Friday, July 30, 2010

Homily: Existence of Evil Spirits

Fr. Ignatius uses the recent publication of Fr. Thomas Euteneuer's new book on exorcism to remind us of the existence of evil spirits and the need to fortify ourselves against them by the partaking of the sacraments, avoiding sin and strengthening the virtues.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Church & The Churches

He is risen; he is not here.

— St. Mark 16:6.

Easter is the one day of the year when everyone who calls himself a Christian goes to church, if he ever goes at all. Congregations flock churchward in their Easter best, and the churches themselves are brave with flowers; the preachers for once preach joyful sermons, the singing soars with hallelujahs. After the penitential season of Lent, the long winter night of the Christian year, Easter comes like the dawn —the dawn of the first day of spring.

The No. I Protestant churchman in the U.S. will start the day as a cleric, by celebrating Holy Communion; at the 11 o'clock service he will be sitting in a pew with his family, like any layman.

The way the Most Rev. Henry Knox Sherrill plans to spend Easter bespeaks his position in the Protestant Episcopal Church. As its presiding bishop, he has no diocese of his own. It also bespeaks the present state of Christendom, which he aims—partly and partially—to reunite. For Bishop Sherrill, the president of the National Council of 29 Christian denominations, will worship on Easter as an Episcopalian.

Where Is the Church? Christendom (meaning "all Christians collectively") is split into disunited, sometimes warring, sects and churches, more than 250 in the U.S. alone. Protestants have lived with Christian fragmentation—and rationalized it with Christian doubletalk—for centuries (see box). But it has a way of bringing them up short whenever they confront the concept of "The Church." What is the Christian Church, and where is it?

Roman Catholics have a ready answer. The Church is the Church of Rome, and no other. Protestants cannot answer the question so easily. For them The Church can exist on this earth only as an ideal; its reality is in the future—and in heaven, where it is formed of "the blessed company of all faithful people." But this is not a comfortable concept to many U.S. Protestants, who, as practical, organization-minded men, would rather have the Church, like the Kingdom of Heaven, inhabit this earth.

How to bring that about? Again (if their tremendous premise is accepted), it is the Roman Catholics who have the simple, uncompromising, logical answer: unconditional surrender to Rome. Let all who call themselves Christians submit to the authority of the Roman Church, they say, and the unity of Christendom will thereby be established. And again Protestants cannot agree. The Bible and the conscience of the individual soul, they believe, are higher and more trustworthy authorities than any pontiff, any single church.

In the present century, U.S. Protestants have been increasingly unhappy about themselves. Unhappiest of all were the missionaries, whose work spotlighted the absurdity of the Christian schism ("How can you ask a Chinese in North China to become a Southern Baptist?"). One of the greatest of those missionaries was Episcopal Bishop Charles Brent. At a worldwide missionary conference in Edinburgh in 1910, Bishop Brent conceived the idea that, just as division thrives on ignorance, unity might burgeon with more inter-church understanding.

Towards One Roof. With the help of his own church he eventually (1927) brought Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox leaders together for a conference, to consider their differences in doctrine and interpretation. Cried Bishop Brent at that first meeting:

"In our hearts most of us are devotees of the cult of the incomplete—sectarianism. The Christ in one church often categorically denies the Christ in a neighboring church. It would be ludicrous were it not tragic . . . When Christians accept Christ as supreme, they cannot but walk as companions and friends . . . Let us keep the purpose of unity firm in our hearts, and look upon all Christians as brothers beloved. It is thus by practicing unity we shall gain unity."

Bishop Brent that day expressed what has come to be the U.S. Protestant Idea. Its outward and visible sign has slowly taken shape into something called "the ecumenical movement"—a tongue-twister derived from the Greek word for "the inhabited world," and meaning, in effect, "all Christians under one roof." It is the movement, as one of its leaders put it, from "the Church-as-men-have-conceived-it toward the Church-as-God-intended-it." The ecumenical movement does not proceed like a crusade, with banners and trumpet calls. It has grown with the pace and persistence of natural things—quietly, slowly, following Knes of flow and least resistance, taking opposition points by envelopment rather than frontal assault.

In addition to the series of conferences inspired by Bishop Brent, called "Faith & Order," two other currents of cooperation were set in motion at the Edinburgh Conference. One was the International Missionary Council, which still exists to foster cooperation among Protestant missionaries. The other, known as "Life & Work" and led by Sweden's Archbishop Nathan Soderblom, brought Protestant and Orthodox leaders together to see what they could do about social, economic and political problems.

"Faith & Order" and "Life & Work" flowed together to form the World Council of Churches, which held its first assembly at Amsterdam in 1948. Meanwhile, in various countries around the world, the ecumenical idea was beginning to snowball. In some cases, actual organic unity proved possible. Since 1900, some 30 U.S. denominations have merged into a third as many—notably the Northern and Southern Methodists and the Methodist Protestant Church, whose merger in 1939 made the Methodist Church the largest (currently 8,900,000 members) united Protestant church in the U.S. But the two most ambitious experiments in union took place in other lands. In 1925 Canada's Methodists, Congregationalists and most Presbyterians merged to form the United Church of Canada (membership 800,000). And in India in 1947, the Methodist Church, the South India United Church, and some Anglican dioceses agreed upon a common set of canons and clergy, to form the United Church of South India.

In 1908, 29 non-Roman Catholic churches in the U.S. formed the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America. Last November the Federal Council dissolved itself into an even more inclusive body, the National Council of Churches.

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. has already begun the process of shaking down from an organization of organizations into a single, smoothly running church family. (The Federal Council of Churches, with its 27-member church bodies, was just one of the twelve interdenominational agencies* which were combined in the National Council.)

