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3 concerning updates on Pope Francis

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3 concerning updates on Pope Francis

Pope Francis has been quite active in 2018 and its only the beginning of February. Many big stories regarding the Pope are receiving little attention. Pope Francis seeks to be different from his predecessors but it doesn’t appear he’s immune from the pedophilia scandals within the Catholic Church. As the Pope branches out to reach more people, is the Chinese government really a good partner for the Christian faith? Lastly the Pope Francis balances his call to fight antisemitism with encouraging a highly Islamic regime.

Story 1

CBS News- AP: Despite denial, Pope Francis got sex abuse victim’s letter

Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

While the victims’ testimony was deemed credible by both Vatican and Chilean prosecutors, the local church hierarchy clearly didn’t believe them, which might have influenced Francis’ view. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz has acknowledged he didn’t believe the victims initially and shelved an investigation. He was forced to reopen it after the victims went public. He is now one of the Argentine pope’s key cardinal advisers.

In a rare rebuke of a pope by a cardinal, O’Malley issued a statement Jan. 20 in which he said the pope’s words were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” and that such expressions had the effect of abandoning victims and relegating them to “discredited exile.”

A day later, Francis apologized for having demanded “proof” of wrongdoing by Barros, saying he meant merely that he wanted to see “evidence.” But he continued to describe the accusations against Barros as “calumny” and insisted he had never heard from any victims.

Even when told in his airborne press conference Jan. 21 that Karadima’s victims had indeed placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s abuse, Francis said: “No one has come forward. They haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.”

He stood by Barros, saying: “I’m certain he’s innocent,” even while saying that he considered the testimony of victims to be “evidence” in a cover-up investigation.

Story 2

WSJ: Pope Francis to Bow to China With Concession on Bishops

Pope Francis has decided to accept the legitimacy of seven Catholic bishops appointed by the Chinese government, a concession that the Holy See hopes will lead Beijing to recognize his authority as head of the Catholic Church in China, according to a person familiar with the plan.

For years, the Vatican didn’t recognize the bishops’ ordinations, which were carried out in defiance of the pope and considered illicit, part of a long-running standoff between the Catholic Church and China’s officially atheist Communist Party.

The bishops approved by the Beijing-backed Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association are seen as more willing to toe the government’s line, or even to support a Chinese Catholic Church free of the Vatican’s influence. Several of the bishops are members of a government advisory body controlled by the Communist Party.

It would then be up to Beijing to accept a proposed agreement giving the pope veto power on future bishop candidates, whom he would approve or veto after their selection by the Chinese government. Beijing’s major condition for that agreement has been that the pope recognize the seven bishops, the person said.

The Communist Party keeps a tight grip on all religious practice, mandating that religious institutions be free of foreign control. New regulations that went into effect on Thursday require that religious institutions gain government approval for teaching plans, overseas pilgrimages and other activities.

On the other hand, a deal would represent a breakthrough: the first official recognition by the Communist government of the pope’s jurisdiction as the head of the Catholic Church in China.

Story 3

Telegraph: Pope Francis gives peace symbol as gift to president Erdogan as Turkish forces pound Kurdish militia

Pope Francis gave a symbol of peace as a gift to Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, as Turkish forces continued their military offensive against Kurds in Syria.

The Pope and the Turkish leader had a 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, during which they discussed the situation in Syria as well as refugees in the Middle East and the Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which they both oppose.

It was the first visit of a Turkish president to the Vatican in nearly 60 years.

After the meeting, the Pope gave Mr Erdogan a bronze medallion showing an angel embracing the world while battling a dragon.

“This is the angel of peace who strangles the demon of war,” he told the president, whose forces have been accused of grave human rights abuses in the northern Afrin region of Syria.

My Take

Full disclosure: I’m a staunch protestant. But despite doctrinal differences, I recognize the faith of Catholics who have a relationship with Jesus.

Many people had high expectations for the Pope to address and make reforms in response to the child sex abuse that is within Catholic Church. The recent article by the AP shows evidence contrary to the Pope’s initial zero tolerance stance. The Pope’s lack of zeal in dealing with a scandal that was closer to him, both geographically and through connections, demonstrates an alarming amount of hypocrisy on the issue.

The move to recognize Chinese bishops is troubling for Christians in the east. Consider a segment of this thread on Chinese persecution:

The concern with this move is that the Pope just legitimized bishops who likely have no business being bishops. Since the Communist government approved of them, the indication is clear that the “radical” teachings of the Bible will be whitewashed with government sanctioned politically correct church material. So one must wonder, how serious is the Pope taking the Great Commission? The underground church is booming by most reports and so is the persecution. By absorbing apostate Chinese churches into the Vatican, the Pope is not only doing underground Catholics a disservice but also every other denomination. China is using a can’t beat them, so lets get them to beat themselves. These state-approved Churches are detractors to faith and the Pope gave his nod to them in exchange for recognition as the head of these churches. This is naive negotiating. We all know the government will truly be the authority these bishops respond to. Whether the Pope is egotistical or naive, he’s giving the Chinese government a brand name (the Vatican) for it to control Christianity through its state-run churches.

