India – Not safe to be Christian? Catholic Forum Report on Indian Persecution 2015

January 21, 2016 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead, Persecution

Persecution-2015

India Rises to No. 17 on Open Doors Global Persecution List 2015

CSF Documents Over 200 Major Incidents of Persecution & Hate Speech

Catholic Forum Documents Unprecedented Spike in Indian Christian Persecution

Maharashtra is Hindutva capital. MP is Rogue State No. 1 with Telengana and UP following

Minimum 7 Pastors Killed. 8,000 Victims. Women & Children Targeted. An Incident Per Day

Top 10 States include – Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha,  Rajasthan & Delhi

The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), the Mumbai based minority and human rights activist NGO has in its annual report for 2015 highlighted the quantum leap in persecution cases during the last year. Justice Michael Saldanha, retired judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts released The CSF Indian Christian Persecution 2015 Report, brief info of which is as below.

Joseph Dias, CSF founder and general secretary, pointed out that USA and the European Union have placed embargoes on nations that failed to protect minorities and endangered religious liberty, while asking the following questions:

1. Is any other religion persecuted as much in India, as Christianity – which is the world’s largest religion?
2. Why is it that PM Modi’s government is unconcerned about world opinion & allows persecution?
3. What would be the reaction from other faith followers, if their community was treated as such?

Persecution Across Over 23 States

8 Believers Paid with Their Lives for Christ.

1 & 2. In Odisha, a Christian couple was killed by CRPF (July) after being branded as Maoists,
3. In Odisha again, Jeejo, a missionary was killed (August) by Maoists after complaints from other locals.
4. In Chhattisgarh, an Evangelist Sadavir of the Koya tribe was attacked & killed (January) for his faith by fundamentalists.
5. Pastor Krupaiah in Telengana was brutally assaulted died (July) of internal wounds, which finally proved fatal.
6. Pastor Martin Luther from Tamil Nadu was attacked (September) and killed, while his wife sustained serious injuries.
7. Pastor Saji Panikar in Maharashtra was found killed (September), with his wife saying he was murdered.
8. Pastor Chamu Hasda Purty was shot dead (October) in Jharkhand, reportedly for his evangelical activities in the area.

* Minimum 365 – An Incident per Day.
Reports from almost every state in the union have come in. In the last year we could highlight at least 200 major instances of being targeted for being Christian and an equal number is estimated to be unreported. There is agreement among all those working on Freedom of Faith or Religious Liberty issues that 2015 is the peak so far. The Secular & Minority NGOs, Persecution Christian Watchdogs like CSF, Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Clergy from all Denominations and Evangelical / Pentecostal / Independent Churches agree that freedom of religion has never been so much under threat, as presently in the country.

* Madhya Pradesh Tops as Rogue State.
The sheer numbers and all pervasive nature of anti-Christian violence reports coming in from almost all districts and across a wide spectrum of persecution categories as mentioned below, notoriously qualifies Madhya Pradesh for the most persecuting state top slot. The anti-conversion law was amended in spite of there being no issue arising out of religious conversions to warrant it. The punishment for forcible or fraudulent conversions was increased to more that one-year of rigorous imprisonment and also cash fines. This has served as a signal and pretext to the Hindutva foot-soldiers that the BJP state government wanted the needful to be done.

* Spike in Anti-Christian Violence Against Women.
The CSF had drawn world attention in March 2008 to the sad plight of nuns, whose social work is often labeled as conversion activity. It was when Sr. D’mello and others were targeted by Hindutva forces in rural Maharashtra and CSF had taken up the issue. Thereafter in August 2008, we witnessed rape of nuns and women during the Odisha riots. The widows and children left behind by those martyred for the faith tell heart-wrenching stories. 2015 saw at least 3 nuns raped or molested and many of women stripped, two of whom were pregnant and lost their babies, besides hundreds being beaten up brutally. The year had instances of their children not being spared either.

* Maharashtra – The Maximum Potential Hindutva Lab.
The state has emerged as the Hindutva capital of India. A pastor was reported killed. Even rationalists have not been spared and shot in cold-blood. In Pune over 2015 end, almost 1,60,000 Hindu hardliners, all dressed in khaki shorts, white shirts and black hats, put on a massive show of strength at an elaborate rally. VHP organized jagran (awareness) programs in 45 district capitals and places like Satara, Aheri in Gadchiroli, Amravati and Bhandara. In July 2015, a private member bill was admitted, seeking an anti-conversion law. The mover, BJP legislator Atul Bhatkhalkar said there were several places in Maharashtra, where conversions were being carried out forcibly or by offering bribes.  Swami Narendra Maharaj claims to have recently re-converted around 1,800 tribal Christians back to Hinduism.

