"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"...Most Terrorists are Muslims"

"...fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims..." by Abdel Rahman al-Rashed

Friday, August 22, 2014

Indonesian president says Islamic State 'embarrassing' Muslims-Yahoo!News

We are not sure if the views of Indonesia's President is shared by Muslims in the Middle East. Thanks to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his bold stand against Muslim Extremists now trying to divide the world.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono salutes during a
ceremony for the 69th Indonesian Independence day at the presidential
palace in Jakarta on August 17, 2014 -Source: AFP
Yahoo!News - The president of the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesia, on Thursday called the actions of Islamic State militants "embarrassing" to the religion and urged Islamic leaders to unite in tackling extremism.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the scale of the slaughter wrought by the extremists in overrunning large swathes of Iraq and Syria and the level of violence being used was appalling.

"It is shocking. It is becoming out of control," he said in an interview with The Australian, a day after IS released a video showing a masked militant beheading US reporter James Foley, provoking worldwide revulsion.

"We do not tolerate it, we forbid ISIS in Indonesia," he added, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, as IS was formerly known.

"Indonesia is not an Islamic state. We respect all religions."

He urged international leaders to work together to combat radicalisation.

"This is a new wake-up call to international leaders all over the world, including Islamic leaders," he said, adding that the actions of IS were not only "embarrassing" to Islam but "humiliating", the newspaper reported.

The Iglesia ni Cristo: Who are they?

"However, it has been claimed that 'Iglesia' are really far more interested in attacking Roman Catholicism than in carefully outlining their own beliefs and are therefore parasitic in approach, feeding off, and expanding through, disgruntled Filippino Catholics. The Philippines, of course, are overwhelmingly Roman Catholic (84% of the population) and Iglesia's undoubtedly great success in poaching members from that organisation is why, in the opinion of many, they were very slow to spread outside that corner of Asia.

Through it's magazine, 'God's Message' (formerly Pasugo) 'Iglesia' appears to heavily rely on anti-Catholic scare tactics as support for it's own doctrines, which cannot stand up to a careful biblical scrutiny. When purely outlining their own teachings, many cult-watchers have noted contradiction and inconsistency.

"From 1922, Felix Manalo started to teach his 'God's last messenger' doctrine (applied, of course, to himself). This was at a time of dissent and schism within the group and it was how he again centralized all power to himself and sought to make his own theological spin authoritative. Apart from being fervently anti-Roman Catholic, the group also rejects all other denominations and Christian-related sects, believing that true Christianity can only exist within their own group." -UKApologetics

Tax-Payer's Money Used to Greet the INC 100th Foundation Anniversary

I share the views of Mr. Efren C. Carag who corageously pointed out the huge tax-payers money being used during the 100 Year Founding Anniversary of the INC of Manalo. This article was from Philippine Inquirer Online

On LGUs’ enviable recognition of INC
Nine pages of the July 27 issue of the Inquirer contained greetings to the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on its 100th founding anniversary, including one on full page from the Office of the Mayor of Manila! Wow! These were in addition to such greetings in the earlier issues of the Inquirer, including INC’s less than one-fourth-page acknowledgement of the greetings.

The Inquirer was not the only media outfit that ran or aired such greetings. Billboards and tarpaulin sheets printed with words of felicitations for the religious sect could be found in every available nook and cranny of Metro Manila and, of course, Bulacan, where the INC has built a multibillion-peso multipurpose complex. There must have been a lot more of these messages in the rest of the country. Nagkakandarapa ang mga tao na bumati sa INC. (People are scrambling to greet the INC.)

As a Catholic, I cannot but envy the importance accorded to the INC. I am now a septuagenarian and I do not recall the Catholic Church being the subject of recognition of such breadth and scale, let alone in paid advertisements in the Inquirer.

As a Filipino, I lament the attention given to the INC. That the organization is a vaunted political force and influence is a given. Without doubt or question, the advertisers wish to be assured of the continuing vote of INC members to perpetuate them, their family, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren in power.

Such is just one part of my grievance.

My other concern is the source of funds used to pay for the publication and/or printing of the greetings. Most likely, it was the city, province or political unit; more specifically the Filipino people, with the taxes and exorbitant fees they pay for government services.

