The latest Ben-Hur movie

Lew_Wallace_(ca._1865)The newest Ben-Hur movie is out now though I haven’t had the opportunity to watch it. It is a remake of the blockbuster 1959 film, a historical drama directed by William Wyler that won 11 Academy Awards. That is the most Oscars won by any film in history, an accomplishment that it shares with the 1997 movie Titanic and the 2003 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Wikipedia states that the 1959 Ben-Hur is widely considered to be one of the greatest films ever made (it is actually the second movie as it was a remake of one made by this name in 1925). It is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. Wallace was a Union major general during the U. S. Civil War and a member of the military commission that judged the eight people who were accused of being part of the conspiracy to murder Abraham Lincoln and other high government officials. These included, famously, devout Catholic Mary Surratt, who was condemned to death and who became the very first woman executed by the U. S. federal government. I have to admit I also have not read the book either. Incidentally, to get a first edition printing is not so cheap, I find it listed for sale at $769 Canadian, ($582 US), slightly less expensive than an original copy of the set of The Trial of John Surratt, which I noticed is just under $800 Canadian, ($600 US). John Surratt was the Lincoln conspirator who was sheltered by Catholic officials and in Catholic institutions while his mother was on trial.
Lew Wallace also served as the governor of the New Mexico Territory and later as U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire. As the U. S. minister, he was stationed in Constantinople which is now Istanbul, Turkey and he took time to travel to Jerusalem where he did research for Ben-Hur. Writing the book had a big influence in his life, in his later work, The First Christmas from Ben-Hur (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1899), he reportedly declares that the act of writing Ben-Hur resulted in “a conviction amounting to absolute belief in God and the divinity of Christ.”

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Bill and Hillary

It is down, essentially, to two people in the U. S. Presidential election and there is one candidate that the elites and mainstream news media seem to basically hate, that is Donald Trump, and one candidate that the elites and media love and that is Hillary Clinton. One starts to say to themselves when turning on the news, “lets see the ‘What is the latest terrible thing has Donald Trump done / said now’ news”. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is fine. There is an excellent book written by an excellent investigative reporter however that has a thing or two to say about that. The book is about Bill Clinton but she has been joined at the hip to him so it has implications for her too. It is called The Secret Life of Bill Clinton (1997), written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who was the Washington bureau chief of the Sunday Telegraph, a large British broadsheet newspaper.

According to White House secretary Mike McCurry, Evans-Pritchard has been “the origin of every major Clinton scandal story”. Apparently the mainstream news media was too busy loving Bill Clinton to report the truth about him. At the beginning of his book, Mr. Evans-Pritchard said that he did not harbor animosity toward Bill and Hillary when he assumed his position at the Telegraph in Washington, as Clinton was first elected President. Before he became President, Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas. Evans-Pritchard stated when one scratched beneath the surface, one learned things. He wrote:

“You learn that Bill Clinton grew up in the Dixie Mafia stronghold of Hot Springs, and that his brother was a drug dealer with ties to the Medellin Cartel. You learn that a cocaine distributor named Dan Lasater was an intimate friend, and that Lasater’s top aide would later be given a post in charge of administration (and drug testing) at the White House. You learn that Arkansas was a mini-Columbia with the United States, infested by narco-corruption.”

This was the Arkansas of Bill and Hillary Clinton that Evans-Pritchard was speaking about. He also commented on how Clinton politicized, corrupted law enforcement while the mainstream news media informed essentially no one about this.

“In Washington, Clinton moved with ruthless efficiency to take control of the federal machinery of coercion. While the U. S. watchdog press barked and howled with pitiful irrelevance about Clinton’s $200 hair cut, he quietly fired every U.S. Attorney in the country and then made his move on the FBI, which would be transformed gradually, one appointment at a time, into a replica of the Arkansas State Police. When he sacked William Sessions in July 1993, it was the first time in American history that a president had summarily dismissed an FBI director.”

Evans-Pritchard deals with the Clinton corruption of law enforcement when his volume also covers Bill Clinton’s involvement of the cover-up of the murder of Vince Foster, the highest-ranking White House official to die under suspicious circumstances since JFK. I plan another post on Mr. Evans-Pritchard excellent book.

