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Pope Francis tells atheists to abide by their own consciences

God's mercy has no limits, says pope in 2,500-word letter to Italian newspaper answering questions from non-believer   
    Pope Francis
    Pope Francis, who called for Christians to engage in 'sincere and rigorous dialogue'
    with atheists. Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features
    As letters to the editor go, it was certainly out of the ordinary, stretching to more than 2,500 words and not one of them veering on the irate or indignant. But the missive received by Eugenio Scalfari, co-founder and former editor of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, nonetheless made it into print on Wednesday – on the front page and under the impressively brief byline of "Francesco".
    Responding to a series of questions asked in the summer by Scalfari, who describes himself as an interested "non-believer", Pope Francis used his trademark conciliatory tone to discuss the Catholic church's attitude to atheists, urging those who do not share his faith to "abide by their own conscience" and reminding them God's mercy "has no limits".

    Expressing the belief that it was important for Christians to engage in "a sincere and rigorous dialogue" with atheists, Francis recalled Scalfari had asked him whether God forgave those "who do not believe and do not seek to believe".

    "Given – and this is the fundamental thing – that God's mercy has no limits, if He is approached with a sincere and repentant heart," the pope wrote, "the question for those who do not believe in God is to abide by their own conscience. There is sin, also for those who have no faith, in going against one's conscience. Listening to it and abiding by it means making up one's mind about what is good and evil."

    Now in his sixth month as pontiff, Francis has made a conciliatory style and pragmatic openness to dialogue with groups on the margins of the church's traditional activities one of his trademarks.
    In May, however, relaxed remarks during a homily, which appeared to imply that non-believers could be "saved" if they did good, prompted a swift clarification from the Vatican that he meant nothing of the kind.

    Read the rest here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/11/pope-francis-atheists-abide-consciences

    Judge’s Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome


    by Steven Ertelt | Bismarck, ND | LifeNews.com | 9/12/13 12:37 PM

    A judge’s ruling dismissing part of an abortion center’s lawsuit against a North Dakota law that bans abortions on disabled unborn children on the basis that they are disabled makes the state the first to have such a ban in place.

    With the governor’s signature on the ban earlier this year, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time.

    The state legislature approved the measure and Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed it in March.
    The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue of increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.

    Now, a judge has dismissed the legal challenge to a portion of the law the state’s lone abortion business challenged in its lawsuit. IN an AP report, the abortion center claims that’s okay with it since it reportedly doesn’t do abortions for those reasons anyway. However, it provided no proof that it asks abortion clients if they are having an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome or another condition.

    Read the rest at: http://www.lifenews.com/2013/09/12/judges-ruling-makes-north-dakota-first-to-ban-abortions-based-on-down-syndrome/

    Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 12, 2013

    Talking about the "things that matter most" on September 12

    4:00 – Six Month Anniversary of Pope Francis Election: An Analysis
    Tomorrow we celebrate the 6-month anniversary of the Papacy of Francis. Matthew Bunsonand Phil Lawler join us to look at his impact, his personality, his style, his reforms, his reception and the prospects for his future actions.    

    4:40 – Healing Hurts and Solving Problems – Where We Analyze the Sins, Illnesses, and Obstacles That Keep Us From Becoming All God Created Us to Be
    A Deeper Look at Predictors of Divorce
    In our Healing Hurts and Solving Problems segment we look at predictors of divorce and how to avoid them. Lisa Duffy knows first-hand as a divorced woman who has reconciled with the Church and remarried. She joins us today.
    5:00 – Kresta Comments
    5:20 - The Last Public Teaching of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: The Transforming Power of Faith
    "Having faith in the Lord is not something that involves solely our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions, and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes." So Pope Benedict XVI introduced his catecheses for the Year of Faith, a series of sixteen talks given at his weekly audience from October 2012 to the end of his papacy in February 2013. These talks explore how and why faith is relevant in the contemporary world. How can we come to certainty about things that cannot be calculated or scientifically confirmed? What does God's revelation mean for our daily lives? How can the hunger of the human heart be fulfilled? Offering the guidance of biblical exegesis, pastoral exhortation, and brotherly encouragement, Pope Benedict seeks to answer these questions and many others. His former student, Fr. Joseph Fessio, joins us to look at some of the final teachings of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
    5:40 – Improvement and Growth Segment
    Yelling Makes Parenting Harder, Study Says. (+5 Things To Do Instead.)
    Last week, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan released the results of a study that showed that yelling at teens actually aggravated problematic behavior rather than extinguishing it.  Likewise, teens who were consistently yelled at had higher incidences of depression, school problems, lying, stealing and fighting than kids who did not experience “harsh verbal punishment.” We look at the study and 5 things to do instead with Dr. Greg Popcak

    Batwoman lesbian marriage nixed! Writers quit!

