Woooo HOOOOO! I like this new Pope Francis! He takes on religious dogma and shatters all assumptions. Yes, Jesus died for us ALL! Even us non-Catholics? Even atheists? Yes, says Pope Francis, emphatically yes. “Do good and we will find a meeting point.”
Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists.
During his homily at Wednesday Mass in Rome, Francis emphasized the importance of “doing good” as a principle that unites all humanity, and a “culture of encounter” to support peace.
Using scripture from the Gospel of Mark, Francis explained how upset Jesus’ disciples were that someone outside their group was doing good, according to a report from Vatican Radio.
“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”
Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:
“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
Responding to the leader of the Roman Catholic church’s homily, Father James Martin, S.J. wrote in an email to The Huffington Post:
“Pope Francis is saying, more clearly than ever before, that Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for everyone. That’s always been a Christian belief. You can find St. Paul saying in the First Letter to Timothy that Jesus gave himself as a “ransom for all.” But rarely do you hear it said by Catholics so forcefully, and with such evident joy. And in this era of religious controversies, it’s a timely reminder that God cannot be confined to our narrow categories.”
Of course, not all Christians believe that those who don’t believe will be redeemed, and the Pope’s words may spark memories of the deep divisions from the Protestant reformation over the belief in redemption through grace versus redemption through works.
The pope’s comment has also struck a chord on Reddit, where it is the second most-shared piece.
More from Reuters:
Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis said on Wednesday in his latest urging that people of all religions – or no religion – work together.
The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning Mass in his residence, a daily event where he speaks without prepared comments.
He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.
“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.
“Just do good and we’ll find a meeting point,” the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: “But I don’t believe. I’m an atheist.”
Francis’s reaching out to atheists and people who belong to no religion is a marked contrast to the attitude of former Pope Benedict, who sometimes left non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.
I heard whispers of this on National Public Radio, and found this write up on The International Business Times website. The message is simple – in a country where even a glance can be interpreted as treason, express your non-support of the government by STAYING AT HOME ON FRIDAY, the day Ethiopians usually go out and visit with friends, gather together and mingle. Ghandi would smile; this is civil expression at it’s most civil
Let the empty streets speak for you. LOL @ a tyrant making staying at home a crime against the government!
Eritrean bloggers outside of Ethiopia started it, smuggling an old Eritrean phone book out of the country and making calls to acquaintances – and strangers – in Eritrea. People didn’t even have to respond. they could just listen . . . then they developed a robo-call to help them enlarge the number they could reach.
Eritrea is considered one of the continent’s most opaque countries. National elections have not been held in the Horn of Africa country since it gained independence in 1993. Torture, arbitrary detention and severe restrictions on freedom of expression remain routine.
President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media, the internet is strictly controlled and Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.
It is illegal to criticise the government, prompting the Eritrean diaspora to set up a campaign to reverse the Arab-style call to take to the streets every Friday by emptying the streets in protest.
“We made phone calls from diaspora to Eritrea,” Meron Estefanos toldIBTimes UK. ”We have a phone catalogue and called random numbers every Friday, telling them to stay at home and think about problems in our country.”
The phone calls “give them [Eritreans within the country] an opportunity to protest without risking too much”, according to Freedom Friday’s coordinator in the UK Selam Kidane.
The activists turned to a computerised auto-dialer called robocall to spread hundreds of thousands of taped messages to Eritrean phones. “It is time to restore our liberty and dignity” messages were sent automatically.
In another message, the mother of renowned political prisoner Aster Yohannes recalls the fate of her daughter, who was arrested in 2003 and has disappeared.
After two years, the movement is finally gaining momentum inside the country.
“Now they trust us inside the country, we have our team in Eritrea that puts out posters and leaflets late at night,” Estefanos said.
“The plan now that we have their trust is asking them to go out and demonstrate.”
About 1,500 Eritreans leave their country every month, according to the United Nations, paying up to 30,000 euros ($39,500) each to seek a new life free of grinding poverty and repression.
Earlier this year, Amnesty International put the spotlight on Eritrean asylum-seekers who are kidnapped from Sudanese refugee camps by the local Rashaida tribe, sold to Bedouin criminals in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and severely abused while they are held for ransom.
One thousand refugees are held captive in the Sinai, according to reports. About 7,000 people in total may have been tortured and 4,000 may have died as a result of the people-trafficking in humans from 2009 to October 2012, according to recent data. A total of 3,000 people disappeared from 2007-11.
I am appalled. I have scoured the TV News, have looked through newspapers – not a word! I steam at corruption in Kuwait and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and then a small NPR Report on yesterday’s news alerts me to a measure, passed in Congress, WITHOUT A WHISPER!
