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Archive for February, 2008

It’s hard for me to imagine a faith strong enough to willingly and literally sell oneself into slavery for a Christian held captive by hostile forces. However this has in times past been a very real act of mercy which produced even a few religious orders.

Order of the Holy Trinity for the Ransom of Captives was one and required one-third of all income to be set aside for the ransom of Christian captives. One never knows the effects of ransoming either; as an example St. John the Damascene was tutored by an Italian monk named Cosmas who was ransomed by St. John’s father from the Muslims.

St Raymond of Pennafort religious order was bound by a fourth vow to remain as hostages in the pagan’s power, if necessary for freeing the Christians. Mercedarians: Spanish merced = ransom, always sent missionaries in two’s amongst the non-christians, to treat about the ransom.

St Raymund Nonnatus, was a Cardinal back in 1240 A.D. The true story of his life has little reliable data. He was sent into Algiers to obtain freedom for a number of slaves. When his funds were depleted he voluntarily gave himself up as a hostage for the ransom of others, not simply to free them, but because he feared they were losing the Christian faith. After converting numerous Muslims the local ruler condemned him to be impaled. But the greedy slave traders wanted their money more and he released him. He continued to preach and the authority had imprisoned him. He ended up converting the jailers and the ruler as tradition says literally put a padlock in his mouth to keep him from preaching.

The state of Christians in Islamic lands is cruel to say the least. While I don’t expect our current generation to rise up and ransom themselves for their fellow brothers and sisters in danger of their life and losing their faith. I thik it critical to send money to support their efforts to maintain a Christian presence and start the dangerous work of converting their Islamic neighbours.

In modern times we have the example of Pope Pius XII who provided a underground system to free many Jews during WWII. Additionally we have traffiking in human organs. The Mercedarians still exist and are working as their forefathers did to free the slaves.

Update: 3-1-08Chaldean bishop of Mosul abducted looks like we need to ransom some one now.archbishop-faraj-raho.jpg

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Many Protestant communions have issues with giving adherence to the traditional Creeds. Creeds bind individual believers to a formal expression of Scriptural truths. Creeds were created to eliminate gray areas which lead to false understandings of eternal truths. Many would view Creeds as intolerant. Especially in this politically correct world, Creeds can be somewhat insensitive to those who would rather hold positions that allow both orthodox and heretical views.

Indeed, Creeds are designed to be just that- intolerant, insensitive, unforgiving. For a Creed defines the boundary with which the enemy Satan is not permitted to enter, nor any of his followers. Heresy is a half truth at best and provides a false sense of security which brings spiritual destruction and in some case physical destruction on a wide scale throughout history. So while Creeds seem to turn on points of scriptural, philosophy & ecclesiastical concerns which they do; they make their mark by sealing literally with the blood of thousands of martyrs as to what is truth.

Christology is the discipline in theology for the study of the Person of Jesus Christ. Since Christ is the basis of belief for all Christians, it is critical to understand who Christ is and who He isn’t; since our belief and salvation are dependent upon Him.

Many of the early church heresies turn on either Christ’s personhood or His natures (Divine & Human). It should be noted that many of these heresies were based on a misunderstanding of scripture and in defense against some other heresy, yet the defense formed to refute a given heresy & supporting a true belief in Christ turned out to be heretical as well.

Today we have many Christians who possess an uninformed or ill formed view of Christ. And like heresies of old these are simply remakes of their older heretical versions. Perhaps the greatest of these today is Nestorianism. This is the belief that Christ has two natures and two persons(human & Divine). Now the reformers would never profess two persons in Christ, however, those who came after them, that have discarded the creeds over the centuries are not generally aware of this dogma nor the history and sacrifice of saints who died for these truths.

Protestants have some motivation for supporting this heresy. Catholicism affirms that Mary is the Mother of God. Various cultures that have significant numbers of Catholics have developed traditions which celebrate this truth of the church and of course the prayer “Hail Mary” also contains this phrase as well. In reaction to this display of honoring Jesus and His mother, Protestants have felt the need over the centuries to counteract this piety, which seems excessively focused on Mary. Part of this is simply because Protestants are not familiar with the theological distinctions about giving honor to a person and for that matter most Catholics haven’t been taught it and don’t understand it either. The average Catholic does not know or likely heard about Latria (worship given to God alone) and Hyperdulia & Dulia (honor given to Mary and honor given to Saints respectfully). The majority of Catholic do however understand that they are not to worship Mary, but likely are not able to explain the process. Hence, the Protestants concern with whether the Catholic is honoring Mary or worshiping her. We must also remember that external actions do not necessarily relay what is going on in the believers mind and spirit. I think a strong reminder once a year from the pulpit on reflecting what these theological categories mean would be helpful.

Those who reconcile with the Catholic church coming from one of the Protestant confessions many times have difficulty with this dogma. However, if one keeps the Creed in mind and why those at the Third Ecumenical Council (Ephesus)
rejected Nestorianism would be beneficial.

In their zeal to defend against a perceived false worship of Mary, some will reject that Mary is the Mother of God. The individual will attempt to apply logic and state that if Mary is the Mother of God that she must be Divine herself in order to give birth to a Divine person. Such reasoning is false because Christ is one Person – not two. Christ has two natures, but once the Protestant attempts to separate the Incarnation of Divine and Human natures they are forced to falsely create two Persons of Christ (one human and one Divine). This destroys the Trinity and creates 4 person in one God.

Given the utter victory of the church in defining the Trinity, this should make any Christian recoil from this type of  reasoning. Yet if they still are unable to accept Mary as Mother of God and they recognize that God is a Trinity there is a host of other heresies waiting for the believer.

Docetists- Christ appeared to have a real human body, but actually was an ethereal being much like an angel. It derives its name from the Greek, dokein, “to seem, to appear.”

