FaithWorld

Manila shrugging off foreign prophets of May 21 doomsday

(Detail of Michelangelo's Judgment Day fresco Christ the Judge, and the Virgin at the Vatican's Sistine Chapel)

A U.S.-based Christian group took to the streets of Manila earlier this week to preach that the end of the world is fast approaching — on May 21 at sunset, to be precise. Volunteers from the religious group Family Radio, a Christian radio network in the United States, donned neon-coloured t-shirts and walked along Manila’s main thoroughfares, handing out pamphlets to passerby with warnings of impending Judgement Day.

The designation of May 21 came from Family Radio president Harold Camping, who predicted that date through a series of mathematical calculations and the unravelling of codes behind the Bible story of the great flood. He was convinced that God gave hints of doomsday in the scriptures and that it was their job to decode them.

One volunteer, Kenji Hoffman, left his family and his successful job as a mechanic in the U.S to join the Family Radio crusade around the world, used his savings to get to the Philippines. He said he believed God had left clear signs that the world was coming to an end.

“He gave Abraham warning, he gave Noah warning, he gave Lot warning and he gave Ninevites warning, and so he’s giving us warning that he is about to come,” Hoffman said.

Gambling Catholic nun accused of embezzling $850,000 (updated)

atlantic city poker (Photo: A poker table in Atlantic City, New Jersey, March 14, 2009/Tim Shaffer)

A nun with a fondness for gambling trips to Atlantic City was accused of embezzling more than $850,000 from a suburban Catholic college where she oversaw the school’s finances, officials said on Friday.

Sister Marie Thornton, former vice president of finance at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, is charged with sending phony invoices to the school to pay off personal credit card bills and expenses, the Attorney’s office said.

The thefts occurred between 1999 and 2009, when Thornton resigned, court documents said. She entered a plea of not guilty to a federal embezzlement charge.