Category: The Church

Missouri passes “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet in U.S.

May 16, 2019 / 7:34 AM / CBS/AP

Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law. The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.

It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Republican Senate handler Sen. Andrew Koenig described it on Thursday as “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet passed in the U.S.

As CBS News’ Kate Smith has reported, Missouri already has some of the most restrictive abortion access laws in the country. Missourians seeking an abortion are subject to a 72-hour waiting period and only one abortion clinic exist in the state.

Missouri joins a movement of GOP-dominated state legislatures emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn its landmark ruling legalizing the procedure. Its senators voted only hours after Alabama’s governor signed the most stringent abortion ban in the nation on Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Outnumbered Missouri Senate Democrats launched into an attack on the bill before Republican supporters had a chance to bring it up for debate on the Senate floor.

“So much of this bill is just shaming women into some kind of complacency that says we are vessels of pregnancy rather than understanding that women’s lives all hold different stories,” St. Louis-area Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said.

Missouri is among a growing number of states where abortion opponents are working with renewed enthusiasm following President Donald Trump’s appointment of more conservative high court justices. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Similar restrictions in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down in court.

Supporters say the Alabama bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally in hopes of sparking a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies. But unlike Alabama’s, it would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

If courts don’t allow Missouri’s proposed eight-week ban to take effect, it includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits ranging from 14 to 20 weeks. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion up until viability, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

“This is not a piece of legislation that is designed for a challenge,” Missouri’s Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said. “This is the type of legislation that is designed to withstand a challenge and to actually save lives in our state.”

Republicans and Democrats worked for hours to reach a compromise on the bill, which included an expansion of tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers, and waters down other provisions.

The approved version of the wide-ranging bill bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a “prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome.” It also requires that both parents be notified for a minor to get an abortion, but a change was made after hours of late-night negotiations to remove the requirement when a parent lacks legal or physical custody. Current law requires written consent from only one parent.

Still, some lawmakers on both sides of the debate walked away unhappy.

Democrat Schrupp said even after changes, it’s “an extreme and egregious piece of legislation that puts women’s health at risk.”

“It is outrageous that it has no exemptions for victims of human trafficking, rape or incest,” she said.

Republican Sen. Bob Onder said negotiators went too far to compromise, leaving the bill “a shadow of what it once was.”

“This should be entitled not the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,'” Onder told colleagues on the Senate floor, “but the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, sort of kind of only after the minority party and the strongest Planned Parenthood lawyers in the country were done with the bill.'”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9819

CHRISLAM UPDATE: Pope Francis Wishes A Very Happy Ramadan To ‘Our Muslim Brothers And Sisters’ As The Vatican Embrace Of Islam Grows Deeper

The Vatican has sent a special message to all the world’s Muslims, wishing them “a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan.” “We Muslims and Christians are called to open ourselves to others, knowing and recognizing them as brothers and sisters,” the text states. “In this way, we can tear down walls raised out of fear and ignorance and seek together to build bridges of friendship that are fundamental for the good of all humanity.”

by Geoffrey Grider May 13, 2019

The endearing use of the phrase “brothers and sisters” invokes a vision of harmony and peace together. This is not the case between Muslims and Christians globally. This is Chrislam.

If I call someone who is not my biological sibling my ‘brother or sister’ what exactly am I saying? Well, with the use of that term, I am acknowledging that that person and myself share an overwhelming and fundamental agreement about the major issues in life. The bible tells us that two people cannot ‘walk together’ through life unless there be in agreement with each other, as we see in the bible verse below.  And when we read the entire chapter from which that verse is taken, we see that verse is used as a rebuke, which is exactly how I am using it here.

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3 (KJV)

Pope Francis continues his full court press of wooing the Muslims and Islam into the folds of the Roman Catholic tent as he builds the One World Religion that Revelation 13, 17 and 18 tells us the Roman pontiff will do. As we have long said, just as Rome used the armies of Spain to enforce the demonic Spanish Inquisition for nearly 300 years, so will Rome now seek to use the armies of Islamic jihad to promote the Roman Catholic harlot at the point of a sword. You may not know much bible, you may not believe in bible prophecy, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are watching it come to life before your very eyes. The pope is effectively using false teachers like Rick Warren to advance his cause.

Pope Francis is not merely a ‘defender of Islam’, he is a promoter of Islam and by extension Sharia Law. He has been working on this partnership and it soon will be completed, when it is, look out. Rome will once again have an army, and at that point they will quit pretending to be a lamb, and go right back to being the ‘roaring lion’ who only comes to seek, kill and destroy. Pope Francis and his Roman religion is creating Chrislam, the merger of counterfeit Christianity and Islam, and he is doing it with impunity. He knows that ‘now is his hour’ and that the ‘power of darkness’ will continue to propel him forward. That’s how he can look on Muslims who practice Sharia Law and preach hatred of the Jews and Israel as ‘brothers and sisters’ because he is one of them.

Vatican issues a happy Ramadan to all “Muslim brothers and sisters”

FROM JIHAD WATCH: Too many Christians live under the worst conditions in Islamic countries, as they endure violent persecution daily under the Sharia. The Pope of Islam is living a lie and promoting the same. Ongoing, he has abandoned persecuted Christians, and also persecuted other minority groups including minority Muslim groups and other victims of jihad. He has also turned a blind eye to Islamic supremacist assaults and jihad attacks in Western countries as a result of open door immigration.

