Created Dec. 27, 2009,     updated April 13, 2010

Interesting  Items     as I come across them

I am always collecting notes of things I come across, on the internet, TV, papers, books, magazines, thoughts that come up, and the like. I would save them to eventually add to articles. But they pile up and they are useful as is, and who knows when they might actually get in an article to be available. So I now put them in this page for all to read and consider. Sort of an occasional mini-blog. Hot off the press! This just in! Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2010.        2 Announcements from the Vatican, shocking, stunning and very pleasantly surprising.

These were both released from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and repeated by the Associated Press and published in USA TODAY online.

First one involved the Beatles of all things. Some might see this as unimportant and trivial but its implications are immense in so many ways. The Vatican sought to put the Beatles into a proper perspective after 40 years and some amazing musical accomplishments by the Fab Four which nobody can deny. Recall that Rock n Roll music caused a lot of fear and hysteria in its early years. The sound was new and very appealing to the young. The old guard was very upset.

Then John Lennon, never intending any bad, made the observation that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, meaning that they were getting far more attention and prominence the Christ was. And as respects the media and the young, this was absolutely a true statement. John did not intend that it was reflective of any true position or comparison with Jesus but simply stated the situation as it had become. But John, relatively innocent like many at that time, soon found out how badly people can twist and distort words and meanings. I think it genuinely hurt John for he intended no slight toward Christ or religion or anything else. He was confused and bewildered as to why or how people could not see what he was saying. Welcome to the 1960s John! Things would only get worse.

But now in 2010, the Vatican looks back and says that the Beatles' songs have stood the test of time, and that the band remains: "the longest-lasting, most consistent and representative phenomenon in the history of pop music." But not only that.

"But, listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless," L'Osservatore said. "Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels."

Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor in chief of L'Osservatore Romano, said that at the time of Lennon's sensational statement, Osservatore "commented that in reality it wasn't that scandalous, because the fascination with Jesus was so great that it attracted these new heroes of the time."

As I see it, the Vatican or its paper, which must in some way reflect the Vatican to some degree, seems to be saying that John's statement was taken out of context and should not have been seen in such a bad light and reactions were way overblown and uncalled for. As well, they "took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives," but that this was part of growing up and struggling to make sense of life even as we all do. But in the end, the Beatles gave us a new and wonderful form of music which has long since proven itself and will likely stand forever.

The thing is, why was the Vatican practically the first religion or religious voice of some renown to basically put music, The Beatles and the time period in a better sense of perspective, almost as if repenting for the masses. All I can say is, I am glad they chose to make such an intelligent and mature reflective statement that might help us all to also put other things in a better perspective. That I know, only the Vatican has made such a statement that I have heard of. I should have heard many others by now. I have said such things myself.

We hurt our credibility in the 50s and 60s but over-reacting way out of proportion, which helped destroy any credibility with the young and caused us to loose any influence with them. This sent us hurling toward a huge divide called by many, the Generation Gap. We picked a stupid fight with the Beatles and much of the music to follow and lost that battle and much more. When we look back, if we look back, we should be sorry and repent and confess our sins. And we want to make sure we do not continue to do stupid things like we once did. It is not the worst of things to make mistakes as long as we learn better from it. But what a shame if we make mistakes and are not capable of admitting or correcting them. That it is for nothing that we have done wrong.


The 2nd announcement concerning abortion. also of the L'Osservatore Romano, and the Associated Press, published in USA TODAY online.

A 9 year old girl was pregnant with twins after being raped by her step father in Brazil. Doctors there, I am guessing Catholics, thought it was in the best interests of the 9 year old girl to abort the twins, for fear of the girl's young age and size. It seems very reasonable and sound to me. Monsignor Renato Fisichella, called the Vatican's top bioethics official and appointed by Pope Benedict, the 16th in 2008, made the call and was criticized by the five members of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, an advisory body to the pope made up of lay and religious bioethics experts from around the world, who questioned his suitability to lead the institution. While this obviously shows a division among Catholic agencies, it is uncertain where it will end.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a clarification in July, repeating the Catholic Church's firm opposition to abortion and saying Fisichella's words had been "manipulated and exploited." But al parties seem to be manipulating each others' statements. This much can be said as follows.

