December 4 - December 10, 2006 
 Weekly News In Review
 Vol 1, Issue 64
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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.

 December 1, 2006 - Meteorite yields life origin clue
 Article: Creation/Evolution Misc.

Hollow spheres found in a primordial meteorite could yield clues to the origin of life on Earth.
Scientists say that "bubbles" like those in the Tagish Lake meteorite may have helped along chemical processes important for the emergence of life.

The globules could also be older than our Solar System - their chemistry suggests they formed at about -260C, near "absolute zero". 

...These hollow spheres could have provided a protective envelope for the raw organic molecules needed for life.   

...Mike Zolensky, a Nasa mineralogist, commented: "If, as we suspect, this type of meteorite has been falling on to Earth throughout its entire history, then the Earth was seeded with these organic globules at the same time life was first forming here."

Read More ... 

 December 4 - 'The Nativity Story' Movie Problematic for Catholics
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

A review of New Line Cinema's The Nativity story by Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger of the Franciscans of the Immaculate in the United States, points out that the film, which opened December 1, misinterprets scripture from  a Catholic perspective. 

While Fr.Geiger admits that he found the film is "in general, to be a pious and reverential presentation of the Christmas mystery." He adds however, that "not only does the movie get the Virgin Birth wrong, it thoroughly Protestantizes its portrayal of Our Lady."

In Isaiah 7:14 the Bible predicts the coming of the Messiah saying: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel."  Fr. Geiger, in an video blog post, explains that the Catholic Church has taught for over 2000 years that the referenced Scripture showed that Mary would not only conceive the child miraculously, but would give birth to the child miraculously - keeping her physical virginity intact during the birth.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church at no. 499 teaches "The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man."

The film, he suggests, in portraying a natural, painful birth of Christ, thus denies the truth of the virginal and miraculous birth of Christ, which, he notes, the Fathers of the Church compared to light passing through glass without breaking it.  Fr. Geiger quoted the fourth century St. Augustine on the matter saying. "That same power which brought the body of the young man through closed doors, brought the body of the infant forth from the inviolate womb of the mother."

Fr. Geiger contrasts The Nativity Story with The Passion of the Christ, noting that with the latter, Catholics and Protestants could agree to support it.  He suggests, however, that the latter is "a virtual coup against Catholic Mariology".

Read More .... 

 December 6 - Follow God or vanish, Ahmadinejad tells West
 Article: Islam

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned Western leaders to follow the path of God or "vanish from the face of the earth".

"These oppressive countries are angry with us ... a nation that on the other side of the globe has risen up and proved the shallowness of their power," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the northern town of Ramsar, the semi-official news agency Mehr reported Wednesday.

"They are angry with our nation. But we tell them 'so be it and die from this anger'. Rest assured that if you do not respond to the divine call, you will die soon and vanish from the face of the earth," he said.

The outspoken president also maintained Iran's defiance over its controversial nuclear program, saying it was on course to fully master nuclear technology.

"Thank to God's help, we have gone all the way and are only one step away from the zenith.

"We hope to have the big nuclear celebration by the end of the year (March 2007)," Ahmadinejad said, echoing comments he has made on numerous occasions in recent months.

Read More .... 

 December 5 - Vatican archaeologists unearth St. Paul's tomb
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

ROME: Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul that had been buried beneath Rome's second largest basilica.

The sarcophagus, which dates back to at least 390 A.D., has been the subject of an extended excavation that began in 2002 and was completed last month, the project's head said this week.

"Our objective was to bring the remains of the tomb back to light for devotional reasons, so that it could be venerated and be visible," said Giorgio Filippi, the Vatican archaeologist who headed the project at St. Paul Outside the Walls basilica.

"We were always certain that the tomb had to be there beneath the papal altar," Filippi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Filippi said that the decision to make the sarcophagus visible again was taken after many pilgrims who came to Rome during the Catholic Church's 2000 Jubilee year expressed disappointment at finding that the saint's tomb could not be visited or touched.

Read More .... 

 December 6 - Discovery means there could be life on Mars
 Article: Creation/Evolution Misc

Dramatic new pictures suggest Mars has flowing liquid water on its surface, significantly increasing the chances that there could be life on the Red Planet.

Crisp before-and-after images of gullies on the planet taken by Nasa's Mars Global Surveyor unexpectedly show liquid has flowed there in recent years.

Scientists have previously pointed to features that suggest flowing water on the planet billions years ago.

