Resignation letter prepared by Blessed Paul VI published

May 16, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Rome, May 16, 2018: Thirteen years before his death, Blessed Paul VI had written to the dean of the College of Cardinals to say that if he were to become seriously ill or impeded from exercising his ministry, the dean and other top cardinals in Rome should accept his resignation.

Commenting on the letter, Pope Francis said, “We must thank God, who alone guides and saves the Church, for having allowed Paul VI to continue until the last day of his life to be father, pastor, master, brother and friend.”

The text of Paul’s letter and Francis’s brief commentary are included in a new Italian book, The Barque of Paul, by Msgr. Leonardo Sapienza, regent of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household. The letter and commentary also were published May 15 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Paul’s letter was long rumored to exist, and in 2017 Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the vice dean of the College of Cardinals, confirmed that the pope had written such a letter. But it was not made public until Sapienza’s book came out.

The letter was dated May 2, 1965, and was addressed to the dean of the College of Cardinals, at that time French Cardinal Eugene Tisserant. Sapienza also published a note from Paul to Italian Cardinal Amleto Cicognani, then secretary of state, informing him of the letter and giving him permission to read it.

Paul said he was writing “aware of our responsibility before God and with a heart full of reverence and of charity, which unite us to the holy Catholic Church, and not unmindful of our evangelical mission to the world.”

“In case of infirmity, which is believed to be incurable or is of long duration and which impedes us from sufficiently exercising the functions of our apostolic ministry; or in the case of another serious and prolonged impediment,” Paul wrote, he renounced his office “both as bishop of Rome as well as head of the same holy Catholic Church.”

In the letter, Paul formally gave authority to the dean of the College of Cardinals acting together with, at the very least, the cardinals heading offices of the Roman Curia and the cardinal vicar for the Diocese of Rome “to accept and render effective” his resignation for the good of the Church.

Commenting on the letter, Francis said it filled him with “awe” for Paul’s “humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church.”

“In the face of the tremendous mission entrusted to him, in the face of protests and a society undergoing vertiginous change, Paul VI did not withdraw from his responsibilities,” Francis wrote. “What was important to him were the needs of the Church and the world. And a pope impeded by serious illness could not exercise the apostolic ministry with sufficient effectiveness.”

Church law states that a pope can resign, but it stipulates that the papal resignation must be “made freely and properly manifested” – conditions that would be difficult to ascertain if a pope were already incapacitated. Pope Benedict XVI’s situation was different.

At a gathering of cardinals in 2013, solemnly and in Latin, Benedict said: “Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the see of Rome, the see of St. Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new supreme pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.”

St. John Paul II was long rumored to have written a letter similar to that of Paul’s. And in 2010, Msgr. Slawomir Oder, coordinator of the Polish pope’s sainthood cause, released a book publishing for the first time letters John Paul prepared in 1989 and in 1994 offering the College of Cardinals his resignation in case of an incurable disease or other condition that would prevent him from fulfilling his ministry.

But even a month before John Paul’s death in April 2005, canon law experts in Rome and elsewhere were saying the problem with such a letter is that someone else would have to decide when to pull it out of the drawer and apply it.

– crux now

University admits ‘Mistake’ banning Jesus, John 16:33 in student’s graduation speech

May 13, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

U.S., May 12, 2018: Colorado Mesa University has rescinded its demand that a Christian student scrub references to Jesus and a Bible verse from her speech during a pinning ceremony for the school’s nursing program, one of the nation’s top conservative religious freedom law group has announced.

The Alliance Defending Freedom issued a statement Thursday saying that the public school will no longer require Karissa Erickson to remove religious references in her speech after telling the graduating student that she must do so in accordance with university policy.

The decision comes after ADF lawyer Travis Barham sent university leaders a letter on May 4 stating that the university’s understanding of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is wrong.

“America’s Founding Fathers regularly opened public ceremonies with prayer, and federal appeals courts have consistently ruled that universities can do the same at their graduation ceremonies,” Barham said in a statement. “We applaud the university for quickly recognizing that the First Amendment protects a graduating student’s right to mention her faith in her own speech and has never required universities to purge ceremonies of all things religious.”

