"Not only was water cascading over the lagoon side of the peninsula, but it also was pouring in directly from the mouth of the estuary about two miles away. Sanders feared the converging currents would swamp the small craft. At that point, Sanders said, he recalled a line from the Book of Isaiah: "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it." He raised his hand in the direction of the flood and shouted, "I command you in the name of Jesus -- stop!" The water then seemed to "stall, momentarily," he said. "I thought at the time I was imagining things."
"Amid the stench of rotting bodies and decaying garbage, Thanjavur Bishop Devadass Ambrose Mariadoss spent several days at India's most popular Marian shrine to oversee post-tsunami relief efforts.Barefoot volunteers, with faces covered by surgical masks or even handkerchiefs, removed rotting bodies from mountains of debris: houses, shops, remains of thatched sheds, boats and animal carcasses strewn around the scenic beach in front of the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. The shrine, which draws 20 million pilgrims annually, remained untouched.More than 1,000 people, including hundreds of pilgrims, perished within a one-kilometer (.62 miles) radius of the basilica Dec. 26 when tsunamis triggered by a magnitude 9 earthquake deep in the Indian Ocean hit the coast."The worst is over. We are gradually recovering from the shock," Bishop Mariadoss said Dec. 30.The same day, false warnings of another tsunami caused panic as people -- including the shrine's cooks -- fled to higher ground.Father P. Xavier, shrine rector, praised the efforts of several hundred volunteers who rushed to the shrine Dec. 26; he said government officials left the entire relief and rescue work around the basilica to the church."We cannot even keep these rotting bodies for identification," said Father Xavier. Volunteers photographed each of the bodies, then buried them in common graves. The photos were pasted on a notice board for relatives to identify victims.The stench of rotting bodies was so strong that even on the basilica grounds dozens of priests wore surgical masks in their rooms while coordinating relief work and responding to anxious relatives of pilgrims missing in the tragedy. Basilica staffers, like others, functioned without electricity or running water."This is an experience I will never forget in my life," said Jesuit scholastic John Michael, who with a dozen others traveled more than 100 miles from Madurai to join the lay youth volunteers from Thanjavur Diocese."We have picked 15 bodies this morning (Dec. 28)," said a man identified only as Brother Michael, who wore a surgical mask and gloves.Later, another batch of church volunteers collected the rotting bodies in trucks for burial in a distant field where mass graves were dug with excavators.By the evening of Dec. 29, the church volunteers had picked up 800 bodies; government sanitary workers equipped with a half-dozen earthmovers helped. It was the final day of the search for missing persons."The search for the bodies is over. But, we are glad that it has ended in joy instead of despair," Father Joseph Lionel, Thanjavur diocesan chancellor, said Dec. 30.On Dec. 29, church volunteers picked up a 35-year-old mother, unconscious and clutching the decaying body of her child. The mother was taken to a hospital for treatment."The Holy Mother has worked wonders despite the tragedy here," said Father Lionel.In a Dec. 29 statement, basilica officials noted that about 2,000 pilgrims attending Mass were "miraculously saved" when the surging waves stopped at the gates of the shrine compound.The waves -- which rose as high as 40 feet -- hit hotels and houses on the same elevation just 330 feet from the shrine.Bishop Mariadoss noted that the local bus stop on the same elevation as the basilica was farther from the beach, but it was inundated."It was a miracle that the water did not enter the church," reiterated Sebastian Kannappilly, a businessman from neighboring Kerala state, who had come to Vailankanni with his wife and daughter. Although his family was at Mass and was spared, his driver perished in the disaster."How can we go back without his body?" Kannappilly asked two days after the tragedy, as he and the driver's relatives continued the search.With dozens rushing to Vailankanni in search of missing family members, church officials said they felt helpless."I saw many people being washed away by the waves. We may never get to see these bodies again," said Father Xavier."
Editors Note: I suggest we revoke the U.S. citizenship of Ramsey Clark and let him go live with his buddies.
Examining the Doctor
The name Dr. John MacArthur is familiar to most Christians. He is an influential Bible teacher, author and a well-known radio preacher. His program "Grace to You" airs across the country and is heard by thousands. Many evangelicals hold him in high regard and often refer to his theology to form their own personal beliefs. I would agree with Dr. MacArthur on many things, but I would caution Christians as to his understanding of Roman Catholicism and tradition. Dr. John MacArthur's article, "The Sufficiency of the Written Word: Answering the Modern Roman Catholic Apologists" exposes some of his misunderstanding. MacArthur refuses to accept that Scripture and the traditional interpretation of that scripture are needed in conjunction to fully understand the Word of God. He says, "Whenever tradition is elevated to such a high level of authority, it inevitably becomes detrimental to the authority of Scripture." This is just not true. Scripture and tradition co-exist on the same level. Tradition is as much the Word of God as the written word. They cannot be separated. Tradition is useless without Scripture. Scripture is misunderstood and misused without tradition. That is not to say the teaching of the Catholic Church is superior to the Word of God, but to say that supremely authoritative Scripture has to be interpreted is not to denigrate it. The question is how do we interpret it? We compare what the early Christians believed to scripture. This is what forms tradition.
Dr. MacArthur correctly asserts tradition is the "lens through which the written word is interpreted and stands as the authority rendering the only true interpretation of the Word." Christians need a single authority to consistently instruct and guide. That preserved consistency is the tradition found only in the Roman Catholic Church. Yet to many Protestants "tradition" is a dirty word.
Many will challenge with Mark 7:6 ("Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.") but you need to understand what scripture (Not Dr. MacArthur) really says. The Bible does not teach that all "tradition" is bad or evil or merely the "traditions of men." It teaches that there are indeed untrue traditions (Matt 15:2-6, Mk 7:8-13, Col 2:8), but there are also apostolic traditions, which are positively endorsed. These apostolic traditions are not contrary to Scripture and are in total harmony with the Bible. Catholics believe that the true traditions must always be consistent with Scripture. I would challenge anyone to find a Catholic tradition that goes against the Word of God. In that sense, Scripture is its "final judge," but not in the sense that Scripture somehow rules out or makes impossible all tradition and church authority. If you really look into this you will find the Catholic Church is right on track and the Bible espouses true tradition:1 Corinthians 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.2 Thessalonians 2:15 . . . stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth, or by letter.2 Thessalonians 3:6 . . . keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.The Apostle Paul explicitly grants oral proclamation or teaching the same authority as written:2 Timothy 1:13-14 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me . . . guard the truth which has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
I know this will shock those of the Protestant Sola Scriptura mindset but with some simple biblical cross-referencing you will discover Tradition, Word of God, and the Gospel are regarded as essentially identical in Scripture. All are conceived as predominantly oral, and all are referred to as being delivered and received.1 Corinthians 11:2 . . . maintain the traditions . . . . even as I have delivered them to you.2 Thessalonians 2:15 . . . hold to the traditions . . . . taught . . . by word of mouth or by letter.2 Thessalonians 3:6 . . . the tradition that you received from us.1 Corinthians 15:1 . . . the gospel, which you received . . .Galatians 1:9 . . . the gospel . . . which you received.1 Thessalonians 2:9 . . . we preached to you the gospel of God.Acts 8:14 . . . Samaria had received the word of God . . .1 Thessalonians 2:13 . . . you received the word of God, which you heard from us, . . .2 Peter 2:21 . . . the holy commandment delivered to them.