* Telangana & UP in Top 3 States where Christians are Persecuted.
A pregnant Telangana believer lost her 4 month old child, as she was beaten until she bled from her genital region and the state is noted for targeting Christian women. In UP churches have been desecrated with a dog’s chain put around one of the statues, while reports of reconversions continued. In both states there was a marked increase in violence, with Easter, Christmas and Sunday Worship services being targeted. Many pastors are known to have been beaten brutally and a cemetery near Meerut containing Briton graves was also not spared. Schools and institutions were also attacked, with complaints of the police acting on false complaints.

* Top 10 – Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Odisha & Delhi.
In Tamil Nadu, a pastor and his family was attacked by armed persons, resulting in his death and wife being hospitalized with grievous injuries. In Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, pastors and believers were killed too. In Haryana, a cleaner lost his job in a government primary health center, burial of a Christian was prevented and the Hisar Believer’s Church was demolished. In Delhi, churches were vandalized around the new year, 200 Christians including nuns and priests were arrested and pastors were assaulted. In Odisha, there was little hope of justice to  2007 / 08 riot victims and in the central India states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, Christians continued to held under anti-conversion laws and socially boycotted. In many places, Christian worship was not possible. In Rajasthan, Christian families had to flee villages, police participated in persecuting believers, Christians were forced to worship idols and Bibles / religious literature were confiscated.

* Ghar Wapsi Goes Underground. Bahu Lao, Beti Bachao.
Anti-Conversion Laws, Foreign Missionaries etc.The reconversion to Hinduism pogroms continued unabated, but without media glare as we received reports from states like AP, MP, Assam, Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, etc. In at least 5 districts of West Bengal, the VHP responded with a ‘Reverse Love Jihad’ where it promoted Hindu grooms getting married to Christian and minority women after conducting Shuddhikaran (purification) ceremonies. BJP MPs (Tarun Vijay – Rajya Sabha and Yogi Adityanath – Lok Sabha) are to place a private member’s anti-conversion bill, which has been supported by the BJP top brass. 7 Indian states have already passed such laws. Foreign missionaries who have spent several decades in service of the poor and sick are being denied visa extentions. There is also a possibility of a national anti cow-slaughter and uniform civil code legislation.

Christian Victims Profile

- 8 Killed. Minimum 8000 Victims
- 4000 Women with 2000 Children Involved
- 500 + Clergy & Community Leaders Targeted

Cross Section of Over 200 Major Incidents Spread

States 2015 2014
Madhya Pradesh 29 23
Telangana 20
Uttar Pradesh 19 12
Jharkhand 11 2
Tamil Nadu 12 5
Chhattisgarh 21 19
Delhi 10 5
Haryana 8
Odisha 14 13
Karnataka 16 14
Kerala 10 9
West Bengal 7 2
Andhra Pradesh 6 *
Maharashtra 6 2
Rajasthan 5
Goa 4 2
Bihar 5 4
Punjab 3 1
Assam 2
Gujarat 2 1
Arunachal Pradesh 1
Himacal Pradesh 1
Kashmir 1
Total 213 120


Hate Speech Samples

There was a motive behind the service Mother Teresa provided to the poor — to convert them to Christianity.
* Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief

The 1857 war of independence, a communal war fought for religion and similar wars would be waged, if Christians did not stop conversions. The allegations of communal overtones in the gang rape of an elderly nun were a conspiracy of the church and that sexual exploitation of nuns was a Christian culture and not that of Hindus. The Pope is so worried about rape of nuns that he is promoting gay sex to stop it.
* Surendra Jain, VHP joint secretary

The Narendra Modi-led NDA government should award and provide legal and administrative protection to Hindus who attack churches across the country. Churches are no longer places of worship but factories for conversion of Hindus into Christianity. We would give awards and protection for Hindu youths who attack churches and marry Muslim girls.
* Munna Kumar Shukla, general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha

Muslims and Christians don’t have any right to stay here. So they would either be converted to Hinduism or be forced to run away from here. I will ensure that India is freed of Muslims and Christians by December 31, 2021. The enemies have tried many a time in the past to finish Hinduism. But every time, a Ram, Krishna and Chanakya came forward to finish them and restore the glory of Hinduism. I am also doing the same.
* Rajeshwar Singh, Dharma Jagran samiti, UP

The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilization so that they can’t increase their numbers
* Sadhvi Deva Thakur, vice president, All India Hindu Mahasabha

Hindu population will soon reach 125 crore through meaningful ‘Gharwapsi’
* Sadhvi Saraswati from MP

