So has warned a Chaldean Catholic bishop in Syria:
A Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop on Monday warned that an armed intervention in Syria could unleash a “world war”, while the Vatican’s official newspaper called for more “prudence” from Western powers.
“If there is an armed intervention, that would mean, I believe, a world war. That risk has returned,” Monsignor Antoine Audo of Aleppo told Vatican radio.
“We hope that the pope’s call for real dialogue between the warring parties to find a solution can be a first step to stop the fighting,” he said.
Audo is also the head of the Syrian arm of the international Catholic charity Caritas and has repeatedly warned about the human cost of the war.
The Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, meanwhile criticised Western powers in an editorial.
“The drumbeat of an armed intervention by Western powers is becoming ever more insistent and ever less restrained by prudence,” it said.
“Several representatives of these countries say they are convinced that the accusation that the Syrian army used chemical weapons is founded — a question which the United Nations is investigating,” he said.
Pope Francis on Sunday called for the international community to help find a solution to the civil war.
“I launch an appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and to commit itself to the maximum to help the dear Syrian nation find a solution to a war which spreads destruction and death,” he said.
They never thought they’d see it again, but 42 years after their Bible was stolen in 1971, Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England, received an intriguing letter in the mail. The anonymous note was sent to church treasurer Simon Scott and read, “You won’t believe receiving this letter and you certainly won’t believe receiving a bible in the post shortly,” according to the BBC.
To the surprise of the church administration, a huge box containing a large leather-bound version of The Holy Bible, complete with brass clasps, later arrived in the mail, just as promised.
The letter from the 1971 thief explained the he and his wife had moved to England from Germany, and hoped to improve his language skills by enrolling in an English class. However, the class was very expensive and fell short of his expectations, so he took it upon himself to study outside of the course.
Some lessons took place inside the Hastings church, and he said he, “saw these bibles just sitting there, unused he felt.” He decided to take one home in order to read it and improve his English through self-study. However, he “never got round to doing it,” and felt the twinges of a guilty conscience whenever he saw the book for years after the incident.
The thief said that his wife was “pretty angry” with him for taking the beautiful Bible. “I’ve never managed to pluck up the courage to come and hand it back personally,” he added. “But now that I’ve retired, I’ve definitely decided to get on the right side of things.”
Scott told the BBC that he didn’t think the Bible was worth very much, but seemed pleased with the story’s conclusion, commenting, “We’ve got ours back.”
Watch this… and pray…
So say the Archbishop Justin Welby as he begins to smell the coffee:
The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that the Anglican church is tottering on the brink of disintegration amid disputes between liberals and traditionalists.
In his most stark comments yet about divisions over issues such as homosexuality, the Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church was coming perilously close to plunging into a “ravine of intolerance”.
He even drew parallels between the crisis afflicting the 77-million-strong worldwide network of Anglican churches and the atmosphere during the Civil War. And he likened the collective behaviour of the Church to a “drunk man” staggering ever closer to the edge of a cliff…
The Archbishop, who took office in February, inherited a Church deeply divided at home and abroad…
A Coptic monument to survival, destroyed:
No one knows exactly when the Virgin Mary Church was built, but the fourth and fifth centuries are both possible options. In both cases, it was the time of the Byzantines. Egypt’s Coptic Church—to which this church in modern-day Delga belonged—had refused to bow to imperial power and Rome’s leadership over the nature of Christ. Constantinople was adamant it would force its will on the Copts. Two lines of popes claimed the Seat of Alexandria. One with imperial blessing sat in the open; the other, with his people’s support, often hid, moving from one church to the other. Virgin Mary Church’s altar outlasted the Byzantines. Arabs soon invaded in A.D. 641. Dynasties rose and fell, but the ancient building remained strong, a monument to its people’s survival.
Virgin Mary Church was built underground, a shelter from the prying eye. At its entrance were two ancient Roman columns and an iron door. Inside were three sanctuaries with four altars. Roman columns were engraved in the walls. As in many Coptic churches, historical artifacts overlapped earlier ones. The most ancient drawing to survive into the 21st century: a depiction, on a stone near the entrance, of two deer and holy bread. Layers and layers of history, a testament not only to the place’s ancient roots but also to its persistence. Like other Coptic churches, the ancient baptistery was on the western side, facing the altar in the east. Infants were symbolically transferred through baptism from the left to the right. The old icons were kept inside the church, the ancient manuscripts transferred to the Bishopric in modern times.
Once there were 23 other ancient churches next to it, all connected through secret passages. Only Virgin Mary Church remained. Decline and survival, loss and endurance, the twin faces of the story of the Copts who built it.
Why Virgin Mary Church endured until modern times is a mystery. Some churches in Cairo survived because Coptic popes made them their residence. Being built on a place Jesus and his mother had visited gave others in Egypt a claim to fame and a chance at survival, while in still others the miracles performed by the patron saint were a reason for pilgrims to visit and donate. Virgin Mary Church had none of these. For hundreds of years, its sole claim to miracles: a Roman column that, according to parishioners, produced oil once a year on Good Friday. The church was probably too small and too remote from the center of authority to merit notice. Its flock never abandoned it. Most of the Copts had converted to Islam over the centuries, but in Delga a critical mass remained that kept putting candles in front of the old icons.
