Gregg Cunningham of the Center for Bioethical Reform: “Two things that have to happen in order for the pro-life movement to be effective, and they aren’t happening anywhere in the world in any systematic way”.

First, and prior to making gains in legislation, “the population has to be convinced of the humanity of the unborn child, early in pregnancy. And the population has to be convinced of the inhumanity of abortion, early in pregnancy.”

He pointed out that the gains made in public opinion have been in support for abortion restrictions only in later stages of gestation, when abortion is already much less common. Most US and British opinion still favours largely unrestricted abortion in the first trimester, when the great majority of abortions are conducted.

“Most people hear the word ‘embryo’ and in their minds that term is synonymous with ‘blob of tissue’ or ‘blob of cells’. And they see abortion perhaps as evil but as the ‘lesser of two evils’ at worst. Certainly not evil enough to justify putting anyone in prison who performs abortions.”

“Nothing is going to change until we persuade the population that the baby really is entitled to developmental rights of personhood from the moment of fertilisation. And that abortion is an evil of sufficient enormity to justify criminalising the act. By which I don’t mean putting women in prison, I mean putting doctors in prison,” he continued.

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The end of the world has already happened. It’s just not what you think.

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The end of the world has indeed happened. It did not happen on a specific day, but has spread out over several decades. The world that disappeared was a world where most children knew how to read and write. A world where we admired the heroes rather than the victims. A world where political machines had not turned into the soul grinding machines. A world where we had more role models than rights. A world where one could understand what Pascal had meant when he wrote that entertainments distracted us from living a real human life. A world where the borders safeguarded those who lived their way of life and a life of their own.

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“I don’t know where we went wrong other than that we obviously don’t understand the Scriptures in the way that we should.”

I had profiled several believers before May 21. The day after, most didn’t answer the phone. Those who did wouldn’t talk on the record. But one man, his voice quavering, said he was still holding out hope that they were one day off. Another believer asserted that their prayers worked: God delayed judgment so that more people could be saved, but the end is “imminent.”

Tom Evans was contrite. Evans is on the board of Family Radio, the organization led by Harold Camping, who calculated and promoted the May 21 date.

“I don’t know where we went wrong other than that we obviously don’t understand the Scriptures in the way that we should,” he says.

It’s very hard for us to say, ‘Boy, was I stupid!’ The more committed a person is to their prophecy, the more likely they are to justify that action, and to try to convince people that their belief was in some way right or good. – Elliot Aronson, psychologist

Camping has yet to make a statement, but Evans hopes they will not recalculate and announce a new date for Judgment Day. After all, they’ve done that at least once before — in 1994 — and he believes they’ve learned a lesson.

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The Method for Understanding the Proper Meaning of the Biblical Book of Genesis


A modern reader of Genesis must bear in mind the principles of biblical exegesis laid down by St. Augustine in his great work De Genesi Ad Litteram (On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis). Augustine taught that whenever reason established with certainty a fact about the physical world, seemingly contrary statements in the Bible must be interpreted accordingly. He opposed the idea of a “Christian account” of natural phenomena in opposition to what could be known by science. He viewed such accounts as “most deplorable and harmful, and to be avoided at any cost,” because on hearing them the non-believer “could hardly hold his laughter on seeing, as the saying goes, the error rise sky-high.”

As early as 410 A.D., then, the greatest of the Western Church Fathers was telling us that the Book of Genesis is not an astrophysics or geology textbook. Augustine himself was a kind of evolutionist, speculating that God’s creation of the cosmos was an instantaneous act whose effects unfolded over a long period. God had planted “rational seeds” in nature which eventually developed into the diversity of plants and animals we see today. St. Thomas Aquinas cites this view of Augustine’s more than once in the course of the Summa Theologiae. St. Thomas, author Etienne Gilson writes,

was well aware that the Book of Genesis was not a treatise on cosmography for the use of scholars. It was a statement of the truth intended for the simple people whom Moses was addressing. Thus it is sometimes possible to interpret it in a variety of ways. So it was that when we speak of the six days of creation, we can understand by it either six successive days, as do Ambrose, Basil, Chrysostom and Gregory, and is suggested by the letter of the text . . . Or we can with Augustine take it to refer to the simultaneous creation of all beings with days symbolizing the various orders of beings. This second interpretation is at first sight less literal, but is, rationally speaking, more satisfying. It is the one that St. Thomas adopts, although he does not exclude the other which, as he says, can also be held.

In this century, Cardinal Bea, who helped Pius XII draft Divino Afflante Spiritu, wrote that Genesis does not deal with the “true constitution of visible things.” It is meant to convey truths outside the scientific order.

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The Pope and Blessed Angela of Foligno on prayer.


Her story is retold in the “Book of Blessed Angela of Foligno,” composed from the writings of the friar who served as her confessor. The book details how she overcame fear of sin and punishment through ever greater love for God. It also describes the many mystical experiences that marked her life, but which she found difficult to put into words.

This book, the Pope said, is a guide for others seeking to turn to God. Blessed Angela’s life, he added, shows how the Lord touches the soul so that one can learn the “way with God and towards God.”

“From conversion to mystical union with the crucified Christ, to the inexpressible,” a “high path” marked her life, the Holy Father observed, noting that her “secret” was constant prayer.

He quoted Blessed Angela’s words: “However much more you pray, ever more greatly will you be illuminated; however much more you are illuminated, so much more profoundly and intensely will you see the Supreme Good, the supremely good Being; how much more profoundly and intensely you see it, much more will you love it … Successively you will arrive to the fullness of light, because you will understand not being able to comprehend.”

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Why disbelievers can’t understand the Bible

To those who earnestly asked the way to heaven, Jesus candidly said, “I am the Way.” But to the rich young man who lied both to himself and to God, the Good Teacher responded craftily to the same question, “Keep the commandments.”

The Bible is simply not open to scrutiny by the insincere. The Scribes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees had read God’s word diligently every day of their lives. They didn’t have the context problem of the present-day disbeliever. They knew what kind of material they were looking at; they even revered it, in a way.

But when the Word-Made-Flesh, the Fulfillment of every prophecy, the long-expected Messiah stood right in front of them, they didn’t recognize Him. Jesus told them, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.” (John 5:39 NASB) They had scrutinized the sacred scrolls until their eyes bled, but missed the whole Point.

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Pope cites St. Anselm: “First, one must have faith!”

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During the Pope’s General Audience yesterday, September 23, in Rome, Pope Benedict said that understanding God will never come from study alone — one must first believe.

Theologians and Christians who wish to deepen their faith “cannot count on just their intelligence, but must cultivate a profound experience of faith at the same time,” he said.

The Pope’s catechesis was dedicated to the life and teachings of St. Anselm of Canterbury, an 11th-century Benedictine and Doctor of the Church.

According to Anselm, Benedict explained, people who wish to better understand the Christian tradition can carry out “a healthy theological quest” by following three steps.

First, one must have faith, which is “a free gift from God to be welcomed with humility.”

The second step is experience, which entails incorporating the word of God in one’s everyday life.

The final step is “true understanding, which is never a result of ascetic reasoning, but of contemplative intuition,” Benedict said.

The Pope then cited St. Anselm’s most famous phrase: “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand.”

The Pope concluded by saying that Anselm showed how the journey to understand God is never fully complete, at least here on earth.

Source: Inside the Vatican Letter #30

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