SC priest wins $100,000 for church in poker game

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina priest missed the $1 million top prize in a poker tournament to be televised this weekend but he won $100,000 for his church and he hopes his participation gives viewers a “fun twist” on their perceptions of the priesthood.

The Rev. Andrew Trapp said he entered the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge in hopes of putting St. Michael Catholic Church “super close” to its $5.5 million fundraising goal to build a new facility. He also wanted to strike a public relations blow for priests.

“At the very least, even if I didn’t win any prize money, I was hoping it would help people to see that priests can have fun and be normal people and hopefully get a little bit of a fun twist on the image of the priesthood,” the assistant pastor said Tuesday.

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Seen on the web: “There’s value in having children learn and even memorize the basic tenants of their faith.”

There’s a story of a man who was deeply depressed, felt that life was pointless, and decided to commit suicide. He had been raised a Catholic but had left the Church years before. As he was about to overdose, his last thoughts were “Why did God even make me?” The words of the old Baltimore Catechism suddenly were in his head: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next”.

He was so startled that he dropped the pills. Then he started thinking and remembering what he had learned in Catholic school, all those many years ago. He decided to go see a priest and talk things over. He never tried to commit suicide again.

The point here is that there’s value in having children learn and even memorize the basic tenants of their faith. Often, in moments of distress, we can’t think clearly. It’s then that the prayers and teachings we learned as children can come to our aid and get us through those desperate moments to a safer place. The Catechism’s been like a rock, for those who were raised with it. It taught us the basics in a very simple language. And it’s always there, even if on the back burner, to be brought forward when needed.

Posted by Shane O’Neill

Read the “old” Baltimore Catechism here

New theory: Shakespeare was a “secret” Catholic

In a recent book, a German biographer of Shakespeare, Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel, said that she had “come to the conclusion that Shakespeare was a Catholic and that his religion is the key to understanding his life and work”.

Professor Hammerschmidt-Hummel said that Shakespeare’s parents, friends and teachers were Catholics, as were some of his patrons, including the Earl of Southampton, who concealed Catholic priests at his country seat, Titchfield Abbey, and his London residence.

Further proof was his purchase of the eastern gatehouse at Blackfriars — a secret meeting place for fugitive Catholics — in London in 1613, she said.

Backers of the theory say that plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Measure for Measure are “rich in Catholic thought and rituals”, with positive depictions of priests and monks and invocations of the Virgin Mary.

Read the article

Catholic Bishops Oppose New Senate Health Bill

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the most important anti-abortion voices in the country, announced its opposition to the Senate health care bill despite additional restrictions included to segregate taxpayer money from abortion services coverage.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., won those provisions, along with several other perks for his state, before committing to support the health care bill Saturday. But the abortion compromise has drawn the ire of both sides of the debate, with pro-life and pro-choice groups condemning the new bill as inadequate.

“The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form,” the bishops’ conference said in a written statement Saturday, adding that the legislation should be “opposed” until the conference’s concerns are addressed.

The new abortion language would ensure that one plan in the so-called insurance exchange — a network of regulated plans — would have no abortion coverage. For others, it would require that insurance companies segregate any federal subsidies so that only private funds from customers are used to pay for abortion coverage. The plan would have companies charge a specific fee dedicated for abortion coverage. States would still be able to exclude abortion coverage from their exchanges.

But the Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed concern that individuals would not be able to “opt out” of paying abortion coverage in most of the subsidized plans.

“Instead it will require purchasers of such plans to pay a distinct fee or surcharge which is extracted solely to help pay for other people’s abortions,” the organization said.” Further the government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to longstanding law governing this agency.”

That was just the start of the complaints.

Read more at Fox News

The Conservative-Christian (Catholic) Big Thinker Behind the Manhattan Declaration

On a September afternoon, about 60 prominent Christians assembled in the library of the Metropolitan Club on the east side of Central Park. It was a gathering of unusual diversity and power. Many in attendance were conservative evangelicals like the born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson, who helped initiate the meeting. Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was there as well. And so were more than half a dozen of this country’s most influential Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. Dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses­, George convened the meeting with a note of thanks and a reminder of its purpose. Alarmed at the liberal takeover of Washington and an apparent leadership vacuum among the Christian right, the group had come together to warn the country’s secular powers that the culture wars had not ended. As a starting point, George had drafted a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage.

