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Weekly News In Review

November 27 - December 3, 2005
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The following articles were posted at www.understandthetimes.org this past week:

Believers Flock to 'Crying' Virgin Mary
Eucharist and Marian Devotion
Don't Confuse True and False Religion, Says Cardinal
Sharon Plans Massive Withdrawals
Catholic church hosts interfaith Thanksgiving service
Pontiff Tells Young Dutch How to Know Christ Through Prayer, Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation
Pope's Advent message: God calls us to communion which is fully realized in Christ's return
Vittorio Messori and "The Mary Hypothesis"
Dalai Lama urges Christians not to convert to Buddhism
Limbo consigned to history books
"Mini Ice Age" May Be Coming Soon, Sea Study Warns
Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope
Muslim Says Turks Esteem Benedict XVI
Peace Requires Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Says Pope
Russia equips Iran for war
Active Hurricane Era Likely To Continue
Alarm over dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream
Pope, Abbas Discuss Mideast Peace Process

Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 26, 2005 - Believers Flock to 'Crying' Virgin Mary

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Carrying rosary beads and cameras, the faithful have been coming in a steady stream to a church on the outskirts of Sacramento for a glimpse of what some are calling a miracle: A statue of the Virgin Mary they say has begun crying a substance that looks like blood.

It was first noticed more than a week ago, when a priest at the Vietnamese Catholic Martyrs Church spotted a stain on the statue's face and wiped it away. Before Mass on Nov. 20, people again noticed a reddish substance near the eyes of the white concrete statue outside the small church, said Ky Truong, 56, a parishioner.

Since then, Truong said he has been at the church day and night, so emotional he can't even work. He believes the tears are a sign.

Nuns Anna Bui and Rosa Hoang, members of the Salesian Sisters of San Francisco, also made the trek Saturday. Whether the weeping statue is declared a miracle or not, they said, it is already doing good by awakening people to the faith and reminding them to pray.

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 20, 2005 - Eucharist and Marian Devotion

NEW YORK, NOV. 20, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- Here is the text of a talk given by Father Michael F. Hull, who participated in the recent videoconference of theologians on the topic of the Eucharist. The Vatican Congregation for Clergy organized the event. Father Hull is a professor of sacred Scripture at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York.
* * *
The Holy Eucharist and Marian Devotion
Michael F. Hull
Devotion to the Holy Eucharist and devotion to Our Lady are so closely bound as to be inseparable. As Mother and Son are united in an "indissoluble tie" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 53), so too devotion to Mother and Son are tightly linked. This is expressed most beautifully by the medieval religious poem "Ave Verum," immortalized as a motet by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791.

In his encyclical letter "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," the late Pope John Paul II devotes the sixth and final chapter to Mary, which he entitles "At the School of Mary: 'Woman of the Eucharist.'" Therein, the Pope points out significant parallels in the lives of Jesus and Mary.
For example, Jesus' words at the Last Supper -- "Do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19) -- echo Mary's words at the wedding at Cana -- "Do whatever he tells you" (John 2:5). Likewise, Mary's fiat to the Archangel Gabriel (Luke 1:38) prefigures the Amen of each communicant at the reception of Holy Communion.

Speaking of Mary's own reception of holy Communion after the Lord's paschal mystery, John Paul remarks: "For Mary, receiving the Eucharist must have somehow meant welcoming once more into her womb that heart which had beat in unison with hers and reliving what she had experienced at the foot of the Cross" ("Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 56). "Mutatis mutandis," we are also brought to the foot of the Cross in holy Communion, where we are united not only with the Lord, but also with the "stabat Mater dolorosa."

...Mary is, indeed, the help of Christians, leading them to Jesus and the Eucharist. Devotion to Our Lady is always together with devotion to Our Lord, especially in the Eucharist, as the Church sings: "Ave verum corpus natum de Maria Virgine ..."
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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 20, 2005 - Don't Confuse True and False Religion, Says Cardinal

LONDON, NOV. 20, 2005 (ZENIT.org).- The archbishop of Westminster has called for a new basis of coexistence in British society based on authentic religious values.

