For the Child Crying

12/02/2014 Comments (12)

In the neighborhood where I grew up, there were Friday evening band concerts underneath the cherry trees down the hill. Half a block away was the library, where sweet Bethany sat behind the desk in the children's room, listening patiently without blinking her wide, blue eyes. There was the park with its swings and see saws, the sumac trees, the little stream with frogs. In our yard was an enormous maple tree, spreading and gracious, with a tire swing and a perfect circle of dirt where we played marbles.

And there was the house across the street, where David, with his evil panther face, threw his wife through the window. Someone called the police, again, and his wife was furious. Any...READ MORE

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Interreligious Leaders to Sign Historic Joint Declaration Against Human Trafficking

12/01/2014 Comments (30)

Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders will come together at the Vatican for the first time in history on Tuesday to sign a joint declaration against modern slavery and human trafficking.

The signatories, who will include Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Rabbi David Rosen will declare their commitment towards the eradication of the worldwide scourge by 2020.

The initiative has been drawn up by the Global Freedom Network, a faith-based organization launched in March this year aimed at ending modern slavery and human trafficking.

The network defines modern slavery as the “systematic...READ MORE

Filed under global freedom network, human slavery, human trafficking, joint declaration, pope francis

Stand with Middle East Christians This Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (2)
Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

A boy waits with other young refugees, including many of from Syria and Iraq, for a Nov. 30 meeting with Pope Francis in Istanbul's Salesian Oratory.

– Daniel Ibáñez/CNA

Observing the mayhem in the Middle East last summer, Father Benedict Kiely at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe, Vt., did what came naturally: He asked his congregation to pray for those suffering, the Christian community in particular.

He was especially troubled by the fall of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and a Christian stronghold, to ISIS extremists. ISIS fighters painted the homes and businesses of Christians with the Arabic letter “N,” for “Nasarean,” a contemptuous way of referring to Christians. The “N” marked inhabitants for forced conversion, persecution or death. Christians fled the city by the thousands, and for the first time 1600 years, there was no Mass celebrated in the...READ MORE

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10 Things You Need to Know About Advent

12/01/2014 Comments (7)

It's Advent again! Here are 10 things to know and share!

Advent began this last Sunday.

Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church's official documents actually say about Advent?

Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent.

Some of the answers are surprising!

Here we go . . .

 

1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?

Advent is a season on the Church's liturgical calendar--specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.

Other Catholic Churches--as well as many non-Catholic churches--have their own celebration of Advent.

According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the...READ MORE

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Celebrating Advent in a Culture of Fear

12/01/2014 Comments (61)

Old Soviet Joke: A new Politburo member is going through his new office drawers and finds two envelopes addressed to him. One envelope says "Open me when you have your first major crisis." Some weeks later, tractor production drops sharply, the New Politburo member is blamed, and he's in deep trouble. He remembers the envelope, opens it and reads, "BLAME THE CURRENT CRISIS ON ME, YOUR PREDECESSOR." He does so, and his job is spared. However, there remains the second envelope, which reads, "Open me when you have your second major crisis."

Sometime later, a tractor factory in Minsk explodes and the New Guy gets the blame again. He rushes to read what’s in the second envelope. It says,...READ MORE

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Do sheep prove that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th?

11/30/2014 Comments (75)

Does the fact that sheep were being pastured when Jesus was born prove he couldn't have been born on Dec. 25?

St. Luke records that when Jesus was born an angel of the Lord directed a group of shepherds to go find him.

Luke introduces this group of shepherds by saying:

And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night [Luke 2:8].

This has led to a common argument that Jesus couldn’t have been born on December 25th.

Why? Because it was supposedly too cold for the shepherds to be pasturing their flocks at night in late December.

Is this true?

Not on your life.

 

Shepherds’ Fields

Sheep definitely were pastured in the vicinity of Bethlehem. Luke is correct about that. In fact, they are pastured there today.

There are even two fields (one...READ MORE

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"Integral Age" Update!

11/29/2014 Comments (4)

What does a team effort reveal about the idea that Moses and other holy men lived in whole year units?

Recently I blogged about the common apologetics claim that the dates of Christmas and the Annunciation were based on the idea that Jesus lived to an “integral age.”

In other words, that Jesus died on the anniversary of his birth or conception.

According to some authors, it was popularly believed among ancient Jews that prophets and other holy men died on their birthdays.

But my own research into the topic did not back this up.

I therefore asked if others could shed any light on the subject, and they did!

With the generous help of various individuals, mostly on Facebook, I’ve been able to get further information on this subject.

 

The origin of “integral age”

Jon Sorensen noted that...READ MORE

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Pope's Homily at Istanbul's Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

11/29/2014 Comments (9)
CTV

– CTV

Pope Francis this afternoon celebrated Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul. Present at the Eucharistic celebration was the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, along with several Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the region. 

During his homily, Francis said: "Only the Holy Spirit is able to kindle diversity, multiplicity and, at the same time, bring about unity. When we try to create diversity, but are closed within our own particular and exclusive ways of seeing things, we create division.

He added: "When we try to create unity through our own human designs, we end up with uniformity and homogenization. If we let ourselves be led by the Spirit, however,...READ MORE

Filed under bartholomew i, ecumenism, pope francis, turkey, unity

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