14 March 2014

Has Francis changed the Church's teaching on Judaism?

In an earlier combox discussion, an HA reader objects to the idea that Francis has made no changes to Church doctrine/dogma. Citing the three paragraphs below from Evangelii gaudium, he/she claims that the Holy Father has altered the traditional Catholic understanding of Judaism.

I read nothing in these paragraphs that suggests that the Holy Father is teaching something other than the apostolic faith.

Does anyone see the problem?
247. We hold the Jewish people in special regard because their covenant with God has never been revoked, for “the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29). The Church, which shares with Jews an important part of the sacred Scriptures, looks upon the people of the covenant and their faith as one of the sacred roots of her own Christian identity (cf. Rom 11:16-18). As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God (cf. 1 Thes 1:9). With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word.

248. Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus’ disciples. The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians. 

249. God continues to work among the people of the Old Covenant and to bring forth treasures of wisdom which flow from their encounter with his word. For this reason, the Church also is enriched when she receives the values of Judaism. While it is true that certain Christian beliefs are unacceptable to Judaism, and that the Church cannot refrain from proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Messiah, there exists as well a rich complementarity which allows us to read the texts of the Hebrew Scriptures together and to help one another to mine the riches of God’s word. We can also share many ethical convictions and a common concern for justice and the development of peoples. 

We need to be very careful about the difficulties surrounding the doctrine of supersessionism (cf "replacement theology"). Christ fulfilled the Law; he did not destroy it. We have to distinguish between the moral law (which is not superseded) and the ritual law (which is superseded) (cf. ST I-II.103.3.3). We also have to be careful about how we understand the concept of "replacement."

This is not an area I've spent much time studying, so I am more than willing to be corrected, if correction is required. 

As I understand Catholic teaching, anyone who finds himself in heaven is there b/c of Christ.

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No, the Church does not hate science. . .

There's this new "documentary" airing on FOX called Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey.

Claiming to be the heir to Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, this newer version is little more than anti-Catholic propaganda. The first episode perpetuates the "faith vs. science" myth that the Church persecuted scientists through the Inquisition.

Don't waste your time.

Arthur Rosman nails it in his post, Lies, Damned Lies, and Cartoons: Cosmos on Giodano Bruno

For a corrective to the Received Mythology that the Church hates science, read Ronald Numbers book, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion.

I always find it amusing that the so-called Enlightenment is based on so many outright lies.

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13 March 2014

Francis changes everything. . .

Happy First Anniversary to Pope Francis!

To celebrate this event, John White of CatholicVote has a detailed list of the doctrinal changes that the Holy Father has made during his first year in the Chair of Peter.

With that kind of energy and drive, we can look forward to many more such changes. . .

Long live Francis!

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Prayer request

Send up a few prayers for me, please!

Nothing major is wrong. Just tired and a bit stressed out. I left NDS yesterday early b/c I was having some worrying chest pains. Turned out to be indigestion.

The mission preaching in Bourg went well. . .but the driving back and forth -- New Orleans area roads and drivers are spiritually challenging -- and the lack of sleep the last few days has taken a toll.  

Being an Introvert doesn't mix well with lots of public speaking type activities. 

Shoulda been a monk.  :-)

As Dame Julian of Norwich said, "All will be well."

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12 March 2014

Five of these gladdened my heart!

Many Mendicant Thanks to Jay R. C. for the Scalia and Boersma books from the Wish List. . .

And to an anonymous reader for his/her generosity for the Schall, Heine, Hendershott books. 

Came home last night from the last mission at St Ann. . .a little stressed out from the drive and lack of sleep. . .

Having five new books waiting for me gladdened my heart!

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11 March 2014

What can fill God's shoes?

Excellent article by Terry Eagleton at Commonweal, An Unbelieving Age:

Friedrich Nietzsche has a strong claim to being the first real atheist. Of course there had been unbelievers in abundance before him, but it is Nietzsche above all who confronts the terrifying, exhilarating consequences of “the death of God.” As long as God’s shoes have been filled by Reason, art, culture, Geist, imagination, the nation, humanity, the state, the People, society, morality, or some other such specious surrogate, the Supreme Being is not quite dead. He may be mortally sick, but he has delegated his affairs to one envoy or another, part of whose task is to convince men and women that there is no cause for alarm, that business will be conducted as usual despite the absence of the proprietor.