The General Assembly, consisting of 600 lay and clerical delegates of the member denominations, meets every two years to lay down the basic lines of ecumenical strategy. Every two months, a 125-member General Board meets to check progress and make spot decisions. National Council functions are allocated among four divisions—Life & Work, Education, Home Missions and Foreign Missions—and each division is departmentalized. More than 20 other units are set up to serve the divisions in such areas as evangelism, religious liberty, research, public relations, etc.

The National Council reaches out to the grass roots through 875 city, county and state councils, 1,720 councils of church women, and 2,000 local ministers' associations. This is the base of the pyramid, where the National Council will really affect Christian lives.

Why an Episcopalian? At the apex of the pyramid is the National Council's first president, Bishop Sherrill. When the delegates to the National Council's constituting convention elected Bishop Sherrill its first president, they did not pick a veteran wheelhorse of the ecumenical movement. Nor were they singling out one of the sparkplugs of U.S. Protestantism—a barrier-breaking theologian like Reinhold Niebuhr or a hard-hitting polemicist like Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam. They were simply picking the best man for the job.

He is best partly because of the kind of church he heads. Almost anything anyone could say about the Episcopal Church would be partly true. It is Protestant or Catholic, depending on which of its members you are talking to. Its clergy include some who are embarrassed by most of the Apostles' Creed and others who call themselves "Father," and say Mass every day, with all the liturgy and ritual of a Roman Catholic church.

For such ambivalence the Episcopal Church has been called the "Bridge Church" between Protestantism and Catholicism. As Bishop Sherrill says: "The bridge doesn't seem to have anything to hook on to at present, and a bridge with nothing to hook on to is just up in the air." But if it is not yet a span across the greatest gulf in Christendom, the Episcopalians' latitude may yet provide a few planks to throw across interdenominational ditches.

Why Sherrill? Bishop Sherrill was the best man for the job not only because of his church, but because of the man he is. He is a kind of personification of what every boy's mother wants him to be when he grows up: fairminded, respected, a good mixer, and an unswerving steerer down the middle of the road.

Henry Knox Sherrill was born 60 years ago in Brooklyn. His businessman father died when he was ten, and his devoutly Episcopalian mother kept him close to the church. "Hank" Sherrill went to boarding school at Hotchkiss and then, at 16, to Yale. By his junior year, he had decided to enter the ministry. One of Sherril's greatest influences at Yale, as well as throughout his life, was Presbyterian Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin, one of America's most unity-minded churchmen.

During his three years at Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Mass., says Sherrill, "I began to find my feet." Seminary friends remember him as a high-spirited young man with winning ways and a good game of tennis. But World War I taught him more than the seminary. After three years as an assistant pastor at Boston's Trinity Church, he was appointed chaplain of Base Hospital 6 at Talence, France. Here the 26-year-old pastor became a man in a hurry. During the 1918 influenza epidemic, he says, "I talked to practically no one who wasn't dying." He also discovered that "man is incurably religious. In 18 months, among the thousands of men at whose bedsides I prayed, there was only one who did not seem to feel that it had done him good."

Back home, popular young Minister Sherrill went from strength to strength among the properest Bostonians. His first parish, the Church of Our Saviour, was in the tony suburb of Brookline. Sherrill's predecessor had been an old man; Sherrill's live-wire preaching brought a dramatic increase in the Sunday turnout. There he met pretty Barbara Harris, daughter of a prosperous Brookline businessman. By taking her to baseball games in the afternoons, Sherrill managed to court her without giving the parish gossips a chance. They were married in 1921, now have a son in the ministry and two others preparing for it at Episcopal Theological.

In 1923, at the age of only 32, Sherrill was awarded Boston's richest Episcopal parish—squat, medieval-looking Trinity Church in Copley Square. From the pulpit once filled by the great Phillips Brooks, he began to crowd Trinity with Harvard undergraduates as well as Back Bay Brahmins. Sherrill's preaching, says Trinity's former senior warden, Alexander Whiteside, is not spellbinding, but "it's pretty damned good. He always gives you something to take home . . . He's the most sensible and sane man I have ever known. When the Russian crisis began to look serious last year, I said to myself: 'There are just two men I want to hear on Russia—Winston Churchill and Henry Sherrill.' "

The new rector proved equally gifted as a fundraiser, upped Trinity's average annual contribution to the national church to $30,000-$35,000 — one of the largest of any Episcopal parish in the country.

Sherrill's deepest and most consequential friendship ripened still further at Trinity. Massachusetts' blue-blooded Bishop William Lawrence was one of the most influential men in Massachusetts, and his feeling for the up & coming young Sherrill was almost paternal. When Sherrill was elected Bishop of Massachusetts in 1930 (after surprisingly turning down the important bishopric of Pennsylvania two years before), Bishop Lawrence got the news at a meeting of the Harvard Corporation. Leaving the meeting at once, he accompanied Sherrill to the convention meeting at St. Paul's.

Sherrill, the youngest man (39) to be come Bishop of Massachusetts, was elected on the first ballot. The confidence in him proved well-founded. As an administrator he was a model of unruffled efficiency; in coping with complex and incendiary human relations, he never started an unintentional fire. A staunch broad-churchman himself, he bent over back wards to mollify the Anglo-Catholics. He encouraged both laymen and ministers to come to him with their personal problems, and made it a rule (which he still follows) to insure their privacy, by opening his own mail every morning. He avoided church politics like the plague, and his solid middle ground on all issues often seems to him like a kind of orneryness. "I always react against my environ ment," he says. "When I'm with an extreme Protestant, I tend to be more Catholic than normally; when I'm talking to an Anglo-Catholic, I begin to sound like a Protestant."

When the time came for the Episcopalians to elect a new presiding bishop* to replace the retiring Henry St. George Tucker, Sherrill was the obvious choice, was elected unanimously.

