"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

Friday, March 29, 2013

How Alex Jones found the Truth in the Catholic Church










Catholic Converts!






















Idol Worship || Spoken Word


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pope to Priests: "Go To the 'Outskirts'"


HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
HOLY THURSDAY CHRISM MASS
ST PETER'S BASILICA
28 MARCH 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters, This morning I have the joy of celebrating my first Chrism Mass as the Bishop of Rome. I greet all of you with affection, especially you, dear priests, who, like myself, today recall the day of your ordination.

The readings of our Mass speak of God’s “anointed ones”: the suffering Servant of Isaiah, King David and Jesus our Lord. All three have this in common: the anointing that they receive is meant in turn to anoint God’s faithful people, whose servants they are; they are anointed for the poor, for prisoners, for the oppressed… A fine image of this “being for” others can be found in the Psalm: “It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down upon the collar of his robe” (Ps 133:2). The image of spreading oil, flowing down from the beard of Aaron upon the collar of his sacred robe, is an image of the priestly anointing which, through Christ, the Anointed One, reaches the ends of the earth, represented by the robe.

The sacred robes of the High Priest are rich in symbolism. One such symbol is that the names of the children of Israel were engraved on the onyx stones mounted on the shoulder-pieces of the ephod, the ancestor of our present-day chasuble: six on the stone of the right shoulder-piece and six on that of the left (cf. Ex 28:6-14). The names of the twelve tribes of Israel were also engraved on the breastplate (cf. Es 28:21). This means that the priest celebrates by carrying on his shoulders the people entrusted to his care and bearing their names written in his heart. When we put on our simple chasuble, it might well make us feel, upon our shoulders and in our hearts, the burdens and the faces of our faithful people, our saints and martyrs of whom there are many in these times…

From the beauty of all these liturgical things, which is not so much about trappings and fine fabrics than about the glory of our God resplendent in his people, alive and strengthened, we turn to a consideration of activity, action. The precious oil which anoints the head of Aaron does more than simply lend fragrance to his person; it overflows down to “the edges”. The Lord will say this clearly: his anointing is meant for the poor, prisoners and the sick, for those who are sorrowing and alone. The ointment is not intended just to make us fragrant, much less to be kept in a jar, for then it would become rancid … and the heart bitter.

A good priest can be recognized by the way his people are anointed. This is a clear test. When our people are anointed with the oil of gladness, it is obvious: for example, when they leave Mass looking as if they have heard good news. Our people like to hear the Gospel preached with “unction”, they like it when the Gospel we preach touches their daily lives, when it runs down like the oil of Aaron to the edges of reality, when it brings light to moments of extreme darkness, to the “outskirts” where people of faith are most exposed to the onslaught of those who want to tear down their faith. People thank us because they feel that we have prayed over the realities of their everyday lives, their troubles, their joys, their burdens and their hopes. And when they feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me”, “Pray for me” – these words are the sign that the anointing has flowed down to the edges of the robe, for it has turned into prayer. The prayers of the people of God. When we have this relationship with God and with his people, and grace passes through us, then we are priests, mediators between God and men. What I want to emphasize is that we need constantly to stir up God’s grace and perceive in every request, even those requests that are inconvenient and at times purely material or downright banal – but only apparently so – the desire of our people to be anointed with fragrant oil, since they know that we have it. To perceive and to sense, even as the Lord sensed the hope-filled anguish of the woman suffering from hemorrhages when she touched the hem of his garment. At that moment, Jesus, surrounded by people on every side, embodies all the beauty of Aaron vested in priestly raiment, with the oil running down upon his robes. It is a hidden beauty, one which shines forth only for those faith-filled eyes of the woman troubled with an issue of blood. But not even the disciples – future priests – see or understand: on the “existential outskirts”, they see only what is on the surface: the crowd pressing in on Jesus from all sides (cf. Lk 8:42). The Lord, on the other hand, feels the power of the divine anointing which runs down to the edge of his cloak.

We need to “go out,” then, in order to experience our own anointing, its power and its redemptive efficacy: to the “outskirts” where there is suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters. It is not in soul-searching or constant introspection that we encounter the Lord: self-help courses can be useful in life, but to live by going from one course to another, from one method to another, leads us to become pelagians and to minimize the power of grace, which comes alive and flourishes to the extent that we, in faith, go out and give ourselves and the Gospel to others, giving what little ointment we have to those who have nothing, nothing at all.

