February 2018

Statement on Municipal threats and the discriminatory “Church Lands Bill” The Holy Sepulchre is open again for pilgrims. The heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulcher and the Status Quo governing the various Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem, are following with great concern the systematic campaign against the Churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the existing Status Quo. We, the heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulcher and the Status Quo governing the various Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem – the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Armenian Patriarchate – are following with great concern the systematic campaign against the Churches and the Christian community in the Holy Land, in flagrant violation of the existing Status Quo. Recently, this systematic and offensive campaign has reached an unprecedented level as the Jerusalem municipality issued scandalous collection notices and orders of seizure of Church assets, properties and bank accounts for alleged debts of punitive municipal taxes. A step that is contrary to the historic position of the Churches within the Holy City of Jerusalem and their relationship with the civil authorities. These actions breach existing agreements and international obligations which guarantee the rights and the privileges of the Churches, in what seems as an attempt to weaken the Christian presence in Jerusalem. The greatest victims in this are those impoverished families who will go without food and housing, as well as the children who will be unable to attend school. The systematic campaign of abuse against Churches and Christians reaches now its peak as a discriminatory and racist bill that targets solely the properties of the Christian community in the Holy Land is being promoted. This abhorrent bill is set to advance today in a meeting of a ministerial committee which if approved would make the expropriation of the lands of churches possible. This reminds us all of laws of a similar nature which were enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe. This systematic and unprecedented attack against Christians in the Holy Land severely violates the most basic, ab antiquo and sovereign rights, trampling on the delicate fabric of relations between the Christian community and the authorities for decades. THEREFORE, and recalling the Statement of the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem, dated 14 February, 2018 and their previous statement of September 2017, as a measure of protest, we decided to take this unprecedented step of closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Together with all Heads of Churches in the Holy Land we stand united, firm and resolute in protecting our rights and our properties. May the Holy Spirit answer our prayers and bring a resolution to this historic Crisis in our Holy City.

{ 1 comment }

There is a lot of buzz going around about the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson who is defying the Canadian government and the tyranny of the lunatic Left. I stand up to applaud him!

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 9.20.29 AMHere is an article in Catholic World Report written by Bishop Robert Barron. Barron introduces this eloquent, courageous and very bright man. I suggest you read it along with an article along with The Catholic Thing written by Anthony Esolen. Both of them point out the weakness of his basic worldview (he is not a Christian), but praise what he is saying, how he is saying it and the resounding effect he is having, especially among young men.

Here is Bishop Barron’s introduction to his article:

“Like many others, I have watched the Jordan Peterson phenomenon unfold with a certain fascination. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t spend a lot of time on social media, for Peterson, a mild-mannered psychology professor from the University of Toronto, has emerged as one of the hottest personalities on the internet.

“He is followed by millions of people, especially young men. His lectures and presentations—cool, understated, brainy, and blunt—are avidly watched and commented upon. And his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is a number one bestseller all over the world. Moreover, Peterson’s spirited and articulate opposition to the imposition of speech codes in his native Canada has made him a controversial political player, a hero of free speech to his supporters and a right-wing ideologue to his detractors.

“His interview with Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News, during which Peterson’s interlocutor revealed herself as a hopelessly biased social justice warrior, has, as of this writing, been viewed 7.5 million times [now almost 8 million].”   (For the whole article, click HERE.)

Here is the YouTube video mentioned by Barron. Janet and I watched it and found our blood pressure rise in reaction to Peterson’s interlocutor who a “hopelessly biased social justice warrior” (Bishop Barron’s words). But we also rose to applaud Peterson with his cool, collected, intelligent and persuasive arguments with all their delightful political incorrectness. He left her looking like …. well, watch it and decide for yourself.

{ 1 comment }

UPDATE - Tuesday, 2/27/18   “Jerusalem's Church of Holy Sepulchre to reopen Wednesday after protest

As many of you already know, last week the major Christian groups within the Holy Sepulchre and the Patriarch of Jerusalem decided to close the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a protest against the punitive taxes and confiscatory collection process being imposed by Israel through the municipality of Jerusalem.

Closing the Church is a great burden for Christians but it is certain to bring the issue to a head and force a resolution. Here is an article in the Jerusalem Post.

 HERE is a very good article reporting the comments of Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.    

It looks like this drastic action is paying off. Just released is a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His statement says they are proud of the religious freedom for everyone in Israel.

This is true, but this taxation of the Churches is a blight on that freedom. Hopefully, they resolve it soon if favor of the Christians in the Holy Land.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat have agreed to establish a professional team led by Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, with the participation of all relevant parties, to formulate a solution for the issue of municipal taxes on properties owned by churches that are not houses of worship.
 
“As part of the discussion between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jerusalem Municipality regarding churches’ municipal taxes, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Barkat have agreed that a professional team led by Minister Hanegbi, including representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs and the Interior and the Jerusalem Municipality, will formulate a solution to the issue of municipal taxes (which do not apply to houses of worship). The team will negotiate with the representatives of the churches to resolve the issue.
 
“As a result, the Jerusalem Municipality is suspending the collection actions it has taken in recent weeks.
 