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Pope says the world is at war

So reads the front page headline in the National Post last week (July 28). Is this really news though, that the world may be at war? Jesus Christ said a sign of his coming would be his followers hearing of wars and rumours of wars… (Matthew 24:3 – 6)
The article declared, “The Pope was speaking at the start of his first trip to Eastern Europe, where anti-immigrant sentiments have been rising. He encouraged Europe to welcome refugees from war, hunger and religious persecution and called for compassion.”
“Francis is celebrating World Youth Day in Poland, where the government has shut the doors to migrants and many fear that accepting Muslim refugees would threaten the nation’s security and its Catholic identity.”
“As he started the five-day trip, he told an audience of Poland’s president, diplomats and other dignitaries that what is needed is ‘a spirit of readiness to welcome those fleeing from wars and hunger, and solidarity with those deprived of their fundamental rights including the right to profess one’s faith in freedom and safety.”
So in solidly Roman Catholic Poland, there is no legal immigration of Muslims as “many”, (a significant number, like a majority of the citizens?) fear Muslims refugees would threaten security and the place Catholicism has in Poland. And these are refugees fleeing war who would come into Poland legally. Meanwhile, when this same pope comes to Mexico, to the border where predominantly Catholic Mexicans are not fleeing war and are illegally entering the United States, he says Donald Trump is not a Christian because Trump thinks that these Mexicans should not be entering illegally and he would see that a wall is built so they cannot do so. Yes, very consistent.
One also wonders about “the right to profess one’s faith in freedom and safety” in light of the Fourth Lateran Council though.
In 1215, a great Middle Age assembly of Catholic clergy convened the Fourth Lateran Council, presided over by Pope Innocent III. According to Catholic author Lewis Ellies Du Pin: “In the third canon they excommunicated and anathematized all the heretics who oppose the Catholic and orthodox faith… “

This canon became part of Church law and the commandment to extirpate, or destroy, heretics was put into practice a short time later. According to Wikipedia, part of the third canon states that secular authorities are “…to take an oath that they will strive in good faith and to the best of their ability to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church…” (emphasis added).
This canon was one of a number decided on by this ecumenical council. A Catholic source called it “the most important council of the Middle Ages”, marking “the culminating point of ecclesiastical life and papal power.” Presided over by a Pope, the decisions made by such a council, according to Catholic sources, is just as valid, infallible and permanent as the judgment by the first church council in Jerusalem, detailed in Acts 15.

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Evolution and Catholicism

My trusty copy of the May 9, 2016, B.C. Catholic also dealt with the alleged tension between “science” and religion. An article entitled Academics and young people discuss evolution, reported on a discussion that happened at the Vancouver Art Gallery Café in April. A Catholic academic was quoted at the meeting: “ ‘As a biologist, I don’t take a breath without presuming that evolution is true,’ said Father Rob Allore, SJ, the pastor of St. Mark’s Parish and a long-time geneticist. He argued evolution helps scientists understand how closely all life is connected.”
Allore also said, “Anything messing with the health of any part of the natural world is going to mess with us.”

According to the article, another Catholic, philosopher and lecturer at the Protestant institution, Trinity Western University, Chris Morrissey, spoke about intelligent design and called it, “ ‘creationism dressed up wit a marketing slogan’ and said the way to understand evolution and faith is to accept that God created the human soul and nature did the rest.”
It is interesting that this man says that people have to accept evolution, in faith, not know that nature, through random processes, gave us the incredibly rich plethora of complex life forms because, of course, you cannot know this, as evolution creating such things has not been observed.

One also wonders why scientists need to understand how closely all life is connected, why is that necessary, isn’t it more important to know what is scientifically true and what is not true? The Dodo bird and passenger pigeon are now extinct but I do not know of anyone who is saying human life may be threatened by this. In any event, it is evident that sadly, the plain teaching of the Word of God, that God created the world and the life on it, is not to be just believed, just accepted, by Catholics, and the Roman Catholic Church.

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Has the Roman Catholic Church been weaseling out its obligations in regards to Residential School abuse?

