Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Father, Forgive them, please, because I, the sinner can yet not do so

There I was, reading along on one of the blogs I follow, and happened upon a post by a Protestant blogger, who is challenging the credibility of Catholic Answers in the all too familiar inflammatory fashion. I read the post, and as expected, it contains Contempt prior to Investigation about CA's influence and whether CA is sufficiently "overseen" by the local Bishop.
Catholic commenters, including myself tried in many attempts to keep the argument focused on the point, showing that CA is moderated and has imprimaturs on most publications, and a Priest on staff, but every Protestant (except one and you know who you are, H/T) escalated diversional opinions without fact finding or exercising any level of mutual observancy. One Catholic commenter put the argument well into focus, and then received the following Protestant take:

Protestant poster states:

"CA is engaged in a 'bait & switch' maneuver: in effect they are saying "we have trained apologists and a Dominican on staff, we're authoritative, but not binding; you can trust us." They remind of me of those "Bankruptcy advisors" who for a fee will help you fill out the IRS and legal forms you could have downloaded for free and filled in yourself. It's "magesterial-lite...".

To which I replied a 4th time:

6:28 PM, January 27, 2009
Blogger The Catholic Journeyman said...

...you just lied to try to advance your point
...and its no small deception
...you quoting CA as:

"...we're authoritative, but not binding..."

CA has never claimed such a thing or even implied it. You havent even read their mission, or all the other responses here which are consistent therein.

With that instigative dishonesty, you are not an example of any kind of Christian I would find credible.

The vast majority of Protestant/Evangelical/Fundamentalists that I have direct or face to face contact with, exhibit such wicked hate in defiance of logic, reason, scriptural support and/or a loving approach. Upon repeated encounter, one wonders how not to fall into sinful cynicism about these,.... individuals. Who would follow such a Christian? What Holy example is this person emulating? Not one that I would find as Christ taught.

I would likely pay a cover charge to converse with a Protestant that understood this perspective, and could maintain a dignified conversation.

It happens that we studied Matthew again tonight with the RCIA class and with the CA comments still in my memory...all these passages, teachings from Christ, flashed in front of me like Neon:

Mt 5:44 - "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven..."

Mt 7:1 - " Judge not, that you be not judged..."

Mt 7:5 - "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brothers eye."

Mt 7:12 - "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."

Mt 12:31 - " Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit wiil not be forgiven."

Mt 12:36,37 - "I tell you, on the day of judgement men will render account for every careless word they utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Mt 15:10,11 - "And he called people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand, not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."(this parable fully explained by Christ in 15:15-20)

While it may appear this is solely aimed at the instigator...these scriptures speak to me as well, and by demonstration, the 3 people who read this blog occasionally can confirm...I have intentionally stopped posting the ongoing" a-C debate" content. I am through casting pearls before swine (thank you Tim Troutman). That approach results only in the same non-productive hate speech and I now deny giving it any platform other than an example of what not to follow.

We all deserve respect, and as Christ struggles to get it through our thick heads over and over again...this respect, this "communication", this reaching out...must be postured in Love, Mercy, non-judgement, or it is not of Christ. Its the way he ministered, personally with respect and dignity even for those who we as cultured humans often find undeserving of it.

Am I alone here? Can anyone dig this?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am not worthy to wash this Mans feet...either

Heavily impacted by this Mans story, I am compelled to share it.

Jan. 15, 2009
Richard Todd Shireman, a forty-six year old husband, father of two sons, veteran Police Officer , Lutheran Pastor and Social Worker, was laid to rest this day.

Rich Shireman was a social worker partnered with a member of the St. Petersburg Police Department. That policeman’s name is Richard Linkiewicz. The two of them rode the streets working with the homeless, addicts, people in desperate need of shelter, food, medicine, relief from an addiction. The City established several of these “teams of two” who work with all the organizations helping the homeless. “Rich and Rich” as they came to be known developed a bonding not just with each other but with those whom they were called to serve. Many of their “clients” were there to claim that “there but for Rich and Rich, I might be dead or in a ditch.”

Rich Shireman died last Saturday as a result of a motorcycle accident. Michael Johnson, a business man and downtown St. Petersburg resident who is also co-chair of the Homeless Task Force of St. Petersburg, has provided a text which Rich Shireman delivered in January of 2006 (the time of the tent-cutting/homeless persecution in St. Petersburg). It reveals a lot about the man hundreds gathered to honor and remember tonight:

The real question is this: at what point does it become acceptable to blame, drive away, harass, deny services or resources to, or denigrate a homeless person? How are we to separate the victims from the lazy, the malicious, the unmotivated, or the victimizers? And if we could cofidently discriminate between the deserving and undeserving, is a life of poor hygiene, poor nutrition, less than adequate health care, extremely high risk of violent victimization, and extreme exposure to the elements (not to mention all the little things that rob homeless persons of dignity) an appropriate or acceptable sentence or punishment for having made bad decisions or for simply having bad character traits?

