Friday, December 31, 2021

Sheriff Won't Remove Bible Verse from Office; Rejects Demands of Legal Atheist Organization

 North Carolina Sheriff Jody Greene is gaining national attention for refusing to remove a Bible verse from a wall at his office, the Christian Post website reports today (December 31, 2021).

Greene has cited the need for "more Jesus" as the reason for his decision not to comply with the demands of a leading atheist legal organization to take it down.

The sheriff wrote in Facebook,"My motivation comes from the greatest motivational speaker of all time, Jesus Christ."

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Bible Museum Shows Jesus as "Queen of Heaven;" Transgenders Seem to Run German Bible Museum

 A Bible museum in Germany has staged an LGBTQ-themed exhibit that proclaims to all: "You are good as you are," the WND website reports today (December 30, 2021).

Decision magazine reported last week on the project at the Bible museum of Frankfurt, a six=month display that it said "made blatantly false claims about biblical teaching, including that the Bible contains LGBTQ  themes."

Also featured at the Bible museum was a play called "The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven," which was authored by a transgender person.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Pope Francis Releases Letter to Married Couples; Has Family Empathy during COVID-19 Pandemic

 Pope Francis released a letter to married couples across the globe on December 26 as part of the Amoris Laetitia Family Year in the runup to the World Meeting of Families set for 26 June 2022, the Independent Catholic News website reports today (December 29, 2021).

Pope Francis begins his letter by expressing his desire that families  feel his "affection and closeness at this very special time," which has been marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and recurring lockdowns.

He said in his letter,"Our relationship with God shapes us , accompanies us, and sends us forth as individuals and, ultimately, helps us "set out from our land," albeit in many cases "with a certain trepidation and even fear in the face of the unknown."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Mosque in France Closed for Inciting Violece; Preaching Insulting to Christians, Gays, Jews

 A mosque in northern France has been ordered closed for six months for "inciting violence," the Euro News website reports today (December 28, 2021).

The prefecture of the Olse department said the large mosque in Beauvais closed for "inciting hatred," "violence," and "apology of jihad."

France's interior minister, Gerald Darmanin, ordered the mosque closed because of "unacceptable preachings" against Christians, homosexuals, and Jews.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Cities Cancel New Year's Feasts Due to Omicron; Massive 5th Wave of Coronavirus Strikes Germany

 While New Yorkers are going ahead with their iconic New Year's celebration, authorities in many other major cities around the world have canceled celebrations due to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Christian Post website reports today (December 27, 2021).

Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, Rome, London,Edinburgh, Athens, and New Delhi are among the cities where New Year's celebrations have been canceled or large gatherings prohibited. 

In Germany, a massive fifth wave of COVID-19 with omicron infections is feared while the hospitals are already overloaded.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

16 Dead as Migrant Boat Sinks in Greek Waters; Coast Guard Rescues 62 People in Aegean Sea

 At least 16 people have died after a migrant boat capsized in the Aegean Sea on December 24, bringing to at least 30 the combined death toll from three accidents in as many days involving migrant boats in Greek waters, The Guardian website reports today (December 26, 2021).

The sinkings came as smugglers favor a perilous route from Turkey to Italy, which avoids Greece's heavily patrolled eastern Aegean islands.

The Greek coast guard said 62 people were rescued after a sailboat capsized on December 24, about five miles off the island of Paros in the central Aegean. Survivors told the coast guard that about 80 people had been on the vessel.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Pope Prays on Christmas Day for Pandemic's End; Italy Has over 50,000 COVID Cases in Single Day

Pope Francis prayed today (December 25, 2021) for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, using his Christmas Day address to urge health care for all, vaccines for the poor, and for dialogue to prevail in resolving the world's conflicts, according to the Yahoo News website.

Amid a record-setting rise  in COVID-19 cases in Italy this week, only a few thousand people flocked to a rain-soacked St. Peter's Square for Francis' annual Christmas  address. 

Although Italy this week counted more than 50,000 cases in a single day for the first time, the government has not ordered another lockdown.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Pope Demands Humility in Chrisrmas Speech; Says Pride of Clerics Corrupts Church's Mission

 Pope Francis urged Vatican cardinals, bishops, and bureaucrats yesterday to embrace humility this Christmas season, saying their pride self-interest and the "glitter of our armor" was perverting their spiritual lives and corrupting the church's  mission, the AP website reports today (December 24, 2021).

Francis used his annual Christmas address to take Vatican administrators to task for their perceived moral and personal failings, denouncing in particular those pride-filled clerics who rigidly hide behind Catholic traditions rather than seek out the neediest with humility.

