Tag: Catholic Church

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Here in PDF format is this year’s political guidance letter from the American Catholic bishops. For someone who has repeatedly thought about the issues in depth and has been educated about many Church teachings, the document might be more bother than aid. Ethical principles are touched on too briefly to offer much insight or to […]

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Swimming the Bosporus 7: Of Popes and Patriarchs

 

Six posts in and there’s a question I keep getting: “We get why you left evangelical protestantism for Orthodoxy. But why didn’t you just choose the Catholic Church?” For a Westerner, swimming the Tiber is simpler than swimming the Bosporus based on cultural affinities alone. And, according to Google Maps, the drive from Wittenburg to Rome is 400 miles shorter than Wittenburg to Constantinople. So what gives?

To answer, I first need to give some historical context.

You can find all the Swimming the Bosporus posts here.

The Church was established on the Day of Pentecost, 33 AD, and quickly spread around the Mediterranean. Every church was in agreement with each other as one big, happy family. Well, churlish at times, but what’cha gonna do? False teachers popped up here and there promoting doctrines contrary to Christianity. Councils were convened to discuss foundational beliefs and to condemn heresies.

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On December 8, according to the Church calendar, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. And on December 8, 1854, in his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, Pope Pius IX proclaimed: We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by […]

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Who Is Pachamama?

 

Several Amazonian idols were collected by two anonymous men, who entered an ancient church in Rome called The Church of St. Mary in Traspontina, not far from St. Peter’s Square. Before dawn on October 21, they tossed them into the Tiber River.

The carved Pachamama figurines were found and scooped out of the water by the Italian police and are in the control of an Italian police commander. The Pope apologized, according to the latest news, to the Amazonians, not the faithful, who are the subject and guests of the Pope’s recent Synod. Catholics and apparently two mysterious men, were outraged at the false idols being placed at various altars and other holy areas during this Synod.

In another first for this podcast, Jack gets a priest onto the show, Fr. Brendan Glasgow of St. Peter’s on Capitol Hill. Fr. Brendan is 27, only slightly older than Jack himself. So Jack asks this eminently trustable (since younger than 30) fellow what it’s like to be a Millennial priest, why he became one so young, and…whether he watched SpongeBob when he was growing up. The important questions, in other words.

Book Review: The Age of Paradise

 

It should be readily apparent to most that Christianity no longer has the popular cultural sway it had even a generation ago. Moreover, the faith is not even united within itself, with dozens of larger denominations and thousands of independent churches, a variety of creeds, and even entirely different and incompatible understandings of faith, salvation, sin, and repentance.

Saint Vincent of Lérins, writing in the early 5th century, in qualifying both what the core of Christianity is, and what it is not, gave his maxim: “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” What then was it that Christians of that time believed? What did Christianity look like in its first thousand years, and might an understanding of that early ethos inform increasingly embattled Christians today?

John Strickland, in The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millenium, presents both a history of the first millennium of Christianity and what those first Christians believed, and an argument that the loss of that early vision says much about the culture wars of today. The first significant divergences in Christian belief and practice (which would culminate in the Great Schism of 1054) need to be understood both in the context of the preceding centuries, and in their implications for the further fracturings that would ripple from the Reformation through the cultural crisis of the collapse of Christian faith and cultural influence of today.

Guns and Quotes

 

The most recent mass-shootings have grabbed the attention of the country. I have lots of thoughts on this issue, but I think sometimes it is better to quote others than to give my own rant. My early morning routine helps me organize my thoughts for the day. I probably spend an hour each morning, reading through Catholic Twitter to get my news – I usually browse through around 20 accounts. There were three quotes I read over the past few days on Catholic Twitter on the horrible shootings in El Paso and Dayton that really struck me. One quote has really annoyed me, another quote I posted in the Ricochet Catholics Group, and the final quote I posted at the Firing Line Group. @bossmongo suggested that I should share this final quote on the Member Feed and I thought I should add the others as well.

I’ll start with the final quote first. It comes from John Zmirak, from his article Nazi Gun Control: Three Words that Go Together. He ends his interesting take on an old argument for 2A rights with this:

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Yesterday in the Catholic Church we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost, the great feast day whereby the Holy Spirit descended upon the Church. During the psalm, we sang, Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth. We sang the Sequence by starting, Veni, Sancte Spiritus – Come, Holy Spirit. And during […]

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Charles McElwee joins Seth Barron to discuss the decline of the Catholic Church in the Rust Belt and the impact of immigration on a working-class community in Pennsylvania.