Read the article

More on George, from Tom Roeser:

Who is Robbie George? Read The New York Times magazine last Sunday and you’ll find out. He is a Princeton professor who with the death of Rev. Richard John Neuhaus has become a consultant to a number of conservative Catholic bishops. Dr. Robert P. George, that is who is a Thomist who those conservative bishops have found to possess the talent for phrasing their arguments in thoughtful, academic language. No, Cardinal George is not among them. He’s busily constructing his own theory of parsing which alleges Catholicism is hobbled by conservatives on one hand and liberals on the other… contrasted with which-guess what-he, the equivocator of both-occupies the Golden Mean.

But I digress. The interesting thing about Robert George is that he is unassailably right on theology-philosophy… but guess what? His uniqueness is due to the fact that he almost alone espouses the essence of Aquinas which has been forsaken by most Catholic intellectuals. You remember my disquisitions about Fr. Ernie? Fr. Ernie’s theology, philosophy is reborn in Robbie George. Encouraging isn’t it. But also discouraging.

It’s a shame that the logic that has permeated Catholic theology since the 13th, that greatest of all centuries for philosophy and theology, has been so ignored since the mid-20th that Robbie George is the only one the bishops can find.

Ben Nelson’s “Conversion” – Another Crass Political Payoff – the Chicago Way

The cynical way Barack Obama hustled Ben Nelson for 30 pieces of silver and the 60th vote for the cause of federalizing a sixth of the economy will be his… and Nelson’s… Waterloo.

The deal involved the state of Nebraska wherein Obama promised to have the U.S. government cover Nebraska’s estimated $45 million share of Medicaid coverage over a decade.

For this payoff… a crass, Chicago Way style of paying for votes on the barrelhead… Obama, the purported idealistic Messiah got his way with a program that will submerge the quality of medical care in this country, lead to single payer and likely rationing.

So one can say to Sen. Nelson what St. Thomas More said to Sir Richard Rich in paraphrase: All this for… paying the Medicaid bill for… NEBRASKA?”

Read more at TomRoeser.com

Anthropogenic Global Warming, Eugenics, Racism Provide False Justification for Denial of Human Rights

Policies based on “scientific fact” have a history of being more than just problematic, as with the veneer of absolute truth behind them they have oftentimes been downright irrational. This historic record should act as a guide to our current political occupation with anthropogenic global warming.

Arguably, scientific fact changes more rapidly than religious dogma. What was undeniable truth one day might be discovered to be quackery the next. The most glaring example of this in the 20th century is the science of eugenics.

The science of eugenics insisted that the human gene pool was being polluted by various undesirable races and threatened to lead to the degeneration of the human species into a collection of feeble minded individuals. So popular was this science that it spawned no less than three Global conferences with attendees included scientific and political heavyweights of the time.

When eugenics took the form of government policy, it did so in a frightening way. Take for example the case of the Racial Integrity Act (RIA). In the name of fighting off the inevitability of human degeneracy that would occur if people were left to breed uncontrolled, the state of Virginia passed the RIA in 1924. This law allowed the state powers that today would cause us to recoil in horror. These powers included forced sterilizations, and the banning of intermarriage between minorities and whites.

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One of the neatest things about being Catholic

One of the neatest things about being Catholic is that I can go to Mass anywhere in the world and feel comfortable. I never felt that way beforehand. Growing up as a non-denominational Christian, we visited other churches rarely and when we did, it felt weird.

As a result, when on vacation we just skipped church. We didn’t know anyone, and we really weren’t missing anything except a sermon and who knew if that was going to be any good? When visiting relatives, if it happened to be a Sunday, we would sometimes attend with them, so there was a modicum of safety from being singled out as potential new members. But if we didn’t know anyone? Nope. What was the point? We were just passing through and the fellowship of our local church would be absent and we would be like strangers and stick out like sore thumbs.

Now that I’m a Catholic, I love visiting other parishes! And I know that the fellowship of our home parish community is not the big draw anyway. The big draw is Christ and His Presence in the Eucharist. We don’t need to know anyone locally because the most important Person there knows us backwards and forwards.

Read the article by Frank Weathers

Gain the release of holy souls from Purgatory: Have Masses perpetually offered for them.

The Purgatory Project exists to aid the souls in Purgatory. Anyone can register the names of people who have died. Registering them will help them. It is not hard to help these souls. It costs no money, and it is a very good and important thing to do.

The goal is to get all registered souls released from Purgatory and admitted to Heaven as expeditiously as possible. The souls who are not released immediately will still be helped because they will be elevated to a greater degree of purification and will have to endure less suffering.

