Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Thursday that he respects Pope Francis after bashing the pontiff earlier in the day for criticizing his plan to build a border wall.
"He has a lot of personality," Trump said during the CNN town hall on Thursday night in South Carolina. "He's very different, he's a very different kind of a guy, and I think he's doing a very good job. A lot of energy."
Earlier on Thursday, Trump said the pope publicly questioned his faith with a statement that said building walls "is not Christian." Trump called a religious leader questioning a person's faith "disgraceful."
But he told CNN's Anderson Cooper that after seeing the pope's actual statements, it seems nicer than what was originally portrayed.
"I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media," he said.
Trump added that the pope only knew one side of the story.
"Somehow the government of Mexico spoke with the pope. I mean, they spent a lot of time with the pope, and by the time they left, they made the statement," he said.
Asked what he thought the Mexican government's role was, Trump said, "they probably talked about 'isn't it terrible that Mr. Trump wants to have border security,' " he said.
"I think that he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the Mexican government," he said.
But Trump said the bottom line is that the country needs stronger border security.
"I don't like fighting with the pope, actually. I don't think this is a fight," he said.
The Vatican has also weighed in after the fact:
Spokesperson for @Pontifex clarifies: comments on Trump weren't "personal attack"
It was not his vulgarity, his coarse language, his sexist attacks, or his crude aggressive name calling.
It was not his lies, mendacity, manipulation and innate dishonesty.
It was not his fake tan, fake teeth, fake hair and fake face.
It was not his history of buying politicians, scheming to grab property from old ladies, planned bankruptcies and running casinos.
It was not his bragging, racism, boasting and megalomania.
It was that little question thrown at him which turned out to be a curve ball.
The question was something like, “Who in your life is able to challenge you and say you are wrong? From whom do you take criticism?”
He stuttered and stammered before hemmed and hawed after saying weakly that his wife tells him when he’s wrong. He then went on to his usual line about how his is a winner, he is a billionaire. He is a successful businessman.
This, combined with his admission that he has “never said sorry to God” and “never apologized for anything” shows the true heart of darkness in Donald Trump.
If a man cannot see that he has done wrong and apologize and accept an apology, then it is impossible for him to repent, and if it is impossible for him to repent, then that man is lost. His heart is the same as that other beautiful created being who, from the beginning and forever is not able to bow his head or bow his knee.
Then someone else noticed a chilling detail from the first moments of the debate.
I was not sure what to expect from one of the most influential Catholics in the country. Scalia has a son who is a priest, so I assumed his faith would be alive. But I wondered if it would be the dry faith of a powerful intellectual or a faith that would inspire. It turned out to be the latter.
Scalia began his talk by considering the etymology of the word cretin and pointing out that the origins of the word may have derived from the French word for Christian, chretien. And truly, Scalia pointed out, members of Christianity, from the beginning of its history, have been considered fools for believing such things as miracles, particularly the miracle of the Resurrection.
But Scalia argued that it isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles. “What is irrational,” he said, “is to reject a priori, with no investigation, the possibility of miracles in general and of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in particular — which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do.”
Scalia then went on to discuss the roots of this scorn for deep faith, even in the United States, a country that is widely considered to be deeply Christian from its very beginning. But Scalia pointed out that even among our Founding Fathers, this scorn for anything without sound rational basis (in their opinion) was evident.
Thomas Jefferson, a son of the Enlightenment, once revised the Gospels to “remove the gold from the dross.” Jefferson was convinced that the Gospels had some worthy information and some information that was added later by his “superstitious biographers.” Jefferson’s version of the life of Jesus removed the miracles, included some of Jesus’ ethical teachings, and then ended abruptly with Jesus’ death and the stone rolling over the tomb.
Scalia then went on to talk about a more modern example of the blindness of a rationalism gone too far. A priest near his home in DC was discovered to have the stigmata and statues would weep when he was near them. A Washington Postreporter witnessed the statue weeping and could only say, “There has to be a trick here.” Scalia asked the crowded room why non-believers don’t flock to places like this to verify for themselves. The answer is obvious he said, “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”
The wise do not investigate such things as the Resurrection or miracles because they believe they are informed enough about the world to know that such things are impossible. Therefore, they assume that people who actually believe in miracles are foolish and peasant-like. But they base their beliefs, not on investigation, but on flat out rejection of the possibility.
I can certainly relate to this arrogance. When I was an atheist, I disdained Christianity and believed that Christians were ignorant because their views did not fit in with my world view. This type of thinking is rampant in our society and is only too evident with discussion regarding such things as the Catholic view of contraception or Christian beliefs regarding marriage. The point of view of the wise is that only bigoted idiots would believe the things we believe. There can be no other explanation in the minds of the worldly wise. Our point of view is not even thought of as rational enough to be considered.