"Far from creating unity and genuine harmony in the academy, Archbishop Fisichella's address ... had the effect of confirming in the minds of many academicians the impression that we are being led by an ecclesiastic who does not understand what absolute respect for innocent human lives entails," the five wrote.

Fisichella refuse to retract his March article, "We were accused of spite. It was quite extraordinary," Gormally, a member of the Academy against Fisichella, said.
Fisichella responded: "I won't respond to these people. Too much space already has been given to them."

Associated Press reports: >>In his March 15 article in L'Osservatore Romano, Fisichella stressed that abortion is always "bad." But he said the quick and public proclamation of excommunication of the Brazilian bishops "unfortunately hurts the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and lacking mercy." He argued for respect for the Catholic doctors' wrenching decision.<<

I am so amazed and impressed with the wisdom coming from Fisichella and maybe in some way, from the Vatican as well, though only time will tell for sure. This is almost certainly how Jesus would have phrased this situation, in effect saying, I want mercy and not sacrifice. And recall the woman healed in the Sabbath ( Luke 13:15; Luke 14:3; John 7:22 ) and Jesus being disgusted with Pharisees. Or:
Mark 3:
1 And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.
4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

The supposed prohibition of an aborted baby has not become more important that a 9 year old girl already born and living. I can find nothing in the Bible to support it. As well, the resistors of
Fisichella look an awful lot like the Pharisees of old, who sough the death of Jesus for insisting on mercy and who pointed out that he was the Lord of the Sabbath and made it for the benefit of people, not to keep them suffering. Unborn lives are seen as more important than those living. This is a complete violation of the law. We have turned ourselves into murders by insisting on the rights of the unborn over those already living. What, in God's name, has happened to our good sense.

Fisichella argued for sensitivity, mercy, and compassion for the 9 year old girl already alive. Many would prefer her death to that of the twins in her. I would prefer the critics' deaths to either her's or her unborn. Fisichella is in almost the identical position that Jesus was in. It will be very interesting to see where the Vatican ultimately rests on this one. I think it is time for the Vatican to recognize that abortion is not universally condemned in the Bible and there are rules in the Bible that would make this clear. Fisichella was also clear that the doctors made a very difficult decision and did not make it easy or quick. But to them, it seemed the living girl was the primary concern, for which I totally agree.

That any part of the Catholic Church should be standing up to this long outdated and obsolete narrow minded attitude against any and all abortions without any consideration of unique and individual circumstances that might suggest exceptions to hard fast obstinate rules lacking any compassion or decency whatsoever, is completely remarkable and also inspiring and refreshing to say the least.

Our Savior on so many occasions pointed out how some things were done on the Sabbath and did not violate the law. The priests always worked on the Sabbath and were without sin. Joseph, believing Mary to be pregnant due to unfaithfulness, still did not want to expose her so that she might get stoned. So he planned to divorce her in secret. The Law says she should be stoned and a God fearing man should have turned her over to be judged by the law and the community. But the Bible calls Joseph "righteous" for wanting to spare the young woman, while ignoring the law. So shall we say God is not righteous for making bad laws, maybe? You can if you want but I will have nothing to do with it. God made laws for a reason and not an excuse to hurt or kill people when opportunity presents itself to do so.

Fisichella said in reference to the girl: "There are others who merit excommunication and our pardon, not those who have allowed you to live and have helped you to regain hope and trust."

It is as if the Savior himself were speaking through Fisichella. I can be nothing but excited that such wisdom and scriptural enlightenment could be coming from such a long stubborn a source. I can only hope that more Christian denominations will wake up and follow suit. It is incredible that the Roman Catholic Church should beat so many (except me) the the punch. The others ought to be ashamed. Lets also hope the Church continues to make continued progress in this direction. It would truly be encouraging and refreshing.

