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October 2007

Pope Promotes Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for renewed respect for Sundays as he celebrated Mass at St Stephen's cathedral in the heart of Vienna. ...

"Give the soul its Sunday, give Sunday its soul," the Pope said, quoting a phrase coined by a German bishop in the 20th Century. ...

The number of Austrians who regularly attend Sunday Mass has diminished to a tiny proportion of those who call themselves Catholics, according to church statistics, BBC's David Willey reports from Vienna. ("Pope demands respect for Sundays," BBC news (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6986053.stm), Sep. 9, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

Commenting on the history of the Papacy, inspiration notes:

These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the Sunday. (The Great Controversy, p. 578)

Adverse Natural Events

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck coastal areas of Peru on August 15.

The most recent official statistics from the National Civil Defense Institute put the number of dead at 503, with 1,042 people injured. The earthquake destroyed 34,410 homes, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless. ("Recovering from the Peru Earthquake," time.com, Aug. 20, 2007)

Another earthquake in Indonesia was being reported at the time of this writing:

A massive earthquake shook Indonesia on Wednesday, killing seven [ten fatalities according to later reports] people, injuring 100 and triggering a small tsunami that hit one city on the island of Sumatra, authorities said. Tsunami warnings were issued for much of the Indian Ocean region.

The 8.2-magnitude quake off Sumatra badly damaged buildings along the coast and could be felt in at least four countries, with tall buildings swaying as far as 1,200 miles away.

It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, the strongest of which registered at a magnitude of 6.6 and triggered a second tsunami alert for Indonesia, which was lifted about an hour later. ("Quake Triggers Tsunami in Indonesia," Associated Press, Sep. 12, 2007)

The central U.S. was hit by tropical and other storm flooding causing damage and death:

RUSHFORD, Minn. - Water-weary residents across the Midwest began counting their losses Tuesday as damage estimates from this weekend's deadly flash floods climbed into the tens of millions. ...

The death toll from the two storm systems one in the Upper Midwest and the remnants of Tropical Storm Erin in Texas and Oklahoma climbed to 22 when searchers found the body of a man tangled in a tree about four miles from his wrecked, upside-down car near a creek south of Lewiston, Minn.("Central U.S. staggers from storm punches," msnbc.com, Aug. 21, 2007)

Inspired commentary

Natural disasters will continue until Jesus returns.

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. 24:7-8

Infectious Disease Spreading

Another warning has emerged regarding the spread of disease:

The World Health Organization warns new and emerging infectious diseases are spreading rapidly around the world threatening the health, economies and security of all nations. This year's World Health Report says global public health security depends on international cooperation more than at any previous time in history. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from the launch of the report in Geneva.

The World Health Organization says diseases are increasingly threatening the health of people around the world. This is due to the frequency and speed with which people and cargo are moving around the planet.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, says no country can shield itself from the invasion by a pathogen incubating in an airline passenger or an insect hiding in a cargo hold.

"Changes in the way humanity inhabits the planet have created multiple opportunities for new diseases to emerge, and for older diseases to resurge or become established on new continents," Chan said. "Population growth, rapid urbanization, intensive farming practices, environmental degradation, and the misuse of antibiotics have placed enormous pressure on the microbial world."

The report finds new diseases are now emerging at an unprecedented average rate of one per year. Since 1967, it says at least 39 new diseases have developed. These include HIV/AIDS, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Marburg fever and SARS.

But, for Dr. Chan, the biggest threat to people around the world is posed by a future pandemic of avian influenza, which, she says, could potentially kill millions of people. ("WHO: Infectious Diseases Spreading Rapidly Around World," voanews.com, Aug. 23, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

A brighter day is coming when disease will no longer be a threat:

The Lord "formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." Isaiah 45:18. That purpose will be fulfilled, when, renewed by the power of God, and freed from sin and sorrow, it shall become the eternal abode of the redeemed. "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." "And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him." Psalm 37:29; Revelation 22:3. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67)

Homosexual TV Content

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--When it comes to homosexual characters and themes on primetime television, ABC and the CW lead the pack, a new study says, although all five major broadcast networks have enough such programming to cause Christian families concern.

The study of one year's worth of programming found that 15 percent of all of ABC's primetime programming hours during that span contained either homosexual characters or the discussion of homosexuality. The CW was second at 12 percent, followed by CBS (9 percent), NBC (7 percent) and Fox (6 percent).

The first-of-its-kind study was conducted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). The organization also gave the networks grades: ABC was rated "good," the CW, CBS and NBC "fair" and Fox "poor." No network received the highest grade of "excellent." The study, dubbed the "Network Responsibility Index," examined programming between June 1, 2006 and May 31, 2007. "Homosexual content prominent on primetime TV, study says," Baptist Press (http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=26208), Aug. 8, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. Jude 17-19

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