A priest who seldom goes out of himself, who anoints little – I won’t say “not at all” because, thank God, our people take our oil from us anyway – misses out on the best of our people, on what can stir the depths of his priestly heart. Those who do not go out of themselves, instead of being mediators, gradually become intermediaries, managers. We know the difference: the intermediary, the manager, “has already received his reward”, and since he doesn’t put his own skin and his own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks. This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, become sad priests, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men. True enough, the so-called crisis of priestly identity threatens us all and adds to the broader cultural crisis; but if we can resist its onslaught, we will be able to put out in the name of the Lord and cast our nets. It is not a bad thing that reality itself forces us to “put out into the deep”, where what we are by grace is clearly seen as pure grace, out into the deep of the contemporary world, where the only thing that counts is “unction” – not function – and the nets which overflow with fish are those cast solely in the name of the One in whom we have put our trust: Jesus.

Dear lay faithful, be close to your priests with affection and with your prayers, that they may always be shepherds according to God’s heart.

Dear priests, may God the Father renew in us the Spirit of holiness with whom we have been anointed. May he renew his Spirit in our hearts, that this anointing may spread to everyone, even to those “outskirts” where our faithful people most look for it and most appreciate it. May our people sense that we are the Lord’s disciples; may they feel that their names are written upon our priestly vestments and that we seek no other identity; and may they receive through our words and deeds the oil of gladness which Jesus, the Anointed One, came to bring us. Amen.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Iglesia ni Cristo's understanding of Jesus vs Christian understanding

CHRISTIANS understanding of Jesus Christ:

"JESUS (divine) coming in the flesh (becoming man).

IGLESIA NI CRISTO's understanding of Jesus Christ:
"JESUS (human) becoming divine?


The BIBLE understanding of JESUS CHRIST!

1 JOHN 1:1;14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

2 JOHN 1:7
Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coming Home – Conversion Story of Samuel Hopper

From my newfound faith, I was told that Catholicism was not true Christianity. Yes, there were some Catholics who were Christian, but the Church definitely was not. I learned that the Pope thought of himself as Christ. Catholics worshipped Mary and idols, they prayed to the dead. They believed in all sorts of things outside of the Bible. The Baptist Church and many Bible-believing churches like it were filled with “recovering” Catholics who had “seen the Light” and escaped from Catholicism — too many rules, too many restrictions. How dare anyone tell them how to be a Christian?

With great angst I had to face the issue of my wife and kids being part of a pagan belief system (even if they were among the few practicing Catholics who were actually Christian). I figured the best thing to do was invite them to go to church with me. If they could see what I had found, I figured their eyes would be opened to authentic Christianity.

Coming Home
by Samuel Hopper
Airport encounter

Two and a half years after the 9-11 attacks, I was still working police-overtime assignments in uniform at a woefully understaffed airport in Southern California. By late winter of 2003, the newly created Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was in place at airports across the United States.

One evening I was posted at a passenger checkpoint. If something happened, I was the last line of defense. Otherwise my only responsibility was to be observant. It amounted to a lot of sitting and getting well paid while the much lower paid airport police and TSA agents were busy working.

At 6:00 p.m., my relief came. Sgt. Thomas (not his real name) jokingly commented, “Cheated death for another hour, huh?”

“Somehow,” I answered sarcastically. “And if anything does happen,” I continued, “as long as I see Jesus when I open my eyes, I’ll know everything’s alright.”

Sgt. Thomas and I laughed as I gave up my seat and started to walk to my next post.

Before I got five steps away, a TSA supervisor at the checkpoint (who I’ll call Mr. Pharis) stopped me and asked, “Do you expect to see Jesus when you die?”

That was probably the last question I expected to hear that night and I never expected it from someone else in a law enforcement uniform — especially from a stranger. Caught off guard, my defenses went up while I processed the question. What should have been a non-threatening question sounded very threatening to me. After a long pause, I answered simply, “I certainly hope so.”

Without missing a beat, Mr. Pharis asked, “If you died this instant, what would you say to Jesus that would convince Him to let you into heaven?”