So many of us wonder about the Roman Catholic Church and residential schools. There doesn’t seem to be so much on this reported in the mainstream media. My trusty local drug store however has provided a Catholic response to this scandal. I notice now though that there does not seem to be regular Catholic reading mysteriously provided in this one particular drug store, part of a Canadian national chain, so perhaps someone in management figured out that the news stand in the store was also providing religious / Roman Catholic reading and put an end to it.
In any event, the B.C. Catholic journal I found there, produced in the style of a newspaper, dealt with this in the May 9, 2016 issue under the headline Church did not ‘weasel’ out of residential school settlement. The story read in part, “A $21 million shortfall on a $25 million fundraising campaign was a fiasco, but it wasn’t an attempt to weasel out of the legal or moral obligation Catholics have in the wake of the residential school tragedy, Grouard-McLennan Archbishop Gerard Pettipas told The Catholic Register.” The story reported that on the publishing of April 19th Globe and Mail article “…has led to accusations that the 50 Catholic organizations that were parties to the 2006 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement used legal trickery to sidestep their obligations.”
Pettipas, chair of the board of 50 Catholic Entities which are party to the Settlement Agreement, is quoted as disagreeing with this and he declares that there were three forms of payment agreed to, “There was a cash contribution. There was in-kind payment. There was best-effort campaign. We did all those. There wasn’t any weaseling out”.
The BC Catholic article also reports that “A glaring scarcity of results in the ‘best-efforts’ fundraising campaign has led some to question whether the Catholic Entities should have been released from their obligations” and quotes Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett saying that “the government would pressure the Church into restarting its fundraising.”
The large fundraising organization, Ketchum Philanthropy, participated in the Catholic Entities effort. Ketchum vice president Joanne Villemaire stated, “It’s not necessarily that Canadians are not supporting this. I think they’re probably saying this is a government issue and government should probably be supporting this. It’s a government responsibility”. She also declared, “The Catholic Church and other religious entities have been brought into this because they were all part of delivering the services on behalf of government”.
With all due respect to Ms. Villemaire, it seems that it has been Canadian taxpayers who have paid way too much and the Roman Catholic Church far too little. The Roman Catholic Church has “been brought into this” because they did not have a mandate to have their personnel sexually assault and abuse native Indian children that had been put in their care by the government. Had the abuse not happened, then the Catholic Church would not be facing the legal and moral obligations that it is today so it is quite astonishing to read this response.

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The new President of the Philippines

The New President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has been opposed by the Roman Catholic Church in this predominantly Catholic country but this has evidently done little to dampen his popularity. Duterte, who is somewhat similar to Donald Trump in the United States, has a tendency to shoot from the hip and is a tough-talking reformer who has been a very popular mayor for many years of Davao City, Mindanao. He takes office today, (June 30), in the Philippines. The Guardian newspaper has reported remarks of President Duturte, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/23/philippines-leader-duterte-calls-catholic-bishops-sons-of-whores,

“You know the most hypocritical institution? The Catholic church,” he said, in statements aired by broadcaster ABS-CBN on its website.
He accused the bishops of asking for money from the government, saying it was another form of corruption.
Duterte said the church had opposed his election but that it had served as a referendum, showing he was more influential.
The Guardian has also reported of Duturte:

The Philippines president-elect accused the Catholic church on Sunday of hypocrisy, saying the bishops who had condemned him during his campaign had been asking favours from the government.

Rodrigo “the punisher” Duterte, who won the 9 May presidential elections by a landslide, caused outrage in the church hierarchy in December after making a rambling and obscenity-filled speech cursing the pope. About 80% of Filipinos belong to the Catholic church.
This is fascinating. I have been in the Philippines for the past number of weeks for personal reasons and a number of the Filipinos I talked to there were very hopeful that President-elect Duterte could do much to eliminate the corruption in the Catholic country and it is very interestingly that it is the clergy that evidently opposes him in this. Why would this be, one could very well ask.

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Spotlight

Well I have now seen the Academy Award winning movie Spotlight basically twice. The language is coarse at times, but generally I think the movie is very good. According to Wikipedia:

Spotlight is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy and written by McCarthy and Josh Singer. The film follows The Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, the oldest continuously operating newspaper investigative journalist unit in the United States, and its investigation into cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. It is based on a series of stories by the “Spotlight” team that earned The Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The first time I watched it with a friend from Latin America who spent some time in a Catholic seminary before he decided that this was not the place for him, (he also decided that the Roman Catholic Church was not for him as well). After the movie, he asked why people are not shooting Catholic priests. I don’t know the answer to that one although I have heard from one source anecdotally that Catholic priests in Ireland are warned not to go out in public with wearing priest clothing but I have not had that confirmed.
Spotlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay this year.