His pursuit of dialogue has never included the demand that Islamic leaders and adherents accept religious freedoms, and the equality of other faiths and human beings regardless of gender and personal identity. The Pope does not promote a two way street in his so-called advancement of “dialogue”.  His expectation is that Christians must embrace “dialogue”, “diversity” and “tolerance” of everyone—including jihadists– but he has no such message and expectation of Muslims.

The Pope has also declared Rome to be a “city of bridges, never walls!,” and further stated that  “Jesus demands” we take in Muslim migrants. Meanwhile, he lives in a walled city within Rome, surrounded by security, and he is not taking in any migrants himself. 

ConverselyCardinal Robert Sarah  — prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments — compared “the modern influx of Muslim migrants to the invasions of barbarian tribes that ultimately brought down the Roman Empire in a.d. 475.” Sarah also warned that “it is a false exegesis [interpretation of scriptural text] to use the Word of God to promote migration. God never wanted these rifts.”

For the Pope’s trip to Morocco, Vatican media promotions abandoned the traditional papal insignia and replaced it with the cross and the crescent; and the crescent did not appear “alongside the cross, as if a companion to it. Rather, the Islamic symbol encircles the Christian one” symbolizing a kind of submission to Islam.  In Islamic law, Muslim lives are explicitly worth more than those of non-Muslims. The Shafi’i Sharia manual Reliance of the Traveller dictates: “The indemnity for the death or injury of a woman is one-half the indemnity paid for a man. The indemnity paid for a Jew or Christian is one-third the indemnity paid for a Muslim. The indemnity paid for a Zoroastrian is one-fifteenth that of a Muslim.” (o4.9) Sikhs rank even lower, as they are not People of the Book.  The Pope addresses none of this.

Pope Francis has accurately been hailed  the “defender of Islam”. As Robert Spencer rightly notes:

Pope Francis is not only disastrously wrongheaded about an obvious fact that is reinforced by every day’s headlines; he is also deceiving and misleading his people about a matter of utmost importance, and keeping them ignorant and complacent about a growing and advancing threat. source

“Vatican Pope Francis Wishes Happy Ramadan to ‘Muslim Brothers and Sisters’

The Vatican has sent a special message to all the world’s Muslims, wishing them “a peaceful and fruitful celebration of Ramadan.” The month of Ramadan, which began this year on May 5, is “a month for strengthening the spiritual bonds we share in Muslim-Christian friendship,” reads the message from the Vatican’s office of interreligious dialogue bearing the title “Christians and Muslims: Promoting Universal Fraternity.”

“We Muslims and Christians are called to open ourselves to others, knowing and recognizing them as brothers and sisters,” the text states. “In this way, we can tear down walls raised out of fear and ignorance and seek together to build bridges of friendship that are fundamental for the good of all humanity.”

“We thus cultivate in our families and in our political, civil and religious institutions, a new way of life where violence is rejected, and the human person respected,” reads the message, which bears the signature of Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Our religions invite us to “remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence; to re-establish wisdom, justice and love,” the text says, citing a joint declaration signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam Ahmed a-Tayyeb in Abu Dhabi this past February.

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH: THE END TIMES ‘UNIVERSAL PEACE DOCUMENT’ POPE FRANCIS SIGNED WITH ISLAMIC LEADER MAKES NO REFERENCE OF ANY KIND TO JESUS CHRIST OR THE BIBLE

That same declaration brought down heavy criticism on the pope particularly due to the assertion that the plurality and diversity of religions “are willed by God in His wisdom,” just as God wills a plurality of colors, sexes, races, and languages.

A number of Catholic theologians raised objections to the statement, insisting that it seemed to suggest that either God actively wills error, or that all religions are equally valid paths to God. The existence of a variety of colors, races, and languages in humanity is very different from a variety of contradictory claims about God’s identity and way of acting, they said.

In early April, Francis walked back the earlier statement, clarifying that in reality God only permits the existence of many religions without actively willing it. The Vatican’s Ramadan message steers clear of such theological swampland.

“We are encouraged, therefore, to continue advancing the culture of dialogue as a means of cooperation and as a method of growing in knowledge of one another,” the message says.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9810

Iran’s Intelligence Minister Admits Christianity is Spreading in ‘Parts’ of His Country

05-05-2019

Steve Warren

Iran’s intelligence minister has admitted publicly for the first time that Christianity is spreading throughout Iran.

Iranwire.com reports Mahmoud Alavi, the Islamic Republic’s intelligence minister, was giving a speech in front of several Shia Muslim clerics when he announced “Christianity is spreading in “parts” of Iran.”  

In an apparent attempt to make light of the people are converting, Alavi said: “These converts are ordinary people whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things.”

The intelligence minister also told the clerics to quit bickering among themselves. 

“We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting,” said Alavi told the assembled group. “Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. We told them that Islam is the religion of brotherhood and peace. They responded by saying that: ‘All the time we see Muslim clerics and those who preach from the pulpit talk against each other. If Islam is the religion of cordiality, then before anything else, there must be cordiality and peace among the clerics themselves.”

“It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversions from Islam. But it’s happening right before our eyes,” he added.

