PHILADELPHIA — The eyes of the world will be on Pope Francis when he makes a visit to the western hemisphere next month, stopping first in Cuba before heading north to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. But his stop at the Ground Zero memorial in NYC amid commemoration of the deaths of thousands due to terrorism has been described by organizers as an "extremely important event for the world."
Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with survivors and family members of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks, which claimed the lives of 2,606 people. Those slain were mostly New Yorkers but among them were visitors hailing from the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, South Korea, India, and dozens of other countries. More than 400 of those killed when the Twin Towers fell were law enforcement officials and firefighters who were among first responders when al-Qaida-linked terrorists crashed commercial airliners into each tower.
That Sept. 25 meeting with 9/11 families will be held outside by the twin reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in downtown Manhattan, Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained during a briefing about the pope's U.S. visit with reporters Friday. more >>
Speaking from the text of an imprisoned Paul and Silas in Acts 16, Russell Moore addressed how Christians should engage culture without losing the Gospel witness.
Moore, who spoke at the ERLC National Conference in Nashville Wednesday, emphasized that the Apostle Paul provided plenty of clues on how to operate in a hostile world. He declared that Paul refused to leave under command of the Roman authorities at Philippi for the sake of the Gospel and not merely individual wants, desires, or personal advancement.
"What we have seen in American society is that the illusion of a Christian majority is gone. An illusion that never measured up to reality as defined by the Scriptures," declared Moore. He stressed that churches in America now have to "articulate things they used to assume." more >>
Roman Catholics and Protestants in the Chinese province of Zhejiang have launched a campaign aimed at making crosses and carrying them everywhere in response to the Communist government's continued crackdown on churches.
Asia News reported on Tuesday that the campaign, seeking to protest against the government in a legal and peaceful manner, has been met with great success.
Chinese Christians have been posting pictures on social media of crosses erected at their homes, while priests have called on churches across the nation to "join the rally" and show the government that Christians are united in protecting the holy symbol of the cross. more >>
The Episcopal Church, a theologically liberal denomination that has strong historic ties to the former Confederacy, voted at their General Convention in favor of a resolution calling for the removal of Confederate battle flags from public display.
"[The] 78th General Convention recognize that icons and symbols are and have always been important to the liturgical life and practice of The Episcopal Church in leading us to Jesus Christ and in inspiring us to share the Good News that is at the heart of our ministry," read Resolution D044 that was introduced by the Rev. Betsy Baumgarten.
"That as our Baptismal Covenant calls Episcopalians to 'respect the dignity of every human being' and as the fourth Mark of Mission calls Episcopalians to 'transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation,' we consider the continued display of the Confederate Battle Flag to be at odds with a faithful witness to the reconciling love of Jesus Christ …" more >>
Jewish author Avi Lipkin claimed Monday that "all" churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies who frequently pretend to have found Christ but are really looking to provide intelligence to radical Muslims who will try to kill all Jews and Christians when jihad is ordered upon the U.S.
Lipkin, who has authored a number of books critical of radical Islam, frequently speaks at Christian churches around the U.S. to emphasize the importance of unity between the Jewish and Christian communities in standing against the advance of radical Islam. Lipkin, who immigrated from New York to Israel in 1968, spoke at this week's Future Conference held at Skyline Church in San Diego where he proclaimed that the world is facing the "most interesting" biblical period since the days of Jesus Christ and contended that the coming of the Messiah is just around the corner.
"We are realizing with our own very eyes fulfillment of more Bible prophecy than in any other generation in 2,000 years," Lipkin asserted. "I believe the Messiah is in our time and I believe Israel will realize its borders." more >>
Pope Francis has said that it's the devil himself who keeps evangelicals, Catholics, and Christians from other denominations divided, and rejected the notion that it's heretical to believe that all Christians are one.
"Division is the work of the 'Father of Lies,' 'the Father of Discord,' who does everything possible to keep us divided," Francis said in a video message to a gathering sponsored by the John 17 Movement, according to Catholic Herald.
"I feel like saying something that may sound controversial, or even heretical, perhaps," he added. "But there is someone who 'knows' that, despite our differences, we are one. It is he who is persecuting us. It is he who is persecuting Christians today, he who is anointing us with (the blood of) martyrdom." more >>