Pope Benedict XVI Wishes Us All a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 25, AD 2009

Here is the text of Pope Benedict’s Christmas Eve Homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters! “A child is born for us, a son is given to us” (Is 9:5). What Isaiah prophesied as he gazed into the future from afar, consoling Israel amid its trials and its darkness, is now proclaimed to the shepherds as a present reality by the Angel, from whom a cloud of light streams forth: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11). The Lord is here. From this moment, God is truly “God with us”. No longer is he the distant God who can in some way be perceived from afar, in creation and in our own consciousness. He has entered the world. He is close to us. The words of the risen Christ to his followers are addressed also to us: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). For you the Saviour is born: through the Gospel and those who proclaim it, God now reminds us of the message that the Angel announced to the shepherds. It is a message that cannot leave us indifferent. If it is true, it changes everything. If it is true, it also affects me. Like the shepherds, then, I too must say: Come on, I want to go to Bethlehem to see the Word that has occurred there. The story of the shepherds is included in the Gospel for a reason. They show us the right way to respond to the message that we too have received. What is it that these first witnesses of God’s incarnation have to tell us?

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5 Responses to To Be Pitied More Than All Men

  • Hello,

    You say, “You also are not going to feel compelled to hold back on poking fun at the “Believers” who are pretty silly taking ‘tooth-fairy’-like beliefs into adulthood.” I’m not sure about this. Is it true that, if Christianity were not true, it would be not only false, but silly? I don’t, for example, believe that Islam is a true revelation, but it doesn’t strike me as unreasonable to believe that it is. Reading the Koran, I certainly feel that it’s a message that deserves to be taken seriously. I could say the same thing about a number of other religions and philosophies I don’t hold.

    No, I think that finding Christianity not only false but ridiculous is a sign of some sort of serious mental deficiency.

  • I agree that there is a range of reaction among non-Christians out there- I do see that much in the entertainment sector involves ridiculing Jesus and modern day wanna-be disciples- look at some of the most popular comedies- The Office, Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Daily Show/Colbert, South Park etc.. any character that is explicitly Christian is going to be made to look either simple, ridiculous, or hypocritical- and Jesus is constantly parodied- so this reaction must be reflective of something popular- I absorbed a lot of this over the years to the point where it didn’t really impact me- but lately I’ve taken more conscious notice of it and it is quite depressing to note the regularity. I remember a couple of years ago browsing comedy books and two prominent displays had George Carlin’s book where he is mocking Christ, and the guy named Black from the Daily Show had a cover shot of him mocking Jesus and Mary- now this sort of thing is just so commonplace it has to be a deeper statement on the state of our nation- the fact that we collectively are more likely to be entertained by images mocking Christianity than mocking Atheism is very telling. I would argue that we should expect the hits, and hit back but not in kind- but in a different way- one that reflects The Way- it gives the scorners an opportunity to think about their cruelty instead of just getting into another round of angry attacks back and forth- everyone establishing just how much they hate the other. I would rather pity the non-believer than react angrily- for the fact is that Christ is Real and as such those who mock Him and His Church a la Saul are at great spiritual peril- we needn’t get sucked down to their level, we should be trying to pull these poor souls up by the bootstrings- give them opportunities for conversion, not more excuses to stay on the other side of heaven.

  • One more quick note- for those who are religiously-inclined, it is pretty reasonable that they should demonstrate a measure of respect for other believers of other faiths- especially for Catholics who are taught that religion is a natural virtue, and other religious faiths have rays of truth- even as we believe that Catholicism has the fullness of truth. Someone who is agnostic/atheistic will not have this baseline of generally positive views of Religion in general- and so goes about the mocking and scorning much more intently on average.

  • Tim,

    You mention our most popular comedies in your follow up post: “The Office, Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Daily Show/Colbert, South Park”

    The level of criticism and mockery in these shows is nowhere near the same. I don’t watch The Office, so I can’t speak to that. But The Simpsons has always struck me as respectful of Christianity, if occasionally crossing the line – and I think much of that happened in the later seasons as bad writers ran out of even mediocre ideas.

    Consider how Ned Flanders was always portrayed. His family is shown arguing over who will be the first to “anoint the sores” on a homeless man’s feet – its poking fun, but I think, in a good way. It shows the Flanders family going out of their way to live up to an ideal that few Christians actually reach. As Homer says in Ned’s defense in one episode, he hurled endless abuse at Ned, who in response “turned every cheek on his body.” He goes on to say that if everyone were like Ned Flanders, heaven would already be on Earth.

    Now, in later seasons the writers used Flanders as a punching bag, and especially his boys, who were portrayed as repressed weirdos. But Ned still retained his dignity as a Christian for the most part, even if a Protestant. And speaking of that, even the latter-season episode dealing with Catholicism directly was pretty good!

  • I’ll give the Simpson’s writers kudos for this one!

    http://najo.multiply.com/video/item/1

Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

Wednesday, December 9, AD 2009

For many Christians today, the thought that the leaders of the Protestant Reformation believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary or her bodily Assumption into heaven would seem ludicrous, even more bewildering would be the devotions many of the Reformation’s leaders had for the Blessed Mother. Believe or not it, they did. In this month of December when Catholics celebrate three feast day’s commemorating the Mother of our Lord, perhaps it is time to remind our separated brethren of the truths their founder’s believed.

Sometime ago when I was writing my book, The Tide is Turning Toward  Catholicism,  I showed a friend of mine, who is an Evangelical, a homily about the Virgin Mary delivered in the 1500s. I asked him who gave that homily, “probably some pope,” he exclaimed. No, I said it was Martin Luther. He replied, “Dave I trust in almost everything you say, but I am going to have to call you out on this one. I mean isn’t that what the Reformation was all about, ending superstitions like those about Mary?” His mouth dropped when I showed him the passages. I am sure many of today’s Evangelicals, especially of the Calvinist lineage, would have the same reaction.

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84 Responses to Some 500 Years Ago Like An Abduction In the Night, The Virgin Mary Was Taken From Many Christians

  • “The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes
    And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
    And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
    And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
    And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,”

  • Mr. Hartline,

    Can you provide us with some specific examples of Reformation leaders revering the Blessed Virgin Mary?

  • Aegis, go to the link below in regard to Martin Luther and Mary.

    http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.htm

  • Aegis, I have supplied two links to my article. I hope it helps. Take care!

  • Even more amazing, Christians of that age needed no papal declaration for these aspects of the Blessed Mother.

    As for the vehemence against Rome, yes, it is true that leaders and people chose to distance themselves from Roman practices. It’s not so different today: many Catholic conservatives are deeply distrustful of anything that looks like Protestantism or Anglicanism or even Eastern Orthodoxy. Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.

  • “Indeed, being called a Protestant is, in some places, a worse epithet than being called a devil. In a way, it’s amazing some Catholics have stilled adhered to the Lord’s Prayer.”

    Todd, where do you find the energy to construct so many straw men?

  • Todd, an absolutely fascinating post. At first I thought one of the fundamentalists who sometimes peppered my site with derogatory comments had returned. Ironically, you said more about self loathing Catholics in one paragraph than others might take several pages to say. Your site seems to emphasise Ecumenism over all things. Yet, for some unknown reason you take a pot shot at one of the bedrock teachings of your own Church, the Chair of Peter. In that Ecumenical spirit which you mention on your site, I will refer to Dr Charles Stanley’s comment; “what else don’t you believe?”

  • The main take-home point of the Reformation is that there is no longer any source of “infallibility” outside of Scripture. Neither Roman tradition nor the views of the Reformers could be held as infallible. Luther was wrong on many points, Calvin too.

    Modern day Protestants have inherited the concept of sola scriptura more than they’ve remained faithful to the beliefs of the Reformers. Scripture does not demand the veneration of Mary. There is no evidence that the early church as a whole held to the immaculate conception and assumption. These were made dogma fairly recently: immaculate conception (1854); assumption (1950).

  • Todd, are you channeling the founding Protestants in making up stuff?

  • Dennis, the Assumption was celebrated and widely believed in the Early Church long before the Canon of the Bible was finalized by the Church Councils and Pope Damasus in 382 AD.

  • It appears one can present many references to Mary, Mother of Our Lord, and her veneration, yet it continues to amaze me of those who try to diminish her role throughout the Bible and the tenent of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.

  • Thanks again, Dave, for placing before us bits of history that have been forgotten or deliberately obscured. The purported Reformation was a cultural and historical disaster, with evil men culling out a rump faith without devotions, the saints, the Blessed Mother, or Christmas. What an inadequate legacy to leave to the good, loving sincere Protestants of today who have never been told the truths.

  • Jesus loved his mother and so should we.

  • Dennis –

    You are overlooking the evidence of Marian devotion inherent in the Bible.

    Who is it that told us that the Angel Gabriel greeted Mary as Kecharitomene (full of grace)? Luke. Luke was not one of the original 12 disciples – so from whom did Luke learn that Mary was full of grace? Luke is the author of Acts, and we learn in Acts that he was a student of Paul’s, and traveled with Paul. So, it was Paul who taught Luke this teaching. Now, Paul was not one of the original 12 disciples either. So from whom did Paul learn this? Well, we learn in certain later readings of the New Testament that Paul was taught by the early disciples and by Christ himself.

    It is only logical that when we become baptized, and through baptism become members of Christ’s body, we inherit the parents of Christ. Who were Christ’s parents? Mary and God. Therefore, through baptism, our own parents are Mary and God. This is why we call everyone brother and sister – we are all part of one body and all sharing the same parents.

    For proof of this, Paul goes on in Galatians 4:31 to tell us that we are (through baptism) “children not of the slave woman but of the free born woman. Here he is referencing the slave woman as a woman born into sin, whereas the free born woman is one who was not born in submission to sin and later freed, but one who was free from birth which would only be possible if she were cleansed of original sin prior to her birth.

  • I’m not defending Todd here, but I personally am upset when I see many parishes being “protestantized” in architecture and practice.

  • This brings to mind something I believe Mother Teresa said: I wan’t to love Mary like Jesus does and to love Jesus like Mary does…

    How much more of a connection between two people can you get? It is only with a blind eye that people will neglect that true love….

  • I’ll have to dissent from Dennis’ point: without dogmatic declaration, Eastern Christians have venerated Mary through the Immaculate Conception and the Dormition (Assumption) for centuries–to this day.

    I’m also a doubter on the original line of thinking here. Doctrines or venerations of the Virgin were not foremost in the minds of people of the Reformation period. As is true today, Mary was used as a tool on both sides, either a badge of orthodoxy or a point of differentiation.

    The Reformation is far more complex than just an expression against the veneration of Mary or any of the other saints.

    It was in fact the excesses of the Chair of Peter that put Europe to the tipping point. Not only did Martin Luther continue to venerate Mary to his death, but he continued to see himself as a loyal Christian. Human pride, being what it is, hardened the hearts of people on both sides. The Blessed Mother, like many of those living in the 16th and 17th century, were just innocent bystanders in tussles over greed, scandal, tribalism, privilege, power, and whatnot. A unified Christianity may well have been able to bring all of Asia to Christ in the 1600’s, had it not been for the wasted energies fighting Christian wars.

    There’s a lot to lament in the Reformation, but let’s acknowledge a dollop of blame falls to Rome. Far from beinga pot shot, that’s simple acknowledgement of fault.

  • As much as I thought Todd’s earlier comment was unfairly cartoonish, I have to say I think his last post was spot on. Plenty of blame to go around for the Reformation.

  • Someone mentioned that Jesus loved Mary and so should we. Does Jesus love her more than the next guy? Second, i never met Mary, so how can i love her. Jesus loved his disciples, should i adore them.? Mary is just another personality in the bible. The bible is about Jesus, from fron to back. Some weird religion has made Mary a central figure, even a queen in heaven. That was done to keep peoples eyes off Jesus. Now lets see…HUMMMMM..whos job is it to keep us from Jesus? Could it be….SATAN? The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.

  • “The devils pet religion is doing a bang up job.”

    I applaud you Wayne. It is almost refreshing to see that ignorant, unashamed anti-Catholic bigotry is still alive and well.

  • Wayne, in addition to the documents written and collected by members of the Catholic Church and known as the New Testament, you might wish to consider the comments of these men who lived a few centuries after Christ regarding Mary. I assume their names will be unfamiliar to you, but a little time using google and you will learn all about them.

    Irenaeus

    “The Virgin Mary, being obedient to his word, received from an angel the glad tidings that she would bear God” (Against Heresies, 5:19:1 [A.D. 189]).

    Hippolytus

    “[T]o all generations they [the prophets] have pictured forth the grandest subjects for contemplation and for action. Thus, too, they preached of the advent of God in the flesh to the world, his advent by the spotless and God-bearing (theotokos) Mary in the way of birth and growth, and the manner of his life and conversation with men, and his manifestation by baptism, and the new birth that was to be to all men, and the regeneration by the laver [of baptism]” (Discourse on the End of the World 1 [A.D. 217]).

    Gregory the Wonderworker

    “For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary, the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David” (Four Homilies 1 [A.D. 262]).

    “It is our duty to present to God, like sacrifices, all the festivals and hymnal celebrations; and first of all, [the feast of] the Annunciation to the holy Mother of God, to wit, the salutation made to her by the angel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’” (ibid., 2).

    Peter of Alexandria

    “They came to the church of the most blessed Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, which, as we began to say, he had constructed in the western quarter, in a suburb, for a cemetery of the martyrs” (The Genuine Acts of Peter of Alexandria [A.D. 305]).

    “We acknowledge the resurrection of the dead, of which Jesus Christ our Lord became the firstling; he bore a body not in appearance but in truth derived from Mary the Mother of God” (Letter to All Non-Egyptian Bishops 12 [A.D. 324]).

    Methodius

    “While the old man [Simeon] was thus exultant, and rejoicing with exceeding great and holy joy, that which had before been spoken of in a figure by the prophet Isaiah, the holy Mother of God now manifestly fulfilled” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 7 [A.D. 305]).

    “Hail to you forever, you virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto you do I again return. . . . Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . Wherefore, we pray you, the most excellent among women, who boast in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate your memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid., 14).

    Cyril of Jerusalem

    “The Father bears witness from heaven to his Son. The Holy Spirit bears witness, coming down bodily in the form of a dove. The archangel Gabriel bears witness, bringing the good tidings to Mary. The Virgin Mother of God bears witness” (Catechetical Lectures 10:19 [A.D. 350]).

    Ephraim the Syrian

    “Though still a virgin she carried a child in her womb, and the handmaid and work of his wisdom became the Mother of God” (Songs of Praise 1:20 [A.D. 351]).

    Athanasius

    “The Word begotten of the Father from on high, inexpressibly, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally, is he that is born in time here below of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God” (The Incarnation of the Word of God 8 [A.D. 365]).

    Epiphanius of Salamis

    “Being perfect at the side of the Father and incarnate among us, not in appearance but in truth, he [the Son] reshaped man to perfection in himself from Mary the Mother of God through the Holy Spirit” (The Man Well-Anchored 75 [A.D. 374]).

    Ambrose of Milan

    “The first thing which kindles ardor in learning is the greatness of the teacher. What is greater than the Mother of God? What more glorious than she whom Glory Itself chose?” (The Virgins 2:2[7] [A.D. 377]).

    Gregory of Nazianz

    “If anyone does not agree that holy Mary is Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead” (Letter to Cledonius the Priest 101 [A.D. 382]).

    Jerome

    “As to how a virgin became the Mother of God, he [Rufinus] has full knowledge; as to how he himself was born, he knows nothing” (Against Rufinus 2:10 [A.D. 401]).

    “Do not marvel at the novelty of the thing, if a Virgin gives birth to God” (Commentaries on Isaiah 3:7:15 [A.D. 409]).

    Theodore of Mopsuestia

    “When, therefore, they ask, ‘Is Mary mother of man or Mother of God?’ we answer, ‘Both!’ The one by the very nature of what was done and the other by relation” (The Incarnation 15 [A.D. 405]).

    Cyril of Alexandria

    “I have been amazed that some are utterly in doubt as to whether or not the holy Virgin is able to be called the Mother of God. For if our Lord Jesus Christ is God, how should the holy Virgin who bore him not be the Mother of God?” (Letter to the Monks of Egypt 1 [A.D. 427]).

    “This expression, however, ‘the Word was made flesh’ [John 1:14], can mean nothing else but that he partook of flesh and blood like to us; he made our body his own, and came forth man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God, or his generation of God the Father, but even in taking to himself flesh remaining what he was. This the declaration of the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the holy Fathers; therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin ‘the Mother of God,’ not as if the nature of the Word or his divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that holy body with a rational soul, to which the Word, being personally united, is said to be born according to the flesh” (First Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “And since the holy Virgin corporeally brought forth God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh” (Third Letter to Nestorius [A.D. 430]).

    “If anyone will not confess that the Emmanuel is very God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is the Mother of God, inasmuch as in the flesh she bore the Word of God made flesh [John 1:14]: let him be anathema” (ibid.).

    John Cassian

    “Now, you heretic, you say (whoever you are who deny that God was born of the Virgin), that Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be called the Mother of God, but the Mother only of Christ and not of God—for no one, you say, gives birth to one older than herself. And concerning this utterly stupid argument . . . let us prove by divine testimonies both that Christ is God and that Mary is the Mother of God” (On the Incarnation of Christ Against Nestorius 2:2 [A.D. 429]).

    “You cannot then help admitting that the grace comes from God. It is God, then, who has given it. But it has been given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ is God. But if he is God, as he certainly is, then she who bore God is the Mother of God” (ibid., 2:5).

    Council of Ephesus

    “We confess, then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and a body, begotten before all ages from the Father in his Godhead, the same in the last days, for us and for our salvation, born of Mary the Virgin according to his humanity, one and the same consubstantial with the Father in Godhead and consubstantial with us in humanity, for a union of two natures took place. Therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be the Mother of God because God the Word took flesh and became man and from his very conception united to himself the temple he took from her” (Formula of Union [A.D. 431]).

    Vincent of Lerins

    “Nestorius, whose disease is of an opposite kind, while pretending that he holds two distinct substances in Christ, brings in of a sudden two persons, and with unheard-of wickedness would have two sons of God, two Christs,—one, God, the other, man; one, begotten of his Father, the other, born of his mother. For which reason he maintains that Saint Mary ought to be called, not the Mother of God, but the Mother of Christ” (The Notebooks 12[35] [A.D. 434]).

  • Newman overs the topic pretty well in his reply to Pusey’s EIRENICON, republished as NEWMAN ON THE MOTHER OF GOD.

  • The Bible is about Jesus from cover to cover?

    Dude, what “bible” have you been reading?!?!

    The true Bible is about God’s relationship to creation, man in particular, and His revelation of this relationship to man. It is about BOTH God and MAN. Part of that revelation includes revelation about the mother of the Second Person of the Trinity.

    Your “bible” sounds a little abridged.

  • Wayne, tell me you didn’t just quote the Church Lady. Unironically. Please….

    Oh. You *did.*

    Well, that’s…refreshing.

  • “Seperated brethren”…you mean like my Protestant friends who said that they don’t want to talk to me anymore since I got baptised into the Church?

  • It’s sad that so many Protestants like Wayne don’t do a little study of the early church since I think virtually all Protestant denominations recognize up through the Council of Ephesus. I’ve often gotten the impression that many modern Protestants seem to take the Bible and Creeds as things that came down from Heaven fully formed. If they would study the first four centuries and learn what a difficult time was had in sorting out the Canon from the rest of the writings and the making of the Creeds it would be most helpful, I believe.

  • C-Matt doesnt seem to think the scriptures arent all about Christ. He must be a good catholic. Jesus said” search the scriptures, it is they that testify of me”. Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel. The bible warns us that in the last times some will teach the doctrines of men as if they were gospel. The carnal man does not understand the things of the spirit, thats why they love the writings of men, because them they understand.Catholic men also wrote that there is no salvation outside the catholic church.Hogwash on top of hogwash.It dont surprise me that people still fall for this kind of stoneage cult religion. But, as my grandma used to say…it takes all kinds

  • “Dnald R love to quote men, catholic men, and then expect me to believe it as gospel. He takes it as gospel.”

    Sola Scriptura in all its primitive glory! Wayne, the New Testament was written by men, Catholic men. The Catholic Church determined what books to include as part of the New Testament, and what books to exclude. How did the “devil’s pet religion” as you so charmingly designate the Catholic Church, have the ability, and, more importantly, the authority to do this?

  • Wayne correct me if I’m wrong, but did the Holy Bible drop down from Heaven written in American English?

    As far as I know the first book of the New Testament was written around 60 A.D. and the last book written probably around 100-110 A.D. What happened during the time of Christ’s Resurrection in 33 A.D. up until 110 A.D.? Did Christians have the Holy Bible during that time?

    Not to mention the fact that the Holy Bible wasn’t even the “Holy Bible” until the 16th century.

    Please explain to me where I am wrong, etc.

  • Hi Tito, befor the new test was all written down, it was word of mouth. But what does that have to do with anything? You must be a catholic, trying to justify a murderous corrupt organization for no other reason than you belong to it.

  • Everyone,

    I don’t want to be guilty of anti-Roman Catholocism. I am a Lutheran, but I have no hostility towards Catholics. I have a few questions, though:

    1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?

    I don’t want to sound judgemental, but it seems to me that any doctrine that directs a person to someone other than God for salvation or justification is blasphemous. (I am not, however, a member of the Catholic Church and do not want to be guilty of misrepresenting her doctrine. Do I have the essential point right: that Roman Catholocism teaches that Mary can be prayed to, asked for help, etc.)?

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Wayne,

    It (the New Testament) wasn’t word of mouth. Why do you think the books in the Bible were called “letters” and “epistles”?

    It seems you are corrupting facts of history.

    If you did your own independent investigation you would be surprised at what you found.

  • I would like to add that discussion is perfectly acceptable as long as it is done in civility. To all Protestants who are here to “bash” – in other words, defame – individual practitioners of the Catholic religion, you do not do any justice to God, who commands us in 1 Peter to give an answer to all who ask “in meekness and in fear”, NOT in hatred and bigotry. I submit that – as all of us worship the one true God, the Blessed Trinity – we should all treat each other as brothers and sisters and Christ.

  • Adian, if you call pointing out fallacies in a religion as bashing, then close your eyes. Or pointing out fallacies in anything. You wouldnt have likes Jesus much either. He really socked it to them at times. Catholics give jesus lip service but their heart is far from him. The catholic church has taught its faithfull to look elsewhere for grace. i dont blame the individual catholic person. Hail Mary full of grace. She was at one time. But she awaits resurection like most everyone else.But, some folks are suckered into worshiping her. That why the catholic church discourages reading the bible. Cause of all their unscriptural teaching

  • I note Wayne that you have not answered my question, but since you are an ignorant bigot I didn’t expect one, at least one that was intelligent.

  • “1. Where in the Bible is the Bodily Assumption of the Virgin taught?

    2. Where in the Bible does it say that we should pray to the Virgin Mary?”

    As to one Aidan, nowhere. It is an early tradition and belief of the Catholic Church. Catholics do not rely on Sola Scriptura. The Church created the New Testament and not the other way around.

    As to two Aidan, Catholics do not pray to Mary. We ask her to pray for us and to intercede for us with God. The Hail Mary prayer ends “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

  • I’ve always wondered why Protestants are so quick to denigrate Mary, to insist that she is no different from anybody else. She was chosen to be the mother of Jesus! And she accepted God’s will. That’s why we venerate her!

    As Donald says, we do not pray to her or consider her equal to God. If the Catholic view of Mary seems improper to Protestants, from the Catholic standpoint, the Protestant view of the mother of Jesus seems very disrepectful.

  • As a small child, I think I found Mary especially comforting. The thought of “God watching me” sometimes alarmed me (especially when I had been naughty). The thought of a kind, smiling lady praying for me in Heaven made me feel much better.

  • Where inside the Bible does it say “Bible”?

  • Wayne,

    You haven’t answered nor rebutted any of the questions we posed to you? Why is that?

  • Hi Donald and Tito, i had to go somewhere and just got back. Donald, very few, and i mean very few catholics stick their necks out and say that catholics wrote the new testament.I always thought it was written by people who knew jesus. yes, Paul knew Jesus. Now, in a mad atenpt to make the catholic church holy, you say the catholics wrote it.God used the early fathers of the church to put togeather a bible for us. He uses whom he will. Most people know that the catholic church didnt write the new test.cause it wasnt around.Well since then, the catholic church has shown the world what its about. It took up romes past time of killing christians. Directed from the Holy Office. HAHAHAHA. The catholic church uses holy names for its murderous offices. It even calls this pompus blasphemer Holy Father. And people are buying that.Lets see, what was that name Donald called me? ah yes, ignorant bigot. Well, at least i dont kiss the feet of idols and the rings of child molesters, and you wont catch me bowing down to a statue. but thanks anyway

  • Wayne, still no answer, at least not an intelligent one. You are obviously completely ignorant of early Church history. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ. The New Testament is a product of the Catholic Church just as much as the current catechism is. The historical record is crystal clear. You can deny it all you wish but you are railing against stubborn historical facts. As for the rest of your hate filled screed, it merely testifies again that you are simply an ignorant bigot who knows nothing about the Catholic Church. We Catholics have a term for your chief affliction: invincible ignorance. Until you let go of your bitter hate and your stunning ignorance, you will be far from Christ indeed.

  • Wayne, it must be difficult to write posts by the faint light of a burning cross. I admire your talent in that regard.

  • Waiter! I’d like to send my troll back. He’s not very good.

  • Aidan, thanks for your polite & kinds tone… it’s much appreciated. I’d like to try to respond to a couple of your questions and comments.

    You asked about Mary’s assumption and about praying to her, and about finding both in Sacred Scripture. Most Catholic scholars today — including Pope Benedict — would say that while you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*. Because Scripture is the Word of God, we will never completely exhaust our understanding of it and the way in which it all fits together… we’ve been spending 2000 years already mediating on the truths found therein, progressively growing in our understanding of the truths given definitely by Christ and His Apostles. That’s a general comment.

    You asked about praying to Mary; it’s crucial to understand that the prayers which Catholics direct to Mary are of a completely different kind than those we direct to God… adoration and worship are due to God alone, not to any creature, and so in no way are prayers to Mary those of adoration or worship. Rather, they are prayers seeking her intercession, and as such they are completely biblical: St. Paul directs us to pray for one another and to ask for one another’s prayers, and that’s what we do with Mary: we are asking her to pray for us. Just as it is right and good that I ask for the prayers of other Christian with me here on earth, so too is it right and good for me to ask prayers of those who are already with Jesus in heaven… as Jesus Himself said, God is the God of the living, not of the dead: those who have died in Christ are truly alive in Him now.

    Thoughts?

  • I second Dale’s last comment, btw.

  • Only a person with their head in the sand can think Christ started the catholic church. But Christ did tell us how to spot phonies. He said..” by their fruits shall ye know them” What are the fruits of the catholic church? Pogroms agaisnt Jews, the inquisition, the crusades(most cruel and barbarous), homosexual pedophiles by the truckloads,lesbian nuns wholesale, selling get out of hell tickets(only an ignorant catholic would buy), an army of subversives(jesuits), coverups of crimes by priests. These are just some of the fruits of the wonderfull catholic church. My girlfriend was born catholic and went K thru 12 in catholic school. She says that if anyone says catholics dont worship Mary is a damnned LIAR. Her words exactly. She got out of that snakepit called the catholic church, by the way.

  • Oh sorry, i forgot money laundering and drug running

  • Aidan!
    Thanks for the questions…quick answer…i hope this helps
    Bodily Assumption of Mary: nowhere does it state it explicitly…however we can infer.
    Elijah was assumed into heaven…why not the Mother of God?
    Also, Rev 12 “A great sign was seen in the heavens, a Woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet”
    Seems convincing to me. God bless bro!

  • In addition: Mary was the only person whom an Angel praised during a visit. Usually, in the presence of an Angel, men fall to their knees in fright thinking the Angel is God. however, the Angel praised Mary!
    How beautiful and true and fitting!

  • Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him? I know it hurts…but let’s ask for the grace to forgive him.

  • “Can we please ignore Wayne and just pray for him?”

    Good idea, Patrick. As is the idea to pray for the grace to forgive.

  • Dear Adian, Mary was not the mother of god. Mary was the mother of a man. Catholics love to say that the woman in revelations was Mary. they were taught that by their appologetics dept. Keep reading. It says she fled to the wilderness to hide. The catholic Mary is queen of heaven, not some chick hiding from the devil in the wilderness.Keep reading. The woman is he bride of christ. We, the saved, are the bride of christ.The 12 stars are the 12 tribes of Israel.Catholic theology is so shabby, only the blind believe it. Jesus said, “if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch”

  • Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite. I cant wait to get on my knees in front of a statue.

  • Chris,

    With regard to this:

    “you cannot find every Catholic doctrine stated *explicitly* in Scripture, you can find all of them at least *implicitly*.”

    I was listening to a Protestant minister on the radio not long ago talk about how the Trinity itself is an implicit doctrine.

    If they can accept that one, I don’t see why ones relating to Mary would be so difficult.

  • Hey Joe, you mean that the catholic church can twist scripture to fit any unbiblical idea they come up with.That protetant preacher you mentioned is more than likely unsaved, as is the case with 99.9% of protestant preachers.The trinity is all over the bible.And no, im not going to do any quotes. You catholic BIG THINKERS can find them for yourself.

  • Agreed, Joe: the implicit nature of something as basic as the Trinity is evident from divergent readings of the NT as found among JWs and Mormons.

    To be fair to Protestants, though, some of our doctrines are *more* implicit than others… the Assumption, for instance, isn’t *as* evident as praying to Mary (although Patrick quickly sketched some of those indications above).

    In any case, it’s definitely not a matter of us holding to beliefs which are completely extra-biblical, let alone contrary to Scripture.

  • I would like to note for anyone “silently” reading this comment thread that the best place to find out what the Catholic Church teaches is in her authoritative teaching documents. The next best place is Catholics who are well-versed in those teaching documents. I wouldn’t recommend placing *too* much value in the practices of those in primary or secondary Catholic schools as indicators of Catholic teaching.

  • “Pograms against Jews”

    On the contrary, the Popes have treated the Jews more fairly than any other government in history (comparatively speaking).

    “The Inquisition”

    All govenrments have arbitrary laws, in those days it was Christianity.
    These days, we have seemingly arbitrary laws that can land you in jail or worse.
    It’s just a matter of government not bearing the sword in vain.

    “The Crusades”

    If it weren’t for the Crusades, first of all, you wouldn’t have Christianity or the Bible other than maybe a modified version in Arabic.
    Plus, the first one had to be done to help halt the progress of the Turks (and to protect the Byzantine Rite).
    The Fourth was an embarassment and had none of the righteousness of the First.
    In the case of the Fourth, I would agree.

    “Homosexual pedophiles”

    This is a greatly trumped up charge.
    It is a propblem, but it isn’t even close to every priest, as your language (and attitude) implies.

    “Lesbian nuns”

    There are lesbian Protestants too.
    Some probably more devout than you.
    ‘Sorry.

    “Get out of hell tickets”

    Indulgences is too complicated to describe, so against the propaganda and caricature treament they have gotten in Protestant “reformation” history books, it can do nothing.
    Bigotry is a flood against the humble trickle or reason.

    “Jesuits”

    The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.
    Just sayin’…

    “Cover ups”

    Paul said keep litigations against fellow Christians within the Church.

    I’m sorry, I’ve just wasted both of our time writing this reply…

  • Charlie,

    A very good starting point in debunking and countering the baseless charges against the Catholic faith.

  • The worst Jesuit who ever lived is a better, more respectable man than the most virtuous Protestant martyr.

    Well, let’s not get too carried away…

  • “Pray for me to do what? For me to become catholic? Rite.”

    I’d say “learn how to spell,” but let’s not presume to seek the miraculous right away.

    On a related point, it’s time for the poisonous troll to get the hook. The angry Catholic-hating lesbian last week got banned a lot faster. We’ve long since passed the point of diminishing returns with this hateful subliterate. Boot him.

  • THE OTHER DAY I AM TALKING TO A ADVENTISTS PASTOR NATIVE OF HONDURAS AND HE TELLS ME IF I CAN PLEASE INTERPRET REV 13 I SAD TO HIM A TALKS IN A WAY ABOUT A WOMEN WHO PRETENDS TO BE MARRY AND HE SAD NO IT IS MARRY I SAD THE DESCRIPTION THAT IT GIVES IS MARRY BUT YOURE SUPOSE TO DEFENDER AND TAKE HER AWAY FROM THE RESTS OF THE CHAPTER HE DID NOT AGREE WITH ME I WANTED TO HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH MY BIBLE BECAUSE HE ACUSE OF MISTERPRETATING BIBLE AND HE TOLD ME I WAS GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR TAKING AWAY THINGS FROM THE BIBLE SO I SAD SO YOU AINT GOING TO BURN EVEN DO YOURE STANDING BEFORE GOD CALLING HIS MOTHER A HORE .HE SAD NO BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHO MARRY IS IN THE BIBLE I SAD BUT IF YOU WERE STANDING AT THE DOOR OF THE HOUSE OF JESUS YOU WOULD TELL HIM THAT HE SAD YES.

  • “The worst Jesuit…”

    Well let’s not get too carried away…

    Yes, you’re right, but it is a total nincompoop, a historical charlatan, an ignoramus, a liar, and a bogoted fool who knows about Jesuit history like the missions to India, the ferocious persecution in Japan, and the way their charitable work with Native Americans was cut off because of some paranoid hater threatening the Pope to abolish their Order; not to mention the wonderful kinds of men who were part of it (St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola): and yet condemns the Jesuits.
    Now they have truly been Christians, if anyone has.

  • If you’re referring to Wayne, Charlie, you’ll find me in broad agreement… he’s merely regurgitating the worst anti-Catholic propaganda out there.

    I’d propose that time spent attacking the Catholic Church is better spent in prayer, becoming more familiar with the Jesus whom Catholics supposedly don’t know.

  • Oh, sorry, Chris 🙂
    Should have been more clear.

  • Everyone,

    Thank you for your answers to my questions. I apologize for mis-representing the Hail Mary prayer. Chris, you asked for my thoughts. I do believe in Sola Scriptura, so I do not accept tradition as equal with Scripture. But, by the same token, I do not believe that faith in the bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven is a doctrine that will damn a person, so I don’t like to dispute it too much. 🙂 As for praying to Mary, I do confess that it seems a dangerous doctrine. If one believes it as you do, then it causes no harm. But there are many who would twist it in their hearts and believe that they are praying to Mary for salvation. Many midevil doctors of theology fell into this error. I still disagree with both doctrines, but I thank you for illuminating them for me, and I still believe that Catholocism is a Christian religion.

    Wayne, it is true that Mary was not the mother of the Holy Trinity. But she WAS, in a very real sense, the mother of God the Son in His incarnation on earth. This (if I am not mistaken) is the Catholic teaching; not that she was the mother of God in heaven, but His mother on earth.

    I would like to point out, though, that while the Trinity IS implicitly spelled out in the New Testament, Scriptural support for it is far more concrete than, say, the intercession of the saints or the Assumption of Mary. But again, I believe that so long as a person throws themself at the feet of God the Holy Trinity and pleads His mercy rather than their works for salvation, that person is saved regardless of what other doctrines he may hold. The danger that Protestants see in these doctrines is: 1. We believe Sola Scriptura, and this does not allow them, and 2. Some unstable people might take them too far and worship Mary or the saints. But, while I must be clear in voicing my disagreement of these teachings, I must also say that I do not doubt the personal salvation of any who believe them, nor will I disagree in any manner but one of kindness and love.

    Wayne, you seem to be under the illusion that Protestantism is a united Church. It is not. Even on such elementary matters as Baptism, Communion, and the Election Protestants are divided. Does it follow, then, that only those people who accept EVERY doctrine of the Bible are saved? True, those who do not have all of biblical doctrine are missing out, so to speak, and God might, on Judgement Day, have something to say about it, but that is not for us to decide. And it is not for us to point to an individual and say, “You are not a Christian”. We do not know peoples’ hearts. We do not know if they truly believe or do not believe. There are Christians in every denomination of visible Christendom, and even in some denominations that are overtly anti-christian (i.e. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LDS Church). You have every right to voice your disagreement, but please do so in a loving and respectful way. If you are not speaking the truth in love to either bring people to Christ or strengthen peoples’ faith in Him, then you are violating His very specific commands. Do not be like the Pharisees and think yourself preferred by God over someone else because you hold a specific doctrine or repudiate a certain teaching.

    I pray that God blesses everyone on this forum.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • P.S. Interpretations as to whom the woman of Revelation is differ. Some believe her to be Mary, some the Church, some the twelve tribes of Israel. I personally do not take a stance. I agree with Wayne, however, in saying that the saved are the bride of Christ.

  • Aidan I hope you will continue to visit and participate in the comboxes. You are just the type of questioner we like to have visit us.

  • Everyone,

    I know I’ve written a lot already, but a further reading of the forum prompted more comments.

    Wayne, you say that I would not have liked Jesus very much. Please do not insinuate that I have not devoted my heart and soul to my Lord and Savior. I have. I love Him with all of my being. But I am not Him. You are not Him. We must speak the truth, and we must do it directly, but we are not sinless and so cannot do all of the things that Christ did. And besides, am I not being clear as to my position? I have voiced my disagreement with the doctrines of Mary and others in Roman Catholocism. But I have done it (I hope and pray) with gentleness and respect and love (if I have not, please correct me that I might repent and ask the forgiveness of those on the forum). And look at what has happened. Though we disagree and though we have not met each other, the Catholic members of this forum and I have formed bonds of respect and honor towards each other. That is what we are supposed to do with all people, especially brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what Paul had in mind when he pled for unity in the church. Doctrinal unity, certainly, but above all unity of love and purpose. I remind you of St. John’s admonition in his first epistle that those who hate a brother or sister are not Christ’s. I am in no position to judge you, I simply ask that you pray about it.

    Donna, you say that you always thought of God as angry and Mary as smiling upon you. I confess that this view is precisely the kind of thing that Protestants fear regarding doctrines of Mary. For God is a loving God and is perfectly willing at all times to hear us, save us, protect us, dry out tears, pick us up when we fall, not because of our righteousness, but because of His love. So long as we repent and believe, He will wipe our guilt an d shame away. “Cast your cares upon the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). I know that you know that already, and I do not wish to sound condescending or rude, but I felt like the Lord was tugging at me to affirm His love for you and all here.

    Another question: I was under the impression that the idea of the Roman bishop being the universal bishop was not formulated until the sixth or seventh century. Didn’t Jerome say that the title of ecumenical bishop was offered the Pope, but that he refused? Wasn’t Pope Gregory the first to exercise the authority of universal bishop? Curious as to your thoughts. My knowledge of the early Church Fathers is by no means absolute.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan Clevinger

  • Thank you Mr. McClarey. I appreciate that more than you know.

  • Aidan: Well, that comment I made about Mary was certainly not meant to illustrate any profound theological insight. It was my recollection of how I viewed Mary when I was a child. I think many Catholics develop that emotional attachment to Mary, which is why it hurts on a gut level to see her treated with a lack of respect.

    I know that God is love. But the concept of God, a being that sees and knows all, can be overwhelming, particularly for a small child. Mary is there to affirm and reassure us that God is love and mercy, that He will forgive us. Not that Mary will forgive us – we know only God forgives sins. Asking her to pray for me was a great comfort as a child. But I did not believe, nor was I ever taught that she was a “goddess” or equal to God.

    I’m afraid I don’t have the theological sophistication of most of the posters here so I’m fumbling a bit while their reasoning is much clearer. But it’s a good thing to be asked why, exactly, do you believe as you do. So thanks, Aidan, as you have given me food for thought.

  • Aidan, first of all thank you for engaging us in such a wonderful, faith filled dialogue. I hope you continue to read and comment. As for your question on the rise of popes and papal authority. The Early Church had always recognized the authority of the Successor of Saint Peter. As early as 96 AD, the Church in Corinth wrote to Pope Clement on a theological controversy that had broken out in their city.

    This is particularly telling since they could have easily written to Saint John who was nearby. However, they wrote to Rome. Obviously being a pope was dangerous business, since once the Roman authorities found out who it was, they did their best to kill them. Almost all of the popes of the first two centuries died martyrs. There was a saying in the Early Church, I believe St Augustine used it as well when referring to controversies. He and others would simply say, “Rome has spoken,” which meant the matter was settled. Obviously, this didn’t completely stop heretics like Arius, but they knew they would incur the wrath of the faithful for their open rebellion.

    I realize this may not be taught in many Protestant seminaries or universities (liberal Catholic ones too.) However, rest assured Pope Gregory was not the first to exert his authority.

  • Everyone,

    Thanks again for your answers to all my questions. I can never promise complete agreement, but I can at least gain a greater understanding of the Catholic religion.

    Mr. Hartline, you reference St. Clement’s letter to the Corinthians, and say that they could have written to John. Wasn’t John the pastor of Ephesus? And at the time of the writing of 1 Clement, wasn’t he imprisoned/exiled on Patmos? I could most certainly be wrong about that, but I had always thought that at the time of Clement’s letter to the Corinthians John had been banished from Rome.

    I do not wish to seem as if I don’t trust your word, but I like to research things myself as well as hear informed people. Could you provide source documents in which the Roman bishop exercised ecumenical authority before Pope Gregory?

    Lastly, what is the biblical groundwork for the teaching of the Pope? I know Matthew 16:18-19, but beyond that I’m afraid I’m unfamiliar with the arguments for papal supremacy.

    Thanks again for everyone’s answers. God bless you all!

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    Here’s a good start.

    The Jews have always had the tradition of a final authority on matters of faith (in this instance, Judaism).

    This is called the “Seat of Moses”. Which is a Jewish saying for explaining that the word is final on this particular matter.

    Some examples from the Holy Bible are from the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 23:1-3…

    1 Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3 so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.

    “So practice and observe what they tell you.” Here Jesus is telling his followers to listen to the authority of Judaism and “practice and observe”.

    As you should know that the Holy Spirit guides the Church (or in your instance, how you interpret the Bible). Hence the Holy Spirit guides the “Seat of Peter”, which is the successor of the “Seat of Moses”.

    This is a continuation of the authority, or ex cathedra, from the seat, of Peter.

    We see this in the Old Testament in Numbers 7:89…

    89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.

    Again in Leviticus ex cathedra is invoked in 16:2…

    2 and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

    This final authority was promulgated by God Himself telling Moses in Exodus 25:17-22…

    17 Then you shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two cubits and a half shall be its length, and a cubit and a half its breadth. 18 And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. 20 The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be. 21 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark; and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

    Notice the description being used by God?

    The seat is built upon the Ark, which contains the Word of God, ie, the Ten Commandments.

    “I will speak with you of all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.”

    Speak with you. Him, God, The Holy Spirit speaks through men of authority, ex cathedra, ie, the Seat of Peter, ie, the Pope.

    Right smack in the Holy Bible.

    Note: Ex Cathedra is roughly translated “from the seat” or “from the chair” of Moses/Peter.

    The term “mercy seat” means chair or seat, it’s a vulgar German translation.

    Hope this helps.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Its only if you believe that the pope has authority. Or that the Holy Spirit guides the catholic church.

  • Thats only if you believe that authority is with the supposed seat of Peter. Mormons say they have the authority. So what do we do now? I say Jesus is the only authority

  • Wayne,

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    Or do you not believe what the Holy Bible says?

  • Tito,

    Thank you for the time and care that you took to answer. I offer my comments here:

    Tito, your research is very detailed and opened me up to Scriptural truths I was not formerly aware of. But the Bible does not ascribe this seat to St. Peter. Other than Christ’s reference to the Pharisees possessing the seat of Moses, I believe the only other reference to the Ark of the Covenant is in Revelation, where it is in Heaven with God.

    Isn’t this same authority given to Peter (I understand that the Greek word for “you” is singular in Matthew 16:19) later given to all the Apostles (John 20:21-23) and to all believers (Matthew 18:19-20)? Why, if Peter was the ecumenical bishop, did Paul not seek ordination from him (Galatians 1:16-17) and oppose him when he erred (Galatians 2:11-21)? And why did he say that that “all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas [Peter]”) (1 Corinthians 3:21-22).

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    I have the quotation from Jerome: “If the question is concerning authority, the world is greater than the city. Wherever there has been a bishop, whether at Rome, or Eugubium, or Constantinople, or Rhegium, or Alexandria, he is of the same dignity and priesthood”

    Furthermore: “Gregory, writing to the patriarch at Alexandria, forbids that he be called universal bishop. And in the Records he says that in the Council of Chalcedon the primacy was offered to the
    bishop of Rome, but was not accepted.” (Quoted from Philip Melancthon’s Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope”)

    I again thank all here for their respect and attention to my questions, and I pray that God would be glorified through our discussions.

    Love in Christ,

    Aidan

  • Aidan,

    On Matthew 16:18-19; isn’t Christ elsewhere called the “rock”, and doesn’t Ephesians 2:20 say that the Church is build upon Christ and the apostles and prophets? According to this interpretation, the “rock” that Christ shall build His Church on is Peter’s confession of faith, not Peter himself.

    That is the crux of the issue between Catholics and Protestants.

    Protestants believe Jesus was referring to Peter’s faith, while Catholics know that it was referencing Peter and the Church.

    The problem arises in the old Greek. Which is a translation of Aramaic. In Aramaic it is clear that Jesus was speaking of Peter and the Church. But in old Greek it is a bit confusing because of the use of the word Kephas. Which can mean either a small rock or a large rock.

    In this case, in reading of the context of the passage, it is clear that, just as in Aramaic, that Jesus is referring to the Church. Not Peter’s faith.

    Only in English (maybe German and Dutch) do you see that Peter and Rock are distinct. But in any Latin language it is the same word, Peter for Petra and Rock for Petra. Spanish, Peter for Pedro and Rock for Piedra. See the similarities?

    As far as your other questions I will get back to you tomorrow on them.

    Ironically, I have Bible Study to lead tonight (I couldn’t find someone else to do it) so have a good evening!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • Aidan,

    One last thing before I go and return tomorrow…

    With the destruction of Jerusalem, which included the Temple, the seat of Moses was superseded by the Seat of Peter.

    Read the Holy Gospel of Saint Matthew 16:19…

    19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

    This is clearly a direct command from Jesus, the Son of God, telling Peter that he has given him authority to ‘bind’ and ‘loose’, meaning that it will be ‘bound’ and ‘loosed’ in Heaven as well. At minimum this reads as implicit authority, if not explicit authority (to remove debate on nuance).

    It only goes to Reason that Jesus was establishing a visible Church on earth with final authority.

    I’ll address the rest of your concerns and questions tomorrow, if our readers and/or my colleagues don’t get to it first!

    In Christ,

    Tito

  • Aidan, again it is a pleasure to have this congenial discussion with you. I for one hope it continues. I believe you wondered about my assertion concerning the letter to Pope Clement from Corinth. I believe St John had not yet been exiled, he still lived in Ephesus and Corinth is most certainly closer to Ephesus than Rome. However, the church in Corinth wanted a final answer and they knew that even though St John was an Apostle, he was still outranked by the hand picked Successor to Saint Peter in this case Pope Clement. Keep in mind that (Acts 1:20-26)the succession of Apostles was determined (May Another take his office) which is taken from the 69th Psalm. I believe the original version of the King James Bible even had the verse from Acts translated as “May another take his bishopric.”

    As far as the rock translation goes, it was never questioned until the time of the Reformation. Some Evangelicals had said that Jesus couldn’t be referring to Peter because in Hebrew rock is feminine. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic to his Apostles, not Hebrew or Greek. Judas was probably the only one who understood Hebrew or Greek.

    I say the following as charitably as I know how Aidan. However, it is difficult for many of us to understand how someone (like the Reformation leaders) can come 1,517 years (and often longer) after the fact and claim they know the true translation. It would as if in 3293 AD someone would come forth to say the American Revolution was not as we had been taught. Recently, I heard an Evangelical Preacher on the radio saying Catholics were getting all excited because an angel who appeared to Mary. The preacher said “So what angels have appeared to a lot of people.” True angels have appeared to a lot of people but never with the verse “Hail Full of Grace,” (the Greek “kecharitomene”) which is an extraordinary greeting never found in any other place in the Bible. Usally angels cause people to tremble, in this case it was angel who was being reverant.

    One more thing, as much as Martin Luther disagreed with the Church or some matters on others like the Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary, his dissent was minor if at all. As a matter of fact I believe he said that if anyone didn’t believe in the Eucharist they weren’t Christian and a Crusade should be taken up against them. I do believe he was very ruthless to the point of torture or death to anyone he caught from the “Protestant” side who did not believe in the Eucharist, which I believe is why Munzer started his uprising against Luther and the civil authorities who supported him. Again, Aidan thank you for this wonderful dialogue. Please continue to post. God Bless!

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Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

Monday, December 7, AD 2009

17 Responses to Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

  • Leftist Catholics rightly identify Christ as the savior of human beings, body and soul alike. What they fail to understand is the consequences of Original Sin for the body, and the limitations on human life imposed by sin and finitude. They wrongly think that if everyone on Earth was a Saint, there would be no more suffering. Leftist Catholics think that there are no limits to human progress, which is to say they are very modern.

  • Some Leftist Catholics remind me of the Zealots who thought to bring about the Kingdom of God through the sword. A communist dictatorship though is a funny sort of Kingdom of God.

  • Such words for the “Catholic Left.” Then what is wrong with the “Catholic Right,” I wonder? Or does the “Right” comprise of the Catholics who “get it?”

  • Selective interpretation of the social teaching of the Church… which ultimately stems from liberalism as Leo XIII and Pius XI understood it.

  • In regard to the Catholic Right Eric, I can’t think of a comparable attempt by Catholic conservatives to trojan horse a body of doctrine completely inimical to Catholicism into the Church as has been the ongoing effort of some Catholics on the Left to baptize Marx. The nearest parallel I can think of predates the French Revolution with the unfortunate throne and altar doctrine of many clerics, although at least they could make the argument that the states they sought to wed the Church with were not anti-Catholic. In the case of Marxism, its overwhelming anti-Christian praxis should have innoculated Catholics from it without the necessity of papal intervention, but such was not the case.

  • Tito,

    No. 🙂

  • I think there’s a pretty strong throne and altar doctrine on the Catholic Right today, at least in the U.S., where the throne takes the form of military power.

    A case could also be made for a “‘Shut up, your Excellencies,’ he explained” doctrine, which denigrates the role of the bishops, individually and especially collectively, in developing social policies.

  • I read the Pope’s document carefully.

    Now I’m perplexed:

    1. Exactly what is objectionable in what he said?

    2. Has the Pope not condemned, in this very document, the arms buildup and the disgrace of military solutions? He only appears as a right winger if you’re looking from the vantage point of an extreme left wing ideologue.

    Maybe a few here ought to put down their Che Guevara coffee mugs read it again. The Holy Father is spot on.

    It is simply a fact of history that collectivist movements have enslaved the very people they promised to liberate.

    I am frankly a little more than concerned at the prideful inability of many leftists to acknowledge this fact of history, nay, the desire to whitewash this disgrace from history.

  • Who here is attacking the Pope?

  • MI,

    They participated and got deeply involved with Marxist governments. Dissidents such as Jesuit “Father” Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua who was involved with the Communist government then.

  • I’m always amused when people, especially conservatives who decry the tactic in others, appoint themselves the experts of All Things Liberal.

    I don’t think that Acts 4:32 is a bad things for which to strive. Certainly better than cuddling up to Pinochet or Cheney.

  • I’d rather cuddle up to Cheney than Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin any day of the week.

  • The early Christians quickly abandoned common ownership as completely unworkable Todd. Outside of monasteries and convents it has only been revived by Christians for short periods, usually with dire results. The Pilgrims tried it, and almost starved to death. William Bradford, the governor of the colony relates what happened next:

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

    The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

  • Michael I.,

    Donald will delete it at his leisure.

    For the time being I’m just amusing myself by reading your comments, thanks!

Advent and Anti-Christ, Part II

Sunday, December 6, AD 2009

 

 

Part II of my presentation of the four sermons on the Anti-Christ given by John Henry Cardinal Newman during Advent in 1835 before his conversion.  Part I is here.

In this second sermon Newman concentrates on what we can glean of  the Anti-Christ  from Scripture and from the writings of the Fathers of the Church.  One thing stands out in this sermon for me.  The idea that the reign of the Anti-Christ may involve both ferocious atheism and a return to paganism.  This seems like a contradiction, but Newman points to the French Revolution:

In that great and famous nation which is near us, once great for its love of CHRIST’S Church, since memorable for deeds of blasphemy, which lead me here to mention it, and now, when it should be pitied and prayed for, made unhappily our own model in too many respects,-followed when it should be condemned, and admired when it should be excused,-in the capital of that powerful and celebrated nation, there took place, as we all well know, within the last fifty years, an open apostasy from Christianity; not from Christianity only, but from every kind of worship which might retain any semblance or pretence of the great truths of religion. Atheism was absolutely professed; -yet in spite of this, it seems a contradiction in terms to say it, a certain sort of worship, and that, as the prophet expresses it, “a strange worship,” was introduced. Observe what this was.

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Why I Don't Believe in a Young Earth

Monday, November 23, AD 2009

Some time ago, someone asked me:

Suppose–just for the sake of argument–you were convinced that an honest reading of the Tradition of the Church required you to believe that the initial chapters of Genesis were historical. Would you be able to do it, or do you think that Darwinism is so irrefutable that you would have to abandon or radically redetermine your faith?

I think this is the question that worries a lot of Catholics without a strong scientific background as they watch the evolution/creationist/ID debate on Catholic blogs. Here are these otherwise solid Christians taking common cause with the likes of the Richard Dawkins against their brother Christians. What gives? Are these folks really Christian? Do they care more about science than about faith? Do they only accept Catholicism so long as it agrees with science?

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24 Responses to Why I Don't Believe in a Young Earth

  • IMO it’s quite easy for Catholics to reconcile science and the Bible. My trust and understanding of the Bible relies entirely on the Church. My faith in the Bible comes from Christ and His Church. I accept Genesis as sacred scripture because it’s part of the deposit of Scripture that served God Incarnate, but mostly because the Church Christ established and gave authority to said this is Scripture. If we’re going to accept the Church’s authority on that, it’s equally as important to understand it as the Church understands it.

  • I studed geology and ended up a young-Earther myself. The geologcal evidence for a young earth was too great to ignore. But this hasn’t threatened or altared my Faith. I don’t see science and religion as opposed to each other or as each other’s bed fellows because science is a ***tool*** that is used to understand Creation. It’s one of **many** tools that we use to understand Creation and the meaning of life etc. People keep elevating science far above what it is meant to be and that’s when the trouble starts.

  • Ooops, hit submit to fast. I was going to end with:

    It’s like trying to elevate the tech pub (Science) to the same level of importance and greatness as the actual helicopter (Creation)… (I was a helicopter mechanic in the Navy.)

  • St. Augustine wrestled with this same question when he was a Manichean. The Manicheans taught all sorts of doctrines that are quite familiar in New Age thought today and could easily be revived as a whole, and astrology was a big one. Despite what people mistakenly think today, back then astronomers had pretty good methods of observing and recording the heavens. St. Augustine was no dummy, and he noticed that astrology did not account for either how people’s lives worked out or how the heavenly bodies actually behaved. For a while he hoped that when he finally got to talk to the really smart Manicheans, they would be able to explain why this was so. But when he discovered that they couldn’t, he had to give up the Manicheans because he saw quite rightly that one simply could not be expected to believe what was obviously not true.

    It has always been a great comfort to me that one of the smartest men who ever lived stood up for that obvious principle long, long ago, and became one of the greatest Catholics of all time. He would not expect anyone to remain a Catholic if it required people to believe things about the physical world that are obviously not true. I think that he knew a lot more about how to read and understand the Bible than I do and he did not consider Genesis to be a treatise in natural history. People who do simply do not understand how to read the Bible. They are doing the best they can to reconcile faith and reason, and because they can’t do so with their mistaken way of reading the Bible but they intuitively realize that faith must inform reason, they choose to disregard what reason would otherwise show. The solution is of course to get a better handle on Scripture and reason.

  • Your post kind of put God in a small box.

    After all, isn’t anything possible with God?

  • In all truth it doesn’t matter if the earth is 10,000 years old or 4.5 billion. What difference does it make if the universe is 1.5 million years old or 15 billion? God stated, “I AM WHO AM”. He is now! Not yesterday and not tomorrow. RIGHT NOW! So we can conclude that time is a construct for our benefit and if called to Judgment right now do you think Christ is going to ask you how old you think the earth is?

    Our faith in Christ does not require a scientific understanding. Most Christians throughour history were ignorant and illiterate. Clearly salvation does no hinge on knowledge of the world or the universe. Know Christ – that’s it.

    Now He also made us curious and I beleive this to be true even before the Fall. It is what we are curious about that needs to be corrected, not the curiousity itself. He also gave us dominion over Creation, which we know includes all we can see no matter how many billions of light years afar it is.

    I find it difficult to square the evidence (I am not a scientist) with a 10,000 year old earth. That doesn’t mean we won’t find evidence to the contrary and either way it will not change the most pivotal point in all of histroy, Our Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross.

    I don’t think God would deceive us into thinking the universe is 15 billion years old as some kind of trick. I also don’t think it matters to Him if it is 1.5 million years old or 150 trillion. He is very patient – we are not.

    I alos think that in order for our temporal reality to unfold and be reasonably perceptible by our limited minds it has to be 15 bil years old because our Sun and our location in the Milky Way would not be logically possible in a shorter period of time. Creation itself is a miracle; however, it unfolds in a natural and rational manner for us to understand which is totlaly necessary for us to even notice miracles.

    If God placed us right here in this vast universe suddenly, without context we would have to accept that as a miracle and miracles would then be facts and not mysteries. If miracles are not mysteries then they are not special and if not special then the Incarnation is nothing more spectacular than a lepton.

    Where’s the adventure in that?

  • Tito,

    To say that the earth is 6,000 years old is to make God a liar. Not a good idea.

  • BA,

    I wasn’t saying or agreeing with the young earth theory, more with some of the scientific propositions that were offered.

    God is capable of creating the speed of light at approximately 186,282 miles per second, instantaneously.

  • Good post, Darwin. If you get a chance, check out the blog of David Heddle. He’s a physicist–and a Reformed Christian who takes the same tack. One of his themes is that if the Earth is indeed 10K years old, God is attempting to deceive us through His act of Creation. Which, lest we forget, is a form of revelation itself.

    I think the distinction between the miraculous and the idea the universe is 10000 years old is this:

    (1) the first inverts/suspends/makes an exception for the natural law/order, (2) the second suggests there is no such thing as natural law or a natural order. Or certainly no way to discern the latter.

  • Good post, Darwin. If you get a chance, check out the blog of David Heddle. He’s a physicist–and a Reformed Christian who takes the same tack. One of his themes is that if the Earth is indeed 10K years old, God is attempting to deceive us through His act of Creation. Which, lest we forget, is a form of revelation in and of itself.

    I think the distinction between the miraculous and the idea the universe is 10000 years old is this:

    (1) the first inverts/suspends/makes an exception for the natural law/order, (2) the second suggests there is no such thing as natural law or a natural order. Or certainly no way to discern the latter.

  • Sorry about the double post!

  • Dale,

    No problem.

    I need to read most things twice in order to ingest the information, reminds me of my college days.

  • Tito,

    It is possible that God created the world five minutes ago, complete with fake memories of the past and fake evidence indicating that the world was much older. He could do that, but the question is why He would do so, and whether believing this is consistent with what we know about His nature.

    Similarly, God could have created the world 6,000 years ago, but planted evidence to make it look like the world was much older. He could do that, but it’s hard to see why He would do that, nor is it clear that His doing so would be consistent with what we know about His nature.

  • Tito,

    Perhaps this will help clarify a bit: I certainly don’t mean to say that God _could not have_ created the world ten thousand years ago. God, in his infinite power, could create the world in any way that he chose. Though of course, God being eternal, I think there’s merit to the Augustinian idea that God exists in a single, eternal present. And so from a God’s-eye view, this moment is one with the incarnation, and is one with Adam and Eve’s fall, and is one with both the instant of creation and the end of the world. The stretch of billions of years which to us looks like the long and gradual development of the universe is in God’s mind an instant of ever-flowering creation — and it’s only our view, trapped within the temporal timeline of creation, that makes it look like “God sat around for a few billion years before single celled life even developed”, as some complain.

    So my point is not that God could not have created the world another way than he did, or indeed tha we are definitely right in our current understanding of the physical history of the world (in that I’m sure there are a lot of things we don’t know or are wrong about) but rather that I have a lot of trouble with the idea of that all the indications that the world is ancient (from seeing objects millions of light years away, to geological strata, to continental drift, to radioactive decay, to the apparent history of the other planets, to fossils, to DNA, etc.) are misleading or explained by processes totally different from what we see acting in the world today (and in some cases, incompatible with the physical laws on the universe as we currently observe them.)

    I certainly don’t think our current understanding of the universe is perfect, but I do think that as rational creatures we’re called to use our reason as best we can — and so I don’t think it would be in keeping with our calling as rational creatures made in the image of God to refuse to use our powers of reason and our senses to understand creation as best we can (and accept the conclusions of that study) just as it Augusine’s day it was his calling to understand the world through the best philosophical and scientific insights of his day, and Aquinas in his.

  • Darwin,

    Thanks for that articulate response.

    I don’t have much to offer to this intriguing debate which I have been enjoying reading (and learning a lot).

    But where I stand is that I do believe we are descended from Adam and Eve. Hence why I find it difficult to digest that we are descended from monkeys if we are made in His image. Not rhetorically or symbolically, but literally. We are made in His image.

    Not there isn’t anything wrong with eating bananas and hanging out on tree limbs, but we are special and are God’s most special creation.

    That’s my lens that I use.

    Sometimes a simple understanding can lead to the Truth.

  • Coffee Catholic writes Monday, November 23, 2009
    “I studied geology and ended up a young-Earther myself. The geological evidence for a young earth was too great to ignore”.

    In a nutshell. It is a question of scientific evidence. The Bible has nothing to do with the matter except for the non-scientific question of creation.

    Let geologists present the facts and we can go from there. The meaning of “day” and the order of creation do not affect the geological facts.

  • Darwin’s point was the same point as Pope Benedict in his Regensburg lecture — God has given us reason, which, though limited, is not to be dismissed for something sub-rational. God’s qualities, as revealed through revelation, indicate a God who does not contradict himself; reason of course is used to determine this — but if we say “don’t limit God,” then I guess we can all end up in the nominalist-voluntarist dream of God who is not limited, even by his own self-limitations.

  • Henry beat me to it… I thought of Regensburg as well.

    Tito, we are made in the image of God because we have an intellect, free will, and are made for relationship; God could’ve taken a pre-existing creature an infused these things (parts of a rational soul) at any time.

  • Interesting post, Darwin – and also interesting commenting.

    Chris, your point concerning the fact that the “image of God” is a good one. Are we to understand that being made in the “image of God” is describing a picture of a human? It seems clear to me that the human form as an image cannot be what is referenced in what we read in the Bible. What of people who are born with missing limbs or other deformities? To the outside observer, some of these people may not even appear human, yet we would not say that they lack the “image of God” we describe. Moreover, our bodies can be changed virtually at will by accident or design, yet I would argue that the image God placed in us is left unchanged, for God Himself is the only one with that power.

    For these reasons I have always equated our creation in the “image of God” to be the fact that we are given a soul that is indeed in the image of God.

  • No more they do.

    I guess I’m a bit confused as to what you mean by that in this context, though.

    As a Catholic who thinks that evolution is basically correct in regards to the history of life on Earth, I would say that at some point in history (when I would not presume to say) God infused our ancestors with immortal and rational souls, making them truly “human” in the sense that we mean the term (something which I would say is not reliant on a biological form, but rather on our nature). Not until that infusion of souls into what were, before that, bipedal and rather clever primates, did we become truly persons, truly made in the image of God, etc.

    At whatever point that divine spark entered humanity, we were permanently and irreparably set apart from the rest of the animal world, because we were no longer strictly animal, but rather both animal and rational, both animal and divine.

  • Darwin,

    Thanks for the explanation.

    I’m going to hang out in my neighbors tree house and eat some banana’s now.

  • “Gorillas don’t have souls.”

    Where in the world do you get this kind of nonsense from? By the fact that they are animals, they have souls — indeed they have a specific kind of soul which transcends the souls of plants (according to classical definitions). Catholic teaching has always said this.

  • Animals do not have rational souls. They have a vegetative and a sensitive soul that perish when they do. A good summary of Catholic teaching on this subject is linked below.

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Catholics-955/soul-2.htm

Funeral and Repast for Father Hinds Today

Saturday, October 31, AD 2009

Father Edward Hinds

The funeral for Father Edward “Ed” Hinds will be celebrated today, Saturday, October 31,  A.D. 2009 at  10:00am.  The Mass will be the Rite of Christian Burial and simulcast live int he Saint Patrick Parish Center Gym, East/West Rooms, and Cafeteria.  Additional audio will be provided outside.

This will be followed by a private burial.

The Repast will be at 11:30am at the Corpus Christi Parish Center, 234 Southern Boulevard, Chatham, New Jersey.

_._

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of the Diocese of Paterson where Saint Patrick’s at Chatham is located had these moving words to say concerning the death of Fr. Hinds titled, A Life Cut Short: The Mystery of Evil:

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3 Responses to Funeral and Repast for Father Hinds Today

Pray for Larry David, Creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm

Wednesday, October 28, AD 2009

[Warning: Vile language in this posting.]

Larry David Jerry Seinfeld

Larry David is the creative producer of NBC’s Seinfeld and HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiam.  Over the weekend in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm he relieves himself on the picture of Jesus.  The details and context of the episode are not worth explaining due to the unfortunate attack on God and our Christian faith by this depraved human being.

Like so many in Hollywood, anti-Christian, more specifically, anti-Catholicism, is still prevalent among many movers and shakers.  Imagine if they would even consider insulting the founder of Islam, Mohammad, as such?  Not in a million years.

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90 Responses to Pray for Larry David, Creator of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm

  • Tito:

    While I admire the spirit with which you intended the posting of this entry, doesn’t doing so simply allows for free publicity of the very depraved act you are (quite rightly, of course) protesting?

    In other words, these days, it is this kind of free publicity that such folks crave because the controversy it generates (particularly, amongst the religious) are exactly the kind that promote their projects (in this case, a television series) amongst the general populace, potentially leading to more expanded viewership.

    Myself being aware of such tactics personally, I hardly give them the satisfaction by engaging in such action, which would only serve to promote their utterly repulsive objectives.

  • I don’t understand. They should receive
    publicity – lots of negative publicity .
    They cannot be allowed to get away with this .

    Its not just the one episode, its a whole
    series of things, and the immorality and
    violence as a whole in Hollywood .
    Pray that God intervenes and that there will
    be changes .

  • I like how you say they wouldn’t do this to any other religion but no other religion is constantly claiming to find ‘weeping’ icons.

    IT’S CALLED SATIRE AND IT IS FUNNY

    I know you’re not going ot post this.

  • In your gloss, such an action (for instance, this display of outrage demonstrated by Tito’s post) would seem like negative publicity insofar as those particularly religious are concerned; however, that is not entirely the case especially with respect to the general masses, which such controversies as this specifically target.

    There is nothing more reliable than counting on this kind of outrage by such religious folks, which these controversies (in particular, this kind of media attention) generally depend.

    In fact, this is what the network strategists typically count on in order to boost viewership, especially in instances where it appears to be declining.

    Put it this way, if only members of the religious community would not respond in kind to such tactics in this manner and simply altogether ignore it, they would perhaps cease resorting to this kind of tactic.

    However, some are so predictable in the kind of reaction typically expected from them due to this already age-old maneuver that religious zealots (while seeming to do the right thing) ironically play right into the hands of these seemingly clever network strategists by inadvertently giving them exactly the kind of free publicity such media folks originally sought by employing such a tactic.

    In other words:

    “How do the Hollywood types boost up viewership for our shows?”

    Simple: Attack members of the religious communities by doing something controversial that will undoubtedly offend them.

    Their outrage will not only guarantee publicity for the shows themselves to a attract a much wider audience but also, what’s even more, it’ll be free!

    Ingenious when you think about it since what could be more reliable (and, consequently, more effective) than that outrage which such media tactics depends?

    The Da Vinci Code is a prime example.

    There were hundreds of folks I know (through various fraternal and academic associations) who, if not for such outrage, would have hardly been interested in seeing that very movie. However, because of the overwhelming reaction of several Christian communities, it generated such interest amongst them to actually see that movie, which is precisely the kind of publicity these media moguls were counting on.

  • Matt

    May I direct your attention to the following site:

    http://www.miraclesofislam.com/

  • e.,

    Like you continue to post comments and attract more attention?

  • Tito:

    My posting comments is not the same as your having created an entry that actually gives the kind of free publicity the show itself craves. In fact, it is moot since harm has already been done by your having already created the entry itself.

    Besides, my purpose is to expose this tactic so that a greater awareness of how these folks think and why they do what they do comes to light.

    Again, I don’t fault you for doing so; it really isn’t your fault since you were only doing what you considered right in light of the situation.

    How could you know that you were actually playing (even if unwittingly) right into the hands of some rather devious reprobates?

    If anything, you were only doing what every good Catholic these days don’t (unfortunately): take one’s Catholic Faith seriously.

    This is precisely why (as you rightly asserted within the context of your own entry) Hollywood would not dare insult Islam but have no qualms whatsoever about insulting Catholicism.

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  • Larry David has condemned himself by his actions. Pissing on a picture of Jesus is usually a last phase action of a demon who having seen the light, willfully challenges it instead of repenting. Now since Christianity is true, Larry has indeed messed with the Holy Spirit. Bleating to the press about how unfair it is that the sensibilities of other religions are spared is beside the point, as the Devil has no time for them.

  • Anyone who follows CURB knows that Larry David ridicules Judaism far more than any other religion. I urge anyone who takes offence (and most will probably have not even seen this particular episode) to sit down and watch the previous 6 series of the show and you might then understand the context. You will then be in a better position to pass judgement and decide whether to be offended.

    In fact, if all you ‘religious types’ stayed in your houses and watched more shows like this rather than going out to spread hate & prejudice then the world would be a better place.

    At last, more and more people are finally coming to see the truth that religion is a scam and deserves no respect.

    Good people will always do good things, evil people will always do evil things…it takes religion to make good people do evil things.

  • “Good people will always do good things, evil people will always do evil things…it takes religion to make good people do evil things.”

    This is quite possibly the stupidest, shallowest thing atheists say.

    How do you even know what “good” is? You have no moral compass, man to you is nothing but an animal. We eat animals. Animals eat each other. The law of the jungle does not know goodness or evil, but only survival and efficiency.

    I have watched Curb, I used to be a fan – used to be, before this disgusting outrage. I will never watch the show again.

    Do you even know the slightest thing about Jesus Christ? You expect us to know about some stupid show on HBO when your knowledge of the person being desecrated is probably based on 10 second sound bites?

  • Shmohawk,

    Just because he ridicules his own faith, doesn’t give him the right to ridicule someone else’s.

    You have a false sense of logic here without an ounce of reason.

  • Also…

    “it takes religion to make good people do evil things”

    How stupid do you have to be to even repeat something like this? Good people do good things. Someone who does evil over and over again is evil. A “religious” person who does evil things is evil, period.

  • @Tito, do you really want to live in a society where it’s only ok to poke fun at yourself? Allow me to Godwin this conversation: would you criticize Hitler? By your logic, you’d have to be a Nazi to do so.

  • Anonymous,

    Nazi’s were the governing party of Germany.

    You get to choose to remain a Catholic or not.

    You need to work out your philosophical arguments out before present them as a intellectual discourse.

    By the way, we rarely respond to people who sign in as anonymous, so I did you a favor.

  • Larry David is not a Christian. The people who watched that episode and were amused by it most likely are not Christians. As non-Christians, they are not obligated in any way to show reverence or even respect for your god because they do not believe in or worship your god. See how that works? The Constitution gives you the right to worship as you please, but that’s all. It does not give you the right to insist that others — even people of different religions or no religion — show you some extra measure of respect because of your beliefs.

    What you self-righteously and erroneously identify as “anti-Christian” or “anti-Catholic” is nothing more than a reflection of your own arrogance. Just because someone does not share your belief and chooses to find humor in your religion does not mean that person is “anti” anything — it just means that person does not believe as you do. It’s a big, cold world, and in it, people have many different beliefs and world views. That they do not agree with yours does not make them any less valid, nor does it mean they are actively opposed to your beliefs or that they are in some way persecuting you.

    I know it’s difficult for people who base their lives on unprovable beliefs that contradict reality to do this, but you Christians really need to grow up and understand that others are free to disagree with you, believe different things, and to say whatever they please about your beliefs, and that when they do that it does not mean that they are somehow morally inferior to you. It’s a free country, and in a free country people get offended. The best defense for this is to develop a thick skin. The United States does not exist to serve Christianity; it is an entirely secular nation in which no religion is officially recognized and all religions — or lack of religion — are allowed. What Christians so often identify as persecution is nothing more than the natural reaction of others to their arrogance and pious sense of entitlement and to their constant efforts to impose their beliefs on EVERYONE and to turn America into something it is not and never has been. Personal beliefs are just that — PERSONAL. They should be kept that way.

    If you find Larry David’s humor offensive, then don’t watch Larry David’s show. Whether or not other people watch and enjoy his show is none of your damned business.

  • Ray Garton,

    It’s amazing you took time out to tell us that it’s a free country and that our beliefs are unprovable.

    If so, why bother?

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • You must not have read my entire post. I assume you already know it’s a free country and your beliefs are unprovable. My point was that you Christians really need to control yourselves. The Dark Ages are over. You’re not in charge anymore — and we all know what happened when you were.

  • anon@ 11.37 In your world, when you criticise someone, say your kid, do you do so by urinating on a photograph of his? Is that how it is done? Slag off all you want about Christianity but don’t pretend that scum Larry was merely poking fun.

  • Ray Garton,

    Would it be ok to go on national television and insult you, your mother, and anyone else close to you?

    You fail to understand that there is a certain amount of responsibility involved with free speech.

    Do you think someone can get away with issuing a threat to our President and not have repurcussions?

    You really need to think this through before you make a fool of yourself.

    As far as the “Dark Ages”, if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church during the “Dark Ages” we wouldn’t have a concept called a “University”, science, astronomy, books, and beer just to name a few. Plus the fact we stemmed the tide of Islam.

    So think next time you spout falsehoods.

    If all you get is your information from tv, then you really don’t know much at all.

    So be thankful you aren’t be scourged in the city center while your mother is forced to wear a burqa and everyone around you are driving around on donkey’s as a means of transportation.

  • Larry David did not urinate on a picture of Jesus. Backsplash from the toilet spattered the picture. I think most of you know this, but you seem to lack confidence in your stand and feel you must mischaracterize the thing you’re protesting, virtually lying about it. If you have to lie to make your point, there’s something wrong with your point.

    Tito wrote: “Would it be ok to go on national television and insult you, your mother, and anyone else close to you?”

    Yes, it would be okay. I wouldn’t like it, of course, and I no doubt would respond. But life is full of things I don’t like. It’s full of things ALL of us don’t like. We need to be mature and adult enough to recognize that and live with it. I refer you to my earlier remark about thick skin.

    Tito wrote: “You fail to understand that there is a certain amount of responsibility involved with free speech.”

    I agree. However, those responsibilities do not include avoiding offending Christians or any other religion. No law exists in America prohibiting this.

    Tito wrote: “Do you think someone can get away with issuing a threat to our President and not have repurcussions?”

    It is against the law to threaten the president. It is not against the law to joke about Jesus or god or the Easter Bunny or Batman, or any other mythical figures. If you can’t see the difference, then the problem lies not in Larry David’s comedy but in your delusional view of the world.

    Tito wrote: “You really need to think this through before you make a fool of yourself.”

    I’m not the one who compared joking about Jesus to committing a federal offense. I honestly think you’re confused about who’s the fool.

    Tito wrote: “As far as the “Dark Ages”, if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church during the “Dark Ages” we wouldn’t have a concept called a “University”, science, astronomy, books, and beer just to name a few.”

    I’m sure the countless numbers of people your church tortured and slaughtered because they didn’t like them were very grateful for all those things. I would also like to point out that Hitler and Stalin and other bloodthirsty dictators like them made the trains run on time. That neither changes nor excuses the many people they killed.

    Tito wrote: “Plus the fact we stemmed the tide of Islam.”

    Defeating your competition in the dubious religion business is hardly a public service.

    Tito wrote: “So think next time you spout falsehoods.”

    You haven’t pointed out a single falsehood I’ve written here. Perhaps you need to think this through a little more, Titus.

    Tito wrote: “If all you get is your information from tv, then you really don’t know much at all.”

    My information comes from recorded history. Where on earth do you get YOUR information?

    Tito wrote: “So be thankful you aren’t be scourged in the city center while your mother is forced to wear a burqa and everyone around you are driving around on donkey’s as a means of transportation.”

    So the best way you know to defend your religion is to slam another. There’s no difference between the two as far as I can see. The Muslim faith is doing nothing different now than the Catholic faith did in the past. And I’m sure the Catholic faith would still be doing it if it were still in charge — something I’m sure it’s working on remedying as soon as possible.

  • Ray Garton,

    If you read my post I specifically avoided going into detail about what particularly happened. How it happened is irrelevant, but the fact that it did happen is.

    I agree there is free speech, I’m all for it, but again, did I say lets enact a law? No. I said lets pray for Mr. Larry David.

    To reiterate again and again, I am not asking for a federal law. I am enacting MY free speech to ask Mr. Larry David to desist from insulting God as he did.

    So as soon as you get that notion out of your head since you’ve been brainwashed that all us Krischians want is a theocracy (I’m reading between your constant accusations that we want a federal law for a federal offense.)

    I’ve pointed out all of the falsehoods you have spoken. You can be obtuse as much as you want, even a layperson could understand that your argument is about creating a federal law in which I never mentioned it.

    Besides, I was talking more about the Dark Ages.

    Recorded history? Like National Geographic?

    Again, open a book and read up on the alleged “Dark Ages”. You have failed to point out anything I said is untrue.

    As far as Islam, I was making a point about the “Dark Ages”.

    But if you insist on diverting attention from the argument, then do so at your own risk.

    I have a right to object to Mr. Larry David’s insults.

    You somehow believe I want to enact a federal law against this which I never mentioned. I asked that we pray for him and then you go into ad hominem’s about the Catholic faith. Which I retorted and you failed to answer.

    Come on Ray, it aint that hard is it?

    Or are you not used to debating with someone who has cold hard facts? Too much unchallenged thinking in college caught your tongue? (or your analytical abilities for that matter)

  • Mr. Ray Garton,

    I’m done with my early morning prayers and so I have to head back to sleep.

    I actually enjoyed engaging in debate with you and I hope you do understand where I (and many more Catholics are) am coming from.

    We can resume later today if you wish.

    Know that I love you as a brother in Christ.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,

    Tito

  • I love the “enlightened” secularist responses.

    “He wasn’t REALLY disrespecting your religion, so lighten up! Ok, maybe he was, but he did the same to another religion before that, so that makes it ok. And, by the way, your religion is bulls#$&, your so-called “god” is a fake, and you caused more evil in the world than anything else, ever and you dark age bigots deserve what you get!”

    But THEY’RE the “brights”. Got it. I can almost see the maniacal frothing as they type. Or copy and paste. Whatever.

  • “Just because someone does not share your belief and chooses to find humor in your religion does not mean that person is “anti” anything — it just means that person does not believe as you do.”

    Ray, are you serious. When Catholics stand up for their beliefs about the sanctity of life and traditional marriage (usually very respectfully btw), they are labeled ANTI-choice, ANTI-gay, homophobic misogynists. Most people want it labeled “hate speech” to even SUGGEST that the traditional definition of marriage should remain. Yet somehow it’s not ANTI-Christian to mock and desecrate an image of the Christian Lord? It is a difference of beliefs, but it’s expressed in a way that is certainly anti-Christian.

    No one is suggesting it be against the law to do this or that Larry David should be put in jail. But free speech is a two way street. People don’t have the right to suppress speech because it’s offensive, but the speaker doesn’t have the right to stop those who are offended from speaking out in opposition.

  • Never seen this show–no cable. Sounds like a pretty contrived device; good satire needs a touch of plausibility to it. Who hangs a big picture of Jesus in their bathroom? Who backsplashes to the extent that would be required for this plot? Who over the age of six can’t practice proper toilet hygiene? What moderately sane Catholic would assume random droplets on a picture to be of miraculous origin absent other factors? So was the point of the exercise to “satirize” a common human foible, or to work out a scenario that would allow the players to include an act that ranges, depending on the viewer’s level of piety, from tasteless to really, really offensive?

    “Satires” of this type are objectionable because they don’t really satirize (i.e. ridicule the vices and follies of human nature.) They manufacture a situation that allows them to get away with contempt toward something–reverence or spirituality–normally recognized as good. Most of us outgrow this level of humor by our mid-teens, if not earlier.

  • “It takes religion to make good people do evil things.”

    Comments like this give good reason to doubt the speaker has read so much as a single book detailing one of the many atrocities of the 20th Century.

    http://tinyurl.com/yjvqnt3

  • This is Zionist humor. Now we (people of the earth) are not to make pictures graven images of God, heaven or hell. Yet it is the very idea and action that he was doing says where Larry is coming from. I bet if someone wiped their ass with an israeli flag, that person whould be deemed “anti-semite” (air quote), which is really utter disgust for Zionist and their agenda.

  • “Comments like this give good reason to doubt the speaker has read so much as a single book detailing one of the many atrocities of the 20th Century.”

    I you want to bring up Hitler then you are right, you only need to read so much as a single book.

    To quote Mein Kampf…

    “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” (p.46)

    “This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief.” (p.152)

    “What we have to fight for…is the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may be enabled to fulfill the mission assigned to it by the Creator.” (p.125)

    + many others.

    Religion has formed the dividing lines of almost EVERY conflict or atrocity in human history…

    Israel / Palestine
    Kosovo
    Bosnia
    The War on Terror – Iraq, Afghanistan, 9/11
    Northern Ireland
    The Crusades
    The Spanish conquests of the Americas
    The Thirty Years War
    …and the list goes on

    And what motivates ‘good’ people to commit such acts…RELIGION.

    But I digress, Larry David didn’t deliberately pee on Jesus!

  • Considering the futility of trying to have a rational conversation with those who worship invisible deities, commenting on this blog about the “disrespect” of nonbelievers is like tilting at windmills. I readily admit that no words of mine can compete with the allure of eternal life. Any words of mine that might be volatile would at least give you the warm feeling of assurance that I would spend eternity in Hades ( it is so human to feel that being rewarded with the miracle of escaping death is not enough; that you also need to have the added comfort of eternal torture of those who disagree with you!)

    Nevertheless, I think it is important from my perspective to get god-a-holics to understand that they do not have legal standing to censure the rest of us who cheer at open disrespect of institutionalized insanity. Yah and verily, I say unto you… that THIS is human progress.

  • Shmohawk:

    Your litany demonstrates nothing more than your remarkable stupidity and ever deplorable sense of logic.

    Do you know what’s even more annoying than religious people?

    Stupid people like you who are so incapable of genuine dialogue that formulating even the semblance of a simple argument appears beyond the very measure of your capability.

    Ray Garton:

    Your comments are so amusing that it almost likens to parody.

    Your endless rant would make it seem that the United States was specifically founded for you and your fellow athiests.

    Yet, given the religious leanings of the Founding Fathers themselves and the rather bothersome language they typically employed concerning that “One Nation Under God”; these did not blindly subscribe to some blatantly erroneous notion of “freedom from religion”, as you would make it appear, but rather “freedom of religion”, wherein religion of the individual is to be respected — not denigrated — to such extent that certain measures were taken concerning particular circumstances wherein individuals so discriminated are afforded proper protection by even the law itself.

    So, next time you would like to deliver another one of your “the United States is the Promised Land of Atheists”, do give some serious attention and due examination of the language of the Founding Fathers as set out in the consequential documents from which the lay of this land was established.

    Your arrogance is not only appalling; it is repulsively revisionist.

    Of course, perhaps that “dubious religion business” of the Founding Fathers themselves from which this country was originally based may very well be the cause for why you would rather invent such delusional fiction from which to base your “U.nited S.tates of A.thiests.”!

    Yet, it can surely be dismissed as nothing more than simply “arrogance”, a “pious sense of entitlement” and the need to impose your athiest beliefs upon the masses; nothing more.

  • Schmohawk,

    There are these two atheists named Stalin and Mao who between the two of them killed more of their own people than just about all other previous wars and massacres combined. All in persuit of an ideology which, while having a certain aura of religiosity in the way that people devoted themselves to it, most explicitly rejected the existence of God or the eternal and instead pursued a transformative ideal within a strictly materialistic world view.

    I suppose you could theorize that everyone involved in the mass slaughters of their and a variety of lesser communist regimes were all the result of “bad people doing bad things” rather than “good people doing bad things” but that’s a rather silly semantic game as there’s no discernable difference between “good people” and “bad people” other than there actions. Indeed, I would argue that there is no such thing as “good people” or “bad people”. There are simply people. Some do mostly bad things, some do mostly good things, most do a pretty even number of both.

    Karen,

    You’re certain welcome to think that way, but theorizing that one of the major motives for theists is joy at the idea that some other people might be damned doesn’t correllate very well with most real world interractions with theists.

    As for whether “institutionalized insanity” should be mocked (leaving aside the question of whether that is what religion is) — I suppose it depends how much value one puts on the thoughts and experiences of other people. I consider ancient paganism to be utterly false, and indeed consider Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism to be false as well — but I would consider it the height of rudeness to go around actively mocking their rites and sacred symbols — not because I think they’re true, but because I don’t consider it particularly admirable to actively insult and trample on the beliefs which millions of people gain meaning and hope from.

    I’m perfectly happy to explain to my Buddhist and Hindu friends why I consider Catholicism to be true, or why I don’t find Hindu or Buddhist worldviews persuasive, but I certainly would actively abuse their sacred places or symbols — if only out of respect for them as people, and a desire not to cause human suffering for my own amusement.

  • I love it when dime store atheists attempt to claim Hitler was a theist, thus proving that it is not only in regard to God that they are completely clueless. From the Tabletalk of Hitler:

    ‘The war will be over one day. I shall then consider that my life’s final task will be to solve the religious problem. Only then Will the life of the German native be guaranteed once and for all.”

    “The evil that’s gnawing our vitals is our priests, of both creeds. I can’t at present give them the answer they’ve been asking for, but it will cost them nothing to wait. It’s all written down in my big book. The time will come when I’ll settle my account with them, and I’ll go straight to the point.”

    “I don’t know which should be considered the more dangerous: the minister of religion who play-acts at patriotism, or the man who openly opposes the State. The fact remains that it’s their maneuvers that have led me to my decision. They’ve only got to keep at it, they’ll hear from me, all right. I shan’t let myself be hampered by juridical scruples. Only necessity has legal force. In less than ten years from now, things will have quite another look, I can promise them.”

    “We shan’t be able to go on evading the religious problem much longer. If anyone thinks it’s really essential to build the life of human society on a foundation of lies, well, in my estimation, such a society is not worth preserving. If’ on the other hand, one believes that truth is the indispensable foundation, then conscience bids one intervene in the name of truth, and exterminate the lie.”

    “Once the war is over we will put a swift end to the Concordat. It will give me the greatest personal pleasure to point out to the Church all those occasions on which it has broken the terms of it. One need only recall the close cooperation between the Church and the murderers of Heydrich. Catholic priests not only allowed them to hide in a church on the outskirts of Prague, but even allowed them to entrench themselves in the sanctuary of the altar.”

    “The fact that I remain silent in public over Church affairs is not in the least misunderstood by the sly foxes of the Catholic Church, and I am quite sure that a man like the Bishop von Galen knows full well that after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing. And, if he does not succeed in getting himself transferred in the meanwhile to the Collegium Germanium in Rome, he may rest assured that in the balancing of our accounts, no “T” will remain uncrossed, no “I” undotted!”

    “Religion has formed the dividing lines of almost EVERY conflict or atrocity in human history…”

    You really did sleep through all your history classes didn’t you? Here is a sample of conflicts that had nothing to do with religion, unless one assumes that atheism is a religion:

    World War I

    World War II

    Korean War

    Vietnam

    The American Civil War

    The War of 1812

    The Napoleonic cycle of wars

    The American Revolution

    The list could go on to encompass most of the wars fallen man has engaged in. If you are going to troll a Catholic website you’ll have to do much better than this.

  • Karen Leonard:

    “Considering the futility of trying to have a rational conversation with those who worship invisible deities…”

    Well, I don’t know — the Founding Fathers themselves ‘worship[ped] invisible dieties’ and, yet, rational conversation, let alone, the founding of this very nation, wasn’t beyond the realm of reason.

    Of course, the fact that the whole of Western Civilization itself being borne from the likes of a once united Christendom should also give one pause.

    Indeed, most of the scientists that gave birth to the scientific human progress were, in fact, largely Christian.

    Yet, that would require an intimate knowledge of history itself as well as reason; both of which, unfortunately, you do not possess in any discernible measure.

    But, please, don’t let the facts hinder you from formulating such creative nonsense.

    “god-a-holics” is surely the work of a creative genius!

  • It would be easy to show respect for the beliefs of Christians if they adhered to those beliefs themselves. Reading over the comments from Christians here on this forum, I can only imagine how proud you must all make Jesus.

  • “…the rest of us who cheer at open disrespect…”

    Very telling. And this is supposed to convince me that atheism and not religion is the font of compassion why, exactly?

  • “Reading over the comments from Christians here on this forum, I can only imagine how proud you must all make Jesus.”

    Have you ever read the Bible? Jesus did not suffer proud fools gladly.

    “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2″The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
    5″Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries[a] wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’

    8″But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.[b] 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

    13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[c]

    15″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

    16″Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

    23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    25″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

    27″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    29″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

    33″You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

    37″O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38Look, your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

  • Ray Garton:

    Originally, you engaged in a long tirade concerning how awfully delusional Christians are because of their very beliefs.

    Now, your most recent comment happens to fall back on the very contents of — wait for it — their very beliefs; the very same you expressed outright animosity towards?

    In other words, insulting such beliefs are fun and even necessary; yet, when it comes down right to it, when the chips do happen to fall and you have nothing more to depend upon (save your own stupidity), you have no problems whatever with attempting to find safe harbor under the merits of such beliefs when it ultimately suits you.

    Bravo!

    You prove both the sheer hypocrisy and immense futility of the atheist project all in one breath!

  • Yes, I’ve read the bible and know it quite well. I’ve also read the Harry Potter books, but that doesn’t mean I believe in wizards.

  • No, e., my reference to your beliefs was an attempt to hold you to them. I might sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” at Christmas time, but that doesn’t mean I believe in Santa Claus. According to your magic book, Jesus Christ taught humility, but I see none of that in Christians today. He taught his followers to love one another, and even their enemies, but I CERTAINLY see none of THAT in Christians today. He told his followers not to pray publicly, to go to their closets to pray so they don’t make arrogant spectacles of themselves, and yet Christians in America demand that their particular brand of prayer be engaged in at government functions and are angry that prayer is not allowed in public schools. *I* don’t believe in Jesus Christ — outside of the bible, there is no record that he ever existed, and the bible certainly isn’t a historical record, it’s a book of myths, so I see no reason to believe in Jesus Christ. Christians, however, DO believe in him and claim to be followers of his teachings — and yet their behavior constantly proves this not to be the case. So those of us outside of Christianity can only conclude that Jesus Christ is nothing more than a hood ornament used as a front for anger, hatred, bigotry, and a hunger for power. The fault for that lies with Christians and no one else.

  • To paraphrase Ray: “I’d believe you [Do you mean that?] if you lived up to your standards.”

    And I’ll be an atheist when they start living up to their standards — oh, wait! They don’t have any! That would be imposing moral absolutes on people, and we can’t have that.

  • I don’t know if “Voldemort” appears in the Declaration of Independence, which document incidentally provides unequivocal affirmation of both the beliefs of the American people as well as their faith in — “God”!

  • The similarities between Ray Garton’s exegesis and that of your run of the mill evangelical fundamentalist are striking, but sadly, not all that surprising. The resulting strawman massacre is, likewise, unsurprising.

  • Ray Garton:

    In the beginning, you detested our beliefs and rather have us not hold them — only to come around the second time to insist that we hold them?

    Amazing.

  • The Declaration of Independence is just that — a declaration of America’s independence from Britain. While it remains a historical document of great significance, it is a document of its time and isn’t even accurate any longer — it identifies the United States as being made up of 13 states. It is not the law of the land, nor is it a reflection of the character of this nation. The document that does that (and which is still valid today) is the United States Constitution, which remains in effect to this day and does not mention god or religion once. Out of slavering desperation, Christians often point to the date on the document, which uses the phrase “the year of our lord,” but that was simply the standard way of writing the date at that time, and was used by believers and non-believers alike. It is no more a statement of belief than using the names of the days of the week, which are based on pagan gods, is a statement of belief in those gods. If the forefathers wanted this to be a “Christian nation,” they would have explicitly pointed this out in the Constitution. Instead, that document reflects the character of this nation — no mention is made of god or religion as it outlines this secular government. No amount of groping or desperately reaching for straws will change that.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I have work to do, so I’m going to leave you to your snide Christ-like insults of those who don’t share your beliefs. Enjoy the rest of the year.

  • “No, e., my reference to your beliefs was an attempt to hold you to them.”

    “It would be easy to show respect for the beliefs of Christians if they adhered to those beliefs themselves.”

    So, which is it?

    Would you rather we repudiate our beliefs or hold them?

    “[T]he bible certainly isn’t a historical record, it’s a book of myths, so I see no reason to believe
    in Jesus Christ.”

    Okay — let me get this straight, based on your previous statement, it would appear as though your argument here is:

    ‘It would be easy to show respect for the beliefs of Christians if only they adhered to those beliefs themselves, which simply come from a book of myths?’

    In other words, your own intellectual powers demonstrated herein (not to mention, rhetorical prowess and logical thought) leaves much to be desired.

  • e.,

    Please refrain from abusive language.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/comments-policy/

    I appreciate your passion and I share your resolve and information you provide in defense of God.

  • I don’t see how exposing flaws in an opponent’s arguments counts as ‘abusive language’; but there you have it.

    Plus, it would behoove you to first examine the language you yourself employed in your own exchange with Mr. Garton prior to criticizing any of the others.

  • So many commentators, so little time and space….
    Just picking out a few tidbits; the founding fathers were not Christians, they despaired over the hodgepodge of conflicting dogma of the citizens, many-if not most- who had fled here from religious persecution of waring religious factions throughout Europe. As Jefferson so succinctly put it, “Is there anything that people won’t believe? ” The best they could do was to separate religion from government. That has not worked very well, as we have seen the injection of god into the pledge of allegiance in the fifties – due to the fear of communism, the swearing on the bible to take an official oath in court or in politics.

    Many of the wars mentioned by a previous commenter were not officially “holy wars” – but they were certainly backed by the churches. My own belief is that all wars are seeking to take over some resource that another group possesses, and religion is simply the handiest tool to use to convince people that by killing others, and dying themselves, this murder will give them eternal life.

    As to “cheering disrespect” – yes, I do think that showing open resentment for the power and influence worshipers have in our country is important. Although nonbelievers are a large segment of citizens, and have the lowest statistics of criminality, we are at the bottom of the list of for “trustworthy” in public office.

    As to scientists through history being Christians, considering the likelihood of being able to fund or publish anything in that realm without the blessing of church was nil – and even worse fates awaited you if you denied a belief, I would bet that most scientists professed beliefs they did not themselves believe. Look at poor Galileo, Issac Newton.

    So to wrap it up, I think that being able to openly protest and poke fun of what was “the holiest of holy’s” shows that humans are progressing towards a glimmer of enlightenment.

    I

  • According to your magic book, Jesus Christ taught humility, but I see none of that in Christians today. He taught his followers to love one another, and even their enemies, but I CERTAINLY see none of THAT in Christians today.

    It seems to me like you’re arguing through exaggeration here. It surely can’t be the case that you’ve seen no humility in Christians today — that you’ve never seen a Christian act in a humble fashion because he believes that is the demand of his faith. Nor can it be the case that you’ve never seen Christians love others, including their enemies. What you mean is simply that you don’t always see this, and thus that Christians are obviously not living up to their beliefs all of the time — indeed are often not living up to their beliefs as fully as they could be.

    Now, unless your theory is that Christians are not supposed to be human beings, and thus are not supposed to have the tendency to allow baser instincts to overcome their ideas of what they ought to be doing, this is hardly surprising. I can’t think of any group whose members live up to their stated ideals all of the time.

    And so the above amounts to nothing other than to inform us that generally speaking you don’t like Christians and so you tend to recall their negative actions more than their positive ones. We learn about as much about Christians from your comment as we might learn about Mexicans from someone who said, “Mexicans say they come to this country to work, but so far as I can tell they’re always just sitting around being lazy.” And indeed, the effect of your comment on listeners who are or know Christians will be roughly as positive as the example comment would be on people who aren’t racists.

    *I* don’t believe in Jesus Christ — outside of the bible, there is no record that he ever existed, and the bible certainly isn’t a historical record, it’s a book of myths, so I see no reason to believe in Jesus Christ.

    This isn’t true on either point. At a minimum, there are a large number of extra-biblical ancient sources that mention Jesus because there were a number of gospels, epistles, and other accounts which had some degree of following but were rejected by the Church when it was assembling the official canon of the New Testament. While the Church considered these documents not to be inspired scripture, they certainly do present a number of texts which attest that the authors believed the Christ did in fact live in first century Palestine roughly was was described in the canonical Gospels.

    Similarly, several non-Christian ancient sources make reference to Jesus, if only to say something along the lines of, “And the Christians believe that Jesus, a preacher who lived in the time of Herod Antipas, rose from the dead after three days.”

    Further, you seem to suffer under the illusion that there is some bright and clear distinction between “historical records” and other forms of writing in the ancient world. This isn’t really the case. Certainly, you’ll find some people self-consciously writing “history” such as Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the things they relate happen as described. And much modern historical work consists of taking a variety of sources (including sources such as personal letters which were not at all written with the intent of being historical documents) and using them as testimony in order to get an idea of events or conditions at a given time. In light of that, it’s certainly not in appropriate to look at all of the accounts and letters which mention Christ as someone who lived in historical Palestine and take it from that that he did in fact live there. Indeed, the idea of claiming that the very existence of Jesus is a myth is a comparatively modern one. Non-Christian sources in the past tended to accept Christ existed, but deny that he was God and insist that his followers stole and hid his body in order to claim he was risen from the dead.

    And that’s not even getting into the misconceptions you seem to have about what a “myth” is.

    Doubtless you have your own strongly held reasons for considering Christianity false, but if you’re going to wade into an area in which people know a great deal more than you and make a bunch of statements which are clearly false, you’re hardly going to be taken as an authority.

  • Karen L.,

    So the founding fathers were not Christian?

    Hey, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn!

  • @Tito, thanks for responding to me and Reg. Kudos for the inclusive debate. I’m off my high horse now, so while I urge you to reconsider your stance on LD (CYE is a brilliant show, even if it .. missed .. with that joke), I’m not going to engage in polemics. Cheers.

  • Yes, the Declaration of Independence mentions god. But it’s not a legal document and does not represent the law of the nation. That came later, in the Constitution. The Declaration of Independence simply declared America’s separation from British rule. It is NOT the law of the land, and since we have been separate from Britain for over two hundred years, it’s not exactly a document of our time. While it mentions god, it also states, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.” America has more than thirteen states now, so it’s not even accurate anymore. While it is a historical document of enormous significance, it is not a legal document — that came LATER. It says absolutely NOTHING about our rights being secured by Christianity and does not mention Christianity at all. It refers to “the opinions of MANKIND” and states that “governments are instituted among MEN.” It refers to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” which is a reflection of DEISM or even PANTHEISM, which most definitely are NOT Christian. Mention pantheism to a Christian and if you’re lucky enough to be speaking to a Christian who even knows what the word means, get ready for a lecture about its evils. Later, the Constitution — which DOES NOT mention god (a point Christians would like you to ignore) — set up the law of the land. America’s founding fathers clearly intended this to be a nation DIVORCED from religion. Over the years, Christians have tried to have their way with the forefathers’ intentions, twisting and raping their words. It continues to this day.
    When the United States began to involve itself in foreign affairs, it became necessary to make sure that other countries — particularly those that were, unlike America, RULED by religion — understood that this was NOT a religious nation but a SECULAR government. To this end, very explicit reference was made to this in the Treaty of Tripoli in the 1790s to make it CLEAR that the United States was NOT a Christian nation. From the Treaty of Tripoli:
    “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
    A statement on the document by President John Adams includes the following:
    “And to the End that the said Treaty may be observed, and performed with good Faith on the part of the United States, I have ordered the premises to be made public; And I do hereby enjoin and require all persons bearing office civil or military within the United States, and all other citizens or inhabitants thereof, faithfully to observe and fulfill the said Treaty and every clause and article thereof.”
    In May of 1797, the treaty was read aloud in full on the Senate floor, and on June 7, ratification of the treaty was unanimously approved, with 23 of the 37 sitting senators present.
    The 7th Amendment of the Constitution refers to “the common law,” which Christians often claim is derived from the foundation of Christianity. Using various quotes, including some from Supreme Court Justices, they claim that Christianity was part of the laws of England. This is still more self-serving nonsense.
    In a February 10, 1814 letter to Thomas Cooper, Thomas Jefferson discussed the history of common law as follows:
    “For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. … This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first Christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it.”
    ” … if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
    In the same letter, Jefferson explains how the confusion over Christianity came about. It was a misinterpretation of a Latin term by Prisot, “ancien scripture.” It means “ancient scripture” but was misinterpreted to mean “holy scripture.” As a result, many WRONGLY believed that the common law came from the bible. It did not. Jefferson writes:
    “And Blackstone repeats, in the words of Sir Matthew Hale, that ‘Christianity is part of the laws of England,’ citing Ventris and Strange ubi surpa. 4. Blackst. 59. Lord Mansfield qualifies it a little by saying that ‘The essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law.’ In the case of the Chamberlain of London v. Evans, 1767. But he cites no authority, and leaves us at our peril to find out what, in the opinion of the judge, and according to the measure of his foot or his faith, are those essential principles of revealed religion obligatory on us as a part of the common law. Thus we find this string of authorities, when examined to the beginning, all hanging on the same hook, a perverted expression of Priscot’s, or on one another, or nobody.”
    Christians claim that Jefferson was a Christian, but his own words do not reflect this. Much of this comes from the fact that when Christians see the word “god,” they instantly think it refers to THEIR god. In fact, the word “god” has been used with several meanings over time, like “nature,” or a general reference to the supernatural. Jefferson was quite skeptical and fond of science. He rejected Christianity’s mysticism and superstion to such an extent that he compiled what has come to be called The Jefferson Bible. He edited the gospels, removing all of Christ’s miracles and all reference to the supernatural, leaving only what he saw as Christ’s moral philosophy. Here are some quotes from Thomas Jefferson on religion and Christianity:
    “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
    “Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it would read ‘A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;’ the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”
    -Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
    “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
    “I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshiped by many who think themselves Christians.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789 — This was in response to a letter Price had written to Jefferson on Oct. 26. about the harm done by religion, in which Price had written, “Would not Society be better without Such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?”
    “They (the clergy) believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.”
    — Thomas Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, Sept. 23, 1800
    “The whole history of these books (the Gospels) is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814
    “If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? … Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814
    “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814
    “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 30 July, 1816
    “You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, June 25, 1819
    “My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mrs. Samuel H. Smith, August, 6, 1816
    “Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him (Jesus) by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820
    “Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind.”
    — Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822.
    “And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.”
    — Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823
    There are more, but I think I’ve made my point. When Christians say Jefferson was a Christian, they are either ignorant or lying. And Jefferson is only ONE of the forefathers. There is overwhelming evidence that America’s founders were not unanimously Christian, and Christianity had absolutely nothing to do with the founding of this nation.
    The Christians fighting for prayer in government and public schools — and doing so AGAINST the teachings of Jesus Christ — really aren’t interested in prayer. That is only one step in a greater effort. They want nothing less than to overthrow this country, to make it a Christian nation with Christian rule. To do this, they must undercut and eventually abandon the Constitution. To stop this, it is vital that we all know as much as we can of the TRUTH about this country’s history, its founders, and their intentions. Christians have been fooled by these falsehoods because of their own ignorance and willingness to believe whatever their religious leaders tell them. Don’t let them fool YOU because of yours. Educate yourself. And when you hear these lies about the United States, loudly denounce them. If you don’t and if the Christians have their way, this will no longer be the United States of America that our founding fathers created.

  • Karen L.

    For your information, it was not the scientific theories of Galileo that were found heretical (in fact, many Jesuit scientists at the time held to similar notions and even subscribed to virtually the same ideas which were, in fact, published with expressed approval of the Pope himself); rather, it was Galileo’s stubborn insistance that the foundation of Catholic theology itself be compromised simply at the behest of his own personal theological leanings.

    What goes unmentioned is that beginning in the Middle Ages, the Church was supporting research and even building observatories in the towers of well-sited churches. These facilities were made available to astronomers like Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo. Nor did the controversy over Galileo stifle scientific inquiry. “The fact is, Catholic scientists were essentially permitted to carry on their research unhindered as long as they treated the motion of the earth as a hypothesis,” as indeed it was at the time.

    Heck, it was the Catholic Church herself which founded the Linceorum Academia (i.e., the Academy of the Sciences) in 1603. Indeed, if anything, the conflict between evolutionary science and creationism in the United States comes from the Protestant tradition, not the Catholic one.

    It is a relatively simple matter to show that many great scientists, like Louis Pasteur, have been Catholic. Much more revealing, however, is the surprising number of Catholic churchmen, priests in particular, whose scientific work has been so extensive and significant. At the forefront were the Jesuits, who led the way in many fields and “so dominated the field of seismology that it became known as ‘the Jesuit science.’” One of the Jesuit-scientists highlighted by the author is Father Roger Boscovich (1711-1787) who won praise throughout Europe for his advances in astronomy, natural science and the beginnings of atomic theory.

    “The Big Bang” theory itself pertaining to the notion that the universe originated in an extremely dense and hot space and expanded was, in fact, developed by a Belgian priest?

    Here are other examples of scientists who were themselves members of the Catholic clergy:
    1. Mendel, a monk, who first established the laws of heredity.
    2. Copernicus, a priest, who expounded upon the Copernican system.
    3. Steensen, a Bishop, who became the father of geology.
    4. Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer who became the father of modern astronomy.
    5. Theodoric, a Bishop, who discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.
    6. Kircher, a priest, who made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.
    7. Cassiodorus, a priest, who invented the watch.
    8. Picard, a priest, who became the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    Here is a list of just some Catholic scientists:

    Algue, a priest, invented the barocyclonometer, to detect approach of cyclones.

    Ampere, the founder of the science of electrodynamics and investigator of the laws of electromagnetism.

    Becquerel, Antoine Cesar, the founder of electrochemistry.

    Becquerel, Antoine Henri, the discoverer of radioactivity.

    Binet, mathematician and astronomer, who set forth the principle, “Binet’s Theorem.”

    Braille, who invented the Braille system for the blind.

    Buffon, who wrote the first work on natural history.

    Carrell, the Nobel prize winner in medicine and physiology, is renowned for his work in surgical technique.

    Caesalpinus, a Papal physician — the first to construct a system of botany.

    Cassiodorus, a priest, who invented the watch.

    Columbo discovered the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

    Copernicus, a priest, who expounded the Copernican system.

    Coulomb established the fundamental laws of static electricity.

    De Chauliac, a Papal physician — the father of modern surgery and hospitals.

    De Vico, a priest, discovered six comets.

    Descartes, who founded analytical geometry.

    Dumas, who invented a method of ascertaining vapor densities.

    Endlicher, botanist and historian, who established a new system of classifying plants.

    Eustachius, for whom the Eustachian tube was named, who became one of the founders of modern anatomy.

    Fabricius, who discovered the valvular system of the veins.

    Fallopius, who was the eminent physiologist from/for whom the Fallopian tube was named.

    Fizeau, the first to determine experimentally the velocity of light.

    Foucault, who invented the first practical electric arc lamp; he refuted the corpuscular theory of light; he invented the gyroscope.

    Fraunhofer, the initiator of spectrum analysis; he established laws of diffraction.

    Fresnel, who contributed more to the science of optics than any other man.

    Galilei, a great astronomer, is the father of experimental science.

    Galvani, one of the pioneers of electricity, was also an anatomist and physiologist.

    Gioja, father of scientific navigation, invented the mariner’s compass.

    Gramme, who invented the Gramme dynamo.

    Guttenberg, who invented printing.

    Herzog, who discovered a cure for infantile paralysis.

    Holland, who invented the first practical sub marine.

    Kircher, a priest, who made the first definite statement of the germ theory of disease.

    Laennec, who invented the stethoscope.

    Lancist, a Papal physician — the father of clinical medicine.

    Latreille, the pioneer in entomology.

    Lavoisier, the Father of Modern Chemistry.

    Leverrier, the discoverer of the planet Neptune.

    Lully, who is said to have been the first to employ chemical symbols.

    Malpighi, a Papal physician, himself a botanist, became the father of comparative physiology.

    Marconi’s place in radio remains unsurpassed.

    Mariotte, who discovered Mariotte’s law of gases.

    Mendel, a monk, the first to establish the laws of heredity.

    Morgagni, founder of modern pathology; made important studies in aneurisms.

    Muller was the greatest biologist of the 19th century, founder of modern physiology.

    Pashcal demonstrated practically that a column of air has weight.

    Pasteur, called the “Father of Bacteriology,” and inventor of bio-therapeutics, was the leading scientist of the 19th century.

    Picard, a priest, who became the first to measure accurately a degree of the meridian.

    Regiomontanus, a Bishop and Papal astronomer, who became the father of modern astronomy.

    Scheiner, a priest, who invented the pantograph and made a telescope that permitted the first systematic investigation of sun spots.

    Secchi, who invented the meteorograph.

    Steensen, a Bishop, who became the father of geology.

    Theodoric, a Bishop, who discovered anesthesia in the 13th century.

    Torricelli, who invented the barometer.

    Vesalius, the founder of modern anatomical science.

    Volta, who invented the first complete galvanic battery; the “volt” is named after him.

    Other scientists: Agricola, Albertus Magnus, Bacon, Bartholomeus, Bayma, Beccaria, Behalm, Bernard, Biondo, Biot, Bolzano, Borrus, Boscovitch, Bosio, Bourgeois, Branly, Caldani, Cambou, Camel, Cardan, Carnoy, Cassini, Cauchy, Cavaliere, Caxton, Champollion, Chevreul, Clavius, De Rossi, Divisch, Dulong, Dwight, Eckhel, Epee, Fabre, Fabri, Faye, Ferrari, Gassendi, Gay-Lussac, Gordon, Grimaldi, Hauy, Heis, Helmont, Hengler, Heude, Hilgard, Jussieu, Kelly, Lamarck, Laplace, Linacre, Malus, Mersenne, Monge, Muller, Murphy, Murray, Nelston, Nieuwland, Nobili, Nollet, Ortelius, Ozaman, Pelouze, Piazzi, Pitra, Plumier, Pouget, Provancher, Regnault, Riccioli, Sahagun, Santorini, Schwann, Schwarz, Secchi, Semmelweis, Spallanzani, Takamine, Tieffentaller, Toscanelli, Tulasne, Valentine, Vernier, Vieta, Da Vinci, Waldseemuller, Wincklemann, Windle, and a host of others, too many to mention.

  • mohawk:

    You’re going to hurt your back moving that goalpost.

    This is what you originally said:

    “Good people will always do good things, evil people will always do evil things…it takes religion to make good people do evil things.”

    That’s such a monumentally stupid comment I can understand why you’d run away from it. It’s as dumb as saying Hitler was motivated by Islam because he once spoke favorably of its ideals.

    Since you aren’t interested in exerting yourself to read anything that might refute your intensely held precommitments, let me briefly explain Browning’s important book: he studied a reserve police battalion which assisted in the Holocaust in Poland. If memory serves, none of them was a Nazi party member. Instead, they were all comfortably middle class and middle-aged German men, unremarkably so, in fact.

    They killed 38,000 people.

    http://german-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/review_ordinary_men

    Instead of playing the tattered “Hitler was a religious fanatic!” card so beloved of atheists who want to end rational discussion rather than trying it, if you considered basic human history, common sense and experience, you’d understand the following: good men do horrifically evil things for reasons entirely unrelated to religion. As “Ordinary Men” demonstrates, they will do evil things out of a fear of losing face before their comrades. Indoctrination by the state. Peer pressure. Desire to belong/conformism. Fear. Any number of excuses that that have nothing to do with religion. Which the National Socialists weren’t all that big on, as, say, Alfred Delp, Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have been happy to point out. Had not the first and third not been executed by the Nazis, that is.

    If you find glib comments like your initial quote to be an agreeable opiate, fine. Just don’t expect to ever be taken seriously by those you savage.

    Nevertheless, keep spewing those talking points cut from the atheist websites (e.g., I doubt you have a copy of Mein Kampf to hand–most people don’t. Even fewer have read the dreadful thing all the way through. I somehow doubt atheist crusaders on the internet are any different).

  • “To stop this, it is vital that we all know as much as we can of the TRUTH about this country’s history, its founders, and their intentions.”

    Historical knowledge is a wonderful thing and it consists of far more than cutting and pasting quotes from atheist websites. For example, Ben Franklin was perhaps the most secular of the Founding Fathers, and yet, according to James Madison he made this statement at the Constitutional Convention:

    “Mr. President

    The small progress we have made after 4 or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other,”our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ays, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, some we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

    In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. ”Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments be Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

    I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.”

    By the standards of our time, almost all of the Founding Fathers were deeply religious men. Did they frequently criticize what they considered to be follies of churches? Of course, as we often do on this web site. However, using out of context quotes in an attempt to convince Americans that the Founders were motivated solely by secularism is ludicrous and will only convince atheist true believers.

  • Donald R. McClarey:

    You demonstrate once again a knowledge of American history, which you seem to hold to such an admirably considerable degree.

    I hope that you might consider creating entries at TAC devoted to the same subject as that in your above comments, concerning the fervent religious devotion of our country’s Founding Fathers.

    Even the one you authored concerning John Adams, I found similarly edifying — his own anti-Catholicism notwithstanding.

  • e.,

    So when are you going to put a pic to your avatar?

  • When my avatar puts a pic on me!

    Oh, by the way, now you see the kind of controversy you yourself generated as a direct result of your having made such an entry?

    Kudos for maintaining some semblance of patience, though.

    You and your partner, Matt McDonald, have more patience than I give you guys credit for — well done!

  • Rest assured e, that eventually most of the Founding Fathers and their religious beliefs will receive coverage, usually with some sort of Catholic tie in as I did in regard to John Adams.

  • Awesome! Thanks, Donald!

    You truly are both gentleman & scholar! Looking forward to these!

  • e.,

    You mean by the constant posting of your comments?

    Get off your miniature low horse and put a pic on.

    Or you’ll forever be called a lower case vowel (LCV) by me from now until death.

  • Tito:

    I’ve been called far worse than a “lower case vowel”, so I suppose I should be grateful to you and your friend Matt by sparing me from a fate far worse in both current and previous engagements, however heated they became.

  • I can think of no words except disgust. I find it utterly disgusting.
    I just cancelled my subscription to HBO. I also emailed HBO and explained that my subscription was being cancelled due to the episode of Curb.

    I will continue to Boycott HBO and Time Warner and affiliates. Enough is enough. I think that it is the duty of every Christian to boycott such blasphemy.

    For HBO to counter that it was done in a humorous way is nonsense. I believe that HBO would never have allowed Mr. David to urinate on an atheist symbol.

    I believe in freedom of speech, so there will always be a Mr. David, and many more that are of the same view. The rest of us have the ability tune him out. I will not pay for such garbage. If we shrug our shoulders, we bear the guilt for condoning such action.

  • A Christian: Your sentiments are noble, but what do you mean by “atheist symbol”?

  • How ’bout one of those chrome coelecanths people affix to the rear of their cars, the one’s inscribed with the letters , “DARWIN”?

  • A Christian:

    What a remarkable difference it would make if many Christians behaved as you did here.

    That is, one of the very reasons why, as Tito Taco Man himself suggested in his entry, that Hollywood would not even dare make fun of Islam in a similar manner is because of the effective action (as opposed to futile over-reactions) of Muslims as a collective that would put out such swift opposition that would undoubtedly be fatal to them.

    Christians are rarely capable of doing the same. The most they do, as with the Da Vinci Code, is make loud noise; nothing more.

  • Art–Oh, yeah. Those things.

    You usually see them in ironic juxtaposition with the “Coexist” bumper sticker.

  • Pull your heads out your arses you Philestines. If you don’t like it, or more aptly, don’t understand it, then just simply don’t watch it. I don’t particularly like the things Catholics say, I find them a lot more offensive than you find a little piss on a painting, and thats why I don’t go to church. But I don’t try to stop Catholics from going to church if thats their choice. And that’s because, I’m not an ignorant, arrogant, puritanical asshole.

  • Jon,

    Please no profane language.

    Please read our comments policy: http://the-american-catholic.com/comments-policy/

    We don’t watch it. I’m sure most of us don’t, but we don’t like it when our God is insulted, so we have a right as Americans to voice our opinions.

    If you don’t like it, move to Communist China. I’m sure they welcome your opinion.

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  • Blogging while drunk Jon is never a good idea.

  • “I find them a lot more offensive than you find a little piss on a painting”

    Amazing how atheists have windows unto men’s souls when they don’t actually believe in souls.

  • “Pull your heads out your arses you Philestines. If you don’t like it, or more aptly, don’t understand it, then just simply don’t watch it. I don’t particularly like the things Catholics say, I find them a lot more offensive than you find a little piss on a painting, and thats why I don’t go to church. But I don’t try to stop Catholics from going to church if thats their choice. And that’s because, I’m not an ignorant, arrogant, puritanical asshole.”

    What’s so ironic, Jon, is that your very comments actually prove that you’re in fact such “an ignorant, arrogant, puritanical asshole”.

    That is, “[i]f you don’t like it, or more aptly, don’t understand it”, then why for heaven’s sake did you go so far as to visit a “Catholic” website in order to offend Catholics, whose Catholic religion you obviously have no understanding of?

    Why don’t you take your own advice and just skip watching/visiting Catholic websites?

  • Tito?

    Moderation? Why?

  • ?

    You’re not on moderation.

    You were on it for an hour a long time ago, but not anymore. I double checked.

  • e. the moderation system seems to have gone rogue today, as I have been pulling comments out of moderation all morning. Hopefully wordpress will cure the glitch that is causing this.

  • JEWS WHO HATE CHRISTIANS

    Jewish hate is as old as some ancient Hebrew prophets.
    Speaking of anti-Semitism, it’s Jerry Falwell and other fundy leaders who’ve gleefully predicted that in the future EVERY nation will be against Israel (an international first?) and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed, right?
    Wrong! It’s the ancient Hebrew prophet Zechariah who predicted all this in the 13th and 14th chapters of his book! The last prophet, Malachi, explains the reason for this future Holocaust that’ll outdo even Hitler’s by stating that “Judah hath dealt treacherously” and “the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this” and asks “Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother?”
    Haven’t evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the recent filthy, hate-filled, back-stabbing tirades by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard and Kathy Griffin and Larry David) against Sarah Palin and other Christians, and explain why most Jewish leaders have seemingly condoned the continuing “crucifixion” of Christians and even their Leader!
    While David, Sandra, Kathy and Larry are tragically turning comedy into tragedy, they are also helping to speed up and fulfill the Final Holocaust a la Zechariah and Malachi, thus helping to make the Bible even more believable!
    (For even more stunning information, visit MSN and type in “Separation of Raunch and State,” “Michael the Narc-Angel,” “Bible Verses Obama Avoids” and “The Earliest Hate Criminals” to learn even more about Jewish connections!)

  • Roma,

    As a Catholic, we tend not to dwell on prophecy as much as our Protestant brothers and sisters.

    But it’s a stretch to say that Larry David’s misguided attacks on the Catholic faith would cause Catholics to attack Israel.

    If there is any action, Catholics tend to switch away from his show or even cancel subscriptions to HBO. But that’s about it. Oh, and complain on websites such as this.

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  • “If you don’t like it, move to Communist China. I’m sure they welcome your opinion.”

    Tito, you are an intolerable, racist disgrace to your own religion which is already so disgraceful that people find it comical to piss on your savior for cheap entertainment value. Oh, so valiant the defender of Catholics and Jesus that thou purifies the realm of the cyber-blog in the name of the Lord. Don’t you see that David does this stuff to get a rise out of you people. Your religious conservatism (what you call “faith”) binds you to a realm of predictability, and you are doomed to react with puppet like instincts to offenses that don’t directly effect you. If you truly were spiritually comfortable, why would you care what a fictitious character does on a fictional program. Instead you comfort yourself with the blanket of Catholicism and the knowledge that you “fit in”, attempting to make narrow-minded fools out of those who reasonably object to such hypocrisy as Christianity.

  • Xavier,

    Listen to your logic…

    I’m intolerable for voicing my defense of my faith, but Larry David is not intolerant because he relieves himself on God?

    You just undermined your own argument.

  • “…attempting to make narrow-minded fools out of those who reasonably object to such hypocrisy as Christianity.”

    Narrow-minded fools, so-implied, are those who are intolerant of other people’s perspectives; thus, you have demonstrated yourself not only as a prime example of such but also an apparantly unintelligent arse whose cognitive deficiencies are so severe that s/he actually refutes his/herself in the very comments s/he presents. Well done.

    “…who reasonably object…”

    Nice demonstration of petitio principii; perhaps you might first present an argument for why their objection was reasonable as opposed to your demanding we concede to your rather absurd assertion here.

  • “I’m intolerable for voicing my defense of my faith, but Larry David is not intolerant because he relieves himself on God?”

    What? When did I defend Larry David? I never said he wasn’t intolerant; the man is as rigid and prone to bigotry as you. Actually, I bet you’d make good friends given your shared personality defects. My point had less to do with David and more to do with your proclaimation “If you don’t like it, move to Communist China. I’m sure they welcome your opinion.” That statement is NOT the same as voicing defense of your faith. And listen to YOUR logic— just because David has a view in opposition to yours does NOT instantly validate your argument. There you go again being so incredibly narrow-minded…

    And to e.:

    You’re entirely correct— I do stand intolerant of those who are intolerable, thanks for your reiteration of my argument; you seemed to have managed to comprehend the main idea I conveyed.

    And here is the presentation of the argument I neglected to cover in detail (I thought it quite obvious) to which all are free to reasonably object:

    Acceptance of God/Jesus via Catholicism is essential to obtain salvation when you pass on.

    Any competent individual thinking with their own free will (this excludes you two) is reasonable in thinking the above is completely ludicrous, highly offensive to modern society, and an enormous waste of time.

    *How am I doin’ boys? Workin’ towards my second strike or what!

  • X,

    You did defend Larry David when you compared my ‘intolerant’ beliefs to Larry David relieving himself. Reread what you wrote, you made a direct reference to my defense:

    Tito, you are an intolerable, racist disgrace to your own religion which is already so disgraceful that people find it comical to piss on your savior for cheap entertainment value.

    So because I am intolerant that is why Larry David relieved himself?

    Again, you’re having problems with logic.

  • You are intolerant, yes. But your religion is intolerant whether or not you exist, whether or not people worship it, whether or not people pay it any mind. Do you see the non-exclusive relationship I presumed was already obvious? It is not simply because your religion is intolerant that David relieved himself on your savior’s likeness, but because it represents little to no value to his fictional character. Here, I’ll settle this once and for all in a way that simultaneously clears David’s actions and relieves your stress: Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t real. It’s a scripted (often improvised) television program that is set in a world similar to our reality, but slightly off-kilter. David isn’t really playing himself, the woman portraying his wife on the program is not his real-life wife (although now ex-wife). The events, although inspired by reality, never actually occurred. Possibly in this Jewish ethnocentric (though self-deprecating) fictional land called “Hollywood,” Jesus doesn’t represent what he does in our reality. Honestly, I can’t argue any longer it’s been fun but I’ll have to throw in the towel and begin packing for communist China, comrade. Keep fighting the good fight Tito. I hope we can remain friends, nay Brothers!

