Saturday, April 30, 2005

Thousands celebrate Orthodox Easter in Jerusalem

Thousands celebrate Orthodox Easter in Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (AP) - A sea of flames illuminated Christianity's holiest shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, as thousands of pilgrims took part Saturday in the holy fire ceremony, a key event in the Orthodox Easter rituals.

The event passed peacefully despite plans by protesters to block the participation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Irineos I.

Demonstrators, who object to the Patriarch's alleged role in a controversial land deal, were kept away by the hundreds of Israeli police who set up barricades throughout the alleys leading to the Jerusalem holy site.

The shrine, marking the site where tradition says Jesus was crucified and buried, was filled with thousands of pilgrims. Hundreds more waited outside for the holy flames to emerge.

At the start of the ceremony, church leaders descended into the underground burial area. The faithful clutched their bundles of unlit candles and torches while waiting in the darkened church for a flame to emerge from the tomb.

Some Christians believe the flame appears spontaneously, as a message from Jesus that he has not forgotten his followers.

When church leaders, including Irineos, emerged with a lighted torch, a cheer arose, and the flames were passed around, illuminating the church within seconds.

Tensions were high ahead of the ceremony.

The Greek Orthodox Church is in turmoil over a deal in which the church reportedly leased prime property in disputed east Jerusalem to Jewish investors.

The alleged land deal is politically explosive because Israel claims all of Jerusalem, while Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Jewish land purchases in east Jerusalem are seen as bolstering Israel's claim to that section of the city.

In the past the ceremony has also been a flashpoint between different Orthodox denominations, who have argued over protocol at the ceremony.

About a dozen Greek and Armenian clergymen briefly scuffled over who would be first to emerge with the flames, but they were quickly pulled apart by Israeli police stationed inside the church.

Custody of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is shared by a number of denominations that jealously guard their responsibilities under a fragile network of agreements hammered out over the last millennia.

"Every year there is always tight security, but maybe this year it is even tighter because of the land deal," said Matthew Doll, 30, a pilgrim who waited outside the church.

Protesters had vowed to bar Irineos from the ceremony, but were kept away by the police, said Dimitri Diliani, the head of a Palestinian Christian coalition who have been spearheading the protests.

The reported deal has stirred huge anger among Palestinians who feel betrayed by the church.

At a rare news conference last month, Irineos told reporters he was unaware of the alleged transactions, and that he was not involved in any deal which was reportedly signed by Nikos Papadimas, the church financial officer who vanished three months ago.

Papadimas is wanted in Greece after Greek Orthodox Church officials in Athens accused him of absconding with church funds worth more than $1 million Cdn. His wife is wanted on separate charges of money laundering. Separately, a European arrest warrant has been issued against Papadimas, Greek officials said.

But as the flames emerged from the tomb, church bells pealed and tensions melted away.

"This is one of the most beautiful and spiritual experience of my life," said Jonathan Parish,42, of Boston. "I have dreamt of being in the presence of the holy fire for a long time," he said.

AP Photo, via Minor Clergy

Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Laurus

Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


"Let the heavens be glad as is meet, and let the earth rejoice; and let the whole world, visible and invisible, keep festival..."

In these Paschal days of spring, when nature is awakening from the snows of winter, these words of the Paschal canon become particularly meaningful. “Let every breath praise the Lord," God says through the mouth of King David. And “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth the work of His hands."

During these days, we sense with new strength that even inanimate, unconscious creation unceasingly offers up praise to its Creator.

But what of man, the reason-endowed crown of creation? The overwhelming majority of men have rejected their Creator, have perverted the divine gift of reason, turning it into something to advance their own glorification, and not the name of God.

We have been created to love and glorify the Lord willingly and consciously, as the Apostle Paul says: “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks" (I Thess. 5, 17-18).
Extending His great love toward us, to set aright what had been trampled underfoot, the Lord sent His only-begotten Son, Who has shown us that only through the voluntary bearing of our cross are we able to restore within ourselves the fallen image of man.
He came to adopt us, that we might become Christians, people of Christ, not only in name, but in deed, in our manner of life.

Water mingles with water, and oil with oil; and for us to become one with Christ we must become like unto Him.

And for this it is essential that we constantly uplift ourselves to Him in spirit, that we pray to Him, that we always remember Him, not only during Great Lent and Pascha, but continually.

