Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Iconic cathedral destroyed . . . oh, the tragedy!

Fire has swept through the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the iconic Paris church and an overarching symbol for the Catholic Church.

The bell towers reportedly are safe. The spire has collapsed. Reports seem conflicted. Is the cathedral a total loss?

I know what we all are thinking now as French firefighters battle this blaze: Is this the act of a terrorist? No such organization has claimed responsibility as I write this brief post. I pray none will surface. If it’s a bogus claim from some faker, I trust French intelligence officials will know.

I’ve not been to Paris. I have not seen this iconic structure. Those I know who have seen have come away enriched beyond measure just being in the presence of this holy site.

Thus, the world should mourn what is unfolding in Paris at this moment.

My heart is broken.

Reports of sexual abuse are truly stomach-churning

I am sickened, right along with millions of other Americans, at the news out of Pennsylvania involving reports of sexual abuse of thousands of children by priests associated with several Catholic dioceses.

These children have grown to be men and women. They are speaking out. The church is now having to deal with yet another terrible scandal involving is holy men and the children under their spiritual care.

But there’s another aspect of the story that also sickens me. It is that Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations that prohibits these individuals from being prosecuted for their heinous crimes.

I am thinking that one legislative remedy might be for Keystone State lawmakers to rescind the statute of limitations for sex crimes, particularly those involving children.

They ought to look, for example, to Texas, which has no such time limit on when it can prosecute someone for crimes they commit against the most defenseless among us.

This story is far from its conclusion. May the victims — who call themselves “survivors” — find some measure of peace. I hope they draw some strength from the love that comes their way from the rest of the nation.

Pope Francis: evolution is biblical, too

francis

Pope Francis is my kind of holy man.

The head of the Catholic Church has declared that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the Bible’s account of creation aren’t mutually exclusive.

Imagine that.

http://www.rawstory.com/2014/10/god-is-not-a-magician-pope-says-christians-should-believe-in-evolution-and-big-bang/

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve,” the pope told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this is the same spiritual authority who has spoken out about climate change and global warming. And why not? He’s a scientist by training and education.

I’ve long been able to justify evolution with the way the Bible describes the creation of the universe. I’ve never been able to accept that Scripture’s account that God created Earth in six days and then rested on the seventh meant that he did all of that in seven calendar days as we understand the measurement of time.

The Holy Father also said he doesn’t believe that God is a “magician” who waved a “magic wand” that enabled him to anything he wanted. “That is not so,” the pope said.

Sure, it’s nice that I happen to agree with the Holy Father on this point.

He’s a lot closer to God than I am. But if I am interpreting his view of how the world was created, I am going to presume he sees the Bible as a sort of holy metaphor.

The world isn’t really 6,000 years old, as some have said in interpreting Scripture literally, word for word.

That’s what I have believed since I was old enough to read about such things. I’m glad that the head of one of the world’s great religions agrees with me.

Does he agree with your view of the world?

Religion collides with politics

B-5

Didn’t someone once suggest that you shouldn’t ever discuss religion and politics?

Here we are, then. Talking about both things in the same sentence.

Pope Francis I decided to weigh in with remarks about Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump’s proposal to build a wall across our southern border to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States.

Anyone who’d propose such a thing, the pontiff, said isn’t a Christian.

Trump fired back. Trump called the pope’s view “disgraceful” and said, by golly, he’s a devout Christian.

Others on the right are criticizing the pope for engaging in this political discussion in the first place. Who is this guy? they wonder. What qualifies him to comment on the American political system?

Let’s take a breath.

Maybe the pope made his statement in Spanish, or Italian, or Latin and it got mistranslated.

Surely, too, he isn’t the first public figure — American or otherwise — to drag religion into a campaign for a secular political office. U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy faced intense suspicion over his Catholic faith in the 1960 campaign and he ended up dispelling much of it with a speech in Houston in which he said he’d follow the Constitution and would not — contrary to allegations — be a puppet for the Vatican.

And there have been others as well.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the pope — a renowned international public figure — to weigh in on a U.S. public policy discussion. He’s entitled to his view.

It’s that it has ignited a firestorm that makes me uncomfortable when I hear politicians feeling forced to defend their religious beliefs while seeking an office to which they will take an oath to protect and defend a wholly secular document.

That would be the Constitution of the United States.

 

Hey, didn’t JFK settle this religious thing already?

deadstate-Ben-Carson

I’ve always thought — or hoped, at least — that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech in Houston settled the notion that a candidate’s religion should have no bearing on whether he could serve as president of the United States.

He told some Protestant clergy that the Vatican would not dictate to the Catholic candidate how he should govern, that he would swear to be faithful only to the U.S. Constitution.