Wait for some time, a law will be passed in Parliament in which anyone indulging in cow slaughter and conversion will be punished with the death sentence. A Hindu woman must have at least four children. Give one to the army, another to us religious leaders and teachers.
* Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from UP

The Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi was a British agent. India got freedom from the British rule not by spinning the charkha, but because of sacrifices made by brave sons like Veer Savarkar and Bhagat Singh. If Hindu women have four children, one can become an engineer, one can become a doctor, one can protect the borders and one can be devoted to the cause of social service.
* VHP leader, Sadhvi Prachi

The Hindu Mahasabha has ordered about five hundred Nathuram Godse (killer of Mahatma Gandhi) statues from artists in Jaipur and plans to install them in the premises of temples across India.
* Mahasabha leader to media

We will install Gauri-Ganesh statues in every mosque, if given permission.
* Yogi Adityanath, BJP MP from UP

The government wants to deliver double-quick on the Bhagwad Gita lessons in school education — right from Class I to Class XII.
* Manohar Lal Khattar, Haryana CM

A mosque / church is not a religious place but is just a building that can be demolished any time. God does not live in mosques, but in temples.
* Subramanian Swamy, BJP leader

Persecution Categories

Reported 2015 attacks on Indian Christians are miniscule compared to the actual ground zero reality, where the CSF works. The reason is that activists fear the political resurgence of Hindutva forces that has made even mere mention of harassment, only worse. Most persecution goes unreported for various reasons. Often the police refuse to record it as such, as it would show them in bad light. For the media, it‟s not “news” and there are instances of the local media being biased or taking sides. Often, persecution goes unrecorded because the victims are too afraid to complain or a compromise is forced upon them by politicians. Persecution is also blamed on causes, other than religious – mental illness, drunkenness, economic, enmity, etc. The CSF has categorized the incidents as under:
A. Killed/Murdered/Death
B. Beaten/Assaulted/Manhandled
C. Women Beaten/Molested/Raped
D. Church Broken/Ransacked/Demolished/Shut Down
E. House Broken/Car/Bike/Belongings Destroyed
F. Worship Meeting Disrupted/Stopped
G. Pastors/Christians Arrested/Jailed
H. Hate Speech/Threats/Abuses
I. Foreign Missionaries Targeted
J. Others – Ghar Whapsi, etc.

Steep Rise of Hindutva in 2015

The year saw the RSS consolidate itself in almost every sphere of activity, with the BJP – one of its 38 ideological affiliates – preparing to strengthen its hold on the country’s polity. The BJP recently became the world’s largest political organisation with 10 crore BJP membership. The current estimate of 1.5 crore RSS membership is largely through its digital forays. Online membership requests  touched 7,000 a month in 2015 aggregating 85,000 last year. Shakhas are the smallest unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and it now has 51,330 RSS shakhas operating in 33,222 places. The Sangh Pariwar spread is near total with Kerala, having over 4,500 shakhas, the highest number in India, despite never having had a BJP government.

The RSS had many of its 700 mega rallies including one for Overseas Sanghites at Indore, with Lok Sabha (lower house in parliament) Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan inaugurating it. Over 750 delegates from 45 countries attended. The ‘NGO’ is very successful on social media too, with over 15 lakh ‘Likes’ on its Facebook page and 1.5 lakh followers on Twitter. “Their Facebook page has some of the best graphic designers,” says a youngster whose grandmother is with RSS. He says the organization has a network of WhatsApp groups and generates content for WhatsApp. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a major spawn of the RSS, is to construct temples in every village across the country. The target is to reach 1.25 lakh villages. It had been observing Ram Mahotsava has already reached 70,000-75,000 villages pan India. The RSS meetings also see the presence of prominent personalities from among police, media, science, judiciary, education, bureaucracy, armed forces, god-men and women, litterateurs etc.

Institutional Persecution

* Presidential Order of 1950
* Anti-conversion Legislation
* Foreign Contributions Regulation Act
* Toothless and Non-Existent Minorities Commissions
* Various Sections of Indian Penal Code
* Schedule Tribal Benefits and Forest Act
* Finance and Government Schemes
* Bills and Commissions
* Land Allotment for Religious Needs
* Infringement of Minority Rights under Art 30

Appeal

* Sabka Vikas, Sabka Saath
* Political Representation
* Economic Upliftment
* Holy Land Subsidy
* Odisha Justice
* Enactments
* Finance

For more info, contact:

Justice Michael Saldanha (Retd)
Bombay & Karnataka High Courts

Joseph Dias, MA (Econ) +91 9769555657 [email protected]
Ex-Special Executive Magistrate, Govt of Maharashtra

Missionary spirit means giving witness, not proselytizing, pope says

December 10, 2015 by admin  
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Missionary spiritVatican City, December 3, 2015: Missionary spirit is manifested by preaching love, humanity and faith through one’s witness and not through proselytism, Pope Francis says.