Bishop Sherrill's religion has always been profoundly personal rather than theo logical. "The appeal of Christ to one's life is the thing that originally caught me, rather than the Church. At Yale and before, it was Christ's appeal to the individual that attracted me." Unlike some bishops, Sherrill might have been happy in a small parish. His abilities have carried him up and away from the grass-roots lives and problems of his fellowmen, but he has done his best to compensate for his bureaucratic isolation.

Wherever he goes, it is the association with laymen — often almost pathetically brief — that he savors most. His rather sad face lights up when he talks about the Pullman porter who came back three cars "to shake hands with my presiding bishop." As a chairman of the General Commission on Army and Navy Chaplains during World War II, he repeatedly went out of his way to make personal visits to the families of men he had met overseas.

"The real job is to be a pastor to people," he said recently. "No one ought to look forward to an administrative position.

It is a trial to be out of touch as far as I am . . ." Sherrill works full time at the Manhattan headquarters of the Episcopal Church.

When he is not on the road (last month he spent 13 nights in sleeping cars on a tour of National Council centers), he com mutes each morning from Seabury House — a Greenwich, Conn, estate which he persuaded the Episcopal Church to buy and turn into an informal country headquarters for conferences.

What Can Machinery Do? The National Council of Churches needs nothing so much today as Bishop Sherrill's skill in human relations. He and other church leaders are well aware of the possibility that the ecumenical movement may stumble to its knees under the sheer weight of the National Council's bureaucracy. "The most immediate danger," he says, "is that (the organization may be so complex and diffuse that it may turn into a machine operating without the life of the spirit.

The real task is to make the spirit live in this complicated machinery."

There is also the problem of keeping the churchgoers of the U.S. abreast of their leadership. Says Sherrill: "At the moment, the ecumenical movement is too much a movement of the leaders rather than the rank & file. The National Council is stronger than the state councils, which are stronger than the local councils, which are stronger than the ministerial associations. The important thing at first is to get all the agencies to feel that they are members of one team."

In Bishop Sherrill's new ecumenical team there are new denominational faces, and this may be a major harbinger of hope. Writes Union Theological Seminary President Henry Pitney Van Dusen in the current issue of his seminary's Quarterly Review: "The early development of all the ecumenical movements was very largely the handiwork of 'ecumenical enthusiasts' ('ecumaniacs,' someone has called them) . . . With the domestication of these ecumenical bodies within the churches, their places are being taken by denominational officers. The 'ecumaniacs' are giving place to 'ecclesiastical wheel-horses' . . ."

The new organization, as Sherrill and its veteran boss, ubiquitous, tireless General Secretary Samuel McCrea Cavert, are well aware, is not only bigger than ever before, but has a bigger opportunity, and a greater challenge. When the ecumenical movement was getting started, Christianity was suffering from doldrums as well as division. The scientific and secular optimism of the 19th Century seemed to have superseded the faith of our fathers; the future belonged to man, and man was the measure of it. Now things are different.

There is widespread evidence in the U.S. today of a renewed yearning for the Christian life: young men picking the seminaries, joining religious orders; intellectuals going back to religion instead of back to the land; religious books standing high on the bestseller lists; church membership rising. Do these wavelike evidences show the beginnings of a tide, or are they simply an isolated wave?

There are equally widespread and even more incontrovertible evidences throughout the world of a new, anti-Christian faith that is moving against the very basis of Christianity. Soon—perhaps in the next 10 or 15 years—Christianity will be faced with one of the greatest crises in its long history.

How will Christianity—how will the Christian churches—meet the crisis? The answer, in large part, will depend on Bishop Sherrill and his Christian cohorts. If their united Christian effort can meet and master the challenge, Christendom may experience a rebirth of life and light that will mark an age in history.

-Most of them were originally set up to coordinate the work in a specific field—foreign missions, home missions, religious education, women's groups, foreign relief, etc. -Who presides over the House of Bishops, consecrates new bishops, and heads the National Council of the Episcopal Church.

Source: TIME

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prosperity Gospel Exposed

This video points out the heretical nature of the prosperity gospel.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Banned From Bible

This is Part 1 of History Channel's documentary about the books not included in the conventional Christian Bible.

Watch Part 2, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11 and Part 12.

Also watch Who Wrote The Bible ? and The Lost Gospels.

Please post your comments.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Joel Osteen Explains Prosperity Gospel

Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas which some believe is the largest church in America. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world. He church preaches the prosperity gospel.

Joel Osteen on 60 Minutes 14/10/2007. Reformed theologian Michael Horton can be seen criticising him. Horton tells CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts that Osteen's method of teaching is Christian heresy. Watch these videos:

Part 1

Part 2

Joel Osteen on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace in 23/12/2007. Brings up criticisms of Osteen's lack of Scripture reference in his sermons, as well as his hesitancy to discuss sin as an integral part of life. Osteen responded: "And I am ultimately trying to do that, but I'm trying to teach people how to live their everyday lives, and so I do focus on it, probably not as much as some people would like." His sermons and writings are sometimes reproached for their use of the concepts of prosperity theology, or the prosperity gospel, a belief that wealth and power are rewards for pious Christians. Watch these videos:

Part 1

Part 2

He was accused of not clearly affirming that Jesus Christ is the only way a person can reach Heaven. He stated repeatedly that only God knows a person's heart, but that as a believer in the Christian faith he believes in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. In late 2006, Osteen again appeared on Larry King Live and clarified his prior statement, saying he does in fact believe a personal relationship with Christ is the only way to Heaven. Watch these videos:

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Faith Book

Source: Ironic Catholic

Click here to join.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

ABC News' 20/20 - Showing Real Exorcism

This ABC News' 20/20 documentary shows a real exorcism.