The discovery is unexpected because the temperature and atmospheric pressure are too low to allow water to exist in liquid form for long.

It suggests geological activity could be heating water beneath the surface so that it is warm enough to flow for long enough to leave traces behind. Water and a stable heat source are considered keys precursors for the existence of life.

Read More .... 

 December 6 - Meteorite at University of Alberta may suggest how life on earth began
 Article: Creation/Evolution Misc

They don't look like much - 47 fragments of black, pale-flecked rock that altogether don't weigh much more than a small roast.
But according to an article published in a major science magazine Thursday, a meteorite stored at the University of Alberta contains tiny, carbon-based globules that may offer important clues about how life began on Earth.

"These represent the right tools, the right building blocks, for life to develop," said Chris Herd, a professor of Earth sciences and curator of the university's meteorite collection.

In a paper published in the journal Science, NASA researchers say the meteorite found on Tagish Lake in the Yukon has been found to contain organic compounds that formed in the distant reaches of space as the solar system was being born.

The scientists say compounds such as those found in the meteorite may have been responsible for seeding the earth with the building blocks of life.

Read More ... 

 December 7 - Vatican: Pope's Prayer In Mosque Is A 'New Horizon' In Interfaith
 Article: One World Religion

Pope Benedict XVI's moment of prayer at Istanbul's Blue Mosque last week has opened up a "new horizon in interreligious dialogue" according to a top Italian Roman Catholic cleric, Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia. "For the first time a Pope appealed to God in a Mosque. Not even Pope John Paul II did it in the Damascus Mosque," Paglia said referring to the 2001 visit to Syria by Benedict's predecessor.

Paglia, who heads the Italian Bishop Conference's interreligious dialogue commission and is bishop of the central Italian town of Terni, made the remarks in an inteview published Thurday on the Rome-based daily Il Messaggero.

Benedict, before his election as pope in April 2005 and as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spoke out against what he called "relativism" - the trend to regard all religions as essentially equal - a conviction that according to Paglia has not wavered despite the pope's prayer in the mosque accompanied by Turkey's Muslim Grand Mufti.

"There is no contradiction and no concession to relativism and confusion. Interreligious dialogue must progress along well defined parallel paths without any space for syncretism.
Comment from Understand The Times: While Muslims bow to Mecca (the focal point is the Kaba, and idolatrous block of stone with a meteorite embedded in one corner), according to Roman Catholic sources, the Pope only turned in the direction of the Kaba, and was "meditating" rather than "praying".
While Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia has been careful to tell the world a new horizon of interreligious dialogue has been achieved, he wants to make it clear there are still some important differences between Roman Catholicism and Islam.
In spite of the Monsignor's statement, I am still confused. Especially, as the result of my visit to Fatima, Portugal just a few weeks ago. There I was told that Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and the Pope all bow down to and pray to Our Lady of Fatima.
Perhaps, the Roman Catholic Church needs to make another statement clarifying there is no contradiction or concession when Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims pray to this statue made of stone along with Roman Catholics. Until that happens, there will still be confusion.

Read More .... 

 December 06, 2006 - NASA Images Suggest Water Still Flows in Brief Spurts on Mars
 Article: Creation/Evolution Misc

NASA photographs have revealed bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years.

"These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, Washington.

Liquid water, as opposed to the water ice and water vapor known to exist at Mars, is considered necessary for life. The new findings heighten intrigue about the potential for microbial life on Mars.

..."These fresh deposits suggest that at some places and times on present-day Mars, liquid water is emerging from beneath the ground and briefly flowing down the slopes. This possibility raises questions about how the water would stay melted below ground, how widespread it might be, and whether there's a below-ground wet habitat conducive to life. Future missions may provide the answers," said Malin.

Read More .... 

 December 5, 2006 - Virgin Mary shrine at tree stump gets permanent shelter
 Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

Drivers zooming by a highway overpass may only see a tree stump, but hundreds of Roman Catholics who believe they see an image of the Virgin Mary there consider it worth a pilgrimage.

Now, the site is getting a permanent shelter to replace the plywood lean-to that the city dismantled two months ago.

..."It was just time that the Mexican community came together as one to focus on helping the community," Maria DeDios, treasurer of the newly formed United Mexican Chamber of Commerce, told the newspaper. "The shrine has brought us together and it shows what unity can do."

Read More .... 

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

In Jesus,
Roger Oakland

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