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Religion

  • White House Christmas theme: ‘The Gift of the Holidays’

    WASHINGTON (AP) — For her family’s final Christmas in the White House, Michelle Obama used the holiday decor to highlight her core initiatives as first lady: military service, education and health.
    The familiar crowd-pleasers are still part of the annual show:
    • A towering tree dominates the Blue Room, trimmed as it has been in the past to honor the U.S. military and their families, an issue Mrs. Obama has emphasized.
    • Larger-than-life replicas of family dogs Bo and Sunny will greet tens of thousands of holiday visitors shortly after they enter through the East Wing.
    • And no White House Christmas would feel complete without the annual gingerbread version. This year’s replica on display in the State Dining Room weighed in at more than 300 pounds, including 150 pounds of gingerbread covered in 100 pounds of bread dough to form the white exterior. Models of Bo and Sunny sit out front, and Mrs. Obama’s revamped vegetable garden is represented.
    Downstairs in the library, education is the theme. Ornaments on two trees are written with the word “girls” in 12 languages, honoring the first lady’s “Let Girls Learn” initiative to help countries educate tens of millions of adolescent girls around the world. Other trees in the library are made out of crayons or pencils.

  • Pope OKs priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Saying nothing is beyond the reach of God’s mercy, Pope Francis told Catholics worldwide he is allowing all priests to absolve the faithful of abortion — women and health workers alike — even while stressing that it is a grave sin in the eyes of the church to “end an innocent life.”
    In an Apostolic Letter made public Monday, Francis said he was extending indefinitely the special permission he had granted to all rank-and-file priests during the just ended Holy Year of Mercy.
    “There is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled” with God, the pope wrote in the 10-page letter, signed Sunday, the day the Holy Year ended.
    But, he added: “I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life.”
    Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, absolution had long been a matter for a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate it to a priest considered an expert in such situations, a potentially intimidating scenario for many of the faithful.

  • Catholic pro-life offices torched

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The FBI and Albuquerque Fire Department need help finding the person responsible for arson at a pro-life Catholic organization on Wednesday.
    Authorities say someone set several fires at the office of Project Defending Life, a Catholic-based ministry that offers help to pregnant women.
    The office and a chapel inside the building were damaged.
    Firefighters quickly put the blaze out and nobody was injured.
    The office is on San Mateo and Lomas boulevards.

  • Election Day: God has given us a rare privilege

    Even without television in my home, I have not been able to escape the shroud of evil that we have cast over the current election. Sadly, it seems that we could not have come up with two more unqualified candidates for POTUS if we had sat down and plotted a course with that as our end goal.
    It appears that the candidates reflect reasonably well the character and nature of the voters. We have selected candidates in our own image. We have no one to blame but ourselves. God has given us a rare privilege.
    Few in the history of mankind have had, to the extent that we have, the right to select our own rulers. In times past this was a blessing, but at this moment, because of our pettiness, our immorality, our covetousness, our idolatry, etc. it appears to be something less than a blessing. It seems that God has given us over to our own desires.

  • Church Listings

    Baha’i Faith

    For information, email losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.

    Bethlehem Lutheran

    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, is located at 2390 North Road, 662-5151; See a map at bethluth.com. The Eucharist is celebrated with a classic liturgy each Sunday at 9 a.m., followed by fellowship time with refreshments starting at 10:30 a.m. A service of Midday Matins with Communion is celebrated at 11 a.m. The preaching is biblical by our Pastors, Rev. Bruce Kuenzel and Rev. Nicolé Ferry, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant, and a well-staffed nursery is provided. All are welcome! Come Join the Family.

    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian

    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.

    Calvary Chapel

  • Israeli Cabinet OKs non-orthodox prayer at holy site

    JERUSALEM — Israel’s Cabinet voted Sunday to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a move advocates said marked a historic show of government support for liberal streams of Judaism.

    The issue is of particular importance to the Jewish community in the United States, where the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism are dominant. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed the plan in an attempt to please American Jews, a key source of support for Israel, despite stiff opposition by ultra-Orthodox and religious nationalist elements in Israel who are key members of his own government.

