spiritual touch from God are flocking to central Florida for ongoing revival meetings that some have dubbed the "Lakeland Healing Outpouring." The services, which are being broadcast live daily on GOD TV to millions of potential viewers, reveal the excitement radiating from this area of the Sunshine State, prompting some people to jump on planes and fly in from across the country and even from abroad.
The 700-seat sanctuary of host pastor Stephen Strader's Ignited Church can no longer contain the crowds. More than 1,000 worshipers stood inches apart at Friday night's service, jamming every aisle and altar area. Their bodies rocked back and forth, and their faces wore peace-filled, lovesick and euphoric expressions.
John Arnott, who pastored the historic revival ignited at his Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in 1994, wrote in a letter last week to Bentley: "Todd, you need to keep going in these meetings as long as the Lord is moving. I feel that this is a prophetic sign that another wave of revival is coming to North America."
Kilpatrick added that revival is not something that can be controlled and that people hungry for God need to simply ask Him to touch them. "I feel in my spirit very strongly that there's another wave of the Holy Spirit coming, a tidal wave of the glory of God," he said, stifling his sobs on the phone. "I'm sorry, there's nothing like the presence of God. It has ruined me for life."
"What is happening is so much bigger than anyone in this building," Bentley said from the stage where he was kneeling. "I hear the angels joining in. . The Holy Spirit is taking over."
Bentley, who looks more like a gang leader than the founder of a Christian ministry, came to Lakeland on April 2 and has shown no sign of leaving since an angel, he said, visited him the day after he arrived. Prophetic minister Bob Jones told Bentley he believed the angel's name was "Winds of Change"--the same angel, Jones said, that visited healing evangelist William Branham in the 1940s.


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May 20 - Buddhists, Christians Consider Point of Union
Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting With Roman Catholics

ROCCA DI PAPA, Italy, MAY 20, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Buddhists and Christians can find a point of unity and understanding in the Buddhist concept of compassion and the Christian understanding of love, concluded experts at an interreligious dialogue meeting.

The Buddhist and Christian representatives, gathered April 26-30 in Rocca di Papa, near Rome, by the Catholic lay Focolare movement, considered the unifying elements in their respective traditions.

Focolare Father Cinto Busquet spoke with ZENIT about the importance of the meeting: "The sincere and radical openness to the religious experience of the other, on the base of love and compassion lived among us, has permitted being able to have together a shared experience of God, who has illuminated both us Christians and our Buddhist brothers."

"Certainly, and following their tradition, our Buddhist friends do not speak of God, but rather of Buddha or Darma, but both we and they have been able to speak with full liberty of the respective faith experiences, feeling welcomed and profoundly understood by each other in the infinite mystery of God," he said.

Ryoko Nishioka, from Japan, noted how the meeting was the third of its kind. He said it "had a special significance, since as Buddhists and Christians we have gone deeper into what Buddhist compassion and Christian love mean. I believe that in the practice of this love and understanding, we can find depth."


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May 22 - Pope Calls Eucharist History's Greatest Revolution
Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

VATICAN CITY, MAY 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the Eucharist brought history's deepest and most profound revolution.

The Eucharist has brought a social revolution, he affirmed, since believers gather before it, leaving aside differences in economic or social class, political convictions, sex and even preferences.

Meditating on the Eucharistic mystery, the Holy Father cited the phrase from St. Paul: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

"In these words," said the Pontiff, "is perceived the truth and the strength of the Christian revolution, the deepest revolution of human history, which is experienced precisely gathered around the Eucharist. Here people of different ages, sex, social condition and political ideas gather."

"The Eucharist can never be a private event, reserved to people chosen on the basis of affinity or friendship," he added. "The Eucharist is a public worship that has nothing of esotericism or exclusivity.

"We have not decided with whom we want to gather; we have come and found ourselves together with each other, gathered by faith and called to become one body, sharing the only Bread that is Christ.

"We are united beyond our differences of nationality, profession, social class, political ideas: We open ourselves to each other to become one in him."

The feast of Corpus Christi, he concluded, "reminds us above all: To be Christians means to come together from all parts to be in the presence of the only Lord and to be one in him and with him."


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May 21 - Britain Is 'One Step to Closer to Designer Babies'
Article: Cloning And Genetic Engineering

Great Britain has passed controversial legislation that gives scientists the green light to pursue research with stem cells and human-animal hybrid embryos. Yet the country is still torn between supporting science and fearing a breaching of ethical boundaries. German commentators on Wednesday share this ambivalence.

In a 336 to 176 vote on Monday, an attempt to ban research using hybrid human-animal embryos was defeated. Scientists claim that such permission is necessary for them to continue looking for cures for diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, and that a shortage of donated human embryos forces them to look elsewhere.

Opponents from some religious and political camps, however, worry that permitting such procedures is not only unethical but also bound to fail. Lawmakers tried to dampen such fears by forbidding scientists from allowing hybrid embryos to develop for longer than 14 days and from being implanted in an animal or human for further development.

The issue of "savior siblings" concerns cases in which parents attempt to screen embryos and thereby "select" a child with specific characteristics so that that child might be able to help an older sibling suffering from a disease, for example, by donating tissue, bone marrow or an organ. Despite intense opposition, lawmakers authorized this type of screening by a 179- vote majority late Monday.

On Tuesday, lawmakers abolished the earlier legislation's requirement that a father be present in order for a woman to seek fertility treatment. This vote is seen as a move to make such treatment more readily available to lesbian couples and single women.



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May 21 - 5th Dogma a Marian Antidote
Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

The text includes the petition that asks the Pope to proclaim Mary as "the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race."

Q: Why do you think that the time is opportune for the declaration of a fifth Marian dogma?