The cardinals and bishops sat stone-faced as they listened to Francis lecture them in the Hall of Blessings. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Poll: Less Than Half of Americans Pray Every Day; Also Finds 29% of US Adults Are Non-Believers

A 2021 poll by the Pew Research Center has found that 45% of U.S. adults say they pray every day, compared to 55% in 2014 and 58% in 2007, the Worthy News website reports today (December 23, 2021).

Conducted from May 29 to August 25, the poll found that 32% of U.S. adults rarely or never pray.

The poll also found that 29% of U.S. adults identify as religious "nones:" atheists, agnostics, or "nothing in particular." 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Carey Turns Down "Queen of Christmas" Moniker; Says That Honor Belongs to Mary, Mother of Jesus

Grammy-award-winning pop megastar Mariah Carey is rejecting the moniker "Queen of Christmas," saying it belongs to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ,  the Christian Headlines website reports today (December 22, 2021).

Carey, whose career spans over three decades, received the Recording Industry Association of America Diamond Award earlier this month for her hit single, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." 

It was through that song that Carey would be dubbed the "Queen of Christmas." But in a recent interview on BBC Radio 2,  Carey noted that she did not give herself the festive moniker and does not consider herself the "Queen of Christmas."

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Pope Enjoys 85th Birthday with Cyprus Refugees; Pope Flew 12 Refugees to Rome from Cyprus Visit

 Pope Francis celebrated his 85th birthday on December 17 by meeting with a dozen refugees who recently arrived  in Italy thanks to the intercession of the Vatican, Catholic movements and authorities in Cyprus, where the pope visited in early December, the Religion News website reports today (December 21, 2021).

"You saved us!"  one young Congolese refugee told the pope during the private meeting at the Vatican. 

The group's deliverance from refugee camps on Cyprus was arranged during the December 2--6 papal visit to the Mediterranean countries of Cyprus and Greece, where Francis spoke repeatedly and sometimes emotionally about the need for wealthy countries to welcome and integrate  immigrants. He urged European nations to work together to ensure the human dignity of asylum seekers and immigrants. 

Monday, December 20, 2021

Pope Says Domestic Violence Is "Almost Satanic;" No Justification for Husband to Beat Up His Wife

Pope Francis condemned domestic violence yesterday, saying that men who commit it are engaging in something "almost satanic," the Yahoo News website reports today (December 20, 2021).

Domestic violence levels have risen throughout the world during the pandemic, as lockdowns and strained health systems have cut many women off from vital sources of help while trapping them with their abusers, according to U.N. Women.

New figures released last month show that there are 90 cases of violence against women in Italy daily, with 62% of these being incidents of domestic violence.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Vatican Tells Clergy Not to Use Latin in Mass; Using Latin Causing Division, "Liturgy Wars"

 The Vatican yesterday warned conservative Roman Catholics who have balked at Pope Francis' decision to restrict the old traditional Latin Mass that they were sowing division and engaging in "sterile polemics," the Reuters website reports today (December 19, 2021). 

The  Vatican department overseeing sacraments and liturgy issued a directive in response to bishops' requests for clarification following a document in July in which Francis overturned decisions by his two predecessors and tightened access to the Mass. 

Since July some conservatives, including bishops, have openly defied the pope, resulting in the latest chapter of what some have dubbed the Church's "liturgy wars."

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Women in Cath. Church Seeking More Power; Pope's Synod Group May Raise Women's Role

 A panel of women, who have attained leadership positions in the Catholic Church, met December 16 to discuss Pope Francis' ambitious plan to reform the power structures in the church, raising questions about female ordination, the role of bishops, and the need for women. 

In October, Francis launched a three-year churchwide consultation process titled "For a Synodal Church...Communion, Participation and Mission," commonly known as the Synod on Synodality.

The pope's project, if successful, is poised to increase the participation of the most marginalized groups in the church, including women.

Friday, December 17, 2021

All Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti Are Now Free; 12 Released Yesterdqy, Believed No Ransom Paid

 The Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries thanked God yesterday, as it announced that the 12 remaining missionaries who were among 17 kidnapped by the notorious 400 Mawozo gang in Haiti have now been released, the Christian Post website reports today (December 17, 2021).

"We glorify God for answered prayer --  the remaining 12 hostages are FREE! Join us in praising God that all 17 of our loved ones are now safe..." the international aid ministry said in a statement. 

A source with knowledge of the releases said that no ransom was paid even though 400 Mawozo gang leader, Wilson Joseph, had threatened to kill all the missionaries if his gang didn't receive one million dollars each for their release.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Judge: Photographer Can't Decline Gay Weddings; Rules All People Have Equal Access to All Services

 A federal judge has ruled that a New York-based photographer must provide services for same-sex wedding celebrations despite holding religious objections to gay marriage, the Christian Post  website reports today (December 16, 2021).