    Pop culture just keeps getting uglier, sillier and gayer

    Sep 10, 2013
    The Christians             
    Batwoman: Her wedding to the policewoman has been permanently called off.
    Batwoman: Her wedding to the policewoman has been permanently called off.

    Even though their audience consists mainly of aging but not maturing males, comic book superheroes have a way of reflecting cultural shifts. News broke last week that on very short notice DC Comics had cancelled Batwoman’s imminent nuptials to an NYPD policewoman – a much anticipated lesbian first in the world of publishing for the illiterate.

    The two DC writers who had seen her through her engagement both quit in anger. So is DC Comics now renouncing the gay agenda? Not at all. DC says it made the call because superheroes and heroines are supposed to live tortured and lonely personal lives, not happy and contented ones. Not that lesbian relationships are a bed of roses, but most people don’t know that.

    But hold on – in 1996, after half a century, didn’t DC finally let Superman marry Lois Lane? Why the hetero-normative double standard? Who knows? Both DC and its arch-nemesis Marvel comics had been broadly hinting for many years that several of their heroes were closet sodomites, and in the mid-1990s, as the gay agenda crested, they began coming out. Batwoman is the best known.

    See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/617&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=7d15ab88b7-TCH-Issue0110-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-7d15ab88b7-57142977#sthash.iUuMIYaE.dpuf

    Home schooled? Oh you poor, deprived thing

    People have the weirdest, dumbest, most illiberal ideas about home-educated students

    Sep 10, 2013
    The Christians

    There are other ways of socialization than high schools.
    There are other ways of socialization than high schools
    This commentary by home schooled New York City high school student Veronica Andreades appeared in the Wall Street Journal Sep. 9, 2013

    “You’re home-schooled? That’s bad, right?”

     Another teenager started off a conversation with me that way recently. We’re both actresses, and we were waiting for a theater rehearsal to begin.“Bad? Where did you get that idea?” I replied.“Well, you don’t have any friends, right?”

    “I have lots of friends,” I said, laughing to hide my annoyance.

    Welcome to the life of a Manhattan home-schooler surrounded by supposedly open-minded liberals. This was hardly the first time I’ve confronted unsolicited comments about going to school at home. Not long ago, after a ballet class (yes, home-schoolers sometimes sign up to study elsewhere), I mentioned in the locker room that I was being educated by my mother. One of the other dancers said: “No offense, but don’t your parents care about you being socialized?”When I asked my mom why she chose to teach me, she said: “I did not want to be at the mercy of my ZIP Code.”

    When you’re from a middle-class family supported by a father who is a minister, chances are you aren’t going to live in a wealthy area and therefore in a good school district. I’ve gotten used to seeing pained or perplexed reactions when I talk about going to school in my apartment, as if I’m this nerdy, introverted alien. The truth is that my parents wanted to give me the freedom to pursue my passions so I’d be better prepared for college and career.

     - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/614&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=7d15ab88b7-TCH-Issue0110-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-7d15ab88b7-57142977#sthash.SbJ8VKw0.dpuf

    Syrian war makes sudden appearance at convent in historic Christian town

    SANA/Via EPA - A undated handout picture shows a church in the Maaloula village, northeast of Damascus, Syria.
    Fighters from Free Syrian Army units briefly gained control of ancient Christian Maaloula village,
    accounting to reports.

    Washington Post
    BEIRUT — High in the mountains above Damascus lies a town so remote that Syria’s war had passed it by, so untouched by time that its inhabitants still speak the language of Jesus.
    The violence ravaging the rest of Syria has finally caught up with Maaloula, renowned as the oldest Christian community in the world — and the last in which the same version of Aramaic that prevailed 2,000 years ago is the native tongue.
    On Sunday, Syrian rebels, including some affiliated with al-Qaeda, swept through Maaloula for the second time in four days, after an assault a few days earlier in which the last of its few thousand residents fled and the specter of unchecked violence threatened to convulse the iconic town.
    Only a couple of dozen nuns remained, cowering in fear as warplanes screeched overhead, shells exploded and al-Qaeda-linked fighters overran their convent, turning them into witnesses to what may be one of the more extraordinary encounters of the Syrian war.