(oh? I was shouting? Sorry. Carried away. Outraged) You can access the NPR station and listen to the entire repulsive report by clicking here.
Congress Repeals Financial Disclosure Requirements For Senior U.S. Officials
by EYDER PERALTA
A tourist takes cover underneath an umbrella while snapping a photo of the U.S. Capitol on March 6, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.
The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president’s desk by unanimous consent.
The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.
As NPR’s Tamara Keith reported, at the time, Sen. Joe Lieberman called the law “the most significant congressional ethics reform legislation to pass Congress in at least five years.”
“That law mainly addressed conflict-of-interest policies for members of Congress and their staffs, but it also included a requirement that the financial disclosure forms filed by some 28,000 high-ranking federal employees be posted online.
“While those forms are public records, they must be requested individually from employing agencies. The Stock Act envisions online posting first on agency sites and later in a central, searchable database.
“The posting requirement was delayed three times out of concerns about the potential for identity theft and other crimes against career employees, as well as security risks to the government.”
The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for a more open government,called today’s repeal an “epic failure.”
The foundation explained that instead of addressing specific security concerns, Congress has acted broadly.
For instance, they note, the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation are still required to make their financial disclosures public. But the change in law now makes the posting of those disclosures on the Internet optional.
“Not only does the change undermine the intent of the original bill to ensure government insiders are not profiting from non-public information (if anyone thinks high level congressional staffers don’t have as much or more insider information than their bosses, they should spend some time on Capitol Hill) but it sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online.
“Are we going to return to the days when the public can use the Internet to research everything exceptwhat their government is doing? Will Congress, in its twisted wisdom, decide that information is public if journalists, academics, advocates and citizens are forced to dig through file cabinets in basements in Washington, DC to find it? And does anyone think that makes us safer?
“As my colleague Tom Lee noted, ‘This approach is known as ‘security through obscurity.’ Essentially, the idea is that rather than fixing a system’s flaws, you can just make the system opaque or unusable or unpopular enough that those flaws never surface.’”
Update at 5:35 p.m. ET. 30 Seconds:
NPR’s Tamara Keith tells us the House procedure took exactly 30 seconds.
Correction at 5:29 p.m. ET. An earlier version of his post said the House followed the Senate. In fact, the Senate voted Thursday and the House voted today.
Toddler Q, the light of our life, is chatty. He’s been talking for over a year, but on a daily basis, we are amazed and delighted by his ability to articulate and to express himself.
Yesterday, on the way to his swimming lesson, AdventureMan was working with him on “goldfish” which he has been pronouncing “Goldpish.”
“Gold FISH!” they shouted as they drove down the road!
After his swimming lesson, on the way home, AdventureMan could hear him softly saying “goldfish.”
Then he said “BaBa, when I was little, I used to say ‘Goldpish.’ Now, I say ‘Goldfish!”
When I lived in Kuwait, many reporters self-censored, but there was still a lively – and, in relative terms, relative to the rest of the Gulf, free press. The Kuwait Legislature is going loony tunes with this proposed legislation. This, from the Kuwait Times:
Media draft law under fire for stiff penalties
KUWAIT: Former opposition MPs, writers, journalists and activists have strongly lashed out at a new media draft law that stipulates unprecedented hefty penalties against violators. The new draft law was approved earlier this week by the Cabinet but must pass the National Assembly to be effective. The 99-article draft law stipulates a 10 year sentence for insulting the Almighty, prophets, companions, relatives and wives of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It also stipulates a fine of between KD 50,000 and KD 300,000 for those convicted of insulting the Amir.
The draft law gives the Information Ministry the right to shut down with an administrative decision any publication for up to three years even without a court ruling, a key article in the current law. Former liberal opposition MP Abdulrahman Al-Anjari described the draft legislation as a “stigma” for the government which is “suffering from psychological disorders”. Former MP Obaid Al-Wasmi described it as the “capital punishment law” while former MP Jamaan Al-Harbash said it belongs to the old ages and will send too many people to jail.
Meanwhile, the criminal court yesterday issued a two-year jail term against opposition tweeter Hijab Al-Hajeri for writing tweets deemed offensive to HH the Amir in yet another verdict targeting activists. But the court asked the convict to pay a bail of KD 100 to suspend the implementation of the imprisonment until the appeals court issues its verdict on the case. Like several opposition tweeters, Hajeri was charged of insulting the Amir and undermining his status. Several tweeters and former opposition MPs have been handed several years in prison over the same charge and some of them have been sent to jail.
