Metal Thieves Now Target Church Interiors

Churches already struggling to cope with the theft of metal from their roofs are now being targeted for items such as brass crucifixes and bible stands.

The Telegraph reports:

An increasing number of parishes across Britain are falling victim to raiders who steal anything metal they believe may be of value on the scrap market.

Items such as brass lecterns and metal statues may only be of limited worth to the thieves but are of huge sentimental and spiritual value to the clergy and congregations.

Church insurers, who are now offering extra security advice to parishes, have warned that some places of worship may soon have to start locking their doors when services are not taking place.

In the latest case callous thieves struck at a church in Bolton, Greater Manchester, making off with four brass crucifixes, metal collection plates and a number of chalices…

One 68-year-old churchgoer said: “Have these people got no shame? This is a place of worship yet they break in and steal objects that have enormous religious significance to us. They are monsters.”

Rest here.

 

Bishops Warn Public Against Fake Priests

Manila- Catholic prelates have warned the public against certain individuals introducing themselves as priests at cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ Day.

Many Filipinos flocked to cemeteries and memorial parks nationwide to offer prayers for their departed loved ones and friends in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Bishop Pedro Arigo said some bogus priests roam cemeteries on this day to conduct blessing rituals on the grave of a deceased person then ask money from visiting relatives.

“Napakagandang samantalahin ang undas ng mga nagpapanggap na pari para kumita ng pera… Mag-ingat ang publiko at huwag basta magtiwala sa mga pumupunta sa puntod para magbasbas (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is an opportunity for fake priests to make money…The public is warned not to trust priest who visits and blesses tomb),” Arigo told Church-run Radyo Veritas.

Arigo said the public could easily identify a real priest from a fake one by asking for his celebret, an identification card issued by the Church.

To prevent such incidents from happening in his diocese, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez said he has asked security guards in cemeteries to check for the celebret of priests who are assigned to conduct blessings…

The above and more here.

 

Humility is the Way to Safeguard our Integrity

The Word this week in The Catholic Herald:

Integrity of heart and mind can never be taken for granted. It is preserved by a humility that never tires of submitting its own conduct to the scrutiny of God’s will. The noblest intentions, without constant reference to the God who was their beginning, inevitably degenerate into a corrupt self-interest.

Such was the situation that confronted the Prophet Malachi in the years following Israel’s return from exile and the rebuilding of her temple.

This new beginning had begun with the brightest hope. God had indeed redeemed his people.

They had returned to Jerusalem. The Temple had been rebuilt. The time of tears was over, and once again a people set free could rejoice in their God.

Malachi confronted the ease with which this people had forgotten the Lord who had delivered them. The Jerusalem that should have been a sign of God’s continuing love rapidly descended into the selfish corruption that so often accompanies restored fortunes.

Malachi’s strongest words of condemnation were addressed to the priests entrusted with the sanctity of the restored Temple.

“You have strayed from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching.”

Whatever our calling or place in life, we are called to the service of God and his people. The priests of the Jerusalem Temple had abused their privileged calling to enhance their own position and authority. They could not find it in their hearts to glorify the God in whose name they served. Malachi appealed to the compassion at the heart of Israel’s relationship with her God.

“Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why, then, do we break faith with one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?”

The corruption of the Temple clergy, so vehemently denounced by the prophet Malachi, challenges the integrity of every generation. We, like the restored city of Jerusalem, have known God’s graciousness.

We are called to reflect his faithfulness in the integrity of our private and public lives. We, no less than Malachi’s generation, are prey to the easy compromises that undermine our best intentions.

The repeated conflicts between Jesus and the Pharisees followed a similar pattern. The Pharisaic movement had been rooted in a noble beginning. When the pagan influences of the Greek empire had begun to encroach on Israel’s faith, the predecessors of the Pharisees had safeguarded the integrity of that faith. Their zeal for Israel’s traditions had conferred upon them an honoured position in the life of the nation.

With the passage of time this authority had descended into a selfish desire for control and status. Jesus rightly condemned the hypocrisy that blinded their hearts.

“The scribes and Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do: since they do not practise what they preach.”

Jesus counselled humility as the control that safeguards integrity. God alone is Father, the source of all that we might claim to control. We can never claim the moral authority of a teacher, since Christ alone is the source of all truth. Our integrity rests in the humility that confesses itself to be a servant.

“Anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

Vatican Condemns Halloween

As dangerous and anti-Christian:

The Vatican attempted to put a brake on the growing popularity of Halloween yesterday, branding it anti-Christian and dangerous. The condemnation follows criticism from Catholic bishops who this week urged parents not to let their children dress up as ghosts and goblins.

The Vatican spoke out on the eve of tonight’s ritual which falls before the significant Catholic holy day of All Saints.

Halloween is largely a secular celebration which has its origins in an ancient festival marking the start of the ‘darker half of the year’.

But in an article entitled The Dangerous Messages of Halloween, the Vatican’s official newspaper L’Osservatore Romano quoted liturgical expert Joan Maria Canals as saying: ‘Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.’
Father Canals urged parents ‘to be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death’…

The Catholic Church in Italy has taken a dim view of Halloween celebrations for years.

Aldo Bonaiuto, head of the Catholic Church’s anti-occult and sect unit, warned parents of the dangers to children and said the event ‘promotes the culture of death’.

He added: ‘Halloween pushes new generations towards a mentality of esoteric magic and it attacks sacred and spiritual values through a devious initiation to the art and images of the occult. At best, it gives a big helping hand to consumerism and materialism.’

