Monday, 25 June 2018

Here's What It Takes to Be a Real Man

In answering this question, some might draw up the image of a rugged male with a tough-guy persona spitting out statements like, "Cross me and you will live to regret it!" Such is not the case from heaven's perspective. As the sixteenth-century church leader, Francis de Sales, pointed out, "There is nothing so strong as gentleness and nothing so gentle as real strength."

Real men do not revel in displays of anger, pepper their speech with vile words, or boast of their sensual prowess. Real men enshrine a life based on principles. They are disciplined, steady and patient, knowing "he who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city" (Proverbs 16:32). Real men are protectors, not predators: defenders of the weak, not abusers of those considered inferior.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Filipino bishops hesitant about priests seeking gun permits

After three priests were murdered during the last six months, Philippine officials say they have received gun carry permit applications from nearly 250 religious workers, including 188 Catholic priests – but some of the country’s bishops have raised concerns about a priest carrying a weapon.

In the Philippines, a person is only permitted to carry a firearm outside of their residence if they are under threat or if their life is in “imminent danger.” Normally, this would require a “threat assessment certificate” from the Philippine National Police (PNP), but certain professions – including priests, rabbis, journalists, and doctors – are exempt from this requirement as their jobs are considered to be inherently dangerous.

Friday, 22 June 2018

New Study Reveals That Marriage Is Good for Your Heart

Although through the years there have been many jokes about marriage, a new study says living with a married partner may help ward off heart disease and stroke, according to the news agency AFP.

Researchers combing through 20 years of data on more than two million people, aged 42 to 77, found that being married significantly reduced the risk of both afflictions.

Their findings were recently published in the medical journal Heart.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Trump to Order End of Immediate Immigrant Family Separations at U.S. Border

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order on immigration on Wednesday to end the immediate separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has sparked outrage in the United States and abroad.

An administration official said Trump would sign an order that would require immigrant families to be detained together if they are caught crossing the border illegally. Trump previously had insisted his hands were tied on the separation policy.

The order also would move parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings but would not end a "zero tolerance" policy that urges criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally, the official said.

John Piper Explains How to Find God's Will, 6 Ways to Discern

Discerning the will of God and His calling on one's life means yielding to a divine process, John Piper says.

In an episode of Ask Pastor John this week, the Reformed theologian and Desiring God founder responded to a college junior who was struggling to find God's will for her life, not knowing what to do other than pray.

Piper explained that for the Christian it is important to know how they are called.

‘Recreational sex’ poisons true love. Here’s why

St. Benedict in his Rule tells the monk that all the possessions of the monastery are to be treated with the same care that a monk would give to the vessels of the altar. The monk owns nothing, not even his own body, or his own will, says the saint.

The human body is a liturgical vessel. It is part of the sacrificial offering we bring to God, not just at Mass but throughout our lives: “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1).

Now, what do we offer to God upon the altar of sacrifice? Moldy bread and sour wine? How could that be something suitable for consecration? But the same question should be asked of that which a husband or wife offers to the other. Is it some artificially segregated portion of ourselves, sexual functionality separated from its procreative purpose or from the person as a whole? A hungry selfishness? Will they offer themselves in the totality of their human nature, body and soul, together with the children who may come? “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Mt 19:14)—let them come into being!

Australian priests say they’ll risk jail to protect seal of confession from new law

Catholic priests in Australia remain defiant after the passage of a new law requiring them to break the sacred seal of confession to report sexual abuse.

On June 7, the Legislative Assembly of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) passed legislation, backed by every political party in the chamber, extending mandatory reporting of child abuse to churches and church activities, including the Catholic confessional, starting March 31 of next year. South Australia will begin enforcing a similar law in October.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

How to Fight for Your Christian Rights in a Secularized World

No one should be able to stop you from speaking the gospel, "whether that's on Church Street, Wall Street or Market Street." The Alliance Defending Freedom is helping churches protect their rights to religious liberty with a new Church Alliance initiative. To find out more, watch this video.

Why the World Health Organization says Minecraft could ruin your mind

This week, the World Health Organization added “gaming disorder” to its list of International Classification of Diseases, drawing praise from one mental health expert who applauded the crucial first step in addressing a mounting epidemic.
“The World Health Organization’s decision to acknowledge the video game addiction is a good first step in addressing a growing problem,” said Dr. Michael K. Horne, director of Clinical Services for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington and alumni of the Institute for Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Another Church Burned, Destroyed by Religious Extremists

A church in Puducherry in southern India was set ablaze recently, after upper-caste Hindu neighbors had objected to worship services in the area.