By the way, I do not take issue with the Inquirer’s multipage feature article on the INC in last July 27’s issue. I respect our constitutional guarantees on the freedom of religion and freedom of the press. What I cannot countenance is the implication from all this: how distant we still are from political uprightness and integrity.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dr. Stephen Bullivant: An Atheist Philosopher Became Catholic

Shared from BrandonVogt Blog

NOTE: This interview originally ran at StrangeNotions.com, the website I created to bring Catholics and atheists into dialogue.

Dr. Stephen Bullivant has long been one of the most popular contributors at Strange Notions. Atheists appreciate his respectful, fair-minded articles while Catholics value his careful articulation of what Catholicism actually teaches about atheism.

Part of the reason he’s beloved by both groups is because he’s seen both side of the divide. After adopting atheism for many years, and devoting his doctoral research to the topic, he converted to Catholicism in 2008.

Since then, Stephen has authored two books, The Salvation of Atheists and Catholic Dogmatic Theology (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Faith and Unbelief (Canterbury Press, 2013; Paulist Press, 2014). He also just released a massive tome that he co-edited with the philosopher Michael Ruse, titled The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (Oxford University Press, 2013).

I recently sat down with Stephen to discuss his conversion from atheism to Catholicism, the role of Christianity in the rise of atheism, and what Catholicism teaches about the salvation of atheists. Enjoy!

Topics Discussed:

1:32 – How did you, as an atheist, become interested in researching Catholicism?
3:16 – What role have Christians played in the rise of atheism?
6:10 – What does the Catholic Church teach about the salvation of non-believers?
10:19 – What can Christians and atheists learn from each other?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why do Muslims like beheading so much? (WARNING GRAPHIC, RAW IMAGES)

The incredible spate of beheadings which are perpetrated by Islamic militants around the world had many asking the question, "Why do Muslims behead so many people?" In the modern age, there are swift and almost bloodless ways to kill, which makes the use of beheading subject to question.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Islamic terrorists continue their reign of terror over the world as they murder their way into our living rooms and television sets, iPads and offices, where we see the gruesome results of their handiwork. Hardly a person in the modern world has gone without witnessing some of the atrocities of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists around the world.

Muslim terrorists prefer beheading as the latest way to grab
headlines. Here, a terrorist prepared to saw off the head of
American journalist, James Foley.
Among their most astounding choices is the decision to brutally decapitate victims and film or photograph the deed. Many of the Islamic State terrorists have gone further and posed with the decapitated heads, distributing the images via social media. Twitter has recently started blocking some of these images, but the world has both a right and a need to see the truth.

Please come to the aid of persecuted Christians in Iraq.

It's a gruesome decision, to kill by decapitation. We live in an age where there are no shortages of ways to kill. We can kill swiftly will bullets, or painlessly with drugs. Furthermore, decapitation is a messy affair with the warm blood of victims spilling everywhere as they instinctively strain against the sawing blade. It's a lot of trouble to go through for both the killer and the victim.

So why is it happening?

First, most of the people being killed by the Islamic State and other terrorists are not killed via beheading. Shooting remains the most common form of execution, and the Islamic State is filming these executions, publicizing their handiwork. A large number of people are also killed by various means including suicide bombings. Exposure to the elements and live burial have been alleged in a few cases. However, the Islamic State and other terrorists are making a spectacle of beheadings in particular.

We are dealing with terrorism and the point of terrorism is spectacle. It's a way for those who feel disenfranchised to get their message noticed around the world. Historically terrorists hijacked airliners, performed car bombings, and suicide bombings. Within the past decade, beheading has become a way for terrorists to force their message back into the public spotlight.

The change in tactics is required because car bombings and suicide bombings have become cliche. They're so commonplace the media has stopped reporting on them in any detail. As for airliners, they've become very difficult to hijack so such deeds have become rare.

However, beheading has a gruesome allure that practically compels people to watch. The viewing of an execution or a killing has an illicit allure to people and even in a society steeped in violent media on the television and in computer games, nothing beats the real thing. It's a gruesome critique of our modern civilization that footage showing the horror of death in graphic detail is widely consumed.

This plays into the hands of the terrorists who want to propagate their message, however it also works against them. Instead of building sympathy it spreads fear and people do not always fly in the face of fear, sometimes they fight.

Indeed, beheadings of Americans by Al Qaeda have sparked major campaigns to find and kill or arrest those responsible for such deeds.