Warning: These videos contain sensitive and disturbing scenes. Watch at your own volition.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

If you're interested to learn more about evil and demonic possession, listen to prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin on The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession and watch this documentary showing a real exorcisms by different Christian traditions.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth, Rome's chief exorcist's book is definitely worth a read. This milestone book is a great resource on demonology and diabolic possession. Read about how one can get possessed and how to protect yourself and your family - here. And you may also be interested to read this article - Doorways for the Devil.

Additionally, for a further understanding of this ancient rite, you can also watch this video about the Catholic Rite Of Exorcism.

If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

Please post your comments.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Catholic Charismatic Renewal: An Authentic Expression of Catholic Faith

"Charismatic Renewal: An Authentic Expression of Catholic Faith"
by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM, Cap., Preacher to the Papal Household
Talk given to a Southern California Renewal Communities (SCRC) event, 2008.


Presidential Candidates Discuss Power Of Prayer

Democratic candidates answer a viewer's question about the power of prayer to prevent catastrophe.

Please post your comments.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Man Claims To Be Jesus Christ

Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda refers to himself as "Jesucristo Hombre" which translates to "The Man Christ Jesus" and he also says he is the Anti-Christ. He claims to have millions of followers worldwide.

Unbelievable ! There are still people like this in the world.

Please post your comments.

Jude Antoine's Testimony

Jude Antoine is a prominent lay missionary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He and his family goes round the world spreading the the teachings of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. His ministry has brought many people into the faith.

Listen to his testimony.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Jesuits On...Exorcism

This is an interview with Fr. Herbert J. Ryan, S.J. (1931 - 2010).

Fr. Herbert J. Ryan was Professor of Theological Studies and a director of The Spiritual Exercises at Loyola Marymount University.

Fr. Ryan died in Santa Monica, California, on April 8, 2010, at the age of 79, having been a Jesuit for 61 years, and a priest for 40 years.


The Church and Exorcism answers these questions: What is possession ? What are the signs of possession ? How does one become possessed Who can perform an exorcism ?

There are good articles on and prayers for deliverance in Catholic Tools

If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

Please post your comments.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Praying In Tongues - Faith Or Fake ?

New figures out today show a rise in the number of Pentecostal churches, and with it the practice of speaking in tongues. While sceptics scoff, our correspondent looks at the evidence

If you have never witnessed the spectacle of someone speaking in tongues you won’t have to look far to find it. There is footage it in the satirical film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. And the internet serves up copious numbers of examples of people practising glossolalia, its technical term, on sites such as YouTube, in which believers ululate in a strange language, laughing or singing in religious ecstasy or, in one case, appearing to moo like a cow. The comments posted alongside them range from “amazing” to “and we thought the Muslims were insane”.

But millions of people are convinced that they speak in tongues — mysterious utterances of which they have no understanding — and that when they do so it is the Holy Spirit speaking through them. According to a Newsweek report nearly 20 per cent of American Christians speak in tongues several times a year and up to a third of churches encourage it.

In Britain this more exuberant brand of Christianity is growing fast in many charismatic evangelical churches — known as New Churches. The Church of England, while neither encouraging nor discouraging it, says: “The gift of speaking in tongues is recognised as a powerful expression of faith and spirituality.” Followers insist that it is a form of mental possession. Though they don’t understand what is coming out of their mouths they believe it is the spirit of God moving through them.

Well, now they may claim to have some scientific data to back them up. A study by neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania studied the brains of five people while they were speaking in tongues and found that they didn’t seem to be faking it.

The front and parietal lobes — the areas that manage control, a sense of orientation and language — showed decreased activity while they were speaking. To the layman that means that they were not willing or controlling their actions as people usually do when they talk.

All the volunteers had least a five-years history of speaking in tongues in church. Dr Andrew Newberg, associate professor in radiology at the university, made them start by singing a hymn and after a few minutes they began speaking in tongues. To measure brain activity each was given an injection of slightly radioactive material which enabled Dr Newberg and his team to take a freeze frame of the brain’ s blood flow.

He was surprised by the results. “The scans demonstrate that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centres,” he says. “That is consistent with their perception of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues. They can make themselves get into a state that allows this to happen, but once it begins they do not control any aspect of what is coming out.”

What does this prove? “It doesn’t prove that it is God, but it is something these people are perceiving in a real way,” says Dr Newberg, who is the author of Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality and Truth. Donna Morgan, the co-author of the university study, is a born-again Christian and served as a research subject. She describes speaking in tongues thus:

“You’re aware of your surroundings, you’re not really out of control, but you have no control over what’s happening; you’re just flowing. You’re in a realm of peace and comfort and it’s a fantastic feeling.”

The findings are unlikely to cut much ice with sceptics of glossolalia who believe that it proves nothing more than people’s suggestibility and the power of belief. Dr Susan Blackmore, a British psychologist and specialist in consciousness, meditation and the paranormal, says it would be a “ludicrous jump in logic” to take this as proof that speaking in tongues is a divine experience.

“All this proves is that people speak in tongues,” she says. “It doesn’t prove anything about the claims those people make. It is an exact parallel with near-death experiences. Of course people have near-death experiences, but is it evidence of life after death? No. Of course people (who speak in tongues) aren’t faking it. There has been a release of frontal lobe inhibition; they have let off the normal control mechanisms that stop you talking gibberish. But that is all. Some people can slip into a trance quite easily. It’s very similar to hypnosis.”

Anyone who has seen a preacher speak in tongues will know that it can prove to be infectious. Once one person starts, more follow. No one wants to be left out.

Gerald Coates, the founder of Pioneer, a network of charismatic evangelical churches, says that the congregation at nearly all the New Churches in Britain now speak in tongues; in his youth he met a Pentecostal leader shortly after he found himself singing in an unrecognisable language. “As soon as he laid his hands on me it was like a river of words coming out,” he says.