Faith in Jesus Christ is shared first through “witness then with words,” the pope said Dec. 2 at his weekly general audience.

The pope dedicated his audience to reflecting on his trip to Africa Nov. 25-30 when he visited Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

He said that his first stop, Kenya, was a country “that represented the global challenge of our time” in presenting a “model of development” that cares for creation in a “balanced, inclusive and sustainable” way. However, he said, there also is a noticeable situation of “wealth and misery” existing side by side.

Global scandal

“This is a scandal, not only in Africa but also here, everywhere,” the pope said. “Coexistence between wealth and misery is a scandal, a shame for humanity.”

Stressing the need for giving witness to the “natural and spiritual wealth” of the country, the pope remembered the victims of the terrorist attack at Garissa University April 2 where Al-Shabaab militants targeted and executed 148 Christian students.

“Their blood is the seed of peace and brotherhood for Kenya, for Africa and for the whole world,” the pope said.

An example of the fruits of such a witness was reflected in the history of Uganda, the second leg of his trip, where the memory of the 19th-century Catholic and Anglican martyrs is still strong. Pope Francis thanked the catechists, charitable organizations and the youth of the country who “protect the gift of hope and seek to live according to the Gospel and not according to the world; going against the current.”

The pope said that the final stop of his trip, the Central African Republic, took him to “the heart of Africa” and it was the primary reason for his visit given that it “is a country that suffers so much.”

The early opening of the Holy Door at the cathedral of Bangui, he said, was done as “a sign of faith and hope for that people, and symbolically for the whole African population who are most in need of rescue and comfort.”

Pope Francis said that the final Mass at the Bangui stadium was “wonderful” and marveled at the sight of so many young people.

He also expressed his admiration for the work of missionaries in Africa, men and women “who have left everything” for the Gospel. Speaking off-the-cuff, the pope recalled meeting an 81-year-old Italian nun along with a 3-year-old girl who called her “nonna” (grandma). Both made a harrowing trip to Bangui for the papal visit via canoe.

The nun, he said, told him that she works as a nurse in the Congo and went on to become an obstetrician, helping to deliver over 3,000 babies.

“That is how missionaries are, they are courageous,” the pope said. “Like this nun there are many, so many nuns, so many priests, and so many religious who ‘burn up’ their lives to announce Jesus Christ. It is beautiful to see this! It is beautiful!”

The pope appealed to all young people, calling on them to reflect on their vocation and “to not exclude the possibility of becoming a missionary” and to preach with their lives, not by proselytizing.

“Those who are looking for something else are the ones that [proselytize],” he said. “Faith is preached first through witness then with words — but slowly.”

- cns

79% of evangelicals see violence in middle east as sign end times are near

December 8, 2015 by admin  
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Christian flee the killing fields of the Middle EastWashington, December 5, 2015: Nearly eight out of 10 Evangelicals say they believe the ongoing violence in the Middle East is an indication that the rapture is on the horizon, a new survey released Friday shows.

Research conducted by the Brookings Institute’s Center for Middle East Policy on Americans’ attitudes toward the Middle East and Israel found that 79 percent of Evangelicals say they believe “that the unfolding violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer.”

The survey, which compiled a national sample of 875 adults and an oversample of 863 self-identified Evangelicals with a margin of error between plus or minus 3 to 4 percent, found that only 43 percent of non-Evangelical Christians believe that terrorism in the Middle East is indicative of the apocalypse.

“These numbers are very striking on the end of days theology that these respondents claim motivate them,” Politico editor Susan Glasser said during a panel discussion after the release of the survey at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Some of these numbers are really stark,” she added. “I mean, the percentage of American Evangelicals, according to your survey, who believe the end of times is nigh, is kind of eye popping, at least for secular America or blue America.”

The poll also found that 72 percent of Christians and 81 percent of Evangelicals believe that Christ will eventually return but are not sure when that will happen, while 5 percent of Christians and 12 percent of Evangelicals believe that Christ will return during their lifetimes.

Additionally, 75 percent of Evangelicals and 55 percent of Christians who say that Christ will return believe that “things need to happen in Israel” before Christ returns.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of Evangelicals and 51 percent of non-Evangelical Christians believe that “for the rapture or Second Coming to occur, it is essential for current-day Israel to include all of the land they believed was promised to biblical Israel in the Old Testament.”