Yet this fact does not answer the question entirely. Muslims also behead because they believe they have a mandate to do so, granted by the Quran.

Several scriptural passages in the Quran mention decapitation of those captured in battle or as a punishment for alleged crimes. Historically, beheading has been widely employed by Islamic nations, including the Ottoman Empire which used the penalty to great effect throughout the centuries.

In 1480, Muslim raiders beheaded an entire village of 800 Italians after they refused to convert to Islam. The site of their mass execution in Otranto, Italy remains important to the Catholic Church.

The terrorists who are carrying out these executions prefer beheading because the act itself has precedent in Islamic tradition.

Islamic apologists will argue that the act of beheading does not have sanction in the Quran, and that the killing of "infidels" has no place in modern Islam. However, there is no question that today's terrorists would differ with these apologists and as far as the world is concerned, the knife is just the way to send the most prominent infidels to their doom.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mga P**** Ina niyo mga Katoliko! -Nathan Faraon INC member

Rome will be conquered next, says leader of 'Islamic State'

Telegraph.co.uk - Muslims have been called to flock to the 'Islamic State' to gather for a battle against non-believers throughout the world

Isis demands all Muslims pledge obedience to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, left

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the 'Islamic State' stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to his new land to fight under its banner around the globe.

Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia. Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state.

"Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty," he said in an audio recording released on a website used by the group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Rush O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims.

"This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pope Francis Draws Crowds and Celebrities

The Pope isn't just a star in religious and political circles. In South Korea, where Pope Francis is in the middle of a five-day visit, he's got plenty of cultural draw too. WSJ's Jonathan Cheng reports from Seoul. Photo: EPA

More than 500,000 Koreans Crowd during the Beatification Mass for 124 Korean martyrs before the symbolic Gwanghwamun Gate

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tearful family members of victims of the ferry Sewol shared their stories with Pope Francis

[Papal Visit] Pope ‘listened, silently nodded’ to Sewol families
The Korean Herald

Pope Francis did not speak much as tearful family members of victims of the ferry Sewol shared their stories with him on Friday, but vowed to never forget the tragedy that left over 300 -- mostly high school students -- dead or missing.

“We (the families) asked the pope to urge the Korean government and the parliament to place efforts on passing a special bill on Sewol, and to embrace the father of a Sewol victim -- who is currently on a hunger strike demanding the bill to pass -- during (Saturday’s) Mass at Gwanghwamun,” said Kim Byung-kwon, a representative of the victims’ families.

The pope “silently nodded,” he added.

Their meeting took place at Daejeon World Cup Stadium shortly before the pope celebrated his first public Mass. He invited eight family members of ferry victims and two survivors for a private audience. A total of 36 survivors and relatives were invited to the Mass.

Pope Francis offers words of comfort to the family members of Sewol ferry disaster victims at Daejeon World Cup Stadium, Daejeon, Friday. (Yonhap)

Among the family members present at the meeting was Kim Hag-il, the father of high school sophomore Woon-gi who died in the April 16 disaster. Kim gave the pope a 5-kilogram cross that he had carried on a month-long, 900 kilometer walk from Ansan, where his son had attended school, to Daejeon.

INC -Iglesia ni Cristo and the mentality of exclusivity

A young member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo questions the teachings she has grown up with
By Malaya dela Cruz through Rappler.com

I’ve been an Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) member since I was born and my father is a minister. My siblings and I were raised to behold as absolute truth all doctrines without question. As kids, we’re brazen to tell our friends “Mag-Iglesia ka na kundi mapupunta ka sa dagat-dagatang apoy.” (Convert to Iglesia; otherwise, you'll end up in hell)

We’re flying with wings of righteousness holding the light to guide those lost in the darkness, we call sanlibutan; completely convinced that we’re indeed the chosen ones come judgment day. All we have to do is follow like sheep and salvation is certain. This is my myopic reality.

Into the darkness

Coming of age, I learned our creationist view is indubitably wrong given the insurmountable evidences against it, yet I find this mistake tolerable; assuming perhaps a scientifically-informed interpretation of the bible isn’t necessary for salvation. I was indifferent about this just as I am in overriding any of my rights for the sake of unity; trusting that it’s always for the good of the church.

What became unbearable is having my consciousness raised about the multi-dimensional causes of poverty. I cannot unlearn what I know now - that the terrible social realities we dismiss right before our eyes as normal is caused by injustice from existing power structures in society.