And for this we must, from one year to the next, connect this Paschal joy to the next Paschal joy, until, by the mercy of God, we reach the eternal Pascha and enter into the never-ending joy of our Lord.

One may reduce the meaning of any given prayer of ours to the words of the Paschal canon: “Grant that we may truly partake of Thee in the never-waning day of Thy kingdom".

It is my earnest desire that the risen Lord grant this to all of us.

We greet our beloved archpastors, pastors, and our whole God-loving flock on these great and saving days of the radiant Resurrection of Christ.

Truly Christ is risen! Amen.

+Metropolitan Laurus
Pascha, 2005

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Conversions to Orthodoxy

There is an interesting article in today's Dallas Morning News about conversions to the Orthodox Church.

An Orthodox choice

Ancient faith gains believers from decidedly more modern churches

04:54 PM CDT on Friday, April 22, 2005

By ROBIN GALIANO RUSSELL / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

The Eastern Orthodox Church, as far removed from a nondenominational or evangelical congregation as you can get, is nevertheless attracting a growing number of converts who are drawn by the tug of an ancient faith.

Converts are trading in their PowerPoint sermons and praise bands for the ancient rhythms of a liturgy that hasn't changed in thousands of years – a pendulum swing from the casual, seeker-friendly services that have dominated contemporary evangelicalism.

Their numbers are still small compared to megachurch growth patterns, with 1.2 million Eastern Orthodox Christians in America and an estimated 10,000 in the Dallas area. But adherents say there's been a surge in people drawn to the faith.

The Antiochian Orthodox Church, the most evangelistic of the American Orthodox churches, has tracked conversions for several decades. The number of its churches in the U.S. has doubled in 20 years to more than 250 parishes and missions. About 80 percent of its converts come from evangelical and charismatic backgrounds, 20 percent from mainline denominations.

Many go on to become Orthodox priests. About 78 percent of clergy in the Antiochian Church are converts, up from 10 to 15 percent 25 years ago. Nearly half of the students in America's two largest Orthodox seminaries are converts.

Those who convert say they are drawn to an aesthetic beauty and spiritual mystery in Orthodox worship that are often lacking in their own Protestant services. It's like entering a time machine that allows congregants to worship as the early Christians did.

Not that it doesn't take some getting used to.

Orthodox services are based on the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which can last two hours or more. Congregants stand much of the time, while priests in vestments offer incense and chant the Psalms.

'Startlingly different'
Frederica Mathewes-Green, a former Episcopalian and author of Facing East: A Pilgrim's Journey into the Mysteries of Orthodoxy, said the experience of Orthodoxy was "startlingly different" from anything she'd known in Western churches. But it clicked when she saw it was directed toward God rather than her own emotional needs.

"It called us to fall on our faces before God in worship and to be filled with awe at his glory. I could never go back. I now find Western worship tedious and sentimental. To me, the contrast is jolting."

Ms. Mathewes-Green also prefers the Orthodox view of the Christian life as a healing process and a journey, rather than a one-time "sinner's prayer." She and her husband converted from a liberal Episcopal Church in 1993 and helped found an Orthodox church made up mostly of American converts.

"It's not about getting the sin-debt paid, the ticket punched and now you wait around to die and go to heaven. Orthodoxy is a transforming journey where every day the Christian is being enabled to bear more of God's light. That's exciting," she said.

Stan Shinn of Wylie, who was raised in the Assemblies of God denomination and attended Oral Roberts University, recalls feeling nearly overwhelmed when he stepped inside Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in North Dallas for the first time.

What looked good on paper – definitive answers to his search for early Christian worship and doctrine – had taken him to a "very bizarre and strange" church with icon-filled walls, heavy incense and Byzantine chanting.

"I felt like there was a gauntlet thrown down in front of me," he said.

He and his wife, Janine, and their three children converted in 2002 from their nondenominational church to the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Like the Shinns, those who convert are joining 350 million Orthodox Christians around the world.

First-century church
"Orthodox" means "right belief." The Orthodox Church traces its origins back to Jesus' apostles and first-century practice. The Roman Catholic Church makes that same claim, but the two branches of ancient Christianity differ in ecclesiastical hierarchy and a few doctrinal points.