I did not have an answer and it was obvious. Mr. Pharis then asked if I would be coming back to this checkpoint later in the evening. I told him I would be rotating back to it at 9:00 p.m. He then instructed me to tell him what I would say to Jesus at the gates of heaven that would convince Him to let me in.

When I returned to the checkpoint, I was ready to make my case for heaven. As I began to describe my works-laden justification, Mr. Pharis told me bluntly, “You’re not getting into heaven.”

Although Mr. Pharis came from a fundamentalist community church with a very narrow view of Christianity that believed only what could be gleaned from the Bible, (hard core sola scriptura folks), he got my attention. I was convinced I was not saved!



Culturally Christian

I was baptized and raised in the Methodist Church. There was never a time in my life that I didn’t believe in God. I went to Sunday school and knew many Bible stories including the basic Gospel account of the life of Jesus from His birth in the manger, His Crucifixion where He died for the sins of mankind, to His Resurrection. I never questioned anything and accepted it all as the truth. By most definitions of what is a Christian, you could probably say I was at best a cultural Christian, but not really a believing Christian.

When I was about five, a Sunday school teacher told us about heaven. I cannot remember anything specific about what she said but I knew I wanted to go there. I was disappointed when I realized I would have to die first. From that Sunday morning, though, I always assumed I’d be in heaven some day.

Growing up, I was not a big fan of church. I did not like going because it stole time from my weekend — my break from school. I was glad, however, that I wasn’t Catholic, because my Catholic buddies had to go to Catechism class on Saturdays and church on Sundays. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough not to go to church!

Going to college afforded me the opportunity to choose whether or not I would go to church — Christmas and Easter was enough for me!

Four years later, done with college, but not following a direct path in life, I was moved to go to church one morning. I went back to the church of my youth. The pastor gave a sermon based on the story of the Road to Emmaus. Again, I do not remember anything specific, but it was as if Pastor Black was preaching directly to me. His sermon had such a great impact on me that I began attending church regularly.

Three years later, I became a police officer and working on Sundays became very common.


Rome begins its call

In the spring of 1982, I met my future wife, Paula. We hit it off right away and enjoyed a whirlwind romance. For several weeks during our courtship, I was off on Sunday mornings. Paula invited me to go to church with her. It was then I learned she was a Catholic. By this time, I knew Catholics were Christians because they believed in God, taught about Jesus, and celebrated Christmas and Easter... Continue reading here...

Friday, March 22, 2013

True Church: The Iglesia ni Cristo?

A former Catholic JASON turned anti-Catholic (just like Felix Manalo) displays the FINEST INC's brainwashing product which could corrupt one's right senses- believing in a LIE that was perpetuated by the INC's paid ministers, read below:

Why do people are being fooled by fake religions (expected by the apostles) even its obvious that the true/real religion is the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo)
Source: Act 20:28, Rome 16:16

Even though there are different versions that affects changes in the name, just look at the success of Church of Christ. From the poor archipelago country in far east, Philippines. Spreading out in the rich countries in the far west. We're not only basing upon the name, also about when, where, how it came from. Pls research.

Remember there is only one body in one head, and it's naturally impossible that there's one head (Christ), and many bodies. Church of Christ is the only religion that is in the bible so pls people observe and think. This msg is for you. Remember that the people that will burn in the Judgement day is the same number as the sand in the sea. Pls dont die unknowing the Church of Christ.
We will all die in the end so pls be wise, search for the truth as soon as possible. If the Church of Christ doesn't prove the truth, there's no problem. You can still find it in other religion or in your present religion now if you can.

I will accept violent reactions but im still waiting for you guys in the real religion that Jesus will save.
I'm a former Catholic, and now a follower of Church of Christ from the poor country the Church of Christ began, Philippines. - JASON (Source: Yahoo! Answers)


JASON: Why do people are being fooled by fake religions (expected by the apostles) even its obvious that the true/real religion is the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo)