In an article for the Nov. 14 issue of the parliamentary weekly, The House, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor distinguishes between true and false religion in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks worldwide.

"It has become fashionable to talk as if religion was the source of all that is amiss in our world, to see it as bringing nothing but violence and hatred and conflict," he writes.

The cardinal makes a distinction between "twisted religion ... used to justify hatred and violence," and "true religion" that "points us towards healing and wholeness, towards whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious."

He says a new basis for belonging needs to be forged which starts from what true religion holds in common. "More religion of the true sort means human beings becoming closer to God, and therefore to each other," he writes.

The cardinal also states that religious leaders "must have the courage to draw sharp dividing lines between true religion and the perverse mockery of it."

"We must find ways, in Britain and across the world, of demonstrating that when religion is linked to violence, violence is done to religion," he writes.

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Article: Israel and the Last Days

November 27, 2005 - Sharon Plans Massive Withdrawals

Middle East Newsline (MENL) reports in the name of "political sources" that Sharon has begun briefing senior U.S. officials of his intention to withdraw unilaterally from more than 95% of Judea and Samaria. Sharon is hoping to be elected Prime Minister for a third time - this time not in the Likud, however, but as head of his new Kadima Party.

One of the most valuable "acquisitions" of the Kadima Party, MK Chaim Ramon, formerly of Labor, said openly last week that Sharon will unilaterally

withdraw to final borders in Judea and Samaria if Palestinian terror continues. IMRA reported that Ramon said this on a live interview on Channel 10's "London and Kirschenbaum" news program just hours after he announced his decision to join Sharon's Kadima.

Ramon explained that Sharon will keep his plans secret until the elections because he wants to give the Road Map a chance.
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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting with Roman Catholics

November 25, 2005 - Catholic church hosts interfaith Thanksgiving service

Daytona, Nov. 25, 2005 (CNA) - Buddhists, Baptists, Jews and Unitarians joined Catholics at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach Monday at the fifth annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

More than 400 people attended, of all ages and ethnicities and representing 21 different religious groups, prayed and gave thanks.

..."It is important that we build bridges, not walls," Catholic pastor Fr. Philip Egitto told the Orlando Sentinel. "We have to look at what we have in common rather than our differences."

Rabbi Gary Perras of Temple Israel in Daytona Beach told participants that he hoped there would come a day in the future when "regardless of creed, we would all see each other as family."
 

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 28, 2005 - Pontiff Tells Young Dutch How to Know Christ Through Prayer, Eucharist and Sacrament of Reconciliation

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In a message for the first Youth Day held in the Netherlands, Benedict XVI explains to young people how they can come to know Christ.
"Jesus is your authentic friend and Lord," the Pope said in the message...

Above all, he recommended prayer. "If you do not know how to pray, ask him [Jesus] to teach you and ask his heavenly Mother to pray with and for you," the Pope said. "The prayer of the rosary can help you to learn the art of prayer with the simplicity and depth of Mary."...

Second, the Bishop of Rome invited young people to discover Jesus in the Eucharist, the sacrament of his real presence, where "he knocks on the door of your heart to give you his grace."

"Go out to meet him in the holy Eucharist, worship him in the churches and remain kneeling before the tabernacle," the Holy Father exhorted. "Jesus will fill you with his love and will manifest the thoughts of his heart to you."

Third, Benedict XVI mentioned the sacrament of reconciliation as the place where "Jesus waits for you to forgive your sins and reconcile you with his love through the priest's ministry."
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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 28, 2005 - Pope's Advent message: God calls us to communion which is fully realized in Christ's return

Vatican City, Nov. 28, 2005 (CNA) - On Saturday evening in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Benedict XVI marked the first day of this year's Advent season with a challenge, and a call to Christians to accept the communion offered by God in the coming of Christ...

