VATICAN CITY – Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid scandals inside and out of the Vatican and the continued reverberations of Benedict XVI's decision to retire.
Cardinals were treated like rock stars as they entered the Vatican on Monday morning, with television crews swarming around the red-capped churchmen and their handlers pushing their way through the crowds.
"A Latin American Pope is possible, everything is possible!" said Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins as he entered.
The core agenda item is to set the date for the conclave and set in place procedures to prepare for it, including closing the Sistine Chapel to visitors and getting the Vatican hotel cleared out and de-bugged, lest anyone try to listen in on the secret conversations of the cardinals.
But a date may not be agreed upon Monday as the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, has said the date won't be finalized until all cardinals have arrived in Rome.
The first day of discussion was again rocked by revelations of scandal, with Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien admitting that he had engaged in sexual misconduct not befitting a priest, archbishop or cardinal.
O'Brien last week resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh and said he wouldn't participate in the conclave after four men came forward with allegations that he had acted inappropriately with them -- the first time a cardinal has stayed away from a conclave because of personal scandal.
Separately, the Vatican is still reeling from the fallout of the scandal over leaked papal documents, and the investigation by three cardinals into who was behind it.
Italian news reports have been rife with unsourced reports about the contents of the cardinals' dossier. Even if the reports are false, as the Vatican maintains, the leaks themselves confirmed a fairly high level of dysfunction within the Vatican bureaucracy, with intrigues, turf battles and allegations of corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the highest levels of the church hierarchy.
In one of his last audiences before resigning, Benedict met with the three cardinals who prepared the report and decided that their dossier would remain secret. But he gave them the go-ahead to answer cardinals' questions about its contents.
Another topic facing the cardinals is the reason they're here in the first place: Benedict's resignation and its implications. His decision to end 600 years of tradition and retire rather than stay on the job until death has completely altered the concept of the papacy, and cardinals haven't shied from weighing in about the implications for the next pope.
" But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. " Ezekiel 18:24
" When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. " Ezekiel 18:26
So much for the myth that " God controls everything"! LOL! :)
Just a reminder!
I know this is the holiday season with Thanksgiving and Christmas and then soon will come New Years.
Including myself, we will all be tempted to indulge in our lust for food and certain beverages.
Forget the idea of a New Years' resolution for losing weight.
It will never happen! LOL!
It is sad when a church pastor is physically wider than his pulpit or when a church pastor is overall slim but has a bulge in his middle that makes him look like he is pregnant with child, which is commonly known as a " beer belly " which is of course, caused from drinking too much beer.
This is not a good example to set for a church leader's followers.
Then they wonder why they end up getting diabetes or other diseases.
Here in Colorado, diabetes is a fast spreading epidemic.
Nationwide, obesity is running rampant among all ages...especially children.
It is because of an uncontrollable lust for food.
My neighbor's wife told me one day that she was trying to get her diabetic husband to quit drinking liqour. I told her it would be impossible to get him to quit drinking as long as she continued to drink.
The first thing we must do to lose weight and avoid getting diabetes or any other disease is to admit we have a weight problem and that we have a problem with an insatiable lust for food.
But if we think we are doing nothing wrong, we will never repent of it.
We will continue as is and reap the consequences of our action.
If we eat lustfullyand drink heavily because of depression we need to come to grips with our situation and get over it.
It takes an act of the will.
Whether you believe the Bible or not, according to the Holy Bible, God created human beings with the ability and power to choose.
Losing weight is a choice we must make.
I will continue this soon.
I'm 6' 2" tall.
I got up to somewhere around 245 lbs.
Actually, for my height that was not really considered fat or obese.
But I simply refused to get any heavier.
When I got down to 220lbs, I seemed to reach a plateau and for a while I could not get lower than that.
But then all of a sudden, from persistence in cutting back my consumption of food and exercise, I broke through and dropped to 210lbs.
Again, I had the same plateau experience in which it seemed I could not get beyond.
Soon, I broke through this level and continued to drop.
I'm now down to 192lbs.
What is nice, I feel comfortable splurging on weekends eating what I like and even though I might put a few lbs back on, I'm still below 200lbs.
Even going up and down in the 190's range I do not feel out of control of my eating habit.
I do have a new goal and that is to drop to 180lbs.
When I had my heart attack, my cardiologist told me I did not have to deprive myself of foods I enjoy.
He told me to eat what I like one day out of the week, and eat sensibly the rest of the week.
My wife and I call Saturday night our " junk " night.
However, it has extended over into Sunday night as well but that is fine. LOL!
We restrict ourselves during the week.
This is why I said earlier we eat what we like on weekends.
My friend, it takes time, but you can accomplish this as I have.
Always remember, eat what you want but eat less and go on long fast paced walks!
Also, greatly reduce your intake of any kind of pop, even diet pop, donuts and anything high in sugar content.
Losing weight just takes common sense.
Be willing to use common sense.
I will let you know when I get down to 180lbs.
Do not think just cutting back the amount of food intake is enough!
It is obviously just as important to burn off calories.
We cannot burn calories sitting and watching TV or browsing the internet.
Also, do not think jogging is the best excersize.
It is bad for the joints, especially as we get older.
Jogging is also not good for women in places other than the joints!
The best exercise is a fast paced walk...especially uphill.
The idea is to sweat!
My wife and I go on long walks, sometimes up to 5 or 7 miles.
Sweating while you walk fast burns calories.
I will continue this discussion soon.