Church

Caught in the Middle: Mortar Shell Hits Church

Attack occurred during communion, but the only people injured were outside the building.

Aleteia reports:

SYRIA-CONFLICT

In an increasingly complicated time for the Syrian city of Aleppo, practically no place is completely safe. On Sunday, a mortar shell hit the Latin Catholic Church of St. Francis, in the al-Aziziyah district of the city, during Mass.

Fides news agency reported that the grenade, from areas held by anti-Assad rebels, hit the roof, tearing its dome but not penetrating it. Rather, the exposing injured seven people outside.

“If the grenade had exploded inside, there would have been a massacre,” commented Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, the apostolic vicar of Aleppo. He said that there were about 400 people in the church for the evening Mass and that the incident occurred as people were receiving communion…

More on the incident here.

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Church

The Surprising Rise of Christianity in Russia

Mystic Post with an interesting read for a Sunday afternoon:

With America clearly in mind, Vladimir Putin recently declared: “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered. They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil.” Putin believes in sin and that morality is not a relative moving target that is determined by the dominate culture of the time. In Putin’s world – his Christian world – there are consequences to moral behavior – there is a right and a wrong.

Putin’s words on faith have surprised the world…

Read on here.

 

Church

Churches Robbed in Germany: Stolen Chalices, Crosses and Other Items Sent to Syria to Fund ISIS

Eight men — led by a Moroccan — are on trial in Germany for stealing from churches and schools in order to fund the Islamic State (IS), the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 24, 2015).

The men aiding the Islamic State stole 19,000 Euros worth of goods from churches and schools in Cologne and Siegen.

In the court case, chief prosecutor Nadja Gudermann said that the men stole church offertory funds, collection boxes, crosses, chalices, and a number of other valuable objects “dedicated to church services and religious worship.”

In addition to pilfering from churches, the men are also accused of stealing money, laptop computers, and a cash card from schools. The men sent the stolen items to Syria to fund Islamic State fighters in their terrorist campaign.

Source

Church

Priest Blesses Missiles To Be Used For Airstrikes

In Syria:

Actually, it looks like a Bishop…

In the above photo, an Orthodox priest blesses Russian missiles intended for airstrikes against Syrian rebels. According to Reuters reporter Noah Browning, the priest is sprinkling holy water on the missile before it is put aboard a Russian plane.

The blessing of missiles comes after Patriarch Kirill, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, declared that Russia’s intervention in Syria, which is aimed at the rebels currently aligned against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, is a “holy battle.”

More here.

War. And the need to formulate a proper Christian response. One that is consistent. Sanctifying war? Surely, it cannot be so…

Sport

Springboks vs All Blacks (WC 2015)

It’s a massive rugby day today: World Cup Semi with the Springboks (South Africa) vs. the All Blacks (NZ) at Twickenham.

News 24 will have live updates.

And Twitter, as always, will be abuzz.

80 minutes of war between two historic great rivals.

I’ll tell you, my heart says: ‘Springboks’, but my head says another: ‘All Blacks’…

Oh well, all I’ll say then is: ‘Go Bokke!!’

UPDATE: Final scores: South Africa 18-20 New Zealand.

😦

Religion

Iceland Turning To Paganism

An Ásatrú temple is opening in Reykjavik for the first time in a millennium.

The Atlantic:

Next year, for the first time in a millennium, a pagan temple will wel-come Reykjavik’s faithful. The heathen house of worship, vaguely resembling a misshapen meringue, will be aligned with the sun’s path and burrowed into a hill near the city’s airport. There, like the Vikings of old, members of Iceland’s neo-pagan Ásatrú movement will be able to feast on horse meat, swig from goblets of mead, and praise deities such as Thor, the god of thunder, and Freyja, the goddess of love.

At first glance, the scene might appear bizarrely anachronistic. But although Iceland officially adopted Christianity around a.d. 1000, paganism never really disappeared from the Nordic island. The religious traditions of the Norsemen lived on—in mythology and poetry, in popular Icelandic names like Thorstein, in widespread belief in invisible elves and nature spirits. Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir, an Icelandic journalist and a self-described atheist who has attended Ásatrú ceremonies, told me, “Icelanders have never really been strictly Christian,” noting that when they accepted Christianity, they did so under the condition that they be permitted to quietly practice paganism. “It’s not that people necessarily believe in the old Norse gods or have secret ceremonies in their basement,” she said. Instead, she explained, pagan values are “ingrained into our culture.

Read on here.

 

Church

Vatican Denies Report Pope Francis Has A Brain Tumor

This in via Reuters: 

Pope Francis speaks as he leads the weekly audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

The Vatican denied on Wednesday an Italian media report that Pope Francis has a benign brain tumor.

“The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention,” chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said in a statement.

“Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the pope is carrying out his very intense activity in a totally normal way,” he said.

Francis later held his weekly general audience before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square and was due to return to a three-week gathering of Roman Catholic bishops from around the world, which he has been attending daily.

The newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale, a national paper based in central Italy, reported on its front page on Wednesday that a Japanese doctor and his team had secretly flown from Tuscany to the Vatican on a helicopter bearing the Vatican’s white-and-yellow flag to examine the pope “some months ago”.