Five Things You Didn’t Know About Jesus

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CNN

With Easter approaching, and the movie “Son of God” playing in wide release, you’re going to hear a lot about Jesus these days.

You may hear revelations from new books that purport to tell the “real story” about Jesus, opinions from friends who have discovered a “secret” on the Web about the son of God, and airtight arguments from co-workers who can prove he never existed.

Beware of most of these revelations; many are based on pure speculation and wishful thinking. Much of what we know about Jesus has been known for the last 2,000 years.

Still, even for devout Christian there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, and thanks to advances in historical research and archaeological discoveries, more is known about his life and times.

With that in mind, here are five things you probably didn’t know about Jesus.

They are here, and include:

1.) Jesus came from a nowhere little town.

2.) Jesus probably didn’t know everything.

3.) Jesus was tough.

4.) Jesus needed “me time.”

5.) Jesus didn’t want to die.

 

Bishops Shouldn’t Try to Censor the Blogosphere

Bishop Michael Campbell (Flickr/Mazur)

So say a leading English priest:

Fr Timothy Finigan, author of the Hermeneutic of Continuity blog, made the comment after Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster asked Deacon Nick Donnelly “to voluntarily pause from placing new posts” on his blog Protect the Pope.

Fr Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen, south east London, wrote: “I do wonder about the practical wisdom of attempting to censor the blogosphere. Protect the Pope now carries posts by Mrs Donnelly, and she has offered an invitation to others to contribute material – which several writers have already taken up. Other censored bloggers can also simply start up a new blog under a pseudonym, or use alternative social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter are well-known but the possibilities are endless. As activists on the internet pointed out years ago, censorship is just another bug for which you find a hack or a workaround. The danger is that a previously censored commenter will be probably not be inclined to moderation in a new social media incarnation.

“Bishops also have on their side the great respect of most Catholics for Bishops. Quite often a blog will criticise a Bishop severely, only to find that another blog tells a different side to the story, or the Bishop issues a statement clarifying things – and then receives a lot of support from Catholic bloggers. The discussion will continue, but the Bishop is not exactly powerless to defend himself. Bloggers work in an environment which is open to everyone. One of the healthy things about such open communication is precisely that you cannot rely on personal standing to squash disagreement.”

After the bishop’s request Deacon Nick Donnelly, who writes the Protect the Pope blog, will be taking an indefinite break from blogging, while his wife, Martina Donnelly, has taken on the running of the blog for the time being.

A statement released by the Diocese of Lancaster last week said: “After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on March 7 saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.

“Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church. Deacon Nick has agreed to the bishop’s request at this time.”

In a short statement on the Protect the Pope website Martina Donnelly wrote: “As Nick’s wife I am writing to thank you for all the kind messages, prayers and gifts that Nick has received. You may have noticed that he has not posted for a while and I did not want you to be worried, as although he is still far from better, this silence has not been caused by his illness. Rather Nick has been asked to observe a period of prayer and reflection. Please continue to pray for Nick during this time.”

When asked by The Catholic Herald if he thought his blog had ever crossed the line, Deacon Donnelly replied: “No.”

He said: “I think blogging is an incredible tool for evangelisation, I started blogging in 2010 before the papal visit because I felt I needed to answer lies and misrepresentations about the Catholic Church. When I launched Protect the Pope it received coverage all over the world. I even received coverage in Vietnam. When I finished Protect the Pope I was getting 100,000 views per month.”

He said that the aim of his blog was simply “to compare and contrast what’s being said and done in the Church with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That can never be wrong.”

He said that he would rather not continue blogging in the future if it meant that he would have to change this basic aim. He emphasised that the “period of reflection” was indefinite and added: “The past three days I’ve had so many messages of support from my readers, even people who don’t agree with me. I’ve found that really encouraging. That’s been a positive experience from all of this.”

When asked if he thought that Catholic bishops understood the blogosphere, he said: “My feeling is that their a priori position is suspicion and they don’t understand blogging’s potential. They don’t react to it well.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has told the leaders of the world’s ordinariates that while blogs could be a helpful tool of evangelisation, they could also “express unreflected speech lacking in charity”.

