October 2 - 8, 2006 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 1, Issue 60
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The Weekly News In Review Newsletter is a compilation of the news articles that have appeared on the Understand The Times website during the previous week.

 October 2, 2006 - Teacher inspires artist's rosary
 Article: Ecumenical Movement - Protestants Uniting with Roman Catholics

By Douglas B. Brill

The Express-Times

WASHINGTON TWP. | First- grade teacher Kate Burchfield, married with three daughters, said she was living a normal life in Midland, Ga., when Jesus called her to unite Christians.

This was in 1996, a year after, Burchfield said, he had cured her daughter's heart disease, eased the pain of her mother-in-law's ovarian cancer, lifted the terminal illness of a fellow churchgoer and relieved Burchfield of severe headaches.

Burchfield, a Protestant turned Catholic, designed a cross from an image she said Jesus gave to her: Jesus surrounded by symbols of religious unity, arms open, standing before a glow emblematic of the Holy Father. She said Jesus told her to bring the image to the pope to unite Protestants and Catholics.

"I literally heard Jesus speak," Burchfield said. "I started having these mystical experiences and Jesus was talking to me. He said he would use this cross to bridge Protestants and Catholics. I said, 'well, how do I do this?'"

Read More ... 

 October 2, 2006 - Religions Unite Over Global Warming
 Article: One World Religion

4,000 Congregations Across The Country To View Hard-Hitting Documentaries

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Faith leaders across the country have joined together to mobilize a religious response to global warming. During the first week of October, in churches, mosques, synagogues and halls of worship across the nation, congregations are participating in an unprecedented inter-religious screening and discussion of educational films about global warming, featuring Paramount's An Inconvenient Truth, HBO's Too Hot Not to Handle and the independent documentary Lighten Up.

The event, called "Spotlight on Global Warming" is being organized by Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) a nationwide movement to engage people of faith in the urgency to address global warming.

"Global warming is harming God's creation: first the poor of the world and eventually all of us and all life," said the Reverend Sally G. Bangham, founder of IPL and an Episcopal priest at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, CA.

From Dallas, Texas to Brunswick, Maine faith leaders are gathering hundreds of thousands of their followers to view the films. In every state, they have compelling stories to tell about the power of the religious response to global warming and the potential for change through the work of congregations and congregants. Here are some of their stories:

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 October 3, 2006 - Outcry as clergy say calling God 'He' or 'Lord' encourages wife-beating
 Article: Apostasy

Church of England leaders warned yesterday that calling God 'He' encourages men to beat their wives.

They told churchgoers they must think twice before they refer to God as 'He' or 'Lord' because of the dangers that it will lead to domestic abuse.

In new guidelines for bishops and priests on such abuse, they blamed "uncritical use of masculine imagery" for encouraging men to behave violently towards women.

They also warned that clergy must reconsider the language they use in sermons and check the hymns they sing to remove signs of male oppression.

The recommendation - fully endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams - puts a question mark over huge swathes of Christian teaching and practice.

It throws doubt on whether the principal Christian prayer should continue to be known as the Lord's Prayer and begin 'Our Father'

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 October 5, 2006 - Scientists to create 'frankenbunny' in big research leap
 Article: Cloning and Genetic Engineering

Scientists are planning to create a "frankenrabbit" by fusing together human cells with a rabbit egg.

It is hoped the "chimeric" embryos, which would be 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent rabbit, could lead to breakthroughs in stem cell research which could one day cure diseases such as Alzheimer's or spinal cord injury.

The embryos will allow scientists to perfect stem cell creation techniques without using human eggs.

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 October 5, 2006 - Pope abolishes Limbo
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

Pope Benedict XVI, after deliberation by Vatican theologians, is abolishing the concept of Limbo that put the souls of unbaptized infants at risk.
While it was never a formal part of the church's doctrine, the existence of Limbo was taught until recently to Catholics around the world, The Times of London said. Limbo was described in Britain as "a place of rest where the souls of the just who died before Christ were detained."

This week an international commission of theologians began its final deliberations on the concept of Limbo. Vatican sources told the newspaper it had concluded that all children who die do so in the expectation of "the universal salvation of God" and the "mediation of Christ", whether baptized or not.

A Times source said the theologians' finding basically says "that all children who die go to Heaven."

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 October 5, 2006 - Poll: Pentecostals widening influence
 Article: Experienced-Based Christianity

A new 10-nation survey of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, considered the fastest- growing stream of Christianity worldwide, shows they are deeply influencing the Roman Catholic and mainstream Protestant churches and are poised to make a big impact on global affairs.

The poll released Thursday by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that "spirit- filled" Christians, who speak in tongues and believe in healing through prayer, comprise at least 10 percent of the population in nine of the 10 surveyed countries.

The study also found that followers are more willing than previously thought to bring their traditional values into public debates, potentially shaping government policies in the years ahead.