Next is Ebionism who rejected the teachings of Paul and emphasized the importance of the law of Moses. Generally, they regarded Jesus as a divinely inspired prophet but not as God.

Valentinianism, Monarchianism, Sabellianism/Modalists all had there respective day in the Sun. St. Epiphanius writes about them:

“Their doctrine is, that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and the same being, in the sense that three names are attached to the one substance. A close analogy may be found in the body, soul and spirit of man. The body as it were the Father: the soul as the Son ; while the Spirit is to the Godhead as his spirit is to a man. Or take the sun: it is one substance, but it has three manifestations, light , heat and the orb itself. The heat…( is analogous to) the Spirit; the light to the Son; while the Father himself is represented as the actual substance. The Son was at one time emitted, like a ray of light; he accomplished in the world all that pertained to the dispensation of the Gospel and man’s salvation, and was taken back into heaven , as a ray is emitted by the sun and then withdrawn again into the sun.”(Epiphanius Bishop of Salamis 375 AD. Adv. hareses Ixii.1)

If this theological position rings a bell, it’s likely that you know or where at one time a Oneness Pentecostal for they are anti-Trinitarians holding to the belief that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God and one Person.

Adoptionism is where Christ is/was created by generation and nature, and became divine by adoption and grace as an adult. Arians which was created by Arius a presbyter of the Alexandria church in the 4th century taught Christ was not God like the Father, but a creature made in time. Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses hold similar beliefs.

Eutycheanism/Monophysites– archimandrite of Constantinople held that Christ is One person and One nature.

Therefore, following the holy Fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance (homoousious) with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer (Theotokos); one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the Fathers has handed down to us.

This is called the Definition of Chalcedon.

Note that there is a great balance between the two heretical positions of One Person & One nature on the one hand and two persons and two natures on the other.

Christians rightly think of Jesus as God and hence many of us tend to think of Him in exclusively Divine concepts. However Jesus is fully human in nature and therefore we should also realize that He sanctifies us by and through His Incarnation. Eastern Orthodoxy has a wonderful saying that all that Jesus touches is redeemed.

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Well to be reasonable I have to place the positive along with the negative. The building of a Catholic church in Qatar. There’s a very long way to go but this is an encouraging sign that perhaps moderate Muslims can influence the religious outlook of Islam towards other religions.

Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Catholic church of St. Mary, constructed as planned without a bell tower or cross, is close to inauguration. In spite of the great modesty of the Catholic community, there is no lack of disagreement on the part of a Muslim intellectuals who are firmly opposing the new church, maintaining that a popular referendum is necessary. They can’t have a cross or a bell tower. I note that the individual who was the former head of the faculty for Islamic law at the univeristy of Qatar. I wonder if he was removed from his place in supporting this move. Hopefully this will be a great assist to at least our Catholic soldiers over there.

The pages of the newspaper Al-Arab read, “the cross should not be raised in the sky of Qatar, nor should bells toll in Doha”. In a letter to Al-Watan, the engineer Rashed al-Subaie maintains that the Christians have the right to practice their faith, but should not have permission to build places of worship. The lawyer and former justice minister Najib al-Nuaimi expresses himself as along the same lines. Nuaimi stresses that Qatar is a Muslim country, not a secular one, and maintains that a referendum is the only way to ensure that the church is socially acceptable.

Moderate comments of support come from Abdul Hamid al-Ansari, a former head of the faculty of Islamic law (sharia) at the University of Qatar, who has published articles in various newspapers welcoming the Catholic church in Doha: “places of worship for various religions is a fundamental human right guaranteed by Islam”.

St Mary’s will ultimately become a gathering place for the community of Catholics, who number about 100,000 faithful from Southeast Asia and from the West. “It will be merely a place for collective prayer”, says St. Mary’s parish priest, Father Tomasito Veneracion. “It will not have crosses outside the building or serve as a platform for proselytising”. A simple inauguration ceremony will be provided over by Cardinal Ivan Dias and Bishop Paul Hinder on March 14. Five other churches are planned for the same property where St Mary stands, including Anglican, Coptic, and Greek Orthodox churches.

Once St Mary’s open its doors to the faithful, Saudi Arabia will be the only Gulf country that still prohibits the building of churches within its borders.

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I just finished an easy reading by the fire kind of book. Ms. Carroll looks into the unstable social changes that the gen-Xers have endured and their desire for something solid, concrete, time tested & enduring; in a word tradition. And it’s not just young Catholic’s, but many Protestant & Orthodox churches as well. With all the negative that one can read about young folks and with all the dearth religious education for them, it’s inspiring to read their stories.

I felt very hopeful about our future with outstanding examples  contra the media image of todays youth. Their looking for a true challenge and they’ll meet it, the boomers in religious ed simply have to be willing to trust them to give it to them. Published in 04, her statistical data isn’t to old(2000) so I believe her observations are still current.

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If Islam desires to be accepted into the world community, they have to reverse laws like this one. However since Islam seems unable or unwilling to separate the role of the state with the role of religion, I don’t hold out much hope in this regard any time soon. Faith regardless of who is professing what is not something that is left (in this case) at a particular authorized structure, it is a vocation which the individual draws from on every aspect of their life.

ROME, FEB. 13, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A Catholic priest was sentenced by the tribunal of Oran, a city in northwestern Algeria, to a year in prison for having “directed a religious ceremony in a place which has not been recognized by the government.”

Father Pierre Wallez is the first victim of legislation approved in March 2006 regarding the exercise of the practices of non Muslim worship, in this North African country of 33 million residents, 99% of whom are Muslim.