Mr Coates, the leader at the Church in the Theatre at Leatherhead, Surrey, says that people speak in tongues on most Sundays, often quietly to themselves. Rather than a dialogue with God, he describes it as an experience of religious ecstasy to which you surrender. Sometimes people simply lose all their strength and fall to the ground.

He believes that such worship is the future for the Christian church. People have turned away from the predictability and liberalism of the traditional church and are embracing the “passion and dynamism” of the New Churches. “Nearly all growing churches in the UK speak in tongues,” he says.

Dr Blackmore says that there is often a desperation to believe that enhances suggestibility, and compares it to a Ouija board when those present begin to believe they feel the glass moving.

Many theology academics agree that glossolalia has less to do with the Holy Spirit and more to do with people’s desire for a religious experience. Nine years ago Angie Golding walked out of her evangelical church in Broadwater Down, Kent, because it asked her to attend an Alpha course in which, she said, there was a “brainwashing exercise” in which participants were required to speak in tongues, “bark like a dog and snort like a pig” . This is a claim that Alpha denied. She said: “I’ll be a fool for the Lord any day, but I won’t be a fool for man.”

Speaking in tongues is one of the defining characteristics of the Pentecostal Church, charismatics and independent churches such as The Rock. Pentecostals are named after the biblical feast of Pentecost, which began 50 days after Passover. According to the Book of Acts, early followers of Jesus were able “to speak in other tongues”.

But many churches are uncomfortable with such “ecstatic utterance”, regarding it as un-biblical. Earlier this year the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas announced that the church would not engage anyone who advocated the use of tongues in prayer.

Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre in Harley Street who has conducted research into altered states of consciousness and is now also a spiritual healer, believes that psychologists should take a broader view. “Many of my colleagues would just write it off as hysteria,” she says. “But I think we have to be open-minded. As with all phenomena there can be imitators and there can be hysterics, but there is so much we don’t know.

“The mind, the psyche is a vast, uncharted world. We know only a fraction of it; we use only 5 per cent of our brain. There is a lot of work to do with the altered states of consciousness.”

The real question of Dr Newberg’s study is this: if normal parts of the brain are not in control during speaking in tongues, then what is? It all depends on your perception, he says. “A believer might say it is the spirit of God taking over; a scientist might say that a different part of the brain is taking over. It is part of the grand question and answer we are searching for: why we believe what we believe.”

Source: The Times

Related posts:

Praying In Tongues

News Report On The Science Of Speaking In Tongues

Please post your comments.


Interview With An Exorcist

Interview with Spanish Exorcist Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea. He theologian specialising in Demonology. This is a multi-part series with many subjects including, phenomena, possession, sin, witchcraft and more.

Sin vs. Possession

Free Will



Strange Phenomena

Possession & Discernment

Please post your comments.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Nature Of Evil, Exorcism & Possession

This is a rare interview with prominent Catholic theologian and exorcist Fr. Malachi Martin.

Apart from being a brilliant scholar, he is also an world class expert in demonology. He has written numerous best sellers including the milestone book Hostage To The Devil. He has been quoted in various media and his works have been sited in many publications.

In this interview, Fr. Malachi Martin gives us his insights into the nature of evil, exorcism & possession. Listening to these audio, you'll be able to tell that Fr. Malachi is a practitioner and not merely a theorist.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

If you're interested to lean more about evil and demonic possession, watch a real video on an exorcism . Additionally you can also watch this documentary showing a real exorcism in the Philippines.

If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

Please post your comments.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Pentecostals Winning The Believers

Pentecostals are the fastest-growing group of Christians. Attendance at their services has moved into third place behind Anglicans and Roman Catholics in England, according to research published today.

Once regarded as a fringe sector, they outnumber Methodists, although it is not strictly fair to compare the two. Methodists belong to one church while Pentecostals tend to gather in independent churches or groups of churches.

Pentecostals are so called because they practise the charisms, the “gifts of the Spirit” listed by St Paul in chapter 12 of his first letter to the Corinthians. The name is derived from the Feast of Pentecost, when the Disciples were gathered in Jerusalem and were inspired by the Holy Spirit to speak in many languages, enabling them to preach the gospel to the nations. Speaking in tongues, along with prophecy, healing and leadership, are among the charisms practised in Pentecostal churches today.

The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. David Voas, a senior researcher at the Manchester University School of Social Sciences who specialises in examining religious change in modern society, said: “Methodism, a branch of Christianity that originated in England and spread around the world, is dying in Britain. By contrast, immigration from Africa and elsewhere has lead to growth in Pentecostal churches, where the style is more flamboyant.”
Related Links

* Faith or fake?

His research is based on an analysis of the recent English Church Census, carried out by the charity Christian Research, which showed Sunday attendance at Methodist churches falling from 289,400 in 2005 to 278,700 in 2006. It comes as Methodists prepare next year to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Charles Wesley, credited with writing 9,000 hymns. Dr Voas said: “Pentecostal worship is vibrant, often involving healing and exorcism, shouting and clapping, fainting and speaking in tongues, and impromptu praying and prophesying.”

Figures show that worshippers in half of the Pentecostal churches in England are predominantly black. In addition, half of all Pentecostal churches in Britain are in London. But many evangelical, predominantly white churches also have Pentecostal elements to their worship, in particular prophecy and speaking in tongues.

The Methodist Church closed 264 churches between 1998 and 2005, more than any other denomination, as attendance declined by a quarter. By contrast, Pentecostal numbers grew by a third and many new churches have opened. The Pentecostal movement includes many separate organisations and autonomous churches, the Assemblies of God and Elim being the largest denominations in this category.

Methodists recently agreed a covenant with the Church of England and many churches share ministers and services. Dr Voas said: “It seems inevit-able that the Methodist Church will be reabsorbed into the Church of England. The Pentecostals have appeared out of nowhere in the last couple of decades, but it remains to be seen whether they can make significant inroads into the white population.”