Go back and see how the Word of God has been delivered to man. There is a history of oral presentation throughout the Bible. In fact, the Bible itself is a result of these collected presentations. Ironically, Dr. MacArthur's view (and the larger Protestant view) between the Bible and tradition is unbiblical itself and must be discarded by any truly biblically minded person as a corrupt tradition of men. This is the inherent danger in dismissing the authority of the Church and following man's interpretation. God's word is both oral and written and one must not contradict or corrupt that word. Sola Scriptura does this and exposes itself as a self-defeating concept, since it cannot be established from Scripture alone. With all do respect to Dr. MacArthur, when one falsehood is accepted, everything else is suspect and often corrupted. Protestant theology is built upon a foundation of flawed belief. Stemming from that foundation are other falsehoods that fuel resistance to the Catholic Church teachings, foster a consistent misunderstanding and maintain the man made divide between Christians.
Catholics regard Scripture and tradition as a single authority. In Scripture, the Church has a binding authority. No one has the right to change or dismiss this fact. In Paul's statement: ".the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15) the design is clearly displayed. If the Church is the pillar, then that pillar holds up Scripture. To believe otherwise you must claim Scripture is the pillar holding up the Church. To do that ignores the Word of God.
We find ecclesiastical authority in Matthew 18:17, where "the church" is to settle issues of conflict between believers. We see Church authority in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:6-30), where we see Peter and James speaking with authority. This Council makes an authoritative pronouncement, which was binding on all Christians not just those who felt like it. "Abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity." (15:29) In the next chapter, Paul, Timothy, and Silas were traveling proclaiming: "they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem." (Acts 16:4) This Church authority is far more like Catholic structure than any Sola Scriptura based Christianity. Sola Scripture, that so many mislead Christians cling to, is nothing more then a false manufactured tradition of men.
Roman Catholicism has a high regard for Scripture as a source of knowledge. Roman Catholic statements concerning the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture would satisfy any Protestant fundamentalist. Yet there is no agreement by which standard Scripture is to be interpreted if tradition is abandoned.
MacArthur admits Scriptural authority was not clearly delineated in the early church. The church as an institution through the ages has been and remains the foundation and arbiter of truth. To admit that leads to the true concerns of those defending the reformation. MacArthur repeatedly refers to the "attacks" by Catholic apologists on the issue of Sola Scriptura. He says, " If they can topple this one doctrine, all the Reformers' other points will fall." In his own words he reveals the weak foundation of the Protestant church. He continues, "if Rome can prove her case against Sola Scripture, she overturns the arguments for the Reformation in one fell swoop." That concern would explain the forceful argument against using Scripture to disprove Sola Scripture. If MacArthur and Protestants will not accept what Scripture has to say about the issue, yet they claim to base everything else on Scripture, they have in a sense proven themselves wrong.
If Scripture is, as MacArthur claims, "the perfect and only standard of spiritual truth, revealing infallibly all that we must believe in order to be saved" then why does disagreement exist among Protestants on so many issues? Throughout his article, MacArthur self-interprets Scripture and uses it to attempt to defend his position. However he relies on his "infalliblilty" to do so and continually ignores Scripture to the contrary of his belief. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul instructs Timothy to train other men for leadership in the church. But MacArthur refuses to recognize this as apostolic succession. What Timothy was to teach, Paul himself had preached "in the presence of many witnesses." MacArthur ignores this oral presentation.
All through his writing on this subject, MacArthur seems to be in a tug-o-war with himself. His own contradictions reveal this. He says, "Protestants do not deny that the oral teaching of the apostles was authoritive, inerrant truth, binding as a rule of faith." If God could inspire and guide church leaders then, he surely does so today. He continues, "Even non-Catholic versions of scripture speak of a certain 'tradition' that is to be received and obeyed with unquestioning reverence." Yet where in Scripture is one given the right to pick and choose which ones to follow?
Catholics do not seek to emasculate Scripture, as MacArthur would have you believe. Rather Catholics hold it equal and essential with tradition. MacArthur writes some things about the Roman Catholic faith that is wrong or misleading. He says, "If we accept the voice of the Church as infallibly correct, then what Scripture says about these questions is irrelevant." That is not true. The voice of the Church that tells us what the Scripture really says. He also claims that Roman Catholics are forbidden to compare Church teachings to Scripture. That is not true. We are to submit to the authority of the Church, but reading Scripture is not forbidden for any Catholic.
MacArthur acknowledges that not everything Jesus taught is preserved in Scripture. Yet he claims everything God requires of us is included in Scripture. So MacArthur writes off some off Christ's teaching as unimportant and irrelevant if it was not included in Scripture. This is a dangerous assumption knowing that not a single word contained in the scriptures was ever written by Jesus himself. Even Jesus chose to give us his Word by speaking it and handing it down to his apostles in non-written form.
Dr. MacArthur claims 2 Timothy 3:15-17 clearly affirms Scripture is sufficient for salvation. The problem is when you read this, and every other passage of Scripture, you must truly understand it. Dr. MacArthur is reading the large role scripture plays in our salvation and stretching that into something it is not. Scripture can teach, reproof, correct, train and equip us for good works; however, it does not say Scripture alone is what we are to exclusively cling to.
Sola Scriptura appeals to the modern mind. We live in a "do it yourself" environment. It is much more appealing to read and claim to understand, then to submit to a higher authority. Jesus taught orally and the disciples handed on his teaching by the spoken word. It took several decades for the 27 books of the New Testament to be written - and much longer for them to be officially recognized as inspired. This cannot be denied. There are many like MacArthur, who mislead and present twisted elements of theology to those who do not know any better. In 2 Thessalonians the people had be mislead by the forged words of Paul. Paul warns them not to be taken in by false "inspired truth". He tells them they had heard the truth from his mouth and not to be misled by false words. MacArthur says, "The point of debate between Catholics and Protestants is whether that teaching was infallibly preserved by word of mouth." I submit it has been. Those teachings are only corrupted outside the Church. How do I know this? For over 2000 years the Catholic Church has taught, preserved, written, protected and passed on those essential teachings. Paul ordered the Thessalonians to receive as infallible his word of mouth teaching. The Catholic Church does the same today for all Christians.
MacArthur continues to say, "it is pointless to test the Catholic Church's teachings by Scripture" because conflicts are settled by the traditions of the Catholic Church. A conflict is a misunderstanding. It is the duty of the Catholic Church to address that misunderstanding to insure that nothing goes against the word of God and the properly interpret the Word of God in matters. The faithful will accept that instruction.
Knowing that only a fraction of Paul's message is preserved in his epistles, Dr. MacArthur says he assumes what Paul taught the Thessalonians is contained in such. I will not base my belief on an assumption, but the larger problem is, so many Protestant claims are based on just that, assumptions. Dr. MacArthur asks the question of New Testament Scripture, "Who can prove that anything essential is omitted?" I would ask Dr. MacArthur, who could prove that it isn't?You are free to accept Dr. MacArthur's assumption that Scripture is sufficient for salvation and to equip us for life and eternity, however, you are missing much of what the early Christians taught and you are left guessing at interpretations of his Word. It leaves those denying tradition and the historical teachings of the Church with mere pieces of truth.
