The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church – compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church – printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church–the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury.
“Divinely wise souls often infuriate the worldly-wise because they always see things from the Divine point of view. The worldly are willing to let anyone believe in God if he pleases, but only on condition that a belief in God will mean no more than belief in anything else. They will allow God, provided that God does not matter. But taking God seriously is precisely what makes the saint. As St. Teresa put it, “What is not God to me is nothing.” This passion is called snobbish, intolerant, stupid, and unwarranted intrusion; yet those who resent it deeply wish in their own hearts that they had the saint’s inner peace and happiness.”
Pope Francis said Wednesday that marriage is a vocation all believers are called to defend, specifically in terms of the complementarity of the union between a man and a woman.
In the account of creation, “man appears for a moment without woman, free and master, but he is alone, he feels alone,” the Pope told attendees of his April 22 general audience.
“God himself recognizes that this reality is not good, that there is a lack of fullness and of communion, and because of this decided to create woman,” Francis said, explaining that when the woman is finally presented to the man, “the man recognizes that only this creature, and only she, is part of him.”
Man doesn’t see woman as a mere replica or reflection of himself, the Pope noted, but immediately recognizes her as someone reciprocal and complimentary to him.
The woman, he said, “is not a ‘replica’ of the man; she comes directly from the creative act of God. The image of the ‘rib’ does not in any way express inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary.”
Francis spoke to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his general audience address, during which he continued his ongoing catechesis on the family.
In his speech, the Pope warned that the complementarity between men and women is frequently threatened by “the negative excesses of patriarchal cultures (and) multiple forms of ‘machismo,’” or sexist attitudes.
He noted how the female body is often instrumentalized and commoditized in the current media culture.
While God initially placed his full confidence in Adam and Eve, the devil is the one who sowed seeds of suspicion and distrust in their hearts, leading them to disobey God and destroy the initial harmony of their relationship, he said.
“All of this has increased distrust and the difficulty of a full alliance between man and woman, who are capable of an intimate relationship of communion and respect for differences,” the Pope continued.
Rather than being lived as a reciprocal union, marriage today has been marred by an “epidemic of distrust, of skepticism and even of hostility,” he said.
At the same time, the procreative aspect of marriage has been “devalued, which is always a great loss for everyone. How important it is to revalue marriage and the family!”
When a stable and “fruitful” union between a man and a woman is lacking or underappreciated, it is the young who suffer most, Francis observed.
Despite all of our sins and weaknesses, our vocation “is to care for the covenant of marriage,” which constitutes “a vital and energizing vocation, through which we cooperate with our heavenly Father, who himself always cares for and protects this great gift.”
Pope Francis then turned to God’s mercy, saying that the image of the Father’s tenderness toward a sinful couple “leaves us open-mouthed with wonder” at how he safeguards his creation.
This image, he said, should inspire all believers to make a commitment to defend the “vital and energizing” vocation of marriage and to protect the sacred union that God willed for men and women.
Francis concluded his address by praying that Mary’s example would teach all men and women of today to obey and be strengthened by the first harmony with which they were created and loved by God.
I await the petition to God written by prominent Catholics decrying the Pope's intolerance.
Gay marriage is only the last in a long series of shifts in sexual morality. Why didn’t premarital sex or cohabitation galvanize our attention, like this has? Where were the protests then? How did divorce and remarriage become about as frequent among Christians as in the general population?
When reminded of those higher standards, of not that long ago, people say, “But it would be too hard for divorced people to remain unmarried. It’s too hard to live without love.” Yet that’s exactly what we ask gay people to do. We should at least admit that it is not easy; it is in fact a kind of heroism, and we should honor it better than we do. I don’t advocate relaxing the rules (of the faith) for gays, but I wonder how straight people came to relax the rules for themselves.
So I don’t care what other people do in bed, and I don’t think that a gay couple living down the street undermines the marriages around them. But I do think that gay sex damages the soul, and I’ll tell you why.
My Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the whole purpose of human life is union with God. It teaches that this is possible even for the most ordinary Christians. Our church has had plenty of practice—centuries and millennia of practice—discerning what helps and what hinders that process. It has long observed (as have most ancient faiths) that sex outside hetero marriage (gay or straight) is one of the things that impede spiritual growth.
This is not a theoretical belief, but an observation based on practical experience. So it can’t change. But why should other people care what I believe? If I saw someone smoking a cigarette, I might worry that he’s harming himself, and he might suspect I disapprove. But we don’t have to have an argument about it. He’s free to do what he wants, and I’m free to have my own opinion. Live and let live, I say.
But mark this: I also expect my church to be free practice this faith. While there is much more to the process of soul-healing than sexual activity—anger and pride, for example, are much more frequently addressed—that doesn’t make the sexual morality obsolete. So we uphold it, whether gay or straight. Everyone in my church is there voluntarily; everyone is free to leave at any time. We all struggle with one temptation or another, and support each other on the path. If any attempt is made to restrict what people of faith believe, teach, preach, and practice, this country will have a much bigger fight on its hands.
I’ve resisted joining up with the “defend marriage” movement for a long time, and you might wonder why I’d change my mind now. It’s not that I think I have anything fresh to add to the conversation. People aren’t listening anyway; to gay advocates, I am just another hater. When I tried, a few years ago, to put my “live and let live” perspective into words, a gay blogger responded with a post stating, “Frederica says I don’t deserve to be loved.”
No, I’m joining the fray because it looks like the battle is lost. That means it’s time to stand together. It’s not hard to predict what happens next: winners silence their opponents, and losers are hounded, misrepresented, and punished for their views.