The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

 

Syria…

Pictures emerge of thousands of residents of the Damascus district of Yarmouk, who have remained trapped for nearly a year, queuing for food and aid.

This picture taken on January 31, 2014, and released by the UNRWA on February 26, 2014, shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria

This picture taken on January 31, 2014, and released by the UNRWA on February 26, 2014, shows residents of the besieged Palestinian camp of Yarmouk queuing to receive food supplies in Damascus, Syria…

More here.

 

Frontline Confessions

Get Religion:

Hearing the confessions of soldiers shortly before they go into combat is one of the most important and symbolic duties performed by priests who serve as military chaplains representing Christianity’s ancient churches.

After all, the soldiers are going into harm’s way and there is no way to know if they will return. In a way, the priest knows that he could be hearing the penitent’s  final confession — turning this encounter into a kind of Last Rites for a person who is not sick unto death, but may be moments from death.

This brings me to the first photo — pictured above — in a remarkable online slideshow produced, using photos from a number of different news sources, by the foreign-affairs desk at The Washington Post.

This particular photo is from Getty Images. There is no way for me to know what kind of information was attached to this photo that could have been used by the copy-editor or editors who produced this feature. There is no way to know if the photographer had any way to talk to the specific priest or this penitent to obtain more information about what was happening in this dramatic scene.

As readers can see above, the photo caption reads:

A man kneels before an Orthodox priest in an area separating police and anti-government protesters near Dynamo Stadium on Jan. 25, 2014, in Kiev.

This is, I guess, a literal statement about what the photographer saw.

However, for the hundreds or perhaps even thousands of Ukrainians at the scene, that is not what was taking place.

The priest in this picture has placed his stole over the man’s head and is reading prayers. This is what happens at the end of the rite of confession, which under ideal conditions would take place in a sanctuary with the penitent facing an icon, often the icon known as Christ Pantocrator. The penitent is confessing his or her sins to Christ, with the priest hearing this confession representing the church.

Is there another circumstance in which a priest would place his stole over the head of a kneeling believer and then say prayers? There may be, but not one that I know of as an Eastern Orthodox layman. The same was true for my priest, to whom I took this question over the weekend.

Would it have been more dramatic to say that this believer, in the midst of territory that was turning into a war zone in downtown Kiev, felt the need to say his confession?

I would say so.

Is he confessing his sins because of something he has just done? There is no way to know that.

Is he confessing his sins because he believes he is about to be placed in a situation resembling combat, a setting in which his life will almost certainly be at risk? I would say that this is the safest interpretation of the information contained in this photo…

Read on here.

 

 

Archbishop Bans Eulogies at Funeral Masses

Canadian Catholic Archbishop Terrence Prendergast:

Roman Catholics in Ottawa are no longer permitted to deliver eulogies during funeral Masses, the local archbishop has decreed.

The Feb. 2 decree from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast reminds the faithful that Catholics gather at funerals “not to praise the deceased, but to pray for them.”

Contrary to popular belief, eulogies “are not part of the Catholic funeral rites, particularly in the context of a funeral liturgy within Mass,” the decree stated. Many Catholics, it pointed out, do not know this.

Rest here.

 

Give That Man a Bell’s



PS. Just for the record, I’m a teetotaller.
 

Men Banned from Becoming Queen…

as 700 years of law redrafted ahead of gay marriage. You just can’t make this stuff up!

Men are to be banned from becoming Queen or Princess of Wales as part of an unprecedented effort to rewrite more than 700 years of law to prevent unintended consequences of gay marriage.

Even a 14th Century act declaring it high treason to have an affair with the monarch’s husband or wife is included in the sweeping redrafting exercise.

Civil servants have drawn up a list of scores of statutes and regulations dating back as far 1285 to be amended or specifically excluded when the Government’s Same-Sex Marriage Act comes into force next month.