Roman Catholics believe the pope has ultimate authority, while Orthodox Christians say their council of bishops is more in line with Scripture and church tradition. (The early church had five centers of Christianity – in Antioch, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Rome and Constantinople, which is now Istanbul.)

Orthodox Christians also disagree with the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which states that Jesus' mother was born without sin herself.

The two branches of ancient Christianity split in 1054.

Today, the Orthodox community is led by patriarchs and a hierarchy of bishops who must be celibate. Unlike Catholic clergy, Orthodox priests can marry before ordination.

Archbishop Dmitri, 81, leads the Archdiocese of Dallas and the South for the Orthodox Church in America. He grew up as Robert Royster in a Southern Baptist family in Teague, Texas, but converted to Orthodoxy as a teen because he wanted more out of faith.

"Everything was true, but it was not complete. It wasn't that I needed to repudiate it. I just went on to find the rest of it," he said.

The Orthodox consider themselves to have a bond with other Christians but believe they have a more accurate understanding of the faith. At a recent daylong festival in Dallas about Orthodox Christianity, Archbishop Dimitri encouraged people in other denominations to cling to the elements of the historic faith that their churches uphold, but added an invitation: "If you find there are holes at the bottom and you have to abandon ship, then head for one that's still afloat," he said.

In search of history
Conversion to Orthodoxy often begins with an intellectual quest, Mr. Shinn said. He began searching when he saw modern churches abandoning historic Christian tenets, such as the Nicene Creed, and stripping their sanctuaries of any religious symbolism to be more seeker-friendly.

"The elements of Christianity were disappearing before me like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. What kind of Christianity would my grandchildren inherit, and would the Gospel even be recognizable?" he said.

Studying church history and tradition raised even more questions: Why was the Apocrypha a part of Scripture until the Reformation? Did the early church really have bishops instead of the congregational rule that governs most Protestant churches? Why did they have such a high view of Communion and baptize infants?

And the ancient liturgies, chants, incense and sacraments used in Orthodox services, he discovered, were not taken from medieval Catholicism – as his Protestant upbringing taught him – but from early church worship.

"It all caused me to re-evaluate my core assumptions. Instead of me judging history, I decided I wanted history to judge me and tell me what should I practice," Mr. Shinn said.

The unchanging nature of the Orthodox Church is a strong draw for "serious Christians" who are tired of Protestant individualism yet disagree with the Catholic Church's teachings, said the Rev. Peter Gillquist, chairman of missions and evangelism for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

"It's charismatics and evangelicals, those diamonds in the rough who are looking to find Christ's church. There's a lot of people who love the Lord and his word, but they're still looking for his church."

Father Gillquist was a "card-carrying evangelical" himself before his conversion to Orthodoxy. He attended Dallas Theological Seminary and Wheaton College, and was a director for Campus Crusade for Christ, a nondenominational evangelistic campus organization.

Now he uses evangelistic strategies to promote Christianity and the Orthodox Church. Most who come into the church now are people from other denominations who are confused by the hundreds of Protestant denominations and disturbed by increasing theological liberalism, he said.

Ethnic flavor
But some who are ready to convert still think the church might be too exotic for them, said the Rev. Anthony Savas, pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas.

"They're afraid it's too ethnic. They wonder, 'What will my friends think?' " he said.

It's true that the Orthodox Church in America took on the ethnic flavors of 20th-century immigrants. The dozen Orthodox churches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area reflect these geographic and ethnic heritages. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church is Dallas' largest, with 1,500 active members. The church holds services in Greek and English and hosts an annual Greek festival with ethnic foods, dance and crafts.

St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in the Oak Lawn area is predominantly Russian. At Sts. Constantine and Helen, an Antiochian Orthodox Church, 80 percent of the families speak Arabic. Services at both are in English. There's a Hispanic congregation in Oak Cliff – Holy Transfiguration Hispanic Orthodox Mission.

Converts become more familiar with the church through catechism classes and the guidance of spiritual godparents (individuals and couples in the congregation who mentor new converts). If they've already been baptized in another church, they also must be chrismated, or anointed, to be received in the Orthodox Church.

Americans who convert to Orthodoxy know they will be part of a minority faith. That doesn't bother Father Savas at Holy Trinity, who grew up Orthodox among Mormons in Salt Lake City.

