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Weekly News In Review

February 26 - March 4, 2006

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The following articles were posted at this past week:

Bob Larson Joins Hands With Vatican
Muslim Preacher on Temple Mount: Restore Worldwide Islamic Rule
40,000 pilgrims flock to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine
Holy Father drops traditional papal title in effort to show universality of papacy
Archbishop Cordes decries lack of apostolic spirit in certain ecclesial institutions
Metropolitan Community Churches and GLSEN Partnerto Bring Educator Trainings to Cities Across the U.S.
Mysterious Orbs Of Light At North Texas Church
Evidence of Children's UFO and Extraterrestrial Encounters to be Presented at a United Nations Affiliated Conference in Montreal
Church hopes lattes attract new members
Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott
Hamas Leaders Arrive in Russia
Church denies Communion to autistic boy
Muslim TV preacher reaches out to youth
Pontiff Meets With President of Italian Senate
WCC assembly demonstrates 'spirit of antichrist,' prof says

Article: Ecumenical Movement - Protestants Uniting With Roman Catholics

December 28, 2005 - Bob Larson Joins Hands With Vatican

If you haven't been tracing my steps for the past couple of weeks, let me bring you up to date. The priest who embraced me was Father Gabriele Amorth, the foremost exorcist in the Catholic church. I had been asked to come to the Vatican in Rome to meet Father Amorth, who has appeared with me in several documentaries, including the recent special on A&E. We were also permitted to bring video cameras to record this historic meeting for inclusion in a documentary we're producing.

Father Amorth is well-respected all over the world as the primary Catholic priest to consult when questions about exorcism arise. He is the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists and heads up a Vatican training school for potential exorcists. He is a fearless man of God who has bravely taken on the forces of darkness. This meeting opened the door to building bridges with the one billion-strong Catholic community. I believe in the Last Days before the return of Jesus Christ that all those who believe in spiritual warfare need to join together as a worldwide spiritual army, regardless of our theological differences. That's why this breakthrough was such an answer to prayer.

I have always expressed my appreciation for the way the Catholic Church has maintained the tradition of exorcism. Even the late Pope John Paul II performed at least three known exorcisms, one in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. While many Protestants have shied away from embracing deliverance through exorcism, Catholics have kept the practice alive.

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Article: Israel and the Last Days

February 26, 2006 - Muslim Preacher on Temple Mount: Restore Worldwide Islamic Rule

Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, preaching to Moslem masses on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, has brought it out into the open: the call to restore the Moslem Khalifate, or, "Genuine Islamic Rule."

A plan for the "Return of the Khalifate" was published secretly in 2002 by a group called "The Guiding Helper Foundation." The group explained that it wished to "give direction to the educated Muslim populace in its increasing interest in the establishment of Islam as a practical system of rule."

This past Friday, Feb. 24, however, the plan went public. Sheikh Nawahda called publicly for the renewal of the Islamic Khalifate, which would "unite all the Moslems in the world against the infidels."
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Article: Ecumenical Movement

March 4, 2006 - 40,000 pilgrims flock to Our Lady of Lourdes shrine

More than 40,000 people coming from 13 dioceses in Myanmar gathered in Nyaunglebin, 145 km north of Yangon, to mark the 104th anniversary of a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Present for the three-day celebrations, from 17 to 19 February, were the Archbishops Charles Bo of Yangon and Paul Grawng of Mandalay, Bishop Raymond Saw Po Ray of Mawlamyine and retired Bishop Joseph Mahn Eri of Pathein. They were joined by more than 50 priests and members of religious orders.

The programme of celebrations included daily Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession, meditation and hymns to the Blessed Mother. This feast was marked for the first time here in Nyaunglebin, Bago division, in 1902.

During Mass on the evening of 18 February, Archbishop Bo told the congregation that all religions teach compassion, forgiveness and peace, and not one promotes revenge or violence. "The Buddhist concept of love has the capacity to extend not only from humans to animals but also to all of nature, which is known as 'metta.'" He cited Hindu and Islamic teachings about love, compassion and peace, mentioning Krishna and the Prophet Mohammed.