Reggie White was held up as a Christian hero. He was a well know celebrity that drew the spotlight to the Christian faith. Looking back on his life you can begin to see the struggle for truth that he longed for, and sadly could never completely find within his circle of faith. He continually partnered with those who claimed to be men of God, but they all eventually failed in their masquerade. White blindly adhered to things he was told before he really knew what he was being taught. He was a minster at age 17, long before he was old enough even understand so many things.
In 1996, the Inner City Church in Knoxville, TN burned to the ground. Reggie along with his friend and top officer in the church Jerry Upton raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the church. Three years later Upton pleaded guilty cocaine possession with intent to distribute. The money for the church was gone.
White also led a group who planned to put Jim Baker back in the pulpit after Baker was charged with bilking his followers out of $158 Million in 1986. Baker served time for bankruptcy fraud, left his wife and remarried. He never returned to his former ministry.
After watching the money he raised go to church leaders and glamorous buildlings instead of people who needed it, in 2000 White stopped preaching. He questioned organized religion and knew something was lacking. The crowds that came to hear him preach were there to see a football player, not hear the Word of God. He also began to see he had been relying on what fallible men said about Christ and truth. Everyone one of them had been wrong. They, at best, only possessed pieces of truth.
Reggie White went to Israel to study Hebrew. He believed if he could read the Scripture in Hebrew he could decide for himself what they meant. He would then need to learn Greek, the language of the New Testament and depend upon his own perfect understanding of Scripture. Once again White had begun a quest that was bound to fail, for we are all faillible.
If only we all had the desire for truth that Reggie White had. If only we know what to do with that desire. There are over 2000 years of understanding truth just waiting for anyone who chooses to seek it. Sadly, Reggie White never found that truth. He spent so much of his his 43 years in this world accepting the false beliefs that were handed to him by flawed teachers. I'm sure he thought he had plenty of time left. Do you?
1. "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas." "Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore." On this Night, the opening words of this celebrated Eucharistic hymn echo in my heart. These words accompany me daily in this year dedicated to the Eucharist. In the Son of the Virgin, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12), we acknowledge and adore "the Bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:41, 51), the Redeemer who came among us in order to bring life to the world. 2. Bethlehem! The city where Jesus was born in fulfillment of the Scriptures, in Hebrew means "house of bread." It was there that the Messiah was to be born, the One who would say of himself: "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35,48). In Bethlehem was born the One who, under the sign of broken bread, would leave us the memorial of his Pasch. On this Holy Night, adoration of the Child Jesus becomes Eucharistic adoration. 3. We adore you, Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, the living Bread which gives life to humanity. We acknowledge you as our one God, a little Child lying helpless in the manger! "In the fullness of time, you became a man among men, to unite the end to the beginning, that is, man to God" (cf. St. Irenaeus, "Adversus Haereses," IV, 20, 4). You are born on this Night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life. Look upon us, eternal Son of God, who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary! All humanity, with its burden of trials and troubles, stands in need of you. Stay with us, living Bread which came down from heaven for our salvation! Stay with us forever! Amen!
A labor union that enthusiastically supported the candidacy of Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato has filed an unfair labor practice charge against him and will picket outside his office this morning. (The Honeymoon is over) Members of two Service Employees International Union locals will gather Downtown to protest increases in health insurance co-payments that Onorato has unilaterally imposed, effective Jan. 1. SEIU, which contributed $75,000 to the Democratic chief executive's 2003 campaign, filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the state labor relations board, asserting that the chief executive overstepped his authority in imposing a new health insurance program without the union's agreement. The joy that union leaders felt when Onorato defeated Republican incumbent Jim Roddey in the 2003 race has given way to disappointment. Onorato, in an attempt to contain the government's health care costs, has signed a deal with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield that will increase co-payments from $5 to $25 for doctor visits, from $25 to $100 for emergency room visits, and from $15 to $30 for brand-name drugs. Even with the increase in co-payments, the county will spend $41 million on employee health insurance in 2005, up from $35 million this year.
Initially, Onorato sought to renew the county's health insurance package at the same level of co-payments, only to discover that the county's costs would soar to $60 million a year under that scenario.
So the SEIU does not care if insurance costs the county (which is just another word for "taxpayer") $60 million dollars so long as their precious co-payment says at $5.00. Maybe they should have kept their $75,000 in political money, put it toward the health care for the union members and stayed out of the election. I applaud Dan Onorato. He acting like a Republican and considering the greater good. Not just political payback!
As I read about the delays, cancellations. Computer failures and the huge amount of US Airways employees who all called in "sick" following a pay cut, leaving thousands stranded and unable to get home for Christmas, what sympathy I had for those who work for airline is now gone. US Airways canceled 176 flights on Friday and 143 flights on Saturday mainly due to "an unusually high number" of flight attendants and other workers calling in sick. The airline flew five planes loaded only with luggage to relieve the backlog of stranded bags throughout the East. You can squabble all you want with the company you work for, but at the end of the day it is the traveler who pays you. The poor person who bought a ticket to to get home to see Mom and Dad or the guy who missed seeing his kids Christmas morning because he was sleeping on the airport floor, that's the person who really got screwed by all the employees who threw their little tantrum, lied and called in sick. You know, if was not for our tax dollar bailout after 9/11 that kept these companies and miserable attitudes afloat, many would have been out of a job a long time ago. So if US Airways, or any other airline, closes up shop in Pittsburgh, I say so long. Maybe a company and employees that value the customer will fill the void.
Westmoreland County Officials expect 4-mill tax hike
Midland tax rate will rise 8% in '05
Ellwood City proposes 55% tax increase
Beaver County row offices must lay off 18 workers
Pittsburgh must take loan to pay bills
The $10 occupational privilege tax goes to $52
Rendell says, Property-tax cuts will be delayed.
PA drivers will pay another 3.8 cents per gallon in state gas taxes beginning Jan. 1
In other news the Grinch struck again. Gov. Ed Rendell sought to lower expectations for property-tax reductions, saying those savings would not get to homeowners until 2007. Rendell had predicted cuts would arrive by 2006 but lost that bet. He expects to oppose a gas-tax increase (although one takes effect Jan 1) and avoid a state income-tax increase in 2005. Rendell praised the passage of laws authorizing slot machines to provide tax cuts. Rendell said slot machines would raise at least $1 billion for property tax cuts and perhaps much more. Most of the governor's major priorities this year were passed after midnight with holidays arriving. Rendell's first budget was 26 weeks late. He reached an agreement with lawmakers on slots on the July 4 weekend. It begs the question did our representative vote yes because they support Rendell or did the simply want to go home?
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Archbishop of Genoa, disclosed Sunday Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the pope's ideological "enforcer" for two decades, had presented a formula for the abolition of the centuries-old "miracle clause" to the pope. The 84-year-old pontiff has created 482 saints in his 26 years as the church's leader, more than all his predecessors put together. He also has beatified 1,337 people, those who have performed one miracle after death. Abolishing the need for miracles would speed up the canonization of some of the Pope's favorite candidates, including Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was beatified last year.