Iran is known for its mounting persecution of Christians.  The Islamic Republic is listed as number 9 among the world’s top persecutors of Christians, according to Open Doors USA. Christians in Iran are forbidden from sharing their faith with non-Christians. Consequently, church services in Persian (Iran’s national language) are not allowed. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9795

31 Prominent Catholic Theologians And Clergy Accuse Pope Francis Of Heresy, Issues Call For Him To Repent Or Vacate The Papal Throne

The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church,” especially in light of his 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia. The authors of the open letter state in a summary of their letter that it has now become clear that Pope Francis is aware of his own positions contrary to the faith and that the time has come to go a “stage further” by claiming that Pope Francis is “guilty of the crime of heresy.”

by Geoffrey Grider May 1, 2019

Prominent Catholic clergymen and scholars including Fr. Aidan Nichols, one of the best-known theologians in the English-speaking world, have issued an open letter accusing Pope Francis of committing heresy.

The Roman Catholic Church is not the Church that Jesus started, but to unsaved lost people it kind of looks and sounds like it. Kind of. Well, maybe a little? OK, not at all, but you get what I mean. The Roman counterfeit fools a lot of people because of its outer veneer of religiosity. But even within those parameters, the papacy of Pope Francis is making a lot of high-level Catholics pretty mad. Why? Let’s take a look and see.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” Revelation 18:4-6 (KJV)

Over just the past few years, and in no particular order, Pope Francis has signed an interfaith covenant with the leader of Sunni Islam, held a secret backdoor meeting with the president of the Mormon cult and blessed their new temple in Rome, told a famous international photographer that he, Francis, was the Devil, has taken unprecendented steps to pull the LGBTQ+P for pedophile into the Catholic Church, and the endless list goes on. Endlessly.

But I have a news flash for this band of 31 Catholic theologians that might surprise them, and why they might want to retract their demands that Pope Francis stop all his religious shenanigans. Francis is only doing what the bible says the last pope in the end times is supposed to do. The bible says that there will be a One World Religion in Revelation 13, and Pope Francis is taking steps to make that happen. The bible says in Revelation 13, 17 and 18, that there will be a One World Government over which the king of Vatican City will rule the world, albeit for a short time, and Pope Francis is working to bring that to pass as well.

So if these ‘high-ranking’ theologians knew anything about the bible, what they would be doing is getting saved, leaving the Roman Catholic counterfeit, and prepare to leave this world in the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church. Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines is now boarding.! Ahh…you look at life just a little differently when you’re a bible believer. I’ll take that over being a ‘high-ranking theologian’ any day.

Prominent clergy, scholars accuse Pope Francis of heresy in open letter

FROM LIFE SITE NEWS: They ask the bishops of the Catholic Church, to whom the open letter is addressed, to “take the steps necessary to deal with the grave situation” of a pope committing this crime. The authors base their charge of heresy on the manifold manifestations of Pope Francis’ embrace of positions contrary to the faith and his dubious support of prelates who in their lives have shown themselves to have a clear disrespect for the Church’s faith and morals.

“We take this measure as a last resort to respond to the accumulating harm caused by Pope Francis’s words and actions over several years, which have given rise to one of the worst crises in the history of the Catholic Church,” the authors state. The open letter is available in DutchItalianGermanFrench, and Spanish.

Among the signatories are well-respected scholars such as Father Thomas Crean, Fr. John Hunwicke, Professor John Rist, Dr. Anna Silvas, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, and Dr. John Lamont. The text is dated “Easter Week” and appears on the traditional Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena, a saint who counseled and admonished several popes in her time.

The 20-page document is a follow-up to the 2017 Filial Correction of Pope Francis that was signed originally by 62 scholars and which stated that the Pope has “effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church,” especially in light of his 2016 exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

what-catholic-church-really-teaches-roman-vatican-cult

The authors of the open letter state in a summary of their letter (read below) that it has now become clear that Pope Francis is aware of his own positions contrary to the faith and that the time has come to go a “stage further” by claiming that Pope Francis is “guilty of the crime of heresy.”

“We limit ourselves to accusing him of heresy on occasions where he has publicly denied truths of the faith, and then consistently acted in a way that demonstrates that he disbelieves these truths that he has publicly denied,” the authors state.

They clarify that they are not claiming Pope Francis has “denied truths of the faith in pronouncements that satisfy the conditions for an infallible papal teaching.”

“We assert that this would be impossible, since it would be incompatible with the guidance given to the Church by the Holy Spirit,” they state. In light of this situation, the authors call upon the bishops of the Church to take action since a “heretical papacy may not be tolerated or dissimulated to avoid a worse evil.”

For this reason, the authors “respectfully request the bishops of the Church to investigate the accusations contained in the letter, so that if they judge them to be well founded they may free the Church from her present distress, in accordance with the hallowed adage, Salus animarum prima lex (‘the salvation of souls is the highest law’). The bishops can do this, the writers suggest, “by admonishing Pope Francis to reject these heresies, and if he should persistently refuse, by declaring that he has freely deprived himself of the papacy.”

The authors first present in detail – and with theological references to substantiate their claims – the different positions against the faith Pope Francis has shown himself to hold, propagate, or support, including “seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth.”

One of the heresies the authors accuse Pope Francis of committing is expressed in the following proposition: “A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.” Many of these heretical statements touch on questions of marriage and the family and are to be found in Amoris Laetitia, but there is also a new claim made by Pope Francis in 2019 – namely, that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God” – that is listed in the open letter.

