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Posts tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Fulani herdsmen attack Catholic Church, kill 35 persons in Taraba.


Suspected Fulani herdsmen yesterday killed 35 persons and burnt property worth millions of naira in an attack on Ikyo, Catholic Church, Agwaza, Kokonbo, Azer, Lijam, Akesa, Tyow Doshima, Tse Saka and Kwaghlando districts in Takum local government area of Taraba State.
A resident of one of the villages, Hon Peter Kaaov told newsmen on Sunday that the armed men identified to be Fulani headsmen numbering over 70 invaded the villages at about 2pm.
Kaaov, who said he fled with his newly wedded wife to Takum town, further said that over 16 persons were killed by the gunmen in other sorrounding villages while several others sustained various degrees of injuries.
He further said that the invaders were identified to be Fulani herdsmen who came from Benue as a result of the crisis between Tivs and Fulanis in that area.
The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Takum, DSP Aghogho Akpovwovwo, when contacted by other media house said he was not in the position to speak to the press.
Meanwhile, the Acting Governor of Taraba State, Alhaji Garba Umar yesterday donated relief materials to over 5,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking refuge in in different locations in Takum.
Umar, who was represented by the state executive secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), expressed sadness over the way the Fulani herdsmen are terrorising innocent people, and called on the refugees not to avenge the wrong done to them.
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Pope’s Simple Style Influencing Cardinal Fashion.


Image: Pope's Simple Style Influencing Cardinal Fashion

No glitzy gold, no rich velvet, no regal fur. Pope Francis’ pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers through it is a perfect fit for his call for simplicity and humility among his clergy.

The pope’s personal style — which earned him Esquire magazine’s “Best Dressed Man of 2013″ award — and his broader message of sobriety will be put to the test Saturday when he inducts 19 prelates into the College of Cardinals, placing the three-cornered red silk biretta on the heads of the new “princes of the church.”

Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man
For the festive occasion, cardinals are traditionally outfitted in scarlet from head to toe, from the silk skull cap to bright red socks, with a white lace embroidered surplice known as a rochet worn over the red cassock and underneath the mozzetta, or shoulder cape.

But with the “slum pope” now calling the sartorial shots, fashionistas and Vaticanistas are wondering how his new cardinals — who hail from some of the poorest places on Earth, including Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast — will dress themselves for their new role.

“What will make the difference at the consistory is how the cardinals interpret this traditional outfit,” said Raniero Mancinelli who has dressed cardinals and even popes since the early 1960′s from his tiny shop right outside the Vatican walls.

Will they splurge for the fancy, optional red silk cape favored by some first-world cardinals? Or will they go the route of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who according to clerical legend wore an altered hand-me-down cassock inherited from his predecessor for his 2001 consistory?

“The cardinals and priests are much more careful of shining and spend less on their clothes,” Mancinelli told The Associated Press. “The gilded miters are only in shop windows. This is a consequence of Francis. They want to show they are on the same pastoral page.”

Mancinelli, who is getting little sleep these days putting the finishing touches on outfits commissioned by several of the new cardinals, has some tips of what to watch out for on Saturday, when Francis will preside over the consistory formally welcoming the new cardinals.

Immediately noticeable will be how much lace is on the rochet, once sewn by hand — with a price-tag to match — but now often machine made. “This is the Francis effect,” he said of the cheaper version as he ran his fingers over a prototype.

Back in 2001 when the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he wore a simple rochet with only two thin bands of embroidered lace.

Another saving can come in the material used for the cassock itself. Once made out of precious silk and cashmere, the cassocks are now often synthetic: polyester for the red lining and territal, a synthetic wool blend.

“It costs less and also lasts longer, that’s for sure,” Macinelli said.

Once handmade, the 33 red buttons (representing the years of Christ’s life) are now more often than not machine made.

The cardinals’ red, it should be noted, isn’t just a fabulous fashion statement: As Francis will recite when he places the biretta on each prelate’s head, red symbolizes a cardinal’s readiness to sacrifice his life for the church and “to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood.”

Altogether, a cardinal’s outfit runs in the “few hundreds of euros, not few thousands,” Mancinelli said. One relatively reasonable add-on: a pair of red socks at 12 euros a pop.