"It's wonderful to practice the ancient Christian faith in an environment that doesn't know what to do with it. A minority can be a beacon of light, like the apostles, who took it beyond their own country," he said.

"It's a beautiful eye-opening experience for people to see the church of the New Testament is alive and thriving today. We don't define ourselves by who we're not. The church is just here. And we're here to lift it up."

Orthodox Church in America
Adherents say there is only one Orthodox Church, which is administratively organized into several jurisdictions. The faith, worship and doctrine is the same, but churches differ in language and administration.

Dioceses of Orthodox Churches are administrated by bishops in North America, as well as archbishops and patriarchs abroad.

Orthodox Christians belong to two major ecclesiastical families: the Orthodox Oriental (Coptic, Syrian) and the Orthodox Byzantine (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Romanian).

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the largest American Orthodox body, with more than 530 parishes, and was founded by Orthodox Christians from Greece and the surrounding areas.

Orthodox Church in America has its roots in Eastern Europe and Russia. It was established when Russian missionaries landed in Alaska in 1794. Ethnic variations of the Orthodox Church of America include Serbian, Romanian, Albanian and Bulgarian. It includes about 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Antiochian Orthodox, from the Archdiocese of Antioch, was established by immigrants from the Middle East, and includes more than 200 parishes and missions in the U.S. and Canada.

Coptic Orthodox Church, established by Arab-speaking Orthodox Christians from Egypt, includes about 700 parishes, missions, communities, monasteries and institutions throughout North America.

Robin Galiano Russell

It should be noted that, contrary to the impression that this article leaves, the Coptic Orthodox Church is not part of the wider Orthodox Communion, having rejected the 4th Ecumenical Council, and the subsequent 3 thereafter. They are certainly very close to us in terms of their piety, and one can hope that a reconciliation may one day occur, but it has not happened as of yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Robert Novak: The Israelis are Squeezing the Life out of Christians in the Holy Land

The interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Christ rose from the Dead

Robert Novak has a good column on how the Israelis have been squeezing the Christians in the Holy Land, with the result that areas that once were predominantly Christian have a quickly disappearing Christian minority today.

For information on how you can help preserve the Christian presence in the Holy Land, click here.

The Orthodox Reply to "We have a New Pope"

St. Mark of Ephesus, holding a scroll which quotes his words: "The testimonies of these Western teachers I neither recognize nor accept, I surmise that they are corrupt. There can be no compromise in matters of Orthodoxy."

The Orthodox reply is:

"But he doesn't have us." -Bishop Daniel of Erie

To read more about the history of Orthodox resistance to Papal claims, see this page.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Why is Orthodox Easter So Much Later This Year Than Western Easter?

This is a somewhat complicated question, but one often asked, and so here is the answer in the simplest terms that still convey the gist of the issues.

Easter (or Pascha) is not a feast that is celebrated on a fixed day according to the Solar Calendar. The reason for this is that Easter is the Christian Celebration of Passover (“Pesach” in Hebrew, which is where the Greek word “Pascha” is derived from), and the Hebrew Calendar is a lunar calendar (based on the cycles of the moon) rather than a solar calendar (based on the annual cycle of the sun). However, while Passover can fall on any day of the week, the Christian Tradition is to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the day in spring when the night and the day is of equal length, and so after this day light is on the increase and darkness is on the decrease (in the northern hemisphere, that is).

The date of the vernal equinox is fixed at March 21st. The problem comes from the fact that the Julian Calendar, so named for Julius Caesar, who established it as the official calendar of the Roman Empire, has a slight error which took centuries to become apparent. The Julian calendar (which was the calendar used throughout the Christian world) assumes that the solar year is 365.25 days, and so normally a year is 365 days, but every fourth year (called the leap year) an extra day is added to the month of February, and the year is 366 days. The problem is that the actual solar year is 11 minutes shy of being precisely 365.25 days, which does not seem like much, but about every 128 years, this results in a day’s difference. As the centuries passed, the date that the vernal equinox actually occurred on began to slowly drift away from the date that it was supposed to occur. Pope Gregory XIII introduced a revised calendar in 1582, to address this problem, and to adjust the calendar such that the actual vernal equinox again occurred on March 21st. When Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar, the difference between the two calendars was 10 days. Since that time, the difference has increased to 13 days. Unfortunately, however, five centuries prior to the calendar change, the Latin speaking western Church split away from the Orthodox Church, and so this calendar change was not accepted by any of the Orthodox Churches until the 1920’s. A few Churches accepted the change in the 20’s and several more followed suite in subsequent decades, but the Orthodox Churches of Russia, the Ukraine, Serbia, the Georgian Republic, the Holy Land, Jordan, Sinai, and Mount Athos, have continued to use the Julian Calendar to the present day. But when it comes to determining the date of Easter, even those Orthodox Churches which did accept the Gregorian Calendar continue to use the Julian Calendar.

