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Current Topic: Religion

Christian auto 'fish' emblem
Topic: Religion 12:56 pm EDT, May 13, 2005

] The Greek spelling for the word fish is "ICHTHUS"
] (pronounced ikh-thoos) and was incorporated into the
] meaning of the fish symbol. ICHTHUS is an acronym coming
] from the first letters of the Greek phrase "Iesous,
] Christos, Theou, Uios, Soter" which spell out a secret
] message about our Lord. The individual letters I, X, O,
] Y, E, are the first letters of five Greek words each of
] which means "Jesus Christ, God, Son and Savior".
] I - Iota, the first letter in the Greek word Iesous, meaning Jesus
] X - Chi, the first letter in the Greek word Christos, meaning Christ
] O - Theta, the first letter in the Greek word Theou, meaning God
] Y - Upsilon, the first letter in the Greek word Uios, meaning Son
] E - Sigma, the first letter in the Greek word Soter, meaning Savior

I'd heard about early Christians drawing fish symbols as a secret identification sign, but I never knew the complete explanation...

Christian cryptography :)

Christian auto 'fish' emblem

RE: N.C. Church Kicks Out Members Who Do Not Support Bush
Topic: Religion 4:55 pm EDT, May  9, 2005

Decius wrote:
] ] Members of the small East Waynesville Baptist Church say
] ] Chandler led an effort to kick out congregants who did
] ] not support President Bush. Nine members were voted out
] ] at a Monday church meeting in this mountain town about
] ] 120 miles west of Charlotte. Forty others in the
] ] 400-member congregation resigned in protest.

I agree, this is pretty appalling.

I don't care if I agree with their politics or their religion or not -- I hope this one gets seriously investigated. If a church is genuinely tying its membership to how its members vote, then it's endangering its own status as a church, and should not be allowed to maintain its tax-free status.

RE: N.C. Church Kicks Out Members Who Do Not Support Bush

Prophecy: The Future and the Popes
Topic: Religion 1:30 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2005

] About the year A.D. 1139, Saint Malachy O'Morgair,
] Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, wrote down a list of
] Popes. He listed 112 future Popes, each described by a
] phrase in Latin.

For the pope after John Paul II, the prediction was "Gloria olivæ"

] Some say that this prediction of St. Malachy, "From the Glory
] of the Olive," refers to the Order of St. Benedict, because they
] have a well-known group within their order called
] the 'Olivetans.'

Which either means it's a really good prediction, or that Ratzinger knew about it and chose his name Benedict XVI accordingly, or that it's one of those weird coincidence things. :)

The next Pope on the list is the last one that Saint Malachy predicted: In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End.)

More info here:

Prophecy: The Future and the Popes

Habemus Papam: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Becomes Pope Benedict XVI
Topic: Religion 1:03 pm EDT, Apr 19, 2005

] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, has been chosen to succeed
] John Paul II as Pope. He will be known as Benedict XVI.
  . . .
] Cardinal Ratzinger has been a head of the Congregation
] for the Doctrine of the Faith - the Vatican's guardian of
] orthodoxy since 1981.
] As such, he has also taken some uncompromising political
] positions, calling for pro-abortion politicians to be
] denied communion during the US election campaign for
] instance, or arguing that Turkey should not be admitted
] into the European Union.

I've been eagerly watching Vatican News, and was watching a cam feed to see the first wisps of white smoke coming out of the Sistine Chapel. But I have to admit, that when I heard that it was Ratzinger who had been elected, my heart sank.

Then again, I keep in mind that he's 78 years old, so it's doubtful that this is going to be another 20-year Papacy. Also, sometimes Popes who preached one point of view as a Cardinal, find a different voice as a Pope, so I can still be hopeful there as well. But at this moment, I have a sour and disappointed feeling in my stomach. :/

Habemus Papam: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger Becomes Pope Benedict XVI

Topic: Religion 9:00 pm EDT, Apr  8, 2005

I've been searching for a webcam that's pointing at the Sistine Chapel chimney, to watch during Conclave. Haven't found quite that yet, but here's a live stream of St. Peter's from the Vatican website.


