Strangely evocative and accurate -
7 hours ago
|Pope Francis praying before the 'Separation Wall' erected by the State of Israel (Photo Source: ABC News)|
Pope Francis received King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain in audience on May 19.
An estimated 10% of the people in the Persian Gulf island nation are Christians; most Christians there are Asian guest workers. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is forbidden, but the nation is permitting the construction of a cathedral for the apostolic vicar who ministers to Catholics there.
The Pope and the king, who has ruled Bahrain since 1999, discussed Middle East peace and stability. “Mention was then made of the Christian community’s positive contribution to the country, and appreciation was expressed for His Majesty’s personal interest in the needs of the local Catholic community,” according to the Holy See Press Office.
Following their discussion, the King met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States.
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — A car bomb outside Holy Family Syrian Catholic Church wounded 23 people Tuesday, August 2, 2011, as security forces found and disabled other vehicles packed with explosives outside two other churches in northern Iraq. Photo: Emad Matti / AP
|Pope Francis sa kanyang Weekly Audience (Photo Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office)|
|The third little pope: Pope "Tatay" Eduaro of the Iglesia ni Cristo®. Photo courtesy of http://inc.kabayankokapatidko.org|
|Mr. INC® DECEIVER! Whose "HOLY SCRIPTURES" must we turn its pages? INC®, have you ever thought of QUESTIONING your paid ministers 'HOW DID WE GET THE HOLY SCRIPTURES?' so you will know for a fact that your paid ministers are just Bible readers-- NOT teachers! (Photo Source: incmedia.org)|
|Areal map of the City of Manalo (Ciudad de Victoria) in Bulacan, Philippines|
LUCENA CITY, PDI Online—A furious Lucena Bishop Emilio Marquez assailed local officials for changing the name of a section of a major street here, originally named after the priest founder of the city, into Felix Manalo Street, after the founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).“They (local officials) were like Judas who conveniently forgot the revered role of Fr. Mariano Granja in the history of Lucena in exchange for a few thousand votes,” Marquez said in an interview on Wednesday.
Granja Street stretches 1,329 meters across the city proper, from its northern tip in Barangay 1 to its end in Barangay 8.Marquez said officials could have renamed other streets after Manalo and locals would not have minded.“But renaming even just a part of Granja Street into Felix Manalo Street, just because it is where the back of the INC chapel is located, is a grave disrespect to the memory of Father Granja,” Marquez said.
He said Granja, a Spanish Franciscan priest, was known among Lucena folk as the “father of Lucena.”
|Official Seal of the Iglesia ni Cristo|
|Leader||Eduardo V. Manalo (Executive Minister)|
|Region||102 countries and territories; 114 nationalities|
|Headquarters||No. 1 Central Avenue, New Era,Quezon City, Philippines|
|Founder||Felix Y. Manalo (as the registrant for the Philippine Government)|
|Origin||July 27, 1914 (registration inPhilippine Government)|
Punta, Santa Ana, Manila,Philippines
|Congregations||5,545 as of March 2014|
|Members||No official count|
|Ministers||7,205as of 2009|
|Aid organization||Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc|
Unlad International, Inc
|Tertiary institutions||New Era University|
College of Evangelical Ministry
|Other name(s)||INC, Iglesia, English: Church of Christ, Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo,German: Kirche Christi, French:Eglise du Christ|
|It's estimated that there were about 4.8 million|
Catholics that were not included in its
survey because they were in countries
that could not provide an accurate report
to the Vatican, mainly China and
MANILA, Philippines (PDI Online)—The Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) on Saturday launched the Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Commemorative Stamp at the INC Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City, to mark the 100th anniversary of the church’s registration in the Philippines.
In ceremonies held at the INC’s Bulwagan, Postmaster General Ma. Josefina M. de la Cruz and Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo unveiled the stamp that features the INC Central Temple and the late Felix Y. Manalo, founder and first executive minister of the INC, in sepia. At the bottom of the stamp is the INC centennial logo in color.
The launch coincided with the 128th birth anniversary of Felix Y. Manalo.
The stamp, 50 millimeters by 35 mm, is bigger than the ordinary-sized 40 mm by 30 mm stamps, which De la Cruz said was “not an arbitrary decision.”
Twice the number“It passed through certification by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines,” she said.
De la Cruz said Philpost will issue 1.2 million of the stamps, which is more than twice the number of stamps they usually issue for a single design.
After the unveiling, Manalo, De la Cruz and Philpost chair Cesar Sarino participated in the ceremonial signing of the INC stamp’s “first day cover.”