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

March 2, 2006 - Holy Father drops traditional papal title in effort to show universality of papacy

VATICAN CITY, March 2 (CNA) - Pope Benedict XVI has chosen to drop the traditional papal title, "Patriarch of the West" reportedly, in hopes of furthering ecumenical conversations with Christian Orthodox Churches of the east.

Likewise, John Paul II also is said to have considered dropping the title in favor of a more universal view of the papacy.

Watchers say that Pope Benedict wants to eliminate any implication that the Catholic Church is Church "of the west" and thus separate from other cultures and traditions-particularly in the east.

The other 8 titles contained in the Annuario include; "Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God."
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Article: Ecumenical Movement

March 2, 2006 - Archbishop Cordes decries lack of apostolic spirit in certain ecclesial institutions

DÜSSELDORF, March 2 (CNA) - Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, said this week certain ecclesial institutions north of the Alps need to rid themselves of institutionalism and adopt a greater apostolic spirit and joy in the faith.

According to the news agency, the German archbishop told the Rheinischen Post that "probably in our time, the people of the Church north of the Alps show little willingness to change or to learn, and they are too attached to maintaining institutions."

"Structures are certainly necessary," said Archbishop Cordes, "but they need a greater apostolic spirit and joy in the faith that other ecclesial associations in Germany possess, and therefore they should be more well known." He cited the examples of ecclesial movements such as Schönstatt, Communion and Liberation, and others. These movements, he said, "attract thousands of people to the faith each year, despite the reigning secularism."

The archbishop also invited German Catholics to be open to new pastoral models and ways of evangelizing from other parts of the world. "Globalization can be a positive occasion for the faith," he said.

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Article: Perilous Times

March 3, 2006 - Metropolitan Community Churches and GLSEN Partner to Bring Educator Trainings to Cities Across the U.S.

New York, NY - The Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), announced its partnership today with Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC) to bring GLSEN's Training of Trainers program to cities across the United States. The Training of Trainers (TOT) program gives allies in education a more in-depth understanding of how to address anti-gay bias in their schools and to make them safer for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

"The Training of Trainers program is a tremendous resource developed to provide hands-on training experiences for educators and our allies in education," said GLSEN's Founder and Executive Director Kevin Jennings. "We are delighted to bring this training to cities throughout the U.S. and excited by the tremendous response from educators and youth service providers."

"We know that teachers, counselors and administrators often do not intervene in incidences of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender name-calling and harassment," said MCC's Executive Director Dr. Cindi Love. "Sometimes educators simply do not know what to do; through these trainings we want to encourage, enlighten and empower them to make change."

Rev. Pat Bumgardner, who initiated the MCC and GLSEN partnership, added, "One of the most vital things any faith community can do is to bring GLSEN's Training of Trainers workshop to their area. It will make our schools safer; educators desperately need the information this workshop provides." Bumgardner's congregation, which provides services to gay youth in NYC, is co-host of the NYC launch event.

GLSEN, or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for ALL students. Established nationally in 1995, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
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Article: Signs and Wonders

February 27, 2006 - Mysterious Orbs Of Light At North Texas Church

KTTV CBS 11 Dallas-Fort Worth - by Maria Arita - February 27, 2006 - HALTOM CITY In the world of the paranormal, experts say there are many phenomena that can occur involving light. But one North Texas church has reported not only the appearance of orbs, but other religious manifestations.

Riverwalk Fellowship Church is a charismatic church in Haltom City. The services aren't exactly traditional and neither are some of the reported phenomena happening there lately.
The church's senior pastor Steve Solomon, a Messianic Jew (a Jew who believes Jesus is his/her messiah) has reported, among other things, an oil substance manifesting on the balcony and on the baptismal and the pulpit of the sanctuary.

One thing that intrigued all the experts was a video shot by a 13-year-old boy at this church. According to the pastor, the teenager was visiting the church and was videotaping the service. The pastor says the power went out during the service, but despite the darkness in the sanctuary, they kept going. Later, when they replayed the boy's videotape, they saw an orb of light moving through a church member. Pastor Solomon said, "starts at her feet and goes right through her body out her head."

Pastor Solomon pointed to the orbs of light depicted in very old paintings behind Jesus and the Saints and said, "how did they know to do that; where did that come from?" Solomon added, "I believe it's a sign from the Lord. There's nothing wrong with supernatural signs."