Figures released by the Church of England yesterday also show a massive rise in people going to church at Christmas. Nearly three quarters of a million people, for example, attend cathedral services. The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev Nigel McCulloch, said: “These increases continue to show that the Church of England is uniquely placed to welcome people back to church. There is clearly a desire to consider the spiritual aspects of life at key times throughout the year, times like Harvest, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas.” A third of dioceses across the North and South, in both urban and rural areas, had increases of 10 per cent or greater in attendance over the 24 hours of Christmas last year. Cathedrals are putting on extra services to cope with even more worshippers this Christmas.


High praise

2.78m people went to church over Christmas last year

6% increase in the Church of England’s overall Christmas Eve and Christmas Day congregations last year

2.85m attended millennium celebrations in 2000

28% increase in cathedral congregations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since 2000

Source: Church of England


Monday, July 12, 2010

Why Evangelicals Are Returning To Rome ?

Our home is in Rome.

Related posts:

Dr. Thomas Howard's Testimony

Alex Jones' Testimony

Drake and Crystal McCalister's Testimony

Dr Scott Hahn

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Exorcism Report By ABC News' 20/20

This news broadcast was aired in 2007. Exorcism is growing in demand.

Watch this video.

If you need help pertaining to cases of demonic possession or oppression, please contact a deliverance prayer group in your area listed in this worldwide directory.

Please post your comments.


Removing Evil Spirits

Fr. Robert Faricy relates some of his experiences in handling evil spirits.

Please post your comments.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Lost Gospels

This is a documentary by the BBC.

The above is Part 1.

Watch Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9.

Also watch Who Wrote The Bible ? and Banned From The Bible.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How Vatican II Turned The Church Toward The World

Background Of Vatican II

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on 8 December 1965. To date four future pontiffs took part in the council's opening session: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding Pope John XXIII took the name of Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II; and Father Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who became Pope Benedict XVI.

The Main Issues:


Perhaps the most famous and most influential product of the council is the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.

In its first chapter, titled "The Mystery of the Church," is the famous statement that "the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as 'the pillar and mainstay of the truth.' This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him" (Lumen Gentium, 8). The document immediately adds: "Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines."

Sacred Liturgy

One of the first issues considered by the council, and the matter that had the most immediate effect on the lives of individual Catholics, was the revision of the liturgy. The central idea was that there ought to be greater lay participation in the liturgy. In the mid-1960s, permissions were granted to celebrate most of the Mass in vernacular languages, including the Canon from 1967 onwards.

Neither the Second Vatican Council nor the subsequent revision of the Roman Missal abolished Latin as the liturgical language of the Roman Rite: the official text of the Roman Missal, on which translations into vernacular languages are to be based, continues to be in Latin, and Latin can still be used in the celebration.

Scripture and Divine Revelation

The council sought to revive the central role of Scripture in the theological and devotional life of the Church, building upon the work of earlier popes in crafting a modern approach to Scriptural analysis and interpretation. A new approach to interpretation was approved by the bishops. The Church was to continue to provide versions of the Bible in the "mother tongues" of the faithful, and both clergy and laity were to continue to make Bible study a central part of their lives. This affirmed the importance of Sacred Scripture as attested by Providentissimus Deus by Pope Leo XIII and the writings of the Saints, Doctors, and Popes throughout Church history but also approved historically conditioned interpretation of Scripture as presented in Pius XII's 1943 encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu.

The Bishops

The role of the bishops of the Church was brought into renewed prominence, especially when seen collectively, as a college that has succeeded to that of the Apostles in teaching and governing the Church. This college does not exist without its head, the successor of St. Peter.


'"THE whole world expects a step forward," said John : XXIII as he opened the Second Vatican Council in October 1962. When Pope Paul VI formally closed it last week, church." he heralded Whatever it the as future's "among the judgment, greatest there can events be of the little doubt that the council indeed represents a major and momentous step forward in carrying Christendom's oldest, largest body into modern times and bringing it into closer contact with all men — Catholic or not, Christian or not, religious or not.

Vatican II was strikingly different from the 20 other ecclesiastical assemblies that Roman Catholicism ranks as ecumenical. It is the first council that did not face, or leave in its wake, heresy or schism. Councils have always been the church's last-resort response to crisis — from the First Council of Nicaea, summoned by Emperor Constantine in 325 to combat the Arian heresy, to Trent (1545-63), which had to cope with the Reformation, to the abortive Vatican I (1869-70), which faced bewildering currents of anticlericalism and the effects of the ever-widening industrial revolution.

At the time Vatican II convened, there were few obvious threats, few violent complaints among its 560 million mem bers. Yet the church was scarcely facing up to the growing secularization of life, the explosion of science, the bitter claims to social justice in old nations and new. Catholic theology, dominated by a textbook scholasticism, appeared to have stopped in the 13th century. Except by a few pio neer ecumenists, Protestants were unhesitatingly regarded as heretics. When not openly despised as the devil's realm, the modern world was at least suspect.

Today this sort of thinking seems almost as remote in the church as the sale of indulgences— and this is perhaps the strongest single measure of the council's achievements. The essentials of Catholic dogma stand, of course, as does Rome's claim of universality. What has changed drastically is atmosphere and attitudes. "Before, the church looked like an immense and immovable colossus, the city set on a hill, the stable bulwark against the revolutionary change," says the English Benedictine abbot, Dom Christopher Butler. "Now it has become a people on the march — or at least a people which is packing its bags for a pilgrimage."

