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The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

January 2006

Pope on Catholic Politicians

At a recent meeting between the Pope and Polish bishops, the Pope indicated that one of the challenges facing the [Roman Catholic] Church is to help Catholic politicians recognize their Christian identity and act accordingly.

It is a matter of helping them, in a particular manner, be aware of their Christian identity and of the universal moral values that are based in the nature of man, in such a way that, in virtue of a correct conscience, they commit themselves to applying [the values] to civil law, to build a coexistence that respects man in all his dimensions,” the Holy Father said. (“Pope: Catholic Politicians Need to Be Aware of Christian Identity,” Zenit.org, Dec. 18, 2005)

One might wonder whether a one day in seven day of rest might be seen as one of the “universal moral values that are based in the nature of man”?

Inspired Commentary

The record of history indicates that religious power can influence and even dictate political policy. Inspiration indicates directions this union will take in the future:

As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath. (The Great Controversy, p.592)

National ID

The thought that a USA national identification system has some civil liberties groups worried:

An umbrella organization of dozens of groups that monitor legislation affecting civil liberties says a new immigration-reform measure contains a provision that could lead to de facto establishment of a national identification scheme.

Officials with Liberty Coalition (www.libertycoalition.org)say the bill, called the “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act,” ominously “creates a dangerous new national identity database system and firmly establishes the predicate for a new national ID card system.”

In particular, said the organization, Title VII of the bill contains a requirement that employers compare current and prospective workers’ Social Security numbers with a Department of Homeland Security database to ensure they are legally able to work in the United States. If the DHS database doesn’t clear the employee, the employer can be fined. (“Group warns bill contains national ID,” www.worldnetdaily, Dec. 10, 2005)

They worry about system errors that might negatively impact employees and employers and potential intentional abuse of the system by individuals or government.

Inspired Commentary

One might be tempted to ask regarding a national ID system, why would someone be worried if they have nothing to hide? Criminals, identity thief criminals and terrorists certainly have an interest in hiding their true identities. As noted above, however, the pervasive evil of human nature and the fallibility of human endeavor lead some to regard with suspicion any attempt to nationally verify identities, which could potentially enhance the ability of government entities to control human behavior.

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. Rev. 13:11, 12

Methodist-Catholic Dialog

At a recent meeting between the Pope and Methodist leaders, the Pope noted efforts to lead Methodists to join Lutherans and Catholics in agreeing to points regarding justification:

The Holy Father added: “I have been encouraged by the initiative which would bring the member churches of the World Methodist Council into association with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, signed by the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999.”

The World Methodist Council embraces 76 Methodist communions. At its next general assembly, in July, it is expected to approve this declaration.

“Should the World Methodist Council express its intent to associate itself with the Joint Declaration,” said Benedict XVI during today's audience, “it would assist in contributing to the healing and reconciliation we ardently desire, and would be a significant step towards the stated goal of full visible unity in faith.”

Bishop Mbang said that, thanks to the dialogue, many prejudices have vanished. He made special reference to Pope John Paul II’s contribution.

As Methodists, said the bishop, “we are aware that we must accept and learn many things about the Catholic Church and we believe and hope also that we can offer our contribution to bring about the one Church of Jesus Christ.” (see “Pope thanks God for talks, friendship between Catholics, Methodists, www,catholicnews.com, Dec. 9, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

Readers are probably well aware that the Roman Catholic Church places the teaching authority of that Church on a par with the teachings of the Bible (see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15006b.htm). It is also widely recognized that some of the teachings based on that “teaching authority” are not in harmony with the Bible. That divergence led to the Protestant Reformation. Now it appears that the Protestants are not protesting so much.

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)

Top 10 Religious News Items in 2005

The editors of Christianity Today released their opinion as to the top ten religious news items of 2005. Two of the items related to natural disasters (hurricane Katrina and the Christian response to the Southeast Asia tsunami). Also mentioned was the election of a new Pope and the last crusade by evangelist Billy Graham. The US supreme court vacancies and media interest in “values” voters also made the list. (“Top Ten Stories of 2005,” www,christianitytoday.com, Dec. 19, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. . . . Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Maranatha, p. 68).

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