Cardinal watchers might also want to keep their eyes on the pectoral crosses worn by the churchmen: When the Jesuit Bergoglio became a bishop in 1992, a friend bought him the simple metal pectoral cross he continues to wear as pope (having eschewed the gold-plated one offered to him the night of his election). Bergoglio’s metal cross was purchased in Mancinelli’s shop and identical versions are on sale for about 330 euros today.

And of course, there are the parties that follow the consistory. In the past, new cardinals have been known to have sumptuous receptions thrown on their behalf by donors, friendly religious orders or church institutions. They are meant to entertain the parishioners, friends and family who may have travelled long distances for the occasion. It should be recalled that when Francis was installed as pope, he asked his sister to stay home in Argentina and for his other countrymen to donate to charity the money they would have spent to travel to Rome.

In a personal letter sent to his new cardinals in early January, Francis asked them to accept his nomination with joy, but to “do so in a way that this avoids any expression of worldliness, or any celebration alien to the evangelical spirit of austerity, simplicity and poverty.”

Mancinelli said that ever since Francis became pope a year ago, there has been a bit of “belt-tightening” all around in clerical garb, due also to the global economic crisis.

But there will always be exceptions. Across the Tiber river from the Vatican and Mancinelli’s small shop is Gammarelli, tailors by papal appointment and founded in 1798. Gammarelli famously prepares the three white outfits — small, medium and large — that a newly elected pope picks according to his size to wear out onto the balcony of St. Peter’s after his election.

Sixth generation Lorenzo Gammarelli said Francis’ call for sobriety — which Esquire credited with subtly signaling “a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church” — hadn’t really affected business at all.

“Those who were simple before remain simple today,” he said. And vice versa. Speaking in front of the old world shop window decorated with the finest of scarlet cardinal garb, including that fancy red cape, he acknowledged: “Simplicity is not here.”

Francis: Who Is Pope Francis? Book Reveals the Man

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

A Nation Without Empathy By Femi Fani-Kayode.


By Femi Fani-Kayode

A few days ago (12th February 2014) in Borno state Boko Haram killed 60 innocent Nigerians and carted off 24 young girls without any trace. On January 27th 2014 no less than 70 innocent Nigerians were murdered in cold blood by Boko Haram in a series of attacks in Borno and Adamawa states.

On January 14th 2014 at least 50 innocent Nigerians were blown to pieces by a Boko Haram suicide bomber in  the heart of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Not too long before then they attacked an army barracks in Borno, killed 200 soldiers, carted off the wives and children of our military personnel and burnt the barracks to the ground.

A few weeks prior to that, numerous schools were attacked and hundreds of our children were either shot to death, hacked to pieces or had their throats cut and blood drained. Consequently many schools have been closed down in Borno and Yobe states respectively.

A few weeks back no less than 160 of our soldiers were killed by Boko Haram in one skirmish simply because they ran out of bullets. Worst still it has been generally acknowleged that the Boko Haram fighters are better equipped and better supplied than our soldiers. Goodness me….what a mess.

Finally no less than 130 churches were burnt down in Borno state in 2013 alone and the Catholic Church alone lost 53 churches out of that figure. All in all Nigeria has lost almost 8000 innocent civilians to Boko Haram in the last three years and that includes women and children. It does not however include the vast number of women that have been captured and kidnapped by them and that are now being used as sex-slaves.

All this and yet some complain about the fact that I recently wrote that we have a   ”President without balls” who is simply incapable of facing the challenge of Boko Haram. Given his accursed weakness in the face of what is undoubtedly the greatest insurgency and rebellion of our time since the civil war and given his inability to behave like a real Commander-in-Chief and to properly engage and crush the enemy, I do not regret my choice of words (or title) for that celebrated essay. As a matter of fact I ought to have gone much further because our President deserves far worse.