It was alarming for I was undeniably guilty of being part of a church responsible for reinforcing structures that sustain poverty through our social attitude and practice of ‘unity.’

We are INC first before we are Filipinos

It is our faith, albeit fatalistic, that the world will inevitably perish and no developmental agenda by man could prevent it; we are only travelers here for our true residence is the kingdom of heaven. Hence, we resign concern about matters outside our kingdom unless it might undermine doctrines or the church administration.

We show power in numbers through bloc-voting and secure key positions in the government in order to protect the interests of the church, never mind whether it’s a corrupt official as long as the church is secured. This is why INC was indifferent during the People Power I despite all the atrocious harm done towards the Filipino people - all because we allied with former president Ferdinand Marcos, the dictator.

Culture of apathy

Since our primary concern is the good of the church and not of the people in general, an apathetic attitude towards social issues is fostered among members.

We’re prohibited to participate in any form of social mobilization or unions because it’s against the unity of the church, even if such actions addresses concerns that directly affect the welfare of members.

Greedy corporations who operate with inhumane policies are fortunate as INC members are willing allies to preserve an unfair system. We abstain claiming accountability from power-holders in the name of ‘peace.’ - a peace that is oblivious of its implications.

Yes, we’re an obedient flock of docile sheep but we’re also subtle criminals and dignified perpetrators of injustices against our fellowmen. With brilliant pride we take the side of the oppressors.

Our brand of humanitarianism

The provision of generous aid to millions of non-members through medical missions, relief distributions and housing projects are token gestures, for “conversion” is our utmost motivation by exploiting the sense of utang na loob (debt of gratitude).

INC’s brand of humanitarianism does not involve championing the interest and welfare of the poor by addressing root causes of social issues. Our humanitarian cause is the 'noblest' of all: to save your soul from damnation by converting you to the one true Church of Christ.

Masters of mobilization

We’re taught that hardships and misfortunes in life are either caused by sin or are trials we must endure. However, evidence suggests that societal structures and how its citizens participate in shaping it in the course of history is the concrete reason for the everyday struggles of today. Poverty is avoidable, development is a choice.

The public witnessed INC’s power to amass more than a million people in its administrations’ behest. If the church could use its clout to truly help the nation by addressing long term needs and root causes of perennial social issues – such as lobbying and supporting genuine agrarian reform, a fair wage and other issues that affect the marginalized majority, where many of its own members come from, we shall contribute to societal change.

Aren't we humans first?

My conscience is disturbed when I saw my fellow brethren exalte upon news of famine, war, destruction and calamities where thousands of people lay dead. Some even said, “Makasalanan kasi ang sanlibutan, matuwa tayo dahil nalalapit ang kaligtasan natin.” (The people are sinful. We should be happy because our salvation is near.) They seem to forget we’re humans first before we even subscribe to any religion.

'Saving your soul' as a single mission is quite selfish in the face of human suffering. I understand it stems from fear and existential uncertainties, but It’s wrong to choose a convenient personal escape and say “kung gusto niyo rin maligtas, umanib na kayo” (if you want to be saved, join us) instead of engaging in collective action driven by empathy and compassion.

We glory over the Philippine Arena, Guinness records, and the thousands of congregations we’ve built like the elite ruler gloating over his empire.

There is harm in a mentality of exclusivity when we operate in the context of a larger society. Imagining a fragmented reality wherein we are only travelers goes against the truth that we have a responsibility to contribute and cooperate in facilitating change in the world. We can do this by renouncing apathy and using our power to mobilize for the good of people. - Rappler.com

*Malaya dela Cruz is a pseudonym. Rappler verified the identity of the writer, who asked her real name be concealed for her protection. She is a university student.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Apostolic Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Republic of Korea

The official Logo of Pope Francis' Pastoral Visit to the Republic of Korea
Pope Francis walks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye after landing Thursday in Seoul. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


From Darkness to Light YouTube
"If you have doubt in this Koran which I give to you, go and read the Bible, or ask the people those who read the Bible... the holy Koran converted me to Christianity." [Video 42:24] As a Muslim imam, Mario Joseph was well-versed in the Koran and in the teachings of the Islamic religion. In fact, it was precisely the Koran that brought him to an encounter with Jesus Christ and with the truth of the Catholic faith. But his conversion did not come without difficulties; as a consequence, he has undergone grave persecution. How has he attained his intense love toward the Church, the Cross and Heaven? He himself tells us in this week's impacting episode of Changing Tracks.

