Friday, May 24, 2013


Pope Francis has announced that he plans to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Bonaria in the Italian island of Sardinia in September (Vatican Information Service, May 15, 2013). This 14th century shrine, operated by the friars of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy, perpetuates the myth that a statue of Mary miraculously calmed a storm and saved a Spanish ship in 1370. Spanish sailors “venerated the image” and invoked its help for safe sailing.
Francis will be the fourth pope to visit the idol, following in the footsteps of Pope Paul VI (1970), John Paul II (1985), and Pope Benedict XVI (2008). Francis has been widely acclaimed by evangelicals for his simple lifestyle and social justice passion, but he is as apostate in doctrine as the previous popes.

Pope Francis announcing his visit to Sardinia (Italian with English translation and commentary):
Published on May 15, 2013 on YouTube above and below:
Pope Francis told pilgrims at the Wednesday audience that he wants to visit a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Bonaria in Caglieri, Sardinia, probably in September. He explained that there is a strong bond of brotherhood between his native city of Buenos Aires and Cagliari, from an old story that recounts how at the moment of founding the City of Buenos Aires the founder had wanted to name it after the Holy Trinity, but the sailors, who had brought him there, were Sardinian and they wanted him call it the City of Our Lady of Buenos Aires [Fair winds].

More video and pictures of Our Lady of Bonaria, Sardinia, shrine:
The Mercedarian Friars have staffed this Basilica for almost 700 years. Over the Past 40 years, 3 popes have visited this shrine: Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. Pope Francis has a great love for the shrine since Buenos Aires, Argentina was named after it.

See this video of Our Lady of Ransom who is claimed to have appeared to several people and order the founding of the Mercedarians:


Vatican City,  (

Here is the text of the Final Declaration made during the IV Buddhist-Christian Colloquium held at the Pontifical Urbaniana University on May 6th, under the theme "Inner Peace, Peace among Peoples". The Holy See made the text available yesterday afternoon. See:

1. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue in collaboration with the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Italy held the fourth Buddhist-Christian Colloquium at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, on 6th of May 2013 under the theme "Inner Peace, Peace among Peoples".

2. The participants were of the view that the different papers presented, formal discussions, friendly dialogues during free times contributed to deepen the mutual understanding of each other’s traditions, to know better the convergence and divergence and to be aware of the mutual responsibility to maintain or to restore peace.
3. The participants coming from Italy, Japan, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and India noted that the religious landscape of the world today is undergoing rapid changes. In that context the followers of different religious traditions can contribute to friendship and solidarity among persons and peoples.
4. For Christians, sin in all its forms - selfishness and violence, greed and the inordinate desire for power and dominion, intolerance, hatred and unjust structure – ruptures the communion between God and us and among ourselves. The restoration of peace necessarily requires liberation from sin and its rejection. Jesus Christ restored the broken divine-human communion. Peace is therefore the state of those who live in harmony with God, with themselves, with others and with the whole of creation.
5. As regards Buddhists, Buddha Sakyamuni taught that the root of all evil is ignorance and false views based on greed or hatred and he discovered the Four Noble Truths as a path of liberation from suffering to Nirvana. Accordingly the ethics and mental purity are but two aspects of the same path of practice: the stillness of meditation and working for the liberation of all beings from their suffering sustained by the third aspect of the path: wisdom. In fact, the real Buddhist compassion flows from the awareness of the substantial identity and unity of all beings, a Wisdom that is deeply rooted in the contemplative practice.
6. In both the Christian and Buddhist journeys, therefore, inner freedom, purification of the heart, compassion and the gift of self are the essential conditions for the inner peace of the individual as well as for social peace.
7. In spite of differences, both Buddhist and Christian ethical teaching on respect for life is a search for common good based on loving kindness and compassion. The participants expressed that dialogue between Buddhists and Christians be strengthened to face new challenges such as threat to human life, poverty, hunger, endemic diseases, violence, war, etc., which belittle the sanctity of human life and poison peace in human society.
8. The participants recognized that they have a special responsibility in addressing these issues. The desire for cooperation for the well-being of humanity ought to spring from the depth of spiritual experiences. Only inner peace can transform the human heart and make one see in his/her neighbour another brother and sister. If we really want to build a world of peace, it is vitally important that we join forces to educate people, especially the young, to seek peace, to live in peace and to risk working for peace. 
9 The colloquium concluded with the affirmation that it is love which brings or restores peace to human hearts and establishes it in our midst. The participants also observed that the path of peace is difficult; it demands courage, patience, perseverance, determination and sacrifice. They consider dialogue a priority and a sign of hope. It must continue!