Puducherry, formerly Pondicherry, was a French colonial settlement until 1954.

Pastor David Santosham and members of the Bible Presbyterian church in Karaikal District left for home after concluding fasting prayers on May 25.

At around ten past midnight, he received an anonymous call informing him that the church was on fire. "My rented flat is about five minutes away. I rushed immediately. The church was in flames," Santosham told World Watch Monitor.

Former pro football player prepares to take final vows as a nun

Every single vocation story is different, but Sr. Rita Clare (Anne) Yoches is probably one of the more unusual.

Sr. Rita Clare, who this month will profess final vows with the Franciscan Sisters T.O.R. of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother, was a four-time national champion professional football player prior to entering the convent.

Yes, that’s American football. (She was a fullback.) Nowadays, the only football Yoches is playing is the annual two-hand touch game she organizes with the 38 T.O.R. sisters she lives with in Toronto, Ohio.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Shocking New Snapchat Channel Should Terrify Every Parent

Last week, Snapchat introduced a new channel in its "Discover" section called, "Cosmo After Dark." And simply put, it is pornographic.

This is highly concerning, not least because huge numbers of teens use Snapchat to communicate with their friends. According to Cosmopolitan magazine, the new channel "is an X-rated weekly edition that goes live every Friday at 6 p.m. ..."

The worst part? There's no option—for parents or anyone else—to switch it off.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Beth Moore: 'Legalism Will Make a Liar Out of You'

Bible teacher Beth Moore recently tweeted to her nearly 900,000 followers one challenge she's faced as she's grown older:

Moore elaborated on the dangers of legalism:

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Why You Should Ban This Food Ingredient From Your Diet Right Away

The World Health Organization wants to wipe trans fats from the face of the earth. This week the global health institution recommended all countries ban trans fats within the next five years.

Some countries, such as the United States, already issued a trans fat ban. In 2015, the United States government warned the food industry to get rid of them within three years. That ban takes effect next month.

Trans fats, also called "hydrogenated" oils, are in processed foods, especially baked goods. They are an inexpensive way to prolong a product's shelf life.

However, trans fats have been shown to cause a number of health issues, including early death from heart disease. In fact, an estimated half a million people reportedly died as a result of consuming trans fats.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Northerners shut out of being clergy by biased Church of England, says Bishop

Aspiring clergy from the north of England are shut out by a biased Church of England due to their 'broad northern accents', according to the Bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North.

Bishop North told the Daily Telegraph that the priesthood favoured middle-class and well-spoken candidates over working class ones.

The bishop said that church officials report that candidates with broad accents were looked upon un-favourably by selection advisers.

German bishops to meet with Vatican officials on intercommunion topic

The Vatican confirmed Monday that a delegation of six German bishops and one priest will meet with Vatican officials, including the head of the CDF, later this week to discuss the issue of the reception of the Eucharist by non-Catholic spouses of Catholics.

The meeting will take place May 3 with Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Fr. Hermann Geissler, head of the department’s doctrinal section.

The German delegation, which includes Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising and Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne, will also meet with Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Fr. Markus Graulich, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Japan's Secret to Long Life Was Never Really a Secret

The Guinness Book of World Records recently identified Masazo Nonakaas of Japan as the oldest living man. He is over 112 years old. Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world, and some contribute this longevity to a Japanese concept known as "Ikigai," roughly translated from two words: "iki" which means "life," and "gai" which means "worth." While it's difficult to translate precisely, it refers to those activities and pursuits that give us a "reason to live" or "make life worth living". In one recent article, Ikigai was described as the intersection between "what you love, what you care about, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for." Many people believe this Japanese strategy for success and fulfillment is the new secret to happiness.

It isn't. "Ikigai" isn't new and it isn't even Japanese. The principles described in "Ikigai" are ancient Judeo-Christian values:

Doing What You Love and Care About:
We are generally happiest when working within our strengths. A popular assessment tool acknowledges this fact and helps applicants discover their assets and interests. Each of us is wired differently with strengths and weaknesses. We find the greatest joy and achieve the greatest success when we are allowed to work in disciplines that maximize our strengths. This truth is not new; it was described by the ancient, Biblical writers. According to Scripture, we have been gifted by God with specific talents and interests (1 Peter 4:10), and we find joy when we exercise our gifts (Romans 12:7-11).