Speaking Saturday on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Henri Teissier of Alger, explained that “the most surprising thing is that the conviction was issued simply because the priest visited a group of Christians in Cameroon. He had not celebrated Mass, but was only joining them in a prayer. It was Dec. 29, a little after Christmas.”

The prelate clarified that the sentence will not be carried out, because the tribunal decided to modify it to a sentence of parole.

“They systematically reject entrance visas for our delegates,” stated the archbishop, “and in November they withdrew the residency permission for four young Brazilian priests who were working with the Portuguese-speaking African immigrants.”

The law, composed of 17 articles, prohibits the exercise of non-Islamic worship outside buildings approved by authorities.

An article allows for fines and prison for anyone “who changes the original function of places of worship” or “incites, coerces, or uses persuasive means to oblige a Muslim to embrace another religion.”

The same penalties are also applied to those who “produce, store, or distribute publications or audio or video material or other means oriented toward undermining faith in Islam.”

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Perhaps its the internet or more specifically the blogs that I read weekly, but over the past 3 years or so there seems to be a concerted effort in some quarters to reclaim(from their viewpoint) the term “Catholic”.  As a Catholic myself I have some problems with them doing so; their claim is that one can be “Catholic” without formally being a member of that communion. Indeed, they are members of the Catholic Church, but only informally as the Catholic church proclaims based on their membership in the body of Christ. Some individuals however have taken an additional step and chosen to alter IMO the meaning of the term, so that they may in fact reject some or a number of doctrinal and/or dogma definitions and would claim the title to Catholic and that those of us in communion with Rome are historically wrong in these positions, which in any-ones church language is referred to as heresy. Nothing wrong with that, it’s good for dialog for all parties to take a stand on what they believe is true. While it creates conflict, if the parties are concerned about the truth, then there is no inherent problem in having conflicting positions. Of course, traditionally Catholics have define these individuals as heretics or schismatics themselves. Which brings us to the issue – What does “Catholic” mean from the historical aspect in the Christian era?

I’m not a scholar, but experts will agree that the Greek word “katholikos”means universal, generally from kata (by) + holos(whole). The primary sources are pretty easy to gather together for the first 200 years since the pool of material is very limited. But after that it grows substantially. In selecting my material I attempted to draw from the first three periods of the church (Apostolic Father, the pre-Nicene, & Nicene fathers) as well as the first 5 centuries from the three primary geographic regions of the Christianity(Africa, the west & the east) as it existed back then and from both Latin and Greek fathers.

Please consider everything after 200 A.D. as a sample of available texts, hopefully it’s  a representative one, but I admit that I have my biases as well. I welcome any-ones input for primary sources that they feel would add to that which is already here. I was deliberate in trying to avoid texts that historically been use to justify papal claims. To some extent it was unavoidable to do so, since there is a linkage between both issues, but the papacy is secondary to this broader topic.

I will list the primary sources first, then reference back to them with my analysis after, so the reader will get a chance to absorb the material without to much bias input on my part other then the selection of text and the bolding and underlining as to it’s importance to my position. Anyone who has read even a limited amount of the church fathers will recognize these passages a  glance, so there isn’t any obscure quote that can’t be found on a number of internet sites for broader context.

The first preserved written use in the Christian tradition of the term “Catholic” about 105 A.D by St. Ignatius of Antioch(Greek):

ignatius.jpg1)See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. .It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid. St Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrneans

TheMartyrdom of St. Polycarp around 155A.D. (Greek)

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2)The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place: Mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna Chapter XVI

For, having through patience overcome the unjust governor, and thus acquired the crown of immortality, he now, with the apostles and all the righteous [in heaven], rejoicingly glorifies God, even the Father, and blesses our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls, the Governor of our bodies, and the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world Chapter XIX

We move now to St. Irenaeus of Lyon (Greek) – Against Heresies, book 3 (180 A.D.) For this discussion we can ignore what St. Irenaeus means by authority.

200px-saint_irenaeus.jpg3) For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church{that is the church of Rome}, on account of its pre- eminent authority,that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolic tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere. Chapter III paragraph 2.

The truth is to be found nowhere else but in the Catholic Church, the sole depository of  apostolical doctrine. Heresies are of recent formation, and cannot trace their origin up to the apostles. Chapter IV

Note: St. Irenaeus famous passage has been used unmercifully by Catholic apologists to bludgeon our fellow Anglicans and Orthodox alike on the topic of papal primacy. That is not the focus of this issue.

Tertullian(African/Latin) (from his Catholic period 200 A.D.)  

4)Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago,—in the reign of Antoninus for the most part, and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled. Prescription against Heretics – Chapter 30

St. Cyprian(African/Latin) to Antonianus – 252 A.D.

150px-stcyprian.jpg5)Cyprian to Antonianus his brother, greeting. I received your first letters, dearest brother, firmly maintaining the concord of the priestly college, and adhering to the Catholic Church, in which you intimated that you did not hold communion with Novatian, but followed my advice, and held one common agreement with Cornelius our co-bishop. You wrote, moreover, for me to transmit a copy of those same letters to Cornelius our colleague, so that he might lay aside all anxiety, and know at once that you held communion with him, that is, with the Catholic Church. Epistle 51

First Ecumenical Council in 325 A.D – (only 5 western/latin bishops represented of the 318 total)

180px-nicaea_icon.jpg6) We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion–all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them. Nicene Creed

St. Cyril of Jerusalem Catechism – 347 A.D. (Greek)

st-cyril-of-jerusalem.jpg7) 22. The Faithwhich we rehearse contains in order the following, And in one Baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; and in one Holy Catholic Church; and in the resurrection of the flesh; and in eternal life.” Now of Baptism and repentance I have spoken in the earliest Lectures; and my present remarks concerning the resurrection of the dead have been made with reference to the Article “In the resurrection of the flesh.” Now then let me finish what still remains to be said for the Article, “In one Holy Catholic Church,” on which, though one might say many things, we will speak but briefly

23. It is called Catholic then because it span extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to men’s knowledge, concerning things both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts.