Published on May 11, 2012 on YouTube:
Three leading figures in today's Buddhist-Christian dialogue share their personal journeys in the new documentary Jesus and Buddha: Practicing Across Traditions. We learn how following the path of the Buddha has informed and deepened their understanding of who Jesus was and what he taught. Their experience and insight bring these two liberating archetypes alive in a way that can help guide us through our own confusion and struggle toward lives filled with joy and gratitude, compassion and service.
The film features: Father Robert Kennedy, a Jesuit priest and Zen teacher; Chung Hyun Kyung, Professor of Ecumenical Theology and Interfaith Engagement at Union Theological Seminary and a Buddhist Dharma teacher; and Paul Knitter, Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture at Union Theological Seminary.

Prior Colloquium:
Second Buddhist-Christian Coloquium Concluding Statement:

Second Buddhist-Christian Coloquium Concluding Statement

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue held its second Buddhist-Christian Colloquium at the Benedictine monastery of Asirvanam in Bangalore, India, from 8 to 13 July. Eighteen persons from various countries took part, seven Buddhists and 11 Christians.
The Bangalore meeting aimed to deepen the friendship and dialogue with Buddhists which began in August 1995 at the Buddhist monastery of Fo Kuang Shan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. On that occasion the theme was: Buddhism and Christianity: Convergences and Divergences, while the theme of the meeting in Bangalore was: Word and Silence in Buddhist and Christian Traditions. This general topic was divided further into sub-themes: Buddhist Enlightenment and Christian Revelation; Sacred Texts in the Buddhist and Christian Traditions; Meditation and Contemplation in Buddhism and in Christianity; Anatta/Sunyata and Kenosis.
Once again it was desired to hold the colloquium in a monastery, this time a Catholic one. At the end of the meeting, the participants unanimously approved a Final Declaration which it is hoped will be useful for a further Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
1. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue organized its second international colloquium at the Asirvanam Benedictine Monastery in Bangalore, India, from 8 to 13 July 1998. A small number of Buddhists and Christians from India, Tibet/India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the United States were invited for a dialogue on the theme of "Word and Silence in Buddhist and Christian Traditions". This recent encounter was in response to a desire expressed at the Pontifical Council's first colloquium that was held from 31 July to 4 August 1995 at the Fo Kuang Shan Buddhist Monastery in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. At the end of that first dialogue, the participants expressed the desire to meet again in a Christian monastery in order to contribute to the deepening of the modern encounter between Buddhism and Christianity.
2. The agenda of the meeting included four major topics: Buddhist Enlightenment and Christian Revelation, Sacred Texts in the Buddhist and Christian Traditions, Meditation and Contemplation in Buddhism and Christianity, and Anatta/Sunyata and Kenosis. The papers were presented on these four topics in a way that fostered the dialogue process itself. In this process, all participants shared and explored their views of the place of word and silence in their respective traditions leading to a greater sense of mutual understanding and appreciation. This meeting proceeded by each side expressing what their own traditions believe, teach and celebrate. The following points indicate some of the areas that were explored in the dialogue.
3. The authority of the early sacred Buddhist texts was decided during the six great Buddhist councils called for at different periods of time by the Buddha's disciples after his passing into Parinirvana. Theravada Buddhism accepts only the teachings of the Buddha that were declared authoritative during these councils. This early canon includes the discourses of the Buddha (Sutta), the rules for the monastic order (Vinaya), and the higher philosophical teachings (Abhidhamma). While Mahayana Buddhism accepts this early canon, it also accepts and emphasizes other sacred texts, called Sutras, which they believe were also taught by the Buddha. Within Mahayana there arose another tradition called Vajrayana that accepts the canons of both Theravada. and Mahayana and adds a new literature called the Tantras, that present Buddhist esoteric teachings. Common to these traditions are the precepts for living, the teachings of the Buddha, and the authoritative commentaries of the particular traditions. These sacred texts describe the path that leads to liberation from suffering and the nature and qualities of that supreme condition.
In the Catholic tradition of Christianity, it is the teaching authority of the Church that has faithfully received the revealed and inspired texts and has determined their canonicity. The canon of Sacred Scripture was decided over a period of centuries by the early Councils of the Church. This Sacred Scripture consists of two sections: the Old Testament, written in the Jewish tradition before Christ, and the New Testament written by the Apostles and their immediate disciples as witnesses of Christ. Christians believe that in Sacred Scripture God reveals himself and his love fully manifested in Christ, and speaks to us and tells us what to believe, how we should live, and what is needed for salvation.
4. Besides studying the truth (Dharma) conveyed in sacred texts, Buddhists also seek realization of this ultimate and transforming truth in their own experience of enlightenment. The writings of certain early monastics, men and women, who attained this goal and are considered patriarchs, are also thought to be authoritative - but always to a lesser degree than the earlier sacred texts. Enlightened masters are also looked to for guidance in following the Buddhist path. On the Christian side, the tradition of the Church that goes back to the Apostles is also seen as a foundation of faith along with Sacred Scripture. The Church greatly values the teachings of the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church who are canonized saints known for their eminent doctrine. Other saints and spiritual guides also have a role in transmitting an understanding of the word of God for Christian living.
