Vatican


A 91-year old Roman Catholic bishop who was present when Pope John XXIII received the so-called “Third Secret of Fatima” in a sealed envelope says conspiracy theorists are all wet when they claim that the secret tells of the final days of the Earth.

The only surviving witness to a decades-long conspiracy theory has firmly denied the Catholic Church is hiding details about a predicted apocalypse.

Archbishop Loris Capovilla, 91, said there was no truth in the rumour that the Vatican was suppressing a vision of the end of the world.

The vision said to have been revealed 90 years ago by the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside at Fatima in Portugal.

The three “Secrets of Fatima” were written down by one of the children, Lucia Dos Santos, who later became a nun.

Two of the secrets were revealed by the nun in 1941.

The first was a vision of hell, while the second apparently predicted the two world wars and the return of Russia from communism to Christianity.

The third secret, which was sent to Pope John XXIII in a sealed envelope in 1959, was only revealed by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

The Vatican said it referred to an assassination attempt on the pope in 1981 by a Turkish gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca.

However, many Catholics suspected that parts of the secret were not disclosed in order to avoid panic about the apocalypse.

The rumours swelled when the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, gave an interview in 1984 suggesting that the secret concerned “the dangers threatening the faith and life of Christianity, and therefore the world. And also the importance of our ultimate days”.

He added that the “things contained in this third secret correspond to what is announced in the Scripture.”

Full article here.

An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year’s Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is “a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist”.

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, 78, who retired as Archbishop of Bologna three years ago, quoted Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900), the Russian philosopher and mystic, as predicting that the Antichrist “will convoke an ecumenical council and seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions”.

The “masses” would follow the Antichrist, “with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants” who would fight to prevent the watering down and ultimate destruction of the faith, he said.

It ain’t easy being green.  See full article here.

World’s Last Chance, a group that takes reading the Bible to all-new-extremes, claims to be “exposing one of the last unfulfilled prophecies of the Bible.” Specifically, World’s Last Chance believes that they have found clues within scripture that suggest Pope John Paul II is coming back … and will be the next pope after Benedict XVI.

That’s right, as crazy it sounds, they believe that Pope John Paul II is going to magically appear here on earth and make our lives hell. With folks like this, it’s no wonder that Christians get a bum rap.

“How will the next pope be John Paul II?” says Dahlia Doss of World’s Last Chance, “According to the book of Revelation in the Bible, chapter 17, it will appear to the entire world that John Paul II has returned from heaven, but in reality, this phenomenon, as prophesied, will be a demon impersonating the deceased John Paul II.”

See full article here.

Earlier this week, Sam Brownback, a Republican senator from Kansas, announced the formation of an exploratory committee to consider his candidacy for president in 2008. Never heard of him? Here’s a little background on him:

Who would Jesus vote for? Meet Sam Brownback. Nobody in this little church just off Times Square in Manhattan thinks of themselves as political. They’re spiritual — actors and athletes and pretty young things who believe that every word of the Bible is inerrant dictation from God. They look down from the balcony of the Morning Star, swaying and smiling at the screen that tells them how to sing along. Nail-pierced hands, a wounded side. This is love, this is love! But on this evening in January, politics and all its worldly machinations have entered their church. Sitting in the darkness of the front row is Sam Brownback, the Republican senator from Kansas. And hunched over on the stage in a red leather chair is an old man named Harald Bredesen, who has come to anoint Brownback as the Christian right’s next candidate for president.

. . . “I am a seeker,” he says. Brownback believes that every spiritual path has its own unique scent, and he wants to inhale them all. When he ran for the House he was a Methodist. By the time he ran for the Senate he was an evangelical. Now he has become a Catholic. He was baptized not in a church but in a chapel tucked between lobbyists’ offices on K Street that is run by Opus Dei, the secretive lay order founded by a Catholic priest who advocated “holy coercion” and considered Spanish dictator Francisco Franco an ideal of worldly power. Brownback also studies Torah with an orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn. “Deep,” says the rabbi, Nosson Scherman. Lately, Brownback has been reading the Koran, but he doesn’t like what he’s finding. “There’s some difficult material in it with regard to the Christian and the Jew,” he tells a Christian radio program, voice husky with regret.

