Raymond Nolte » (Sir) Raymond Nolte, KCHS

(Sir) Raymond Nolte, KCHS

Mr. Nolte graduated from Boston College and holds a degree in theology and philosophy. He did archaeological work in the Middle East during the 1980's and biblical studies in both Rome and Jerusalem in the 1990's. 
As part of the Catholic Church's effort to reach out to other faith communities, Mr. Nolte has been a part of Jewish, Muslim, Christian interfaith dialog in Israel, Boston, and Los Angeles for the past twenty years. In 2010, he was knighted by the Vatican into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and holds the rank of Knight Commander.
Currently Mr. Nolte teaches sophomore and senior theology, is the schools liturgy coordinator, and the House Dean of Ignatius House (the best house at Damien).
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Recent Posts

Look Up — The Moon Is Going To Be Amazing This Weekend

This weekend, you might want to take a moment to look up at what promises to be a spectacular supermoon.
Added bonus: It's also a hunter's moon. "That's because in other months, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, while the October moon rises just 30 minutes later," National Geographic explains. "That offers more light overall during a 24-hour day, which came in handy for traditional hunters."
Viewing will be at its best on Sunday, when the moon is both full and "at its closest point to our planet as it orbits Earth," according to NASA. National Geographic advises that the best time to see it is as it rises on Sunday evening.
NASA says the term supermoon simply means a "full moon that is closer to Earth than average." It explains why the moon is sometimes closer to Earth in this handy video:
"Since the moon's orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other (apogee)," NASA says. "The world syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon."
At its closest point this weekend, the full moon will be 222,365 miles from Earth — on average, it's 238,855 miles away, according to National Geographic. It will also "appear 16 percent larger than average and nearly 30 percent larger than the year's smallest full moon."
This kicks off three straight months of supermoons — you can also catch them on Nov. 14 and Dec. 14.
The November moon is set to be a real show-stopper: According to NASA, it is "not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century." And it won't be this close to Earth again until 2034.

Pope has advice for U.S. Catholics struggling to choose a president.

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE -- Pope Francis has some advice for American Catholics struggling to choose a president: Study the issues, pray, and then vote your conscience.

Francis was asked Sunday en route home from Azerbaijan how he would counsel the American faithful who are being asked to choose between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Francis said he would never interfere in an electoral campaign, saying “the people are sovereign.”

“I’ll just say this: Study the proposals well, pray, and choose in conscience.”

Francis did intervene in the campaign earlier this year when, on his way home from a visit to the U.S.-Mexican border, he was asked about Trump’s proposal to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the U.S. Francis said anyone who builds a wall isn’t Christian. Trump fired back, saying it was “disgraceful” for a religious leader to question’s someone’s faith.

Many American Catholics have been struggling to decide between the two candidates over a host of issues that makes each one unpalatable on faith-based and other grounds.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Pope Calls For Peace in the Holy Land

10/18/2015 Vatican City
Before his Sunday Angelus prayer, the Pope spoke about the situation of tension and violence that continues to afflict the Holy Land. “At this time, there is a need for great courage and fortitude to reject hatred and revenge and to make gestures of peace”; he remarked. “We pray that God may reinforce in all, governors and citizens alike, the courage to oppose the violence and to take concrete steps towards pacification. In the current context of the Middle East, it is crucial, more than ever, that there be peace in the Holy Land: God and the good of humanity demand this of us”.

Junipero Serra: The Man Behind the Canonization Controversy

Watch this video of a presentation made by Professor Rose Marie Beebe and Professor Robert Senkewicz speak about their just-completed book, "Junipero Serra: California, Indians, and the Transformation of a Missionary" (U of Oklahoma Press, 2015). Their work is an attempt to get behind the controversy over the canonization of Serra and to illuminate the man himself. While the work of Beebe and Senkewicz is historical and does not take a position on the canonization, what they have to say is sure to assist both those who believe Serra should be canonized as an intrepid evangelizer of the New World and those who believe that Serra was a central figure in the destruction of the Native American way of life and thus is unworthy of the honor of sainthood. Ethics Center Visiting Scholar Thomas Reese, S.J., moderates this session.