5. Buddhists are respectful of the sacred texts of all religions. While they recognize that there are differences between the teachings of different scriptural traditions, they do not criticize views that are different from their own. They encourage their monastics and scholars to study other scriptures in order to understand their proper meaning. The Church respects the sacred texts of other religions and believes that they contain an impressive heritage of religious teachings that have guided the lives of millions of people for centuries.
These sacred texts of other religions are seen to contain elements of truth in which Christians are invited to discover seeds of the Word which the bountiful God has given to all people.
6. In Buddhism, the study of the sacred texts is considered to be essential for practice and therefore for realization. However, study is not enough; there must be silent meditative practice and a deepening of wisdom that comes from such practice. Here the practice of silence is needed to provide a spiritual condition for purification and thereby growth in inner awareness, wisdom, compassion, loving kindness and joyful sympathy reflected in thought, word and action. In Buddhism, the sacred texts are also used in recitation-practice that contributes to spiritual cultivation. Today, many lay Buddhist movements are teaching the sacred texts to the laity and are helping them live out the teachings of the Buddha in daily life. In this context, recitation-practice is again a powerful tool for mental and moral cultivation.
In Christianity, the word of God is used in community celebration, instruction and personal formation. The word of God carries the power of God to transform human existence in accordance with the mind and heart of Christ. The word of God has a central role in the liturgy of the Church, especially in the Eucharist, and the Divine Office. Christians - especially monastics humbly submit to the vivifying action of the Spirit in reading the word of God in lectio divina: sacred reading of scripture, meditative reflection, personal response in prayer, and - when all words cease - experiencing God's presence in silent contemplation. In the Church today there are new lay movements that read the word of God in prayerful sharing and put it into practice in daily life. Here too there is the use of silence to deepen awareness of, and intimacy with God within. Also, in living the word of God with others, one is called to love them by silencing one's mind and heart in order to be living fully for others.
7. The blending of word and silence in Buddhist practice of morality, meditation and wisdom contributes to a process of purification. This process leads to final liberation either in Nirvana or Buddhahood, depending on one's tradition. It is observed that in Buddhist traditions glimpses of this liberation can be experienced even prior to its full attainment. Word and silence in Christian life both contribute to an ever deeper experience of salvation that includes liberation from evil within and without, and social transformation as well. For Christians, this salvation, offered to all, is understood as taking place in Jesus Christ where the human person is made new and society is renewed as the kingdom of God giving a foretaste of heaven.
8. The practice of Buddhism entails inner silence leading to the wonderful attainment of Nirvana or Buddhahood. In Theravada, this silence - a spiritual restraint of thoughts, words and actions - is the clearly defined practice resulting in the realization of the final goal of the clarity of wisdom. In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism spiritual attainment also involves silence because of the realization of emptiness which is ineffable. For Christians, salvation begins in this world as God's initiative received through faith and finds its completeness only after death. Baptism introduces the Christian into the paschal mystery of Christ, his Passion, Death and Resurrection. The realization of this free gift of God remains a mystery. The more one approaches God, the more one is aware of God's ineffability. This awareness of God's ineffability can be understood in terms of Christian hope. Hope is rooted in faith in the Trinity - a reality that is always beyond human understanding.
9. Buddhist nirvanic liberation leads one to live non-attached in daily life like a lotus flower that grows up in the muddy water but is not affected by it. Living this new freedom, the liberated person is characterized by service and commitment exercised for the benefit of self and others. In Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, spiritual enlightenment in following the Bodhisattva ideal is expressed in a life dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings. This liberated life is achieved by and articulated in Buddhism by the Eightfold Path.
According to the Christian tradition, the person is purified and transformed by the word of God through faith nourished by the Sacred Scriptures and the sacraments so that one reflects in all things the glory of God expressed in Jesus Christ. Since God is Love, this reflection of Christ entails an overflowing of self-giving love towards others. In daily life this means dying to one's self to rise with Christ in a new life of selfless and redeeming love. This selfless life is seen in the example of the saints throughout the history of the Church. Charity for Christians is like a seed sown in the human heart by God where it expresses itself in the indivisible love of God and neighbour.
10. The colloquium concluded with an expression of gratitude to the members of the Asirvanam monastic community. The spiritual atmosphere of the monastery and the gentle hospitality in the good Benedictine tradition provided a setting that was congenial for pondering these deeper realities of word and silence in Buddhism and Christianity. The participants hope that this second dialogue was a further step in the encounter between Buddhism and Christianity. The participants see themselves as fellow pilgrims celebrating their similarities and accepting their differences as friends in the spiritual life. It is hoped by all that this international level of dialogue will continue to be fruitful for the two traditions and for the whole of humankind that today needs greater attention to both word and silence and is seeking the peace and love that these traditions teach and live.
Taken from: L'Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English 18 November 1998, page 10
L'Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See. The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:
The Cathedral Foundation L'Osservatore Romano English Edition
P.O. Box 777 Baltimore, MD 21201 Subscriptions: (410) 547-5380