The main benefit the souls will receive is the priceless value of hundreds of Masses being said each year for “All Souls Registered In the Purgatory Project”.  The Masses are currently being offered by the Capuchin Franciscans.

You are invited to join in with fasting, adoration, indulgences and Mass intentions to the extent that you are able, but you don’t have to. Masses and prayers that are no longer needed by one soul will automatically and supernaturally be applied to others still in need.

Go to the site and register as many souls as you like, as often as you like. There is no limit. Enter multiple names separated by a comma.

Like this: John Doe, Jane Doe, Joe Doakes, Jane Doakes, etc…

You can also copy and paste a list directly from your favorite text editor/word processor.

After successful registration, you will see a printable confirmation for all the souls you’ve added to the registry. Keep it. Pray over it. Use it should you need to check or verify your on-line listings.

Please tell your friends about this!

Visit the site
Learn more about Purgatory

New Nazareth excavation site expected to shed light on what Jesus, Mary, Joseph’s home may have been like

NAZARETH, Israel – Days before Christmas, Israeli archaeologists on Monday unveiled what they said were the remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that can be dated back to the time of Jesus — a find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy.

The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres (1.6 hectares). It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority,

Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a “simple Jewish family,” Alexandre added, as workers at the site carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.

Nazareth holds a cherished place in Christianity. It is the town where Christian tradition says Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God.

“This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with,” Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends, she said. “It’s a logical suggestion.”

Read the article, see the photo

“Robin Hood” Mexican priest in big trouble with his superiors

“Be Alert,” reads the Nov. 1 bulletin at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary church in Los Angeles. “Father Raymundo Figueroa of the Diocese of Tijuana is in this area and is presiding at baptisms and first Communions for a fee of $180 per person. He is here without permission of his bishop.” U.S. churches don’t normally charge for the sacraments unless, as in the case of weddings, there are expenses such as musicians and flowers.

Simony was a common transgression in the Middle Ages, when simonists were condemned to hell in Dante’s “Inferno.” The modern consequences aren’t quite so dire, but in the most serious cases they can include a priest’s suspension.

Figueroa is suspected of organizing ceremonies from Chula Vista to the San Fernando Valley. Fifty to several hundred children at a time receive the sacraments in nonchurch settings, like parks and hotels, people’s living rooms and backyards. Instead of church choirs and organs, strolling mariachis provide the music.

“They just do it in people’s houses. You don’t need much. For baptisms, a little water. For first Communions, you just set up a table,” said Father Richard Zanotti of the Holy Rosary parish in Los Angeles.

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Elephants Attack Hindus In India One Year After Start of Christian Persecutions

In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire.  The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes.  Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles.  In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement.  They then went on to destroy his house and farms.

Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

Submitted by Bob Stanley

The Anti-Christmas Crowd Has Reason On Their Side, While All We Catholics Have, is God.

The anti-Christmas crowd has reason on their side.

It’s not rational for God, the Supreme Being of the entire universe, to care about the lowly inhabitants of an insignificant planet.

It’s not rational for God to condescend to becoming one of us.

It’s not rational to believe that one person could (at the very same time) be both fully God and fully man.

It’s not rational for God to choose a “putrid backwater” of the ancient world, then known as Roman occupied Palestine and Judea, to be the home of his divine son.

It’s not rational for God to choose a lowly Jewish maiden (the sinless, Virgin Mary) to be the mother of his son.

It’s not rational for God to ask the maiden’s consent.

It’s not rational for God to wait patiently for that consent.

It’s not rational to believe that a woman might conceive a child without benefit of some type of physical sex act or medical procedure.

It’s not rational for humans to believe in angels (or devils).

It’s not rational for a lowly human to even consider being part and party to such an unimaginable, boldly metaphysical, wholly unlikely and totally unparalleled event.

It’s not rational for the here-to-fore unseen, unknowable, ineffable God to expect anyone of sound mind to agree to take part in such a thing.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be born after the usual nine months of gestation, without loss of the woman’s virginity.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be born in a stable, because no room was available elsewhere.

It’s not rational for “Kings of the East” to set out on extended pilgrimage based primarily on their limited understanding of ancient and obscure Hebrew prophecy.

It’s not rational to believe that the same Kings were guided to their destination by the appearance of a mysterious, dedicated, still unexplained and unidentified heavenly light (star).

It’s not rational for the Son of God to have to flee the country of his birth in order to foil an assassination attempt on his person, by an earthly king.