Pentagon Warns of Major Incoming Cyberattacks—Are You at Risk?

Cyber experts have warned that within the next two or three weeks, the U.S. and other countries may face an even more widespread and damaging infrastructure cyberattack.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a Pentagon briefing that there has been a "2,000 percent increase in Russian trolls in the last 24 hours," following the coordinated military strike against Syria, according to the Christian Emergency Network (

If Bill Passes, Christians Could Be Imprisoned for This Act

A California bill with the aim of banning Christian books and resources which address issues of homosexuality and gender identity could pass in the California Senate as soon as late May, sources told CBN News.

Assembly Bill 2943 declares biblical books and Christian conferences dealing with biblical views on homosexuality or transgenderism as fraudulent, under the state's consumer fraud statute. Ultimately, penalizing those who share a traditional view on marriage.

Monday, 23 April 2018

33 Percent of Christians Under 45 Believe We "All Pray to the Same God"

In a time of confusion and postmodern "truth is whatever's true for you," Christians need clarity on the exclusive message of the gospel. Watch this informative and inspirational video, second in the free "Loving Lifestyle Evangelism" YouTube series, to help you and your church counter this and other errors deceiving multitudes.

Christian girl burnt alive in Pakistan after refusing to marry Muslim man

A Christian girl in Pakistan was burnt alive after refusing to marry a Muslim man and convert to Islam.

Asma Masih, 25, died in hospital on Sunday after turning down repeated proposals from a local Muslim man, according to a local media.

Her father, Yaqoob Masih, said Asma had gone to answer the door while working as a domestic help in Sialkot, north-eastern Pakistan, when she was attacked. Yaqoob, who was visiting the house she was working at, claimed he saw 'Rizwan Gujjar fleeing from the scene while Asma was engulfed in flames'.

Van Plows Into Multiple People in Toronto

A white van struck multiple people at a major intersection in Toronto's northern suburbs on Monday and police have taken the driver into custody, police said on Twitter.

Police in Canada's largest city initially said eight to 10 people had been injured but later said it was unclear exactly how many had been hurt or the extent of their injuries.

It was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by the driver or a traffic mishap.

Italy grants Alfie Evans citizenship in hopes of transfer to Rome

On Monday a hospitalized British child at the center of a heated legal battle was granted Italian citizenship, part of an effort to delay shutting off his life-support, and to transfer him to a Roman hospital for additional treatment and medical evaluation.

Two-year-old Alfie Evans suffers from an unidentified degenerative neurological condition and has been under continuous hospitalization since December 2016.

On Monday the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene in what has been a highly sensitive and complicated case, paving the way for Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where Evans has been receiving care, to shut off the infant's life support.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Syrian state TV claims rebels are set to quit enclave near Damascus

Syrian state TV said on Saturday that rebels had agreed to surrender an enclave northeast of Damascus and go to opposition areas at the border with Turkey, a withdrawal that would clinch another victory for President Bashar al-Assad.

There was no immediate comment from the rebels in the eastern Qalamoun pocket of territory northeast of Damascus.

Smoke rises from Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus.
Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, is seeking to recover control of the last few rebel enclaves near Damascus, building on momentum from the defeat of the insurgency in the eastern Ghouta, the last major opposition stronghold near the capital.

The eastern Qalamoun area is 40 km (25 miles) from Damascus and includes several towns an expanse of mountainous territory.

The Single Solution to Destroy a Stronghold Once and for All

Admittedly, I'm a sucker for a nice lawn. I like the grass to be thick and green, borders to be edged and no weeds in between. The edges are easy, but the weeds can seem impossible to control. As many of us know, without the proper care, these often-unsightly nuisances can eventually take over. And they have a penchant for coming back, over and over again. Cutting them down, or even casually plucking them out is only a temporarily solution. To fully remove a weed, you have to get to its root.

The Root of Strongholds

The struggles and strongholds in our lives are much like weeds. They come in all kinds of appearances. Some initially look nice and flowery, others, however, are ugly and prickly. Whatever their appearance, they are all enemies and aim to choke out everything healthy. Their removal is the same, too. Only casually dealing with a stronghold might mask its symptoms for a time, but it will come back with a vengeance if the root isn't destroyed.