Source: Act 20:28, Rome 16:16

CD2000: Good question: Why you allowed yourself to be FOOLED by a fake religion called the Iglesia ni Cristo?  How to sense FAKE CHURCHES like yours to the REAL ONE? Let me help you. First check your history, what does it says about the HISTORICITY of the Catholic Church and the INC of Manalo? Second, what does the BIBLE say about the CHURCH He founded? And what does the Bible says about churches FOUNDED by MERE MEN like Felix Manalo (INC Last Messenger) and Joseph Smith Jr. (Mormonism Last Prophet)? Third, here is OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED in your magazine PASUGO: Mayo 1968, p. 7: “Ang tunay na INK ay iisa lamang. Ito ang Iglesiyang itinayo ni Cristo. Kung mayroon mang nagsisibangon ngayong mga Iglesia at sasabihing sila man ay Iglesia ni Cristo rin, ang mga ito ay hindi tunay na Iglesia ni Cristo kundi huwad lamang." [The real Church of Christ is only one. This is the Church founded by Christ.  If there are churches emerging today claiming to be churches of Christ, they are not real but FAKES.]


Those Bible verses you carefully SELECTED and twisted from Acts 20:28 and Rome (sic) 16:16 has nothing to do with Manalo's INC Church.  Acts 20:28 talks about the CHURCH OF GOD (Iglesia ng Dios which you HATED because you cannot accept JESUS as GOD.  Or you mean the LAMSA's corrupted Translation of Acts 20:28?

And how about Romans 16:16? Not even an inch it refers to Manalo's INC Church? Rather upon close scrutiny, Romans 16:16 talks about the CHURCH in ROME-- not in the Philippines. Therefore praising the CATHOLIC CHURCH whose seat is in ROME (VATICAN CITY -- Read Alin ang Iglesiang binabati ng "lahat ng mga iglesia ni Cristo: Iglesia sa Roma o Iglesia sa Pilipinas?)

JASON: Even though there are different versions that affects changes in the name, just look at the success of Church of Christ. From the poor archipelago country in far east, Philippines. Spreading out in the rich countries in the far west. We're not only basing upon the name, also about when, where, how it came from. Pls research.

CD2000: Not ALL registered "Church of Christ" are "Iglesia ni Cristo" (Read Iba pang mga 'Church of Christ'-- INC rin kaya sila? ).  The name "CHURCH of CHRIST (IGLESIA NI CRISTO)" no matter how many times you REGISTER it under the Republic of the Philippines' Securities and Exchange Commision, DOES NOT guarantee us TRUTHFULNESS.  Imitators are just everywhere from products to churches.  Anybody can COPY someone's name but one should be WISE enough to know the MARKS of the TRUE CHURCH (just as you can distinguish fake from genuine smart phones by recognizing those distinctive marks).  In fact, we love to research about the TRUE CHURCH of CHRIST (not copy-cat)  and we found out that there is ONLY ONE CHURCH which can TRACE its roots from the First Century.  I might frustrate you but this Church is NOT the Iglesia ni Cristo founded by Manalo but the CATHOLIC CHURCH. 

This Church I've just mentioned is HISTORICALLY founded in Jerusalem (not in Punta, Sta. Ana Manila).  In fact this CHURCH was promised to be Jesus' BRIDE (Eph 5:25-27), his BODY (Rom 12:3; Ephe 5:25-32), and will REMAIN with her FOREVER (Mt. 16:16-18; Mt. 28:18-20). Jesus cannot deny his body, nor he approves divorce!

If you mean "research" about ANTI-CATHOLIC articles and websites, well, that's not an honest truth-seeking research. You can only know the truth by asking the RIGHT PEOPLE and official websites or published books.  You cannot would never understand how Romans live by asking people from China.  In the same way, consult WHAT'S officially CATHOLIC-- books, websites, and articles-- Here are some that I can recommend to you (if you truly want TRUTH).

  1. Vatican State Official Website 
  2. Catholic Online 
  3. Catholic Answers 
  4. Holy Spirit Interactive 
  5. St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church 
  6. Catholic Encyclopedia 
  7. Papal Twitter 
  8. Vatican YouTube 
  9. Catholic Episcopal Conferences
Now, can you reciprocate that favor by giving us your OFFICIAL websites where we can "research"?

JASON: Remember there is only one body in one head, and it's naturally impossible that there's one head (Christ), and many bodies. Church of Christ is the only religion that is in the bible so pls people observe and think. This msg is for you. Remember that the people that will burn in the Judgement day is the same number as the sand in the sea. Pls dont die unknowing the Church of Christ.

CD2000: Even before the existence of the "BIBLE" we have today we knew that there is ONE BODY, ONE HEAD.