Obviously, we cannot protect people from all the consequences of faulty thinking. We cannot even protect people from all the consequences of having been poorly raised or abused as children. We cannot and should not protect people from all the consequences of their criminal behavior. And those who suffer from addictions need to experience many of the negative consequences of their substance abuse in order to be motivated to pursue recovery. Nevertheless, there must be some limit to how much we are willing to let people suffer in our midst. There must be a point at which we say that simply because you are a human being and a member of this society we will not allow you to fall further.
" Richard Todd Shireman in January 2006.

A Commentary on Pontifax during the Octave of Christian Unity

Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg writes of this Octave of Christian Unity effort:

"Each January, Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians gather for a morning of joint/shared prayer and reflection on the subject of Christian Unity. The meeting is called Pontifax which is an English language derivative from the Latin word, “pontifex” which means “bridge builder.” Interestingly it is a normal title used in referring to the successors of St. Peter, the pope, who are called “Pontifex magnus” or “Supreme bridge-builders.” Historically it is understandable that the earliest popes would be referred to in this way as their task was uniquely to build a bridge between the Jewish faith and paganism to Christianity.

Any way, tomorrow we gather for this year’s Pontifax meeting at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Tampa. The theme this year is “That they may become one in your hand” which was suggested by the Christians in Korea who are one people divided into two countries. These annual meetings were established as a result of informal sharing between the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Episcopal Church Women of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. In 1970, their respective bishops gave permissions to form an ecumenical committee for the purpose of creating better mutual understanding and common trust in many areas of church life and community service. In 1989 the Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was invited and accepted to participate in this activity.

My Lutheran and Episcopal brothers in the episcopacy, Bishop Edward Beneway and Bishop Dabney Smith respectively, usually attend and each year one of us delivers the homily. This year it is my turn.

Pray for the continued successes of our mutual dialogues which internationally have not gone so well in recent years but locally have produced wonderful relations and a deeper appreciation and understanding of your variouos traditions."

While I fight urges to be cynical about some Ecumenical efforts, and lose that fight occassionally, this post by the Bishop deserves some expansion, elaboration and discussion.

Bishop Lynch's reference to "Pontifex Magnus" indicates the historical job description of the Pope in building spiritual bridges connecting the Old Covenant followers (Jewish) and New Covenant Followers (Christianity). He tells of "joint/shared prayer and reflection" among the Leadership of Catholics, Lutherans and Episcopalians which in itself can be a significant step, Lord willing his grace, Amen. Now, if I am not mistaken, these are the closest Denominations to Catholicism (in a practicing Doctrinal sense) of the Reformed variety. If correct then, one could take the valid perspective that such an effort by Leadership is non-critical and the immediacy of holding spiritual dialogue with them should be overshadowed by more extreme divisions of the Reformed denominations...Baptist, PCA, Singular Fundamentalist, Congregationalist, etc. Its a fantasy to think, Graham or Osteen would call for a reflective prayer session with any "other" Authority at this point in Christianity...or is it?

Back to the Bishops effort...on the other hand, most Reformed and Fundamentalist Leadership appear to give a healthy dose of Theological gravity to Luther followers, then by example may put their Swords against the misconception of Rome down for a minute and see the benefit of such inter-faith efforts. Ergo, ANY Ecumenical effort would produce a gain if it is made more visible among all its varied membership. Its my opinion that this particular event may bear more fruit, if made more visible to the Reformed. Ecumenism among any Denominations leadership wont be counterpointed with a rally against such efforts and that makes it stand alone unblemished.

This gathering post is only the prelude to the event, and I hope to follow up with what may be revealed of its content and potential to continue this thought further.

Tixeront's "History of Dogmas" Found

I have been scouring the markets for the highly recommended English 3 volume set of Historic Doctrinal Reference by Jospeh Tixeront "History of Dogmas". While out of print (published in 1920) the French Language version is available on ebay, I managed to find Vol. 1 of this set electronically on Archive.org Free. Now I have to find a way to get this pdf on my PDA for portable reading. (!)
PS. Adobe has a free Reader for those of us still using a Pocket PC, yay.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Vatican secret confession tribunal opens up

ROME – One of the Vatican's most secrecy shrouded tribunals, which handles confessions of sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution, is giving the faithful a peek into its workings for the first time in its 830-year history...(news story link in title)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacramental Confession...Why let Someone else judge You?

"It was our Lord's idea, Catholics didnt make it up. Our Lord said to his Apostles, 'whos sins you shall forgive they are forgiven , whos sins you shall retain they are retained'".

Our Lord gave this authority to bind and to loose, to Peter and the Apostles. Through the Succession, through Ordination using the imposition of hands (Accipe Spiritum Sanctum), He gave this power to our Priests. The granting of the power to absolve sin is put with unmistakable clearness in St. John's Gospel: "He breathed upon them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins ye shall forgive they are forgiven them; and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained" (20:22-23).