Legacy of Free Debate

In all, more than 2,400 patriarchs, cardinals, bishops and religious superiors took part in the council's deliberations. For the first time in history, observers from Protestant and Orthodox churches not only sat in attendance at the debates, but were also consulted by the prelates responsible for shaping conciliar decrees. In Rome also were more than 400 periti, or theological experts, and 400 newsmen who made the frank, free debates, quarrels and achievements of Vatican II front-page news in every nation outside the Iron Curtain.

The 16 promulgated decrees, constitutions and declarations that are the council's legacy divide roughly into two categories. The majority are aimed at the internal renewal and reform of Catholicism, but at least four may profoundly affect the relationship between the church and the non-Catholic world.

One document that has already changed the spiritual life of the church is the constitution On the Liturgy, which led to widespread introduction of vernacular languages in the Mass. Another constitution, On the Church, asserting that bishops collectively share ruling power over the church with the Pope, is the charter for what many theologians feel will be a slow, subtle but unstoppable process of democratization within the church. The decree On the Apostolate of the Laity gives greater freedom and responsibility to Catholic laymen.

Of more concern to non-Catholics are the documents that clearly define the end of the church's Counter Reformation hostility to other faiths. One is the much rewritten constitution On the Church in the Modern World, which attempts to express the mind of Catholicism on such matters of common concern as peace and war, world poverty, industrialism, social and economic justice. A decree On Ecumenism, committing Catholicism to work for Christian unity, for the first time acknowledges Protestant bodies as churches that share God's grace and favor. The declaration On Religious Liberty states the right of all men to freedom of conscience in worship. Another declaration, On Non-Christian Religions, condemns anti-Semitism and asserts that the Jewish people as a whole cannot be accounted guilty of Christ's death.

Many bishops readily admit that these and other documents of Vatican II show some omissions and outright failures. The ecclesiastical legislation had to be shaped and sometimes compromised to gain the approval of disparate men—Italian country bishops who have seldom seen Protestants, and Dutch prelates who pray with them almost daily; U.S. cardinals whose most pressing concern is a multimillion-dollar building fund, and Asian missionaries whose church is a Quonset hut. Methodist Observer Albert C. Outler of Texas says that "several of the decrees and declarations are substandard; several are no better than mediocre." One of the worst is a decree on mass communications which implies the right of governments to censor the press; hardly better is the declaration On Christian Education which is little more than a cliche-ridden defense of parochial schools.

Several other documents are clouded by defensive, cautionary phrasing. The noble declaration On Religious Liberty, for example, insists that all men have a duty to embrace Catholicism once they recognize its truthful claims, and argues that the church has always professed liberty of conscience—which ignores several centuries of the Inquisition. The bitterly debated declaration On Non-Christian Religions is not nearly as direct or forceful as the original draft proposed, and omits what might have given it maximum moral impact—a phrase acknowledging the church's role in fostering anti-Semitism in previous centuries.

More disappointing to many Catholics is that Vatican II did not settle pressing ethical issues—most notably, birth control. Since the Pope demanded that this problem be left for him alone to solve, On the Church in the Modern World does little more than reaffirm Catholicism's traditional opposition to contraception. Nonetheless, some progressives take heart from the facts that the text does assert that only parents have the right to decide how many children they shall have, and does not close the door to future change.

Common Responsibility

The success or failure of Vatican II cannot be judged merely by the bulk of written documents. More important is the spirit that brought the council together and inspired its discussions. The most apparent impact of those discussions was the bishops' self-discovery of their common responsibility for the church as a whole. By working together, says Dr. John K. S. Reid, an observer from the World Alliance of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches, "the council has enabled the Roman Catholic Church to form a common mind. At the first session nothing was decided. In the final session, a real consensus had grown up."

This consensus, Reid adds, acknowledged the insights of thinkers who, before the council, were considered almost an underground minority—such as U.S. Jesuit John Courtney Murray, whose theories on church-state relations provided background for the religious-liberty statement. In the wake of this progressive victory has come what Dominican Edward Schillebeeckx of Nijmegen University calls "the triumph of anti-triumphal ism"—the rejection by the council of the world-hating, anathema-hurling Counter Reformation conviction that Catholicism alone possessed the truth of life. In contrast to past councils, which devoted much of their time consigning to eternal flames those who did not agree with majority decisions, Vatican II issued no such condemnations. On the floor of St. Peter's, Vienna's Franzis-kus Cardinal Konig argued that the church has much to learn from the world, even from atheism.

In stating what the church today believes, the bishops sometimes found fresh, nontraditional language that escaped from what Italian Bishop Jolando Nuzzi calls "the Western mortgage" on scholastic theology. By way of evidence, Bernard Haring, a German Redemptorist theologian, cites what happened to On Divine Revelation. "The first text intended to define precisely the declaration of faith by excluding as many thoughts from today's theology as possible," he says. "The style was abstract, negative. The final draft tries to avoid any uncertain declaration, and thus leaves room for further research and dialogue."

All this reflects the new understanding of the nature of the church that has emerged from Vatican II. Many council documents explicitly reject the notion that Catholicism is primarily a juridically organized and hierarchically governed institution; what they assert instead is that the church is above all the people of God, on a journey that will remain incomplete until the second coming of Christ. Says India's Archbishop Eugene D'Souza: "The church's whole approach to the world is one of sincere admiration, not of dominating it but of serving it, not of despising it but of appreciating it, not of condemning it but of strengthening and saving it." Such a new attitude toward the world implies what Bishop Joseph Blomjous of Tanzania calls the "positive appreciation of terrestrial values in themselves." Cardinal-Patriarch Maximos IV Saigh of Antioch argues that the effect of the council has been to "put the church into a permanent state of dialogue—dialogue with itself for a continuous renewal; dialogue with our Christian brothers in order to restore the visible unity of the body of Jesus Christ; dialogue, finally, with today's world, addressed to every man of good will."