“In addition, following a request by the heads of the churches to enter negotiations regarding the sale of land in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Netanyahu has asked Minister Hanegbi to examine the issue. While the Minister is doing so, all legislative activity on the matter will be suspended.
 
“Israel is proud to be the only country in the Middle East where Christians and believers of all faiths have full freedom of religion and worship. Israel is home to a flourishing Christian community and welcomes its Christian friends from all over the world.”
We will see what happens in the next few days. You can track this also at the Christian Information Center in Jerusalem.

{ 1 comment }

EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo is Under Attack – even it seems from the Vatican

February 26, 2018

A number of good Catholic journalist and newscasters are speaking out about what is going on with the Vatican. Raymond Arroyo is one of them. “Raymond Arroyo is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist and a producer. He is the news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal […]

Read the full article →

Major biblical discovery: Archaeologists may have found the Prophet Isaiah’s ‘signature’

February 23, 2018

 By James Rogers | Fox News The seal mark discovered in Jerusalem (Eilat Mazar/Biblical Archaeological Society) Archaeologists in Israel say that they have found a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the Biblical Prophet Isaiah. The 2,700-year-old stamped clay artifact was found during an excavation at the foot of the southern wall […]

Read the full article →

St. Polycarp’s name does not mean “many fish”

February 23, 2018

Today is the Feast Day of the Great Bishop and Saint Polycarp on February 23. When we converted to the Catholic Church my son Jesse chose St. Polycarp as his patron saint because of his great heroism. We filmed the whole life of St. Polycarp on location. I feel like I know him. The name Polycarp […]

Read the full article →

Billy Graham’s Early Influence on My Life & an Excellent Recent Talk by Rev. Billy Graham

February 21, 2018

I have a soft spot in my heart for this man because he has had a PROFOUND impact on our family. It was his message over the airwaves in 1953 that first brought my mom to Christ and my mom and dad then brought us boys to a living and vibrant knowledge of Jesus Christ.  […]

Read the full article →

Why the USCCB (US Bishops) is Wrong about Islam

February 21, 2018

This in an excellent article in Catholic Workd Report about the wrong-headed ideas and disservice being propagated by the US Council of Bishops. Here is an excerpt: “Deadly anti-Christian attacks have become commonplace in the Muslim world. Catholics need to know about them, and they also need to know the “why” of these attacks. There […]

Read the full article →

Lizzie the Famous Protestant Blogger Converts – Mentions my Book

February 20, 2018

I had not known about Lizzy before today. I had a good number of people tell me that she is a famous Protestant blogger who had just announced her conversion to the Catholic Church. I found out that she had mentioned my book Upon this Rock (and held it up as she talked on the […]

Read the full article →

The Rebel in Me LOVES Quotes Like This

February 19, 2018

“Enemy occupied territory — that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” C. S. Lewis For the larger context from Lewis’ Mere Christianity click HERE.

Read the full article →

World Premier of Steve Ray’s Newest Film “Elijah & Elisha”

February 19, 2018

YOU ARE INVITED TO THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “ELIJAH & ELISHA: CONSCIENCE OF THE KINGDOM” The 9th Film in the Award-winning DVD Series from Ignatius Press “The Footprints Of God: The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine.” Friday, March 9, 2018 Film Showing: 7 PM – 8:30 PM; Reception & Light Refreshments: 8:30 – 10 […]

Read the full article →

Short Video with Samples of my Footprints of God series…enjoy!

February 18, 2018

Here is a 15-minute compilation of some of the fun and informative segments of my documentary series The Footprints of God, the Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustine” – including me popping out of the coffin :-) Our newest is the 9th DVD in the 10-part series which will be released at a special event in […]

Read the full article →

What to Think About Bad Popes

February 16, 2018

Written by Dave Armstrong and used with permission: BAD POPES: REPLIES TO A SINCERE INQUIRER, February 15, 2018, by Dave Armstrong God made an everlasting covenant with King David, even though he was an adulterer and murderer. Dave writes: “As this was originally private correspondence, my correspondent’s exact words will be paraphrased, not cited. Her […]

Read the full article →

Pilgrimage Updates – Some Trips Sold Out

February 14, 2018

These pilgrimages are sold out: – April Holy Land – April “Saints & Shrines of Italy” – May Holy Land These are filling fast: – June Holy Land – August Ireland – September Jordan and Holy Land Check out – St. Paul Mediterranean Cruise in November – Mexico-Guadalupe trip in December. Also the Oberammergau Passion […]

Read the full article →

Great New Didache Bible from Ignatius Press

February 12, 2018

The Didache Bible Is Here, By Dr. Jeff Mirus [Steve’s Comment]: I posted this a while ago, but want to make sure new readers are aware of this excellent new Bible with the right footnotes, maps, etc. This is my choice. [Miras’ article]: This Bible uses the Second Edition of the Catholic Edition of the […]

Read the full article →

History of Middle East in 90 Seconds

February 11, 2018

Fascinating moving map. Click the image below to see biblical and modern history of the volatile and ever-changing Middle East.

Read the full article →