School officials hadn’t initially given Erickson or her fellow ceremony speaker specific guidelines except that the two had to finish their speeches in 10 minutes combined, Barham’s letter to the school explained.

Erickson planned to include a story in her remarks about overcoming adversity that would end with the line “God always has a purpose.”

ADF reports that Erickson was to conclude by saying: “I find comfort in Jesus’ words, and pass them on to you. John 16:33. ‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.'”

School officials reviewed the student’s draft on April 18. The letter indicates that they informed Erickson two days later that she would have to remove the last section about finding comfort in Jesus’ words.

Erickson was allegedly told by an administrator that “We just have to be professional and careful in a public ceremony as some people don’t appreciate those references.”

On May 2, Erickson was told that a few years prior, there was negative uproar in response to a ministry distributing Bibles on campus. ADF reports that because of the negativity the school received, it enacted a policy of not allowing public remarks about any specific religion.

The ADF letter explains that the university’s legal concern is based in the concept of “separation of church and state,” which Barham points out does not appear anywhere in the United States Constitution or in any of the debates of the Constitutional Convention.

“The First Amendment merely states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” Barham wrote.

Barham argued that the Establishment Clause, which is often used by national secular legal groups to pressure local governments and schools on the principle of “separation of church and state,” only requires the state to be neutral to believers and non-believers and not became an adversary to either.

“Accordingly, both federal appellate courts that have considered graduation prayers at colleges and universities ruled that those prayers comply with the First Amendment,” Barham explained, adding the fact that the two cases dealt with the issue of clergy-led prayer at university events.

ADF accused the school of engaging in “viewpoint discrimination” and stated that even though the school was trying to avoid violating the Establishment Clause, it was actually violating the clause by trying to censor Erickson’s speech.

“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s voters and civic leaders,” ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, the director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, said in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important that public colleges and universities exemplify the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students. Colorado Mesa University has shown it wants to do that by taking quick corrective action in agreeing to let students speak without unconstitutional censorship.”

Dana Nunn, a CMU spokeswoman, told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that the faculty were “trying to do the right thing, but made a mistake.”

“It was a well-intentioned misunderstanding of what was appropriate,” Nunn said. “I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people have their own interpretations of the separation of church and state, and the faculty member that initially asked for the change was just trying to do the right thing, she was just not correct legally.”

ADF’s success at CMU comes after it forced officials at Mohave Community College in Arizona to retract a ban on an opening and closing prayer at its nursing ceremony in 2010.

There have been many cases in the past several years where public schools have banned prayer at graduation ceremonies.

Last year, an Indiana school district banned prayers at a school graduation after receiving pressure from one of the nation’s leading secular groups Freedom From Religion Foundation.

– christian post

1,500-Y-O ‘Magical Papyrus’ discovered near pyramid invokes God’s human sacrifice test in the bible

April 18, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Egypt, April 18, 2018: An ancient 1,500-year-old “magical papyrus” discovered near a pyramid in Egypt addresses the Bible’s God as the God of an Egyptian deity, and refers to the test of faith Abraham faced when asked to sacrifice his son.

LiveScience reported on Tuesday that the text of the papyrus, uncovered near the pyramid of the Pharaoh Senwosret during a 1934 expedition in Giza by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, has now been deciphered by scientists.

Written in Coptic at a time when Christianity was widely practiced in the country, the writer, who isn’t named, pleads: “God of Seth, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of Israel, watch over everyone who suffers. My word, may it come to pass with power.”

“May every spirit that is in the air obey me,” he asks.

Seth is an ancient Egyptian god said to rule over the desert and the storms, associated with eclipses, thunderstorms and earthquakes.

The papyrus also calls the biblical God on a number of occasions “the one who presides over the mountain of the murderer,” which according to Oxford University researcher Michael Zellmann-Rohrer alludes to the account in the book of Genesis when God initially asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah.

In the narrative, although Abraham agrees to follow God’s command, a messenger from God reveals it was a test of faith, and so Isaac is spared and a ram is sacrificed instead.