(See entire article for VIDEO footage of actual orb)

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Article: Rising Interest in the Supernatural

February 22, 2006 - Evidence of Children's UFO and Extraterrestrial Encounters to be Presented at a United Nations Affiliated Conference in Montreal

PR NEWSWIRE - A former registered nurse who has worked with hundreds of clients, including many children, will be revealing evidence of their encounters with extraterrestrial beings at an upcoming conference in Montreal, Canada.

After a decade of research as a professional counselor and clinical hypnotherapist, Australia's Mary Rodwell says that there is now enough evidence to conclude that these "beings" appear to come from other planets and other dimensions parallel to our own.

The IIIHS is a non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. It serves over 10,000 general members and students from many nations towards the convergence of new sciences with spirituality and universal human values, creating inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding for world peace.

"My clients include both adults and children who exhibit transformative changes such as telepathy, clairvoyance and healing as they become more spiritually aware and begin to operate on a multi-dimensional band of reality", says Rodwell. "In the last 10 years, clients have come to me from the U.K, North America, Europe, Russia, Japan and South America".

Rodwell also explains that part of her client's contact experiences seems to inspire them to draw complex artwork, scripts, symbols and sometimes speaking strange languages.

"An eight year old has called her downloading of information 'knowledge bombs', as complex data conveyed through mental images and concepts seem to create a heightened consciousness level", says Rodwell. "These 'Star Children' exhibit a maturity and wisdom beyond their years and often describe their connection to spirit and angelic realms".

This former registered nurse is not the only one to have noticed a change with today's children. A May 2005 USA Today article quotes James Twyman, producer of films on "Indigo Children", as saying that a new generation of special children are among us who have increased telepathic abilities and are spiritually awakened.

The name "Indigo Children" comes from a blue indigo colored aura that some people say they can see around these children, as per a January 2006 New York Times article.

ABC News' Diane Sawyers has also explored the issue of these extraordinary children in a November 2005 interview with an entire family of "Indigo Children". Sawyers said that this phenomenon was "fascinating" and was "across the country".

Rodwell explains that while many "Star Children" and "Indigo Children" have telepathic abilities, are spiritually awakened and often describe seeing "Beings of Light" (angels), the main difference is that "Star Children" have recollections of having had encounters with extraterrestrial beings and of sometimes having been on alien spaceships.

Rodwell is not alone with her views as a growing number of professionals in the medical community share her conclusions and have spoken publicly...
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Article: Social Gospel

February 27, 2006 - Church hopes lattes attract new members

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL - February 27, 2006 - An Austin Baptist church is hoping to attract a younger crowd to church by turning its library into a cafe and gallery.

The Rev. Charles Whitmire told the aging congregaton at Crestview Baptist Church in North Austin that serving espresso and mocha latte was a good way to increase sagging attendance, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Whitmire said the church has about 300 members, whose average age is 70. Fifteen to 20 years ago, the church had 600 to 700 members, he told the newspaper.

The church bought an espresso machine, grinders, a smoothie machine and other coffee-related equipment for about $4,000. Whitmire and six other people trained with Texas Coffee Traders to learn how to brew up mochas, lattes and other coffee drinks.

The Connexion Cafe & Gallery opened Feb. 17. Whitmire said about 60 people came on opening night.

The cafe, which is staffed by church volunteers, isn't currently charging for coffee but accepts donations, the newspaper said.


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Article: Israel and the Last Days

February 28, 2006 - Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

THE JERUSALEM POST - by MICHAEL FREUND - February 28, 2006 - The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
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Article: Wars and Rumors of Wars

March 03, 2006 - Hamas Leaders Arrive in Russia - By Hillel Fendel

Arriving in Moscow Friday morning, one Hamas leader says his terror group will continue to refuse to recognize Israel. Russia's invitation was a crack in the wall of int'l opposition to Hamas.

Hamas is hoping two objectives during this trip - one of which it can already chalk up as "done." The very act of the invitation by Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) gave Hamas - a terrorist organization shunned by Western democracies - the beginnings of the international legitimacy it sought. Following the Russian invitation, French and Turkish leaders also made conciliatory statements towards Hamas

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

March 4, 2006 - Church denies Communion to autistic boy

The Catholic Church has told the parents of a 10-year-old autistic boy that, because the child cannot consume the host, he is not receiving Communion properly. Until he does, church officials say, he cannot partake of the church's most meaningful sacrament.