Monsignor Michel Schooyans, an academy member and emeritus professor at Belgium's Louvain University, said Fisischella had fallen into the trap of "bogus compassion," in supporting the doctors and went on to say:

"Instead of expressing compassion for the young and innocent victims, 'compassion' is extended to those who have inflicted immense harm on these victims,'" Schooyans wrote last month.

Make very careful note that Schooyans feels the young and innocent victims, which I can not tell if he refers to the aborted twins and the like or the 9 year old girl, are not expressing compassion for them or that it is only for the girl and that it is a shame that others are pardoned for inflicting immense harm on these victims. Again, I can not tell if he refers to the doctors being pardoned or those who sexually abuse young girls. Whether those reporting were not clear or whether it was Schooyans who is not clear, I can find no fault with the doctors or Fisichella for his decision, make in the same spirit with which Jesus tried to reason with the hard hearted Pharisees who later called for his death.

While I do not believe the Roman Catholic Church will be able to fully repent of all their sins, that they can admit any of them is a credit to them. A crushed and broken spirit will be not despised by God, but arrogant unrepentant hearts will certainly see the lake of fire. The more that is repented, the better. But with so much resistance from within the seemingly divided RCC could suggest that the repentant elements should perhaps consider a break with the old wine skins for those who know their Lord also know that you can not put new wine in old wineskins. New wine requires new wineskins, does it not? I will watch this one with interest.

Monday, November 26, 2007, Science Channel, Tues. 11/20/2007, 9PM, Mars Rising – The Human Factor

The challenge is how to keep 6 people from killing each other along the way to Mars for 1000 days, almost 3 years.

Previous experiments with far shorter times have revealed how difficult and abnormal it is to live so close all the time and so intimate, and in a stimulation-deprived environment with so little variety and poor food quality with nearly any luxury/variety absent. Sexual tension can be dangerous. People have a nature that can not be accommodated in a reasonable way in space or in harmony with God’s ways.

My comments:
We see this with animals caged as well; and documented. It is clear that humans do have an inborn instinctive nature that must be accommodated properly or things get out of hand and collapse.

Ask Marilyn:
I'm writing about the subject of ambiguity.
Could you address the subject of the difficulty of writing anything that cannot possibly be interpreted in various ways?
Harry H. Hull, Sun City Center, Fla.
It's more than difficult: It's impossible. That's because some people misinterpret willfully, often out of an argumentative nature, but sometimes just in the hopes of appearing clever to others - even though it's anything but clever to miss or ignore the obvious interpretation! I don't write with them in mind. Instead, I write for the overwhelming majority of my readers, who are perfectly capable of understanding me just fine!
Marilyn Vos Savant - Parade Magazine, page 14, Dec. 17, 2000

One day I was playing devil’s advocate and I asked a fellow Baptist, "If there is a literal hell - and God is sending everyone who does not believe in Jesus (estimates say this would be around 100 billion souls) into eternal flames - and we believe unborn babies who die go straight to heaven - why in the world should we be pro-life when 99% of the babies born today will grow up and reject Christ, and therefore be cast into hell? We should be encouraging women to have abortions. In fact, Christians should open their own abortion clinics and have Christian doctors perform the ‘operation.’ That way we can share the Gospel with them and earn some money for the ministry." I was being facetious, but he thought I had lost my salvation. Needless to say, he had no comment.
Somewhere on the Internet I think

Death Penalty - Archaeology Mar/Apr 2004
           Death on the gallows generally occurred by slow strangulation; it would have taken up to a half an hour for a person to die. (Instant death through hanging, by the use of a drop through a trapdoor that broke the condemned person's neck, was only gradually introduced in the late eighteenth century.)
           In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, death sentences were passed for everything from theft and burglary to treason and murder. Apart from holding political prisoners and debtors, prisons were usually used to detain people while they awaited trial; prison sentences were rarely given as punishment. The accused were acquitted about half of the time; of those convicted, half were flogged and the rest hanged.
          Interestingly, a few of the executed were female. These women, mostly in their late forties or early fifties, may well have been hanged for witchcraft. Archaeologists have also found the remains of a child about twelve years old who appears to have been hanged and buried face down with the bottom half of his legs bent back as if they had been tied to his upper legs.





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