Then, in 1829, a boy named Boulos Ghobrial was born in a village nearby. He was baptized in Virgin Mary Church’s ancient baptistery and taught to read and write in its small school. He would become St. Abram, the Bishop of Fayoum, a man of deep spirituality, who performed thousands of miracles and resembled his master in his poverty. He died in 1914, and the Holy Synod would declare him a saint in 1963. Many churches would be built under his name, and his residence in Fayoum would become a huge attraction to pilgrims. His birthplace would reap some of the benefits.
Two newer churches were built next to Virgin Mary Church: St. George, about 100 years ago, and the modern St. Abram. Other buildings were soon added. A church that was a shelter from persecution under the Byzantines became a shelter from increasing discrimination and banishment from the public space in modern times. A large meeting room was built, as were a theater and retreat house. In the open space, a soccer field. Church permits became harder to get in Egypt and the small complex served 30,000 Copts.
Miracles are rare in modern times. More common is hardship, and plenty befell the churches of Delga. St. George was attacked a number of times and its domes destroyed. An enthusiastic bishop built two minarets only to have the Egyptian police destroy them. More threatening than a persecuting state was the mob. The ancient churches were attacked several times in the past. On July 28, Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown. The churches survived that day.
But survival was not destined two weeks later. The army’s violent crackdown on Mohamed Morsi’s supporters in Cairo unleashed a wave of attacks on churches the like of which Copts had not seen in centuries, thus laying waste to examples of a unique byway in the history of architecture, religious structures that are a hybrid of Egyptian, Greco-Roman and Christian Byzantine styles. Dozens of churches were burned and destroyed in the largest attack on Coptic houses of worship since 1321. A complete tally is still to be written. But in its latest report, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt’s best human-rights organization, documents a total of 47 churches attacked, of which 25 were burned, seven looted and destroyed, five partly damaged, and 10 attacked without sustaining heavy damage.
In this maelstrom, the ancient Virgin Mary Church was not spared. In a day of brutality, the people of Delga distinguished themselves. All three of Delga’s Coptic churches were destroyed. So were a Catholic and a Protestant church in the city. In place of Virgin Mary Church, the mob placed a sign: The Martyrs Mosque…
Rest in the Wall Street Journal here.
Why does the Pistorius family bow heads in prayer before the trial, in public view?
They could have done that discreetly, as God does not need public displays! He knows what we all need – not want.
Is it not just another method being used to soften the minds of people who realise that Oscar is a spoilt brat, used to getting his own way or else throwing tantrums and threatening people?
It would seem that his temper and his lack of taking responsibility for his actions, has gotten the better of him this time.
Pity someone like Reeva had to die for the world to see that!
And missed, he is. The Telegraph reports:
“God told me to do it,” the 86-year-old former pontiff told a friend, six months after his decision to step down shocked the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
God had implanted in his heart the “absolute desire” to resign and to devote himself to a life of prayer and reflection, Benedict told the anonymous confidante, according to Zenit, a Rome-based Catholic news agency.
“It was not because of any type of apparition or phenomenon of that sort,” he said, but instead the result of a “mystical experience” received during “a direct rapport with the Lord”.
He said the more he sees the “charisma” of Pope Francis, his successor, the more he is convinced that it was “the will of God” that he became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.
Francis, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires, has won huge popularity with his down-to-earth and direct style, renouncing many of the trappings of office, visiting a favela slum during his week-long trip to Brazil last month and calling for a “poor Church”.
The conversation between Benedict and the confidante took place in Mater Ecclesiae, the former convent within the walls of the Vatican that has been converted into a retirement home for the German former pope.
Vatican sources confirmed the veracity of the report but declined to reveal the identity of the person that Benedict spoke to.
“The report is reliable, without a doubt, although this is not an official Vatican statement or position,” an insider told The Daily Telegraph.
Benedict surprised the world, including cardinals and close aides within the Vatican, when he unexpectedly announced his intention to resign on Feb 11.
He made the announcement during a gathering of cardinals in the Vatican, choosing to deliver the bombshell in Latin.
Many of the cardinals did not immediately understand what he had said, but the news was picked up by a sharp-eared correspondent from Ansa, the Italian news agency, who happened to be well versed in Latin and landed herself a worldwide scoop.
Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, left the Vatican for the last time as Pope just over two weeks later, flying off in a white helicopter to Castel Gandolfo, a hilltop castle outside Rome used as a papal retreat during the hot summer months.
Pope Francis was elected as the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years, and the first from the Americas, during a secret conclave of 115 cardinals in March.
Benedict returned to live in the Vatican in May, saying that he would remain “hidden from the world”, devoting the rest of his life to prayer and theological study…
The police lieutenant put his boots up on the desk and casually reloaded his machine gun. “The problem is,” he said, nodding at a television that was live-broadcasting the siege of a nearby mosque, “these people are terrorists.”
It was mid-afternoon last Saturday, and for nearly 24 hours, the lieutenant’s colleagues in the police and army had surrounded the al-Fath mosque in central Cairo, inside which were hiding a few hundred supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. On screen, it seemed like it was the soldiers doing the terrorising. But for the lieutenant, the terrorists were the ones on the inside. They had bombs, the policeman said: they deserved what they got. And a mob of locals agreed. “The police and the people,” chanted a crowd that had gathered to lynch the fugitives as they exited the mosque, “are one hand.”
It was a wretched scene – but one that has become familiar in Egypt…
Read on here.