As I wrote in another contribution almost one month ago, ”the problem that we have is the President himself- a President who prides himself on his own weakness and incompetence and whose love of false prophets and strange women knows no bounds and has no end. A President who is as confused and as clueless as the comic character called Chancey Gardner in the celebrated 1970′s Peter Seller’s Hollywood blockbuster titled ”Being There”. A President who does not understand the meaning of the word ”class” or ”honesty” and who breaks his own word consistently. A President who has abdicated his responsibilities, destroyed his own political party, divided his own country, alienated his own friends, humiliated his own mentor, abandoned his own people, brought ridicule to his own faith, cowers before his own officials, betrays his own governors, scorns the international community and BREAKS HIS SOLEMN OATH TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE NIGERIAN PEOPLE. A President who does not even have the nerve or the guts to call to order any of the numerous Jezebels that control him. He is the problem we have in our country today and until he resigns, is impeached or is voted out of power nothing will change and Nigeria will continue to go from bad to worse. That is what you get when you vote for a man who never wore shoes to school’- (‘JONATHAN, TUKUR AND A GOVERNMENT OF JEZEBELS’, Premium Times, 19th January, 2014).

It is no wonder that President Goodluck Jonathan has been endorsed for a second term by a motely and hitherto unknown group known as the ”Witches and Wizards Association of Nigeria”. As my good friend and brother and the Kakaki Nupe, Mr. Sam Nda Isaiah, recently wrote in response to this rather strange ”endorsement” from an equally strange group- ”the devil is a liar”.

Each time a precious soul is snuffed out and a life is cut short by Boko Haram, whether that person be a christian or a muslim, or a northerner or a southerner, it takes something away from our collective humanity and it wounds our nation’s soul. Worse still it diminishes us before the entire world and confirms the fact that our country has been turned into a human abbatoir and slaughterhouse where, no matter how many innocents are butchered, no-one really cares anymore.

Such matters no longer even make it to the front pages of our newspapers anymore and neither do our politicians or newspaper columnists even talk or write about it anymore. All that stopped long ago and now we see such atrocities as a norm that we must just accept and live with. We have accepted it as our ”lot in life” and, as our President said last year, we regard it simply as ”Nigeria’s contribution to the war against terror”. Early in 2013 our President also said that he regarded Boko Haram as his ”siblings” whom he ”could not move against” whilst Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the erstwhile National Chairman of his political party the PDP, described them as ”freedom fighters”.  Can you imagine that? These are commendations from Mr. President and the then serving National Chairman of the PDP for Boko Haram barely one year ago. Jumping Jehoshaphat. It is only in Nigeria that a terrorist organisation can kill thousands of it’s citizens in the most brutal, violent and horrendous manner and yet the President and the National Chairman of the ruling party still feel comfortable and safe with calling them their ”siblings” and ”freedom fighters”. What a terrible insult this is on the Nigerian people and what a bitter pill to swallow for the family members of all those that have been killed in the last three years by these terrorists. I really do wonder whose ”freedom” Boko Haram is fighting for, whose interest they seek to further and protect and what blood ties exist between them and our President. What a shameful and insensitive set of leaders we have and what an indolent and insensitive followership who are not prepared to call them to order and keep them on their toes when they make such outrageous comments and who have absolutely no empathy with or sympathy for the many victims of Boko Haram.

The truth is that we as a people have lost all sense of compassion and decency when it comes to such matters and our feelings and conciences have become seared. To the majority of Nigerians those precious souls and compatriots that have been killed by Boko Haram over the last three years are just a number- they are nothing but distant names, from a distant place, belonging to distant figures.

There is simply no sense of national outrage from our people about this insidious rebellion and about these brutal killings and vicious attacks and neither is their any sense of urgency on the part of our government to bring it to an end. Given the way we conduct ourselves one would not have thought that Nigeria is currently enmeshed in the most brutal war against terror in it’s entire history.

Yet as we go on with our day to day business and act as if all is well thousands are being killed in the north-eastern part of our country by Boko Haram. There can be no greater evidence of man’s inhumanity to man when one considers our attitude. Such inhumanity and insensitivity to the plight of others has taken firm root in the Nigeria of today. What a monuemental tragedy this is. When did we, as a people, degenerate to this abysmal level of lack of empathy and when did we stop becoming our brother’s keeper?

As millions of Nigerians join the world to celebrate Valentines day today and indeed throughout this weekend, please let us spare a thought and say a little prayer for those whose loved ones will not be with them on this day, or indeed on any other day, simply because they have been murdered or kidnapped by Boko Haram.

May God heal their wounds and have mercy on them even as we grieve with them. And may God forgive our President and the majority of the Nigerian people for simply ”not giving a damn” about their sad and unfortunate plight.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Jonathan Urges Politicians To Put National Interest First.


