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April 2007

Benedict XVI On Sunday Significance

Pope Benedict XVI recently released a paper in which he mentioned Sunday observance:

Here some observations made by my venerable predecessor John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini continue to have great value. Speaking of the various dimensions of the Christian celebration of Sunday, he said that it is Dies Domini with regard to the work of creation, Dies Christi as the day of the new creation and the Risen Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit, Dies Ecclesiae as the day on which the Christian community gathers for the celebration, and Dies hominis as the day of joy, rest and fraternal charity.

Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. (post-synodal apostolic exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis," http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/index.htm, section 73, Feb. 22, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

Sunday sacredness came early into the post-apostolic church. It can be observed that large institutions seldom make radical changes unless forced by some circumstance to do so. Exquisite rationalizations can be supplied to justify the tradition. Prophesy has indicated where this is leading:

Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. (The Great Controversy, p. 588)

Tornadoes in Alabama

A tornado struck a high school in Enterprise, Alabama on March 2. Eight students were killed when a hallway collapsed and concrete rained down.

The tornado here was only the sharpest shard in huge storm system that produced at least 31 tornadoes on Thursday and battered the nation's midsection from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, killing 10 in Alabama, 9 in Georgia and 1 in Missouri. In Georgia, six of those killed were residents of a trailer park in Newton, and at least two died in Sumter. ...

"Looking back," said Bob Pares, the assistant superintendent of schools, "we would not have evacuated any sooner.

"There was one warning after another, after 10:30 a.m.," Mr. Phares said. "We didn't want to send the students out in the middle of a tornado."

In the end, the tornado came to get them. ("After Tornado, an Alabama School Tallies the Grief," nytimes.com, Mar. 3, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

New reports indicated that in the above case, school officials carried out carefully considered plans to deal with the tornado threat. That lives were lost is perhaps an indication that sometimes survival against the forces of nature is a matter of chance or providence. One lesson perhaps is that Christians should be in a state of repentance so that they are ready to perish from this life.

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-5

$990 Million for TV Upgrades

Congress set a deadline several years ago for broadcast television to change from analog to digital transmissions. The deadline will come in 2009. When the deadline comes, older television sets will no longer work unless a converter box is used. The US government is planning to financially assist folks who want to keep their older TV sets working in a digital age.

Federal officials announced details Monday about how that transition will work, saying the government will help consumers buy the necessary equipment to upgrade to digital -- a converter box that attaches to the TV set.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said it is setting aside $990 million to pay for the boxes. Each home can request up to two $40 coupons for a digital-to-analog converter box, which consumer electronics makers such as RCA and LG plan to produce. Prices for the box have not been determined, but industry and consumer groups have estimated they will run $50 to $75 each. ...

Starting Jan. 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be able to start requesting the coupons, said Sedmak. If the initial $990 million allocated is used up, another $510 million will be set aside to cover the cost of the coupons. ("Rabbit-ear TVs about to reach end of the road," sfgate.com, Mar. 13, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

Certainly there are benefits available from television, but much of broadcast television plays to the lower nature of those who watch.

Time, money, and strength, which are the Lord's, but which He has entrusted to us, are wasted in needless superfluities of dress, and luxuries for the perverted appetite, which lessen vitality and bring suffering and decay. (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 61)

Catholic Cardinal Allows Gay Masses

Homosexual rights campaigners have gained permission from the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales to hold Mass for gay parishioners.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor will allow a gay group to hold fortnightly Masses in his Westminster diocese

While the Church has allowed celibate gays to receive holy communion, traditionalist Catholics believe that practising homosexuals should be barred from the sacramental rite because their way of life defies Church teaching. ...

A statement from the diocese stressed that the move did not represent a shift in Church teaching, which says that homosexual practice is a sin and that non-celibate gay people should not be given communion. ("Cardinal's permission for gays' Mass dismays Catholic traditionalists," www.telegraph.co.uk, Feb. 19, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, ... Without natural affection, ... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Tim. 3:1-5

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