It's been six years since Jack Ruckel first parked his Nativity scene outside the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in Indiana. Its glowing lights are clearly visible for blocks down Columbia Street. And the Lafayette resident doesn't plan on stopping the display of life-sized Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus figures parked in the back of his Dodge Ram pickup truck anytime soon. "It's gone on to be a tradition now," Ruckel said Thursday. "All year long, people come up to me -- 'Are you gonna do it this year?' I do it for those people. You get a lot of horns blowing down here."
Starting Wednesday, Ruckel parked his "mobile manger" outside the courthouse square. He'll be there from 6 to 9 p.m. each night through Dec. 25.
"Christmas day, too, I'll be here," Ruckel said, adding that he's never received a negative response from motorists. Instead, he said, supporters often drop by to offer coffee, snacks and money for gas. The display is Ruckel's continued effort of petitioning a 1999 decision by county commissioners to ban all private displays from the courthouse lawn or other county property in the days leading up to Christmas.
This year, he propositioned the Lafayette City Council during its regular meeting this month to set up the display outside City Hall. But city attorney Ed Chosnek said a council meeting was the wrong venue to discuss the proposition.
Ruckel, however, remains unfazed. He braves the brisk weather, standing along the sidewalk to hand out candy canes. Ruckel also has added a personalized license plate to his truck that reads "NATIVIT," or Nativity. The figures are lit by extension cords attached to a 800-watt power inverter in Ruckel's vehicle. The power is supplied by the truck's battery. It typically takes him 45 minutes to set up the stable. From there, he adds the figures and straw. "I've never had an opposition, and I've been here six years," Ruckel said. "I've never had anything bad in Letters to the Editor. I've never had foul mouths come by. It's something I'm going to continue for a long time."
Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night may be a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly may be a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) may be a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this may be the last year that they go shopping together.
Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
I'm sick of seeing anything remotly connected to Christmas being forced from the American landsacpe. The ACLU is behind most, if not all of it. So I thought we should all get together and send a Christmas card to the folks over at the ACLU.
I once sent a Meat Lover's pizza to the folks at PETA. Never even got a thank you but it's the thought that counts. If you care to send a bit of Christmas cheer to the lost people at the ACLU here s the address:
ACLU of PA
Greater Pittsburgh Chapter
313 Atwood St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
On the same day another Post-Gazzette article read: "The city can pay its bills early next year, but only after borrowing money and paying up to $528,000 in interest costs. The city will have at least $22 million in bills on its doorstep Jan. 3 -- for payroll, workers compensation costs and other debts -- with no way to pay them. To pay the bills the Murphy administration proposed tapping a $40 million line of credit from three local banks, which it hopes to repay by April 30, using the proceeds from the new taxes, plus revenues from existing wage and property taxes.
Interest would be roughly 4 percent each month, plus $128,000 in administrative expenses, for a total of $528,000. "
Editors Note: Who voted for these idiots?
Governor Rendell can't persuade a single one of his own agencies to lend the Gaming Control Board a conference room and an office for three months. The Gaming Control Board members, hampered by salaries of only $140,000 a year, have no spare change available to buy folding chairs or a table, or to rent a meeting room a few times while conducting a proper bidding process. Judging from their "emergency" need for a place to sit, none of the Gaming Control Board members could make it as a stand-up comedian, even though many of their actions may be downright hilarious. Representatives of the gambling industry, predictably, expressed pleasure with the Gaming Control Board's willingness to bypass state law in order to accelerate the arrival of slots. At least the Gaming Control Board, by demonstrating its ability to declare a state of emergency at the drop of a rental agreement, is getting Pennsylvanians accustomed to what Nevadans have known for years. The real gambel is with your money!
Of the 104 Christmas cards, nine are religious; one mentions Jesus and none features a nativity scene. In its “Humor” category, three have mild scatological references and one has sexual overtones. Of the 5 Hanukkah cards, four feature menorahs; even the one “Humor” card has a menorah. Of the 6 Kwanzaa cards, all are respectful and none is humorous.
There are 31 categories of Christmas cards, one of which is “Religious.” There are 7 e-cards dubbed “Risque” that are replete with sexual gags. In the “Rude” category, there are 17 scatologically oriented cards. All of the 12 Hanukkah cards are respectful, most of which have a menorah or Star of David. All of the 24 Kwanzaa cards are respectful.
Among its e-cards, there are over 200 Christmas cards listed among several categories. There are 119 “Merry Christmas” cards, 39 “Religious” cards and 18 “Rude” cards (most feature flatulence and urine jokes). The 35 “Happy Hanukkah” cards and the 9 “Family” Hanukkah cards are evenly split between secular and religious. Of the 14 “Funny” Hanukkah cards, all are respectful. There were no disrespectful Kwanzaa cards among the 24 listed. Among American Greetings’ Create and Print cards, there is no “Rude” section for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, just for Christmas (some of which include oral sex jokes).
Everywhere you turn these days, Jesus is not invite to Christmas. You can't even call it Chirstmas anymore. Well the good folks at St. Martin's Church have decided to do something about it and you are invited to join them. The site, www.happybirthdayjesus.org, was launched with support from St. Martin parish and some local businesses. The church and the sponsors are covering the cost of the site, which they hope will reach people around the world. The Web site doesn't collect any personal information. If you want to join in wishing Jesus a happy birthday, simply enter your name and the city where you live. They hope that the Web site will attract thousands, if not millions, of names as a way to measure good will.
If you would like to add your name, click here.
The most recent success by the ACLU against the Boy Scouts occurred when the Pentagon agreed to warn its bases not to sponsor Boy Scout troops as part of the settlement of a 5-year-old lawsuit brought by the legal group. The ACLU charged the government with improperly supporting a group requiring members to believe in God, complaining that Boy Scouts of America "requires troop and pack leaders, in this case government employees, to compel youth to swear an oath of duty to God." Public Advocate President Eugene Delgaudio mentioned the Boy Scouts at the group's protest. "It is exciting to see all these people singing Christmas carols, including the ACLU staff members that have joined us today," he said. "Regardless of our differences, we are all proud to be Americans this Christmas, and may God bless those that are currently in harms way to bravely protect our freedoms. We must remember that the Boy Scout troops in danger of being kicked-off these military bases are made up of the sons of those brave soldiers, sailors and marines."