As I discuss in my book, Activating the Power of God's Word, the root of a stronghold is often a lie planted somewhere in the past. As the lie grows, a "means of relief" eventually presents itself, which can include money, fame, substances or even unhealthy relationships. Finally, after falling to these pressures, guilt and shame then kick in, accompanied by more lies, which eventually lead back to the old, familiar crutch. And on and on the cycle goes.

Chicago church leaders unite to oppose massive tax threat to religious groups

Religious leaders in Chicago are fighting to end a lawsuit filed by an atheist group that would impose upwards of $1 billion in taxes for churches around the nation.

The lawsuit, Gaylor v. Mnuchin, was filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The case aims to end the parsonage allowance, a federal tax provision used by religious establishments such as churches, mosques, and synagogues, which offers a housing allowance to help religious leaders live in the communities they serve.

Friday, 20 April 2018

How a new Utah law is promoting marriage prep classes

Utah is encouraging its citizens to better prepare for marriage by discounting the cost of marriage licenses for couples who complete marriage preparation classes.
The law, signed March 20 by Utah Governor Gary Herbert, will discount marriage licenses by $20 for couples who complete at least three hours of premarital counseling or six hours of premarital classes at least 14 days before applying for a marriage license. These services may be provided by either religious or secular organizations.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Lisa Bevere: The Battle of the Sexes Can Be Solved With Dominion, Not Domination

Lisa Bevere says men and women don't have to fight or be at odds with one another. She says both sexes are currently fighting to dominate the other—when what the Bible prescribes is actually dominion. Find out what she means in this video.

Why We Must Stop the Left's War on America

Those of us who oppose the radical left's agenda too often respond by attacking singular issues, without regard for the greater battle being waged. If there's one consistent beat to which the radical left marches, it is the demonization of Western civilization.

Non-leftists have failed to produce an antidote to this far more poisonous message. Schools have been brainwashing impressionable minds for decades yet, suddenly, we're shocked at the lack of knowledge our young people have about this nation, its founding, its laws and the tremendous strides it has made for humanity.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Watch for Symptoms of These 10 Types of Damaged Souls

One of the things Jesus did was take all emotional upheaval and wounds in your place. His unfailing love and perfect work empowers your freedom. You must not and cannot get trapped in condemnation and self-righteousness. Having a strong understanding of God's grace and goodness will empower your recovery.

Part of maturing in the new nature is accessing new ways of thinking. The Word of God becomes the road map to proper thinking and therefore opens the gateways to kingdom living. Once you think differently, you live differently. Renewing the mind is not a single-step process but a journey of continual change, growth and renewal.

Here is a list of 10 types of damaged souls, their symptoms and Scripture passages to renew your mind and put you on the path toward proper thinking.
  1. Conflicted soul: Unable to make rational decisions, tossed to and fro, highly unstable and overly emotional

Syrian patriarchs condemn 'unjust aggression' of Friday allied airstrikes, ask for prayers

The airstrikes carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against Syria on Friday constituted “unjust” and “brutal” aggression, the patriarchs of the major Christian Churches in Syria have said in a joint statement.

President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes along with the U.K. and France in a joint show of military force following the suspected use of chemical warfare by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A total of 105 missiles targeted chemical weapons facilities in the country late Friday night.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Millions to be without electricity by 2030, report warns

Double the population of the USA and the UK will be without electricity by 2030 unless governments invest more in renewable energy, a new report is warning.

'Faster progress is needed,' the report by Christian charity Tearfund stresses, as it calls for three-quarters of energy investment to be made in renewable sources.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Archbishop Fisher: Priests will suffer punishment before breaking confessional seal

Amid attacks on the seal of confession in Australia, Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has said priests will suffer punishment before betraying their sacred obligations.

Confession “is threatened today both by neglect and attack. But priests, we know, will suffer punishment, even martyrdom, rather than break the seal of Confession,” Archbishop Fisher said April 1 during his homily for Easter Sunday at St. Mary's Cathedral in Sydney.

“For Confession is a privileged encounter between penitent and God; here the Christian enters the silence and secrecy of the Tomb, to be re-Eastered; and no earthly authority may enter there.”

BREAKING: Ted Cruz grills Facebook’s Zuckerberg for censoring conservatives

During Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the United States Senate on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz grilled the Facebook founder about the social media giant’s alleged pattern of discrimination against conservative voices.

Cruz began by asking whether Facebook considers itself a neutral forum, to which Zuckerberg said Facebook views itself as “a platform for all ideas." Cruz followed up by noting that online services are not held liable for their content so long as they are a “neutral public forum.”

He then asked again whether Facebook considers itself a neutral public forum, or if it engages in political speech.
Zuckerberg answered that Facebook’s “goal” was “certainly not to engage in political speech.” Pressing further, Cruz told him that “a great many Americans” were “deeply concerned” that Facebook was engaged in a “pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship."

He cited several examples of Facebook suppressing conservative views from its trending news stories, such as stories on the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, and others. He also highlighted Facebook shutting down a Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day page, blocking more than two dozen Catholic pages, and classifying conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk as “unsafe for the community.”

Monday, 9 April 2018

Babies Born After IVF Treatments May Have Greater Heart Disease Risk

Children who are born with the use of intensive IVF treatment could have a greater risk of developing heart disease later in life compared to those conceived naturally, according to scientists who will make presentations at a U.K.-based group's conference this week.

The issue will be discussed at the annual conference of ISMAAR, which promotes education, training and research into mild approaches in assisted reproduction, to be held Thursday and Friday in London, Daily Mail reported, quoting the group's president, Prof. Geeta Nargund.

Fertility clinics administer high doses of powerful drugs to stimulate egg production, which could cause higher blood pressure and stiffness and thickness of arteries, according to some scientists.
The United Kingdom has about 66,000 IVF children, many of whom are suspected to be born through the "high stimulation" approach.

Syria 'chemical weapons' attack: Christian charity 'deeply alarmed' as West's response comes under spotlight

The West's response to atrocities in Syria came under the spotlight on Monday as horrific images purported to show a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town on Saturday.

If the death toll is confirmed it would be the worst chemical attack in Syria since more than 80 died in Khan Sheikhoun in early April last year.

Jaish al-Islam, the last remaining rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, has agreed to leave its base in Douma for an opposition-held area in northern Syria, after the chemical attack killed dozens of civilians.
US President Donald Trump warned there would be a 'big price to pay' for the attack in Douma, in the Eastern Ghouta region, near the capital Damascus, branding Syria's President Bashar al-Assad an 'animal'.

Pakistani doctor whose selfie with Pope Francis went viral is to become a priest

A Pakistani Christian doctor whose selfie with Pope Francis went viral is to train to be a priest.

Daniel Bashir, a 26-year-old medicin Karachi, told AFP that he took the selfie with the pope during a youth conference at the Vatican last month.

He presented Francis with an ajrak shawl, a traditional garment from Sindh province, and the two posed for the picture in which the pontiff can be seen with the gift draped around his shoulders and grinning broadly.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

US, Mexican bishops oppose Trump's plan to send National Guard to border

Bishops in both the US and Mexico have criticized the Trump administration’s plan to send National Guard troops to the southern border of the United States.

“The new measures on the border US-MX. Once again a senseless action and a disgrace on the administration,” tweeted Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio April 5.

“These measures manifest repression, [sic] fear, a perception that everyone is an enemy, and a very clear message: we don’t care about anybody else. This is not the American Spirit.”

Friday, 6 April 2018

Frustrated parents to pull kids out of school for a day as part of grassroots ‘sex ed sit out’

A grassroots movement of frustrated public school parents who want to end the sexualization of their children during class time has turned their frustration to action with a “Sex Ed Sit Out” protest on April 23.

The protest, launched by a few moms on social media who were troubled by the graphic nature of current sex education resources in schools, has grown into a global movement with protests being held in multiple U.S. cities and also Australia and the UK.

Parents are demanding to know why their children are being taught how to have anal and oral sex, masturbate one another, and question one’s gender. Caryl Ayala, a former public school teacher and organizer of the Austin, Texas, protest, said, “We are uniting with parents across the globe to demand that our rights as parents be respected regarding the teaching of sexuality and sexual orientation. Hands off our kids!”

#Hellgate: Cardinal Burke accuses Pope Francis of 'increasing confusion' over Church teaching

One of Pope Francis' most high-profile critics, Cardinal Raymond Burke, has accused him of 'increasing the confusion' in the Catholic Church following the pope's reported denial of the existence of hell.

Speaking yesterday to the Italian Catholic news agency La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana in an interview translated for Lifesite News, Burke labelled the Vatican response to the furore following the report atheist journalist Eugenio Scalfari 'highly inadequate'. It had said the pope was misquoted.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Christians Outraged as China Pulls Bibles From Bookstores to Comply With 'Values of Socialism'

The Chinese government has reportedly banned the sale of Bibles at online bookstores across the country to comply with a "white paper" that is dictating compliance with the "core values of socialism."

Australia's ABC News reported on Wednesday that copies of the Gospels have been disappearing from online retailers following the release of the "China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief" document.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Telltale Marks of an Abusive Church Leader

In all settings, both secular and religious, charismatic and non-charismatic, leaders can be abusive, taking advantage of their people and using them for all kinds of fleshly purposes, from financial gain to sex to control. But we charismatics can be especially prone to abusive leadership. After all, we do believe in "the anointing," and we don't want to "touch God's anointed," to sin against the man of God who is backed by the Spirit of God. And so abusive leaders can more easily take advantage of us.

In Psalm 105:15, God says, "Do not touch not My anointed ones, and do no harm to My prophets." Have you ever heard a pastor quote this verse, threatening you with divine judgment if you dared to differ with his authority? Has a self-proclaimed prophet warned you of the dire consequences of rejecting his words, using this very text? In reality, the verse has little (or nothing) to do with church leadership.

Irish policy aimed at Catholic schools raises fears of discrimination

A proposed policy in Ireland that would ban Catholic schools from prioritizing Catholic students on wait lists is being criticized as discriminatory, since it would not apply to other religious schools.

Faith in Our Schools, a newly-formed Irish group, says the proposal “openly discriminates against the conscience and educational rights of Catholic parents” and the “religious, autonomy, and associational rights of Catholic faith schools,” according to the Irish Times.

In Ireland, the Catholic Church runs more than 90 percent of schools, which also receive government funds.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

'YouTube Is Fighting God': Christian News Source Banned From Video Platform

TruNews was notified Monday morning by YouTube's cybercensors that the Christian news service was permanently banned from posting content on the social media site. The social media tech giant terminated TruNews' account.

YouTube slapped TruNews with "three strikes" based on newscasts recorded and posted online more than four years ago. One of the TruNews episodes that also offended YouTube's censors was Rick Wiles' 2017 movie review of The Promise: The Truth About the Armenian Genocide.

TruNews founder and anchorman Wiles blasted YouTube's censors as the "new Nazi tech tyrants."

4 Christians Shot Dead in Easter Monday Terrorist Attack

Four members of a Christian family who were visiting family in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan, were shot dead on Easter Monday. One of the victims was a woman. One young Christian girl was also injured in the attack and has been admitted to the intensive care unit of Civil Hospital Quetta as she fights for her life.

The attack happened at around 7 p.m. (3 p.m. GMT) when two men on a motorbike opened fire on a rickshaw containing the Christian revelers on Shah Zaman Road. The deceased family were all going out for a meal with other family members and had only traveled to Quetta to share Easter with them.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Church of England to consider 'animal baptism'

The Church of England is poised to consider the baptism of animals for the first time, it was announced yesterday Easter Sunday.

The ruling General Synod, which is next scheduled to meet in July, will consider an advisory report compiled by a panel of bishops and others entitled All of God's Creation.

Synod members will be asked to consider the implications of introducing a liturgy for pets 'in the light of an emerging consensus about the value of the environment and an increasing consciousness of animal sentience and awareness', the report says.

Speaking at a press conference to highlight the report's main findings, Rt Revd James Graham, the committee chair, said: 'The kingdom of God is about renewing all of creation, including the created order. It would be possible, therefore, to envisage a situation where dogs and cats and other pets could be ceremonially sprinkled with water to symbolise their full inclusion in the renewal of all things.'

Pope Francis says hell doesn't exist – but I know he's wrong

Hell does not exist, Pope Francis has been quoted as saying. If he did say this or something like it, perhaps as part of his wider mission to refashion the Catholic Church as more merciful than perhaps it has seemed in the past, there might be another way to interpret it, one more relatable to the direct experience of ordinary people out there.

The experience of people such as myself , people who have battled and (mostly) conquered some pretty serious and rooted personality flaws over many decades, is that hell does indeed exist. I'll leave questions around the afterlife to the theologians. For quotidian toilers such as me, it definitely exists in the here and now. And one message of Easter, the redemption of the Resurrection, is that it can be conquered, defeated, overcome – in the here and now.

Easter is a message of triumph over hell.
What the pope said was radical because hell and heaven have been, and are, seen as future consequences for our present actions. You will go to hell for this – but only when you die. It doesn't take me to point out how this can be abused by the unscrupulous to justify sin without apparent consequence, how it can be abused by authority, by parents, organisations both religious and secular.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

'Opportunities for conversion' - the liturgies of Holy Week

Any priest will tell you that Easter Sunday Mass is one of the most highly attended of the year, alongside Christmas Mass and, at least in the United States, Mass on Ash Wednesday. But Easter Sunday Mass, while popular, is not the only important or beautiful liturgy celebrated during the days of Holy Week and the Easter Triduum.

In fact, the liturgies of Holy Week are designed to foster in Catholics an intimate and historical connection to the Church, and to death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Timothy O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy, gave CNA insight into the symbolism and foundations to the Chrism Mass, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Tenebrae, Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, and Easter Vigil.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

How to get holy during Holy Week

As Catholics around the world are buying Easter candy and dyeing boiled eggs, two priests have offered suggestions for getting the most out of Holy Week.

 “The most important, I believe, is to take advantage of the opportunities of prayer, especially attending each of the Triduum liturgies,” said Fr. Gary Benz of the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D.

“I’m not sure if a lot of Catholics have ever attended all three liturgies – Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday Vigil – and experienced the whole paschal mystery in the passion, death and resurrection,” Fr. Benz told CNA.

James Goll: Satan Fights Dirty—How You Can Prepare

You have to run over the devil before he runs over you. You are standing on a battlefield (perhaps a different one than you were last year at this time). You may be standing in the middle of an army or you may be standing all alone. Are you just going to stand there, waiting to see what will happen? Or are you going to do something that will allow you to get and keep the upper hand?

Monday, 26 March 2018

Pope Francis Defrocks 9 Monks for Illegal Exorcisms, Following 'Prophetess' Who Heard 'Voice of God'

Pope Francis has defrocked nine monks of a monastery in Ukraine for performing exorcism prayers without authorization and for spreading messages from a nun who claimed God had spoken directly to her, according to reports.

The nine, who were from St. Theodore Studite's Monastery in the village of Kolodiivka in Ternopil region, refused to be corrected and "did not accept the admonitions of the Church authorities and refused to listen to them … (and) continued to violate the rules of the monks," the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church said in a statement, according to The Daily Mail.

Pope sends prayers for victims of attack in France, fire in Russia

On Monday Pope Francis sent his prayers and condolences for victims of an alleged terrorist attack in southern France, and for those affected by a fire inside a shopping mall in Russia which has killed at least 64 people.

A fire broke out on the top floor of the Winter Cherry shopping and entertainment complex in Kemerovo, Russia on Sunday afternoon, engulfing the building and collapsing the roofs of two cinemas, Russia’s Investigative Committee stated.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

This Sunday, where will the millions of palms come from?

With the arrival of Palm Sunday, Catholics across the globe will soon be handed leaves as they walk into church. Some might fold them into elaborate little crosses. Kids will poke each other with them. But it's safe to say most won't know where they came from.

The feast commemorates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem the week before his passion and crucifixion. The Gospels attest that as Jesus entered the city, crowds lay down palm branches and cloaks as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

For centuries, Christians have commemorated the feast day that begins Holy Week by waving branches of either palm or another local tree, as well as with liturgical processions and other celebrations.

In the U.S. alone, nearly 18,000 Catholic parishes will celebrate Palm Sunday by blessing and distributing palm branches to the faithful. That makes millions of palm leaves each year – and that doesn’t include all of the Protestant churches that observe the tradition.

Youth say they want a Church that's transparent, up-to-date

At the end of a week-long meeting held at the Vatican, young people from around the world have urged the Church to be more authentic, modern and creative in the way it interacts with young people, and in addressing controversial contemporary issues.

“We want to say, especially to the hierarchy of the Church, that they should be a transparent, welcoming, honest, inviting, communicative, accessible, joyful and interactive community,” the youth delegates said in the final document of this week's pre-synod meeting in Rome.

“A credible Church,” they said, “is one which is not afraid to allow itself be seen as vulnerable.”