Insight on the News
● The Vatican’s Swiss Guards have now added tear gas to their arsenal, according to a recent Associated Press report. The ninety-man force was said to want some protective weapon “less harmful” than their submachine guns and bayoneted rifles, or the combination spear and battle-ax with which they stand guard. But why should Vatican City have such armed guards in the first place? “Their principal function is the protection of the person of the pontiff,” says the “New Catholic Encyclopedia.” However, what of the one whom this pontiff as the “vicar of Christ” claims to represent? Jesus Christ said to Roman Governor Pilate: “Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews”—for execution. For this reason, Christ’s “men” did not need an arsenal. But the pope apparently feels that his “men” do. It seems that neither his faith, courage nor “kingdom” matches that of Christ.—John 18:36, Catholic “Jerusalem Bible.”
Blood Tells All
● Forensic (criminal) medicine may soon ‘make it possible to reconstruct the personality image of every person who leaves behind a bloodstain,’ according to English criminologists who spoke at a meeting of the International Juridic Scientists in Zürich, Switzerland. As reported in the German newspaper “Die Welt,” researchers have found that each person’s blood carries a great variety of disease antibodies accumulated throughout life that mark the blood of that person as distinct from all others. “It is today accepted that every person has his own specific type of blood with which no other blood can compare exactly,” notes the paper. Information about where a person has lived, his approximate age, his allergies, even something about his occupation and sexual habits, is coming within the scope of blood analysis. “In short there seem to be no limits to the possibilities of reconstructing a ‘recognizable’ person together with his life’s history and his environment,” the article concludes. Truly it can be said that, in more ways than one, “the life of every living creature is the blood.”—Lev. 17:11, 14, “New English Bible.”
Event Clarifies Bible
● The recent Guatemalan earthquake affected even some of those already dead. “Time” magazine reports that “several mourners who went to bury their dead in family plots found that the coffins of long-dead relatives had been uncovered by the quake.” Something similar occurred during an earthquake in the Jerusalem area at Jesus’ death. At that time, dead bodies were customarily placed in vaults or chambers cut from Palestine’s soft limestone rock, often in hillsides. A report in the Bible, as translated by Johannes Greber, says that when Jesus died, “the earth quaked, and the rocks were shattered. Tombs were laid open, and many bodies of those buried there were tossed upright. In this posture they projected from the graves and were seen by many who passed by the place on their way back to the city.” Hence, rather than a resurrection, as some Bible translations imply, there appears to have been merely an exposure of the dead to observers, as in Guatemala.—Matt. 27:51-53.
● India’s Cardinal Joseph Parecattil, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, has urged that Catholicism in that country strive to develop into “an Indian Church.” At a general meeting of the conference, he emphasized the need, as reported in the Indian “Express,” of drawing on the vast resources of Indian religions, thought and systems of philosophy, for this purpose. As a precedent, he referred the bishops to ‘the first four centuries [after Christ, when] Christian theologians were open to constructive dialogue with other faiths.’ Of course, the only ‘other faiths’ were non-Christian, but that did not hinder the cardinal from pleading that, as in the first four centuries, ‘this absorption of terms and thought patterns from local cultures should be an ongoing process in the church.’ Thus Cardinal Parecattil confirms the accuracy of the Bible’s warning about “the apostasy,” and that its beginnings were “already at work” from the first century onward.—2 Thess. 2:3, 7.