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Easter Follies

Easter has just passed which traditionally been a time for remembering, for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the foundational truth of Christianity. I have been getting to know more about the Philippines and a recent newspaper article published by the Associated Press has given information on, the context indicates, Roman Catholics who have themselves nailed to crosses. Obviously they are not nailed to these crosses as Christ was but still it is quite strange. Others beat and bloodied their own backs according to the story. The article reported that: “The Lenten rituals are frowned upon by church leaders in the Philippines, Asia’s largest Roman Catholic nation, especially if the religious spectacle is used to boost tourism. The event, however, has persisted and has become an awaited tourist attraction in San Pedro Cutud village, about 70 kilometers north of Manila.” The article also declared, “The gory spectacle reflects the Philippines unique brand of Catholicism, which merges church traditions with folk superstitions.” http://www.edmontonsun.com/2016/03/25/filipino-devotee-volunteers-to-be-nailed-to-cross-for-good-friday-ritual . I suggest this Catholic merging with superstition is not just a Filipino phenomenon however.

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Movie on the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse cover-up wins best picture Academy Award

The movie Spotlight won the Oscar for best picture! Wow I wasn’t expecting that, apparently it was not expected to win so not many other people were expecting it either. I really would like to see it but so far it hasn’t shown up in the city I live in but we can only hope and maybe the award will help. Kudos to the Boston Globe and I should send them information on another big story that evidence shows the Church of Rome are responsible for, the murder of Abraham Lincoln.
As the Guardian reported at: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/feb/29/oscars-2016-spotlight-shocks-as-dicaprio-takes-actor-and-mad-max-scorches-competition,
Morgan Freeman announced the winner to gasps from the audience at the Dolby theatre, after which the cast and crew skipped, amazed, on stage. Accepting the award, producer Michael Sugar said he hoped the film’s message – that institutional silence over child abuse was not to be tolerated – would “resonate all the way to the Vatican”.
He continued with a direct call to the pontiff. “Pope Francis: it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.”

The group SNAP which has done much to help victims and oppose the Catholic Church, which has not wanted to come clean, must be very pleased.

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The Pope of Rome notices Donald Trump.

On February 17th, yesterday, upon being told that Donald Trump wished to build a wall at the Mexican border, and reportedly deport millions, to get control of the illegal immigration problem in the US, Pope Francis said, in essence, that Trump was not Christian. The Pope said this in his plane after, evidently, taking part in an event in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city directly across the U. S. / Mexican border from El Paso, Texas. Therefore a foreign monarch, the pope, spoke on the election of another different country, United States, and said that one of the candidates for one of the main parties, the Republican party, Donald Trump, is not Christian. The host of the CNN program that I saw this morning seemed to be outraged that Donald Trump retorted to what the Pope said and answered him back. The CNN host (is that the Catholic News Network?) seemed to be outraged that Donald Trump would reply to the pope and not just go and crawl under a rock after “the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics” criticised him. Shouldn’t the host of the program, Jim Sciutto, have been outraged that a foreign monarch, a foreign king, was evidently interfering in the election of a different sovereign nation, the United States? One can understand why Pope Francis would say this as he is just following what his bishops have been saying in the U. S., as they have been speaking up in favour of people breaking U. S. law, as these people coming from south of the border are really part of a Catholic invasion of America which has been in main part growing the U. S. Catholic Church.

Jim Sciutto interviewed the head of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr., who had endorsed Trump, and I recall, tried to get him to admit that Trump was wrong and how dare he disagree with the pope as nobody disagrees with the pope. Elites everywhere including here in Canada have been dumbfounded by the rise of Donald Trump but could this be an example of why his is so popular? He does not kiss the big toes of the powerful, or any other body part, but does not back down from any king, monarch, but defends himself as his right is and the right of any American and speaks plainly. The pope said that if Trump is a person who “only thinks about walls and not about bridges, is not Christian”. This is a quote from CNN. The pope reportedly also said, in effect, that Trump’s alleged views were not found in the Gospel. I would very much like that pointed out to me where exactly that is found in the Word of God.
The last time I checked the exchange between the Roman pontiff and Donald Trump is still being talked about.

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