Allow me to point out with you which of the many "churches" reflect that ONE BODY, with MANY PARTS, is it the IGLESIA NI CRISTO or the CATHOLIC CHURCH?

The Catholic Church has ONE HEAD - Jesus Christ. He appointed PETER to be it's SHEPHERD -- "feed my lamb... feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17). He made PETER the caretaker of the "KEYS of the KINGDOM of HEAVEN", power to BIND and LOOSE", the ROCK (Cephas) which Christ would build HIS CHURCH  (Mt. 16:16-18).
 And out of this ONE CHURCH with ONE HEAD, it has many bodies. Examples are:
  • Different languages but speak one faith
  • Different communities but doing one mission
  • Different cultures but united in one spirit
  • Different rites (21 Catholic rites) but worship one God
  • Different races but under one Church of Christ
Now this ONE CHURCH has the most ancient history, has the biggest number of affiliates - 1.2 billion (1/6 of world population) belonging to this ONE CHURCH.

Compared it to the INC of Manalo which speaks one language (Tagalog), uses one form of ritual copied from Evangelical Christians; uses registers a name only in Tagalog Iglesia ni Cristo with translations (Church of Christ) for the sake of those who do not understand Tagalog.  

The INC of Manalo's concept of "unity" is UNIFORMITY, seen in its buildings, worships, clothing, preaching etc-- A body that has only one part.  That's not the Biblical concept of One Body.

JASON: We will all die in the end so pls be wise, search for the truth as soon as possible. If the Church of Christ doesn't prove the truth, there's no problem. You can still find it in other religion or in your present religion now if you can.

CD2000: And before that happens, Christ is inviting you to reconsider HIS CHURCH-- the CATHOLIC CHURCH.  Stop being stubborn before God. Clothe yourself with spiritual humility and ask the Holy Spirit to give you humility.  Certainly, the Catholic  Church was founded by Jesus Christ-- consider how THESE CONVERTS rediscovered the TRUTH which is only found in HIS CHURCH.

JASON: I will accept violent reactions but im still waiting for you guys in the real religion that Jesus will save.

CD2000: Expect us to PRAY for you so that you may find the TRUTH in this REAL RELIGION that JESUS had founded-- the CHURCH.  The fullness of TRUTH can be felt through her.

JASON: I'm a former Catholic, and now a follower of Church of Christ from the poor country the Church of Christ began, Philippines. 

CD2000: For the past 2,000 year history of the CHURCH, obviously people, like your Felix Manalo were the ones who LEFT the Church-- NOT the Church leaving the people as your "Last Messenger" would like YOU to believe.

People APOSTATIZE, not the Church.  People turn their back against the Church-- not the Church!  There is NO APOSTASY of the Church! People are the ones who apostatize!

Sad to say, YOU are one of those who LEFT the Church. It's pitiable that you left the Church because you failed to fathom its teachings. Your stubbornness against its truth made your heart so hard that you preferred a false churches founded by man rather a Church founded by Jesus Christ.

Come back home! Jesus Christ is waiting.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Christian Persecution Ranking Mostly from Muslim dominated Countries

Source: WorldWatch
Read FACING ISLAM

There was NO APOSTASY!

"Francis has became the 266th pontiff in the Church's 2,000-year history at a time of great crisis, with the church under fire over a child sex abuse scandal and torn by infighting in the Vatican bureaucracy." -REUTERS

So those who preached that the Church had apostatized are LIARS and DECEIVERS!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam! We have a New Pope!

Praise and Glory to the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit for giving us our new Pope.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina is now known as POPE FRANCIS I.


LONG LIVE THE POPE!

Monday, March 11, 2013

News Tells us Facts! There was NO APOSTASY!

While the Catholic Church is on the spotlight for the Papal Conclave, major news agencies have one thing to say about the Catholic Church.

There was NO APOSTASY.  That's a FACT!

"Vatican experts have said the German's decision, which makes him only the second pope to resign by choice in the Church's 2,000-year history, could mean future popes will also step down once their strengths begin to fail them." - AFP

Italian Police standing guard in the Vatican. - AFP

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

BEHOLD! Let us reveal them!


RADICAL ISLAM: Muslims Challenge Ownership of Cordoba Cathedral

by: Soeren Kern
RadicalIslam.org via GatestoneInstitute.org, published in Facing Islam


A court in southern Spain has acquitted eight Muslims who were accused of resorting to violence to break a ban on Muslim prayers in a cathedral in the city of Córdoba.

The Córdoba Cathedral is built on the site of what was originally the Visigothic church of San Vicente, which was built in the year 590. After the Islamic conquest of Spain, Muslims razed the church and in 786 replaced it with a mosque, the second-largest in the world at the time. In 1236, Córdoba was reconquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile in the Reconquista, and the mosque was subsequently consecrated as a church, which it has remained ever since.

Some observers say the ruling, which caught Spanish public prosecutors completely by surprise, reflects a desire by local judges to dispense with a highly sensitive case that has the potential to inflame Muslim sensibilities.

But the ruling is likely to embolden the growing Muslim community in Spain and elsewhere, who believe they have a legitimate claim to the historic monument because of its former identity as a mosque.

The trial, held at Criminal Court of Córdoba on February 4, 2013, involved an incident that took place on March 31, 2010 at the Córdoba Cathedral, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba, one of the most visited monuments in Spain.

An altercation broke out when eight members of a group of 118 Muslim tourists from Austria unrolled their prayer rugs inside the church, kneeled on the floor and began praying loudly. When security guards ordered them to stop, the Muslims responded by attacking them.

After a dozen police reinforcements were called into the church to arrest the Muslim offenders, they, too, were attacked. Two security guards were injured in the melee, which police said was planned in advance.

Spanish public prosecutors had asked the court to sentence the eight defendants to a total of 15 years in prison for disturbing public order, assaulting law enforcement officers and injuring the security guards.
During the trial, the Muslim defendants denied all of the accusations against them, saying they were the ones attacked by the security guards and the police, and not the other way around.

During their testimony, the plaintiffs displayed evidence of their injuries to the court; but they also offered what the judge considered to be contradictory accounts of several details of the incident. As a result, the defendants were acquitted based on a lack of evidence.

Prosecutors were blindsided by the ruling, which they say will be appealed. The decision was all the more surprising because another judge involved in the case had previously ruled that the incident was indeed premeditated, that the defendants were "clearly organized" (they had used walkie-talkies to coordinate their movements inside the building), and that security cameras had recorded the incident.
Some observers have speculated that the judge's decision may have been politically motivated. They point to the fact that before becoming a judge, Rascón was a politician with the Spanish Socialist Party, which is firmly committed to multiculturalism and has long sought to undermine the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Spanish society.

In his ruling, Judge Juan Luis Rascón said although it was proved beyond a doubt that the defendants engaged in Muslim prayers in the cathedral, they did so "in an area not specifically dedicated to Catholic worship." He added that there were "logical doubts" [dudas lógicas] as to whether the incident was planned in advance. Moreover, there was no proof that the ringleader of the group, Zaid El-Aifari, actually assaulted a security guard with a knife, as the prosecutor had alleged.

Rascón also said it is not within the court's competence to assess whether Muslim prayers performed inside a Catholic church could be considered to be a provocation.

Finally, Rascón said that although the defendants' behavior may be considered by some to be "socially reprehensible," to convict them would "do a disservice to freedom of religious thought and respect for the plurality of religions."

In any case, the dispute over Muslim demands to share the church are unlikely to subside.
All had been relatively quiet at the Córdoba Cathedral for more than 750 years, until January 2004, when Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden began encouraging Muslims to "reconquer" Spain for Islam by declaring it to be "the lost Al-Andalus."

In a speech titled "Message to the Muslim People," bin Laden said: "No Muslim territory should ever become non-Muslim. … Let the whole world know that we shall never accept the tragedy of Andalusia."

Andalusia, a region in southern Spain, derives its name from Al-Andalus, the Arabic name given to those parts of Spain, Portugal and France that were occupied by Muslim conquerors (also known as the Moors) from 711 to 1492.

Many Muslims believe that much of Spain still belongs to them, and that they have every right to return and establish their rule there.

In April 2004, not long after bin Laden's call to arms, the president of the Islamic Council of Spain [Junta Islámica], the late Mansur Escudero, formally petitioned Pope John Paul II for the right to pray in the Córdoba Cathedral, in the interests of promoting "inter-faith dialogue." At the time, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue rejected the request out of hand.