In one section of the open letter, the authors list the many prelates as well as lay people, who, despite openly dissenting from Catholic doctrine and morals — either by word or by deed — have been by Pope Francis either publicly praised (such as Emma Bonino) or raised to influential positions (such as Cardinal Oscar Rodrigez Maradiaga). On this list are names such as Cardinal Blase Cupich, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta, and Bishop Juan Barros.

The fact that Pope Francis never responded to the dubia (questions) concerning Amoris Laetitia published by Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Joachim Meisner, Walter Brandmüller, and Raymond Burke is mentioned. Moreover, the authors point out that Pope Francis has changed the members of the Pontifical Academy for Life to such an extent that orthodox Catholic experts have been replaced by heterodox experts, such as Father Maurizio Chiodi.

Addressing the bishops of the world – among whom are to be found all the present 222 cardinals – the authors of the open letter express their gratitude toward those bishops who have defended Catholic doctrine by their own personal witnesses.

“We recognise with gratitude that some among you have reaffirmed the truths contrary to the heresies which we have listed, or else have warned of serious dangers threatening the Church in this pontificate,” they state. Here, the dubia cardinals, but also Cardinal Willem Eijk, are mentioned. The authors also thank Cardinal Gerhard Müller for his Manifesto of Faith.

The authors believe, however, that at this time in history, six years into the Francis pontificate, more is needed, namely a more direct and authoritative approach. They recognize their own limits when they tell the bishops: “Despite the evidence that we have put forward in this letter, we recognise that it does not belong to us to declare the pope guilty of the delict of heresy in a way that would have canonical consequences for Catholics.”

“We therefore appeal to you as our spiritual fathers, vicars of Christ within your own jurisdictions and not vicars of the Roman pontiff, publicly to admonish Pope Francis to abjure the heresies that he has professed. Even prescinding from the question of his personal adherence to these heretical beliefs, the Pope’s behaviour in regard to the seven propositions contradicting divinely revealed truth, mentioned at the beginning of this Letter, justifies the accusation of the delict of heresy. It is beyond a doubt that he promotes and spreads heretical views on these points. Promoting and spreading heresy provides sufficient grounds in itself for an accusation of the delict of heresy. There is, therefore, superabundant reason for the bishops to take the accusation of heresy seriously and to try to remedy the situation,” they state.

The authors make it clear that it is up to the bishops to take action and that they do not need a majority among the bishops to do so.

“Since Pope Francis has manifested heresy by his actions as well as by his words, any abjuration must involve repudiating and reversing these actions, including his nomination of bishops and cardinals who have supported these heresies by their words or actions. Such an admonition is a duty of fraternal charity to the Pope, as well as a duty to the Church,” they state.

“If – which God forbid! – Pope Francis does not bear the fruit of true repentance in response to these admonitions, we request that you carry out your duty of office to declare that he has committed the canonical delict of heresy and that he must suffer the canonical consequences of this crime,” they add.

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH: THE END TIMES ‘UNIVERSAL PEACE DOCUMENT’ POPE FRANCIS SIGNED WITH ISLAMIC LEADER MAKES NO REFERENCE OF ANY KIND TO JESUS CHRIST OR THE BIBLE

Thus, the authors state, “these actions do not need to be taken by all the bishops of the Catholic Church, or even by a majority of them. A substantial and representative part of the faithful bishops of the Church would have the power to take these actions.”

The full 20-page document may be read here. A select bibliography to support the case made in the open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church about Pope Francis’ heresies may be read here.

A petition launched by the organizers of the open letter to support their initiative can be found here.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9785

One church, two popes: why Catholicism is in crisis this Easter

Peter Stanford

Pope Francis the reformer is being challenged by his conservative predecessor – who now has a far-right backing including Steve Bannon

Sat 20 Apr 2019 03.00 EDT Last modified on Sat 20 Apr 2019 03.37 EDT

In his pre-Easter address to pilgrims gathering in Rome, Pope Francis highlighted Jesus’s words as he died on the cross on the first Good Friday: “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” We all, the Argentinian pontiff stressed, need to find the courage to forgive those who have wronged us.

Those remarks sparked speculation about who exactly Francis was struggling to forgive. Top of most lists in Rome this Easter is his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who decided in 2013 to break with 600 years of work-unto-death papal tradition and retire. This opened Catholicism’s door to the breath of fresh air that is Francis. And, for the past six years, as the winds of change have blown through the church, Benedict has by and large kept a respectful silence, ignoring the ever louder pleas of traditionalist Catholics who want the 92-year-old to join them in opposing Francis’s reform agenda.

That changed earlier this month, when Benedict published a 6,000-word article in a German magazine. It made headlines by blaming the clerical abuse scandal on the moral relativism of the 1960s sexual revolution, and the “homosexual cliques” that allowed this “lawlessness” to infect seminaries. It is a line of argument that directly – and, conservative cardinals insist, pointedly – contradicts all Francis’s efforts (including a summit of world bishops in the Vatican in February) to tackle the damage done by paedophile priests by pointing the finger at a dominant culture within the church; a culture that encourages priests and bishops to operate as if they are above the moral guidelines they preach, and regard themselves as beyond the sanction of civil courts.

Neither explanation has convinced some lifelong Catholics who, as a result this Easter, will stay away from church services. The Francis version at least has the virtue of not flying in the face of all contemporary research, which doesn’t conflate sexual attraction between consenting adults of the same gender with the brutal and systematic violation of children.