The passage in Genesis has been described by some Christian commentators, such as Mark Creech, executive director of the Raleigh-based Christian Action League of North Carolina, as one of the “greatest chapters in the entire Bible.”

“Like Abraham, God desires our unreserved trust when we find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations — confusing situations where everything looks incredibly bleak with no good outcome likely — situations that may require the loss of some prized possession, promise, or possibility,” Creech wrote in an op-ed published by The Christian Post in October 2017.

“It is in such moments God is closest to us and able to perfectly provide,” he added.

Zellmann-Rohrer said that the papyrus describes the story as if the sacrifice of Isaac actually took place, however, noting that this was a belief that appears to have been widespread at the time.

“The text surely belongs to a Coptic phase of habitation at the pyramid complex, noted by the excavators, which is marked by substantial burials,” the researcher explained, adding that it’s likely the papyrus is a copy of another text.

The text presents few clues as to its nameless composer, though Zellmann-Rohrer noted that the writing “lacks professional proficiency.” What is more, it makes references and uses terms used by followers of Gnosticism.

He suggested that those who copied the text may have been Christians who “made use of a textual tradition that owed much to Jewish belief and lore and to Gnosticism.”

– christian post

As US mulls Syria airstrikes, Francis calls for peace

April 13, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Syria, April 12, 2018: As President Trump considers airstrikes in Syria in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of people, including women and children, Pope Francis has called for peace in the region.

President Trump has said that he will consider initiating military action against Syria within days. The president has sent several tweets hinting at iminent military action, but on Thursday he walked these back with a tweet saying he “never said” when the United States would be attacking.

“Could be very soon or not so soon at all,” said Trump, noting that the United States has done a “great job” at removing Islamic State militants from the country.

On Tuesday, Russia vetoed a US-sponsored proposal in the United Nations, which would have launched an independent investigation into the April 7 chemical attack. The veto garnered broad condemnation from US allies.

Russia has also said that its military will retaliate for any airstrikes against Syria, meaning that US-military action could prompt a large global conflict.

Since March of 2011, Syria has been engaged in a bloody civil war, with rebel groups engaged in conflict against the Syrian army. Syria, led by President Bashar al-Assad, is allied with Hezbollah, Iran, and Russia.

The situation on the ground in Syria has been disastrous for the country’s tiny Christian population. Prior to the start of the war, Christians made up about 11 percent of the population. Since then, many have been forced from their homes, particularly when the Islamic State was active in the region, and many of the country’s churches have been destroyed in the war. An estimated one-third of the country’s Christian population has fled.

However, many Christians in the country find themselves supporting Assad’s regime. In a March 2016 interview, Aleppo’s Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo said that he believed a full “80 percent” of the country’s Christians would support Assad in an election. Furthermore, the bishop said that the Syrian government was not actively persecuting Christians, and that Christians and Muslims had for years lived together peacefully prior to the start of the war.

The rebel groups fighting Assad are mostly Islamic-based and have attacked Christian villages.

There have been at least 200 reported chemical attacks in Syria, the medical care group UOSSM has reported. In April 2017, at least 70 people, including children, were reportedly killed in Syria by a deadly gas attack, reportedly perpetrated by Assad’s forces.

“The chemical attack in Syria on April 4, [2017], shocks the soul. The many innocent lives targeted by these terrible tools of war cry out for humanity’s protection,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said last year in response to that attack.

During his April 1 Urbi et Orbi message, Pope Francis prayed for peace in Syria.

“We implore fruits of peace upon the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war. This Easter, may the light of the risen Christ illumine the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage in course,” the pontiff said.

The pope condemned the recent chemical attack during Mass April 8 in St. Peter’s Square, saying that “nothing can justify” the use of chemical weapons on “defenseless people and populations.”

“There is no such thing as a good war and a bad war,” he said.

– cna

Video of Down syndrome boy hugging Jesus on way to crucifixion goes viral, hits 4 million views

April 11, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Mexico, April 10, 2018: A video of a boy with Down syndrome in Mexico hugging an actor playing Jesus Christ in a re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross has been viewed nearly 4 million times.