Elonka's webpage about Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Topic: Religion 10:10 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2005

I've been piecing together tons of different pieces of information about my great uncle. Multiple books, biographies in different languages, and even several photographs from the mid-1800s.

Evidently he was a huge deal in Poland, even before he was sainted. For example, after his death, so many pilgrims would visit his gravesite and take handfuls of earth, that the convent had to regularly replace dirt and plants in the area. Then when his body was moved to a different tomb, the visiting pilgrims would literally scrape bits of plaster off the wall, just to have some relic to take with them. I've got a pic of this on the website, showing the holes that were being worn through the plaster.

And as another link between my uncle and the current pope's funeral -- It turns out that my uncle founded a monastery in Wadowice, Poland. He died there in 1907, and then 14 years later, the Pope, aka Karol Wojtyla, was born in the same town. So the pope grew up listening to stories about my great uncle. When Pope John Paul II beatified him in Krakow, in 1983, it was in front of a crowd of over two million people.

So if anyone would like to see the webpage I've created about what I've learned so far (with official Carmelite approval, no less), here's the link!

Elonka :)

Elonka's webpage about Saint Raphael Kalinowski

The Pope's Burial Place
Topic: Religion 8:42 pm EDT, Apr  7, 2005

] Altogether the remains of 147 out of the 263 recorded
] popes of history are buried down here.

Interesting article with details about the papal tombs under the Vatican.

The Pope's Burial Place

Web Gallery of Art - Visit to the Sistine Chapel
Topic: Religion 10:04 pm EDT, Apr  4, 2005

] Visit to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican

Nice site with a collection of large-scale images of the Sistine Chapel, including extensive text descriptions of each one.

Web Gallery of Art - Visit to the Sistine Chapel

Major Religions Ranked by Size
Topic: Religion 3:25 pm EDT, Apr  3, 2005

] Christianity: 2 billion
] Islam: 1.3 billion
] Hinduism: 900 million
] Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850 million
] Buddhism: 360 million
] Chinese traditional religion: 225 million
] primal-indigenous: 150 million
] African Traditional & Diasporic: 95 million
] Sikhism: 23 million
] Juche: 19 million
] Spiritism: 14 million
] Judaism: 14 million
] Baha'i: 6 million
] Jainism: 4 million
] Shinto: 4 million

When reading these statistics, the number I found most surprising was the relative tininess of the world's Jewish population (14 million) in comparison with other major world religions (1 billion-plus). For some reason I'd thought it was a larger religion, perhaps because I know so many people of that faith. It made more sense as I dug deeper though, since approximately half of the world's Jews (about 6 million) live in the U.S., half in Israel, and the next largest percentage is listed simply as "Europe".

It puts some of the conflicts in the Middle East into a different perspective for me though. That the world's first two largest religions, Christianity and Islam, should seem to be so distracted -- even obsessed -- with a religion that is 1% of their size.

I also found interesting the listed quantity of non-religious people in the world, 850 million. Though it's worth keeping in mind that the number is probably somewhat skewed by the state-enforced atheism of China's 1+ billion inhabitants. With China included in the numbers, the world's population breaks down to about 80-85% religious, 15-20% atheist. Removing China from the mix though, a more common percentage around the world seems to be 97% religious, 3% non-religious. Perhaps 90-10, depending how agnostics are categorized.

Major Religions Ranked by Size

How the Pope is Elected -
Topic: Religion 6:06 pm EST, Mar 31, 2005

] The following article provides all the details on the process
] of electing a new pope, from the moment of the current
] pontiff's death to the moment a new pope is proclaimed
] to the waiting world.

I still wish the best to Pope John Paul II (aka Karol Jozef Wojtyla), and hope for a recovery.

But in the meantime, this is interesting reading. It even includes some of the sayings and humor about papal elections, as well as the ritualistic anti-cheating methods during the voting.

How the Pope is Elected -

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