Judge Frank Geraci, Jr.of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, rejected a request by Emilee Carpenter of the upstate New York-based Emilee Carpenter Photography to grant a preliminary injunction against a state anti-discrimination law. 

In his ruling, Judge Geraci concluded that "New York has a compelling interest in ensuring that individuals, without regard to sexual orientation, have equal access to publicly available goods and services, and that the Accommodation clause is narrowly tailored , as applied to Plaintiff, to serve that interest."

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Fauci:No Need for Omicron Vaccine at This Time; Booster Shots Proven to Be Effective on Omicron

 Dr. Anthony Fauci said today (December 15, 2021) that people shouldn't worry about getting any Omicron-specific vaccine to protect themselves against the new variant of coronavirus, according to the Daily Beast website. 

The nation's top infectious disease expert said there is no need for it "at this time," since booster shots have been shown to be effective. 

He pointed to data that shows boosters are 75 percent effective in preventing severe illness. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Frank Sinatra Honored with Statue in New Jersey; One of the Greatest Entertainers of 20th Century

 Hollywood legend Frank Sinatra was honored with a life-size bronze sculpture in his hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey on December 12, the Euro News website reports today (December 14, 2021).

On what would have been his 106th birthday, the crowd sang happy birthday to the singer and actor. 

Considered to be one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, the 1954 best supporting actor Oscar winner died from a heart attack in 1998.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Pope Offers Condolences for US Tornado Victims; Says He Prays for Those Harmed by This Tragedy

 Pope Francis today (December 13, 2021) offered condolences and prayers to those who lost family members in tornadoes in the U.S., the Yahoo News website reports. 

The pontiff said he was praying for the people impacted by "this immense tragedy" and that he was saddened to hear about it. 

He also said he was grateful "for the tireless efforts of the rescue workers and all those engaged in caring for the injured, the grieving families, and all those left homeless."

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Chris Wallace Is Leaving Fox News to Join CNN; Was the Anchor of Fox News Sunday for 18 Years

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace announced today (December 12, 2021) that he is leaving the network, according to the Newsmax website. 

Later, CNN confirmed Wallace was joining their network streaming service, CNN Plus. 

Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday since 2003, announced his departure on the program this morning.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Hunsreds in LA Schools Fired,Won't Take Vaccine; Thousands of Students to Be Put in Online Classes

The second-largest school district in the U.S. is facing mounting woes over its coronavirus vaccine mandate, recently terminating hundreds of  employees who refused to comply and vowing to put thousands of unvaccinated students into online classes, the Washington Post website reports today (December 11, 2021). 

Board members of Los Angeles Unified School District -- which has one of the strictest vaccine mandates in the nation -- voted December 7 to terminate 496 employees who failed to get vaccinated ahead of the deadline. 

"We care deeply about all our employees," interim superintendent Megan Reilly said in a statement following the board's decision. "Parting ways with individuals who choose not to be vaccinated is an extremely difficult, but necessary decision to ensure the safety of all in our school communities."

Friday, December 10, 2021

Supreme Court Backs TX Heartbeat Abortion Ban; Also Gives Abortion Backers the Right to Fight It

 In a move that could serve as a harbinger to the overthrow of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court today (December 10, 2021) declined to halt Texas' heartbeat abortion ban, according to the Christian Headlines website. 

The justices allowed the Texas heartbeat abortion ban to remain in effect, although they also allowed abortion supporters a legal path to block it.

"We are grateful that the Supreme Court practiced judicial restraint today and stopped the Biden administration's pro-abortion campaign against the strongest pro-Life Law being enforced today," said Texas Right to Life director of media and communication Kimberlyn Schwartz.

Diocese:No Communion for Gay and Trans Cath.; Directs Priests to Lead These People to Jesus

 A Catholic diocese in Michigan has ruled that transgender members and those in same-sex relationships cannot be baptized or receive communion unless they have repented. 

It directs the Church's priests on how to develop a pastoral relationship with these people. 

The Marquette Diocese  says priests should lead them step-by-step  "closer to Jesus Christ in a manner that is consistent with the Church's teaching." 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Our Lady of Fatima Statue in DC Is Vandalized; Hands, Nose Cut Off, Cross Ripped Off Crown

 A marble statue of Our Lady of Fatima near the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. was vandalized, withMary's hands and nose cut off, her face scratched, and the cross on her crown broken off, the Crux website reports today (December 9, 2021).

A spokesman at the national shrine said that around 10:45 p.m. on December 5, the perpetrator got to the statue by climbing a locked fence that surrounds a rosary walk and garden that includes the statue.

Video footage showed a masked person doing the damage, which was discovered the next morning. Police are investigating the vandalism.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Biden to Putin:Sanctions If You Attack Ukraine; Putin Asks Biden for No NATO Attack on Russia

President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a video call yesterday not to mount a new invasion of Ukraine and laid out the economic and security costs Russia would face if the Kremlin chooses to go down that path, the Washington Post reports today (December 8, 2021). 

