During a visit to the Holy Land, Mark Twain and his wife stayed in Capernaum near the Sea of Galilee. One beautiful night, he decided to take his wife on a romantic moonlit ride on that famous body of water. Dressed in his signature white hat, suit and shoes, he strolled down the pier and asked a man sitting in a near-by row boat the price for rowing them out.
Presuming that this cultured-acting man to be a wealthy individual from the states, the opportunistic oarsman said he would charge $25 American dollars. After thanking the man, Twain was heard to say as he and his wife turned away, "No wonder Jesus chose to walk."
It must have been something of this same sentiment against greed and corporate interests Pope Francis was meaning to voice in his recent encyclical Laudato Si', where he strangely censures the use of air conditioning. more >>
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump said in an interview that if Pope Francis were to criticize him and capitalism during the pontiff's upcoming visit in September, the billionaire businessman will have to "scare" Francis with a reminder that the Islamic State terror group has threatened him.
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, Trump said that even though he is a Protestant Christian, he has "great respect" for the pope.
"I like the pope. I actually like him. He's becoming very political, there's no question about it. But I like him. He seems like a pretty good guy." more >>
Pope Francis, who is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress in September, plans to donate a rare Bible to House Speaker John Boehner and the Library of Congress, according to reports.
The pope will address Congress on Sept. 24, when he will also present a copy of a special fine art edition of the Bible, which was commissioned by a Minnesota Benedictine abbey, to the Ohio Republican and the Library of Congress, according to The Hill.
The Apostles Edition of the St. John's Bible, which runs in seven volumes, is believed to be the first handwritten and illuminated Bible produced since the invention of the printing press and cost an estimated $ million. more >>
Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled the Islamic State terror group to neighboring countries such as Jordan have said they are stuck in limbo, with nowhere to go and limited ways to provide a living. Pope Francis has condemned the world's silence on the issue, while an Iraqi archbishop has said that Christians in the region are hated because they want to keep hold of their faith.
"The Church is unable to offer and guarantee the fundamental security that its members need to thrive. It is no secret that hatred of minorities has intensified in certain quarters over the past few years. It is difficult to understand this hate. We are hated because we persist in wanting to exist as Christians. In other words, we are hated because we persist in demanding a basic human right," His Exc. Mgr. Bashar Matti Warda, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Erbil, said in a statement to Fides News Agency.
The Associated Press reported on Sunday that close to 7,000 Christians from northern Iraq alone have fled to Jordan. They have not been granted permission to work and have not been resettled to the West as hoped, leaving them in a state of limbo. more >>
In a recent letter to Archbishop Maroun Lahham, a Catholic leader considered to be the vicar of the Patriarch of Latin America, Pope Francis stressed the severity of the persecution that many Christians are enduring throughout the world as their neighbors remain silent about the atrocities.
Francis' letter stated that today's persecution against Christians, which often comes from radical Islamic groups such as the Islamic State and Boko Haram, is being carried out "before the eyes and in the silence of all."
"They are the martyrs of today, humiliated and discriminated against because of their fidelity to the Gospel," wrote Francis. more >>
Some of the most influential Christian leaders in the Middle East convened in Syria in late July to urge world leaders to support the persecuted Christian community, crying out for help to remain in the land "watered by the sweat of our fathers."
The meeting in the Old City of Damascus was attended by the five patriarchs of the oldest Christian churches in the Arab world including the Antiochian Greek Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the Syriac Catholic Church, and the Maronite Church. The Vatican's ambassador to Syria also attended.
"We call on everyone who claims to have an interest in our fate to help us to remain," said the Mid East church leaders in a joint statement released from Syria's capital. more >>