The Catholic Church faces a crisis in an area that remains disproportionately Catholic. In 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed how clergy covered up the abuse of children by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years. Congregations continue to shrink, deepening the region’s fragmentation and leaving a hole in its community life.

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St. Peter Damian, Italian Benedictine monk and hermit, Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia, and a Doctor of the Church is feasted twice this week in the Catholic Church: February 21 on the Novus Ordo Calendar and February 23 on the Traditional Calendar. As Pope Francis has said many times, God is a God of surprises – and he […]

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The presidents of the Catholic Church’s bishops conferences are gathering this week (Feb 21-24) at the Vatican for a summit on the sexual abuse of minors. Yesterday, after his Angelus message, Pope Francis asked for prayers for this meeting, that the Pontiff said he wanted “as an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of […]

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Sexual Predation and Power Structures

 

As the slow tortuous agony of the revelation of sexual predation within the Catholic church unwinds, and the faithful of the Catholic Church mourn every new outrage, there has been an enormous amount of debate over the underlying causes of the abuses, and the nature of the coverups. For some outside of Catholicism, there has been also a horrible triumphalism, as if the scandals are entirely the fault of Christianity in general, Catholicism in particular, or dogmatic or doctrinal within Catholicism. I have seen denunciations of priestly celibacy, denunciations of anti-homosexual church teachings (such teachings being blamed for somehow repressing those who chose to go into the priesthood), and even suggestions from non-Catholic Christians that the Reformation has somehow shielded them from similar abuses and scandals. And yet, as the Houston Chronicle detailed over the weekend, another denomination, the Southern Baptists, is now facing its own horrible unearthing of decades of sexual abuse and protection of known or suspected sexual predators.

I have little doubt that other such investigations will be detailed in the coming years, and for other churches of other denominations. The fact of the matter is that sexual predation can occur in any power structure, and that who the perpetrators are, on whom they prey, and how they get away with their terror is ultimately a function of the organization, its distribution of power, and the strength of the self-policing within that structure. For the Catholic Church, this has been strongly (but by no means entirely) a series of cases of the abuse of younger males by older males, but this was mostly due to the environment where mostly males were employed, and mostly only younger males were in vulnerable positions. For the Southern Baptists, however, the issues seem to be mostly older males preying on younger females instead, because that structure put those two groups together. More than anything else, this should be pointing to something beyond doctrine or denomination, but instead towards something more fundamental and quite apart from issues of sexuality.

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We live in a time where outrage manifests itself daily in the media and on the internet. A lot of the outrage is much ado about nothing, but with the recent actions of the NY Legislature and NY’s Governor Cuomo, on signing into law the state’s new abortion law, I venture to say (as have […]

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February Summit on Clerical Sexual Abuse: The Inaction of a Corrupt Church

 

Back in September of 2018, I reported on the call by Pope Francis to have the presidents of the Catholic Church’s bishops conferences meet in Rome in February 2019 to deal with the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the Church. Today, the Vatican released new details on this summit:

The February Meeting on the protection of minors has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, not an academic conference – a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering.

‘To Bear Witness to Corruption in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Was a Painful Decision’

 

So begins the third “testimony” of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, on the ongoing sexual abuse/coverup scandal in the Church (h/t @9thdistrictneighbor). With this latest installment of “he said”/”he said,” Archbishop Viganò restates the key points of his original testimony and also answers the rebuke he received from Marc Cardinal Ouellet.

It was good to have the key points listed succinctly and to have an answer to Cardinal Ouellet’s letter, but what touched me most were the reasons Viganò gave for writing his testimonies. He strikes me as a man of great faith (which is in direct contrast to how I view those involved in this scandal).

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Fr. James Schall, S. J., and Ross Douthat of the New York Times, are not only men who make keen observations on the life of the Church today, they are also excellent writers. And they did not fail with their latest pieces. If you have any interest at all on the Church in the world […]

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John L. Allen Jr., a respected Vaticanista, asks that question in an article entitled, How the USCCB could pitch a Vatican-backed McCarrick probe. Crux is not a site I frequent, but I stumbled across Allen’s report at one of my favorite sites, Catholic World Report, in an article by Christopher Altieri entitled, The Week in Review: China, […]

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In February 2013, in his last official act as pope, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI appointed a commissioner for a small, seemingly insignificant hospital in Rome, the Immaculate Dermatological Institute (IDI). Two years later, that same hospital was at the center of a tug-of-war between Australian Cardinal George Pell and the Vatican’s Secretary of State. Today, […]

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