Note from UTT: Based upon this recent survey, expect to see a more concerted effort by Rome to move towards a stronger ecumenical unity with Protestant Charismatics. "Charisma" magazine called Pope John Paul the "Vicar of the Holy Spirit." Many Catholics are saying that a "Second Pentecost" is about to be poured out that will establish the "Kingdom of God" here on earth. The Roman Catholics are looking for the "Eucharistic Reign of Jesus" following the pouring out of this "spirit."

Read More ... 

 October 8, 2006 - Woman joins small club of "consecrated virgins"
 Article: Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days

EAST AURORA, N.Y. - She stood at the altar in a white gown and veil, but she was there for no earthly man. Lori Rose Cannizzaro was dedicating her virginity to Jesus.

Saturday's rare Catholic ceremony, one her own pastor didn't know existed, turned the 42-year-old into a "consecrated virgin." Fewer than 200 women in the United States and 2,000 worldwide have declared their perpetual virginity this way, according to U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins.

The rite is available only to virgins, who agree to abstain from sex so they can dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ in what the association describes as a mystical marriage and a profound spiritual blessing. Each woman wears a band on her left ring finger as a symbol, much like a wedding band.

The idea of consecrated virgins faded in the Middle Ages, but Pope Paul VI restored the rite in 1970. Only a bishop can perform the special Mass. Bishop Edward Kmiec led Cannizzaro's ceremony at her home parish, Immaculate Conception.

Note from UTT: The idea of a "consecrated virgin" and a "mystical marriage" of a woman to Jesus is not found in the Bible. It is interesting to note that marriage between humans and the "gods" was a common belief in the past among those who were involved in pagan worship. (See the "Marriage of the gods" - http://www.bartelby.com/196/22.html)

Read More .... 

 October 6, 2006 - U.N. to slap North Korea over nuclear test plan
 Article: Wars and Rumors of Wars

By Chisa Fujioka

TOKYO (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council reached broad agreement on a statement warning North Korea against a nuclear test, but Washington backed off earlier language directed at Pyongyang, saying it was not threatening "lethal" action.

U.S. officials said the reclusive communist state could conduct a nuclear test within days, but Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso said there was no telling when it might come and Japan did not sense that tension was mounting.

"Unlike a rocket, we can't see it, so there is nothing we can say," he told reporters in Tokyo.

The U.N. text -- which was sent to governments for possible changes before further discussions on Friday -- urges Pyongyang to cancel its planned test and return immediately to six- country talks aimed at persuading it to abandon nuclear arms.

It also warns that a nuclear test, which Pyongyang vowed on Tuesday to carry out, would lead to unspecified consequences.

Read More .... 

 October 6, 2006 - W.House urges North Korea not test nuclear weapon
 Article: Wars and Rumors of Wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday that North Korea should not test a nuclear weapon, amid speculation Pyongyang might detonate a device as early as this weekend.

White House spokesman Dana Perino had no new information to disclose about whether a nuclear test was being planned but said: "Our position has been very clear, that we don't believe North Korea should test a nuclear weapon and we have made that clear to them in public statements and in private statements as well."

Perino said the United States was working with its allies in past talks with North Korea -- Japan, South Korea, China and Russia -- "to use our influence and their influence to stress how important it is that North Korea not test a nuclear weapon."

She said such a test would be "destabilizing to the region" and reiterated that Bush and other leaders had said it would be unacceptable.

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 October 6, 2006 - Big powers to approve Iran sanctions steps: U.S.
 Article: Wars and Rumors of Wars

By Arshad Mohammed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - World powers meeting in London on Friday are likely to agree on the principle of imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program but not to approve specific language, a U.S. official said.

"What we would expect to come from this meeting is the political decision to move to the next step of diplomacy, which is a sanctions resolution," said the Bush administration official, who was traveling in Iraq with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the foreign ministers would likely ask their political directors to spend the next several days hammering out specific language on sanctions.

"I expect activities to intensify in New York and in capitals," he said.

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 October 8, 2006 - Iran refuses to suspend atomic work
 Article: Wars and Rumors of Wars

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran insisted on Sunday that it would not suspend its sensitive atomic work after world powers met to discuss sanctions against Tehran.

"We believe that suspension is totally rejected and is unacceptable" Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

Some media reports had suggested that Iran would be ready to suspend such activities for 90 days, but he added: "It has never been part of our policy and it will not be part of it."

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 October 6, 2006 - 'Unclean' guide dog banned by Muslim cab driver
 Article: Islam

A Muslim minicab driver refused to take a blind passenger because her guide dog was "unclean".

Abdul Rasheed Majekodumni told Jane Vernon she could not get into his car with the dog because of his religion.

Islamic tradition warns Muslims against contact with dogs because they are seen as impure.

Today Mrs Vernon, 39, from Hammersmith, said: "This experience was very upsetting.

"I was tired and cold and just wanted to get home but this driver made me feel like I was a second-class citizen, like I didn't count at all."

Mrs Vernon, who works as a legal officer for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, added: "The owner of the minicab firm, Niven Sinclair, was also very insensitive, telling me that what had happened to me wasn't really very important, and I should have more respect for other people's culture.

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We hope the Weekly News In Review has been a blessing to you.

In Jesus,
Roger Oakland

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