    The monks had fled from their nearby monastery months ago, and even the last two priests who oversaw the affairs of Maaloula’s ancient Mar Takla nunnery took buses out of town last week, leaving the nuns of Maaloula to fend for themselves as the fighters closed in.

    With Congress poised to debate President Obama’s proposed military intervention in Syria, the arrival of war in Maaloula illuminates the complexity of a conflict that has defied all attempts at resolution for 21/2 years. The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is just one of the smaller issues at stake in the discussions expected to unfold.

    Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 11, 2013

    Talking about the "things that matter most" on September 11

    4:00 – 9/11: What Was Said About The “Clash of Civilations” In The Days After 9/11
    In the days after the horror of Sept. 11, 2001 “Kresta in the Afternoon” has a number of guests on the air to analyze the events, Islam, Bin Laden, and what was known as the “clash of civilizations.” In this hour we talk about those very topics and hear clips of some of those interviews with Scott Hahn, Jehan Sadat (wife of the assassinated President of Egypt Anwar Sadat), Geoffrey Wawro (Professor of Military History), Norman Geisler (Islam Scholar), Dr. George Braswell (Professor of World Religions), and the now deceased Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.

    5:00 – Kresta Comments: President Obama’s Speech to the Nation on Syria and What Constitutes Just War Theory.

    5:40 – National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Babies
    In September of 1988, over 1,200 children, victims of legal abortion, were laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On September 14, twenty-five years after that burial, their memory—and the memory of all the 55 million children killed by abortion under Roe v. Wade—will be honored at more than 85 gravesites and memorial sites nationwide on the National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children. You can find a memorial service near you at AbortionMemorials.com. National Sponsors Monica Millerand Eric Scheidler join us.

    Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – September 10, 2013

    Talking about the "things that matter most" on September 10
    4:00 - “Mater Eucharistiae”
    The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist amazed the recording industry with their #1 debut album, Mater Eucharistiae, on both the Classical Overall and Classical Traditional Charts. Heads turned as many labels vied for the top spot and are scrambling to find out the secret behind these sisters' success. We talk about the album with Sr. Mary David and Sr. Maria Suso.
    5:00 - The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity
    How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion's place in public life. Is there any hope for living together peacefully? Os Guinness argues that the way forward for the world lies in promoting freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths and none. He sets out a vision of a civil and cosmopolitan global public square, and how it can be established by championing the freedom of the soul—the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In particular he calls for leadership that has the courage to act on behalf of the common good. Far from utopian, this constructive vision charts a course for the future of the world. Soul freedom is not only a shining ideal but a dire necessity and an eminently practical solution to the predicaments of our time. We can indeed maximize freedom and justice and learn to negotiate deep differences in public life. For a world desperate for hope at a critical juncture of human history, here is a way forward, for the good of all. Os joins us.

    "Has Anyone Wept?": Pope Francis and the Cry for Peace

    6th Sep 2013         
    by Kathryn Jean Lopez
    Catholic Pulse

    Pope Francis has called on Catholics around the world and “other Christian brethren,” “brethren of other religions,” and “men and women of good will” to join him in fasting and prayer this weekend. As the United States debates military strikes against Syria, the Holy Father pleads for peace.

    As he did when going to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa in July, where refugees from the “Arab Spring” have been pouring in as they flee the violence and turmoil of their native lands, Pope Francis is speaking from the depths of his heart, expressing the pain of the Divine Heart, at what we are doing here. Those horrific images of children, women, and men suffering and dying from the effects of chemical weapons used in Syria have provoked a lively debate about what we can do to stop the horror. We can’t look away. And yet, what is the justice served by a military strike against Syria?
    Continue Reading

    "Your Young Men Will See Visions"

    This is a YouTube copy of a CBN video from February 6, 2013 reporting how vast numbers in the Muslim world, from Morocco to Indonesia, are seeing visions of Jesus and quietly converting to Christianity – in countries where for centuries the penalty for renouncing Islam has been death. More information on TheChristians.com April 9, 2013.
    - See more at: http://thechristians.com/?q=node/612&utm_source=The+Christians+Book+Buyers&utm_campaign=85ba655277-TCH-Issue0109-BB&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e2d8bf6d30-85ba655277-57142977#sthash.3hR4ne2J.dpuf

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