During May 27-31, 2013, the World Council of Churches (WCC), which encompasses 340 denominations and groups, is hosting a “Buddhist-Christian encounter” in Bangkok. 
Participants will stay at the Bangkok Christian Guest House and visit a Buddhist monastery. Wesley Ariarajah, former Director of the WCC’s Interfaith dialogue, said that all religions are one with God. 

Here is the list of member churches of the WCC in the United States as found on:

WCC member churches based in United States of America


John Stemberger of On My, reports that the Boy Scouts leadership has voted to allow gay members, but not gay youth leaders.

Openly Gay Boy Scout Resolution will sexualize Scouting and devastate an American institution

Grapevine, TX -Following the vote today by the Boy Scouts of America's voting delegates to pass the resolution allowing "open and avowed homosexuality" in the Boy 
Scouts, John Stemberger, Founder of OnMyHonor.Net,
a coalition of members of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) including parents, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts and other Scouting leaders who affirm Scouting's timeless values, made the following statement:

"It is with great sadness and deep disappointment that we recognize on this day that the most influential youth program in America has turned a tragic corner. The vote today to allow open and avowed homosexuality into Scouting will completely transform it into an unprincipled and risky proposition for parents. It is truly a sad day for Scouting.

The Boy Scouts of America has a logo that bears the phrase 'Timeless Values.'   Today, the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith.  It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization's values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion.

The saddest part of today's decision is what the organization is teaching our children and young people in the program.  

The BSA is teaching our kids that when your values becomeunpopular, just change them.

The BSA is teaching our kids that when your convictions are challenged, just cave to peer pressure.

The BSA is teaching our kids that public opinion polls are more important than principles.

Today, the BSA is teaching our kids that you should not stand up forwhat is right instead you should stand up for what is popular.