Occasionally, both Easters coincide. More commonly, they are a week or so apart. But sometimes, as is the case this year, they are a month apart. But what should be noted is that the Jewish Passover continues to be celebrated by calculations that are similar to those of the Julian Calendar, and so Orthodox Easter is always after the Jewish Passover, and in close proximity to it. Western Easter often falls prior to the Jewish Passover, and as is the case this year, it can be as much as a month prior.

Friday, April 15, 2005

America Made the Right Decision

Some times I am disappointed with Bush, but then things like this remind me of why we made the right decision.

Bush throws the first pitch of the Season, last night
Photo from Football Fans For Truth

This could have been what we would have seen the President doing last night:

Monday, April 11, 2005

My War Wound

Click to enlarge

Blackfive posts some new Marine posters. The above is my favorite.

When I converted to Orthodoxy, I had just finished college, and had a Nazarene theological degree... but Nazarene Theological degrees don't go too far when you are Orthodox. I still had the desire to pursue the ministry, but one requirement for my becoming a priest was that my wife would have to convert... and she wasn't ready to convert when I was. She also felt a lot of pressure to convert, for that reason, but didn't want to convert just to make me happy... and so I had to ponder what other carrer path I should take. At that time the first Gulf War was on the horizon (and predictions were at the time that it would be a long and bloody war, rather than the short and nearly bloodless war (for our side) that it turned out to be), and so being my father's son (he was a World War II vet, and instilled in us a sense of duty and obligation to our country), I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I had prayed about it. It seemed the best path to take, but I aslo asked that God's will would be done.

While I was waiting to ship to boot camp, once a month, we had to report to a poolee meeting. This particular poolee meeting was during the air war, and as all the poolees ran in formation with the US and USMC flags waving, people stopped to applaud and show their support. We stopped at a park, where we played flag football... but most of the poolees were fresh out of high school, and were eager to impress their recruiters, and so played it more lack tackle without the benefit of pads. Someone hit me from behind, and I felt a pain in my lower back, but didn't think too much of it at first. But when we ran back to the recruiter station, I was really feeling it toward the end of the run. I still figured it would only be a problem for a day or two. As it turned out, I could hardly stand up or sit up for days.

What made matters worse was I had no insurance at the time (I was supposed to have had insurance while in college, but I always put down on my paper work that I was insured by "Yahweh, Inc.", and my policy number was "MT0817" (for Matthew 8:17)), and since I was not yet active duty, I could not use military medical care... despite the fact that I had to report "as ordered sir..."

To make a long story short, I was in limbo for a couple of months, because it was hoped that it would get better, but it didn't... really. A couple of times I thought I was making progress, and began working out again, only to have that pain come back as bad as before. In the meantime, the gulf war ended, my wife converted to Orthodoxy, and I finally got a release from the Marine Corps, when it became clear I wasn't going to be able to go any time soon.

Years later, when I finally had the insurance to see a decent doctor, and my back was bothering me enough to prod me to go and see one, I found out that I had hyper extended a semi-movable joint in my lower back, and that since then it had become arthritic. It still gives me trouble from time to time, but I believe God used that injury to guide me in the way He wanted me to go. I enjoyed my brush with the Marines, still have a love for the Marine Corps, even though I wasn't able to earn the globe and anchor. But I can say that I enlisted in the Marine Corps, and was wounded during the gulf war. :)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Hymn to the Martyrs

The Death of Metropolitan Benjamin

This is a hymn from the Triodion that was used this past thursday on the feast of the Annunciation. I found it particularly striking:

"Breathing one purpose and looking to a single hope, vying with each other in their end, the victorious martyrs looked upon death for Christ as the only entry into life. O strange wonder! Though the torture might have been postponed, they seized hold of it as men seize hold of treasure, and they said to one another: 'Even if we do not die today, yet some day we shall surely die, obeying as we must the laws of human birth. Let us turn necessity into an act of generous love; willingly let us make our own what is the common fate of all, and let us purchase life with death' At their intercessions, O God, have mercy upon us" (The Lenten Triodion, Supplementary Texts, p. 206).