The video, uploaded last week on Facebook by Plan C es Cynthia García-Galindo, was recorded in Monclova, Mexico, on Good Friday. Church Pop offered a translation of the post from Spanish, which read: “What does a child with a green soccer shirt do at the scene of a Viacrucis in Monclova?”

The post adds: “Remind us of the most sublime love, that of caring for others with mercy! His innocence, his overflowing love, and his Down syndrome challenge us today. Juan Pablo is his name, which should be synonymous with good hope. Let’s teach our children to be more compassionate.”

The video, which as of Tuesday morning was viewed over 3.9 million times, shows the young boy walking next to actors playing Roman soldiers, hugging the Jesus actor by his side, who has his head down.

The debate over protecting babies diagnosed with Down syndrome from being aborted has intensified in the U.S. amid reports that Iceland is aborting nearly every baby diagnosed with the condition, thus practicing its own form of eugenics.

In March, some members of Congress slammed what many Americans called an “offensive” article in The Washington Post titled “I Would’ve Aborted a Fetus With Down Syndrome. Women Need That Right.”

The Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Ruth Marcus explained her support for aborting babies with Down syndrome, saying, “You can call me selfish, or worse, but I am in good company. The evidence is clear that most women confronted with the same unhappy alternative would make the same decision.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the House Republicans, tweeted in response: “After reading the opinion piece in the @washingtonpost about aborting babies with Down syndrome, I struggled to put into words how offensive it is.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in his response to Marcus’ editorial, noted that the new Gerber baby also has Down syndrome.

“Lucas’ dignity is inherent, given by God, and it stays with him past the cute, cuddly phase of babyhood,” Sasse said.

“The truth of who he is stands in stark contrast with some of the news we see coming out of Europe lately. In Iceland, and in Denmark, there are actually groups that brag, ‘we’re closer to getting to 100 percent than anybody else. We’re going to be first to be 100 percent Down syndrome free.'”

Some Christians, including a lay member at the General Synod of the Church of England, have said that the high termination rates of unborn children with the genetic disorder is comparable to actions by Nazi Germany.

“In countries like Iceland Down syndrome has been virtually eliminated. What we have is a very simple situation. The U.K. and Europe has begun to practice eugenics, by default, and without intent,” said Andrew Gray, the lay member, in February.

“This is not because of a state-led desire to remove those considered weak or sub-human — we don’t live in 1930s Germany, thank God. But while the reasons and the motivations are different, the outcome is the same.”

– christian post

Discovery of 3,600-Y-O burial chamber in biblical book of Revelation city ‘Stuns’ archaeologists

March 15, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

Israel, March 15, 2018: Archaeologists say they are stunned by the discovery of a “magnificent and untouched” 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo, which is mentioned in the book of Revelation in the Bible.

National Geographic reported Wednesday that the “extraordinary” find could offer potential clues into the royal dynasty that ruled the area south of Haifa, today part of Israel, before its conquest by Egypt in the 15th century B.C.

For nearly five millennia, from 3000 B.C. to 1918, Megiddo served as an important strategic pass for international military and trade routes, offering the stage for numerous historic battles.

It is described in Revelation 16:16 as a place called “Armageddon,” which derives from Har-Megiddo, or “Hill of Megiddo.”

Archaeologists now say they have discovered a tomb there from the 15th century B.C., when Megiddo was besieged for seven months by the forces of Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III, eventually surrendering. Thutmose III then moved to incorporate Canaan as a province in his empire.

Israel Finkelstein and Mario Martin of Tel Aviv University and Matthew Adams of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeology, who have been conducting excavations in Megiddo since 1994, first found a subterranean corridor near the Bronze Age palaces in the area leading to a burial chamber back in 2016.

The chamber contained the remains of three people, a man, a woman, and a child, who were adorned with elaborate gold and silver jewelry. The man had been crowned with a gold diadem, which suggested a high level of skill and artistry.

“We are speaking of an elite family burial because of the monumentality of the structure, the rich finds and because of the fact that the burial is located in close proximity to the royal palace,” Finkelstein said.