26…since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to thee now the Article, “And in one Holy Catholic Church;” that thou mayest avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which thou wast regenerated. And if ever thou art sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord’s House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God St. Cyril of Jerusalem – Lecture XVIII

Optatus of Milevis, Against the Donatists 366 A.D. (African/Latin)

(8)You cannot then deny that you do know that upon Peter first in the City of Rome was bestowed the Episcopal Cathedra on which sat Peter, the Head of all the Apostles(for which reason he was called Cephas), that, in this one Cathedra, unity should be preserved by all, lest the other Apostles might claim—-each for himself—-separate Cathedras, so that he who should set up a second Cathedra against the unique Cathedra would already be a schismatic and a sinner. Well then, on the one Cathedra, which is the first of the Endowments, Peter was the first to sit. Against the Donatists-book 2, chapter 2

II. He proves from the Cathedra Petri that the Cathedra which is the first endowment of the Church belongs to Catholics, not to Donatists.

So we have proved that the Catholic Church is the Church which is spread throughout the world. We must now mention its Adornments and see where are its five Endowments (which you have said to be six, amongst which the CATHEDRA is the first; and, since the second Endowment, which is the ‘Angelus,’ cannot be added unless a Bishop has sat on Cathedra, we must see who was the first to sit on the Cathedra, and where he sat. If you do not know this, learn. If you do know, blush. Ignorance cannot be attributed to you—-it follows that you know. For one who knows, to err is sin. Those who do not know may sometimes be pardoned.

ST. PACIAN, BISHOP OF BARCELONA,EPISTLES TO SYMPRONIAN- 375 A.D. (Spaniard/latin)

9)7. And shall the Fathers rather follow our authority, and the antiquity of Saints give way to be emended by us, and times now putrifying through their sins, pluck out the grey hairs of Apostolic age? And yet, my brother, be not troubled; Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. The former gives me a name, the latter distinguishes me. By the one I am approved; by the other I am but marked.

8.   And if at last we must give an account of the word Catholic, and draw it out from the Greek by a Latin interpretation, “Catholic” is ‘every where one,’ or, as learned men “obedience in all,” i. e. all the commands of God. Whence the Apostle, Whether ye be obedient in all things;and again,For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. Therefore he who is a Catholic, the same man is obedient. He who is obedient, the same is a Christian, and thus the Catholic is a Christian. Wherefore our people when named Catholic are separated by this appellation from the heretical name. OF THE CATHOLIC NAME

Jointly from three emperors written in 380 A.D. for all the empire. Note: this is one year prior to the 1st synod of Constantinople (later known as the 2nd Ecumenical council):

10) C. Th.XVI.i.2: We desire that all the people under the rule of our clemency should live by that religion which divine Peter the apostle is said to have given to the Romans, and whichit is evident that Pope Damasusand Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic sanctity, followed; that is that we should believe in the one deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with equal majesty and in the Holy Trinity according to the apostolic teaching and the authority of the gospel. Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius Augusti. Codex Theodosianus.

Nicene Constantinopolitan creed 381 A.D. (150 Greek bishops -no latins)

314px-gregor-chora.jpg11)We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages, (God of God) Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence(one in being) with the Father, by Whom all things were made: Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;

And we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.We look for the Resurrection of the dead, And the Life of the world to come. Amen.

Pope St. Damasus I – 382 A.D.

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12) 1.After all these [writings of] the prophets and the evangelical and apostolic scriptures which we discussed above, on which the catholic church is founded by the grace of God, we also have thought necessary to say what, although the universal catholic church diffused throughout the world is the single bride of Christ, however the holy Roman church is given first place by the rest of the churches without[the need for] a synodical decision, but from the voice of the Lord our saviour in the gospel obtained primacy: ‘You are Peter,’ he said, ‘and upon this rock I shall build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and to you I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall bind upon Earth shall be bound also in heaven and whatever you release upon Earth shall also be released in heaven’.

2. In addition there is also the presence of the blessed apostle Paul, ‘the chosen vessel’, who not in opposition, as the heresies jabber, but on the same date and the same day was crowned in glorious death with Peter in the city of Rome suffering under Nero Caesar; and equally they made the above-mentioned holy Roman church special in Christ the Lord and gave preference in their presence and veneration-worthy triumph before all other cities in the whole world.

3. Therefore first is the seat at the Roman church of the apostle Peter ‘having no spot or wrinkle or any other [defect]’. However the second place was given in the name of blessed Peter to Mark his disciple and gospel-writer at Alexandria, and who himself wrote down the word of truth directed by Peter the apostle in Egypt and gloriously consummated [his life] in martyrdom. Indeed the third place is held at Antioch of the most blessed and honourable apostle Peter, who lived there before he came to Roma and where first the name of the new race of the Christians was heard. Section 3

Next is St. Augustine of Hippo who wrote Against the Epislte of Manichaeus in 397 A.D. (African/Latin)

saint_augustine_oldest_image_sm.jpg13) 5. For in the Catholic Church, not to speak of the purest wisdom, to the knowledge of which a few spiritual men attain in this life, so as to know it, in the scantiest measure, indeed, because they are but men, still without any uncertainty (since the rest of the multitude derive their entire security not from acuteness of intellect, but from simplicity of faith,)—not to speak of this wisdom, which you do not believe to be in the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house. Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should, though from the slowness of our understanding, or the small attainment of our life, the truth may not yet fully disclose itself. But with you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me, the promise of truth is the only thing that comes into play. Now if the truth is so clearly proved as to leave no possibility of doubt, it must be set before all the things that keep me in the Catholic Church; but if there is only a promise without any fulfillment, no one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion.