With the Islamic State terrorist organization asserting in February that Muslims will continue to behead all non-Muslims until Jesus returns to slay the Antichrist and ensure that Islam prevails over all the Earth, a question was posed to the panel on whether IS’ brand of Sunni eschatology had any overlap with Christian eschatology.

“There is a big gap between that viewpoint and those expressed by a broader segment of our society,” Glasser responded. “Just because there are some resemblance between that apocalyptic rhetoric and the apocalyptic rhetoric of the Islamic State as it takes territory and justifies that with ideology in Syria and Iraq, I don’t see those things as being meaningfully ressemblent.”

When asked to name a “world leader you admire most,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the world leader most commonly listed by Evangelicals. With 16 percent of Evangelical respondents naming Netanyahu, former United States President Ronald Reagan was the second-most listed by Evangelicals with 11 percent.

Although two out of three Americans believe that Israel has “too much influence” on U.S. politics, 39 percent of Evangelicals say Israel has “too little influence” on politics. Thirty-eight percent of Evangelicals say Israel has the right amount of influence on politics.

Although only 26 percent of Americans say that a political candidate’s position on Israel matters “a lot” to them, a candidate’s position on Israel matters “a lot” to 55 percent of American Evangelicals.

Shibley Telhami, the nonresident Brookings senior fellow who conducted the survey and issued the report, told the audience that Evangelicals weren’t always so supportive of Israel and the Jews.

“I look at the history of American Evangelism and, really, I am not talking about the history from the 19th century, but the 20th century, and I find that groups that were the base for which Evangelism grew had completely different positions on Israel, didn’t rank Israel as high as priority, didn’t have positive views of Jews,” Telhami explained. “All of that changed dramatically, principally in the 1960s and ’70s. In order for you to understand why this is important, you have to look at that period. That is the period in which [Israel] arises as important in that segment of the population.”

- christian post

Tim Tebow dumped by Fmr. Miss Universe Olivia Culpo over sex?

December 6, 2015 by admin  
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WaitU.S, December 1, 2015: While abstaining from sex until marriage isn’t a popular choice among most celebrities, former N.Y. Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has for years publically professed that he’s saving himself for marriage.

Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo and Tebow started dating in September after being set up by a mutual friend, according to Us Weekly, but their relationship was short lived.

“Tim’s super into her,” a source told Us magazine just two months ago. Tebow was released by the Philadelphia Eagles as No. 3 quarterback at the beginning of the season, and it was around that time he and Culpo first started dating.

Culpo was previously in a two-year relationship with singer Nick Jonas but after their split in June, Culpo, former Miss USA and Miss Rhode Island, linked up with Tebow.

The Daily News broke the story about the split on Thanksgiving Day, citing that it was because of Tebow’s stance on saving sex for the confines of marriage.

“He was really into her,” a source close to the model told the New York newspaper. “He was sending her love letters and cute notes and professing his love for her.”

“She had to break up with him because she just couldn’t handle it,” the source added. “He still hits her up, but she just can’t deal with the sex thing. He’s pretty adamant about it, I guess.”

According to his own admission, Tebow is waiting for God’s chosen mate. When the young athlete was asked during a press conference by reporter Clay Travis if he was saving himself for marriage? Tebow responded: “Yes, I am.”

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has also stated that he and his girlfriend, singer Ciana Harris, won’t be having sex unless or until they are wed.

Wilson was ridiculed by many in the secular media after he stated at Rock Church in San Diego, California, that he and Ciara agreed to abstain from sex. “We’re not going to be perfect, by any means. But He’s anointed both of us and He’s calling for us to do something special.”

Actress Meagan Good also followed the biblical ordinance of intimacy by waiting until her marriage to DeVon Franklin before having sex. TV star Tamera Mowry-Housely from the hit shows “Sister Sister” and “Tia & Tamera” hung in there three years until her wedding day as well. In addition, famous Christian actor Kirk Cameron is also vocal about keeping his relationship pure until marriage.

According to an E! News insider, Tebow’s recent split had “nothing to do” with his strong convictions to remain abstinent. “They are still friends and will remain to be,” the insider maintained.

- christian post

Pope tells Bartholomew I that the necessary conditions for the restoration of unity between Catholics & Orthodox exist

December 3, 2015 by admin  
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Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew IVatican City, November 30, 2015: Pope Francis sent Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I a message as part of the traditional meeting of delegations for the feast day of their respective patron saints, Saints Peter and Paul on 29 June in Rome and Saint Andrew on 30 November in Istanbul.

For the pontiff, “there is no longer any impediment to Eucharistic communion,” and progress “towards the full communion” can “draw inspiration from the gesture of reconciliation and peace by our venerable predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras I,” who lifted the mutual excommunications of 1054.