Well, silly me. The issue is coming up again. The target this time is Dr. Ben Carson, the famed neurosurgeon whose faith is of the Seventh-day Adventist variety.

Donald Trump raised the issue the other day in typical tactless Trump fashion. Now comes a well-known lefty commentator, David Corn, editor of Mother Jones, to wonder aloud whether Carson’s faith would inform the way he would govern should he “take control of the government.”

This is a ridiculous debate.

First of all, presidents don’t control the government. We have this notion that power is spread among two other governmental branches — the courts and the Congress.

The Constitution says there should be “no religious test” for candidates seeking any public office. That includes the presidency.

Yes, Carson has brought up his own faith. He’s talked about how his faith would guide him. He hasn’t said he would toss the Constitution aside any more than then-Sen. Kennedy said he would more than five decades ago.

Corn is playing to voters’ fears when he says of Carson: “Now, he is running on the basis that he has faith. And I think it’s going to open, you know, a big can here. Because, you know, he does come from a church that believes in end times, prophesies, and he’s said he believes in the church’s teachings.”

A simple declarative question is in order: Dr. Carson, do you vow to uphold the law under the Constitution of the United States?

I believe he’s already pledged to do so.

 

Pope Francis set to make some uncomfortable

Pope Francis at St Peter's

Pope Francis speaks like a humble man.

His message, though, is lofty beyond imagination.

He’s landed in Cuba, where he’ll tell the communist rulers of the island nation to give the Catholic Church there freedom to preach the word of Jesus Christ.

Then he’ll come to Washington, where he’ll speak to a joint session of Congress and will tell lawmakers that the world mustn’t worship capitalism and, yes, it must deal with global crises, such as climate change.

Pope coming to the U.S.

The Holy Father’s critics call him a Marxist. There’s been some talk that a few Republican lawmakers will boycott the speech on Capitol Hill. That would be a mistake, just as it was a mistake for Democrats to stay away when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to a joint congressional session to argue against the Iran nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration.

The earthly leader of a great Christian denomination needs to be herd by legislators who help govern the world’s greatest nation, even if he says thing that make them uncomfortable.

The good news, at least as far as I’m concerned, is that the congressional chamber will be full.

Indeed, it’s not every day that the pope comes to Washington.

Welcome to the United States of America, Your Holiness.

 

Now it's Santorum, again, thinking about '16

Good grief. Now we have a former senator from Pennsylvania climbing aboard the GOP Presidential Bandwagon.

Rick Santorum is considering another run for the Republican Party presidential nomination.

That’s right. Rick Santorum!

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/rick-santorum-criticizes-mitt-romney-114374.html?hp=r3_3

This is a big deal. The senator ran for the White House in 2012 and declared war against those who use contraception to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy. Santorum, a devout Catholic, doesn’t believe in contraception — in accordance with church doctrine. Contraception became his signature issue, to the dismay of Republicans who actually employ contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy.

Santorum washed out of the 2012 GOP primary season, but he might be coming back for more.

I believe Republican primary voters need to ask one critical question: If the voters of his own state refuse to re-elect him to the U.S. Senate in 2006, why should he ask all Americans to cast their presidential vote for him in 2016?

Santorum lost his re-election bid to Bob Casey, a pro-life Democrat.

When the ballots were counted, Casey had 59 percent of the vote; Santorum had 41 percent.

Where I come from, that’s what I call a landslide loss.

 

 

Pope's influence makes its mark

If Pope Francis has any influence on some of the bishops who do his bidding, then there’s hope for a major Christian denomination’s future.

A recent story involving the archbishop of Atlanta comes to mind. Archbishop Wilton Gregory is moving out of his $2.2 million mansion, which was built on land donated by descendants of Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone With the Wind.”

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/05/archbishop-of-atlanta-to-vacate-2-2-million-mansion-in-early-may/?hpt=hp_c2

Parishioners took exception to the archbishop living in such sumptuous quarters while the Holy Father himself lives in a small guest apartment in Vatican City. What’s more, parishioners give their money to the church while sacrificing many material things of their own.

The firestorm was fierce.

Archbishop Gregory isn’t the only Catholic cleric to feel the heat. Others around the country are hearing from members of their own flocks for adopting lifestyles that belie (a) church teachings about taking vows of poverty and (b) Pope Francis’s humble lifestyle.

I am not a practicing Catholic. I am a Presbyterian, which had its beginnings about the time of the Protestant Reformation. I was baptized, though, in the Greek Orthodox Church, which has its own long history of animus toward the “Western church.” Thus, I am not qualified to comment theologically on how the Atlanta archbishop messed up.

I am qualified to say, though, that it just plain looks bad when your church’s earthly leader preaches daily about caring for the poor and lives in such Spartan quarters while those under him erect quarters that would make many billionaires blush.