Well, what did we expect? What we are saying seems nonsense to the secular world, and is felt as actively antagonistic. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
This past Good Friday I was struck by the scripture that says Christ suffered “outside the gate,” as an outcast, beyond the city wall. Why should we be any different? As the Scripture says, “Let us go forth to him outside the camp, and bear the abuse he endured” (Hebrews 13:13). It’s time. Let’s go.
Thought provoking and unsettling words purposed in pointing out that defending marriage isn't just about opposing gay marriage.
“False economics says that the primary end of business is not consumption, but production. Start with this principle and it follows then that the purpose of a machine is not to supply human needs, but to make profit for its owner. The price then becomes more important than the man who pays the price. It is then only a step to say that the produce of God’s bountiful land may be destroyed in the midst of starvation for the sake of an economic price. Man becomes subordinate to economics, instead of economics to man, and this means a degradation and impoverishment of human dignity.”
When we speak, how much do we rationalize, avoid saying, over-state, as our needs and interests require? Do we speak strongly when the subjects are weak or distant or marginal and more carefully or not at all when they’re stronger or closer to us? How much do we employ euphemisms when our desires drive us to do something our consciences recognize as wrong? In culturally conservative circles, for example, we find it easy to speak firmly against homosexuality and to condemn homosexual people who act on their desires. We have no problem advising those who want to live by the Church’s teaching on the high standards they must maintain. These people can become subjects for culture-warring. They are Them, and they live a good ways away.
In these same circles, how often do we speak in that way about Catholic couples on their second marriages who haven’t gotten an annulment? About couples using contraception? Not, I think, nearly as often as we speak that way about homosexual people. The sins seem equal in the Catholic understanding and they’re a great deal more common than homosexuality and just as public. The articulation of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage is needed a lot more by these people than by homosexual people. But these people are our neighbors and the people to whom we pass the peace at Mass. We work with them on the parish festival and run into them at the Lenten fish fry. We’ve heard their stories and we know how much pain they’ve suffered. We know how they came to be where they are. In their cases, we speak gently and only when we think we will get a hearing. Many times since I’ve been a Catholic I’ve heard someone who spoke strongly when the subject was theoretical or distant suddenly start speaking with empathy when the subject was someone he knew. The most rigorous legalist finds a “pastoral” reading of the law. Their kindness becomes them, inconsistent as it may be. Perhaps we ought to speak strongly to the people in irregular marriages, though that kind of confrontation seems properly the clergy’s job. Not everyone in ancient Israel was called to be like Elijah. In any case, as I say, telling the truth is hard. We all tend to evade it when saying it will cost us or hurt people we care about. Instead of thrusting our fist into the air, we stuff our hands in our pockets and look at the ground. This sounds like compromise and cowardice, and it may often be, but not always. How to speak and what to say when and to whom is a matter of discernment and discernment requires care for the person, and we care more easily for the people we know. Most of us need to work on caring for those we don’t know, the ones we find easy to condemn and order around. Knowing well what to say requires not just an intellectual effort but growth in holiness. Our ability to tell the truth depends upon our conformity to the Lord who is the truth and also love. He’s the source of courage and tact.
Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president's mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.
A week and a half after Obama's National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being "people of the cross." Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero "Mama" Maggie Gobran, known as the "Mother Theresa of Cairo" for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.
Rather than hectoring Christians about their ancestors' misdeeds, Obama should honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them.
Monday, there was more horrifying news: ISIL terrorists released a video purporting to show more religiously motivated killing. According to CNN, before beheading and shooting two groups of Christians in Libya, a speaker said, "The Islamic State has offered the Christian community (the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay a tax for being Christian) many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated."
No one denies that horrible abuses did take place but is that any excuse to burn a church that has stood for over 140 years?
What the media reports insinuated, some went right ahead and said. Australian actress Rachel Griffith said she felt “great relief” and added, “I was quite elated, like many of my generation, when I heard the news this morning.”
Elated? At the news three churches had been burned?
Imagine for a moment that these weren’t Christian churches.
If they had been mosques or temples, we’d be loudly decrying such persecution and furiously examining our consciences. We’d have a nation-wide hashtag campaign and protests in support of those whose beloved sacred places had been destroyed in the most holy of weeks. (Can I suggest #illfightchurchattackswithyou)
"I really hope that we can heal and move forward and I think that's why this particular fire - to create a metaphor - it's sometimes out of the burning ruins that something true and authentic can be reborn and I hope that's true for this parish," Griffiths said.
I take it that her words are supposed to garner sympathetic support and represent enlightened thought.
I take it that the burning of the other two churches in the area brought her more relief, more elation and more opportunities for something true and authentic to be reborn.
If these buildings had been mosques and an airhead actress had expressed support for their burnings, there would be calls to boycott her films and blacklist her work.
... yet who disagree with most of Catholic teaching, who rarely go to Mass, who rarely if ever let people know about the beauty of Catholicism, who dissent largely from Catholic doctrine, who are more likely to talk up how they oppose the Church rather than support it.
You know who you are.
Why stay in the Church? Why not go to a Church more in line with your thinking, with your ideology, with your mindset?
Escalating the attacks on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco for continuing to uphold Catholic teachings, 100 self-described “Catholic leaders” have signed an open letter to Pope Francis, calling for the archbishop’s removal. In a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, the petitioners claim that Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” by asking K–12 Catholic-school teachers in the Bay area to “violate their individual consciences by accepting a morality code” based on the Church’s teachings.
Did you catch that last sentence? Read it again.
These people think that the Church's teachings foster an atmosphere of division and intolerance. So why stay in that Church?
Someone explain why you'd want to remain associated with a Church you minimally dislike and more likely hate?