But what Benedict’s intervention – and apparent rebuke of his successor – mostly lays bare is how hard it is proving for an absolute monarchy like the Catholic church to operate when it has not one, but two living popes. Indeed it explains why, for six centuries, papal retirement was regarded as not an option.

Perhaps if Francis and Benedict were of like mind, it might just work, but for all their posing as good neighbours (the emeritus pope lives within the grounds of the Vatican), the two of them represent opposite poles of Catholicism. Where Francis wants to work with the modern world, Benedict sees the church as immovable. Where Francis was a pastoral figure and “outsider” throughout his clerical career before his election, Benedict was a dusty academic and Vatican “insider”. And where Francis believes he inherited a church in crisis (and not just over clerical abuse), Benedict is convinced that he and his predecessor John Paul II had settled all the outstanding questions about its future in perpetuity (eg restating the ban on female priests).

That chasm between the two popes is not just an administrative matter for them to manage with as good a grace as possible (and the normally relaxed Francis was looking pretty on edge when he paid a birthday visit to Benedict earlier this month). There is a small but vocal minority of ultra-conservative Catholics who are doing their damnedest to tempt Benedict out of purdah so he can lead their attack on Francis.

These traditionalist figures, who congregate round retired cardinal Raymond Burke, (sacked from his Vatican job by Francis), have their own websites and journals, especially in the United States. They look on in horror, and not just at Francis’s drive to relegate sexual morality down the list of priorities for his church. Their social conservatism is matched by political concerns. Where Francis is prophetically pro-refugee, pro-environment and pro-global cooperation, this wing of the church most emphatically is not.

The ramifications go far beyond the fraught politics of Catholicism. There are two more prominent figures the pope might have had in mind when he was recommending forgiveness this Easter: former Donald Trump right-hand man Steve Bannon, and Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini. Both men are cradle Catholics, so much so that Salvini recently tried to pass legislation to put crucifixes in all public spaces in Italy. The Vatican fiercely resisted this suggestion, believing it to be a transparent ruse to turn a religious symbol into a party political vote-winner.

Bannon has long made plain that he regards the current leader of his church as akin to an enemy. “He’s the administrator of the church, and he’s also a politician,” he tells NBC in a broadcast interview this Easter. “This is the problem … He’s constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.”

Populism and nationalism, the pope has warned, is what brought the continent Adolf Hitler. “Fear can drive you crazy,” he said on a recent trip to Panama.

“But you can go round Europe and it’s [populism] catching fire,” objects Bannon on NBC. “The pope is just wrong.”

There is a profound irony here, because Bannon is the sort of ultra-traditionalist Catholic who, when Benedict John Paul II was in charge of the show, was fond of telling more liberal Catholics (who every survey shows represent the majority of Church members in the developed world) to stop their complaining and do as they were told by the successor of Saint Peter, who Jesus handpicked for leadership. Under Francis, though, Bannon is getting a dose of his own medicine. And spitting it out.

No longer welcome in the White House, Bannon has come to Europe to stir up the far right. And that includes Catholic traditionalists, whom he courts through his links with the Dignitatis Humanae religious institute outside Rome, of which he is patron and Cardinal Burke the president.

Salvini is one of Bannon’s closest allies and is leading the Italian government’s clampdown on migrants. So strongly does he object to Francis’s championing of the rights and human dignity of the same migrants, that Salvini has even appeared in public brandishing a T-shirt with the slogan, “Benedict is my Pope”.

This is a new take on the “birther” slur that Bannon and Trump directed at Barack Obama, making up tales of him not being born in the US to claim he wasn’t really the president. Now Francis’s legitimacy is being undermined by the suggestion that Benedict didn’t have the right to retire and so remains the true pope.

Knowing that such nonsense is being pedalled publicly, you cannot help but speculate what Benedict intended by publishing his letter earlier this month. Was he signalling that he was throwing his lot in with the Francis-haters as they have been urging him to do? Or was it rather the small conservative circle around this frail, elderly, ailing pontiff who were using his name to fight their own battles?

Whatever the truth, no one can be in any doubt this Easter that there are two rival camps, if not yet rival popes, fighting it out for ultimate power at God’s business address on Earth.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9759

Sri Lanka on edge after local Islamic militant group blamed for Easter Sunday attacks: report

By Bradford Betz | Fox News

Sri Lanka took drastic steps Monday to crack down on new potential terror threats by blocking social media and arresting more than a dozen after a series of suicide bombings allegedly carried out by a domestic radical Islamic group ripped through its capital on Easter Sunday.

The country’s health minister said the attacks, which killed at least 290 and injured more than 500, were carried out by seven suicide bombers from a local militant group named National Thowheek Jaamath. Experts cited by The New York Times said the group promotes an Islamic terrorist ideology. Police said 13 suspects in connection with the bombings have been arrested.

“These attacks appear to be quite different and look as if they came right out of the ISIS, Al Qaeda, global militant jihadist playbook, as these are attacks fomenting religious hatred by attacking multiple churches on a high religious holiday,” Anne Speckhard, the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, told the Times.

All of the bombers were Sri Lankan citizens, but authorities suspect foreign links, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at a news conference.