The last story is perhaps the most dangerous. Not only is it demonstrating a high amount of hypocrisy, or at very least inconsistency, in Pope Francis’s beliefs, but it could have more eternal/providential implications. Pope Francis met with Turkish President Erdoğan after his military commenced Operation Olive Branch to terrorize Kurds in Syria. Instead of confronting his attack on the Kurds, the Pope gave this dictator a medal of peace. What’s worse is that the Pope is basically being a tool for which Turkey can advance its Islamism. While the Pope scolded America, on Christmas, for moving it’s Israeli Embassy, Turkey announced it’s opening a Palistinean Embassy in Jerusalem, unscathed by the Vatican. Who’s side is the Pope on? Is he on the side of Jesus or Muhammad? This is a serious question. The Pope pushing to divide Israel only furthers the latter’s cause. As noted in my scathing critique of Paul Nelen’s antisemitism, Jesus will return to save Israel and nations will be judged. It is my understanding that Catholics believe in the second coming like the rest of Christianity. Why then would Pope Francis cozy up to a man bent on forming the next Caliphate?

A Kurdish pastor said something which is a bit of a wake up call: Turkey is a bigger threat to Israel than Iran. In truth, we cannot say for certain when the end-times are but soon. Turkey is a big player and Erdoğan has risen to the world arena, ending Turkey’s Kamalism in favor of Islamism. He could establish a caliphate through his neo-Ottoman pursuit. His land grabs in Syria are at very least a display of power. This is not the type of behavior the Pope should promote. Many opponents call the Pope Francis the Antichrist. He’s not, but he did just give a peace medal to the current front-runner.

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Culture and Religion

How likely is it that a single protein can form by chance?

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How likely is it that a single protein can form by chance

To really answers the question of whether life was created or came about by random chance, we need to take a mathematical look at things. It may be easier to form our opinions based on something we read in a junior high science book, but there really is more to it than the surface questions asked and answered by scientists and theologians alike.

For the faithful, it comes down to faith. For the scientific, it also comes down to faith. Whose faith is more likely to be correct?

Part of the answer can be found in this short video. Those who think there’s no faith associated with scientific theories clearly don’t understand the mathematics behind the science they claim to hold dear.

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Culture and Religion

When will people be forced to apologize for anti-Christian Tweets?

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When will people be forced to apologize for anti-Christian Tweets

There’s a trend that has been growing for some time that is reaching a tipping point now. The trend is this: when someone becomes a big story in the news, their Twitter accounts are scoured from beginning to end in order to find Tweets that offend a particular group or protected class. In many cases, this offended group has been the LGBTQ comunity, such as the recent cases of Kevin Hart and Kyler Murray.

Hart was set to host the upcoming Academy Awards when it was “discovered” the comedian used anti-LGBTQ slurs in the past. He deleted the Tweets and apologized, but still felt it necessary to pull out of the Oscars after so much backlash.

Murray, the Heisman trophy winner, was forced to apologize after reports of his Tweets used the same slurs when he was 14- and 15-years-old.

Bigotry in all its forms is contemptible. But where do we draw the line between actual bigotry and unfortunate uses of words or opinions in the past that have been deemed unacceptable today?

Should President Obama (and for that matter, Hillary Clinton) be demonized by the LGBTQ community, mainstream media, and leftists for their perspectives a decade ago? Lest we forget, both announced sharp opposition to gay marriage when they were running for president in 2008. Which is worse, a potential head of state calling for marriage to be defined as being between a man and woman or a teenager in high school referring to someone as a “fag”?

Democratic politicians are apparently allowed to evolve in their beliefs, but comedians and college football players are not.

Anti-Christian Tweets

Sadly, some of the very people who demonize others on Twitter for using unacceptable terms in the past are the same people who also demonize Christians today. I’ve been combing through Tweets of many of the most outspoken proponents of LGBTQ rights, accusers of Islamophopia, and other anti-bigotry leaders. In many cases, these people who are against bigotry demonstrate their own bigotry towards the Judeo-Christian faiths without being big news stories.

I’m not posting the Tweets here. I will not participate in whataboutism, nor do I condone using someone’s past Tweets to highlight their alleged bigotry. There’s a difference between the militant and inexcusable posts by people like Louis Farrakhan and the posts be people like Murray, Hart, or the anti-Christian posts of their detractors. They might see it as okay to demonize people like Hart and Murray for their Tweets, but I will not participate in Twitter witch hunts on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both practices are wrong.

So the question really isn’t about when we start calling out anti-Christian Tweets. It’s about why we should openly debate each other’s perspectives without being condemned for our own perspectives. If someone Tweets something against the Judeo-Christian faith, I wouldn’t expect the Oscars to ban them from being their host. I would see it as an opportunity to share my own perspectives and hopefully show some who are against my faith that there’s something worth exploring.

Today, if you Tweet something deemed unacceptable by the LGBTQ community, you’re in jeopardy of losing much. If you Tweet something against the Judeo-Christian faiths, the left sees it as acceptable. Social media is the most hypocritical medium around.

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Culture and Religion

9 discoveries that confirm the Bible

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9 discoveries that confirm the Bible

In this extremely interesting short video detailing archaeological discoveries that confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible, the folks at World Video Bible School highlight some amazing evidence. I don’t know much about WVBS, but I can endorse this video itself.

Here’s the first of the 9 discoveries:

The Pilate Inscriptions

In 1961 in an Italian sponsored dig in Caesarea, archaeologists uncovered a stone that had a Latin inscription on it that said “Pontius Pilatus… prefect of Judea.” That Pilate is mentioned in the Gospel accounts on several occasions. You read in John 18:29:

Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?

The find verifying the New Testament statement that Pilate was the prefect of Judea.

8 more

All of these discoveries are proper, indisputable archaeological finds. It’s one thing to contest the Bible’s authenticity as the Word of God, though its very presence and the takeaways we can draw from it point the faithful to the truth. However, claiming it as being historically wrong is being debunked regularly.

The authenticity of the Bible as a historical document is no longer a valid argument against it. As more archaeological evidence points to its physical truths, so too should its words and lessons be completely trustworthy to those seeking the truth.

 

 

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