6.For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. So when those on whose authority I have consented to believe in the gospel tell me not to believe in Manichæus, how can I but consent? Take your choice. If you say, Believe the Catholics: their advice to me is to put no faith in you; so that, believing them, I am precluded from believing you;—If you say, Do not believe the Catholics: you cannot fairly use the gospel in bringing me to faith in Manichæus; for it was at the command of the Catholics that I believed the gospel;—Again, if you say, You were right in believing the Catholics when they praised the gospel, but wrong in believing their vituperation of Manichæus: do you think me such a fool as to believe or not to believe as you like or dislike, without any reason? It is therefore fairer and safer by far for me, having in one instance put faith in the Catholics, not to go over to you, till, instead of bidding me believe, you make me understand something in the clearest and most open manner. To convince me, then, you must put aside the gospel. If you keep to the gospel, I will keep to those who commanded me to believe the gospel; and, in obedience to them, I will not believe you at all. But if haply you should succeed in finding in the gospel an incontrovertible testimony to the apostleship of Manichæus, you will weaken my regard for the authority of the Catholics who bid me not to believe you; and the effect of that will be, that I shall no longer be able to believe the gospel either, for it was through the Catholics that I got my faith in it; and so, whatever you bring from the gospel will no longer have any weight with me. Wherefore, if no clear proof of the apostleship of Manichæus is found in the gospel, I will believe the Catholics rather than you.But if you read thence some passage clearly in favor of Manichæus, I will believe neither them nor you: not them, for they lied to me about you; nor you, for you quote to me that Scripture which I had believed on the authority of those liars. But far be it that I should not believe the gospel; for believing it, I find no way of believing you too. For the names of the apostles, as there recorded do not include the name of Manichæus. And who the successor of Christ’s betrayer was we read in the Acts of the Apostles; Acts 1:26 which book I must needs believe if I believe the gospel, since both writings alike Catholic authority commends to me. Chapter 4 & 5.

St. Augustine  – Letter to Vincentius – 408 A.D. 

14) 23. You think that you make a very acute remark when you affirm the name Catholic to mean universal, not in respect to the communion as embracing the whole world, but in respect to the observance of all Divine precepts and of all the sacraments, as if we (even accepting the position that the Church is called Catholic because it honestly holds the whole truth, of which fragments here and there are found in some heresies) rested upon the testimony of this word’s signification, and not upon the promises of God, and so many indisputable testimonies of the truth itself, our demonstration of the existence of the Church of God in all nations. In fact, however, this is the whole which you attempt to make us believe, that the Rogatists alone remain worthy of the name Catholics, on the ground of their observing all the Divine precepts and all the sacraments; and that you are the only persons in whom the Son of man when He comes shall find faith. Letter 93, Chapter 7, para.23

Next is Sozomen a Greek church historian 425 A.D. as background on the previous law issue by the Emperors quote above (#7)

15)Finally we as Gaul was about this period infested by the incursions of the Alemanni, Gratian returned to his paternal dominions, which he had reserved for himself and his brother, when he bestowed the government of Illyria and of the Eastern provinces upon Theodosius. He effected his purpose with regard to the barbarians; and Theodosius was equally successful against the tribes from the banks of the Ister; he defeated them, compelled them to sue for peace, and, after accepting hostages from them, proceeded to Thessalonica. He fell ill while in this city, and after receiving instruction from Ascholius, the bishop, he was initiated, and was soon after restored to health. The parents of Theodosius were Christians, and were attached to the Nicene doctrines; he was pleased with Ascholius, who maintained the same doctrines, and was, in a word, endowed with every virtue of the priesthood. He also rejoiced at finding that the Arian heresy had not been participated in by Illyria. He inquired concerning the religious sentiments which were prevalent in the other provinces, and ascertained that, as far as Macedonia,all the churches were like minded, and all held that equal homage ought to be rendered to God the Word, and to the Holy Ghost, as to God the Father; but that towards the East, and particularly at Constantinople, the people were divided into many different heresies. Reflecting that it would be better to propound his own religious views to his subjects, so as not to appear to be using force by commanding the unwilling subject to worship contrary to his judgment, Theodosius enacted a law at Thessalonica, which he caused to be published at Constantinople, well knowing that the rescript would speedily become public to all the other cities, if issued from that city, which is as a citadel of the whole empire. He made known by this law his intention of leading all his subjects to the reception of that faith which Peter, the chief of the apostles, had, from the beginning, preached to the Romans, and which was professed by Damasus, bishop of Rome, and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria. He enacted that the title of Catholic Church should be exclusively confined to those who rendered equal homage to the Three Persons of the Trinity, and that those individuals who entertained opposite opinions should be treated as heretics, regarded with contempt, and delivered over to punishment. Ecclesiastical History (Book VII)

Drawing from St. Vincent of Lerins 434 A.DCommonitory chapters 2 & 3 otherwise known as the Vincentian Canon which is used by our Orthodox and Anglican friends to bludgeon my fellow Catholics;>)

16) [6.] 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. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic; which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

Analysis. Still here? Well I hope this will be worthy of your time & effort.