Under proposals to be debated by MPs and Peers as early as next week, terms such as “widow” will be deleted or reworded in legislation covering topics as diverse as seamen’s pensions and London cab licences to take account of the new definition of marriage.

References to mothers, fathers, husbands and wives are also to be amended to avoid future confusion.

Rest here.

Avoid confusion?! More like creating it.

The order makes clear that a clause in the Act giving gay and heterosexual   marriage the same legal effect does not apply to the rights of anyone “who marries, or who is married to, the King Regnant, to the title of Queen”.

It also makes clear that were a future Prince of Wales to marry a man his husband could not be called Princess of Wales.

More immediately, the order rules out the possibility of Dukes, Earls and   other male peers who marry other men making their husbands Duchess, Countess or Lady…

 

Overzealous Priest Overturns The Tables Of The Money Changers In Church Gift Shop

Eye of the Tiber:

Louisville, KY––In what the police are calling a “fanatical act committed while in the state of a nervous breakdown,” Associate Pastor of St. Margaret Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Father Randy Coelho, walked into the parish gift shop and began to overturn registers as well as tables containing rosaries, scapulars, and other religious goods earlier this morning.

The incident occurred shortly after the conclusion of the 7pm Mass, when an “overworked” Coelho appeared to have “snapped” following his first four-Mass day since ordination.

“It was very unusual,” said gift shop owner Rosie Culkin. “He’s usually so calm. But he in came screaming at us saying, ‘Is it not written, my house shall be called a house of prayer? But you have made it into a den of thieves.’ So I tried to calm him down and tell him that this was just the gift shop and that the house of prayer was about twenty-feet thataway. But he kept flipping everything over, which really sucked cause we have inventory to do tonight.”

Culkin went on to say that after also telling [Coelho] that it was not a den of thieves because thieves typically do not come into religious gift shops after Mass ready to purchase religious goods with cash or credit. Coelho told police that he just wanted to make sure they were not selling doves. No charges are expected to be filed.

 

My Beautiful Woman


 

Suicide Bus Bombing Kills South Korean Christians on Holy Land Pilgrimage

If nobody else is going to say it, I will: Stay out of Egypt!

Untitled

A bus full of South Korean Christians who saved money for years in order to visit biblical sites in Egypt and Israel were attacked Sunday by a suicide bomber.

Four people were killed in the bombing, including the Egyptian driver, a church member, and two South Korean guides. At least 14 others were injured, the Associated Press reports.

This is not the first time South Korean Christians have been the target of violence in a foreign country. In 2007, after a 43-day hostage situation left two South Korean missionaries dead in Afghanistan, South Korea subsequently banned citizens from traveling to certain majority-Muslim countries—which proved to be a blessing in disguise for Korean Christians.

This time, the 31 churchgoers on the bus came from a Presbyterian church south of Seoul, as they were touring biblical sites in commemoration of the church’s 60th anniversary of its founding.

“No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, which bore the hallmarks of attacks blamed on al-Qaida-linked militant groups that have been battling government forces in Sinai’s restive north for years,” the AP reports.

On Sunday, the church group was about to enter Israel from the Egyptian border town of Taba after visiting an ancient monastery in Sinai. The group had left South Korea last Monday on its 12-day tour of Israel, Egypt, and Turkey.

”My mother was a devout Christian,” the dead church member’s daughter, surnamed Yoon, told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency. ”I don’t know how such a thing could happen. I don’t know how to react to this.”

South Korea has long been known for its zeal for mission work, with nearly 30 percent of the country’s population claiming Christianity. They have 20,000 missionaries in 177 countries, ranking No. 6 in the world for sending the most missionaries. Some Korean Christian leaders see the existing travel bans not as a hindrance to missions work, but an opportunity to “focus Korean missions in areas where missionaries are more accepted and more likely to be successful,” CT reported.

CT regularly reports on South Korea and South Korean missions, including a 2006 cover story on how Christians in South Korea sent more missionaries than any other country besides the United States.

CT also regularly reports on pilgrimages, including how modern pilgrimage sites and classic pilgrimage sites offer surprising rewards for the Christians who visit them.

 

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