One has to take this power of our Priests seriously. One should recognise that Priests are different from other People because God wants them to be. They are given powers that they could never hope to have on their own. The power they have is not for themselves but for the benefit of the Faithful. A Priest will spend hours in the Confessional litening to peoples sins and giving forgiveness for them (absolution), in a way that is very clear and emphatic...its a one on one ministry.

Its the way our Lord ministered to people.

He wanted His Church to minister to people in a personal and sacramental way. So when a Priest offers this, he is not offiering his forgiveness, it is Christs forgiveness being given."

Source = Fr. Vincent Serpa, C.A.L. 11/19/08: 27:00 to 30:30

A Lutheran Detour Revisited

Joseph @ A Catholic Journey has a nice summary take on Luther here. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Carnival #206

Catholic Carnival #206 can be found here. Enjoy the read.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Goodbye to the "Florida Catholic"

The St. Pete edition at least, and say Hello to "Gathered". This Article from Bishop Lynch tells why. A wise economic move IMO.

German Archeology rewriting Roman Conquest timeline

"We have to write the History books new..." says a German Archeologist of the recent battleground finds...not sure what religious historical implications this may have yet...take a look:

Here's the Article at CNN.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

We Interupt this Blogcast #4

to say Hello to Mr. Ross and his 10 fingers....

Friday, January 2, 2009

Luther had no Old Testament Canon

Martin Luther admitted:

"We are obliged to yield many things to the Papists (Catholics) that they possess the Word of God which we received from them otherwise we should have known nothing about it." (Commentary on St. John ch.16) This is Luther, instructing all who hears him that Christians owe their Bible to the efforts of the Catholic Church.

Christians realize that if God has revealed Himself to us, we must be able to know with absolute assurance where that revelation can be found. Since we staking our salvation on the Truth of Gods Word, we need to know exactly and infallibly how the Canon of Scripture came to be. The Canon of Scripture refers to a standard or official list of inspired books that make up the Bible.

The Protestant OT is based upon the Palestinian (Hebrew) canon used by Hebrew-speaking Jews in Palestine. The Catholic OT is based upon the Alexandrian (Greek) canon used by the Greek speaking Jews throughout the Mediterranean region, including Palestine. The city of Alexandria in Egypt had the largest Library in ancient times and during Ptolemy II Philedelphus (285-246 BC) according to history, a translation of the entire Hebrew Bible into Greek was performed by approx 70 Jewish Scholars, about 6 from each of the 12 tribes. It is from this Alexandrian translation that we have the term "Septuagint", which is Latin for 70, the number of translators.

The Greek translation was very popular, the predominate language by the time of Christ, and Hebrew was a dying language by then. (Jews in Palestine spoke Aramaic primarily) So it is fair to surmise that the Septuagint was the translation used by Jesus and the New Testament writers. While the Septuagint contains 46 books the Hebrew canon contains only 39. Why?

The Hebrew canon was established by Rabbi's at the Council of Jamnia (100 AD) in response to the Christian Church which was using the Alexandrian canon. The Jews at Jamnia rejected 7 books from the Hebrew canon (we all know which ones) on the grounds that they could not find any Hebrew versions of these 7 books and portions of Daniel and Esther, which the Septuagint supposedly translated from Hebrew into the Greek language.

At the Councils of Hippo and Carthage (393-397 AD) The Catholic church officially determined which books comprise the canon of the Bible, approving the 46 books of the Alexandrian canon as the Old Testament canon. For 16 Centuries the Alexandrian canon was a matter of uncontested Faith and practice.

In 1529 Luther proposed the Palestinian canon of 39 books in Hebrew as the OT canon, where he justified removing the 7 books from the already uncontested 12 century old Bible using the same concern from Jamnia that the the Greek books had no Hebrew counterparts. However, Dead Sea Scrolls research has yielded ancient Hebrew copies of some of the disputed books, thereby nullifying these rejections.

Whats the point?

Which OT would you rather use...the OT used by Jesus Christ, the New Testament authors and the early Church, or, the OT used by the Jews who rejected Christ and persecuted Christianity?

If your Bible includes the 7 books, then you follow Jesus and the early Church. If your Bible omits the 7 books you follow the non Christians Jews at Jamnia and Martin Luther, who expressed motivation to discard even more Sacred canon (James, Esther and Revelation), who also intentionally added the word "alone" to Sacred Scripture in his German translation of Romans (3:28).

Beyond Luther and even Jamnia, the fairly modern discoveries of Hebrew Sirach documents should shelve that logic of non-canonical altogether and reconfirm the Alexandrian OT once again.

Luther had no canon, and apparently, no historical canon perspective by the time he tossed his Priesthood.