 

Witches are Real

Via Fr Dwight Longenecker:

They don’t fly on broomsticks or have green skin, ( although come to think of it one witch I knew did have a sick green-ness about the gills, but I think that’s because he was a drunk) but they do cast spells and put curses on people and they do worship Satan, and don’t be deceived by the ‘white magic’ lark. There’s no such thing. All magic is black magic because of the philosophy behind it: those involved in witchcraft seek power, and anybody who seeks power for it’s own sake is bad.

Think of all the wicked people who justify their quest for power by saying it is for a good cause. Almost all evil in the world is caused by people who think they’re doing it for a good cause. Not just Darth Vader. Think of the Nazis who really believed the concentration camps were necessary in order to bring about a master race…see what I mean?

So witches, wicca, witchcraft–all that stuff. Yes, it’s real.

Furthermore, if you invite diabolical powers into your life. Don’t be surprised if they show up, and don’t be surprised if, once you’ve opened Pandora’s box you can’t get the lid back on. Remember in all the fun that the purpose of Hallowe’en is to scare the spooks away–not invite them in. Dressing up as monsters has the same purpose as putting gargoyles on cathedrals–you’re supposed to be scarier than the devil in order to give him the creeps and send him running. So when you carve a jack o’lantern make him scary as you can, but say a prayer as you put him out that he might keep away the real monsters of the night, and if you dress as a ghoul or a ghost or a witch or a warlock remember that you are doing so to creep them out and say a prayer of deliverance from all the dark forces of the world.

And if you come across anyone who takes witchcraft seriously tell them politely that if they summon the devil he will probably come, and that messing with the occult is the spiritual equivalent of an eight year old kid taking a five gallon can of gas into a fireworks warehouse then playing with matches.

 

Middle Eastern Christians are On their Own

Obama’s Muslim adviser blocks his meeting with persecuted Maronite Christian leader…

(AINA) — An influential Muslim adviser to the White House who has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood has succeeded in canceling a meeting between President Obama and the leader of the persecuted Maronite church in Lebanon, according to the Beirut news agency el Nashra.

The Arabic-language report cited an unnamed U.S. source who said Dahlia Mogahed, “the highest adviser on Arab and Islamic Affairs in the State Department,” sought to block a White House meeting with Patriarch Beshara Rahi, according to a translation by blogger El Cid at BigPeace.com.

The report said the move heeded a request by top leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who want the U.S. to back the Islamist Sunni movement opposing Iranian Shiite influence in the region.

Maronites number about 1 million in Lebanon and more than 10 millions worldwide. About 1.5 million are in the U.S.

Along with her role on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Mogahed is a member of the advisory council of the Department of Homeland Security. She has testified before the Senate on engagement with the Muslim community. She is senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where she led major surveys of Muslims worldwide that routinely concluded the vast majority of Muslims are moderate.

Mogahed was a leading voice in the Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement that issued a 153-page advisory report calling for dialogue with Hamas and engagement with opposition parties in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

SourceWeasel Zippers

 

Assisi III

Offered without comment:

The Pondering Heart



HT

US Episcopal Diocese Seeks to Rehabilitate Pelagius

Denying original sin as well as Christian grace? Yes, that should fit right in with modern Episcopal theology.

So on to courting heresy:

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Diocese of Atlanta has been asked to rehabilitate Pelagius.

Delegates to the diocesan convention will be asked to reverse the the condemnation of the Council of Carthage upon Pelagius, and to explore whether the Fifth century heretic may inform the theology of the Episcopal Church.

Resolution R11-7 before the convention states in part:

“Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition;”

“And whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition.”

A British monk, Pelagius rejected the doctrines of original sin, substitutionary atonement, and justification by faith. Mankind possessed an unconditioned free will and was able to obtain his own salvation through personal betterment rather than grace, he argued. In the Letter to Demetrias, Pelagius argued that Adam’s sin was not what caused us to sin. Humans were born good, but over time became wicked through voluntary acts. “Over the years our sin gradually corrupts us, building an addiction and then holding us bound with what seems like the force of nature itself.”

The Council of Carthage in 416 condemned Pelagius’ teaching. Augustine argued that the British monk’s teaching contradicted Paul’s words in Philippians 2:12-13 because Pelagius located the capacity “to will and to do” what pleases God in human nature rather than in God’s grace. (On the Grace of Christ, V.6 and VI.)

“We must realize that Pelagius believes that neither our will nor our action is helped by divine aid…he believes that God does not help us to will, that he does not help us to act, that he helps us only to be able to will and to act.”(On the Grace of Christ, V.6).

The proposed resolution has brought mixed responses from the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies chat room, with some ridiculing the notion that the Diocese of Atlanta believed itself capable of redefining church doctrine. However, other deputies have endorsed the resolution saying it gives a breath of Celtic Christianity to the Episcopal Church and enhances the church’s theological diversity.

The vote on Pelagius takes place on 4 Nov 2011.

Wikipedia has more on Pelagius here.

 

A Girl’s Lament: Sex, Love, and America’s Teens

Forty years ago, the sexual revolution broke through the last barricades of Victorian propriety. A whole generation drifted toward moral anarchy in its fitful pursuit of sexual liberation. At the end of the day, the casualties of this revolution surround us—AIDS patients, aborted children, and single mothers. But only recently have the intellectual elite come to recognize a new class of walking wounded: America’s teenage girls.

Near-epidemic levels of teen pregnancy, abortion, suicide, eating disorders, and self-mutilation among American girls, supply overwhelming evidence that something has gone seriously wrong. But what or who is to blame? Could there really be a connection between the Age of Aquarius and the sad facts of life for girls today?

I must read at Crisis Magazine here.

 

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