. . . The nation’s leading evangelicals have already lined up behind Brownback, a feat in itself. A decade ago, evangelical support for a Catholic would have been unthinkable. Many evangelicals viewed the Pope as the Antichrist and the Roman Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon. But Brownback is the beneficiary of a strategy known as co-belligerency — a united front between conservative Catholics and evangelicals in the culture war. Pat Robertson has tapped the “outstanding senator from Kansas” as his man for president. David Barton, the Christian right’s all-but-official presidential historian, calls Brownback “uncompromising” — the highest praise in a movement that considers intransigence next to godliness. And James Dobson, the movement’s strongest chieftain, can find no fault in Brownback. “He has fulfilled every expectation,” Dobson says. Even Jesse Helms, now in retirement in North Carolina, recognizes a kindred spirit. “The most effective senators are those who are truest to themselves,” Helms says. “Senator Brownback is becoming known as that sort of individual.”

Full article here.

We wonder if Tourette’s Syndrome could be a root cause here: 

(CNN) — Calling President Bush “the murderer and spiller of Muslim blood,” al Qaeda’s top deputy released a videotape Friday accusing the U.S. president of being a “deceitful charlatan” who has lied to the American people.

Ayman al-Zawahiri also blasts the Bush administration for holding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, in a secret prison and alleging that Mohammed gave interrogators “valuable information which has helped the crusaders to kill and arrest a number of al Qaeda.”

“I ask this lying failure, who are the leaders of al Qaeda whose killing or capture was facilitated by the information extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?” al-Zawahiri asks. “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, may Allah free him, has hurt you thousands of times more than you have hurt him.”

On another portion of the tape, which appears to have been recorded at a different time and location, the terror leader addresses recent controversial remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and the situation in Darfur, Sudan.

Notably missing from al-Zawahiri’s remarks is any mention of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has been the subject of unconfirmed reports that he is dead or ill.

Full article here.

CASTELGANDOLFO, Italy (Reuters) – Pope Benedict told Muslim envoys on Monday that Christian and Muslim believers must reject violence, in an audience meant to defuse anger at his use of quotes saying Islam was spread by the sword.

The Pope expressed his “esteem and profound respect” for members of the Islamic faith in a meeting with diplomatic envoys from some 20 Muslim countries plus the leaders of Italy’s own Muslim community at his summer residence, Castelgandolfo.

“Christians and Muslims must learn to work together … in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence,” said the 79-year-old Pope.

It was the fourth time he had tried to make amends to Muslims, without actually apologising directly, for a speech at a university in his native Germany on September 12.

Full article here.  Meanwhile, with regard to Sister Leonella, who was murdered with her bodyguard in Somalia five days after the Pope’s remarks and after a call to violence by a Somalian Muslim cleric, the Pope said:

“Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, as it happened a few days ago to the Italian nun, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence,” the pontiff said. “This nun, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word ‘pardon,'” the pope told pilgrims during his traditional Sunday noon appearance. “This is the most authentic Christian testimony, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hate and evil.”

Full article here.

The man who tried to kill the late Pope John Paul II in 1981 has warned Pope Benedict XVI not to visit Turkey, saying his life could be in danger. The warning from imprisoned Turkish national Mehmet Ali Agca came amid a furore in the Muslim world over the Pope’s recent comments on Islam. Pope Benedict is planning to visit Turkey in November.

“As a man who knows these things, I say your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey,” Agca was quoted as saying.

Lawyer Mustafa Demirbag said Agca made his statement during a meeting at the high-security Kartal prison in Istanbul on Monday.

Full story here.

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