The Pope concluded his homily calling on "Mary Most Holy, the faithful Virgin," to help him and all the faithful "to make this period of Advent, and the whole of the new liturgical year, a journey of true sanctification, to the praise and glory of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 25, 2005 - Vittorio Messori and "The Mary Hypothesis"

ROME, NOV. 25, 2005 (Zenit.org).- One of the most popular Catholic writers is back in bookstores with "The Mary Hypothesis," published in Italy by Ares.
... In this interview with ZENIT, Messori discusses the meaning of his most recent work, in which he reflects on the "depth of mystery" that the Virgin Mary represents.

... In any event, there are two challenges that I have tried to address in these more than 500 pages.

First, to show that it is possible to be devoted to Mary without falling into a certain rhetoric. Also, to show that to make room for the Virgin is not the hobby of sentimental or ignorant believers, but a need of every believer which cannot be ignored.

Everything that the Church has said and says about the Mother is, in fact, at the service of Christ, in defense of his humanity and at the same time of his divinity.

Mariology is, in fact, Christology. Her dogmas are but the confirmation and bulwark of her Son's. Whenever Mary has been neglected, sooner or later Christ has also disappeared.
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Article: One World Religion

November 23, 2005 - Dalai Lama urges Christians not to convert to Buddhism

The Dalai Lama has said that Western Christians and Muslims should embrace the teachings of compassion and peace that can be found in their own religious traditions, rather than convert to Buddhism.

The controversial words were spoken by the spiritual leader of Tibet and the leader of the Tibetan Government in Exile at a conference entitled "Ethics for a New Millennium" in Edinburgh, Scotland last weekend.

Instead, the Dalai Lama urged Western Christians and Muslims embrace the teachings of compassion and peace that can be found in their own religious traditions.
"All major religions carry the same messages. Messages of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment and self-discipline. I have Muslim friends, Christian friends. All have these same values."

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 30, 2005 - Limbo consigned to history books

THE Pope is set to abolish the concept of Limbo, overturning a belief held by Roman Catholics since the Middle Ages.

Limbo has long been held to be the place where the souls of children go if they die before they can be baptised. However, a 30-strong international commission of theologians summoned by the late John Paul II last year to come up with a "more coherent and illuminating" doctrine in tune with the modern age is to present its findings to Pope Benedict XVI on Friday.

Vatican sources said yesterday that the commission would recommend that Limbo be replaced by the more "compassionate" doctrine that all children who die do so "in the hope of eternal salvation".

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Article: Signs of the Times

November 30, 2005 - "Mini Ice Age" May Be Coming Soon, Sea Study Warns

James Owen
for National Geographic News

Chilling new evidence from the Atlantic Ocean is raising fears that western Europe could soon be gripped by a mini ice age.

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

November 30, 2005 - Nonbelievers Too Can Be Saved, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope made this affirmation today at the general audience, commenting on a meditation written by St. Augustine (354-430).

...Augustine "knows that also among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the Eternal City to which we aspire," Benedict XVI stated.

"They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption," explained the Pope, quoting Augustine.
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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting with Roman Catholics

November 30, 2005 - Muslim Says Turks Esteem Benedict XVI

ROME, DEC. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will be "more than welcome" in Turkey, says a Turkish professor of the history of Islam.

Nahide Bozkurt, who is in Rome as a guest professor at the Institute of Cultures and Religions of the Gregorian University, explained that for many Turkish Muslims, the Pope is "a spiritual man, holy..."

"Many people believe in the Pope; he has spiritual power," Bozkurt told ZENIT. "If he comes to Turkey, he will be much appreciated."

Bozkurt is the first woman to teach the history of Islam in a school of theology in Turkey. In Rome, she is professor of Islam among Christian students.

"I feel as if I were at home in Rome, I don't have any feelings whatsoever of being abroad, I am treated with great familiarity," she said, explaining her teaching experience in a pontifical university.

"The students, all of them Christians," added this professor of Ankara's School of Theology, "are very eager and have great capacity to learn, and no prejudices about Islam, and this makes me happy."