De la Cruz also presented a souvenir frame of the centennial stamp to the INC leader.In his speech, Manalo noted the significance of the launch date of the centennial stamp in remembering the founder of the INC and his ministry.
You may reply to them, for instance, with James 2:19, “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble,” but Mormons will have some explanation for that New Testament passage which fits their theology.
You may ask them who Jesus is praying to in Matthew 26:39 when he says in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will,” yet Oneness Pentecostals will offer some answer for why Jesus is not praying to another person.
You may answer with the beginning and end of the Gospel of John: with John’s prologue where we see “the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh,” and the gospel’s climax, John 20:28, “Thomas answered and said to [Jesus,] ‘My Lord and my God!’” However, Jehovah’s Witnesses will surely have some reply for these verses.
|A diagram of the ancient, orthodox, Christian conception |
of the Most Holy Trinity: One God, Three Divine Persons
|Felix Manalo: INC's Founder!|
And this is a good thing. (Yeah, I said it Rev. Hess, the papacy is a good thing!) For those Lutherans and other Protestants who think Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI, and Saints John Paul II and John XXIII are the antichrist, you should probably stop reading this post right now, because I am a Lutheran pastor who is utterly captivated by the papacy.
Let’s take Saint John Paul II. Part of me gives credit to one of our nation’s great presidents, Ronald Reagan, for the fall of the Soviet Empire. I also give credit to Lady Thatcher of Great Britain and to the inherent failure of the communist system to sustain itself. But any student of theology, history, and politics, must give enormous credit to John Paul II in bringing down this evil regime. John Paul’s role in Poland’s solidarity movement offers a textbook case in how the Church ought to involve herself with politics. It is the Gospel that changes people’s hearts. Only the freedom of the Risen Christ offers people true hope when confronted with the perils of this world. John Paul the Great preached this and his message was instrumental in freeing millions throughout the world.
This same approach to politics is what draws many to Pope Francis. His way of dealing with and speaking to people is certainly different than his most of his predecessors, but the message remains the same. Francis’ language reminds me a lot of my own church’s bishop, Rev. Matthew Harrison. They both speak a lot about mercy – Christ’s mercy – and how this mercy is the foundation of the Christian faith. And both of these shepherds engage people in every station of their life, regardless of their situation or past transgressions. To the best of their sinful ability, they both model the love of Christ to others – with believers and unbelievers alike increasingly drawn to their message.
Then there is my favorite pope, Benedict XVI.
I would put him on par with Thomas Aquinas. He’s that good. Probably better. His writings cover a great deal and never disappoint. I think he is most solid on the Liturgy. But we Protestants should also love him for his insight into the greatest evil today’s world knows, “The Dictatorship of Relativism”. Benedict understands how deceptively threatening relativism is to our world and challenges us all to confront it head on, with the Law of God to be sure, but even more with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
|Aguilar with his 16 year old girlfriend (Photo source: PinoyStop.com)|
"It’s hard to ignore the fact that our faith is one of unparalleled beauty, from the Liturgy to the art to the architecture. We are anchored in history and can trace our beginnings back to Jesus and St. Peter, prefigured of course by the nation of Israel we read about in the Old Testament. We have St. Thomas Aquinas and a whole bunch of cool martyrs, and saints like Anthony of Padua–who was actually mentioned by name, in a positive way, at one point. We have custody of most of the holy sites in the Holy Land. We have Mother Teresa!...
"... “What IS the Church?” And what might it look like to submit to her? How do we know what the truth is? Why are Protestants always fighting with each other? ... Protestants don’t want to identify with Catholics because they remain rooted in ideology that is, by definition, in protest of Rome. And Catholics can’t distribute Holy Communion to Protestants because Protestants don’t acknowledge the Real Presence...
"... if you love Jesus, there’s no better place to be than the Catholic Church. They would see pastoral ministry happening, meals being served, prayers being said, children being catechized, Scripture being proclaimed. They would see joy and hope, and the divine intersecting with the human in a profoundly powerful way. They would see love. And, they would see Christ.
"... someone declared that Catholicism is intrinsically exclusive and complicated, too hard for regular ol’ people to “do”... It is the religion of the weak, the vulnerable, the simple, the illiterate, the humble, the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed. It does not require a predetermined level of intellectual rigor, a bookshelf full of systematic theology or, gasp, even a strong understanding of the Bible. Because we are a faith or religion of a PERSON, not a faith of a book. The Bible is our canon of authoritative, inerrant, Sacred Scripture that is read extensively every single Mass. But Jesus is our object of worship and love. And He simply says, Come."