The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

February, 2003

“Guidance” from the Vatican

USA Today recently reported that:

The Vatican issued a new set of guidelines for Catholic politicians Thursday, reminding them to heed the church's "nonnegotiable" teachings on abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage and other issues when making public policy (“Vatican issues guidelines for Catholic politicians,” USA, Jan. 16, 2003).

Interestingly the “guidelines” are also described as “nonnegotiable.” One might wonder how that could be. The article went on to note:

The guidelines don't mention punishment — such as excommunication — for Catholic politicians who fail to toe the line. Rather, they frame the issue as one of "conscience" that politicians will have to deal with.

The Roman Catholic Church has a long history that is contaminated by efforts to control governments and when that has been successful, fostering persecution based on one’s religion. Christians who find their highest theological authority in the Bible might be forgiven for feeling a little ambivalent about the Catholic church’s attempts at moral leadership.

Inspired Commentary

One inspired writer has noted:

The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High (The Great Controversy, p. 571).

Rumors of wars

The Washington Post recently reported on comments by US President Bush warning of impending war:

By escalating his threats against Baghdad and insisting he is unwilling to participate in "the rerun of a bad movie," President Bush is serving notice on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that the time for prevarication is over. More immediately, Bush is also signaling U.S. allies that he is prepared to go to war with Iraq without their approval (The Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2003, p. A01).

The article pointed out that despite opposition to such a war by spokesmen for nations that have been supportive at other times, the Bush administration is talking determination. Meanwhile there is talk of war by North Korea:

North Korea has kept up a barrage of warlike threats against the United States, but it has gone out of its way to try to assure South Koreans that the drum-thumping is not aimed at them. Earlier this week, Pyongyang said it would not attack South Korea, with which it fought a war from 1950 to 1953 (“U.S. Wants North Korea Crisis Referred to Security Council,” The Washington Post, Jan 22, 2003).

“Little” wars with big local results also are continuing:

Rebels hiding in the forests of western Ivory Coast attacked French forces patrolling nearby, triggering a battle that injured two soldiers and wounded or killed at least eight rebels, the French military said Wednesday.

Tuesday's attack near the western coastal town of Duekoue occurred despite a rebel cease-fire and talks on two continents trying to end the fourth-month civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer and a vital West African economic anchor.

Western Ivory Coast [has] been the most active front in the war, which has killed hundreds of people and displaced tens of thousands more. (“Ivory Coast Clash Injures 2 French Troops” The Associated Press Online, Jan. 22, 2003).

Inspired Commentary

A familiar New Testament text comes to mind:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt. 24:6-8)

Clearly the world situation regarding wars and war talk is stressful now, and Jesus said it would get worse before the end comes.

Canberra assailed by fire

Brush fires during January have taken a heavy toll in Australia:

There were no reports of any major injuries among residents [in Victoria] unlike the devastating fires over the weekend in Canberra that killed four people and razed 419 homes in one of Australia's worst-ever natural disasters.

`This is scary stuff," Rees said of the Victoria fires. "The fires ... are clearly fast-running fires, they have gone through grassland into scrub, into plantation, forest, box-iron bark country."

Damage from Saturday's fire storm was expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars. Schools, medical centers and thousands of acres of pine forests were destroyed ("Fire Fears Spread to Victoria State," The Associated Press Online, Jan. 21, 2003).

As this writing, four homes had been destroyed by Victoria fires.

Inspired Commentary

Great fires should be a reminder of greater fires to come:

Four mighty angels are still holding the four winds of the earth. Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full. The accidents by land and by sea; the loss of life, steadily increasing, by storm, by tempest, by railroad disaster, by conflagration; the terrible floods, the earthquakes, and the winds will be the stirring up of the nations to one deadly combat, while the angels hold the four winds, forbidding the terrible power of Satan to be exercised in its fury until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads. Get ready, get ready, I beseech you, get ready before it shall be forever too late! (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, June 7, 1887).

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