Ruth Bamidele

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday en joined politicians in the country to place national interest above every other motives in the new year  2014, adding that they should make Nigeria great and leave a better country to the next generations.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The President made the call while speaking at the Catholic Church in Area 3, Abuja, where he observed his New Year Church service.

In his words, the president said, “All what we need to do is to make sure that we continue to do things right. That is why I always plead with my fellow politicians that yes we must play the politics but let us take the interest of the country more than our own individual interest. And as we continue to play the politics in that direction, leaders will come and go but the country will stay.”

He further added that, politicians should begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all energies on their own personal interests.

He also said that Nigeria has all it takes to be great and to provide leadership for the African continent.

“Luckily, we have a Constitution that says that nobody will be a governor or president forever. It is only in the parliament that you can be there till you die. As long as we consider the interest of our country, children, grand children and we begin to plan for the next generation instead of wasting all our energies to think about ourselves. Before we get to the next 100 years, the country will be better. Nigeria can even change in the next few years and things will be better for everybody.” he said.

The president promised that 2014, will be better than 2013 as he his administration will ensure that sustainable power supply is attained in the country from the middle of this year.

Source: African Examiner.

Sotomayor Delays Obamacare’s Birth Control Mandate.


Roman Catholic Church-affiliated organizations on Tuesday obtained last-minute court injunctions that give them temporary exemptions from a part of the Obamacare healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary injunction to Baltimore-based Little Sisters of the Poor and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, plus related entities.

Sotomayor is giving the government until Friday morning to respond to her decision.

Two different appellate courts had granted stays in three other cases that were pending at the high court, filed by various organizations, including Catholic University of America and non-profits in Michigan and Tennessee, said a lawyer representing the groups. The lower-court actions meant the Supreme Court did not need to act in those cases.

The groups were all asking the courts to exempt them temporarily from the so-called contraception mandate while litigation continues. The mandate, which was to take effect for the organizations on Wednesday, is already in place for many women who have private health insurance.

The organizations accuse the federal government of forcing them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women, including contraception and sterilization.

The law makes an exception for religious institutions such as houses of worship that mainly serve and employ members of their own faith, but not for schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations that employ people of all faiths.

As a compromise, the administration agreed to an accommodation for nonprofits affiliated with religious entities, which was finalized in July.

Under the accommodation, eligible nonprofits have to provide a “self certification” — described by one lower-court judge as a “permission slip” — that authorizes the insurance companies to provide the coverage. The challengers say that step alone is enough to violate their religious rights.

In separate cases, the Supreme Court already has agreed to hear oral arguments on whether for-profit corporations have a basis to object to the contraception mandate on religious grounds. The court is due to hear those arguments in March and decide the two consolidated cases by the end of June.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Catholic Groups Ask Supreme Court to Block Healthcare Law.


Catholic organizations made a last-minute effort Tuesday to get the Supreme Court to block portions of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law that will force them to provide health insurance for students and employees that includes birth control.

Several organizations, including the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Catholic University and the Michigan Catholic Conference, asked justices to block the law until their arguments are heard. Parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, go into effect on Wednesday.

On that day, “a regulatory mandate will expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization for their employees and students,” lawyer Noel J. Francisco said in appeals to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan.

The law requires employers to provide insurance that covers a range of preventive care, free of charge, including contraception. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraceptives.

The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld the constitutionality of the core of the Affordable Care Act, saying its insurance mandate and the tax penalty enforcing it fell within the power of Congress to impose taxes.

The Obama administration crafted a compromise, or accommodations, that attempted to create a buffer for religiously-affiliated hospitals, universities and social service groups that oppose birth control. The law requires insurers or the health plan’s outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage and creates a way to reimburse them.

That isn’t enough, Francisco said.

“In short, under the accommodation, applicants must authorize their third party administrators or insurance companies to provide the very products and services they find morally objectionable,” he said. “Suffice it to say, the `accommodation’ does not resolve applicants’ religious objection to participation in this regulatory scheme.”

Roberts and Kagan handle emergency requests for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Sixth Circuit. They can act by themselves or involve the rest of the court.

Federal judges have refused to issue stays in these cases, and the appeals courts have not ruled on the request for an injunction.

Francisco said 11 federal judges have entered permanent or preliminary injunctions against the birth control mandate as it applies to nonprofit religious organizations, while six have refused to do so.