According to a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, delivered to the Lake Havasu City family on Feb. 12, the boy cannot accept Communion in the Catholic Church until he can "actually receive the Eucharist, actually take and eat."

Because of his condition, Matthew Moran cannot swallow foods with certain textures. So Matthew, who received his First Communion nearly three years ago in Pennsylvania, participates in Communion in an unusual way. As his father watches, the boy takes the Communion wafer and places it in his mouth. His father, Nick Moran, then removes it and consumes the host himself. Otherwise, Matthew would spit it out, his father says.
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Article: Islam

February 26, 2006 - Muslim TV preacher reaches out to youth

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - by Lindsay Wise, Chronicle Foreign Service - February 26, 2006 - Cairo -- As he leaves a press conference in Egypt's swanky Intercontinental Hotel, the wildly popular Muslim preacher Amr Khaled is mobbed by a crush of admirers waving, giggling and snapping his picture with their cell phones and digital cameras. Unruffled and gracious, the 38-year-old Egyptian grasps hands and kisses cheeks like a movie star.

"I'm honored," he murmurs. "Bless you, thank you."

"He's so cultured and eloquent," says Egyptian university student Aya Mahmoud Samy, 18, as she gazes after him. "He speaks right to your heart and makes religion so easy to understand."

"Everyone loves him," adds her 25-year-old sister Mona, an interior designer. "It's because he's moderate and his style is very modern."

A charismatic charmer who moves his audiences to tears with stories about the life of the prophet Muhammad and God's merciful love, the young "tele-Islamist" with an engaging smile, smart mustache, chic suits and open-collar shirts markets a trendy, self-help Islam that has more in common with the likes of Dr. Phil or Billy Graham than Osama bin Laden.

Although Khaled is a lay preacher and not a religious scholar, he uses his television shows -- broadcast on Iqra, a Saudi-owned religious satellite channel -- to speak out against terrorism and despair. He emphasizes instead the importance of personal piety, political reform, social activism and coexistence with the West. His sermons promote charity work and job creation as a means of fighting extremism and despair among Arab and Muslim youth.

...Khaled's latest proposal is a conference to promote Muslim-Western understanding and tolerance. He wants to hold the event in Denmark, where cartoons lampooning Muhammad were published, igniting furious protests across the globe. He plans to follow up with a series of round-table discussions between Western and Arab youth across Europe and hopes to visit the United States for the first time this summer.

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Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

March 5, 2006 - Pontiff Meets With President of Italian Senate

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 5, 2006 ( Benedict XVI met with the philosopher Marcello Pera, president of the Italian Senate, to discuss cultural challenges.

Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed Saturday's meeting, adding that during the audience there were discussions on "some aspects of present-day culture, in the context of the present international situation."

Pera and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope) co-authored "Senza Radici. Europa, Relativismo, Cristianesimo, Islam" (Without Roots: Europe, Relativism, Christianity, Islam).

Although Pera is a nonbeliever, he has said that he shares Benedict XVI's concern for cultural relativism, which denies the value of objective truths. According to Pera, relativism explains the loss or rejection of Christian roots which have been decisive in the development of European and Western civilization.
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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

February 28, 2006 - WCC assembly demonstrates 'spirit of antichrist,' prof says

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (BP)--Recognizing the Holy Spirit in other religions, tolerating "homosexual marriage" and denouncing the U.S. war on terror were among the views advocated at the 9th World Council of Churches Assembly Feb. 14-23 in Porto
Alegre, Brazil.

...In its pursuit of unity, the WCC has advanced an agenda that includes opposing wars and weapons systems, criticizing free markets, promoting a worldwide redistribution of wealth and seeking common ground with non-Christian religions.

"Regenerate believers across the world, whatever their denomination or communion, recognize the spirit of the World Council for what it is: the spirit of antichrist," Moore said. "The only differences between the WCC of today and the WCC of the mid-twentieth century are first one of degree and second one of relevance. No one listens to the World Council of Church anymore, and for that we should be thankful to God."


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