Scalia ended his talk by considering St. Thomas More, a man who died to defend a corrupt Church and papacy, and considered by many, including his wife, to be a fool for accepting martyrdom. More gave his life because he refused to sign an oath that disparaged the pope and Henry VII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Scalia pointed out that Pope Clement XII, the pope during the time of More, was not one of the most reputable popes in history. And yet, More saw beyond the current circumstances and believed in the permanence of the Church that Jesus established.
As Scalia’s talk came to a close, he said to the crowded room, “I hope to impart to you the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity.”
She's got more and it's well worth the link click to read the rest.
May the good Lord grant perpetual rest to Justice Scalia. And may He grant wisdom to this country in finding a replacement.
No, that's not a description of the New Hampshire voter though after yesterday's results. one could be excused for thinking so.
It's actually a description used by Carl Trueman, a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who also teaches history at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, to describe non-Catholics who've adopted Ash Wednesday (and other Lenten practices) borrowed from the Catholic tradition.
If you’re thinking of the somewhat wooly-minded, generically Protestant Presbyterians in the church in middle of town, you’re not thinking of Carl’s kind of Presbyterian. The mainline Presbyterians are the ones in tweed and corduroy; Carl’s type are in biker leathers. He’s one John Calvin would have recognized as a brother.
Writing on Reformation21, the website of the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, Carl notes that Evangelicals have started observing the season and then lets loose:
American evangelicals are past masters at appropriating anything that catches their fancy in church history and claiming it as their own, from the ancient Fathers as the first emergents to the Old School men of Old Princeton as the precursors of the Young, Restless, and Reformed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer as modern American Evangelical.
He is a genial and liberal-minded man. His office bookshelf has very large Aquinas and Newman sections along with the works of Luther, Calvin, and their descendants. (He’s just written a book titled Luther On the Christian Life.) I have spent a pleasant night in the Truemans’ home after speaking at the seminary at his invitation. He is generous to Catholics. But Evangelicals observing Lent, this sets him off. “I also fear that it speaks of a certain carnality,” he continues:
The desire to do something which simply looks cool and which has a certain ostentatious spirituality about it. As an act of piety, it costs nothing yet implies a deep seriousness. In fact, far from revealing deep seriousness, in an evangelical context it simply exposes the superficiality, eclectic consumerism and underlying identity confusion of the movement.
They shouldn’t do this. Their “ecclesiastical commitments do not theologically or historically sanction observance of such things,” he writes in a second article on the website, “Catholicity Reduced to Ashes.” Ash Wednesday is “strictly speaking unbiblical” and therefore can’t be imposed by a church, treated as normative, or understood as offering benefits unavailable in the normal parts of the Christian life. That would be a violation of the Christian liberty the Reformation so stressed (against “the illicit binding of consciences in which the late medieval church indulged,” as he puts it).
The “well-constructed worship service” and “appropriately rich Reformed sacramentalism” render the observance of Ash Wednesday “irrelevant.” Infant baptism, for example, declares better than the imposition of ashes once a year “the priority of God’s grace and the helplessness of sinless humanity in the face of God.” The Lord’s Supper does as well.
Worse, Carl argues, these Evangelicals pick from the Catholic tradition the parts they like when that tradition is an indivisible whole. In for a penny, in for a pound seems to be his understanding of Catholicism. He finds it “most odd,” he writes in the second article, that some might “observe Lent as an act of identification with the church catholic while repudiating a catholic practice such as infant baptism or a catholic doctrine such as eternal generation or any hint of catholic polity.” (The lower-case “c” is his but he means the upper-case.) “The notion of historic catholicity itself has become just another eclectic consumerist construct.”
Mr. Mills has much more, including a beautiful reference to the Church offering "riches like an over-loaded wagon in a fairy tale, spilling gold coins every time it hits a pothole."
I, like David, think it a good thing when Protestants find these Catholic gold coins, after all, there's plenty of them. I consider it a rare day when I don't come across something new and fresh in the writings of the historical Church, the Catechism, or in published Papal writings and based on David's piece alone, it seems many a non-Catholic believer is experiencing similar things.
More power to them, and less to people like Mr. Trueman.
Here's hoping for a movingly productive Lenten season to each one of you, whether you're Catholic or not.
"Just as sex is a God-given instinct for the prolongation of the human race, so the desire for property as a prolongation of one's ego is a natural right sanctioned by natural law. A person is free on the inside because he can call his soul his own; he is free on the outside because he can call property his own. Internal freedom is based upon the fact that "I am"; external freedom is based on the fact that "I have." But just as the excesses of flesh produce lust, for lust is sex in the wrong place, so there can be a deordination of the desire for property until it becomes greed, avarice, and capitalistic aggression."