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, delivered Francis’ message as the head of the Holy See delegation. The pope also sent the patriarch his greetings from Bangui, Central African Republic.

“While not all differences between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were brought to an end, there now existed the conditions necessary to journey towards re-establishing the ‘full communion of faith, fraternal accord and sacramental life which existed among them during the first thousand years of the life of the Church’ (Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration, 7 December 1965). Having restored a relationship of love and fraternity, in a spirit of mutual trust, respect and charity, there is no longer any impediment to Eucharistic communion, which cannot be overcome through prayer, the purification of hearts, dialogue and the affirmation of truth. Indeed, where there is love in the life of the Church, its source and fulfilment is always to be found in Eucharistic love.  So too the symbol of the fraternal embrace finds its most profound truth in the embrace of peace exchanged in the Eucharistic celebration.

“In order to progress on our journey towards the full communion for which we long, we need continually to draw inspiration from the gesture of reconciliation and peace by our venerable predecessors Paul VI and Athenagoras I. At all levels and in every context of Church life, relations between Catholics and Orthodox must increasingly reflect the logic of love that leaves no room for the spirit of rivalry. Theological dialogue itself, sustained by mutual charity, must continue to examine carefully the questions which divide us, aiming always at deepening our shared understanding of revealed truth. Motivated by God’s love, we must together offer the world a credible and effective witness to Christ’s message of reconciliation and salvation.

“The world today has great need of reconciliation, particularly in light of so much blood which has been shed in recent terrorist attacks. May we accompany the victims with our prayers, and renew our commitment to lasting peace by promoting dialogue between religious traditions, for ‘indifference and mutual ignorance can only lead to mistrust and unfortunately even conflict’ (Common Declaration, Jerusalem 2014).

- asianews

70% of women who get abortions identify as Christians, survey finds

November 30, 2015 by admin  
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Pro-LifeU.S, November 25, 2015: Over 40 percent of women who have had an abortion say they were frequent churchgoers at the time they ended their pregnancies and about a half of them say they kept their abortions hidden from church members, new LifeWay Research shows.

In a survey released Monday that was sponsored by the pregnancy center support organization Care Net, researchers from the Christian research group LifeWay found that about 70 percent of women who had an abortion self-identified as Christians, while 43 percent say they attended a Christian church at least once per month or more at the time they aborted their child.

The survey, which interviewed 1,038 respondents who’ve all had abortions, found that 20 percent of the respondents attended church at least once a week at the time of their first pregnancy termination. Six percent said they attended church more than once per week, while about 54 percent said they rarely or never attended a church.

As a majority Christian churches do not support aborting a child, only 7 percent of women said they discussed their abortion decision with anyone at church, while 52 percent said no one at their church knew about their abortion. Additionally, 76 percent of them say that the church had no influence on their decision to go through with the abortion.

“I’m not surprised but I don’t think that necessarily reflects anything bad about churches,” Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life organization that organizes an annual pro-life rally in Washington D.C., told The Christian Post Wednesday.

“That would be fantastic if she went to a church member but the reality is that they know often that they are not doing what’s right, so they are not going to go [to someone] who is an expert in morality to find that out,” Mancini added. “They want somebody to tell them that it’s OK and they are not going to hear that from a church, at least not most churches.”

The survey also found that 64 percent of respondents feel that members of the church are more likely to gossip about their pregnancy or abortion consideration rather than actually help them understand their pregnancy options.

While weighing their abortion decisions, 36 percent said they expected or experienced judgemental reaction from a church, while 26 percent said they expected or experienced condemnation from the congregation.

Only 16 percent said they expected or experienced a “caring” reaction from the church, while 14 percent said they expected or experienced a helpful reaction.

- christian post

Justin Bieber’s tour being pegged megachurch service

November 29, 2015 by admin  
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Justin BieberU.S, November 26, 2015: Singer Justin Bieber stands on stage during a concert in Oslo October 29, 2015. Canadian pop singer Bieber, who made a triumphant return to the European stage at the MTV Europe Music Awards in Milan on Sunday, abruptly canceled his concert in Oslo on Thursday night after performing just one song.

Leading up to and since the release of his new album Purpose, Justin Bieber has become quite the unlikely evangelist. The A-List star has been sharing his spiritual journey with the world and exposing the mainstream media to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In a recent L.A. Times review, the headline of Bieber’s new tour read, “How Justin Bieber turned Staples Center into a megachurch.”

The reviewer described his experience at the Justin Bieber: Purpose World Tour as a pop concert – movie premiere – skateboarding demonstration and a church service. He said the multi-purpose arena in Downtown Los Angeles was transformed as the 21-year-old singer sung through some of his older and newer hits.

To some it was probably no surprise because God has been the center of Bieber’s conversations lately, but the journalist did not expect to hear about the singers deep love for Jesus at the sold-out venue. “Between the skateboarding and the singing, though, Bieber sat on a stool next to Judah Smith, the man described as his pastor, and more or less preached,” L.A. Times reporter Mikael Wood wrote.

“He talked about the importance of maintaining a positive spirit and surrounding himself with encouraging people. He credited his connection with God for helping him to get back on his feet after a string of widely publicised tabloid troubles. And when a fan in the audience — one of a dozen or so selected by the singer’s team for a question-and-answer session — asked if he had any advice on how to get through a romantic breakup, he demurred, flashing a bit of the humility that every religious leader knows is crucial in establishing a bond with one’s flock,” the reporter continued.

Bieber has often talked about his Seattle megachurch pastor-friend, Smith. According to Cosmopolitan the star’s Christian mother, Pattie Mallette, first introduced him to Smith. She has always made it a point to publicly state that she raised Bieber Christian.

During a recent interview with Billboard, the “What Do You Mean?” singer admitted that he did not always understand his faith and questioned his pastor a lot. “I’d come and listen to him and try to hear him out. I had all these questions and things were not adding up. ‘Well, why is this, then? How did all those animals fit on Noah’s Ark, then?’ That’s what it’s all about – not questioning it.”

Bieber and Smith have now built a rapport in which they send each other messages daily. “We text almost daily, and it’s not just me sending him Bible verses anymore,” Smith told Billboard, “He’ll send them to me, along with encouraging thoughts or an encouraging emoticon. I’m committed to helping him and protecting him, but it’s fair to say we’re there for each other.”

Along with the mainstream music magazine being exposed to Bieber’s religious experience, the Canadian also talked with Complex Magazine in another interview and declared that Jesus is the “greatest healer.”

Although the coverage on Bieber’s Christian faith is now making headlines news, the young pop star has often talked about God, even tattooing his body with religious symbols and writings since he was 16 years of age.

- christian post

Over 200 consecrated hosts stolen, desecrated in Spain art exhibit

November 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

stealing communion hostSpain, November 23, 2015: Critics of Pamplona’s city council say it deliberately attacked Catholics and broke Spanish law by using city property to display a sacrilegious art exhibit with more than 240 stolen consecrated Hosts.

The Spanish artist Abel Azcona stole more than 240 consecrated Hosts by pretending to receive Holy Communion at Mass. He then placed the hosts on the ground to form the word “Pederasty” in Spanish.

Photos of the theft of the Hosts and their placement on the ground are shown in a public art gallery in Pamplona. The city council there is governed by a Basque separatist coalition called Bildu.

The Christian Lawyers Association has filed a lawsuit against Azcona for violating Spanish law. It has said the city council must pull the display by Thursday or face legal action itself.

Maider Beloki, a councilwoman from the city’s Department for Culture, presented the exhibit, which is titled “Buried.” The Hosts were laid out on display until a private citizen removed them from the art exhibit.

Polonia Catellanos, spokesperson for the Christian Lawyers Association, told CNA that the association has filed a lawsuit against the author of the display for “an offense against religious sentiments and desecration.” The offenses are illegal under Articles 524 and 525 of the Spanish Penal Code.

“We’ve also given the Pamplona City Council until Thursday to close down the art exhibit. If they don’t do it, we’ll expand the lawsuit to include charges of complicity and necessary cooperation,” Castellanos stated.

The Christian lawyers’ group spokesman emphasized the group’s surprise that the city council would collaborate with this desecration.

“I don’t know why a city council, no matter of what political stripe, would allow something which is clearly a crime,” Castellanos said.

“In principle, public authorities such as the city council should be ensuring that crimes like these are not committed, not help commit them. The penal code is for everyone and if they don’t pull the exhibit before Thursday they’re going to have to answer for it,” he added.

If Abel Ascona has a criminal record, he could face a jail time in addition to a fine.

The Maslibres.org organization has planned a Nov. 23 demonstration at 7 p.m. in front of the Pamplona city council to protest the use of city property to host the exhibit.

“Making available space on city property that all the citizens of the provincial capital pay to maintain with their taxes makes the city government an accomplice in what can be considered the biggest attack on Catholics in recent years,” said Miguel Vidal, a Maslibres.org spokesman.

MasLibres.org called photographic exhibit “a flagrant attack against our freedoms and a spectacle reflecting the moral and creative poverty of the supposed artist.”