Faith in the Public Square Statement

This document lays out the fundamental principals of religious liberty as seen by the California Catholic Conference. 
"At the very heart of human freedom is the right to religious freedom, since it deals with man’s most fundamental relationship: his relationship with God." - Pope John Paul II, Address to Diplomats, January 2005
A priest walks past graffiti reading in Hebrew, ‘false idols will be eliminated,’ as he inspects the damage at the Church of the Multiplication at Tabgha, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel (AFP/Menahem Kahana)
The Church of the Multiplication was burned on June 18. Israeli police have made arrests in the arson case.

Arrests Made in Arson of Historic Church

Jerusalem (CNN) Israeli police made several arrests Sunday in connection with last month's arson at the historic Church of Multiplication, authorities said.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said there was no immediate confirmation of the number of people arrested, but the investigation was led by the Israeli police unit that deals with crimes committed by Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

Christians believe the Church of the Multiplication, in Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, is where Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed 5,000 of his followers.

On June 18, a fire consumed much of the interior of the monastery and destroyed the roof, leaving only charred remains of Bibles and other objects. The part of the church housing the rock where Jesus is said to have put the five loaves and two fish wasn't damaged in the fire.

Graffiti scrawled in red Hebrew lettering on a wall outside the Roman Catholic church read, "Idols will have their heads cut off."

Police detained 16 Jewish settlers -- all minors -- at the time for questioning, but later released them.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has denounced the attack.

"The State of Israel safeguards the freedom of worship of all faiths and completely rejects any and all attempts to harm it," Hotovely said.

The Church of the Multiplication is run by Benedictine monks, and the area is one of the most significant in Christianity.

The site of the church is near the places where the New Testament says Jesus walked on water and delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

Numerous places of worship in the region have been attacked in recent years. Police have said they suspect right-wing Jewish extremists of torching and defacing mosques and churches in the past.

Palestinians say not enough is being done to catch those behind the attacks.

"Churches and Mosques in all of historic Palestine continue to be targeted by Israeli terrorists who enjoy full impunity from their State," the Palestine Liberation Organization said last month.

Archaeologists in Turkey believe they've found a piece of the cross of Jesus

The Huffington Post  | By Yasmine Hafiz

Archaeologists working in Turkey believe they have found a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on.

While excavating the ancient Balatlar Church, a seventh-century building in Sinop, Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea, they uncovered a stone chest that contained objects that may be directly connected with Jesus Christ.

Excavation head Professor Gülgün Köroğlu definitively stated:

We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]. This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far.

The stone chest has been taken to a laboratory for further testing. However, the appearance of the chest suggests that it was a repository for the relics of a holy person, according to the team, who showed reporters at the site a stone with crosses carved into it.

Many churches claim to possess relics of the so-called "true cross," though the authenticity of the items is not fully accepted by scholars and scientists. Protestant theologian John Calvin noted that, "if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load," referring specifically to the cross.

On the other hand, the 19th-century French archaeologist Charles Rohault de Fleurysupposedly said that all of the catalogued relics would only make up less than a third of the mass of a roughly 12-foot-high cross.

But what originally happened to Jesus' cross, and why has it turned up now? Legend says that Emperor Constantine's mother, Helena, found the cross in Jerusalem and distributed pieces of the wood to religious leaders in Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople.

Balatlar Church, built in 660, has proved an especially rich dig site, as Köroğlu mentioned that in addition to the stone chest, her team has found the ruins of an ancient Roman bath and more than 1,000 human skeletons since they started working in 2009.

A municipality worker paints over graffiti daubed in Hebrew on a wall of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem May 9, 2014. The Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem, preparing for a visit by Pope Francis later this month, has expressed alarm over threats to Christians scrawled by suspected Jewish extremists on church property in the Holy Land. The graffiti in Hebrew reads, "Price tag", a reference by ultranationalist Jews to making the government "pay" for any curbs on Jewish settlement on Palestinian land. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Anti-Christian slogans before Pope's Holyland visit

By Jeffrey Heller 

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church in Jerusalem, preparing for a visit by Pope Francis later this month, has expressed alarm over threats to Christians scrawled by suspected Jewish extremists on church property in the Holy Land.