  • From #1(St. Ignatius) we find that a “bishop is need” in the Catholic Church and that Christians “follow” him as “Jesus does the Father”. IOWs “obedience” &instituted” by God
  • From #2 (St. Polycarp) we see his use of the term “church of God” with various locations, but regardless they are all congregations of the Holy Catholic Church. IOWs “unity”.Jesus Christ is the Shepherd of the Catholic Church throughout the world.
  • From #3 (St. Irenaeus of Lyon) dealing with Gnostics who’s claim is hidden knowledge, not known to the general public; his solution is that every church should agree with the church of Rome, based on some undefined authority, and a unity with all other Apostolic church in the world.
  • Secondly, of more importance is that the Truth is found nowhere else but in the Catholic church & is the sole depository of apostolic doctrine. IOWs preservers of the “deposit of faith”.
  • Next is #4 (Tertullian) our have our first latin and first African. Prior to this we heard only from Greeks in the east. Tertullian deals with internal descent of believers who are misleading/”infecting” other believers. The solution is to “excommunicate” those formally within the church.
  • And #5 (St. Cyprian) deals with schism over the issue of liberal or rigorist application of christian principles. The Novatian issue. He solution is to send a letter to the bishop of Rome(Cornelius) stating that he was in communion with him and therefore with the Catholic Church. IOWs “unity with the bishop of Rome” is somehow connected to “communion with the Catholic Church”.

That closes out the Apostolic Father and pre-Nicene era.

B) The next section, I have separated because of the course altering change of the imperial gov’t of Rome saw the light of truth. It is critical to understand the period between 350 A.D. & 451 A.D. for a proper take on Christiology & church authority. There are just about as many creeds as there were local churches in the 4th century.

  • The Nicene Creed(#6) we see not just the affirmation of faith, but the penalty for those who profess something other then the Trinity. Namely the Arians and also Monarchianists. The term Apostolic is added as a requirement to be Catholic.
  • St. Cyril of Jerusalem (#7) attended the 2nd Ecumenical Council. In his catechism he adds the space to the requirement as well as teaching a unified comprehensive doctrine from one end of the earth to the other. One is to avoid membership in churches which teach heresy, it is not enough to be called the church of God.
  • Optatus of Milevius (#8) adds that the chair of St. Peter is required for unity. This is in reaction to the Donatist. IF one reads about the history of this sect there is IMO a striking similarity between it and modern day schismatics. The Catholic church was considered to “liberal” the Donatist after all had in fact remained true to the faith under persecution and dead by the pagan emperors. They refused to turn over the Sacred Scriptures and liturgical & Church father writings. They referred to the Catholics who were permitted back into the church after the persecutions as  traditor. This will come up again when dealing with St. Vincent’s canon.
  • St. Pacian (#9) adds the word obedience as the quality of a Catholic.
  • The 3 emperors (#10) place into Imperial law not the Creed of the 318 which was the rallyin cry throughout the turbulent times of this century, but the faith delivered by St. Peter the Apostle to the Romans (not the empire, but the local church in Rome, headed by it’s bishop) and St. Peter II bishop of Alexandria, who lived in exile in Rome, prior to being restored. Confirmed in (#15). It is now civil law that all who would be Catholic were required to profess a Trinitarian belief.
  • The Nicene-constantinopolitian Creed (#11 -Greek-easterners) is the most used in liturgies for all parties involved in this topic. These truths are to be held by everyone who is called by the name Catholic. It dealt with the Macedonian heresy( the three great Cappadocians fathers fought against this) , however the church in Antioch was in schism at the time and St. Meletius of Antioch (who was president of this council) was not in communion with the west or Alexandria (being suspect of Semi-Arian leanings). It’s creed was not used in the liturgy for centuries after the fact in the west and it was not until the Ecumenical council of Chalcedon(451 A.D.) that the creed was considered an Ecumenical council by Pope Leo the Great. The numerical number of “one” is included as a requirement of the Catholic church. There is no other.
  • St. Damasus I (#12) delivers his tome possibly accepted by the council of constantinople in 382, adds what has become to be known as papal supremacy as a condition of being Catholic. It establishes the gov’t structure as being of divine origin and the two other Petrine sees(Alexandria & Antioch) share in this authority bases on St. Peter.
  • St. Augustine (#13 &14) is simply dialog which I think explains what is not Catholic as much as what is.
  • St. Vincent (#16)  as stated above is IMO the primary quote used by those who desire to make a claim on the term Catholic, while not being in obedience, unity or communion to the bishop of rome, successor to St. Peter’s chair. He  uses examples to clarify what he meant by his theory, which can be found in the same book and link under #16  Chapters 4, 5, & 6
  • He draws on the example of the Donatists who as mentioned were schismatics, then the Arians who were heretics, then Martrys as witnesses to the Catholic faith, then one would think strange statement from Pope Stephen ” Let there be no innovation—nothing but what has been handed down.” This example point to communion with the bishop of Rome in the historical record. One would think then that this canon appeals in communion with Rome and required to be in global unity, doctrine, obedience with(not necessarily under) the chair of St. Peter in Rome.

As one can see from the primary sources the western church dealt with a lot of internal schism, from rigiorist mostly in Africa, heretics from the east and west, whereas the east deal more with theological speculation, which created heresy. It is my opinion that Christ select St. Peter as an integral part of the church and due to historical circumstances St. Peter chose Rome as his permanent chair. One of the theme’s that the fathers speak about is Catholic is from one end of the earth to the other. The ancients thought that they had achieved that goal; however today we know they were off a bit. That doesn’t change their claim however and I believe it is achieve by the Catholic church. A map of the Dioceses in the World

My conclusion is that Catholic is universal in geographic scope, unity in doctrine, unity with the bishop of Rome, obedience to scripture and the deposit of faith.

IOW’s your Catholic if your in communion with his guy:

pope-b16.jpg

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Dr Rowan Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.

“There’s a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law.”

If England goes along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, England will be Islamic within a generation. One does not accommodate Sharia law. Islam holds that religion & state are one, Sharia law is part of the of both and British law is not. Therefore accommodation will only increase the rate at which England will become Islamic. People have freedom to chose under the current system; however once Sharia law is introduced they will not.