I've been away for a number of days, celebrating some special time with the granddaughter at a place named after some dude named Walt Disney. It was most excellent on a variety of fronts.
While away, lots was apparently going on, most of it political and most of it likely consuming a decent amount of my time had I been near a computer. Yet most of it, in the grand scheme of things, inconsequential.
What I did miss, and I think it to be most encouraging, is this picture, and what it represents:
Cebuanos and delegates to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) currently being held in this city trooped to the Cebu Provincial Capitol and filled its surrounding streets to hear the Mass led by Dublin, Ireland Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
According to Fr. Roberto Ebisa, SVD, of DYRF, Police Chief Inspector Ryan Debaras estimated the crowd that gathered for the Mass and procession to be nearly 2 million. Streets leading to the Capitol were closed to make way for the millions of people joining in the international Catholic gathering dubbed as the “World Youth Day of adult Catholics”. Candle-bearing delegates and pilgrims from Cebu and around the world chanted hymns and prayers as the carriage carrying the monstrance made its way slowly from the Capitol through Osmeña Boulevard towards Plaza Independencia while a choir led in the chanting of the Litany of the Saints and other hymns.
Nothing to see there but 2 million Catholics clinging to their much maligned yet vibrant faith (Deacon Greg has video up as well at the link).
As intriguing as the picture of all those people might be, this section in the Kandra post particularly stood out for me:
In his homily, Martin reminded the people that “the Church became present through the Eucharist, through the Holy Communion.” No Eucharist, no Church “There is no Church without the Eucharist. The Eucharist constructs the Church,” he said.
The Eucharist – which comes to us in the Holy Mass when bread and wine mysteriously changes in substance but not in physical appearance to Christ’s body and blood at the blessing of the priest – was at the center of Christian worship even in the earliest stages of Christianity.
Why? Because the Eucharist is Christ (see 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; John 6:32–71 and all the Last Supper accounts).
St Ignatius of Antioch, who was a disciple of John the apostle, writes at the turn of the second century:
“Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God. . . . They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ… They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans 6:2–7:1 [A.D. 110]).
St. Justin Martyr wrote:
“We call this food Eucharist…..For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66 [A.D. 151]).
There is no Church without the Eucharist because... the Eucharist is Christ and there can be no Church without Him.
The logic of the Inferno has always seemed simple enough. It arrives without drama, by way of a boring syllogism. I am made to be with God in an eminently personal relationship. As with all loving relationships, I must freely enter into it. Being-coerced or being unable to do anything but love God contradicts the nature of love. I can no more be “forced to love” then draw a square circle or rip out the hair of a bald man. The possibility of a loving relationship with God necessarily includes the possibility ofnot entering into a loving relationship with God. This not-being-with-God we call Hell.
If I am going to effectively deny the possibility of Hell, I must deny that my relationship with God can ever really be one of love. I must deny my ability not to choose Him. This would avoid the problem of Hell, but only by making human existence hellish. It would make a good God easier to believe in, but only by making Him unworthy of worship — and thus no God at all. I, at least, will not bow to a God who damns me to paradise, deludes me into the experience of being-free, and acts, in the final analysis, as a rapist of souls.
This is why I have never been particularly impressed by those who don’t believe in God because of the doctrine of Hell: For my part, I refuse to believe in God (or at the very least I defy him) unless there is the possibility of Hell. Different strokes, I suppose.
Regardless, here I am, free to enter into loving relation with God despite John Calvin and Sam Harris. Entering into this loving relationship requires one thing only: That I love. I hardly deny that it is a complicated affair, figuring exactly how to love my Creator. (It is not enough, it seems, to love him in the same manner that I love my cat.) But this much is certain: To be in a relation of love, one must love.
The above premises are hotly contested, but again — the logic seems simple. Hell is a possibility I may choose by not loving God.
The paradox is this — I am the only person I may know, with certain knowledge, as “not loving God.” I do it rather often. I resent him, ignore him, insult him, delight in what he detests, detest what delights him, and I do it willfully, as a free choice of the will, a choice present to me by virtue of the nature of the God-relationship. Whether my neighbor loves God or not is not “data” given to me in the same manner. I do not know whether my neighbor did, does, or will love God with any certain knowledge. The evidences of her words and actions, no matter how strong, do not provide me the same certainty by which I know my own choice not to love God — for choosing and willing are secrets of the human heart. I may fear her eternal destination, I may hope for the same, but I cannot judge it with certainty.