What is more, archaeologists have found that other human remains had also been interred in the tomb at an earlier stage, following the practice of ancient funerary rites in the region.

Beside the jewelry, the undisturbed nature of the three bodies after their burial, in comparison to the others that were moved, gives credence to the theory that they were of high importance, according to excavation team member Melissa Cradic.

A DNA study of the bodies found buried in Megiddo is seeking to determine whether the common inhabitants of the Canaanite city-state are of the same background as the elite rulers.

The results could change perceptions on the populations of Canaan, as scholars have long believed that the Hurrians, a roving mountain people who emerged in the region in the fourth and third millennium B.C., could have played a big part in building the first cities in the Near East.

“These studies have the potential to revolutionize what we know about the population of Canaan, before the rise of the world of the Bible,” said Finkelstein.

Human remains discovered at other ancient Canaanite sites have intrigued researchers as well.

Archaeologists revealed in July 2017 that the remains of an adult and a child were uncovered at the biblical site of Gezer in Israel. The victims apparently died some 3,200 years ago when a blazing building collapsed, and were buried under ash and mud-brick debris.

The discovery led researchers to confirm accounts by Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah about how he laid siege upon and conquered Gezer, burning down many of its buildings in his campaign for control.

– christian post

College student banned from religious studies class after saying there are only 2 genders

March 13, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

U.S., March 12, 2018: A student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania claims that he has been barred from a religious studies class he needs to graduate this May and asked to apologize after voicing his belief that there are only two biological genders.

Last week, IUP student Lake Ingle took to his Facebook page to let his disbelief be known. He is being punished, he wrote, by the university for his response after the professor of his class on “self, sin and salvation” showed a TED Talks video featuring transgender woman Paula Stone Williams.

Ingle detailed his “best and fairest” account of the incident that transpired after Dr. Alison Downie showed the video to the class on Feb. 28, in a now-deleted Facebook post.

“On Wednesday, February 28th, in one of my major-required courses, the instructor played a ‘Ted-Talk’ during which a transgender woman discussed her previous experiences of manhood as well as her current experiences of womanhood,” Ingle wrote. “During her speech, she gave accounts of things such as ‘mansplaining’, ‘male-privilege’, and ‘sexism’ and deemed them systemic. She also alluded to the REALITY of the gender wage gap, stating women ‘…work twice as hard for half as much.'”

After the video ended, Downie opened the floor for a discussion on “mansplaining,” male privilege, sexism and the gender wage gap and allowed only women to voice their thoughts first.

Ingle stated that after about 30 seconds of silence, he voiced his objection to the “use of one person’s anecdotal accounts of the previously mentioned experiences as fact.”

“I also took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders, as well as data from entities such as The Economist on the gender wage gap and how the claims made in the video were far from the empirically supported evidence,” Ingle wrote. “I then objected to the instructor’s, as well as the Religious Studies Dept.’s misuse of intellectual power, of which I have become familiar over the past few semesters.”

“It was at this point others in the class entered the discussion,” he added. “Class proceeded normally, thereon.”

According to Ingle, he met with the instructor the next morning to discuss class project he is working on. During that meeting, Ingle wrote that he was presented with an “Academic Integrity Referral Form and Documented Agreement.”

The form alleges that Ingle had a “disrespectful objection to the professor’s class discussion structure.” It also accused the student of talking out of turn and of having “angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism.”

Additionally, Ingle was accused of making “disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience.”

The form also called for him to issue an apology in front of the class on March 8 for each of the “disrespectful behaviors” described by the professor. The form states that after giving his apology, Ingle would have had to “listen in silence” as students in the class share how they felt during Lake’s “disruptive outbursts.”

Ingle denied the professor’s claims in his Facebook post.

“Though the documents attached present a narrative of disrespect, disruption, anger, and intolerance — I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth,” Ingle said.

The Christian Post reached out to IUP for clarification about Ingle’s alleged “angry outbursts.” However, a university spokesperson told CP that no comment could be provided because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act as it pertains to student education records.

Ingle wrote in his post that he received a second document that lists further details of the violation.