In another case, the criminal court postponed the case of Al-Youm Television to May 8. Two announcers for the pro-opposition station, its chairman and a director are facing charges of violating the law by reading a statement issued by the opposition several weeks ago. Another court also set May 1 as the date to issue its verdict on opposition tweeter Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi on charges of insulting the Amir.
In a related development, the public prosecution released well-known Islamist thinker and university professor Abdullah Al-Nafisi on a KD 5,000 bail after interrogating him on accusations of threatening national unity. Nafisi had reportedly undermined Shiites at a diwaniya meeting about two weeks ago which was held to highlight the dangers Iran was posing against the Gulf states including Kuwait. During the speech, Nafisi was cited as saying that some of the 17 Shiite MPs in the Assembly have links with Iran and claimed that one of them had taken part in a suicide car bombing on the life of the late former Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in May 1985. He also claimed that another MP was involved in the hijacking of a Kuwaiti passenger plane in 1988 that was blamed on Shiite militias.
Meanwhile, Islamist MP Hamed Al-Dossari called yesterday on the ministries of interior and foreign affairs to follow the footsteps of Bahrain and treat the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. He also charged that Iran has ambitions in the Gulf and is inciting discord in Bahrain and the rest of the Gulf Arab states.
By B Izzak, Staff Writer
Relationship Anxiety Is Hard On The Immune System, Study Says
This is from AOL News/Huffpost:
Relationship anxiety is known to be tough on a person’s mental well-being, but a new study suggests that fear of rejection — and worry that someone doesn’t love you enough — can also serve as chronic stressors that tax the immune system.
In a study of 85 couples who’d been married for an average of 12 years, a team of researchers led by Lisa Jaremka with Ohio State University College of Medicine examined the level of anxiety participants had about close relationships, as well as samples of their blood and saliva.
They found that the levels of cortisol — a hormone associated with stress — were on average 11 percent higher in people with higher levels of attachment anxiety than those who were less anxious. In addition, the more anxious people had between 11 percent and 20 percent fewer T-cells, which help the body to fight off disease.
“The thing that was surprising was the magnitude of the difference, especially in the immune cells that we saw,” Jaremka told The Huffington Post. “Some of the differences in the immune cell numbers, between the higher and the less high anxious attached people, were on the magnitude of what you’d see between obese and non-obese people.”
Attachment styles are believed to be derived from the type of caregiving people experienced in childhood, but the effects extend to, and impact, relationships in adulthood.
Most people are bound to have some level of concern and stress during the ups and downs of a relationship, Jaremka explained to HuffPost. But those with higher levels of attachment anxiety are hypersensitive to signs that a person they’re close to will leave them on a regular basis. They’re also more likely to seek reassurance and interpret their partner’s behaviors in a negative way.
Because the team did not include study participants who fell on the very high end of the anxiously attached spectrum, it’s possible that the effects of relationship anxiety could be even greater than the study suggests. Incidentally, while more women in the study suffered from higher levels of attachment anxiety, the researchers saw the same elevated levels of cortisol and lower T-cells in the men who were anxious.
Previous research had already established that relationship anxiety can have negative effects on a person’s physical health, but less was known about how exactly the anxiety and the health effects related to one another.
According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s believed that about 20 percent of the population falls on the anxious side of the anxiously attached spectrum. Another 25 percent fall into the avoidant category, which means those people may not get close to their partner out of fear that it could lead to a loss of autonomy.
Experts told the Journal that emotional opposites are often initially attracted to one another, but they may eventually face obstacles if they exacerbate one other’s attachment tendencies. For example, an anxious person might push for more affection and attention. This behavior might make an avoidant partner pull further away, in turn, making the anxious person even more insecure.
Despite the negative effects that attachment styles can have on a person’s relationships and physical health, Jaremka explained these traits are not inalterable.
“Anybody that is experiencing something that feels like high levels of attachment anxiety would think, ‘Oh great I’m doomed, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the fact that just because you are highly anxiously attached now doesn’t mean you have to be that way forever,” Jaremka told HuffPost. “We do know based on research that people can change and people can be very anxiously attached in one relationship and not at all in a different relationship.”
So what kind of relationship can serve as an antidote to pre-existing anxiety? One with a secure partner.
“If they are a very caring and loving and responsive partner, who attends to your needs when you need them, who is there for you when you’re stressed…Those relationships seem to be the types of relationships that people are able to feel secure in and are able to overcome anxieties in, if they have them,” Jaremka said.
The study, titled “Attachment Anxiety Is Linked to Alterations in Cortisol Production and Cellular Immunity,” is slated to be published in the journal Psychological Science.