In December 2006, Muslims sought to capitalize on Pope Benedict XVI's efforts to defuse Muslim anger after his so-called Regensburg Lecture, in which he quoted disparaging remarks by a 14th century Byzantine emperor about the Prophet Mohammed.

In a letter to the Pope, Escudero wrote: "We invite you to create a new example, to send a message of hope to the world. Do not fear. Together we can show the violent, the intolerant, the anti-Semites, the Islam-phobes and also those who believe that only Islam has a right to remain in the world, that prayer is the strongest weapon imaginable."

The letter says Spanish Muslims do not intend to take control of the building or "recover a nostalgic Al-Andalus." Rather, they seek to restore the "spirit of Al-Andalus, where Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in relative harmony."

Shortly after mailing his letter to the Pope, Escudero declared: "Al-Andalus will continue being Al-Andalus for Muslims of all ages. It is there; we have created it. Here we have our dead, who remain alive, awaiting Resurrection Day."

In September 2007, bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, said: "Reconquering Al-Andalus is the duty of the Islamic nation in general and of you [the Al-Qaeda fighters] in particular."

In October 2007, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa endorsed Escudero's demands during an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) conference against "Intolerance and Discrimination" held in Córdoba. In his opening remarks, Moussa said Muslims must be allowed to pray in the Córdoba Cathedral "to demonstrate our religious coexistence."

Moussa said: "All churches and mosques are built for prayer and to be used for this end; I think there wouldn't be a religious clash at all; the clash would be instead of a political nature." However, he ignored questions pertaining to why Christians are not only forbidden to pray in mosques but are even prohibited from building churches in some Muslim countries.

The Roman Catholic Church in Spain has so far held its ground by continuing to reject Muslim demands for joint use of the cathedral. It says Muslim proposals "fit within the framework of a false dialogue."

According to the Bishop of Córdoba, Demetrio Fernández, the recent violence shows the impossibility of sharing a house of worship with Muslims, which would be akin to "sharing a wife between two husbands." As a result, he says, the ban on Muslim prayers must remain in place.

Fernández asks: "Would they be happy to do the same in any of their mosques? Absolutely not. I understand their religious feeling and they have to understand ours as well. The religious feeling is the deepest one in the human heart, so it is not possible to share."

[Of particular interest to Orthodox Christians is this historical note:]

In an opinion article in the Spanish newspaper ABC, Fernández compared the situation in Córdoba to the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist in Damascus. After the Arab conquest of Damascus in 634, the Byzantine cathedral was converted into a mosque. Also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, it is considered by some Muslims to be the fourth holiest site in Islam.

Says Fernández: "We wouldn't think of asking for the Damascus mosque, because it belongs to the Muslims and for them it is an emblematic place. It is the same for Christians because Saint John's basilica is very important to us, but we understand that history does not go back. It only goes forward. So, it does not make sense to ask for the Córdoba Cathedral to convert it into a mosque. It does not make sense because history is irreversible."

Many Muslims disagree with Fernández, and the dispute is unlikely to go away until the church concedes defeat. As the Muslim population in Spain continues to grow in size (it is expected to nearly double by 2030) and in political influence, history may be reversed earlier than most Spaniards might imagine.

Friday, March 1, 2013

MEAN MEN: Priests Commit No More Abuse Than Other Males

Source: The Daily Beast By Pat Wingert - The priesthood is being cast as the refuge of pederasts. In fact, priests seem to abuse children at the same rate as everyone else

The Catholic sex-abuse stories emerging every day suggest that Catholics have a much bigger problem with child molestation than other denominations and the general population. Many point to peculiarities of the Catholic Church (its celibacy rules for priests, its insular hierarchy, its exclusion of women) to infer that there's something particularly pernicious about Catholic clerics that predisposes them to these horrific acts. It's no wonder that, back in 2002—when the last Catholic sex-abuse scandal was making headlines—a Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests "frequently'' abused children.

Yet experts say there's simply no data to support the claim at all. No formal comparative study has ever broken down child sexual abuse by denomination, and only the Catholic Church has released detailed data about its own. But based on the surveys and studies conducted by different denominations over the past 30 years, experts who study child abuse say they see little reason to conclude that sexual abuse is mostly a Catholic issue. "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others."

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