Archive for Religion

Followup: man charged with setting fire to Atlanta church

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Juan Carlos Ramirez, who was originally charged with disorderly conduct after being found naked outside a burning Byzantine Catholic Church in Atlanta over the weekend, has now been charged with arson:

Officials have not established a motive in Sunday’s fire at the Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church, but Juan Carlos Ramirez, 24, of Roswell, was charged with arson “as a result of the investigation and a subsequent confession,” Roswell Fire Department spokesman Paul Piccirilli said in an emailed statement.

A local news report can be seen below:

DoD gives Scientology federal funding for “detox” of Gulf War vets

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Annapolis Capital Gazette:

A detoxification program in Annapolis supported by the Church of Scientology is treating veterans suffering from chronic Gulf War-related conditions.
Treatments are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through a $633,677 grant issued in September 2010, according to Pentagon officials. The Annapolis office opened in January, Clinical Trial Coordinator Crystal Grant said.
Seven Gulf War veterans have completed the program and at least four plan to begin the regimen next year. One is currently undergoing detoxification, a treatment designed to rid the body of environmental toxins through exercise, sauna therapy and doses of vitamins.
The federal money was awarded to researchers at the University of Albany in New York state, with David O. Carpenter, the director of the school’s Institute for Health and the Environment, as the chief applicant and investigator.
Carpenter said the program is a “preliminary study” intended to find out if there is a scientific basis for the therapy developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard for the church’s detoxification program.
He said the study is the first of its kind to be done by “independent people … in a fashion that’s rigorous and objective.”

The program is also funded by a nonprofit headed by John Travolta, a noted Scientologist.

It sounds a lot like L. Ron Hubbard’s controversial Purification Rundown. More on that has been written by Tony Ortega and Daily Kos. Gulf War Illness has also been called Gulf War Syndrome.

Byzantine Catholic Church in Atlanta burned

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Before and After

AJC.com:

The Roswell Fire Department responded to the fire at the Epiphany Byzantine Catholic Church on Old Alabama Road around 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Parts of the church and about an acre of woods surrounding the building were in flames when firefighters arrived, according to Channel 2 Action News. The fire cause heavy damage to the building. A passerby spotted the fire and called 911, Channel 2 reported.

I would guess the leading suspect is already in custody. Juan Carlos Ramirez was arrested near the scene. It was reported that

Police told Channel 2 the man was “running around naked” and saying he either was Jesus or knows him. Ramirez had not officially been connected to the fire as of Sunday afternoon.

A nearby Orthodox church is letting Epiphany use their building for Masses.

From the church website:

Byzantine Catholics are in union with Rome. We share the same basic faith and the same sacraments; however, the way of expressing them differs. The Byzantine church is one of many Eastern churches, each with their own heritage of theology, liturgy and discipline developed with their own respective languages and ecclesiastical organizations.

The parish is part of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic.

UN blasts parental consent laws for abortion

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Catholic World News reports that:

The United Nations Population Fund has issued its annual State of World Population report.

The report decried barriers to adolescent “reproductive health” care, including laws that require parental consent for contraception or abortion. The report also lamented the influence of religious organizations in opposing “comprehensive sexuality education” and criticized religious leaders and parents for regulating “access to information and services.”

Parental consent laws in the U.S. Vary by state and leads to a situation where some states, like Maryland, require parental consent for a minor to use a tanning bed but not to have an abortion.

This story comes on the heels of reports that two other UN bodies, the World Health Organization and UNICEF, sterilized Kenyan women without their knowledge.

Pope Francis: Children have right to grow up with a father & mother

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Catholic News Agency

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that “the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.”

The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at the opening of the three-day international, interfaith colloquium entitled The Complementarity of Man and Woman, currently underway in the Vatican.

More from the pontiff:

“The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation,” the Holy Father continued, stressing the importance of marriage in the raising of children.

“Children have a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” he said.

The pope also seemingly criticized the gay “marriage” movement:

He also warned against being moved by political agendas. “Family is an anthropological fact, he said, which cannot be qualified “based on ideological notions or concepts important only at one time in history.”

Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had the following to say:

“We have this very beautiful idea, an image that the relationship between man and woman is an image of God,” he said. “In this sense, in the Catholic Church, the marriage between husband and wife is a Sacrament. This Sacramental issue is very important for us.”

The pope’s comments don’t fit the narrative the secular media has crafted about him to fit their agenda. Like his recent comments on abortion, they will either ignore them or misreport them.

Report: WHO/UNICEF sterilized Kenyan women without their knowledge

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Catholic World News:

The Catholic bishops of Kenya have revealed that young women have been sterilized without their knowledge as part of a vaccination campaign sponsored by UNICEF and the World Health Organization.

Over 2 million young women in Kenya have been vaccinated as part of the international campaign, which was promoted as a drive against tetanus. However, in October the Kenyan bishops expressed fears that the vaccine being administered to young women also contained a sterilizing agent. The bishops told the Fides news agency that “we are convinced it is a masked program of population control.”

Now tests has confirmed that the vaccine contains HCG, a hormone ordinarily produced by women during pregnancy. When HCG is taken prior to pregnancy, it causes the woman’s body to manufacture antibodies that will cause miscarriage in future pregnancies.

Testing multiple samples of the tetanus vaccine, Catholic health-care workers found HCG contained in every one. The tests were taken after health-care workers noticed that the vaccine was being administered differently to women of child-bearing age.

Of course, Kenyan officials deny it.

Is it a mortal sin for Catholics to vote for Anthony Brown?

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I will start by noting that I am not going to answer the question in the title. I am going to note what has been said about the subject by much more eloquent writers than me and let the reader decide. Additionally, Anthony Brown is a placeholder in the subject line, so if you’re not in Maryland, like I am, you should substitute any other pro-abortion politician on the ballot Tuesday.

I’ll begin by urging Catholics to make the sacrament of Reconciliation a regular part of their lives if it isn’t already. Before you go to confession you should do a good examination of your conscience. One online examination of conscience asks the person examining their conscience if they “supported or voted for a politician whose positions are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church.” I’ll also note that two smartphone apps used for examining your conscience, both Confession and Mea Culpa, include certain voting behavior among their lists of sins. Specifically, the Confession app asks the user if they have “supported or voted for a politician whose teachings are opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic Church.” The Mea Culpa app explicitly calls “voting for someone who is pro abortion” a Mortal Sin. (For anyone reading this who needs a quick primer on the definitions of mortal sin and venial sin, check out the very easy to read discussion at Catholicism for Dummies.)

I recently wrote the following:

In the document A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD wrote that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a mortal sin. Fr. Torraco also wrote that voting for a candidate who cites personal opposition to abortion while still voting for it would make the voter “an accomplice in advancing the moral evil of abortion.”

When none of the candidates for a particular office are completely pro-life, it’s necessary to choose the candidate that will do the most to promote a culture of life. There are many incremental steps that can be taken in Maryland to advance the pro-life cause. Otherwise, Maryland will continue to be a state where minors have to get parental consent to go to a tanning bed, but not to kill their unborn child.

Anthony Brown got a D from the Maryland Catholic Conference on this issue and told them:

I believe in a woman’s right to choose under Maryland law. This is a decision between a woman and her doctor.

He also told the conference he supports a discussion on physician assisted suicide, but that he voted against a ban on it as a legislator.

Brown is a Catholic but he has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. I previously discussed the obligations Catholic elected officials have on life issues in the primaries.

Yes, there are other issues of importance to Catholics, but, as Saint John Paul II noted, the right to life is “the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost.”

If you already voted for a candidate who supported abortion in early voting, whether here in Maryland or another state, you should also examine your conscience as well.