Biden also offered a diplomatic route to end the war scare that has arisen since the Kremlin massed troops and materiel near the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an offensive far larger and more deadly than its invasion eight years ago. 

During yesterday's two-hour call, Putin told Biden that NATO is "building up its military potential at our borders" and asked for "reliable, legally fixed guarantees excluding the expansion of NATO in the eastern direction and the deployment of offensive strike weapons systems in the states adjacent to Russia," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Pope to Take 12 Migrants to Vatican from Cyprus; He Had Taken 12 from Lesbos during a 2016 Trip

 On the last day of Pope Francis' apostolic visit to the island of Cyprus yesterday, the Vatican Press Office announced he will be taking 12 immigrants and refugees in Greece and Cyprus back to the Vatican, the Religion News website reports today (December 7, 2021).

When Pope Francis visited a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in April 2016, he decided to take 12 immigrants and asylum seekers back with him to Rome. On December 3, the Vatican Press Office announced the pope will do so again on this trip.

During an ecumenical prayer in Nicosia, Cyprus, Pope Francis met with some of the refugees who will be returning to Rome with him. "You are no longer strangers, you are citizens," Pope Francis told migrants during the prayerful event on December 3, quoting from the letters of St. Paul, who inspired the December 2--6  papal trip to Cyprus and Greece.  

Monday, December 6, 2021

Unemployment Rate Is Lowest Since Pandemic; About 1.1 Million Americans Found Jobs in Nov.

 America's unemployment rate tumbled last month to its lowest point since the pandemic struck, the Newsy website reports today (December 6, 2021).

The government reported that private businesses and other employers added just 210,000 jobs in November,

But the unemployment rate plummeted from 4.6% to 4.2% as a substantial 1.1 million Americans said they found jobs last month.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Pope to Migrants: "I Came to See Your Faces;" Visits Greek Island of Lesbos for Second Time

 Speaking to migrants and refugees today (December 5, 2021) on the Greek island of Lesbos -- a main entry hub for migrants and refugees seeking asylum in Europe -- Pope Francis said he came to the island "to see your faces..." the CRUX website reports. 

Pope Francis is visiting Lesbos as part of a broader December 1--6 trip to Cyprus and Greece. He arrived in Athens yesterday  and has met with Greek authorities as well as members of the local Catholic community.

Today's stop on Lesbos marks Francis"s second visit to the island, having traveled there in 2016 to shed light on the migration crisis and pray alongside Greek Orthodox leaders for the thousands of migrants and refugees who die in an attempt to reach Europe. 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Biden, Putin Will Address Russian Troop Buildup; Biden Plans to Ensure Putin Won't Invade Ukraine

 U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak in a video call on December 7, as tensions between Washington and Moscow escalate over a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border, the Euro News website reports today (December 4, 2021).

Mindful of Russia's bold seizure of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea just a few years ago, Biden yesterday pledged to make it "very, very difficult" for Putin to take military action in Ukraine. 

Kyiv and Washington accuse Moscow of massing tens of  thousands of troops on the border and of drawing up plans to invade. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

LA County Reports 1st Case of Omicron Variant; May Be Due to Person Traveling to South Africa

Los Angeles County reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus this week, the LA Times website reports today (December 3, 2021).

County health officials said the infection was probably travel-related, as the individual had returned from South Africa via London on November 22.

Officials are urging LA residents to get tested more frequently -- particularly if they plan  to travel or gather with family or friends during the holiday season.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Pope Francis Arrives in Cyprus, to Visit Greece; May Try to Enhance Migrants' Travel to Europe

Pope Francis arrived in Cyprus today (December 2, 2021) for an official  five-day visit to the Mediterranean island and Greece, according to the Euro News website. 

The trip will draw new attention to the plight of migrants on Europe's borders and the disconnect between countries and the Vatican.

The pope has called for EU member states to welcome and integrate migrants, but front-line governments have been increasingly unwilling.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

3 Students Shot Dead, 8 Wounded at MI School; 15-Year-Old Boy Arrested, Won't Speak to Police

A 15-year-old boy opened fire in a Michigan high school yesterday with a semi-automatic pistol his father had purchased days earlier, killing three fellow students and wounding eight other people before he was arrested, the Reuters website reports today (December 1, 2021).

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told a news briefing hours after the rampage at Oxford High School that investigators were at a loss to explain what might have precipitated "an unspeakable and unforgivable" act of violence. 

The suspect, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, was disarmed and taken into custody by sheriff's deputies minutes after the shooting began, has declined to speak with investigators after his parents retained a lawyer and denied authorities permission to interview their son, Bouchard said.