Francisco said that if Catholic organizations don’t comply with the law, they face “fines of $100 a day per affected beneficiary” and if they drop their health care coverage, “they will be subject to an annual fine of $2,000 per full-time employee after the first 30 employees, and/or face ruinous practical consequences due to their inability to offer a crucial health care benefit to employees.”

He added: “In short, applicants are faced with a stark choice: violate their religious beliefs or pay potentially crippling fines.”

It was not immediately known when the justices would act.

More than 90 million individuals participate in health plans excluded from the scope of the mandate, Francisco said. “The government, however, has steadfastly refused to create a broader religious exemption, either for individuals seeking to run their businesses in accordance with their faith or for nonprofit religious organizations beyond houses of worship,” he said.

The justices already have agreed to rule on whether businesses may use religious objections to escape a requirement to cover birth control for employees. The court will consider two cases involving Hobby Lobby Inc., an Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain with 13,000 full-time employees, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a Pennsylvania company that employs 950 people in making wood cabinets.

Hobby Lobby won in the lower courts while Conestoga Wood Specialties lost. The combined cases probably will be argued in late March with a decision coming by summer.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Langone: Pope’s Comments on Rich Upsets Wealthy Church Donors.


Billionaire investor Ken Langone has told New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan that Pope Francis may be hurting fundraising projects for the Roman Catholic Church with his controversial criticism of capitalism.

Langone, the Home Depot founder who is leading the push to raise $180 million to give New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral a facelift, said at least one seven-figure donor is reluctant to give financial aid to the church following the pontiff’s comments, according to CNBC.

The pope angered capitalists in the U.S. and around the world with his attack in November on trickle-down economics, which he said leads to a “culture of prosperity” that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Langone, who calls himself a devout Catholic and prays every morning, told CNBC he had brought up the problem a couple of times with Dolan.

“I’ve told the cardinal, ‘Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with. You want to be careful about generalities. Rich people in one country don’t act the same as rich people in another country,’” Langone said.

The pope made his comments about capitalism during his first “exhortation”, a 224-page document that appeared to vilify the rich while attacking “an economy of exclusion and inequality” resulting from “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

The pope also lambasted the “idolatry of money” and called capitalism “the new tyranny,” adding that in many cases the wealthy were “incapable of feeling compassion for the poor.”

The criticism was immediately slammed by the likes of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who called it “pure Marxism,” and Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, who said he was “not enamored” with the pope’s “economic perspective.”

In response to Langone’s comments, Dolan told CNBC that the Pope Francis’ message had been misinterpreted. He said he told Langone, “Well, Ken, that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father‘s message. The pope loves poor people. He also loves rich people. ‘Ken, thanks for bringing it to my attention. We’ve gotta correct to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father’s message properly.’ And then I think he’s gonna say, ‘Oh, OK. If that’s the case, count me in for St. Patrick’s Cathedral.’”

Dolan added that in his conversations with the pope, he had praised Americans for their spirit of giving.

“In the one long sit-down that I had with him, the Holy Father told me that he has a lot of gratitude for the generosity of the Catholic Church in the United States. He’s aware of our help to the missions, to the poor of the world, to international development, to peace . . . and justice.”

Still, Langone urged the pope “to celebrate a positive point of view rather than focusing on the negative.” He also that “there is no nation on earth that is so forthcoming, so giving” as the United States.

According to CNBC, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in the Charities Aid Foundation’s most recent World Giving Index.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Former Ambassadors: Vatican Embassy Closure ‘Shameful’.


Two former ambassadors to the Holy See believe it will be a “colossal mistake” for the Obama administration to follow through with its plan to close the United States Vatican embassy in 2015.

The United States and the Holy See have built a strong relationship through the embassy, which was opened under President Ronald Reagan in 1984, write Ray Flynn, who served under President Bill Clinton, and Jim Nicholson, ambassador, under President George W. Bush in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Reagan opened the embassy with bipartisan support, joining more than 150 other countries in maintaining the diplomatic mission inside the Vatican, a decision that proved crucial, say Flynn and Nicholson.

“President Reagan and Pope John Paul II worked along parallel tracks to accelerate the revolutions of 1989 and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union,” the former ambassadors write. “The U.S. and the Holy See have since built a strong relationship that has had a demonstrable impact on the defense and advance of human rights throughout the world.”