    “I know this is a sensitive topic, but I think it is an appropriate solution, a creative solution,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, where members voted on the plan.

    According to the government plan, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, Israel will build a new plaza for mixed gender prayer at the Western Wall, adjacent to the Orthodox prayer plaza but separate from it.

  • Church listings 2-5-16

    Baha’i Faith

    For information, email losalamosla@gmail.com. For general information, call the Baha’i Faith phone at 1-800-228-6483.

    Bethlehem Lutheran

    Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, a member of the ELCA, is located at 2390 North Road, 662-5151; see a map at bethluth.com. The Eucharist is celebrated each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. followed by fellowship time with refreshments starting at 10:45 a.m. Preceding worship is our Christian Education hour which begins 8:30 a.m. The preaching is biblical by our Pastors Bruce Kuenzel and Nicolé Ferry, the music is lively, children are welcome and abundant, and a well-staffed nursery is provided. All are welcome! Come Join the Family!

    Bryce Ave. Presbyterian

    The church is located at 3333 Bryce Ave. The Rev. Henry Fernandez preaches, bapca.org, info@bapca.org. For information, call 672-3364.

    Calvary Chapel

    Sunday school classes for all ages at 9:15 a.m. and worship at 10:30.  Our current series is “Kingdom Reign” as we study the book of 2 Samuel.

    The Christian Church

  • Court weighs practice of prayers at meetings

    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court wrestled on Wednesday with whether local government leaders in North Carolina are violating the Constitution by holding exclusively Christian prayers at their meetings – the first time a court at that level has addressed the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a town government’s favor in a similar case in 2014.
    An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union urged a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court’s ruling that the Rowan County Commissioner’s practice of opening their meetings with prayers that almost always referred to Christianity was “unconstitutionality coercive.”
    But a lawyer for the Rowan County Commission said the recent Supreme Court decision supports its case and asked the judges not to engage in “difficult line drawing” between the church and state.
    The Supreme Court has already ruled that it’s appropriate for local clergy to deliver predominantly Christian prayers and town meetings in New York. At issue now is whether it makes a difference that the Rowan County prayers are being given by the commissioners themselves and whether their invitation for the audience to join them in prayer should be seen as coercive.

  • New Mexico campaign launched on child poverty

    ALBUQUERQUE — A Catholic community health organization wants to draw attention to child poverty in New Mexico and is using a parody of the state’s successful tourism ad campaign to do it.
    Catholic Health Initiatives St. Joseph’s Children, a group that is pushing for the expansion of early childhood education, this week launched a “New Mexico Truth” campaign consisting of a website and commercials about how children in the state suffer economically.
    The organization’s CEO, Allen Sanchez, said the website is meant to parody the “New Mexico True” campaign that has been credited with boosting tourism.
    “The year of El Nino,” the website NewMexicoTruth.org boasts, using the term that means “the child” in Spanish but also describes a weather pattern with unusually warm temperatures.
    That declaration is followed by various statistics on child poverty. Specifically, the website cites Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 report that ranks New Mexico 49th in the nation in children’s well-being.
    The poverty campaign also uses a logo similar to “New Mexico True,” a multimillion campaign with slick commercials and online videos of the state’s landscapes and cultural attractions.

  • Pope: ‘restless hearts’ seeking certainty

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis says restless hearts these days are seeking sure answers to life’s questions but don’t find them.
    Francis has voiced this reflection during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica Wednesday to mark Epiphany, which recalls the Gospel account of the Three Kings, or Magi, who follow a star to find the infant Jesus in Bethlehem.
    The pontiff says the Catholic church is tasked with seeing and showing ever more clearly the desire for God which is present in the heart of every man and woman.”
    Francis says: “Like the Magi, countless people in our day have a ‘restless heart’ which continues to search without finding sure answers.”
    Recalling the long journey of the Magi, Francis says “before Jesus, all divisions of race, language and culture disappear.”