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Matthew 1:18-24 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved tosend her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, anangel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and His name shall be called Emmanuel" (which means God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
St. Matthew relates here how Christ was conceived (cf. Luke1:25-38): "We truly honor and venerate (Mary) as Mother of God, because she gave birth to a person who is at the same time both God and man". According to the provisions of the Law of Moses, engagement took place about one year before marriage and enjoyed almost the same legal validity. The marriage proper consisted, among other ceremonies, in the bride being brought solemnly and joyously to her husband's house (Deuteronomy 20:7). From the moment of engagement onwards, a certificate of divorce was needed in the event of a break in the relationship between the couple. The entire account of Jesus' birth teaches, through the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (which is expressly quoted in verses 22-23) that: 1) Jesus has David as His ancestor since Joseph is His legal father; 2) Mary is the Virgin who gives birth according to the prophecy;3) the Child's conception without the intervention of man was miraculous. St. Joseph was an ordinary sort of man on whom God relied to do great things. He did exactly what the Lord wanted him to do, in each and every event that went to make up his life. That is why Scripture praises Joseph as `a just man'. He was therefore faced with a situation hecould not explain. Precisely because he was trying to do God's will,he felt obliged to put her away; but to shield her from public shame hedecided to send her away quietly. Mary's silence is admirable. Her perfect surrender to God even leads her to the extreme of not defending her honor or innocence. She prefers to suffer suspicion and shame rather than reveal the work of grace in her. Faced with a fact which was inexplicable in human terms she abandons herself confidently to the love and providence of God. We ought not to be surprised if we also undergo difficult trials in the course of our lives. There are some thing that are hard to believe and impossible to explain. We ought to trust in God during them, and remain faithful to Him, following the example they gave us. God gives His light to those who act in an upright way and who trust in His power and wisdom when faced with situations which exceed human understanding. The truth revealed to us by the sacred text is that Mary, in whom the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 is fulfilled, was a virgin before and during the birth itself. The miraculous sign given by God that salvation had arrived was precisely that a woman would be a virgin and a mother at the same time. Such was the work of the HolySpirit, who at the conception and birth of the Son so favored the Virgin Mother as to impart fruitfulness to her while preserving her perpetual virginity. It is God who gave the world Mary as our perfect example of devotion to God.
Gift #1: As one of his first initial actions as Governor, he traded in his taxpayer-funded Ford sedan for a Cadillac, then…
Gift #2: …proceeded in his first budget to raise taxes and fees on hard-working Pennsylvanians and businesses by a staggering $1 billion, including…
Gift #3: …a brutal 10 percent increase in the state’s income tax (he originally wanted a 30 percent increase). As a result, Gov. Rendell is forcing Pennsylvanians to put millions more of their hard-earned dollars into state coffers for pet projects like…
Gift #4: …A $30 million grant to help build a skyscraper in center city Philadelphia for his friends at corporate giant Comcast, while also trying to…
Gift #5: …Raise fees by a whopping $110 million on everything from emissions stickers to tires to personal driving records. With so much spending and a considerable wish list to tax more, it’s no wonder…
Gift #6: …Unemployment in Pennsylvania continues to rise and the manufacturing sector has lost jobs nearly every month since Gov. Rendell took office, so…
Gift #7: …To reward manufactures for their trouble, Gov. Rendell has sought a crushing round of higher taxes on manufactures for emissions that are permitted under state and federal law. Such a fate could soon befall the small business sector, thanks to…
Gift #8: …Gov. Rendell’s consistent efforts to create roadblocks for small business growth. Small businesses employ more than half of all Pennsylvania workers, yet unlike large corporations like Comcast, their concerns are ignored, much like…
Gift #9: … the brave servicemen and women of our state who nearly didn’t have enough time to cast their absentee ballots in the November presidential election because Gov. Rendell took the families of two Pennsylvania servicemen to court to fight their efforts to extend Pennsylvania’s deadline for overseas absentee ballots, while…
Gift #10: …paying college fraternity brother and John Kerry operative Mark Aronchick $75,000 in taxpayer money to represent the state in the case, while later…
Gift #11: …vetoing Republican-authored legislation designed to eliminate the ability of state officials to have an ownership stake in one of Pennsylvania’s new slot machine venues, as well as prevent organized crime from entering our state. But he may not have actually vetoed the legislation because…
Gift #12: …somehow, unbelievably, Gov. Rendell apparently vetoed an earlier version of the bill that no longer exists. This unexplainable gaffe is the latest in a long series of miscues and sloppy work done by Gov. Rendell since he first took office almost two years ago.
“Unfortunately, the Rendell Administration doesn’t have a return policy for these items,” said Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman Alan Novak. “Some of these ‘gifts’ are new and others are old, but they just keep taking from Pennsylvania taxpayers.”
Santa, check your naughty list for the name "Edward"
Is there salvation outside the Catholic Church?
The quick answer is yes. If you are happy stop reading. If intriqued, read on...
All salvation comes from Christ through the Church. The Church, is necessary for salvation. Christ is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism. So one could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (All of you who left the Catholic Church might want to read that last line again) This does not include someone who, through no fault of their own, does not know Christ and his Church. Those that do not trulry know the Catholic Church but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, may achieve eternal salvation. However, those who outright reject the Catholic Church and it's teachings can not.
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Dick Clark is recovering from what was described as a mild stroke, suffered last week. When he announced he had been hospitalized, Clark said he hoped to recover in time to do the New Year's telecast -- something he had done for 32 consecutive years.
Clark said he was grateful that Philbin was able to step in on short notice.
"I'm so glad that Regis hadn't yet made any New Year's plans," he said. "It'll feel strange watching it on TV but my doctors felt it was too soon."
Philbin called the gig the greatest "temp job" in the world.
"I just hope I can uphold the standards Dick Clark has set for this annual event, and I look forward to his return next year," he said.
"Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" will feature performances by Big & Rich, Ciara, Earth, Wind & Fire, Fabolous, Good Charlotte, Billy Idol, Simple Plan and Ashlee Simpson -- who will serve as host for West Coast portions of the show.
Editors Note: I've had the opportunity to work with Mr. Clark a few times over the years. He has always been and inspiration and a gentlemen. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and best wishes for a speedy recovery. Happy New Year Mr. Clark. It won't be the same without you!
Here is a thought, why don't the parents listen to the CD before the kid does! Somehow I doubt this was the first time the 13 year old heard this group. She probably intended to listen to it as the title states "Anywhere but Home". I'm not in favor of selling this trash to kids but if you don't like what your kid is listening to snap the CD in half. Sure she will scream about it but who is the adult? Instead we skip off to the lawyer and hang a $75,000 price tag on the F-word. Great lesson for the kid. I think they may have found the perfect song ... "Thoughtless".
First let me say I am not against gambling. I put it in the same category as smoking or drinking. It can be dangerous, addictive and can rule your life. However, they are all legal and I do not condemn anyone for participating as long as the money you spend is not needed to support your family or other obligations. The Bible does not call gambling evil or forbid it. What scripture warns us about is the intentions of the person gambling. Remember money is not the root of all evil it's the LOVE OF MONEY that is the root of all evil. (1 Timothy 6:10) You can argue this all you want but nowhere in the Bible does it directly speak against gambling.
This all goes back to yet another Catholic/Protestant debate. Those who follow the Protestant tradition view gambling as a sin. Catholics simply do not. Why is there a difference if we are all reading the same scripture? You will not find gambling condemned anywhere in the Bible. This "manufactured sin" comes from opposition to those who "feel" it is wrong. But what gambling amounts to is paying money to be entertained, and there is nothing wrong with that. People do it for every other kind of entertainment (books, movies, plays, operas, videos, etc.).
The Catechism, the book of collected teachings of the Catholic Church, spells out, "the passion for gambling risks enslavement." It also says games of chance are not inherently immoral unless they deprive someone of essential support for life and family. One thing we all must understand, no matter what side of the debate you are on, you should not condemn another Christian for doing something his Church, Bible and conscience approve. We can not base sin on our own standards. Doing so bypasses the authority of God.