Six nearly simultaneous blasts took place in the morning at the shrine and the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in Colombo, as well as at two churches outside Colombo. Two more blasts occurred a few hours later outside Colombo — one at a guesthouse, the other near an overpass.

A government forensic crime investigator said an analysis of the attacker’s body parts indicated they were suicide bombers. He said a single bomber carried out most of the attacks, with two at Colombo’s Shangri-La Hotel.

Officials on Monday said that Sri Lankan police investigating the bombings are examining reports that intelligence agencies had warnings of possible attacks. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the international agencies warned of the attacks several times starting April 4.

Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando tweeted, “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence. Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.” He added that his father had heard of a possible attack and had warned him not to enter popular churches.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to “vest all necessary powers with the defense forces” to take action against those responsible.

Authorities on Monday lifted a curfew that had been imposed but kept social media block so as to curtail the spread of false information and ease tension in the country of more than 22 million people.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9744

Secret Underground Church Started By James The Half-Brother Of Jesus Discovered In Jerusalem On Mount Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church. The other early Christian church from around 300 AD has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation.

by Geoffrey Grider March 18, 2019

There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, who the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Recently, I came across these amazing videos of archaeological discoveries dating back to the First Century AD, showing what is purported to be perhaps the very first Christian church in Jerusalem, one that was started by James, the half-brother of Jesus. Not to be confused with James, the brother of John, who wrote the book of James that bears his name.

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.” Galatians 1:18,19 (KJV)

I present these videos to you for your viewing pleasure, and hope that you will all check them out by comparing them with scripture to see if they match up with the biblical timeline. I am by no means a biblical archaeologist, but I have watched them many times and remain fascinated by what they show.

Secret Church From First Century Discovered On Mt. Zion

The 21st century keepers of this 2,000-year old church are certain it was started by the half-brother of Jesus, James. Jewish Christians were under heavy persecution from the Roman Empire in the days before Rome created the Catholic Church

Amazing Discovery Shows Scenes From Book Of Revelation

This one really sent chills down my spine, an early Christian church from around 300 AD that has tile mosaics on the floors illustrating scenes from the book of Revelation. 

The Two Men Named James

FUN FACTS: There are two notable men named James we read about in the New Testament. There was James Zebedee, the brother of John, that the Bible refers to as the “sons of thunder”. Along with the apostle Peter, this trio was blessed to be allowed to witness some amazing things.

“And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:” Mark 3:17 (KJV)

Peter, James and John were there in the ‘inner circle’ in Matthew 17 where they witnessed the miracle on the Mount of Transfiguration, and listened in rapturous wonder as Jesus told them of the last days and the end of the world in Mark 13 and Matthew 24.

“And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” Galatians 2:9 (KJV)

The ‘other’ James is the half-brother of the Lord Jesus Himself, and he was used mightily as well. James was personally acquainted with and sought out by the apostle Paul at the start of his ministry as recorded in Galatians, and later was the chair of the Council At Jerusalem in Acts 15 where Paul’s gospel of the grace of God was formally adopted by the church leaders.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9695

Another Kind of Religious Leader Must Arise

Shane Idleman | Contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com | Tuesday, February 26, 2019

As I’ve stated before: With rapid-fire changes within a culture saturated by political correctness and relativism, we are inclined to ask if there is any hope for America. If we continue down this slippery slope, there is little hope. Apart from a national spiritual awakening, it will be difficult to turn the Titanic around—the vessel has been struck; what’s inside is spilling out. But if God brings revival…if we once again set our hearts and minds on Him…there is tremendous hope. Revival means to awaken, restore, renew, or repair. In churches across America, crowd appeal and pleasing the masses tends to be the goal rather than calling out destructive lifestyles, which can result in revival and renewal.

A.W. Tozer in an article entitled, Prophetic Preaching, hit the nail on the head when he wrote this, decades ago: “If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher.”

Tozer also said, “The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.”

He concludes, “Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.”

Those who have been called to preach, much like the prophets in the Old Testament, will confront compromise, condemn moral digression, and powerfully denounce sin in the hope of reconciling man to God—they speak the truth in love. The world, and carnal Christians, despise them because they challenge the sin they enjoy.

Preachers will ruffle feathers and step on toes from time-to-time, but it should be the result of the truth being spoken in love verses the preacher having an arrogant and judgmental heart. In a sense, a preacher is called to break the heart, a pastor to mend it; one concentrates on repentance, the other restoration. Although there can be a mixture of both preacher and teacher in a person, there is often a clear difference. Pastors (and teachers) aim for the mind; preachers aim for the heart, will, and emotions—to stir and to convict. Often…

The pastor builds—the preacher tears.

The pastor counsels—the preacher convicts.

The pastor rejoices—the preacher weeps.

The pastor plants—the preacher uproots.

The pastor teaches—the preacher preaches.

The pastor mends—the preacher breaks.

The pastor is full of hope—the preacher is full of fire.

The pastor loves to listen—the preacher needs to speak.

The pastor sees the good in others—the preacher sees the depravity in man.

The pastor desires to be among the people—the preacher desires to be alone with God.

As the famous Puritan Richard Baxter said, “I preach as a dying man to dying men”… as a dying man to a dying nation. The church, and our nation, desperately needs to hear “the voice crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict, and restore.