What Nietzsche recognizes is that you can get rid of God only if you also do away with innate meaning. The Almighty can survive tragedy, but not absurdity. As long as there appears to be some immanent sense to things, one can always inquire after the source from which it springs. Abolishing given meanings involves destroying the idea of depth, which in turn means rooting out beings like God who take shelter there. Like Oscar Wilde in his wake, Nietzsche is out to replace what he sees as a vacuous depth with a profundity of the surface.

[. . .]

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Lenten Reflection: "I cannot live with You"

The Southern Dominican Province sends out daily Lenten reflections to our mailing list. Below is my contribution for Tuesday, March 18th.

A love so big it scares/her, rushing among her small/heart – pushing aside the blood – ”
           (Master Letter, no. 2, Emily Dickinson, 1861).

New England's 19th century la belle recluse, Emily Dickinson, empties her heart out to an anonymous beau, naming her secret love with an honorific that Christian mystics, saints, and saint-wannabes reserve for Christ alone – “Master.” More telling than her chosen-title for her unnamed love is the name she chooses for herself – “Daisy.” Sounding very much like the Little Flower or Catherine of Siena, Dickinson places herself at the will of her Master: “Daisy – Daisy – offend it – who/bends her smaller life to/his meeker every day – /who only asks – a task – /something to do for/love of it [. . .]” So intense is her love (or so brutal is his indifference), that Dickinson claims her self-seclusion like Julian of Norwich claiming her anchorage: “I cannot live with You – It would be Life – And Life is over there –” (no. 640).

Dickinson is the mistress of hesitancy, the unresolved gesture. As Daisy, she resembles the anxious 21st century Christian during Lent – peaked with a desire to be loved but faint at the possibility of being loved by Love Himself. Why? Because Love Himself is overwhelming, demanding, uncompromising. So, we confess: I will be loved. . .on my terms. I will be holy. . .as I see holiness. I will be clean. . .but I chose what is dirty. If Daisy loves the Master and vows to bend her smaller life to his, then why does she end by living without him? She says, “It would be Life.” To live with the Master would be Life. Too much for the Recluse of Amherst.

Is He too much for us? We call Christ “Master.” But are we ready to be mastered?
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10 March 2014

hell, (n.): a state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God

Texts for tonight's mission preaching on Hell at St. Ann, Bourg:

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." 

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616
1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs. 

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618
Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619
1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621
Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622

612 1 Jn 3:14-15.
613 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
614 Cf. Mt 5:22,29; 10:28; 13:42,50; Mk 9:43-48.
615 Mt 13:41-42.
616 Mt 25:41.
617 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG § 12.
618 Mt 7:13-14.
619 LG 48 § 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13,26,30,31-46.
620 Cf. Council of Orange II (529):DS 397; Council of Trent (1547):1567.
621 2 Pet 3:9.
622 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.


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One thing preachers can do to improve their preaching. . .

Fr Dwight Longenecker has a great post up on his blog, The Clash in Contemporary Christianity.

He asks: Are you a Christian or Moralistic Therapeutic Deist?

You'll have to read the article to find out!

If Catholic preachers can do just one thing to improve the quality of their preaching it is this:

Rid yourselves of the disordered/pathological desire to please the World in your preaching.

What we have seen in the last 50 yrs of Catholic preaching is a strong tendency among the clergy to preach the World to Christ rather than Christ to the World.

I think that this comes from a deeply held embarrassment about the faith among some Baby Boomer Catholics. Rejecting the overly-devotional Catholicism of their parents and grandparents, Baby Boomers longed for the approval of their cultural/social Betters (i.e., academic Protestants and intellectual elites) and thought that by rejecting the more supernatural elements of the faith they would get an approving pat on the head. 

What they and we got instead was a de-transcendentalized faith, a naturalized liturgy, and a even more scorn from our Betters b/c they and we refused to destroy the Church faster.


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My week. . .

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