A Vatican university said it will hold a special "theoretical and practical" course for Roman Catholic priests on Satanism and exorcism in response to what the Church says is a worrying interest in the occult, particularly among the young.
This year, Italy was gripped by the story of two teenage members of a heavy metal rock band called the "Beasts of Satan" who were killed by other band members in a human sacrifice. The deaths horrified Catholics in Italy, with pages of newspapers given over to descriptions of the black candles and goats' skulls decorating one victim's bedroom and witness statements of sexual violence.
The Regina Apostolorum, one of Rome's most prestigious pontifical universities, said in a statement that such episodes should be seen as an "alarm bell to take seriously a problem which is still far too underestimated."
"In the last few years there has been a lot of interest in Satanism and it develops because of the media. It's not that the devil is in the media, rock and roll or the Internet but the media can be damaging when it is used the wrong way," Carlo Climati, one of the professors of the course, told Reuters.
"For young people, interest in Satanism can start with a CD, move onto the Internet. From there, it sometimes develops into home-grown, seemingly harmless things like going to cemeteries but sometimes can lead to murders, as we have seen."
The two-month course, which begins in February and will be limited to priests and advanced students of theology, will include themes such as Satanism, diabolic possession and "prayers of liberation."
Satanism, the statement said, aimed to sow confusion among the young and promote a world without moral rules. According to some estimates, as many as 5,000 people are thought to be members of Satanic cults in Italy with 17- to 25-year-olds making up three quarters of them. Interest in the devil and the occult has been boosted by films such as "The Exorcist" in 1973 and this year's "Exorcist: The Beginning."
In 1999, the Vatican issued its first updated ritual for exorcism since 1614 and warned that the devil is still at work. The official Roman Catholic exorcism starts with prayers, a blessing and sprinkling of holy water, the laying on of hands on the possessed, and the making of the sign of the cross. It ends with an "imperative formula" in which the devil is ordered to leave the possessed. The formula begins: "I order you, Satan..." It goes on to denounce Satan as "prince of the world" and "enemy of human salvation." It ends: "Go back, Satan"
Former Steelers wide receiver and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Lynn Swann is considering running for governor of Pennsylvania as a Republican in 2006. Swann who was on "The Marty Minto Show" in support of President Bush during the election, has been discussing the issue with his family, friends and political leaders. Swann spoke at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 2, and he was also co-chairman of the African-American steering committee for the Bush-Cheney campaign this year. Could Bradshaw be Lt. Governor? Stay tuned...
The winner, who matched the five numbers plus the powerball, has 60 days from the date of claiming the prize to decide whether to take the $171.4 million annuity paid over 29 years or a lump sum of $93,428,155.06.
The winning numbers were: 13-17-35-45-50. Powerball, 2. Power Play, 2.
Thanks for asking, but no it's not me!
I had to pick myslef up off the floor to write this. Sen. Hillary Clinton made some comments that ran in the monthly newsletter of the Holy Flame Pentecostal Church of Little Rock, Ark. She said:
"I always take time to worship God in as evangelical a way as is feasible, given time and location constraints. As you know, I consider myself an evangelical Christian, really a Christian conservative, if you want to know the truth, so it's nice to be 'home' again in the South, which I really consider my quote-unquote home even though I live in New York most of the time. Well, Washington, D.C., most of the time, actually, but if I'm not there I'm in New York, of course, but always thinking about being here, in the South, my spiritual home, where I shared so many wonderful evangelical . . . moments and . . . events. Can you read that back to me?"
Yeah somebody read it back to me as well. My head hurts. (You can see why I fell out of my chair) Anyway the judges gave her a perfect "10" on politcal answering. They don't know where she lives, what she believes and she was able to call herslef a Christian Conservative with a straight face. Sounds like she is ready for 2008!
Editors Note: If you read Hillary's quote with a Valley Girl accent (toss in a few "likes" and "omygawds" ) it's good for a few laughs.
This was confirmed in the infallible words of Pius IX, "The most holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin." (Ineffabilis Deus)
Saint Ephrem first held this belief in the fourth century. Seven centuries later the crusaders brought this belief back to the Western Church from the Eastern Church in the Holy Land where, since 750, it had been celebrated on December 9 along with the feast of Saint Anne who had conceived the Blessed Mother.
In 1050 a feast honoring Mary's conception was offered by Pope Leo IX. In the twelfth century the Franciscan Father Duns Scotus defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and was listed in the Roman Calendar in the year 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV. In 1708 Pope Clement XI made the conception of Our Lady a feast of obligation. Nearly 150 years later in 1854, Pius IX proclaimed it the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This interestingly followed the lead of the United States Bishops eight years earlier who had decreed on May 13, 1846 that the U.S. was consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Conception and assigned December 8 as the official feast of their Heavenly patron. His Holiness gave full approval to the American Bishops on February 7, 1847. Just over ten years later, and four years after Pius IX's infallible pronouncement "Ineffabilis Deus", Our Lady herself confirmed this dogma at Lourdes when she proclaimed to the visionary Saint Bernadette Soubirous, "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Any of you that have read Powerblog or hear me on the air know I am no fan of Governor Rendell. I see people loosing their homes in this area because they can not afford the taxes. Rendell promised to address those problems with gambling revenue but in the meantime he continues to raise our taxes. All of us in the Keystone state get to ring in the new year with a liquid fuels tax increase that automatically kicks in Jan. 1. Yes we get to pay 48.3 cents a gallon just in taxes in 2005, Happy New Year! .The state expects $280 million in extra revenue from the tax hike much of the windfall is earmarked for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation road and bridge projects. Those who rely on public transportation are facing record fare increases and massive service cuts. But do you think our Governor would step in and help, students, the elderly and low income workers who need these buses to get anywhere? The answer so far is NO. Southwestern Pennsylvania is guaranteed $45 million but that cannot be used to help these people because state law directs it to "restricted accounts." Governor, get off your butt and change this!
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will receive an extra $13 million for Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway toll road expansion projects; municipalities will share an extra $8 million for local streets and equipment; and local PennDOT offices will get about $24 million to spend on county maintenance activities such as resurfacing. All this does not really matter because we in this state will now have the highest gas tax in the country, making it harder for all of us to afford to drive and those using public transportation are about to get the worst of it. All why the bucks are rolling in the door in Harrisburg. We need to ring the phones and let all of our elected officials know we will not stand for this. It's your hard earned money, start fighting to keep some of it!
To e-mail the Governor click here.
To write a letter to the Governor send to:
Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
To telephone the Governor call:(717) 787-2500.
It seems to come down to some key issues that can not be found outside the Catholic church. First there is a customization of faith among evangelicals. One simply chooses which protestant denomination fits their own desires and beliefs and they make that choice void of any certainty. If one can not find a fit, it's perfectly fine to start your own church. In Roman Catholicism, when Rome speaks on an issue, that's it. Like it or not, we are to submit to authority. That absolute certainty does not exist outside the Catholic church. There is a Protestant reliance on personal and fallible interpretation of scripture that leads to all kinds of interpretive diversity. Now we have mainstream churches accepting homosexuality, divorce, female pastors, all things that have consistently condemned by the Catholic Church. Also lacking is the entire history of the Christian church and not just the period since the Reformation. This desire to be connected with church history and learn what the early Christians believed leads many to Rome. It's not hard to see the total lack of unity among Protestants and many are disturbed by the divisions and countless denominations within Protestantism. Peter Carm once described Protestants as "one long, continuous line of protesters protesting against their fellow protesters, generating thousands of denominations, para-churches, and 'free churches,' which are simply one-church denominations." When one lacks the authority of the Catholic Church, they are left trying to sort through the numerous interpretations of Protestant pastors and theologians. This Protestant leaders serve to bring confusion and deepen the divide between all Christians. Many Catholic converts believe they have found their authority in the Catholic Church's Magisterium. Doctrinal issues are no longer a matter of debate as the Church defines belief with over 2000 years of study and it does so infallibly through the Holy Spirit and not mere man, something no other denomination can claim.
Another common trait you find, is most converts end up in Catholicism as a result of massive amounts of reading and research. The topics of certainty, history, unity, and authority are causing some from the evangelical camp to convert to Roman Catholicism. Christians were not meant to be separated from each other. For an evangelical to be come Catholic requires a massive shift in theology and a separation of their own desires, however those who truly seek the fullness of the faith will blessed with truth and the strength to do so.
Ok, Marty has said it before on the air but on Monday's show we really got into it. He said "Mary is not the mother of God". Even in the most clinical sense she most certainly is! If you believe Jesus is God, and Mary gave birth to him, then a women who gives birth is the"mother" of that child. We had a Catholic caller who was confused and it pained my to hear Marty explain something he does not accept or understand to this man. Let me try to explain the truth here:
Mary was a young Jewish girl and she marked the beginning of salvation of ALL mankind. She was born without original sin by the grace of God and was chosen to be the "perfect vessel" for Christ. Now I am not saying that God did not exist before Jesus was born, but Mary gave birth and is the mother of God in the human flesh. How could Mary give birth to God? Remember we are told "For nothing is impossible with God."
There are several scriptural, biblical references that tell us Mary is the Mother of God. But so often is the case, some only turn to scripture when it support their view.
Luke 1:43 Elizabeth asks, "But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
Luke 2:33 referring to the child Jesus, "The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him." Mary is aging called "mother".
This goes back to a deeper issue of dismissel of Mary's role in the salvation of the world. Mary tells us in scripture Luke 1:48 "From now on all generations will call me blessed". The special honor afforded Mary by the Catholic Church is sometimes a bit confusing to those outside the church. We love, honor, and pay tribute to Mary. We lovingly pray to her; prayers of honor, tribute, hope and petition her to pray for us. However we do not worship her. We do not place above Jesus. We call on her as our Mother. The most common prayer to our Blessed Mother is the "Hail Mary". It is taken directly from the gospel. Beginning in Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel approaches Mary to announce the birth of Christ and greets her by saying "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." Later in the gospel, in verse 42, Mary pays a visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The next portion of the prayer is derived from the joy of Elizabeth as expressed to Mary, the mother of her Lord. "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." The last part of the prayer was added by the church as a tribute and petition to the Holy Mother.
In a society where we honor people of achievement with Academy Awards, Emmys, the Heisman Trophy, Nobel Prizes, Commendation Letters, Catholics are shamed for doing just the same for Mary but ask yourself: Why Would One Find It Unacceptable Or Inappropriate To Pay Tribute To The Mother Of God?
The Reformation left behind much of the rich history, tradition, and heart of the church. For example, people often misunderstand Saints. We often ask the Saints to pray for us and look over us in times of special need. The Saints also provide us with wonderful role models for living this lifetime in Christ. Make no mistake about it. We only worship the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. But we often appeal to others in heaven to help us and watch over us. This relationship, know as the Communion of Saints, is an example of how we are all children of God. Haven't you ever appealed to a member of the family for help? Why would you consider severing your relationship with them after they have passed on. For if there are in heaven they have eternal LIFE and are not dead. Mary, and all the saints in heaven, are members of our family in Christ. We pray for them, and in turn ask them to pray for us.
If you seek to be a Christian, you can not dismiss Mary and refuse to honor her role. Once again we set aside essential elements of faith and turn to misinterpretations of scripture to form false beliefs and continue the confusion.
Mary is the Mother of Jesus.
With an enlarged 55-45 Republican majority in the Senate, conservatives expect to make gains on legislation that has been approved by the House but has foundered in the Senate.
First on the list is the passage of the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, which was introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and co-sponsored by 26 other senators, including Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
During a trial challenging the federal ban on "partial birth abortion" Dr. Kanwaljeet S. Anand, testified that his research showed that fetuses feel pain as early as 20 weeks after fertilization. But there is broad debate in the medical community over the point at which fetuses might feel pain. Brownback's legislation would require a doctor performing an abortion 20 weeks after conception to notify the pregnant woman that her fetus could feel pain. If she goes forward with the abortion, the doctor then would be required to offer anesthesia for the fetus. It provides another step for a women to consider what she is doing.
Also on the radar is the Child Custody Protection Act. This measure would make it a criminal offense for any adult to circumvent state parental notification laws by transporting a minor across state lines for an abortion. A number of Republican lawmakers are ready to reintroduce legislation that would suspend for six months the use of RU-486, while directing the Government Accountability Office to investigate the process used by the Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug during President Bill Clinton's tenure. Along with the ban on human cloning, which would include prohibiting the therapeutic cloning of human embryos for research, there is hope some real progress will be made. While there are no guarantees that any of the abortion legislation stalled in Congress would pass with the stronger Republican majority, the voices are getting louder and even those in favor fo abortion rights admit a women's right to have an abortion is in more jeopardy now than at any other time since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.
Tribune Review - Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Ceraso said when the county's 2005 budget is introduced later this week, it will likely include a property tax increase.
Beaver County Times - According to their preliminary budgets, Chippewa and Brighton plan to raise taxes by 3 and 2 mills, respectively, in 2005. Meanwhile, their assessed valuation for 2005 has rocketed.
Do I hear a train coming?????
BREAKING NEWS: Paul Volcker, the man charged with the task of investigating the UN oil-for-food scandal, has by his association with the Montreal-based Power Corporation, a potential conflict of interest as chief scandal investigator. Volcker has held a seat on Power Corporation’s international advisory board. Wealthy Canadian businessman and Power Corporation founder, Paul Desmarais Sr. is a major shareholder and director in TotalFinaElf, the largest oil corporation in France, which has held tens of billions of dollars in contracts with the deposed regime of Saddam Hussein. France has been identified as one of the chief partners-in-corruption in the scandal. Annan, the secretary general can hardly expect the outside world to have any confidence in Volcker as a credible independent investigator. Why should anyone concerned about the billions of dollars that ended in the private bank accounts of Saddam Hussein take his investigations seriously?
Last April, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan authorized Volcker to investigate the oil-for-food program.Former American fugitive Marc Rich was a middleman for several of Iraq's suspect oil deals in February 2001, just one month after his pardon from President Clinton, according to oil industry shipping records. And a U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts. A U.S. criminal investigation is looking into whether Rich, as well as several other prominent oil traders, made illegal payments to Iraq in order to obtain the lucrative oil contracts. The U.N. oil-for-food corruption scandal only continues to grow. We will keep you up to date!
Sen. Norm Coleman is saying that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan should step down because "the most extensive fraud in the history of the U.N. occurred on his watch. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, as long as Mr. Annan remains in charge, the world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that took place under the U.N.'s collective nose. Mr. Annan was at the helm of the U.N. for all but a few days of the oil-for-food program, and he must, therefore, be held accountable for the U.N.'s utter failure to detect or stop Saddam's abuses"
The humanitarian oil-for-food program, which began in 1996, allowed Iraq to trade oil for food, medicine and other necessities. Two weeks ago, Coleman's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said it had uncovered evidence that Saddam Hussein's government raised more than $21.3 billion in illegal revenue by subverting U.N. sanctions against Iraq, including the oil-for-food program.
So why is does this guy still have his job? Because the members of the board, Security Council members China, Russia and France, have all benefited from Saddam being in power. THEY WERE ALSO AGAINST ANY MILITARY ACTION BY THE U.S. IN IRAQ. It's easy to see why. It meant the loss of millions of illegal dollars to them. SO our troops are fighting and being killed for the greed of these countries.
It was also discovered that the son of the secretary general, Kofi Annan, worked for a company being investigated in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal for four years longer than he first admitted. The oil-for-food scheme allowed Iraq, which was under UN sanctions, to export limited quantities of oil in return for food and medicine. It later emerged that Saddam Hussein diverted billions of dollars from the scheme to bribe officials.
It is my opinion that the entire U.N. is corrupted and can not be trusted with having our security or the best interests of any country in mind. They have therefore rendered themselves irrelevant and need to be dismantled. We can not continue to submit to a governing body who will base decisions and the will of the highest bidder.
I've always had my doubts when it comes to the UN. It's the whole "one world government" idea that scares me. The bible even warns us about it. You can not take countries with different cultures, values, religions and priorities and expect them all to just get along under the UN banner. Toss a bit of corruption into the mix and you have a dangerous situation. The recent revelations that have come to light only are astounding. From the corrupt oil for food program to the illegal sale of arms to Iraq. The only reason we know about any of this is because President Bush did what nobody thought he would do, he went into Iraq without UN approval to enforce UN declarations . So now we know the security of the US was being sold through the UN to the highest bidder what do we do? An organization has surfaced with a suggestion. Take the US out of the UN and hang an eviction notice on the front door of the UN. The are launching a TV campaign to push the idea. Maybe we could get Donald Trump to fire Kofi Annan on live TV. You can see the ad here.
Do you think the UN should be forced out of the US?
Part of the problem lies in demographics and the rapid growth of exurban communities. Young couples who can't afford suburban homes have moved to "edge" communities further from the cities. Those are filled with children, and to educate them the communities have to jack up property taxes to build new schools and hire teachers.
The changing demographics have combined with an unusual economic phenomenon: home prices climbing at double-digit rates in some areas. This would make homeowners happy, except that an increasing number of communities are now assessing property values every year.
Factor in changes in state budgets where many governors are still grappling with ways to close budget gaps. One way for them to cut expenses: Reduce funding to local governments.
This is happening once more, so even though in some areas they are actually reducing the mill rate (the multiple of property value used to determine residential taxes) property taxes are going up!
In many states, the tax bite is finally causing taxpayers to bite back. For example, in New Jersey, a grass-roots group, Citizens for Property Tax Reform, says it has 500,000 participants after 15 months of existence. The group's mission is to force a property tax reform "convention."
New Jerseyites are far from alone in their frustration. Other states struggling with the issue include Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Maine, and Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Some states are looking at the California model of capping property taxes so they rise only 2 percent a year. Others, such as Pennsylvania, are hoping to substitute the revenue from slot machines to hold down property taxes. Some are looking at the Michigan model: It sends all property taxes to the state, which redistributes money from rich communities to needy ones.
Many citizens, especially those on a modest fixed income, clamor for relief. In Schwenksville, Pa., retiree Arthur Fairclough watched his property taxes rise 9.8 percent last year. "It will eventually eat up my total Social Security. We have enough income to cover it now but I'm worried about the future."
Editors Note: Here's a thought "Stop spending more then you have and stop asking for more!"
Jenna Bisenius (FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS)
PCO Annex -- BHE Sector
APO AE 09348
Items needed are: Candy. The nurses say the injured folks like chocolate! Non perishable Snack food items ,Hygiene Items, Decks of Cards, DVD's T-Shirts/Sweats/Socks/Flip-flops,Notebooks, pens, envelops, Phone Calling cards. Even Save old magazines. Let's see is we help out those who serve us everyday.
Murphy's margin of victory in their rematch four years ago was a scant 699 votes, less than 1 percent of the total cast. O'Connor's move comes as City Council and the Murphy administration are wrestling with a state proposal that would give the city new taxing authority. As a member of the Rendell administration, O'Connor, like the governor, supported the plan, but he refused yesterday to be drawn into a discussion of that or any other issue likely to arise in the race.
The biggest question hanging over the Democratic maneuvering is whether Murphy will seek to hold onto his office. The mayor said that he has not made up his mind on a re-election bid. I lived in the city for a few years so I can speak first hand on this. Pittsburgh is a great city that is severely mismanaged in many ways. From union contracts, to corruption to high taxes it is the people who live there who shoulder the burden. Money the city did not have has been spent on things we did not need. I no longer live in the city so it is not up to me, but I suggest Murphy and O'Conner go open an Irish pub and the people elect someone who will solve the problems and not just change a name plate on the door.
UPDATE: Powerblog brought it to you first. Here is the offical announcement:
HARRISBURG, PA -- The Commonwealth Foundation, Pennsylvania's independent public policy research and educational institute, announced today that retiring State House of Representatives member Jeff Coleman (60th District) will join its staff as Vice President on January 1, 2005.
"Jeff Coleman's willingness to put principles and conviction ahead of political opportunity make him an effective leader and role model," said Matthew J. Brouillette, president of the Harrisburg-based think tank. "We are thrilled to enlist Jeff in the cause of promoting the brand of public service he represents in state government."
Coleman says his role as Vice President will allow him to play a "vocal and active role" in upcoming legislative policy debates. "The last four years have taught me that state government public policy is not driven by sound and proven ideas that will make Pennsylvania a better place to live, work, and raise a family," he said. "That must change if our commonwealth ever hopes to be leader among states once again."
"The Commonwealth Foundation is well positioned to equip lawmakers and citizens with the information and tools they need to bring about the reforms and changes in Pennsylvania state government that are necessary to revitalize our great state," said Coleman. "I look forward to advancing the same principles I ran on 4 years ago--limited government, economic freedom, and personal responsibility--with the premier organization known for championing real solutions and proven ideas."
In 2000, Coleman, a Republican, defeated a long time incumbent despite a heavy Democratic registration edge of 67 percent. An outspoken critic of tax hikes on Pennsylvania families and job creators, he was often cited as a "rising star" in the state's conservative movement. An aggressive campaigner, Coleman is widely credited with helping the Republican House Caucus expand its membership in Western Pennsylvania. In 2004 Coleman decided to retire from the House to pursue "a new venue of public service."
Coleman, 29, is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is a former radio news anchor and Apollo Borough Councilman. He is married to the former Rebecca Collins.