Monday, August 4, 2014

All 45 Christian Institutions in Mosul Destroyed or Occupied By ISIS

Cross removed and replaced with black flag of ISIS - Church in Mosul.
Photo: AsifJaan via Twitter
Since taking over Mosul on June 10, ISIS has destroyed, occupied, converted to mosques, converted to ISIS headquarters or shuttered all 45 Christian institutions in Mosul.

Pravmir — July 31, 2014

(AINA) -- The following is the complete list of the Christian institutions in Mosul, grouped by denomination.
Syriac Catholic Church:
  1. Syrian Catholic Diocese – Maidan Neighborhood, Mosul
  2. The Old Church of the Immaculate – Maidan Neighborhood, Mosul (The church goes back to the eighth century AD)
  3. The New Church of the Immaculate – Maidan Neighborhood
  4. Church of Mar (Saint) Toma – Khazraj Neighborhood
  5. Museum of Mar (Saint) Toma – Khazraj Neighborhood
  6. Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation – Muhandiseen Neighborhood
  7. Church of the Virgin of Fatima – Faisaliah Neighborhood
  8. Our Lady of Deliverance Chapel – Shifaa Neighborhood
  9. The House of the Young Sisters of Jesus – Ras Al-Kour Neighborhood
  10. Archbishop’s Palace Chapel – Dawasa Neighborhood
Syriac Orthodox Church:
  1. Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese – Shurta Neighborhood
  2. The Antiquarian Church of Saint Ahodeeni – Bab AlJadeed Neighborhood
  3. Mar (Saint) Toma Church and cemetery, (the old Bishopric) – Khazraj Neighborhood
  4. Church of The Immaculate (Castle) – Maidan Neighborhood
  5. Church of The Immaculate – Shifaa Neighborhood
  6. Mar (Saint) Aprim Church – Shurta Neighborhood
  7. St. Joseph Church – The New Mosul Neighborhood
Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East:
  1. Diocese of the Assyrian Church of the East – Noor Neighborhood
  2. Assyrian Church of the East, Dawasa Neighborhood
  3. Church of the Virgin Mary (old rite) – Wihda Neighborhood
Chaldean Church of Babylon:
  1. Chaldean Diocese – Shurta Neighborhood
  2. Miskinta Church – Mayassa Neighborhood
  3. The Antiquarian Church of Shimon alSafa – Mayassa Neighborhood
  4. Church of Mar (Saint) Buthyoon – Shahar AlSouq Neighborhood
  5. Church of St. Ephrem, Wady AlAin Neighborhood
  6. Church of St. Paul – Majmooaa AlThaqafiya District
  7. The Old Church of the Immaculate (with the bombed archdiocese)- Shifaa Neighborhood
  8. Church of the Holy Spirit – Bakir Neighborhood
  9. Church of the Virgin Mary – Drakziliya Neighborhood
  10. Ancient Church of Saint Isaiah and Cemetery – Ras AlKour Neighborhood
  11. Mother of Aid Church – Dawasa Neighborhood
  12. The Antiquarian Church of St. George- Khazraj Neighborhood
  13. St. George Monastery with Cemetery – Arab Neighborhood
  14. Monastery of AlNasir (Victory) – Arab Neighborhood
  15. Convent of the Chaldean Nuns – Mayassa Neighborhood
  16. Monastery of St. Michael – Hawi Church Neighborhood
  17. The Antiquarian Monastery of St. Elijah – Ghazlany Neighborhood
Armenian Orthodox Church:
  1. Armenian Church – Maidan Neighborhood
  2. The New Armenian Church – Wihda Neighborhood
Evangelical Presbyterian Church:
  1. Evangelical Presbyterian Church – Mayassa Neighborhood
Latin Church:
  1. Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and Convent of Katrina Siena Nuns – Sa’a Neighborhood
  2. Convent of the Dominican Sisters, – Mosul AlJadeed Neighborhood
  3. Convent of the Dominican Sisters (AlKilma Monastery) – Majmooaa AlThaqafiya District
  4. House of Qasada AlRasouliya (Apostolic Aim) (Institute of St. John the Beloved)
  1. Christian Cemetery in the Ekab Valley which contains a small chapel.

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