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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting with Roman Catholics

November 30, 2005 - Peace Requires Christian-Muslim Dialogue, Says Pope
 

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The future of peace calls for dialogue between believers of the different religions, especially between Christians and Muslims, says Benedict XVI...

The Holy Father presented to the new ambassador the example of Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858-1916), who went to live in the Algerian desert to "become close to all, as a 'universal brother.'"

"The Church hopes to continue an open and sincere dialogue with believers of other religions, in search of the authentic good of man and society," said Benedict XVI.

"The meeting in truth between believers of different religions is an imperative challenge for the future of peace in the world, and this calls for much perseverance," he contended.

"To surmount the reciprocal ignorance and prejudices," the Holy Father added, "it is important to create bonds of trust between persons, sharing in particular daily life and work in common, so that the free expression of different confessions is not a reason for mutual exclusion, but rather an occasion to learn to live, each one respecting the other's identity."
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Article: Signs of the Times

December 2, 2005 - Russia equips Iran for war

WASHINGTON - Russia has signed a deal with Iran to sell 29 of its Tor M-1 anti-missile systems, a development that will complicate any planned pre-emptive attack on the rogue nation's nuclear facilities, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

The system would theoretically permit Iran to intercept some cruise missiles as well as airborne missiles that U.S., Israeli or other western countries might use in an effort to keep the terrorist-supporting nation from developing nuclear weapons or using them.

The sale was confirmed by a source at the Koupol military factory in Russia who claimed the deal would not violate any international agreement. That's because Moscow made a secret 1995 agreement with Washington known as the Gore-Chernomyrdin protocol, which Russian officials believes permits continued military sales to Iran.

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Article: Signs of the Times

November 26, 2005 - Active Hurricane Era Likely To Continue

Nov. 29, 2005 - The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season is the busiest on record and extends the active hurricane cycle that began in 1995 - a trend likely to continue for years to come. The season included 26 named storms, including 13 hurricanes in which seven were major (Category 3 or higher).

"This hurricane season shattered records that have stood for decades; most named storms, most hurricanes and most category five storms. Arguably, it was the most devastating hurricane season the country has experienced in modern times", said retired Navy Vice Adm.

With six months until the official start of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA urges hurricane-prone residents to take proactive measures during this time. "The battle against the hurricane season is won during the off season. Winter and spring is the time to conduct hurricane preparations, such as stocking supplies, assembling a safety kit that includes a NOAA Weather Radio and preparing an evacuation plan," said Max Mayfield, director of the NOAA National Hurricane Center.
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Article: Signs of the Times

December 1, 2005 - Alarm over dramatic weakening of Gulf Stream

The powerful ocean current that bathes Britain and northern Europe in warm waters from the tropics has weakened dramatically in recent years, a consequence of global warming that could trigger more severe winters and cooler summers across the region, scientists warn today.

Researchers on a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean measured the strength of the current between Africa and the east coast of America and found that the circulation has slowed by 30% since a previous expedition 12 years ago.

The current, which drives the Gulf Stream, delivers the equivalent of 1m power stations-worth of energy to northern Europe, propping up temperatures by 10C in some regions. The researchers found that the circulation has weakened by 6m tonnes of water a second. Previous expeditions to check the current flow in 1957, 1981 and 1992 found only minor changes in its strength, although a slowing was picked up in a further expedition in 1998. The decline prompted the scientists to set up a 4.8m network of moored instruments in the Atlantic to monitor changes in the current continuously.

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Article: Israel and the Last Days

November 3, 2005 - Pope, Abbas Discuss Mideast Peace Process

 
Pope Benedict XVI discussed the Middle East peace process Saturday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who invited the pontiff to visit the Holy Land.

"You will be very welcome in Jerusalem and all the holy places," Abbas, speaking English, told the pope after their private 20-minute meeting in Benedict's library.

"Thank you very much," the pope replied.

Abbas later told journalists that Benedict "responded positively" to his invitation but indicated no date for a visit. Last month, Israeli President Moshe Katsav invited Benedict to Israel and said he hoped the pope would visit next year.
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