In an incident on Monday, "Death to Arabs and Christians and all those who hate Israel" was daubed in Hebrew on an outer column of the Office of the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.

"The wave of fanaticism and intimidation against Christians continues," the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem posted on its website, referring to so-called "price tag" incidents.

"Mere coincidence?" the patriarchate statement asked. "The Notre Dame Center is property of the Holy See and this provocation comes two weeks before Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land and Jerusalem."

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that Israeli security services fear that Jewish radicals might carry out a major hate crime against the Christian population or institutions to drum up media attention during the Pope's pilgrimage.

Police districts, the newspaper said, were ordered to produce security plans to protect Christian sites and gather intelligence on Jewish extremist activities.

A police spokesman declined to comment directly on the report but said stringent security measures would be in effect for the papal visit.

In recent years, "price tag" attacks have targeted mosques, Palestinian homes and Christian monasteries in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war and Palestinians seek as part of a future state.

"Price tagging" - a reference by ultranationalist Jews to making the government "pay" for any curbs on Jewish settlement on Palestinian land - has also occurred in Israeli military installations in the West Bank and Arab villages in Israel.

Pope Francis is due to tour the Holy Land from May 24 to 26, visiting Jordan, the West Bank and Jerusalem, where he will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians.

The pontiff, who like his predecessors John Paul and Benedict has friendly ties with Jewish religious leaders, is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Notre Dame Center, located just outside the walls of the old city.

The bishops' statement said they "are very concerned about the lack of security" for Christian property and what they called the "lack of responsiveness from the political sector" after earlier attacks. They feared an escalation of violence.

The frequency of "price tag" attacks - 14 have been reported this year - has risen sharply over the past month since the Israeli military demolished structures in a West Bank settlement built without government authorization.

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday they would ask the cabinet to classify groups behind "price tag" attacks as terrorist organizations, opening the way for the possible use of detention without trial against members.

Despite dozens of arrests over the past year of suspected "price-taggers", there have been few convictions. Police say there are only a few score culprits, many known by name, but about half of them are minors to whom courts show leniency.

The patriarchate said that the heads of churches in the Holy Land are preparing "a series of actions aimed at informing local and international public opinion, and to make the authorities and law officials aware of their responsibilities".

New recruits of the Vatican's elite Swiss Guard stand at attention during the swearing-in ceremony at the Vatican May 6, 2014. The Swiss Guard, founded in 1506, consist of 100 volunteers who must be of Swiss nationality, Catholic, single, at least 174 cm (5.7 ft) tall and without a beard. New recruits are sworn in every year on May 6 to commemorate the day where 147 Swiss soldiers died defending the Pope during an attack on Rome in 1527. (REUTERS/Tony Gentile)

Vatican turns to social media for double pope sainthood ceremony

Vatican City (AFP) - The Vatican is turning to social media to reach out to the millions of pilgrims expected to attend the first double canonisation of popes in the history of the Catholic Church.

Rome city officials expect up to five million people to attend the mass that will turn John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church from 1978-2005, and John XXIII (1958-1963), into saints.

Besides the www.2papisanti.org official website, the Vatican has set up several Facebook pages using the 2popesaints theme, as well as accounts on Twitter (@2popesaints), Youtube (2popesaints) and Instagram (#2popesaints).

Spokesman of the Holy See, Father Federico Lombardi, did not rule out that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI would attend the ceremony on April 27 in St Peter's Square.

And while he gave no definite forecast for the number of attendees -- pegged as high as seven million by some Italian media -- he said that all pilgrims would be welcome.

"No tickets will be sold. Don't ask the prefecture as there will be none," he joked.

The twin papal canonisation will be the first in the Vatican's history and is expected to appeal to both wings of the Church.

John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope for more than 400 years, was a favourite of conservative Catholics and his canonisation will be one of the fastest in recent history.

Pilgrims are expected especially from his native Poland, and many hotels in Rome are already booked out.

John XXIII is also widely admired by the Church's progressive wing for calling the Second Vatican Council that transformed the Church.

An all-night prayer vigil will be held in seven languages in 11 churches the night before the ceremony.

"A common thread connects the two popes, their faith," noted Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini.