Recently in Other Christians Category

Just when one kerfuffle over the automatic-writing mystic Vassula Ryden is announced, along comes another.

Now the Orthodox Church of Cyprus issued a statement about her on January 13. The Synodical Committee for Matters of Heresy --

By the way, isn't that a great name? Sure, we have a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is a nice, positive-sounding name, but some issues really deserve a statement coming from an organization that gets right to the point. This is about identifying, defining, combating and routing heresy. I'll send a little note to Levada and see if he-- well, I'll do that later.

The Synodical Committee for Matters of Heresy warned:

In reality, her teachings are heretical, and her claims that she communicates directly with Christ are fantastical and outside of the spirit of the experience of the our Church.

So how many Orthodox Churches have issued warnings against her: Greece? Cyprus? The Patriarchate of Constantinople? Does she plan to stop in at church offices to collect the condemnations on her tour?

There are probably more to come!

I just finished reading the anthology Anglicans and the Roman Catholic Church: Reflections on Recent Developments, edited by Stephen Cavanaugh (Ignatius Press).

The collection of essays is an orientation to the "Anglican Use" phenomenon by some of its leading advocates: the book covers its origins and development, its current status and possible future, with helpful articles about liturgy, ecumenism, and the experience of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.

I'm particularly grateful for the articles on liturgy. Brother John-Bede Pauley, OSB's essay on the monastic character in Anglican liturgy is a help in understanding what the "Anglican patrimony" means as a gift to the Church. Prof. Hans-Jürgen Feulner's introduction to comparative liturgy and its use in studying the development of rites and texts indicates the sort of studies the Church will need in order to develop a set of rites for the new Anglican Ordinariates. These will need to be suitable for the Ordinariates in various countries, and thus will have to improve on the current Book of Divine Worship, developed hastily in the 1980s for "Anglican-use" congregations in the US; it drew heavily on texts of that era: the U.S. Episcopalian 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the 1975 ICEL Roman Missal (soon to become obsolete).

Anglican writer David Virtue notes:

In the DIOCESE OF NORTHERN INDIANA, Bishop Edward Little and his Roman Catholic counterpart, Bishop John D'Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne/South Bend, jointly sponsored an event, titled "An Introduction to the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue." During the evening event, which began with prayer in the church, both bishops underscored the need for closer ties and better understanding of one another's churches. The Anglican presentation focuses on the importance of local clergy and laity beginning to receive and study the work of the 40-year-old Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue and relationship. "It is time to break down the very big theological agreements into stages of reception, so that these agreements can become part of the daily life in the churches. Embittered relations have surely run their course, especially in today's world of ever more intricate networks."

Much as I appreciate Bp. D'Arcy, isn't he wasting his time? It would be more realistic to say that the official Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue has run its course. It produced various common declarations, each of them fruitless.

In contrast, the new and less structured dialogue between conservative Anglicans and the Catholic Church may actually result in some Christians moving into visible unity.

Grant this, O Lord.

An announcement at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/calendar_90662_ENG_HTM.htm

Hip Hop Schoolhouse
Saturday, October 13, 2007 - Sunday, October 14, 2007
Location: St. Paul's (Episcopal) Cathedral, Boston MA

All are welcome at St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, Massachusetts on October 13 at 5:30 p.m. for the HipHopEMass 'Big Bean' Celebration with the newest Hip Hop Bishop, 'Great Momma' Gayle Harris.

On October 14, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., the Cathedral will then host HipHopEMass Schoolhouse where the elements of Hip Hop, theology of Hip Hop, Hip Hop liturgy and evangelization will be introduced.

Hip Hop liturgy; what could that be like?

At the Entrance:

Priest: Yo, God's in da House!
People: Word!


At the Dismissal:

Priest: Peace out!
People: A'ight!

(HT to the MCJ.)

A rollback wouldn't be a bad idea

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A couple of years ago, Rod Dreher was a Catholic, distressed to the max over corruption in the priesthood, and worried about the spiritually polluted Church. He eventually talked himself out of the Church, on the grounds that if he were to stay, then his kids might not remain Christians at all. He did it for the children, not because of any doctrinal issues.

Now, Rod's a member of one of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and writing about the mysterious workings of God's grace -- about how some phony Orthodox monks in Texas, in spite of the spiritual frauds and sex crimes they committed, had accidentally brought about some good in the late '90s: that Rod met a young Protestant lady who would eventually become his wife. They were, despite everything, once a means of grace, he says.

To some extent, I'm pleased to see this attitude in Rod: a recognition that God accomplishes some good even despite sin and corruption. Here he seems to lack the harshness and anger with which he suffered for years.

Rod admits he was conned: he had his ears tickled by claims of a weeping icon, and he was fooled by the pseudo-monks there who blessed him and his fiancee. But if he's admitting that he didn't have good discernment then, doesn't that call into question his more recent discernment about leaving the Catholic Church? Wouldn't it be proper for him to go back to the status he had in 1996? Or is he going to switch to a pre-Chalcedonian Church now?

derjavnaja-icon.jpgThis icon, the image of the Mother of God "Reigning", is visiting Russian Orthodox churches in the United States this month as part of a celebration at the restoration of full communion between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Russian Orthodox diaspora. Tonight it's at a church in Boston.

It has an interest for Catholics too, related to its history. This icon became known in Russia in 1917, and it was discovered in a village church on the very day Tsar Nicholas II abdicated the throne.

The miracle-working “Reigning” icon of the Mother of God was found the same day on which Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II abdicated the Russian throne— March 2/15, 1917. The Russian Orthodox people accepted this occurrence as a witness that the ultimate authority over and care for Russia had passed to the Heavenly Queen Herself.

The idea that Our Lady, the Queen of Heaven, was also becoming the particular protector of Russia reminds us, of course, of the Fatima message, which Our Lady disclosed to the seers there starting on May 13, 1917. It is therefore rather nice that she started to reveal her role as Queen of Russia on February 13 of that year:

On February 13, 1917, the Most Holy Mother of God appeared in a dream to the peasant girl, Eudocia Adrianova, and spoke to her these words: “There is a large, dark icon in the village of Kolomenskoe. It must be taken from there; the people must pray.” On February 26, in a second dream, the girl saw a white church and a majestic Lady within it. The peasant girl decided to search for the church she had seen in her dream. On March 2 in the village of Kolomenskoe, near Moscow, she recognized the Church of the Lord’s Ascension as that very church. A diligent search by the girl and the church’s rector revealed a large, dark icon of the Mother of God—the very image that had revealed itself to Eudocia in her dream.
The icon's name corresponds to its iconography. The Theotokos is represented as the Queen of Heaven and Earth. Dressed in a green gown and red garments reminiscent of an imperial mantle, She is seated upon a throne, her right hand bearing a scepter, her left hand resting upon the monarchical orb. Upon Her head is a crown encircled by a golden halo. The Infant Christ sits upon her knees, His right hand raised in blessing, His left hand pointing towards the monarchical orb.

Voice of Russia radio has the moving story this week of a woman raised under the Soviet atheistic system, who trained for the Soviet foreign service. Living far away in affluent Washington, she began to feel the mysterious stirrings of God in her heart, drawing her to re-examine her life and become a Christian believer. To hear the program, select the broadcast from Saturday 0800; the "Christian Message from Moscow" feature starts at 31 minutes into the hour.

Well, yes, it is schism

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A reader sent in a note today with the sad news that our brother in Christ, Rod Dreher, has separated himself from the Catholic Church. To confirm it, he quoted a message he received from Fr. Joseph Fester, associate priest of St. Seraphim Cathedral, which is in Dallas. Fr. Fester wrote that "Rod is a recent convert to Orthodoxy, here at St. Seraphim's."

As I wrote in May, "Unless breaking communion with Rome has a positive value for someone, it's hard to see a way to justify the departure."

Rod's justifications for it seem tinged with a certain air of compromise: ten years ago, he wrote, he urged an Evangelical friend to opt for the Catholic Church, and the friend replied that his kids were likelier to remain Christians if he were to become Orthodox. At the time, Rod "humphed at this, and told him that if the arguments for Catholicism are true, that's all he needs to know, that the rest would sort itself out."

Now Rod is "doing it for the children" too. In May, he wrote: "It's hard to separate the intellectual from the emotional in all this, especially because I really am a Papa Bear about protecting my kids, physically and spiritually. And yet, and yet ... is Catholicism true? Is Orthodoxy true? Is Orthodoxy true enough?"

This doesn't read like the words of a man who thinks that the truth of the Catholic religion is inferior to that of the Orthodox religion: it reads like a man talking himself into a compromise: settle for an alternative that is not quite as true as the Catholic faith, and hope that it's "true enough" to accomplish one's salvation.

Perhaps he thought that being in a smaller, purer, more supportive community will be better for his kids than being in the Catholic Church. And it may turn out to be as he wishes. But ultimately the salvation of others depends on the providence of God, and sacrificing the truth, even in a small way, to accomplish some intended good, reveals a lack of steadfast faith in that providence.

Having said all that, I do pray for Rod: that if he has committed any grave fault or fallen into error, may God have mercy on him and come to aid him.

Maybe the man is getting loopy in his old age, in which case somebody ought to gently shuffle him out of the broadcast studio permanently. You may recall that Rev. Pat Robertson blamed the ACLU and feminists (among others) for the September 11 terrorist attacks. I yield to nobody in my disagreement with both of those groups, but since Mohammad Atta and his merry men were not First Amendment fetishists, nor did they believe in "equal work for equal pay," that remark was more than unfair.

Pat has also expressed support for nuking the State Department. Today, Pat thinks that the little town of Dover, Pennsylvania might get smited for throwing out politicians they don't like:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching intelligent design....

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever," Robertson said. "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."

Having worked for a company owned by an eccentric religious megalomaniac, I feel like I have some insight into Robertson's mentality. He has been around for so long, commands such a vast not-for-profit empire, and has absorbed so much criticism (deserved and undeserved), that he knows he can say pretty much whatever he wants without any consequence. Otherwise, why would he presume to know God's motivations for permitting a particular evil?

Reverend Robertson, for the sake of the religion you profess, I beg you: please shut up.

Update: Blogs4God expresses similar thoughts at greater length, with a bonus critique of a cretinous editorial by USA Today that "intelligent design is the scientifically untestable theory that life forms and the universe are so complex that a higher being must have been involved in making them. Put another way, it's creationism with clever new packaging."

Creationism is the belief that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that all life sprang de novo from the hand of God. Intelligent design accepts that the earth is millions of years old, but attempts to show that it is mathematically improbable that mere chance can explain the emergence of new species, or the formation of complex biological processes at the molecular level. In that sense, it is falsifiable: orthodox Darwinians simply have to show that all of the staggeringly complex biochemical reactions within higher organisms could be the result of chance.

Coptic Christians, who make up about 5-10% of Egypt's people, are not hiding in a corner and hoping the violent Islamists who threaten society there will, Inshallah, go away. Instead, last year their pope protested attempts to force Christians to convert to Islam; now, a church in Alexandria has the fortitude to denounce the criminals via a dramatic performance. What do the Islamists' supporters do to protest this unjust criticism? One stabbed a nun this week and a crowd came straight from Friday prayers to riot at the church. That'll prove those infidels wrong!

Remember our brothers and sisters who suffer for the Christian faith.

A bunch of anti-Catholic fanatics vandalized the altar of a Catholic church in Alabama toward the end of a Mass Sunday. I wonder whether they know it's a Federal offense; conservatives got that provision into the same law that prohibits blockading an abortion mill.

The priest -- in a savvy move -- wouldn't allow the press to photograph the ruined, toppled altar, lest it "glorify" the violence. But that's not to suggest that we gloss over this crime and fail to prosecute it. A trial and a verdict will display the truth about the crime, and that's necessary; society's good and the church's safety demand that. After that we can talk about clemency.

Is it too much to hope that this will be the beginning of some relationship between these misguided people and the parish? These four are gonna need somebody to visit them in the Pen.

(via Amy.)

Putin at Mount Athos

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Some people worry that the words of our Lady at Fatima haven't been fulfilled yet: that Russia hasn't been converted, but when the head of state openly embraces the Christian faith to the extent Putin has, it's something. Is it enough to counter his ominous saber-rattling toward his neighbors?

By the way, scroll down on that second link for an amusing story about Pope Benedict paying off a bet with a reporter.

Sympathies

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The killing of Brother Roger, the 90-year-old founder of the Taize monastery, is a shock. May the Lord of eternal life bring all consolation to the friends of Taize.

In hoc signo, plant tomatoes!

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Monday morning I went to visit this wonderful Orthodox church, actually a privately-owned chapel built by a Greek immigrant farming community in Alabama. It's a curious story.

"Credo in nullum Deum"?

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Is there something in the water in Scandinavia? Do they just have a natural inclination to the absurd? A year after a minister in Denmark's Evangelical Lutheran Church was suspended for denying the existence of God, he's back, since as his supervising bishop indicates, "although he disagrees with Grosboell's views there should be room for him in Denmark's state church."

Ecumenical overload!

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When I visited my Capuchin buddy Fr. Matthew last month, an old college friend of his was there for the occasion too, and together they told a story about how they traveled to Italy once, including some time in Rome. They went to visit the churches together, but Matthew's friend is an Evangelical, so some of the Catholic practices he saw there were more than a bit foreign to him. Matthew's devoted to the saints, and likes to express it by venerating their relics, which when you get down to it is a bit shocking to a good Bible Christian.

One day when they were visiting a church, Matthew saw an altar under which the relics of a martyr were displayed for the veneration of the faithful, so he knelt before it for a minute, and his friend asked what he was doing.

"Well, that's Saint (so-and-so)."
"He's buried here?"
"No." (And pointing to the remains:) "He's not under that: that's him. I'm asking him to bless my rosary." And he went back to his prayers.

Now, in telling the story, the Protestant chap laughs and says: my brain just fried then.

It's understandable. Just look at all the stuff going on, all of which would be shocking to a good Evangelical:
(1) Matthew was venerating a saint's relics!
(2) He was talking to the saint!
(3) He was asking him to do something!
(4) He was asking the saint to bless something!
(5) And the thing he was asking him to bless was a set of rosary beads for praying to the Virgin Mary!

It was a Catholic trifecta plus two.

Andrew Stuttaford, National Review Online's resident skeptic, is often priggish about other people being priggish. To him, any call to rein in one's personal behavior brings us closer to the Fourth Reich, and any expression of religious belief is dangerous to his ideal world of fuzzy gray agnosticism.

I wrote about Stuttaford last year, and so I won't repeat my criticisms. However, when he says something that is demonstrably false to support his worldview, it's worth refuting. Here is his post on NRO's The Corner, praising an atheist's essay about the Church of England:

The London Spectator does not, incredibly, allow access to its web site these days even to subscribers (like me) of its print edition unless they pay an extra charge, and thats a shame because it means that Matthew Parris brilliant and curiously moving - article on the Church of England wont get the readership it deserves.

Its never easy to explain the traditional English attitude to religion (which used to find many an echo over here too) to those outside Albion, but Parris (an atheist, as it happens) does as well as Ive ever seen:

The Established Churchunderstood in her bones two great truths: the English are wary about religion; but the English do not want to be atheists. To the English mind, atheism itself carries an unpleasant whiff of enthusiasm. To the English mind, the universe is a very mysterious thing and should be allowed to remain so. And so the English church became what up to our own day it has always remained: a God-fearing receptacle for intelligent doubt; the marrying of a quietist belief in order, duty, decency and the evident difference between right and wrong with a shrewd suspicion that anyone who thinks he can be sure of more than that is probably dangerousThat right at the center of [English] national life, should for so long have stood this great and lovely edifice of sort-of religion, adorned (through her buildings, her rituals, her art and her music) with so much beauty, so much grace and so much balm for troubled spirits, and served in her priesthood by so many luminously decent men, has surely for centuries helped confound atheism on the one hand, and serious religious enthusiasm on the other. Not so much religious belief as religious relief, this has calmed everybody down. You really dont need to decide, has been Anglicanisms refrain, and besides, who knows?

Amen

This is ahistorical nonsense, a falsehood wrapped in willfull ignorance and tied up with a bow of anti-religious poppycock. Of course the English people don't want to be atheists; no people on Earth have managed to be thoroughly atheistic, including the Russians, who gave it the old Slavic try for decades, murdering millions of people in the name of state supremacy over God's law. Even the French aren't that foolish.

As for the essayist's first point, I am intrigued to know how he manages to refute the entire history of his nation until the twentieth century. I am no expert on England, but I did take two semesters of British history, and (like most Americans) I know more about English religious history than any other country, as it is so bound up with our own past. There are so many counter-examples that one could write for hours about it.

Chaucer seemed to think that England was a religious nation; indeed, he thought it was so obvious that he never bothered to comment on it. Read the "Canterbury Tales" and see a nation permeated from top to bottom with explicitly religious ideas, where monks, priests, and nuns were a part of the everyday landscape.

Saint Sir Thomas More was not beheaded in 1534 for refusing to knuckle under to a "sort-of religion."

Shakespeare's England was roiling with religious controversies. Queen Elizabeth's government carried out an ongoing campaign to exterminate Catholicism within her realm, which was stoutly resisted by many of her subjects, particularly in the north. The Church of England may have said many things at that time, but "You really dont need to decide...and besides, who knows?" was not one of them. It was, "Worship in our churches or be suspected of sedition and get fined, possibly get arrested, and if we figure out you are a Papist you could have your innards boiled in front of you as you shriek in pain and your family watches you die. Then we'll confiscate your lands and possessions and your family can wander in the street, penniless and starving."

There was a general decline in religious observance, during the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. Thanks to the superhuman efforts of the evangelicals, most especially the Wesleys — themselves Anglicans, though their followers became known as the Methodists — the nineteenth century was a time of religious revival. By the time of the Oxford Movement, when John Henry Newman leveled charges of laxity against the Anglican communion, his critics did not say that "the universe is a very mysterious thing and should be allowed to remain so." They said he was wrong, and the Church of England was a bastion of Christendom.

It may well be true that the English people have settled in for a European-style agnostic fatalism (i.e., an embrace of the Culture of Death). I've been to England a few times, but I don't want to generalize from my experiences, and perhaps Stuttaford and Parris are right. If that is true, then that attitude is a very recent vintage, and one way or another it will disappear: either because the English rediscover their roots, or because they will disappear like the other Europeans by aborting and contracepting themselves out of existence. Either way, secularist agnosticism is a dead-end, and cannot last.

From USA Today:

Charles Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Atlanta, rose to address about 3,000 worshipers gathered for the 9 a.m. service Sunday and cut right to the point.

"He's probably the kindest pope I've ever known in all my years," said Stanley, who became senior pastor of the now 15,000-member church in 1971. "He's the only one who's every apologized for the persecution that Catholics have brought upon other peoples."

This was a little tactless, ya gotta admit. It makes Dr. Stanley sound as if the injustices of religious persecution had all been committed on one side. Does he need to look up from his copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs and notice the Reformation-inspired persecution of Catholics? Has anybody volunteered yet to express regret before God and man for the martyrdoms, say, of English and Irish Catholics? How about that of St. Fidelis in Switzerland? I don't know if it's been done -- I hope somebody's done it -- but it would at least be a good thing.

Since the following comment from the thread on Tim Drake's new book was, for lack of a better expression, off-topic, I thought I would re-post it here:

-----------
Why would anyone accept Peter Vere's opinions? Even the Adoremus Bulletin disagrees with his views (see the letters section in the October 2004 edition of the Adoremus Bulletin). He likes to think that he doesn't criticize traditional Catholics as a whole, yet his many writings (letters, articles, etc) tend to lean in that direction.

The bottom line is that like many modern Catholics, he does not know anything about the Traditional Latin Mass, fails to define it in accord with traditional Church teaching, and fails to know its true history and development. Tim Drake has this same problem! They lack intellectual honesty. Yet Vere will say he attends the "old" Mass but where is his defense of it? He is more of a critic of the traditionalist movement than a friend. Meanwhile, the Church is being infiltrated with blasphemies such as the charismatic pentecostal-style Life Teen Mass and the "gay mass", but no books or articles are written against these issues by neo-catholics, yet the Traditionalist movement, which is far less common in the Church, is more criticized

-fr. adler, STL
-----------------------

Anyway, time for another plug of More Catholic Than The Pope...

White liberals think that because non-white minorities tend to vote for Democrats in America, therefore the Darker People (as they think of them) in the rest of the world must be secular liberals.

This is exacerbated by American universities, which, in their zeal to foist their warped ideology on young minds, trains non-whites to think of their skin color first in their intellectual formation. The schools also established things like Third World Studies and African Studies, where entire regions are seen primarily through the prism of exploitation, colonialism, and racism.

So it must be a continuing surprise every time the Darker People show they have not only minds of their own, but spines. How much more awful when the DP, having received the Gospel, refuse to abandon it for money.

The Anglican bishops of Africa deeply disagree with their Anglo-American co-religionists on the acceptance of homosexual acts and unions. Their faith teaches them that those acts are gravely sinful. While they are poor, they refuse to give in to their richer (and increasingly less numerous) white brethren.

In their latest gutsy move, the African Anglican bishops have agreed to pull their theological students from corrupt Western schools:

The Primate of Nigeria, Peter Akinola, put it bluntly: "Now we have discovered that they have a new theology and a new religion we feel it would be dangerous for the future of our church to continue to send our own future leaders to those institutions."
I nominate the Anglican bishops of Africa for the Catholic Light Total Badass award for November.

Grant this, O Lord

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Mark Shea is on his rock-star tour of Australia, itinerantly teaching about the Faith and spending time with some dear Auzzies. He's speaking at an Anglican conference this weekend, and got to meet Anglican bishop Ross Davies, who affirms the Catholic faith, rejects heresies, and wants, together with his priests, to be in full communion with Rome. It looks like contacts with CDF are in the works. More from Mark here.

(Thanks to Jeff)..

"The Vanishing Protestant Majority"

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The Protestant ethic, long a subject of great interest to numerous generations of scholars (including the esteemed sociologist Max Weber), is one of the most debated subjects within the field of sociology. This recent report authored by two sociologists at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center brings to light the fact that for the first time in the history of the United States, members of the Protestant faith will no longer constitute the majority of the population within the foreseeable future. The 23-page report, authored by Tom W. Smith and Seokho Kim, notes that the percentage of Protestants in the national population shrank from 63 percent in 1993 to 52 percent in 2002. Another interesting finding of the report notes that from 1993 to 2002 the number of people who said they had no religion rose from 9 percent to nearly 14 percent.
(From the Scout Report internet newsletter.)

Non-Catholic Elliot Bougis, a teacher over in Taiwan who's been standing in for Mark Shea at the CAEI blog, has announced that he's going to become either Catholic or Orthodox, with about a 90% probability for the Catholic option. It sounds like the decision has been under consideration for a long time, and it's happy news. Congratulations, Elliot.

I think Elliot knows his way around the Church already, but if there's anything we can do to help, do drop in!

The original Jews for Jesus

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Sal's post on Jews for Jesus reminded me that one of their members gave me a pamphlet today, and I want to send them a thank-you note. Although I'd rather they were Catholic, it's infinitely better to be baptized Protestant than not to be baptized at all, and I admire them canvassing for recruits in Lafayette Park, right across from the White House.

It also reminded me of the original Jews for Jesus:

Salvador Dal: The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955)

Bum rap for Cdl. Kasper

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The Vatican's chief official for relations with other Christians gave a speech Friday morning. Here's how our friends at Catholic World News led the story:

Cardinal Kasper backs "Eucharistic hospitality"

Vatican , Jun. 18 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, has said that "Eucharistic hospitality" is licit in some circumstances.

Speaking at a major conference of German Catholics in the city of Ulm on June 18, Cardinal Kasper said that "there are circumstances when a non-Catholic can receive Communion at a Catholic Mass."

The CWN writer suggests that the Cardinal is at odds with the Pope's recent writings and Vatican directives on the question of non-Catholics and Holy Communion:
In his 2003 encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Pope John Paul II devoted most of a chapter to the issue, stressing that non-Catholics should not receive Communion. The Pope argued forcefully that the practice of intercommunion is an offense against ecumenism, not an aid, because it creates the false impression that non-Catholics share the Church's teaching on the nature of the Eucharist.

In the recent instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum , the Congregation for Divine Worship reiterated that stand, emphasizing that under any normal circumstances "Eucharistic hospitality" is a grave abuse.

And as you might expect, readers chimed in with expressions of outrage:
"Kaspar is an embarrassment to Catholicism. His positions are heretical and reflective of an apostate who has lost the faith...."

"Cardinal Kasper should be given the boot out of the Vatican's door...."

"What a joke - the head of the council for Christian Unity doing everything he can to destroy unity in the Church. ..."

Now, I don't know where CWN got their impression of the Cardinal's speech, because their article does not reflect what he said on this subject. The term "Eucharistic hospitality" does not appear in the speech. The statement about circumstances in which non-Catholics may receive Communion isn't his opinion: he's citing the Code of Canon Law.

All in all, I think the CWN piece misrepresents the Cardinal's speech, so here's the relevant passage, available from the conference website (my translation):

The Southern Baptist Convention voted yesterday to sever its 99-year relationship with the Baptist World Alliance on the grounds that it includes a Baptist denomination with openly homosexual members.

This is a huge controversy among the Baptists. It's worth reading the whole article to get the gist of it. What they need is a universal magisterium and less autonomy. Though even with the gifts God has bestowed on His true Church, we're still plagued with similar issues of faithfulness to Church teaching.

Yes for Kiev

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Now this is one for the geek Catholics: obscure intra-Church stuff with an ecumenical angle.

The Ukrainian Catholic Church has petitioned the Pope to be raised to the dignity of a patriarchal Church -- giving its principal archbishop the title of Patriarch of Kiev. In practice, their clergy have been using the title for years. Since the Russian Orthodox Church gave itself the same status many years ago, it only seems fitting that the Ukrainian Church, which was founded earlier, should have it too. The prelates of the Russian Orthodox Church, however, don't take kindly to the idea.

Here's a statement from Ukrainian Catholic bishop Basil Losten.

Good Orthodox smackdown

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One thing I like about the Orthodox Eastern Churches: they have bishops who don't fool around with being polite about the weird heresies that come from sexual confusion.

In October, after some Russian priest performed a wedding ceremony for two guys, not only did his bishop defrock him, he had the chapel razed. I'm not saying I approve of doing that, but it does demand respect.

After the Robinson consecration in November the Russian Orthodox Church told PECUSA officially there wasn't any point in talking any more.

the 'consecration' of a gay priest has made any communications with him and with those who consecrated him impossible. We shall not be able to cooperate with these people not only in the theological dialogue, but also in the humanitarian and religious and pubic spheres. We have no right to allow even a particle of agreement with their position, which we consider to be profoundly antiChritian and blasphemous.
[Don't blame me for those two typos, folks: they're verbatim. Besides, we might get some search-engine hits out of 'em.]

The arrogant "progressives" don't hesitate to preach their false gospel even to venerable prelates, and sometimes the prelates give 'em a good smackdown. Hawk-eyed Lee Penn quotes Episcopalian bishop William Swing on his attempt to instruct the Ecumenical Patriarch:

I mentioned that I have ordained more women than any other bishop in the history of the Church and would be glad to talk about my experience. He said, 'I don't want to know your experience.' That was that.
God grant the Ecumenical Patriarch many years.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches (Armenian Apostolic, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox) have told the Episcopalians to go "reflect upon" the consecration of their gay bishop, and when the phone don't ring, you'll know it's us.

Who's left for the PECUSA to collaborate with? Just liberal Protestantism.

Thanks to Dom for posting Lee's article.


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The idea of a "Lord Of The Rings mass" over in Holland made Kathy Shaidle flinch and made Mark Shea's eyes roll back into his head, but fortunately De Telegraaf describes the place as a gereformeerde church -- that's Reformed, y'all. Whew: it's not one of ours.

I guess the combination of being Dutch and Reformed doesn't mean the same thing there as it does here, given that they also held a "Harry Potter service".

It might even lead to dancing

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Oh, the spirit of worldly compromise has reached Wheaton College in Illinois, that former bastion of Evangelical wholesomeness: they're not only allowing students to dance off-campus, they're letting them perform those bodily gyrations in the gymnasium of the college itself.

They probably got the idea from the late but still active radio preacher J. Vernon McGee, whose words expose him, I suppose, as a dreadful liberal:

There are lots of other preferences that are often stated as laws
Some have said that those who dance are catering to lust. Now, I would agree that I've seen some dancing that seemed to be doing just that but we must not say that all dancing is that way. We must not forget that many people danced for joy before the Lord.
First you let your faculty dance with their spouses at weddings off-campus, and then it's Katie bar the door.

How to pray for your website

I'm grateful to the conservative Episcopalians at CaNN, who have been ably keeping tabs on news about the Anglican Communion as their D-Day approached over the weekend. Their site was inaccessible for part of Monday, apparently due to a DDoS attack. However, being devout souls, they turned to God in their adversity and prayed as follows:

Almighty God, who lovest mankind,
we ask you to pour down your blessings
upon the heads of our enemies and
and those who persecute us,
that our Saviour Christ may be glorified;
and according to your will, and the work of your faithful servants,
restore our website that we may once again
contend for the faith once delivered to the saints
and minister to your church and people in this time of need.
Amen.
Very edifying.

Sort of a papier-mach triptych

Episcopalians used to have a charism for good taste. Oh, well, that illusion's shattered.
(Thanks, Mark.)

I'm involved with a project at work, and maybe somebody out there can help. My employer's annual calendar is very PC and includes major holidays of various religions and cultures, because, like a lot of high-tech firms, we have a culturally diverse work force. Since last year's edition had a few mistakes in listing the Christian holidays, I volunteered to help gather info for the 2004 edition.

Apparently the editors had been using whatever info they could find on the web, and some of it was old or wrong; so I'm looking for official or at least reliable sources for the data I turn in. Documenting the Catholic holidays is not hard: the Catholic Almanac has a list. Can anybody point to some reliable source for a list of Orthodox holidays?

Also, what days would Protestant Christians consider important enough to list: just Easter and Christmas? Pentecost? Maybe Reformation Sunday? Obviously Protestant customs are going to be all over the map; but advice from our non-Catholic readers (if any) would be a boon. Thanks!

Anti-Catholic Link of The Day

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Search on Google for "Catholic", and you'll probably get this ad:

Are Catholics doomed.
Did you know that most people in
the Mafia are Catholic? Worried.
www.Dont_Worship_in_Vain.com

Click through if you want to see the site: it only costs them -- oh, I'd guess about $0.15 each time.

Second thoughts on tolerance

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NR's John Derbyshire, an eminently reasonable and tolerant Episcopalian, is having second thoughts about tolerance itself. With this week's approval of Canon Robinson, he has realized that the homosexualist lobby is not as willing as he is to leave others a broad sphere of private opinion, but demands approval and aims to silence opposition. In such a situation, truly libertarian tolerance is not possible: one side or the other -- the normal or the abnormal -- will dominate.

Perhaps our grandfathers were wiser than us. Perhaps there are some things that we, the normal majority, SHOULD, deliberately and consciously, disapprove and marginalize.
My favorite lesbian, the iconoclastic Camille Paglia, was interviewed for three hours on C-SPAN last Sunday, and offered a relevant insight. Although she's in a ten-year-long relationship, and her partner recently gave birth, she is not a supporter of "same-sex marriage". Paglia understands that marriage is essentially a religious rite, and as she is an atheist, it does not correspond to her beliefs. She observes that societies that give official sanction to homosexuality through "marriage" are generally decadent, and this worries her, because she wants Western civilization to survive. She argues that the principal civil effects gay people want (the ability to inherit, to be involved in medical decisions, etc.) can be achieved through wills, power-of-attorney agreements, etc., so the clamoring for marriage is unnecessary -- and even sometimes hysterical.

Back to Derbyshire: he worries that the same trends wrecking the Episcopal Church are underway in the Catholic Church. He's right: but Catholics have a reason for hope. Unlike Episcopalians who believe as a matter of course that Church councils can err and have erred -- that the official teaching Church is fallible -- Catholics believe that the official teaching Church is protected by a gift of the Holy Spirit who keeps her from accepting and embracing error in her doctrines. If this doctrine is true, the Catholic Church will always survive, preaching the Gospel, and the gates of Hell shall not stand against her.

"Remember: every sect in the world feeds off of the Catholic Church. Our Holy Catholic Church is like a great and extremely precious unpolished diamond, from which every so often somebody takes a particle and polishes it-not without the help of the evil one-so that it begins to shine better than the great unpolished diamond. And this shine draws men, dazzles them and deceives them, so that the particle necessarily is worn out and comes to nothing. This is the game of deception, which appears and reappears with time. Jesus warned us to watch out for it!"

A quote attributed to St. Pio of Pietrelcina in the book Stories of Padre Pio by Madame Katharina Tangari.

Wake me when it's over

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Judging by the search-engine hits that lead people to our site, some of our readers are probably wondering why we haven't commented on the current fuss in the Episcopal Church. Poor things: they only seem to attract public attention when they're in the process of jettisoning another element of the Christian faith.

This time, as you know, the fracas is over whether they'll approve as a bishop a (1) openly gay (2) divorced minister, who is (3) in an active non-marital sexual relationship. Once upon a time, those would have been three disqualifications for the Biblical office of bishop, but that is no longer the case.

The story took a soap-opera turn today, when a male accuser from the past popped up to call the Reverend Canon, in an interesting choice of words, a "skirt-chaser".

What will happen? Will conservatives sway some last-minute votes and keep the status quo in place? Will Robinson slip through anyway? Will Canterbury try to hold things together with a "two province" solution that lets the Episcopal Church split, but keeps both parts in the Anglican Communion? Will Third-World Evangelicals go along?

The outcome doesn't affect the Catholic Church much at all: the ECUSA has not been a reliable partner in ecumenical relations for some time, and whether they stay together or break up, the resulting bodies don't seem likely to be much more internally coherent than the current EC. But I could be proved wrong.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz


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