As of Monday evening, over 75,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking the city council to immediately and totally remove the exhibit.

- cna

Blacks & Gays lead with STD rates

November 25, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

STDU.S, November 24, 2015: Bill Donohue comments on a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014″:

After decades of the most progressive sex education programs in our  nation’s history, and the most massive distribution of free condoms ever undertaken, never has the rate of sexually transmitted diseases been worse. The rates among blacks and homosexuals are astonishing.

There was an overall increase of 2.8% in chlamydia rates between 2013 and 2014; the rate among blacks is 6 times the rate of whites. After reaching a historic low in gonorrhea rates in 2009, the figures for 2014 grew quickly; the rate among blacks is 10.6 times that of whites. Syphilis rates jumped so much that they are now at their highest rate since 1994; the rate among blacks is 5.4 times the rate among whites.

Blacks comprise roughly 13% of the U.S. population, yet they account for 55.4% of all gonorrhea cases and 50.6% of all syphilis cases. Even more disturbing are the rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea among blacks in the 0-4 age group: no racial or ethnic group comes close to them.

Primary and secondary syphilis is now a mostly gay disease. Although gays make up a mere 1.6% of the population, they account for 83% of all male syphilis cases. Throat and rectal infections are particularly high.

How did we get to this point? We have no problem waging war on promiscuity when it comes to food, alcohol, or cigarettes, but we refuse to treat sexual promiscuity the same way. We speak endlessly about the horrors of obesity, cirrhosis of the liver, and lung cancer, but when it comes to STDs, we get clinical.

It’s time we put political correctness aside and started having an honest conversation with everyone about the dangers of sexual promiscuity. Condoms are not the answer—restraint is. And no groups need to hear this message more than blacks and gays.

- catholic league

Megachurch Pastor Kong Hee jailed for 8 years for $35-million fraud

November 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

City Harvest ChurchSingapore, November 21, 2015: Singapore’s City Harvest Church founding pastor Kong Hee was sentenced Friday to eight years in jail, and five other church leaders were also given prison terms between 21 months and six years, over a $35-million fraud case they were involved in to fund the music career of Kong’s wife.

Former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han received a six-year sentence, deputy senior pastor Tan Ye Peng got five-and-a-half years, ex-finance manager Serina Wee got five years, and former finance committee member John Lam and former finance manager Sharon Tan received three years and 21 months respectively, according to Strait Times.

Kong and the other five were found guilty in October of using a management company, Xtron, as a conduit to financially support his wife, singer and fellow CHC pastor Sun Ho, and her planned U.S. album release.

The church leaders were found guilty of sham bond investing through the management company Xtron, which used the money to fund Ho’s career.

The judge chose not to impose the maximum sentences of up to 20 years as there was no evidence of “wrongful gain” by the defendants themselves.

The judge said Kong should be held most culpable as he was the overall spiritual leader and prime mover and driver of the church’s attempt to use his wife’s pop career to evangelize.

The public prosecutor had asked that 51-year-old Kong and other senior leaders be handed a prison sentence between 11 and 12 years.

Their sentences will begin in January.

The congregation supported their church leaders throughout the trial. The megachurch issued a statement after the sentencing and urged its members to pray for their leaders.

“We want to thank each and every one of you, our church members, for demonstrating such strength and unity throughout all these years, and particularly in these last few extremely difficult months. We ask you to remember and hold close to your heart the call of God upon City Harvest Church,” the statement, posted on the church’s website, said. “We have learned lately what it means to have faith, trust and rest in God — let us put what we have learned to practice. Let’s band together to fulfill the heavenly calling for us through CHC 2.0.”

“Each of them participated and functioned in their own way as crucial cogs in the machinery,” the judge said earlier while convicting the six. “They claim that they believed the Xtron bonds were genuine investments. They believed the Xtron bonds would bring CHC financial return. But on my evaluation of the evidence I consider that the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they did not hold that belief.”

Kong had argued that the church supported Ho only through its “Crossover” project, which was started in 2012 to spread the Gospel to people around the world through his wife’s music.

The judge, however, insisted that the “perceived success of Crossover was inflated,” and that millions of church funds went into Xtron, operating under the “unrealistic projection” that Ho’s planned U.S. album could sell more than 200,000 copies.

“It may be arguable that all of them thought they were not acting dishonestly to cause wrongful loss since no permanent loss was intended, but this was premised on their unquestioning trust and belief in Kong Hee and their confidence that the Crossover would succeed,” the judge added of the accused at the time of their conviction.

“Thus they convinced themselves that it was both morally and legally permissible to temporarily use the money from CHC’s funds when they knew it was not.”

- christian post

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