It’s not rational for the Son of God to be raised by a decidedly “middle-class” foster-father, in an indistinct and virtually unknown little town called Nazareth, and to eventually become a carpenter.

It’s not rational for a married couple to voluntarily and permanently fore-go sexual relations with each other.

It’s not rational to believe in Scripture/Bible prophecy.

It’s not rational to believe that one man could, during the course of his short, thirty-three years of earthly existence, perfectly fulfill all of the hundreds of Bible prophecies that were written about him.

It’s not rational to believe that the atoning death of the Son of God at the hands of sinful mankind, could somehow ultimately result in the successful reconciliation of mankind with God.

It’s not rational to believe that God so loved the world, that he gave us his only begotten Son: that whoever believes in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

It’s not rational to believe that it is possible for a man to raise himself up again from the dead.

It’s not rational to believe that, having risen, that same man could give us his glorified flesh and blood to eat, as true food and true drink, and as the antidote to eternal death and hell.

It’s not rational to believe that a little group of eleven apostles and a few hundred disciples could establish one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church that would eventually convert the pagan Roman Emperor, then the entire Roman Empire, and one day, go on to encompass most of the known world.

It is not rational to believe that having reconciled the world to God by his life, death and resurrection, that Jesus Christ will one day return to judge the living and the dead, and that his kingdom will have no end.

It may not be rational, but the bulk of the above events have already occurred and passed into history, while our Christian faith informs us that the last will also truly come to pass, in God’s good time.

Merry Christmas!

More on this here

Deathbed Conversions

Deathbed conversion, however difficult, is possible. Even when we see no sign of contrition, we can still not affirm that, at the last moment, just before the separation of soul from body, the soul is definitively obstinate. A sinner may be converted at that last minute in such fashion that God alone can know it. The holy Cure of Ars, Divinely enlightened, said to a weeping widow: “Your prayer, Madame, has been heard. Your husband is saved. When he threw himself into the Rhone, the Blessed Virgin obtained for him the grace of conversion just before he died. Recall how, a month before, in your garden, he plucked the most beautiful rose and said to you, ‘Carry this to the altar of the Blessed Virgin.’ She has not forgotten.”

Other souls, too, have been converted in extremis, souls that could barely recall a few religious acts in the course of their life. A sailor, for example, preserved the practice of uncovering his head when he passed before a church. He did not know even the Our Father or the Hail Mary, but the lifting of his hat kept him from departing definitively from God.

In the life of the saintly Bishop Bertau of Tulle, friend of Louis Veuillot, a poor girl in that city, who had once been chanter in the cathedral, fell first into misery, then into misconduct, and finally became a public sinner. She was assassinated at night, in one of the streets of Tulle. Police found her dying and carried her to a hospital. While she was dying, she cried out: “Jesus, Jesus.” Could she be granted Church burial? The Bishop answered: “Yes, because she died pronouncing the name of Jesus. But bury her early in the morning without incense.” In the room of this poor woman was found a portrait of the holy Bishop, on the back of which was written: “The best of Fathers.” Fallen though she was, she still recognized the holiness of her bishop and preserved in her heart the memory of the goodness of Our Lord.

Read more at CatholicTradition.Org

Do you pray the Jesus Prayer?

The Jesus Prayer is short, but immensely powerful. It simply consists of the word “Jesus.” (Other variations include “Lord Jesus” or “Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner“.)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The invocation of the holy name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always. When the holy name is repeated often by a humbly attentive heart, the prayer is not lost by heaping up empty phrases, but holds fast to the word and “brings forth fruit with patience.” This prayer is possible “at all times” because it is not one occupation among others but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus” (CCC 2668).

Catholics Come Home Lost & Found Tip: Pray the Jesus Prayer throughout your day today. Experience the power and peace that comes from simply pronouncing the most powerful name in the world, the Word that was made flesh, the Word whose birth we celebrate in a few short weeks!

Visit www.CatholicsComeHome.org to grow deeper in your faith each day!

Watch and Listen: The Interview With God Video

Watch the video

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Padre Pio and the Angels

St. Padre Pio was especially careful for the well-being, spiritual and material, of those whom he had accepted as his spiritual son or daughter. He would look after them from a distance, with the help of their guardian angel. The following story is related in Send Me Your Guardian Angel, a book on Padre Pio’s relations with the angels by Fr. Alessio Parente, OFM Cap.. Fr, Alessio had the privilege of taking care of Padre Pio in the later years of his life.