All pastors should ask, “Does the world love the way we ‘do church’?” Do they appreciate that your church never challenges, or calls things into question? Do they like the fact that your church never makes them feel uncomfortable or offended? Are they grateful that you never discuss controversial issues? If so, you may want to reconsider Jesus’ words that true disciples will be hated by the world because they speak the truth, not because they avoid it.

Leonard Ravenhill, in Why Revival Tarries, wrote, “God has always had His specialists whose chief concern has been the moral breakdown of the nation and the church. Such men were Elijah, Jeremiah, Malachi, and others of their kind who appeared at critical moments in history to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in the name of God and righteousness. Such a man is likely to be drastic and radical; the curious crowd that gathers to watch him will soon brand him as extreme, fanatical, and negative…and, in a sense, they are right…for he cannot turn off the burden of the Holy Ghost.”

I pray that God would raise up many humble preachers—men who allow God to shape their sermons and penetrate their hearts to bring America, and the world, to her knees.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9683

Pope Francis Hold Unprecedented Closed-Door End Times Meeting With Head Of The Mormon Church, Prophet President Russell M. Nelson

A visit between a pope and the man considered a prophet by millions of Latter-day Saints would have been unimaginable to leaders and members in both churches 50 years ago. Clandestine olive branches and decades of détente were necessary, according to sources from both faiths interviewed for this story. That is exactly what has happened. In fact, today’s meeting is a culmination of a web of deepening and expanding alliances between the Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church and its many sister organizations.

by Geoffrey Grider March 9, 2019

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Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church and Prophet President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met today at the Vatican in the first-ever face-to-face discussion between the heads of the two global churches.

During his reign as both king of Vatican City and as the pope of the Catholic Church, Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been widening his tent and making preparations for the coming One World Religion of Antichrist. From seducing gullible pawns like Rick Warren who gushingly calls  him ‘our pope’,  all the way up to signing a ‘Universal Peace Document‘ with a high-ranking leader of Islam, Pope Francis is a man on an end times mission.

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:3,4 (KJV)

Now a secret, closed-door meeting with the head ‘prophet’ of the Mormon Church, Russell Nelson, reveals the expansion of another end times partnership as the Vatican adds more pieces to their end times chessboard. The Roman harlot is on the move, and trading in the souls in men.

Pope Francis meets with Mormon President Nelson in the Vatican

FROM THE DESERET NEWS: “The differences in doctrine are real and they’re important,” President Nelson said afterward as he stood just outside St. Peter’s Square, “but they’re not nearly as important as the things we have in common — our concern for human suffering, the importance of religious liberty for all of society, and the importance of building bridges of friendship instead of building walls of segregation.”

The two world religious leaders shared a belief that faith in God brings morality and stability to society. “If we have a godless society, we have a rudderless ship,” President Nelson said.

The pope extended the invitation for a private audience to the Latter-day Saint leader in conjunction with President Nelson’s trip this weekend to Italy, where he will dedicate thehistory-making new Rome Italy Temple.

The two men met for 30-35 minutes and also discussed their mutual concern for the youth in their churches, their concern about secularization and the desire for people to worship God, President Nelson said.

President M. Russell Ballard, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, joined President Nelson in the meeting, along with Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy, and Elder Alessandro Dini Ciacci, an Area Seventy. President Nelson’s executive secretary, Mark Woodruff, also attended.

The pope presented President Nelson with two gifts, his declarations on the family and on the Islamic faith. President Nelson gave the pope a Lladro figurine of the Christus statue and a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”

After the meeting, the Latter-day Saint leaders smiled as they walked arm in arm down Via della Conciliazione — the Road of the Conciliation — to address a large media contingent with the iconic St. Peter’s Basilica in the background.

The most senior Latter-day Saint leader to meet with a pope before today was President Henry B. Eyring, who was greeted by Pope Francis in November 2014 when both spoke at an international marriage summit at the Vatican. President Eyring then was the first counselor in the First Presidency.

A visit between a pope and the man considered a prophet by millions of Latter-day Saints would have been unimaginable to leaders and members in both churches 50 years ago. Clandestine olive branches and decades of détente were necessary, according to sources from both faiths interviewed for this story. That is exactly what has happened. In fact, today’s meeting is a culmination of a web of deepening and expanding alliances between the Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic Church and its many sister organizations.

That growing relationship has intensified during the past decade, resulting in collaborations that now have the two churches working side-by-side all over the world on projects vast and tiny.

The Deseret News conducted more than 20 interviews with people from both faiths around the world, from Bosnia to Rome and from Salt Lake City to Norway, to provide a definitive look at how the churches’ combined efforts are not only helping to resolve differences between their own members but delivering emergency humanitarian aid to some of the world’s most vulnerable people — including many at the U.S.-Mexico border — as well as working to defend religious liberty and to bolster families.

“We explained to His Holiness that we work side by side, that we have projects with Catholic Relief Services all over the world, in over 43 countries,” President Ballard said. “We’ve been shoulder-to-shoulder as partners, and try to relieve suffering, trying to help people that are struggling. He was very interested in that and was very cordial , very kind to us.”

Rome and Salt Lake City

On Thursday, Catholics and Latter-day Saints indeed worked side-by-side to help the homeless and refugees in their respective headquarters, Rome and Salt Lake City.

