Why wear a black headscarf to visit the Pope but not a hijab when visiting Saudi royalty?

At first glance it seems odd that Melania Trump (a Christian) and Ivanka Trump (converted to Judaism) would both wear black and also have black lace headscarves to visit the Catholic Pope in the Vatican Rome, but would a few days previously not wear any headscarves in Muslim Saudi Arabia. It might appear that they are going out of their way to be incredibly respectful to the religious beliefs of Catholicism and less so to Islam.

wearing black

But first appearances are not always completely what they seem. Female foreign dignitaries such as politicians or royalty are not required to cover their heads when they visit the Saudi Arabia- only Saudi nationals are. Meanwhile the Vatican (where the Pope lives) did speak of a dress protocol to Mrs Trump’s office at the White House, but no such requests had been made by Saudi Arabia. The Vatican website lays out some of the rules: modest dress, with your shoulders covered, for those attending a Papal Audience – especially if indoors. In fact women visiting sometimes wear deep lace mantillas to just a black veil. When the Queen went to see the Pope when as a young woman, she dressed up like the Spanish infanta, even though she is a Protestant Head of State.

Apparently Melania Trump, President Trump of the USA’s wife, asked the Pope to bless her rosary beads.

How_to_Pray_the_Rosary  praying-beads

 

Better to be an atheist than a hypocritical Catholic

Hypocritical – behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case.

The Pope who is the leader of the Catholic Church has today criticised Catholics who show off about attending Mass each week and being members of different Christian organisations but don’t “pay my employees proper salaries, I exploit people, I do dirty business, I launder money, [I lead] a double life’.”

This is not the first time the Pope has told Catholics to walk the walk as well as talk the talk of being a good Christian!

Does the new US President believe in Climate Change?

Evidence 1: U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website.

Evidence 2: Trump’s nominee for for Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt accepted more than $250,000 in donations from the oil and gas industry over the course of four campaigns for attorney general, lieutenant governor and state senator. In a joint op-ed in the National Review, Pruitt wrote that the debate on climate change is “far from settled”, adding: “Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Evidence 3: In 2012 Trump dismissed climate change as a hoax cooked up by the Chinese

Evidence 4: In May 2016 Trump said he would “cancel” the Paris climate change agreement, though in November 2016 he said he now had an “open mind” about the accord.

Evidence 5: President Trump has signed executive orders to allow two controversial oil pipelines to be built in the US which tie the country to years more dependence on fossil fuels and all the environmental damage the construction of the pipelines will bring.

Below is a diagram showing the link between greenhouse gases and climate change:

greenhouse-effect-09-2014

The best short video I’ve seen on the changes in the earth’s atmosphere is from a retro BBC Bitesize Science video lasting about 12 minutes.

Trump’s disinterest in the frightening consequences of global warming is in stark contrast to Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic church, who has called for urgent action to stop climate change.  Francis described man’s destruction of the environment as a sin and accused mankind of turning the planet into a “polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth”. “Global warming continues,” the pope said. “2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events. Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact. ”

drought-and-death-climate-change pope-francis

“No point going to Church” if you don’t really believe in it, says the Pope

Pope Francis has said that there is no point going to Church if you don’t really believe in it and don’t do kind deeds.

“If I say I am Catholic and go to mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, go and see those who are sick, this does not prove my faith, there’s no point,” he told young residents of Guidonia, a village near Rome. He is basically backing up the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats which we learn in Year 8 and also for the new AQA GCSE. The Pope (leader of the Catholic church) continued: “Christian faith is expressed with three things: words, the heart, and the hands.”

sheep

The Pope also discussed how difficult it might be to truly forgive and forget saying that it could be difficult to forgive people when they have hurt you, or even, in some cases, committed crimes against you. “It’s difficult, I knew an old woman who was strong, bright, whose husband used to hit her. You should always forgive but sometimes to forget is difficult,” he said, according to La Stampa.

Pope says God is not a magician with a magic wand

The Pope (leader of the Catholic Church) has said that scientific theories such as Big Bang Theory and Evolution are not incompatible with God but in fact they require God. “When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.“The Big Bang, which today we hold to be the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of the divine creator but, rather, requires it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

big-bang_infographic

Giovanni Bignami, a professor, said: “The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.”

Evolutionary Tree original

Below is an attempt at allying Big Bang Theory and the story of creation from the Book of Genesis in the Bible:

bible-big-bang-compared

Pope Francis “Abortion is a Grave Sin”

For most of 2016 the Vatican has had a Jubilee year which has been known as the Holy Year of Mercy. Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, has done lots of different things to spread forgiveness. One big events has been that he’s allowed all priests to forgive women for having abortions. Well today in an apostolic letter he extended this ability to forgive.

The 79-year-old Argentine said he wanted to “restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life”, but “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]”.

In our GCSE classes we’ve learnt about repentance – when you fully ask for forgiveness and promise to do everything in your power to not make the same mistake again.

Pope Francis says women will never be priests in the Catholic church

Woman kisses pope's hand as he arrives to celebrate private Mass at Church of the Gesu in Rome

When be questioned by a Swedish journalist Pope Francis explained : “Saint Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands,” Francis said in his initial response, referring to a 1994 document stating that women could never join the priesthood. The pope went on to say women did “many other things better than men”, emphasising what has been called the “feminine dimension of the church”. This won’t appease feminist catholics or simply those who favour more gender equality.

protest