Once a person was accepted as Padre Pio’s spiritual child, he would never abandon them, no matter what danger they were in. Even if he did not visit them personally, they would receive his help through his Guardian Angel.

Cecil Humphrey-Smith, a well known gentleman from England, is Padre Pio’s spiritual child. Whilst in Italy, during the time Padre Pio was alive, Cecil had a car crash and was very seriously injured. A friend of his, seeing him in such a bad condition afterwards, went to the Post Office and sent a telegram to Padre Pio requesting his prayers for the injured Cecil. When he presented the telegram at the desk, the man gave him back a telegram from Padre Pio assuring his prayers for Cecil Humphrey-Smith’s recovery.

It was some months before Cecil was in good enough shape to travel again, but immediately he had recovered he made tracks for San Giovanni Rotondo. On this occasion, both Cecil and his friend met Padre Pio and they thanked him for his prayers. At the same time, they were curious to know how he came to know about the accident and how a telegram had arrived in such a short space of time. In response to their demand, Padre Pio, in his humoristic way said: “Do you think the Angels go as slowly as the planes?”

Read more

More true angel stories here

Complete report on St. Pio from EWTN

Alan Keyes: Nothing Sarah Palin has said or done supports the view that she is pro-life as a matter of justice, law and public policy.

Sarah Palin’s statements and actions are rationally inconsistent with the moral logic of unalienable right which, if true, binds all levels of government and all US public officials to the goal of securing the unalienable rights with which God has endowed our humanity. If we accept her as a pro-life leader we abandon the rational moral basis for the pro-life position. I cannot do this without betraying the principles of liberty, and the will of the Creator God whose authority establishes them as the basis for human justice.

Your rhetoric simply fails to address the facts and reasoning I present. It amounts to saying that she is personally against abortion (about which I have no doubt). But many pro-“abortion rights” politicians say that. The issue before the nation is about law and justice, not personal conviction. Nothing Sarah Palin has said or done supports the view that she is pro-life as a matter of justice, law and public policy. So far as I can tell, she is just a pro-choice politician who turned a laudable personal choice into a seductive, but false pro-life public image. All the choices and statements she has made in her public capacity support this conclusion. If I’m wrong, show me the facts and statements that indicate something beyond the “I’m personally pro-life” position so common among the so-called “pro-choice” promoters of “abortion rights”.

Unless Sarah Palin fundamentally alters the views she has enunciated and acted on up to now, I predict that she will disappoint the hope so many sincerely pro-life people are mistakenly investing in her supposed pro-life stand.  I am sure I will pay a price for saying now what others will only realize when it may be too late. I was excoriated starting in 2004 for calling Obama a hard line Marxist bent on destroying America.  That view is not at all so contemned today as it was when facts and reasoning first convinced me of its truth.  Similarly on account of facts and reasoning I and others insist that Obama cease to withhold evidence bearing on whether or not he satisfies the Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the Office of President of the United States.  For this we are vilified and ridiculed, though many of our fellow Americans now join in this demand.

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St. Thomas Christians in India reportedly coming together

The bishops of Kerala– the home of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church– have reached an agreement with Syrian Jacobite and Syrian Orthodox leaders to share churches outside Kerala for Sunday Mass and to consider sharing cemeteries and the use of priests at funerals. All four churches trace their origin to the evangelization of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Underscoring the agreement’s ramifications beyond India, the Catholic delegation was led by Bishop Brian Farrell, LC, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity since 2002.

Although the sacred liturgy in both the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is celebrated in Malayalam, the former uses the Chaldean rite, while the latter uses the Antiochan rite. The Syrian Jacobite Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church are not among the Eastern Orthodox churches that ceased communion with the Holy See in 1054; rather, they are among the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.

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Getting old? God knows!

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come And the years approach of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them; Before the sun is darkened. and the light, and the moon, and the stars, while the clouds return after the rain; When the guardians of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, And the grinders are idle because they are few, and they who look through the windows grow blind; When the doors to the street are shut, and the sound of the mill is low; When one waits for the chirp of a bird, but all the daughters of song are suppressed; 5 And one fears heights, and perils in the street; When the almond tree blooms, and the locust grows sluggish and the caper berry is without effect, Because man goes to his lasting home, and mourners go about the streets; Before the silver cord is snapped and the golden bowl is broken, And the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the broken pulley falls into the well, And the dust returns to the earth as it once was, and the life breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, all things are vanity! (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8)

Commentary here

Photo: ABC News