Friday, April 08, 2005

Applause and Liturgy

Am I the only one who finds the applause at the Popes funeral wierd?

From what I can find out from a web search, applause seems to be a recent innovation even for Roman Catholics.

Before becoming Orthodox, I grew up in the Church of the Nazarene, which is part of the Holiness movement, from whence comes phrases like "Holy Roller" (from people literally rolling on the flow). The Nazarenes are a bit tamer now, but shouting, pew jumping, hanky waving, and dancing are still a living memory, and occassionally one stills sees such things in some local churches. But as strange as all that might seem to others, applauding at a funeral seems even wierder to me.

Even a Roman Catholic Cardinal Ratzinger has the following comments on applause during the liturgy:

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades quickly - it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation."

It seems to me that applause during a worship service is the final step in the process of making the services a show. This is not unconnected with the innovation of the pew, which invites people to sit and watch, rather than to stand and pray. In the Scriptures, it is clear that public worship was always done either while standing, or bowing, but never while sitting.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Loosing the Ass

From saying 18 of St. Anthony the Great, found on page 5 of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers:

"Some brothers were coming from Scetis to see Abba Anthony. When they were getting into a boat to go there, they found an old man who aslo wanted to go there. The brothers did not know him. They sat in the boat, occupied by turns with the words of the Fathers, Scripture and their manual work. As for the old man, he remained silent. When they arrived on shore they found that the old man was going to the cell of Abba Anthony too. When they reached the place, Anthony said of them, "You found this old man a good companion for the journey?" Then he said to the old man, "You have brought many good brethren with you, father." The old man said, "No doubt they are good, but they do not have a door to their house and anyone who wishes can enter the stable and loose the ass." He meant that the brethren said whatever came into their mouths."

Monday, April 04, 2005

Remembering the good and the bad about Pope John Paul II

I had intended to write a bit about some of the darker aspects of the tenure of Pope John Paul II from an Orthodox Christian perspective, but Dr. Joseph McLellan has beat me to the punch. See click here to read part I, and click here to read part II.

In short, we certainly owe him a debt of gratitude for his stand for the sanctity of human life, and his opposition to communism. However, he was not the traditionalist that the media has made him out to be. He held traditional Roman Catholic views on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and clerical celibacy, but he actually took the Roman Church in a more liberal direction when it comes to Ecumenism and inter-religious "dialogue". Click here for a summary of a video tape which documented the many betrayals of Christ which took place with the full blessing of Pope John Paul II.

For example, in Assissi, Italy, at a day of prayer for world peace, Buddhists were given the use of a Roman Catholic Church, and allowed to set up a Buddhist idol on the altar.

Here are a few photos of similar betrayals:

Here we see Pope John Paul II kissing a copy of the Koran... a book that denies the doctrine of the Trinity and the Deity of Christ

Here we see Pope John Paul II receiving a holy feather from a Pima Shaman

Here we see Pope John Paul II receiving a Hindu blessing... the red dot on the forehead.

It is just such things as these that made Mel Gibson so mad that he painted his face blue, donned a kilt and a sword, and became a Traditionalist Roman Catholic (a group in schism from Rome, which holds to the older traditions of the Catholic Church).

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Verdict is in: The Law Is An Ass

"If the law supposes that,' said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass--a idiot." -from Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens

Terri Schiavo is dead, and it was all perfectly legal. But the Nazis killed millions of people, and that was perfectly legal too, according to their corrupt and evil laws. However, at Nuremburg, they were put on trial for crimes against humanity, and held accountable to a higher law that was not found in their code of law, but which it was assumed that we are all nonetheless accountable.

Judge Greer, Michael Schiavo, and George Felos my not stand before a human court and held to account for their actions, but unless they throw themselves on the mercy of the court ahead of time, the day will come.

"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment...." Matthew 25:41-42,45-46.