This is a line in the sand that the British people must fight and fight now IMO. This just reinforces what I wrote about Islamization of England

The British should read about the rights of non-muslims or the lack there of will the British citizens soon find themselves in court attempting to defend themselves and claim that they are not subject to Islamic law?

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Humans are composed of both body(matter) and spirit. For many Christians only the latter component seems to matter[pun intended]. This type of view tends to be quite Gnostic in it’s outlook. During lent we attempt to teach our body that the spirit rules the flesh rather then the other way around. 
St. Paul writes in Galatians 5:16-18 
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
It only takes a few days for the average Catholic eight year old who gave up sweets for lent to realize that the body appears to have a will of it’s own. The child will also realize that their will isn’t as strong as perhaps they thought. It’s also interesting to see how the seven deadly sins have a stronger pull on oneself as you grow older and others don’t seem as difficult as our bodies age, yet others seem to have a stronger pull which isn’t as strong on the youth.
However it must be noted that our bodies are intergrated with our spirit as our Creator made us. We are not whole without them. It is sin that has cause both body & spirit to function at less then what their Creator designed and hence our struggle to control it.
I was struck by an article that was written byFather Michael A. Seger about an exhibit of 20 Plasticized bodies and the lack of respect made by displaying them as simply matter. Clearly the bodies are material, however as Christians we believe that all will be reunited at the end of time with their spirit. We recognize the sacredness of the spirit, but God created us as body as well.  And while the spirit wars with the flesh, the flesh joined to the spirit,makes us a whole person. Perserving our bodies as temples of the Lord is intergral to the person.

As an integral unity of spirit and body, my body as a personal reality expresses and communicates my deepest spiritual values. We love with our bodies, we mourn with tears, we nourish with our bodies, we comfort with compassionate embraces. Our bodies bear the marks and movements of our life story.

First, one is drawn to ask about the values at stake in displaying human beings in such a manner. Western thought rejects any naïve separation of body and spirit. Laws protecting hourly workers from exploitative scheduling, for example, do more than worry about physical exhaustion. They seek to protect the spiritual core of the person. Our society goes so far as to regulate the treatment of corpses. This concern speaks to protecting and promoting profound human values. The human person is an embodied spirit so that our body is more than just a temporary container.

One faces yet another, related question: How does this exhibit touch upon the respect due to the human person as an embodied spirit?

 The plasticized bodies of this exhibit rip a person from the context of her or his life story. They stand before us sadly anonymous: not mourned and not reverenced…. The plasticized bodies splayed for anatomical voyeurism belong to a person who deserves better. We are a society that prides itself on protecting and promoting human dignity, so we ask if this exhibit respects that noble goal.

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Genesis 3:19

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Ash Wednesday -“Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return”.

It’s very good to be reminded that we’re moral. Everyone dies, the question then will you be raised up to new life or a much warmer spot with a front row to flames?

Luke 10:13

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

I’m not one for sackcloth, perhaps the hair shirt will come back in vogue. Get Madoma perhaps she can set the trend;~)

Ashes have since Moses time been a symbol of repentance. One should remember that both the towns mentioned in Luke’s Gospel had Jesus who lived there among them and performed miracles. So just because you have heard the mesage doesn’t mean you’ve changed your heart. The operative word for lent is reflection [primarily inward] after review it’s amazing how much more Christian your neighbors and co-workers seem.

The Europeans seem to use the top of the head for the ashes, I am guessing this is likely the older tradition following Nehemiah 9:1-

On the twenty-fourth day of this month, the Israelites gathered together fasting and in sackcloth, their heads covered with dust.

Those Europeans are so legalistic and literal;>) 

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent for Catholic the world over. This is normally a great ice-breaker for Catholics to express their faith with others and to let them know that Lent has begun. I’ve never been one to inquire from folks if they are saved. I’ve always believed in the motto attributed to St. Francis “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words”. However I’ve misapplied this standard as well. “If necessary” is for the individual your encountering not what time constrains I’m living under.

It was interesting this year for me, because I am currently working on the mid-shift. Normally I go to the evening service and go straight home or perhaps I might stop off at the store to pick up some milk & bread for the family for breakfast. Living in the south USA, one will get some strange looks from folks. Others will be kind enough to advise me that I have some dirt on my forehead. After the service tonight I when to work with ashes. I was wondering if this was going to be an encounter with a potentially PC management and whether I would be asked to wipe off the ashes. I prayed that this would not occur, but if it had I was prepared to make a stand on the issue. I have no idea why, but stand I would. Hopefully this would not have to blow up into a legal battle, and I thought about the lack of finances to support such a venture if it came to it and gee I should have spoken to my wife before I chose to make a stand on it. I know she’d support me, but I didn’t feel right about the choice without consulting her first.

A few of my employees pointed out to me that I had dirt on my forehead with the standard non-verbal arm to forehead an wipe back and forth routine. I really wanted to play innocent as if I had no idea what they were talking about, but I simply ignored them. Another employee simply looked at me with a puzzled look, but thought better of asking me or advsing me to wash my face. A co-worker of mine, who was born and raised in the SBC, but who that communion would call a back-slider, knew right away what the mark on my forehead was and gave me a sneer and offered to get a wet nap and wipe it off for me. Finally an employee who knew I was Catholic connected the dots and inquired “Is it Ash Wednesday?”. Why yes it is , I said it was the start of Lent and a time of personal reflection for myself and seeking a way to improve my walk with the Lord. I didn’t want to go further then that because being in a gov’t job I didn’t want my employees to think I was preaching to them or because I was their boss that they would be forced to listen.