  • So in the case of Tito, you hurl the absurd accusation of his being intolerant all the while demonstrating the very same kind of intolerance you purportedly detested in Tito?

    Also, you yet again wish us to concede to your assertion that it is “reasonable” for modern society to object Catholicism; yet, you’ve made no argument whatsoever as to why such a thing is “reasonable” other than to demonstrate for the nth time the very extent of not only your ineptitude in conducting (let alone, formulating) arguments but also the sheer magnitude of your own stupidity.

    Thus, any further communication with you (unless, of course, you finally decide to demonstrate some aspect of human rationality and not simply render yet again a superb immitation of the beast) would be tremendously futile.

  • Xanadu/Xavier,

    That was a good comment up until the very last sentence.

    There’s no need for that type of juvenile behavior.

    Please be charitable when engaging in dialogue.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Tito

  • I’m sorry but I hear almost every religion being made fun of these days. They weren’t targeting the Catholics. It’s a joke that makes people laugh and by making it a controversial joke, it was more popular.

6 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community (Part 5)

  • “Careers and reputations are often deemed more important than what the natural law and common good would demand (witness the Supreme Court).”

    Good post. THough I perhaps differ with some specifics you put it. I am a NAFTA supporter(it might need to be tweeked) but I think it is on the right path. I am not sure being pro NAFTA is anti Catholic but perhaps I am reading too much into your comments.

    I am curious if you would elaborate on your Supreme Court Comment. IS there a “Catholic” way to look at Const law? If so if this goes beyond the intent of the founders is it correct that the Court take power that is not delegated to them to enforce a common good? I think Archbishop Chaput would disagee looking at recent comments. I am not saying that natural law cannot be a jurisrudence for the Const. But again the court operates in the realm in the power that is given them.

    Again I am curious about that comment

  • Actually, Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus in his book “Civilization of Love” seems to hold a somewhat similar position, jh, in regard to NAFTA.

  • “Actually, Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus in his book “Civilization of Love” seems to hold a somewhat similar position, jh, in regard to NAFTA.”

    What postion is that? Again just curious. I think NAFTA needs to be tweeked as I said but it get tiresome for me to deal with Catholics on the Far Right( the horrible NAFTA Highway conspiracy) and other conspiracy theories and those on the left with their protectionist theories.

    I am saying when we are dealing with something as complicated as the NAFTA agreement there is not one “Catholic” position.

    I very much like the above post but while it speaks of looking to the Catholic commom good it seems to imply that there is a common Catholic true response to the Federal Reserve to Iraq to Nafta.

    I think that cuts off discussion and sort of lets say undermines the true intent of his post.

  • Anderson supports NAFTA but thinks reforms are necessary. I read the book when it first came out. I would have to check.

    On the other matter, I think a distinction needs to be made. And I hope my clarifications are there. I think there is such a thing as a ‘true’ Catholic response — objectively speaking. I do not believe that all moral judgments to a given situation are equal, that would be relativism. While reasonable minds may disagree on matters of prudential judgment (and none of us are barred from receiving communion as with advocating direct intrinsic evils), the fact that we can disagree often leads in my mind to a sort of relativism where our positions on other matter are almost entirely left to our discretion. I’m not saying this is anyone’s conscious thinking, but discussion of it almost seems to suggest that.

    I think there is a ‘true’ Catholic position to the war in Iraq. I’m not prepared to say what it is. The Church does not declare definitively on it for a number of reasons, but the moral principles given to us should allow us to reach a conclusion. Who is right and who is wrong at the end of the day, we will know when we die. But this does not mean that good intentions and one’s reasons simply because one thinks them derived from church teaching and principle make them a Catholic position or a “Catholic response.” I think the true Catholic response is the one *most* in accord with objective moral norms and I cannot think that even with the diversity of Catholic positions we take, all of them are ‘true’ Catholic responses. They cannot be. Again, that would be relativism.

    Because of the lack of unbiased facts, presentation, and many factors prevent the Church from definitively saying what the Catholic position is on matters where the morality is not so obvious. As it so happens, our church leadership is just as ready to divide on what is and what is not the Catholic position on some matter. And even moreso, it is not a prudent idea pastorally to tell everyone what to think on every issue and not allow some intellectual freedom as well as attempt, in the form of trial and error, to develop in moral virtue.

    In that sense, no, there is no ‘true’ Catholic response dogmatically put forward for us to readily advocate. We have to come to the best judgment we can make that we deem best in accordance with church teaching and dialogue about it and present our case the best we can. For me, in many circumstances, it tends to be a Democratic position. It seems obvious to me in a lot of cases this best reflects the teachings of the Church. This is not the case with other Catholics. While open to being wrong (and I have adapted my opinion on a number of issues because of dialogue), I think my view is profoundly Catholic and the ‘obvious’ Catholic position until I see credible reason to think otherwise.

    I’m not accusing you of thinking a certain way. I’m just commenting in general that I think that the phrase “matters of prudential judgment” which refers to non-intrinsic evils leads to some sort of relativism among Catholics where since the Church has no “official” position, we can adapt almost any view as long as we can give it a Catholic spin — or at least this is my perception of it. Whereas, I think while there is no “official” position because it is humanly impossible to verify because of the question of the source of facts, dispute about circumstances, et al, thus all are left to prudentially come to a conclusion — which in my view means that we are all seeking the Catholic position, though, we cannot precisely say what it is — and whatever position any number of Catholic positions taken are “Catholic approaches” insofar as they are based on Church teaching, but I don’t think all views necessarily take everything into account at the proportionate level they are meant to be.

    It’s just one of the things that bother me when people talk about “non-negotiables” and matters of “prudential judgment.” I hope I articulated it well enough.

  • My own personal take on the application of general principle and worldview as presented by the more-or-less complete Catholic social doctrine- is that NAFTA-economics is flawed, not in that there is a trade agreement between nations, but that economics must involve true freedom which is not merely contractual, but moral, representative of true human freedom which is connected to the ends of Man (of all mankind)- which is the proper return to God. Economics is about more than mere cumulative desires/supply-demand- but how are all the people in the chain of economic transactions affected- be it the producers/workers, the sellers, the consumers. A good critique of this kind of critique is found in William Cavanaugh’s book – Being Consumed- and it is supported by what I have read over the years in official Catholic teachings- right up to the current encyclical.

    So- if NAFTA-economics can be generalized to say that it does not include provisions that look after the welfare of workers/farmers/small communities with the rights of subsidiarity, and the environmental health – then it is a flawed approach to trade and relations between nations. The fact that Mexico was quickly abandoned as a source of cheap human labor when China opened wide- to provide huge access to cheap and hardly “free” laborers- exposed the false myth promised by NAFTA- and we see how the Mexican people feel about NAFTA as they have voted with their feet in fleeing their country for America.

    As for the Supreme Court- I resoect Archbishop Chaput very much and haven’t read his take on how we should expect our Highest Court to involve natural law reasoning and common good outcomes into their daily work- but it seems to me from reading the social doctrine that there can be no mere positive law theory of interpretation that can replace the demands of justice inscribed in the natural laws given us by God and accessible to all, but there is a big help given us by the Church- I would recommend Prof. Rice’;s book on the Natural Law, as a good application of what the Church teaches. I would compare strict contructionist interpretation theory to a Fundamentalist reading of Scripture- not a perfect analogy of course given the uniqueness of Scripture and Catholic Magisterial guidance

  • I don’t think there can be, or ought to be, a defined “Catholic” position on EVERY single political or economic issue, for the simple reason that the Catholic Church, by definition, crosses economic and political boundaries — it’s universal; that’s what the name means! The kind of political or economic or military policies that “work” for one nation, or at one particular time in history, aren’t necessarily going to work in another nation, another culture, or at another time. So there has to be some flexibility.

    What the Catholic (Universal) Church does is set forth universal principles –protection of innocent human life, of the poor and vulnerable, of the family as the basic unit of society, and of human dignity (including religious freedom). How these basic principles are best applied at a given time and place and in a given situation is what lay people are called to figure out, and to do.

    Although the “non negotiable” issues with absolutely no room for compromise like abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage get most of the attention, it seems to me that the vast majority of economic and political issues are matters of prudence about which faithful Catholics are free to disagree, and to change their minds — and this is as it should be.

Catholic View of the Political Community (part 4)

Sunday, June 28, AD 2009

We continue the test of our Catholic worldview on the subject of the role of the Political Community- drawing upon Chapter 8 in the authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. We have looked at the Old Testament (#377-378) and Jesus’ interaction with political authorities #379) to see the development of doctrine relating to how we are to regard the political community. Now we turn to “The early Christian communities”.

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9 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community (part 4)

  • Criticism of rulers is not necessarily being anti-government. Criticism of govt. that one prudently believes violates subsidiarity is also legitimate. While the govt. does look after the common good, as you read the Compendium you will find that all persons are responsible for the common good even if they are not directly involved in legislation. Thus subsidiarity. Nor do I believe most people here think govts. only role is a strong military. Poor strawman argument.

  • Rulers are singled out for special prayers in Christian circles for good reason- just like political leaders getting opportunities to have private meetings with the popes- it is because there is an implicit recognition that these people have a special role to play in securing the common good- even though we all have some role in the mix.

    And my own criticism is directed I suppose more generally at the harsher critiques of governing authority as a necessary agent for establishing societal rule based upon natural law- I don’t know who reads American Catholic, I don’t write as if I know everyone who is going to come across these posts- I know that there are many Grover Norquist fans out and about- with his talk about having government shrunk down to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub ( thanks for that reminder Joe!). That definitely sounds like it is out-of-bounds for Catholics to believe such a thing.

    I find it interesting that even a post that is written as a general instruction like this one, somehow finds a way to be viewed as a personal attack on some here at American Catholic. I am too busy to keep up with who’s who even around here- I have an impression from many things I read and see, and from people I know and argue with in my daily life- I know that people exist who really and truly hate pretty much all government “interference” and believe that taxes are theft, and see government’s role as being military and police almost exclusively- these aren’t straw men, these are people I know, people I consider friends to some degree even, some are Cathlic- maybe these people aren’t you- but they exist- and they aren’t limiting themselves to simple criticism of rulers.

    I think there is a danger in that streak of anti-authoritarianism that many Americans attribute to our Revolutionary beginnings- but my central thesis is that authority is necessary and good as all authority ultimately derives from God- and we mustn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater- we shouldn’t undermine the true nature and role of the political community as taught by the official Church by denying the fact that those in authority have a special responsibility to ensure the common good by applying the natural law according to the virtue of prudence.

  • Fair enough. It seems we agree that govt. itself is a good. At the same time there is a small group that sees all govt. as evil, there are also those (probably larger group) that sees govt. as the solution to all problems. Thus the authoritative teaching that subsidiarity must be observed and the govt. to intervene only when more immediate bodies cannot address the problem.

    This is because the political community is not govt. Govt. is part of the political community but the political community is broader, encompassing social, cultural, professional communities etc. These communities, through the human persons involving them, have a profound role in shapine the community as a whole.

  • To correct. The political community does not exhaust the community as a whole. The community as a whole comprises other human societies which the political is obliged to respect. Thus the role of subsidiarity.

  • I have often wondered why Catholic conservatives don’t call more attention to the principle of subsidarity, which is urgently needed as a balance between nanny-state big-government liberalism and the rigid anti-government philosophies like Objectivism or libertarianism.

    Subsidarity, properly understood, does NOT leave the poor or disadvantaged out in the cold, or treat all government as evil or all taxation as theft. It simply assigns responsibility for meeting the needs of the vulnerable to the lowest level of societal organization that is capable of meeting those needs.

    As I see it the individual is the lowest rung on this ladder, followed by the family, the religious/cultural community to which the family belongs, larger voluntary organizations (i.e. private charities, fraternal or social organizations), then up the ladder of government from the smallest unit (town, city, school district) through state and finally federal govt.

    The next highest level of organization steps in when the one below it cannot meet the need, and ONLY then. Now there will be times when this balance shifts or changes due to economic or social conditions — i.e. families or private charities can’t handle taking care of the poor so government steps in. However, the goal should always be to get needs met at the lowest possible level and to shift that responsibility back down to the local level when and if conditions allow.

    Now I haven’t done an extensive study of the concept of subsidarity so if I’m getting off base here feel free to correct me. Subsidarity doesn’t regard any layer of society (private or government) as superfluous or evil or unneccessary, it just insists that they keep their proper place in the scheme of things. It also recognizes that all these spheres are interdependent upon one another to some extent, and don’t function in a vaccuum.

    I think some of the debate going about about how to deal with state budget crises and social services would be a lot more sensible if people had a proper grasp of this concept.

    Instead of pitting private sector workers against government employees, or the family struggling to pay rising income/property taxes against the family with a disabled child who relies upon tax-funded programs to pay for the child’s care, in some kind of imagined fight to the death which one must win and the other lose, maybe EVERYONE would realize that we are all ultimately in the same boat. And instead of being at each other’s throats or insisting that someone else must do without so that I can have more, we might be willing to work together for a truly responsible government, which benefits everyone. Well, at least I can dream about that.

  • The complexity in dealing with subsidiarity right now is that we have all of these global forces in operation- multinational banks and corporations- they aren’t shy about exerting pressure on local, state, and federal governments- if one level holds strong they seem to be able to go over their heads- and I’m troubled by the legal person status given to corporations in this country- that can’t be good when you start treating a corporation as a minority with human rights in a community of real persons who don’t want that corporation to be or to stop doing something that is harming the community in some way.

    So- subsidiarity must be seen in the context of the universal common good, and global solidarity- we are one human family because we have One Father in Heaven, and His Son our Christ the King has commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves, and that has to have political implications when you have political and economic systems setting the conditions of life for children and families everywhere. And if we are Americans, we know that our collective influence is quite profound globally. We have to make sure we are being guided by natural law and not imperial drive- that is the great challenge for all of us- of course we have differing levels of personal power, so we are to be judged only by what we do with what we have. Like in the talents parable.

    We will see in the next part what happens when government (good) is being run by bad person (s) doing very bad things- when you subvert something that God intends to be a Good for society, then beware- like C.S. Lewis wrote- “the higher, the more in danger”.

  • Subsidiarity is a fundamental principle as is the common good and solidarity. The lowest body capable of taking care of such issues must. If that is through an international body, so be it. But that is an argument to be made and not self-evident from the current economic crisis per se. And that is consistent with love and charity in Christ. As the Church authoritatively teaches.

  • I am anxiously awaiting Pope Benedict’s take on the situation as it stands today with the Encyclical to be released in the next week or so- I am sure it will reflect the same worldview as previous social encyclical, but it will have the most direct application of that worldview to our current socio-economic conditions. It should be an excellent starting point for dialogue among the orthodoxy and with all those of goodwill.

  • As I’ve noted before on this blog, I don’t like paying taxes any more than anyone else, and there does come a point when the burdens of taxation outweigh the benefits, leading to economic stagnation or collapse as businesses and families stop spending money or move elsewhere. Tax hikes should be a last resort only when all other means have failed.

    However, I also have little if any sympathy for rabid anti-tax folks like Norquist who display indifference at best and contempt at worst for the real human beings who rely upon government services or who work for the government. I agree with Tim that his “drowning government in the bathtub” analogy is pretty disturbing when you think about it.

    Arguing against tax hikes on reasonable grounds such as their potential effect on future business/employment growth, or the need to foster self-sufficiency and personal responsibility at a lower level of society, is good. However, to insist that society can be neatly divided between parasitical “tax eaters” and long-suffering “tax payers,” as if the two groups have no interests in common and never overlap, is in my opinion a gross distortion or oversimplification of the issues involved.

The Greatest in the Kingdom

Friday, June 26, AD 2009

“At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, ‘Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.'” (Matthew 18:1-6)

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Catholic View of the Political Community (Part 2)

Monday, June 15, AD 2009

Here I continue with the slow build-up of an authentic Catholic worldview on the true nature of the Political Community- as outlined by the authoritative Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (Chapter 8). This second paragraph contains more of the Old Testament outlook on Kingship, with the earthly kings of Israel finding their deepest fulfillment in Christ the King. But there is more to be said about the political community and responsibilities of citizen(s) and ruler(s). We will see the development in the social doctrine as we go forward through the Compendium’s teachings. We cannot point to one specific epoch in the history of the Church and the Chosen People, and make final assertions about things- we must look closely at how the current doctrines of the Church have developed, so we can see the consistent core principles. Here goes with paragraph 378:

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Who Killed Christ

Friday, April 10, AD 2009

When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.”

And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:24-27

These short lines have, through the fallen nature of humanity, caused their fair share of trouble over the centuries. The gospel message, through primarily one of hope and redemption, contains one dark undertone: Christ died for our sins. The one truly perfect being suffered horrifically because of our too clear imperfection.

It is in our nature to shy away from that which is unpleasant, and so it is perhaps no surprise that throughout history some Christians have attempted to assuage their own consciences by pointing the finger of blame at an obvious target: the Jews.

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7 Responses to Who Killed Christ

  • Mirrors are always good when asking the question who killed Christ. They are also good when asking the question who can be saved by Christ.

  • The real answer to the question, “Who killed Christ?” is: We did.

    More correctly: I did.

    “anti-Semitic one.

    At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

  • At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

    Not at all. The sense in which I wanted to refer to an “anti-Semitic” interpretation would be if one is saying, “The Jews, those people over there, certainly no one like me, they were the one’s who killed Christ.”

    As a historical matter, it was clearly the Jewish leaders and mob who called for Christ’s death.

  • DC,

    thanks for clarifying, you are of course quite right.

  • More correctly: I did.

    Why is this “more correct” than “we did”? Can you explain? Are you some kind of liberal individualist?

  • Pontius Pilot, personally believing in Our Lord’s innocence, did not want to impose his views upon the masses. He, thus, washed his hands of guilt.

    Much as we do when we remain silent in defense of the unborn!

    Primary Principle: Thou Shalt Not Kill Innocent Human Life! Silence is complicity!