Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pope Speaks Out Against Individualism


The Eucharist is the medicine which can heal our individualist society, Pope Benedict XVI said in his midday Angelus address on Corpus Christi Sunday.

“In an increasingly individualistic culture in which Western societies are immersed - and which is tending to spread throughout the world - the Eucharist is a kind of ‘antidote’ which operates in the minds and hearts of believers and is continually sowing in them the logic of communion, of service, of sharing - in other words, the logic of the Gospel,” said Pope Benedict to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square on June 26.

Catholics believe that the bread and wine offered by Christ at the Last Supper literally became his body and blood - and that this same miracle is repeated by priests at every Mass since. Hence the name of today’s festivity – "Corpus Christi" Sunday or "Body of Christ" Sunday.

“From the Eucharist,” observed the Pope, “the Risen Christ is truly present among his disciples and working with the power of the Holy Spirit. And in the following generations through the centuries, the Church, despite the limitations and human errors, has continued to be a force for communion throughout the world.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Eucharist as the “source and summit” of Christian life. As the Pope bluntly put it today, “without the Eucharist, the Church simply does not exist.”

Pope Benedict concluded by urging all pilgrims to turn to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was described by Pope John Paul II as the “Woman of the Eucharist.”

“At her school, our lives become fully ‘Eucharistic,’ open to God and others, capable of transforming evil into good with the power of love, striving to promote unity, fellowship, brotherhood.”

Faith-Based Frenzy: Kansas Governor Preaches Religion As Solution To Social Problems

Since Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s first day in office, he has made it clear that he no problems blurring the church-state line.

In January, he all but turned his swearing-in ceremony into a religious revival, and he noted his intention to use religion as a way to help the state face its economic and social problems. It now seems those plans are well on their way.

According to the Kansas City Star, Brownback has thrown his support behind a “faith-based” program intended to make sure parolees don’t go back to prison. Called Out4Life, the approach was developed in 2007 by Prison Fellowship, an evangelical Christian organization.

Out4Life doesn’t deny that it proselytizes. Pat Nolan, a vice president with Prison Fellowship, told the newspaper that Out4Life does “give [parolees] the goodness of the gospel,” but he insisted that they don’t have to accept Christ in order to receive help.

Americans United’s Senior Litigation Counsel Alex J. Luchenitser told the Star that Brownback is heading into constitutionally dubious territory.

“The states need to provide nonreligious re-entry programming that all inmates can comfortably take part in,” AU’s Luchenitser said.

Luchenitser knows this issue well. When Prison Fellowship took public funds to run an inmate counseling program in Iowa a few years ago, he argued the case that successfully challenged the program. (Americans United v. Prison Fellowship Ministries)

Prisoners should not be pressured by the state to listen to a religious lecture or participate in any religious activities, period. But Brownback doesn’t seem to care much about that constitutional concern and appears to be a on a crusade to impose religion on all Kansans.

Earlier this year, Brownback appointed Rob Siedlecki as secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Siedlecki served as senior counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Task Force on Faith-Based Initiatives during the George W. Bush administration. Like Brownback, he believes state government should use religion as a tool to address societal problems.

Brownback has also replaced other top staff members in the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Several of these positions, which were once nonpartisan, were replaced by partisan employees being moved in from Washington, D.C., and Florida.

The whole worries state officials, who admit to being uneasy with Brownback’s emphasis on “faith-based” solutions.

“I’m all for religion,” said Kansas House Minority Leader Paul Davis (D-Lawrence). “We have to be very careful with the state imposing that on people.”

Brownback should be careful, but that is probably too much to hope for. He is a longtime Religious Right ally and often appeared at far-right events. While serving in the U.S. Senate, he was a resident of the infamous “C Street House” and has always been a vocal foe of church-state separation.

In 2005, he told the Wichita Eagle that courts have “profoundly misinterpreted” the separation of church and state.

That’s where he has it wrong. The courts have simply held that the Constitution requires the government to remain neutral on religion. Brownback has no business pushing his beliefs on Kansans, including prisoners.


Other interesting past articles from Americans United:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Churches now promote Islam

Dozens of Christian churches, from Park Hill Congregational in Denver to Hillview United Methodist in Boise, Idaho, and First United Lutheran in San Francisco to St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Honolulu, are planning to send "a message both here at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about our respect for Islam" with a time to read the Quran during worship this Sunday.

It's not just wrong, but dangerous, according to Christian trends analysts.

The aim of the program, which is promoted by social activists behind theFaith Sharedwebsite, is to counter the message from Islamic activists who say opposition to their religion is the product of what they calla cottage industry of hate.

Sothe Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights Firstis calling on Christian clergy to read portions of the Quran during their services Sunday.

"Everlasting Hatred: The Roots of Jihad" – Hal Lindsey explains how 4,000-year-old struggle exploded on America's shores

The readings, supporters say, will "counter the anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases, violence."

Not so fast, says apprising.org religious trends analyst Ken Silva.

"I would think they need to have their spiritual heads examined. It's foolish to think that we're going to read something that originates with demons and read that in a Christian church," Silva said.

The action amounts to "spiritual treason," he asserted.

Pastors of participating churches declined to discuss their programs with WND.

But Silva said, "Second Corinthians 6:14-18(the verse warning against partnering light with darkness)says we're forbidden to do that kind of thing. It's one thing to be friendly with someone in Islam, but it's a whole other thing in a Christian community to be reading something that is antithetical to Christianity and is hostile to Jesus Christ himself."

Silva isn't the only analyst who has objections to the program. Worldview WeekendPresident Brannon Howse said he's not surprised with the development.

"I expect that of the mainline churches. Many of them have denied the essential Christian doctrines," Howse said. "They have denied the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. They have denied the inerrancy of Scripture; they've denied the inspiration of Scripture. So I'm not shocked that pagans would united with pagans."

His critique of what he sees as the failure of the mainline churches grew more severe.

"I'm not shocked that apostates would unite with apostates. I'm not shocked that people who practice the occult of Christian yoga or practice the occultism of contemplative prayer, which is another name for Transcendental Meditation," Howse said.

Howse said he believes Islam is also rooted in the occult.

"I am not shocked that an occultic religion of mainline liberal Christianity would lock arms with the occult of Islam. They're both steeped in the occult and paganism. So I'm not shocked by that at all," Howse said.

This article continues, see the source

Here's what the Spirit of prophecy says will happen:

"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near."

Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, P. 451

Monday, June 20, 2011

Europe Defending Sunday as a day of Rest

A defense of Sunday rest will be launched in Brussels on June 20 by the European Alliance on Sunday. “For the first time, trade unions and churches of Europe are on the same line.” The reasons for the alliance are both religious and socio-political says the Commission of the Bishops of the European Union (COMECE).

The protection of Sunday, whose disappearance in practice as a holiday, would restore an “age-old social benefit,” and denounce the new slavery of “those who work in department stores and entertainment centers.”

“Besides the Catholic Church, various Protestant institutions have joined the initiative.” Spain joined the Workers’ Brotherhood of Catholic Action (HOAC).

“In the last conflict the Sabbath will be the special point of controversy throughout all Christendom. Secular rulers and religious leaders will unite to enforce the observance of the Sunday; and as milder measures fail, the most oppressive laws will be enacted. It will be urged that the few who stand in opposition to an institution of the church and a law of the land ought not to be tolerated… Romanism in the Old World, and apostate Protestantism in the New, will pursue a similar course toward those who honor the divine precepts.” Maranatha, p. 188


Sunday, June 5, 2011