The fifth Marian dogma would certainly improve the world situation through the prayers of Mary to her divine Son. Many believe that the danger of Marxist Communism was averted by the apparitions of Mary at Lourdes, Fatima, etc., and the consequent increase in devotion to Mary. The greatest threat that the Catholic Church faces today is consumerist relativism that has greatly affected the Western Church and even the Churches in Asia. I believe that it can be overcome by honoring Our Lady with the proposed dogma.

Almighty God is the Lord of history and he can always overcome the effects of disunity caused by human weakness. The Hindu communities in India are extremely open to the concept of "Mother," and they enthusiastically participate in the Marian devotions of the Catholic Church. The Orthodox Churches with whom we live together, already believe in this doctrine.

It will bring more peace built on justice in the world. It will give a new spurt to evangelization. It will bring about greater devotion to Mary and confidence in her intercessory power.

It will make Catholics realize that just as Mary, through the merits of Jesus Christ, has become co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate for the whole human race, we too share in Mary's threefold roles for the salvation of humankind.

Even though the content of the proposed definition is clearly taught by the Fathers and doctors of the Church, such as St. Alphonsus Liguori in his work "Glories of Mary," an infallible definition by the Pope will help deepen the confidence of the people of God in Mary's role as co-redemptrix, mediatrix of all graces and advocate.


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May 23 - Chimpanzee should be a legal person, animal rights activists say
Article: Creation / Evolution - Creation / Evolution Debate

.- Animal rights advocates are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights to declare a 26-year-old chimpanzee named Matthew to be a legal person.

British teacher Paula Stibbe and activists with the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories want to declare Matthew a person so that Stibbe may be appointed his legal guardian if the bankrupt animal sanctuary where Matthew lives in Vienna shuts down, the Evening Standard says.

"Everybody who knows him personally will see him as a person," said the 36-year-old Stibbe, who was born in England but lives in Vienna.

"Since he has no close relatives, I am doing this as the person closest to him," she said, according to the Evening Standard.

Matthew's supporters argue that only legal personhood will ensure he is not sold to someone outside Austria, where he is protected by the country's strict animal cruelty laws.

Eberhart Theuer, chief legal adviser for the Association Against Animal Factories, advocated on behalf of the chimpanzee, saying, "His life depends on this decision. This case is about the fundamental question: Who is the bearer of human rights? Who is a person according to the European Human Rights Charter?"



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May 22 - RFID scanners coming to border this summer
Article: Technology For A Global Monetary System

Radio frequency sensors are set to go up at Rio Grande Valley border crossings this summer and fall, preparing the ports of entry for stricter entry requirements next year.

Known as RFID, or radio frequency identification, the sensors will be able to detect microchips embedded in new passports, border crossing cards and visas. Those with older passports will not be able to drive or walk through so easily, though - only passports, border crossing cards and visas issued in the past couple of years are equipped with the microchips.

The microchips will allow U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to pull up a traveler's information moments before a vehicle or pedestrian approaches an inspection booth. In many cases, travelers won't need to remove the cards from their pockets or purses.

"It'll make crossing the border easier while providing more protection," Mancha said.

Border officials were adamant the RFID sensors would not compromise personal information. Passports and other crossing documents only contain a serial number, which can be used to access data in a government-secured database, Mancha said. Passport and visa applications do include personal information such as Social Security numbers, though.

The RFID sensor technology is expected to cost about $160 million to install nationwide.



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May 21 - Israel: Russia may be selling Syria arms
Article: Israel And The Last Days

According to the reports, the talks will focus on arms sales - including submarines, anti-aircraft missiles, the latest model MiG fighter jets and advanced surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. Israel is particularly concerned with a Syrian request for long-range S-300 surface-to-air missiles that could threaten IAF jets flying on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.
The S-300 is one of the best multi-target anti-aircraft-missile systems in the world and reportedly can track 100 targets simultaneously while engaging 12 at the same time. Syria recently received 36 Pantsir S1E air-defense systems from Russia. Iran is believed to have already procured several S-300 systems to protect its nuclear facilities.

Officials said that Israel was working diplomatically with Moscow to prevent the sales, but that for the right amount of money, Russia would likely approve the sales in any case.

Israel is also extremely concerned about a possible sale of the Iskander surface-to-surface missile system. The Iskander is propelled by solid fuel and has a range of 300 kilometers, with accuracy of about 20 meters. "This would without a doubt be a major threat to Israel," one Israeli expert said.

Lastly, Syria is also reportedly interested in buying two Amur-1650 submarines from Russia. The Amur 1650 is a diesel-electric operated vessel and reportedly can strike salvo missile blows at multiple targets simultaneously.



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May 25 - Eucharist should make us attentive to needs of the poor, Benedict XVI teaches
Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

.- Speaking to pilgrims about the feast of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedict XVI said "the Eucharist reveals the true beauty of Christianity" and is "the school of charity and solidarity that should make us more attentive to the many people who struggle to procure their daily bread."

"One week ago our gaze was on the mystery of the Trinity; today we are invited to fix our gaze on the holy Host: and thus on God, the same Love. This is the beauty of true Christianity: The Creator and Lord of all things was made a grain of wheat in order to be sown on our earth, in the furrows of our history. He was made bread to be broken, shared, eaten; he was made our food to give us live, his own divine life."

The Eucharist, he said, is "the school of charity and solidarity. He who eats of the bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent before those, who also in our day, are deprived of their daily bread."

"We obtain this grace from the Virgin Mary, from whom the Son of God took flesh and blood, as we repeat in a celebrated Eucharistic hymn, set to music by the one of the greatest composers, Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine. Mary, who brought forth from her womb Jesus, who was the 'tabernacle' of living, imparts to us her own faith in the holy mystery of the Body and Blood of her divine Son, since he is truly the center of our lives."



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