After the Wedding

'The council has been like a beautiful wedding ceremony," says San Antonio Auxiliary Bishop Stephen Leven. "But what counts is how the marriage works out in life and practice." There are plenty of signs that Pope Paul agrees. He calls the council not so much an end as a beginning. Paul has long promised to reform the Vatican's entrenched, antiquated Curia, a move the council also demanded in On the Pastoral Office of Bishops. As a first step, Paul last week announced a major overhaul of the stern, bureaucratic guardian of dogma, the Holy Office. Now known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it must allow anyone charged with "error" the right to defend himself.

Paul, when he set up an advisory Synod of Bishops, also gave positive meaning to the concept of collegiality enunciated by the council. In pursuit of Christian unity, Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople last week issued a joint statement deploring the mutual excommunications that Roman Catholic and Orthodox leaders had hurled at each other in 1054. Within months, it is expected that Paul will announce changes in Catholic discipline, such as a relaxation of the rules against mixed marriages and abolition of the compulsory Friday abstinence from meat.

It took 30 years for the decrees of Trent to take hold, and even in this century of rapid communication, it may take nearly as long before the promise of Vatican II is realized. For one thing, many members of the still-powerful Roman Curia, and conservative prelates in such countries as Ireland, Spain and Italy, are likely to give only lip service to conciliar decrees. In some dioceses, says Jesuit Scholar John Mc-Kenzie, "there will be little reform until the death of the present incumbent." Many bishops, moreover, will be returning home to face the hostility or incomprehension of pastors and laymen who have not had the exalting experience of the four sessions in St. Peter's aula. Much of the council's impact will not be felt until a reform of church seminaries and schools produces a new generation of priests and laymen.

As in any area of life, progress is likely to depend upon the initiative of an adventurous few. Joseph Cardinal Ritter of St. Louis and the Bishops of Oklahoma City-Tulsa and Wheeling have already announced plans to hold "Little Councils" in their own dioceses, in which laymen as well as priests and nuns will take part. Boston's Richard Cardinal Gushing plans to establish lay councils in every parish.

In the view of many churchmen, the renewal achieved by Vatican II challenges Protestantism to put its own houses of God in order and revise its attitude toward the church against which the Reformation rebelled. "If the Roman Catholic Church had looked 450 years ago as it looks today," says Germany's Evangelical Bishop Otto Dibelius, "there would never have been a Reformation." Says U.S. Lutheran Leader Franklin Clark Fry: "Thank God that the council responded to the leading of the Holy Spirit as far as it did."

Spirit of Fraternity

One likely result of the dialogue between Catholics and Protestants, in the view of Pittsburgh's Catholic Bishop John Wright, is "immediate unity in good works and charity"—more cooperation by missionaries of both churches, common action on social issues, frequent prayer in common, even a joint Catholic-Protestant Bible. But, warns Dr. Alan MacArthur of the Church of Scotland, while "the glaciers are melting, the Alps remain." Many Catholics and Protestants now regard the dogmatic differences between their churches as less and less relevant—but differences are still there. The theologians frankly admit that divided Christianity is intellectually no closer than before to resolving such issues as the role of the Pope, the nature of church organization, the place of Mary in Christian devotion. On this score, all that has happened is that Vatican II has raised hopes for unity where there were none before.

The council's work may have only limited effects in the world of politics, economics and other "practical" matters—but effects there will be. For one thing, the Church of the Council has a new attitude toward Communism, contrasting with the almost crusading anti-Communism of Pius XI and Pius XII. While Paul, more conservative than John, has warned afresh of Communism's errors, Vatican diplomats have been busy negotiating better operating conditions for the church in Iron Curtain countries. Nowhere in council pronouncement is there a condemnation of Communism by name. There is room for debate about the wisdom of this new posture, but the fact that the church is willing to take the risk is a sign of a new flexibility. To a great extent, the church now seeks to combat Communism less through head-on hostility than by championing social reform.

In general, the council indicates a new attitude toward a complex, pluralistic world. At its birth, the church was a beacon of moral light that stood apart from the Roman society in which it flourished. For more than 1,000 years after Constantine, it was a power within society, acquiring some of the pride, intolerance and triumphal spirit that is part of power's corruption. At the Reformation and after, the church reacted badly to the loss of its claim to be God's only spokesman and clung to its shrunken patrimony of power in ways that justified the exasperation of those who stood outside it.

Vatican II has made it clear that the church is ready to abandon "triumphalism," to erase the nonessential traditions that have often kept it from being credible as a moral force in the world at large. Without denying its own belief that it has a special divine mission, Catholicism now acknowledges that it is but one of many spiritual voices with something to tell perplexed modern man. When medieval Popes spoke to Kings and Princes, they listened and obeyed —or ran the risk of excommunication and exile from society. The words of Paul VI and his bishops to Presidents and Premiers bear no such threat; but neither did those of the Apostles to Roman procurators. Thus the more the church returns in spirit to the unfettered simplicity of the Gospel from which it sprang, the more likely it is that its voice will be heeded again by the world.

Source: Time


The Second Vatican Council

International Catholic University video clip from a lecture by historian James Hitchcock about the background of the Second Vatican Council.

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Susan Boyle

Susan Magdalane Boyle is a Scottish singer who came to international public attention when she appeared as a contestant on reality TV programme Britain's Got Talent on 11 April 2009, singing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables. Her first album was released in November 2009 and debuted as the number one best-selling CD on charts around the globe.

Susan Boyle will sing for crowds at Bellahouston Park as they wait for Pope Benedict XVI visits the UK this year.

Susan Boyle who prays the Rosary daily said that her Catholic faith was the “backbone” of her life.

Susan Boyle has learning disabilities as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth. She was unemployed and, as a churchgoing Catholic, her social life revolves around her family and her parish of Our Lady of Lourdes.

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