Later that evening I had an employee who came up and admitted that they were Catholic and felt ashamed that they had wiped off their ashes prior to coming to work.  I said I didn’t know why they felt shamed, it was a personal choice and was glad they were beginning lent as well. Another was a fallen away Catholic and he felt like he had missed out on something and may give something up for lent as well (but won’t consider attending church on a regular basis).  Finally I had a boss who simply wanted to know what Lent was all about, so he could grasp a better understanding of his employees.

Finally I haven’t seen anything in bloggdom addressing where the ashes come from which my priest failed to mention either tonight. I’ve always felt this is the key link in the process. For those that don’t know the ashes are taken from the palm’s used in last years Palm Sunday service.

Matthew 21:6-11

The very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and strewed them on the road. The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.” And when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken and asked, “Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The symbolism is that we proclaim Jesus is Lord, prophet & King just like the crowds did back them. They were all band-wagoners, caught up in the moment. It’s these same folks who  in 4 days shouted for His death.

The lenten ashes for me recall how I sing(ok, I can’t sing, that’s just an opportunity for others to endure penance by listening to me) Hosanna in the Highest during the Liturgy, but how I have failed Him and those I care for in so many ways, just as those people fail Christ. But unlike the people in the Gospel reading, I have the chance to walk with our Lord during the stations of the cross, to repent and even use a few words when necessary.

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Q&A with Archbishop Chaput

By Rocky Mountain News

Comments and highlight edited by me. Related post by me on the subject here

Originally published 11:53 a.m., January 31, 2008
Updated 11:53 a.m., January 31, 2008

Archbishop Charles Chaput called House Bill 1080 an “attack on religious identity” in his weekly column appearing in last week’s Denver Catholic Register. He subsequently answered questions about the bill in an e-mail exchange with the Rocky Mountain News:
Q: The most straightforward interpretation of your column suggests that you will shut down Catholic Charities if this bill – or any bill – passes which restricts your ability to hire or fire based on Catholic religious standards. Is that a correct reading of what you will do?
Chaput: No. Catholic Charities will continue its core mission to the poor with or without public funds. If the government wants to carry the burden it currently asks religious-affiliated groups to carry, that’s the government’s business, and so are the costs and problems that go along with it.What I actually said is that Catholic Charities “is an arm of Catholic social ministry. When it can no longer have the freedom it needs to be ‘Catholic,’ it will end its services.” At this point, HB 1080 is only a bill; a bad bill — but not yet the law. If HB 1080 were to become law, that would be the time for us to make service decisions based on the content of the law. But if you’re asking me whether I meant what I said about closing services rather than compromise our religious identity, I most certainly did.QB: I love this, he doesn’t get caught in rejecting a position formed by the secular press, he clarifies the PC spin and bluntly states what the state intrusion is.Q: What current standards do you and the Catholic archdiocese demand of your employees when it comes to sexual orientation and religion?

Chaput: We expect our employees to respect Catholic teaching and support it in their professional lives. That’s logical and just because the Catholic community has a religious mission. Obviously, we respect the personal lives of our employees. We have no interest, nor does any other sensible employer, in intruding on their privacy or family autonomy outside their service to the Church. But it’s self-defeating to imagine a Catholic-affiliated ministry where the key guiding people can’t be required to be Catholic.

Q: You note that Catholic Charities already employs many non-Catholics. Obviously, you aren’t discriminating against them in your hiring practices even today. So what’s the danger of this law — its worst-case effect? Please give some specific examples of how it could impact an agency like Catholic Charities.

Chaput: I think I’ve said what I need to say pretty clearly in my Jan. 23 column, and Chris Rose amplified on that well in his Jan. 30 letter to the Denver Catholic Register.

Q: How do you respond to those who say, “Oh, the archbishop is just playing politics by threatening to shut down Catholic Charities. Would he really deny services to the poor and disadvantaged — take milk from babies’ mouths — just to keep from complying with established discrimination laws?”

Chaput: Christians were delivering services to the poor long before government got into the business and will continue to do so long after any of us are around to argue.

QB: I think the bishop was rather understated here. The state never cared about marriage until they found there was money to be made of it. The state never cared about adoption or orphan’s for the same reason. The same can be said about primary education, hospitals etc. (I speaking about the past 1,000 years here not the USA specifically).

Chaput (con’t):The Church didn’t start the HB 1080 debate. We had it pushed on us. HB 1080 has bad implications for all religious service organizations, not just Catholic ones.

QB: I’m haven’t found any other faith groups picking up on this yet.

Chaput: (con’t):This unfortunate bill and its fallout are entirely the work of others. But anyone who thinks the Catholic community is ‘playing politics’ on this matter is seriously mistaken. We’re eager to cooperate with anyone of good will. Catholic Charities has a long track record that proves it. But we won’t be used by the government to provide services, often at a financial loss to ourselves, and then be told we can’t hire key people according to our religious identity because it allegedly compromises the public good. That’s unjust, bad for the poor, alien to American history, and offensive to religious believers.

QB: Can the church make an exception on cloning? We need about 3,500 more of him in the office of bishop.

Q: Your opposition to this bill will also have some people wondering, “But isn’t any kind of discrimination against groups of people just plain wrong? Shouldn’t religious groups that believe in helping people want to outlaw every kind of discrimination, no matter what kind it is?” What do you say to them?

Chaput: I’d ask them to use their common sense. It’s reasonable for a religious organization to ensure and protect its religious identity. It’s also reasonable to expect religious organizations to refrain from proselytizing when using public funds.

QB: Talk about fair & balanced.

Chaput(con’t): But it’s unreasonable — in fact, it shows a peculiar hostility toward religionto claim that religious organizations will compromise the public good if they remain true to their religious identity while serving the poor with public funds. That’s just a new form of prejudice using the ‘separation of Church and state’ as an alibi.

QB: Direct, matter of fact, slightly indignant- priceless.

Source: Rocky Mountain News

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