“Let’s stop at that quilt shop up the road here!” AdventureMan exclaimed, sounding a lot more enthusiastic than I suspected he felt.
“I don’t know,” I reply, “it looked a little junky. I’m not sure it was even open.”
“It IS open!” he was delighted as we approached.
We drove in, and peered through the windows. It didn’t look like a quilt shop. It looked like a rickety tickety oyster bar of some kind, the kind of place we might love, if we were hungry, but not a quilt shop at all.
We looked again at the sign:
We had both read it as “Quilts Too” but it was something else entirely. I guess we saw what we expected to see.
I think we mentioned we lived in Florida before, a while back, at which time we came to dislike the commercial Florida intensely – think DisneyWorld and Orlando and schlock-filled shops with T-shirts “3 for $10!” It’s not that I dislike Disney, I grew up with Disney, and Bambi and Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. They’re a lot of fun.
But have you been to DisneyWorld recently? Have you paid those prices? And if you want to park there, or stay there, or eat there – it is horrendous! Advertised as family friendly, but a death-knell on a family budget.
There is so much MORE to Florida, some wonderful places. Wakulla Springs is one of our favorites, and not far from another favorite, Appalachicola, home of world famous oysters, fresh out of the Gulf (Gulf of Mexico, , for my other Gulf friends) We used to stay at Wakulla Springs while we were living in Kuwait and Qatar, and traveling to the USA to catch some time with our son, at FSU in Tallahassee.
After our drive down, we show up at the counter . . . and the receptionist barely looks at us. She doesn’t get up. She doesn’t have a name tag on; she is wearing a FAMU sweatsuit. We give our names, and she doesn’t say anything to us, just dials a number and talks to someone and then, finally, looks at us and says “we don’t have anything ready. Check-in isn’t until 3:00 o’clock.”
Welcome to Wakulla Springs Lodge. I was speechless. I couldn’t imagine how someone could be so rude! So unwelcoming! We are guests, here to spend our money, and this is how our time in Wakulla begins?
It’s all about attitude. I could feel my temper rising. On the other hand, what good would it do to get angry? Am I going to make a difference in how this young woman welcomes her customer, or am I going to make her day worse than it already is? Sometimes it’s just poor training. Sometimes someone is just having a bad day. Sometimes it’s disgust with corporate management, and this may have been a little of all of the above.
We decided to go to lunch, and the doors closed just as we got there. Wakulla Springs is on a different time zone, and the restaurant is closed!
We were so happy to be going, and now we are having second thoughts. We decide we had better go find something to eat – have you noticed it is easier to be down or angry when you are hungry? Really, really hungry? We drove to the crossroads that had a few eating places, about half of them closed. There was one I thought “oh please, please, don’t let that be the only one open” and encouraged AdventureMan to drive on, just a little further.
What we discovered will be the next entry
This is the Wakulla Lodge fireplace:
Later, I sat in the lobby with a cup of coffee, waiting for my boat trip, and a wedding party came in to rehearse for the big day. The mother of the groom had to walk away, trying to staunch the tears, as the pianist practiced “Here Comes the Bride.” I had to cry a little along with her; I LOVE weddings
These boat trips last about an hour and tell you a lot about the history and wildlife of Wakulla Springs. They are a lot of fun:
The first night, we had a truly indifferent meal in the Wakulla Lodge Restaurant, made bearable by the cheerful and professional waitress, Brittany, who had to tell us that they were totally out of their famous navy bean soup, and also out of the salad we wanted to order.
“We’ve been inundated!” she cried. “The lunch crowd wiped us out!” She was so cheerfully honest we couldn’t help but be cheerful right back. That’s the magic in good customer service.
While the meal was mediocre, Brittany sparkled as she served, and turned what might have been a real downer into just a less-than-memorable meal, we’ve had a few of those now and then, no big deal. With a lesser waitress, it might have been horrible.
All in all, customer service was notable in its imbalance at Wakulla Springs Lodge. Brittany, in the Dining Room, was a star. JJ, a part-timer at the desk, was another star. Our bathroom floor in our room was not clean, but the staff was gracious and eager to please. The ice-cream bar attendant was overworked and grouchy. (Honestly! How can you serve ice cream and be a grouch???)
There is so much potential at Wakulla Springs Lodge. They have this fabulous location, a huge spring where water pumps out thousands of gallons per day, where manatees and wildlife congregate, where movies have been filmed, where serious birders come to “twitch” (check off birds seen), with these fun boat trips, natural attractions, lovely sized rooms, and it just needs some polish to be a seriously first-class destination.