President Barack Obama has called to close the embassy and move its functions into a separate building within the grounds of U.S. Embassy to Italy in Rome, three miles from the Vatican, in late 2014 or early 2015. The move is being made as part of new measures to increase security for U.S. diplomatic facilities worldwide following the terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Libya last year.

“This would be a colossal mistake,” say Nicholson and Flynn, noting that the move has been seen as a “deliberate slap at the Catholic Church and the pope; some may even detect veiled anti-Catholicism.”

The ambassadors said that no matter what the administration’s motivation may be, moving the embassy away from the Vatican is not in the best interest of the United States.

Further, said Flynn and Nicholson, the State Department has been planning for the past 10 years to close the Vatican posting for budgetary reasons, ever since the State Department bought an office building next to the embassy in Rome.

But now, the Obama administration has added the post-Benghazi security concerns to the “penny-wise/pound-foolish approach” for closing the Mission to the Holy See, the ambassadors write.

“As former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See, we respectfully suggest that any such security concerns be met by stronger executive leadership in the White House and State Department,” say Flynn and Nicholson. “The attempt to use such concerns as an excuse for downgrading the Embassy to the Holy See is shameful.”

They note that the Holy See is the embodiment in international law of the Pope’s mission, and was founded before modern Italy was born.

“The Holy See plays a unique and often crucial role in world affairs, from John Paul II’s pivotal role in the collapse of European communism, to the important achievements of the Holy See in standing up for human dignity and human rights,” the ambassadors write. It also plays a part in the “Vatican’s ‘honest broker’ role in international conflicts and in disasters requiring significant and rapid humanitarian aid.”

The ambassadors point out that the Holy See plays a role as a diplomatic hub where 175 countries are represented, and moving the embassy will “signal a lack of U.S. governmental respect for such papal influence, and it will not go unnoticed by other countries.”

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?.


Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Every year on the Line of Fire broadcast, shortly before Christmas, we host our annual Christmas debate where listeners call in to discuss whether we should celebrate the birth of Jesus and, if so, if we should celebrate it at this time of the year.

And every year, the passions get high, as some listeners argue that those who celebrate the Savior’s birth on December 25th are guilty of participating in idolatrous practices on an idolatrous day, while others claim that this season is all about exalting Jesus in word and song.

In light of Church history, though, these disagreements are quite minor, as I highlight in the Authentic Fire book in a chapter entitled, “Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?”

To give one terrible example, about 1,500 years ago a dispute about the nature of the Son of God led to terrible bloodshed between professing Christians. As noted by Church historian Phillip Jenkins, “Each side persecuted its rivals when it had the opportunity to do so, and tens of thousands—at least—perished. Christ’s nature was a cause for which people were prepared to kill and to die, to persecute or to suffer martyrdom.”

Church buildings were burned to the ground and church members were burned alive; nuns were violently forced to take communion at the hands of their theological opponents, despite their sobs and shrieks; one bishop forced his religious opponents to live in close quarters with lepers, whose hands were “festering and dripping with blood and pus,” until the alleged heretics saw the light.

Yes, professing Christians did this to one another in the name of religious orthodoxy and theological faithfulness.

To give a more recent example, 500 years ago, key Reformation leaders turned against the Anabaptists, who were considered to be part of the radical reformation despite the fact that many of them were true New Testament believers.

And what was one of the reasons they were so severely persecuted? It was their belief that baptism was for believers only and not for infants (the same position held by Baptists and Mennonites and Pentecostals and hundreds of millions of Christians worldwide today).

Anabaptist leaders were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed, with drowning being a favorite method for putting them to death. Some of the Reformation leaders mockingly referred to this as a “third baptism,” and in some communities, there was actually an attempt to exterminate the Anabaptists.

In fact, in 1529, at the Diet of Speirs, both Roman Catholic and Protestant princes and heads of state joined together to pronounce a death sentence on all Anabaptists. And so, professing Christians literally burned other professing Christians at the stake.