That appeared impossible in the 1950s when, fearing their own congregations would be scandalized if church members knew they were meeting, the leader of the Latter-day Saints came to Salt Lake City’s Holy Cross Hospital for conversations with the head of the Salt Lake City Catholic diocese.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9676

United Methodist Church Splits Right Down The Middle As Conservatives Vote ‘No’ On LGBTQP ‘One Church Plan’

This was a surprise: The denomination’s bishops, its top clergy, pushed hard for a resolution that would have allowed local congregations, conferences, and clergy to make their own choices about conducting same-sex marriages and ordaining LGBTQ pastors. This proposal, called the “One Church Plan,” was designed to keep the denomination together. Methodist delegates rejected its recommendations, instead choosing the so-called Traditional Plan, which affirmed the denomination’s teachings against homosexuality.

by Geoffrey Grider February 27, 2019

The United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to toughen its teachings against homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ clergy. It must now decide whether it will stay together.

The United Methodist Church pulled off a surprise, no, make that a shocking upset over the forces of spiritual darkness by voting NO on the proposed pro-LGBTQP ‘One Church Plan‘ at meetings that lasted over the weekend and into the past few days. But that victory, tenuous as it may be, comes at the cost of a huge church split right down the middle. Watchers on both sides are predicting a mass exodus of pro-LGBTQP people by the time all the dust from this battle settles.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:3-5 (KJV)

Now granted, the UMC has not been, since the days of John Wesley, anything remotely resembling a real Bible believing church. Their own Book of Discipline says that the “United Methodist Church is part of the holy catholic church…”. But even so, this vote was very, very surprising. Especially to the forces of the LGBTQP who thought for sure this would be a slam-dunk for their agenda.

If you would have said to me 28 years ago when I first got saved, that I would live to see the day where the homosexual and transsexual movement would battle for control of the heart and soul of the professing Christian church, I would have said you were nuts. Stark raving mad. This is still the Church Age, after all, not even the Tribulation! But boy, oh boy, are we being pressed right up against that edge. That can only mean one thing as I see it.

Flight #777 on Titus213 Airlines now boarding…time to go Home.

Conservative Christians Just Retook the United Methodist Church

FROM THE ATLANTIC: At a special conference in St. Louis this week, convened specifically to address divisions over LGBTQ issues, members voted to toughen prohibitions on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.This was a surprise: The denomination’s bishops, its top clergy, pushed hard for a resolution that would have allowed local congregations, conferences, and clergy to make their own choices about conducting same-sex marriages and ordaining LGBTQ pastors. This proposal, called the “One Church Plan,” was designed to keep the denomination together. Methodist delegates rejected its recommendations, instead choosing the so-called Traditional Plan, which affirmed the denomination’s teachings against homosexuality.

This is a consequential vote for the future of the United Methodist Church: Many progressive churches will now almost certainly consider leaving the denomination. It’s also a reminder that many Christian denominations, including mainline groups such as the UMC, are still deeply divided over questions of sexuality and gender identity. While the UMC in the United States is roughly evenly divided between those who identify as traditionalists and those who identify as moderates and liberals, it is also a global organization. Many of the growing communities in the Philippines or countries in Africa are committed to theological teachings against same-sex relationships and marriages.

Self-described traditionalists in the United Methodist Church got the outcome they’ve been fighting for. Still, “I think there’s a lot of grief on all sides,” said Keith Boyette, the head of the Wesleyan Covenant Association and a main proponent of the Traditional Plan, in an interview on Tuesday. Methodists are in mourning for a United Methodist Church that might be on the brink of a mass exodus.

For years, LGBTQ Methodists, clergy, and their supporters have argued that people of all sexual orientations and gender identities should be fully included in the denomination as leaders, and that their families should be recognized. “As someone who has grown up in our Church, as someone who is gay and goes to one of the least religious colleges in the U.S., my evangelism on campus has grown,” said J. J. Warren, a senior at Sarah Lawrence College who hopes to become a Methodist pastor, during the conference on Tuesday. “We have brought people to Jesus … They did not know God could love them, because their churches said God didn’t … If we could be a Church that brings Jesus to people who are told can’t be loved, that’s what I want our Church to be.”

Others in the denomination, however, see LGBTQ issues as a proxy for bigger divisions over biblical teachings. “This is not a political or social kind of difference. It is primarily, for us, a theological difference, and the truth that the Church has been raised up to share,” Boyette said. “When a Church begins to fracture around its compliance with its doctrine and ethics and discipline, it becomes a house divided. It becomes dysfunctional.”

According to its Book of Discipline, the denomination’s collection of laws and doctrines, Methodist pastors are not allowed to conduct same-sex weddings, and “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained. In practice, however, a number of Methodist clergy and churches have made clear that they disagree with this teaching, at times openly defying it. A lesbian pastor, Karen Oliveto, was even elected a bishop in the Church, a position she still holds even though the denomination’s judicial council later ruled that her marriage to a woman violated Church doctrine. At the same time, other churches remain deeply committed to UMC teachings against same-sex marriage and relationships.

The United Methodist Church, which was formed in a 1968 merger between two denominations, has known for a long time that it would eventually have to address these deeply felt disagreements over LGBTQ issues. At the denomination’s 2016 General Conference, delegates asked UMC bishops to produce recommendations for how the Church should resolve divisions over LGBTQ issues. Over the next three years, Methodist leaders developed the One Church Plan, which would have allowed local pastors and regional conferences to make their own decisions, keeping the denomination together but allowing for diversity in its ranks.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9652