“After these documents were handed to me, I read them carefully several times. I asked for one line to be revised and was answered with ‘no’ and was told it was the instructor’s job to recount what took place, not mine,” he wrote. “I then commented on the total misuse of intellectual power in a university setting, at which point I was asked to leave.”

The next morning on March 2, Ingle received a letter from Provost Timothy Moreland telling him that he is barred from attending the class and barred from speaking with Downie until the charges against him have been adjudicated.

“[T]he wording in the documents below is not only exaggerated, but more than one line is entirely untruthful and is done so purposefully to discredit my views and paint me as intolerant and ignorant,” Ingle said. “THE FACTS ARE: I did not object to the views of the speaker (Paula Stone). Rather, I objected to its misuse as hard evidence to support the ‘reality’ of phenomena that are not only a matter of opinion, but also empirically unsupported (wage gap statistics).”

“It is my belief that the instructor’s decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech,” he continued. “I will be battling the university, as well as my instructor, to ensure I am not permanently removed from the class, which would mean my inability to graduate as scheduled this May.”

Ingle is subject to a hearing before the school’s Academic Integrity Board. The ruling from the hearing will be announced on March 19.

In another Facebook post, Ingle explained that he was advised to remove the initial Facebook post detailing the situation with the school after he received legal counsel.

Women told they are ‘abomination,’ ‘evil’ for leading church, tempting men: Report

March 11, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

U.S., March 11, 2018: Over 60 percent of Christian women in the U.K. have said in a survey that they have experienced sexism in the Church, while 75 percent insisted that God finds both men and women equal and able to preach His word.

A booklet on the poll results, titled “Minding the Gap,” released March 8 by the Sophia Network, a group which seeks to empower women in Church leadership, said that while most respondents, at 86 percent, feel like valued members of the Church family, there are still big problems to tackle.

The online survey, conducted between May and June 2017, based on 1,211 respondents, did not provide information about the margin of error.

It found that 75 percent of those who responded would identify as egalitarian, meaning they believe that men and women are equal, and that God gives both genders the authority to preach, as opposed to those who say that men should serve as the spiritual leaders of the church and the family.

Sixty-two percent said that they have experienced sexism in the Church, with anonymous women sharing of the experiences they have been subjected to.

One woman said that she was told that her infertility was “down to my maternal grandmother’s sin, when it fact it is because I was raped. I cannot describe the lioness anger that the consequence of a male sin was attributed to my female family line.”

Another woman said: “When I felt initially called, the minister told me to get married and have children instead.”

“Being told my marriage would suffer if I went into church leadership, being told it was ‘an abominiation’ for a woman to lead the church, being harassed until I left my church and joined the Church of England,” said a third.

“Being described as ‘evil’ and having the ability to lead a male colleague into sin,” another account revealed.

Other findings in the survey were more positive. As many as 87 percent said that women are encouraged to use all their gifts, including teaching, at their churches; another 77 percent said that there are female deacons or elders at their church.

Fifty-nine percent had at least one female minister, and only nine percent said that a woman has never taught a service at their church.

When it comes to the barriers facing women in the Church, institutional sexism was listed at the very top, singled out by 53 percent of the respondents. Lack of female mentoring and leaders came in at second place at 46 percent, and lack of theological understanding at 42 percent.

“The Minding the Gap report gives valuable insight into the experiences of women in the U.K. church. It is easy to rely on hearsay and feeling when it comes to gender equality, and this welcome report provides much needed facts,” said Amanda Jackson, Executive Director for the Women’s Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance.

“The picture from the report is hopeful because things are changing, but also reminds us that the biblical understating of the equality of women and men still needs to grow,” she adds.

“And along with that, men and women need to work actively to provide opportunities for women to use all their gifts. The Church can be a shining light countering discrimination, sexism, and gender violence — this report helps us all to see what we are doing and what we still need to learn.”

Female Christian leaders and authors in the U.S., such as Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker, have also joined hundreds of evangelical women in calling out sexual and psychological abuse in the American Church.

“Fundamentally, we understand violence against any individual, regardless of their ethnicity, creed or gender, to be a matter of our Christian faith. Genesis 1:26 declares that all people are made in the image of God, both men and women,” read a statement on the #SilenceIsNotSpiritual campaign website, launched in December 2017.