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to "prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law." 

BSA is teaching our kids through its new mission that we don't make ethical and moral choices through the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law but we make them like an unprincipled politician does, by putting your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing or by looking at the latest polling results. 

What kind of a message are we sending to young people about being brave when its top adult leaders don't even have the courage to stand up to the pressure of a militant lobby when the bullies in Washington DC, Hollywood or even some of their own renegade councils start pressuring and harassing them?  

Each and every one of the thousands of Scouting families that have supported and followed our movement must now make a very difficult decision. We respect the right for each parent and family to decide whether they will continue their membership in the Boy Scouts of American or not. 

Many, like me and my family, cannot continue to support an organization more concerned with the intolerant demands of activists while compromising the safety and security of the young people they swore to serve.  In July of last year, the BSA said after a two year study from 2010 to 2012, the eleven member task force unanimously concluded that their existing policy on this issue was "the absolute best policy for the Boy Scouts of American."  Suddenly, less than a year later, that is abruptly reversed. 

We hoped to keep sex and politics out of Scouting. Now we grieve for those young boys who will not have the wonderful traditions and experiences that so many of us have had in Scouting.

Despite this setback, we will look to the future. I am pleased to announce that OnMyHonor.Net along with other likeminded organizations, parents and BSA members, are announcing a coalition meeting that will take place next month in Louisville, Kentucky. There we will discuss the creation of a new character development organization for boys. While the meeting will be private, your voice is very important to us and will be represented there.  We will host and facilitate a national coalition meeting of former BSA parents and other youth leaders who wish to return to truly timeless values that once made the BSA great.  We welcome your comments as we develop our plans. Please share your thoughts with us atContact@OnMyHonor.Net

We grieve today, not because we are faced with leaving Scouting, but because the Boy Scouts of America has left us. Its leadership has turned its back on 103 years of abiding by a mission to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices.  Instead, it is embarking on a pathway of social experimentation that we believe will place at risk the very youth the organization is entrusted to serve, while rendering as hollow the tenets of the Scout Oath.  Many of us find that unacceptable, and we have a desire to explore how we might serve families and young people at the highest standard originally intended by Scouting's founder, Robert Baden-Powell." 


From Brent Detwiler, on the Sovereign Grace lawsuit and criminal investigations:
Posted: 21 May 2013 03:18 PM PDT
There are criminal investigations going on related to the crimes alleged in The Second Amended Complaint against Sovereign Grace Ministries and other Defendants.  They range from obstruction of justice to rape.
The on-going collection of evidence is vital in the prosecution of each case.  Please contact Detective Sally Magee of the Family Crimes Division at the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland at 240-773-5400 with information.  She can also be emailed at  She is heading up the investigation in that jurisdiction but can provide contact information for other jurisdictions.
The Plaintiffs’ lawyers should also be contacted with additional evidence as soon as possible.    
Susan L. Burke
1000 Potomac Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007-1105
(202) 386-9622 
William T. O’Neil
7500 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 1375
Bethesda, MD 20814
(202) 684-7140 
I realize there are additional victims and witnesses who are undecided about coming forward for a wide range of reasons (e.g., finances, time off, peer pressure, fear of retaliation, etc.).  Please don’t be deterred by these obstacles.  You may suffer but your action will please God and serve the good of others.    
One final comment.  I know a few victims no longer confess the Christian faith.  It is still so important for you to speak up and get your voice back.  If you remain silent these predators will not stop.  Please take a stand. These abusers need to be removed from their homes, neighborhoods and churches.  You can play a big part in making sure that happens.
Speaking up will also help you find some closure.  Silence suffocates.  I know.  I remained silent about other forms of abuse in SGM for too long.  It eats at you.  There is freedom in doing what's right.  You'll be at greater peace knowing you have stopped evil.  
No one has asked or prompted me to put out this appeal for evidence.  
Thank you
Brent (Detwiler)


Lois Lerner claims right under U.S. Constitution not to testify, answer questions and/or explain publicly.


Todd Friel has Justin Peters, as a guest. Justin has cerebral palsy but manages to travel in a special van vehicle to speak around the country about discernment.