As for Martin Luther, although he initially opposed putting alleged heretics to death, lest, in his thinking, he and his followers imitate the violence of the Roman Catholic Church, he ultimately changed his viewpoint and supported attempts to kill Anabaptists. (On a related note, Church historian William McGrath states that, “When [Luther] was in later years reproached for such violent language, and for inciting territorial lords to merciless slaughter [they killed over 100,000 peasants], he answered defiantly: ‘It was I, Martin Luther, who slew all the peasants in the insurrection, for I commanded them to be slaughtered. All their blood is upon my shoulders. But I cast it on our Lord God who commanded me to speak in this way.’”)

Today, there are Protestant leaders who believe that it was the Anabaptists, rather than the followers of Luther and Calvin, who more fully returned to the New Testament faith, yet 500 years ago, their fellow Protestants (and, at times, Catholics) joined together in an attempt to wipe them out. (For many more details, see Authentic Fire.)

It is in light of tragic incidents like this that I am grieved by calls for a “collective war” against charismatics (to quote Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire book) or by the statement, “We’re not trying to divide the body of Christ with this conference. We’re trying to identify the body of Christ.” (This comment by Pastor MacArthur was tweeted out during the Strange Fire conference.)

He further explained that, “There are others who criticized by saying, ‘You’re attacking brothers.’ I wish I could affirm that. We’ve said this one way or another this week [during the Strange Fire conference]: this is a movement [meaning the Charismatic Movement] made up largely of non-Christians . . .”

It is true that no one in the Strange Fire camp is calling for the violent persecution of charismatics (God forbid). But it is also true that a mindset similar to the one that led the Reformers to persecute the Anabaptists is operative today among those calling for a “collective war” against charismatics. Conversely, that same destructive mindset is at work among charismatics when they mock their cessationist brothers and sisters as spiritually dead, Pharisaic legalists (or worse) and question their salvation.

Isn’t it time we learn some important lessons from the past?

Towards the end of the chapter “Shall We Burn One Another at the Stake?” in Authentic Fire, I cited the words of Bishop J. C. Ryle, a highly respected, 19th century leader, and they are worth citing again here. Bishop Ryle wrote, “The true Christian regards all Christ’s friends as his friends, members of the same body, children of the same family, soldiers in the same army, travelers to the same home. When he meets them, he feels as if he had long known them. He is more at home with them in a few minutes, than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years. And what is the secret of all this? It is simply affection to the same Savior and love to the same Lord.”

May this attitude dominate the hearts of all true believers as we esteem one another in the Lord and honor one another and learn from one another and sharpen one another – all to the glory of Jesus’ name and all for the sake of a dying world. (If you’d like to read more, you can download Authentic Fire here.)

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

Michael Brown is author of Hyper-Grace: Exposing the Dangers of the Modern Grace Message and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or at @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

God, and not man, installed me a gov after 306 day of fasting and praying – Gov Amaechi.


 

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Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum has said God, and not man, installed him as the state governor because he fasted and prayed for 306 days (10 months) before he became the governor.Amaechi also critisized the increasing level of insecurity in the Federal Government. He stated that rather than chase criminals away from

the state, the police had decided to shoot innocent citizens.The governor, who spoke at Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Church in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, said insecurity in the state was growing because the police had failed to do their job in an unbiased manner.Maintaining that his government was installed by Jesus Christ, Amaechi urged the people to disregard those who claimed to be responsible for his emergence as the governor of the state.He said, “As a government led by me, a government installed by Christ, if anybody tells you he installed me, tell him it is a lie. Tell him that I said I prayed for 10 months and I fasted from 6am to 6pm, calling on Christ to come down and Christ came down mightily and installed me as governor.“That is why you can see that in the face of human effontery, I have been able to stand face to face with them and I say I have Christ in me.“You must rise in that same spirit of having Christ in you and confront those who are confronting you. You must stand up for Christ because the Bible says ‘faith without work is dead.’“We must not die. We must live and the way to live is to celebrate Christ and the way to celebrate Christ is to confront Satan and Satan is in different forms and shapes.“If the police shoot at you, they are satanic. If government denies you your right to live, that government is satanic,” Amaechi added.“All these you may want to attribute to political

disagreement in Rivers State; but it is not true. It is simply because of those who lead us in Abuja; because the police is an establishment of the Federal Government and they have refused to curb the excesses of the police.“Instead of the police to chase away criminals, they are shooting at innocent citizens. Don’t stop at praying. We knew we prayed, but as you pray, you must rise on your feet and confront the challenges of insecurity.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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