“Women are equally called and created with the full potential and capacity to steward the world. All abuse disfigures human dignity and distorts the image of God,” it added.

– christian post

Catholic schools in US, Holy Land create pen-pal program

March 8, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

U.S., March 8, 2018: As a sign of solidarity with Catholics in the Middle East, the National Council of Catholic Women has set up a pen-pal exchange pairing Catholic schools in the United States with those in the Holy Land.

“We determined that a very effective way to assure them that we know and care about them and pray for them is to begin a program with our USA Catholic schools and their Franciscan schools in the Holy Land,” said NCCW President Maribeth Stewart.

The first schools to participate are Saint Lawrence School, a pre-K-8 school in West Haven, Connecticut and Terra Sancta College in Bethlehem, which serves preschool through high school students. The grade school students will be the first to take part in the program.

The Holy Land Project has started with younger children exchanging drawings and older students exchanging letters. According to the council, the students have been excited to learn from each other’s culture and explore similar point of interests, like sports, hobbies, family, and faith.

“The students will share this experience with their families and friends and this will help reassure them that we indeed think of and pray for our sisters and brothers in that ancient troubled land,” said Stewart.

The National Council of Catholic Women said the exchange began after women in the Holy Land requested a project to educate U.S. Catholics on the hardships their brothers and sisters face in the Holy Land.

The hardships include discrimination in the job market, confiscation of property, and difficulty in obtaining travel passes to Jerusalem from nearby places such as Bethlehem, the council said, noting the diminishing presence of Catholics in the Holy Land.

“As they told us, in Bethlehem going to Jerusalem is a dream for most of them,” said Stewart.

The women’s council expressed hope that the project will expand to include more grades and more schools as the project develops.

Founded in 1920, the National Council of Catholic Women was developed by the bishops who witnessed the important work of Catholic women’s organizations during World War I. The goal was to strengthen the voice and resources of Catholic women by uniting various organizations.

Today, the council works “to support, empower, and educate all Catholic women in spirituality, leadership, and service.”

– cna

Stephen Hawking says nothing existed before big bang; Christian Astrophysicist Hugh Ross responds

March 6, 2018 by  
Filed under lead story, newsletter-lead

U.S., March 5, 2018: Astrophysicist Hugh Ross of the Christian apologetics group Reasons to Believe has taken issue with the claim of notable British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking that nothing existed before the Big Bang.

In a video published by Popular Science last Friday in which he was interviewed by popular astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, Hawking explained that he did not believe there was anything before the Big Bang, using a geographic analogy.

“One can regard imaginary and real time as beginning at the South Pole, which is a smooth point of space-time where the normal laws of physics hold,” stated Hawking. “There is nothing south of the South Pole, so there was nothing around before the Big Bang.”

In an interview with The Christian Post on Monday, Ross responded that while Hawking was correct that “time has a beginning,” nevertheless “the beginning of time demands a Causal Agent capable of creating time independent of time. It is not enough to simply speculate that imaginary time also exists.”

The president of Reasons to Believe also told CP that the model that Hawking is proposing for the origins of the Universe is problematic in light of modern astronomical observations.

“Not just Hawking’s model but all cosmological models seeking to avoid the need for a transcendent Causal Agent for the universe (aka God) require that the quantum space-time fluctuations during the quantum gravity era (the era when the universe is smaller than the diameter of an electron) must be large,” explained Ross.

“Recent observations showing that the images of distant quasars and blazars are not blurry, but rather are sharp, constrain the size of these quantum space-time fluctuations. The fluctuations are not large enough to escape the need for a Creator who creates space and time or for the universe to have a finite age.”

Ross’s comments come a few days after the release of his most recent book, the fourth edition of The Creator and the Cosmos.

“Astronomer Hugh Ross explains recent scientific measurements of the universe that clearly point to its purposeful origin and development. An abundance of references to published research findings allows you to explore the evidence for yourself,” noted the book’s description on Amazon.

– christian post

« Previous PageNext Page »