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Sunday, May 27, 2007

I wonder what would happen..

.. if a non-Catholic Christian were to become steeped in real Catholicism. I'm talking about the orthodox/faithful kind, not those apparently spawned by the touchy-feely 60s and 70s variety of Catholicism where RCIA was all about "oh we don't do that anymore" or "oh that's not really so important"..

Take prayer, for example. When I use the Divine Office (also known as Liturgy of the Hours), it still amazes me how Catholic it is -- and how it turns anti-Catholic rhetoric on its head. It also turns liberal Catholicism on its head, I think. I attend morning prayer as much as I can at my parish, and it is a wonderful feeling to start the day praising God. It's also a fast-track Scripture reading for me, easily covering 4 Psalms and a New Testament reading. Plus the ancient hymns from the first millenium. If we could just all start our days this way -- !

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A sign of hope for Christian unity

I remember reading from someplace that Catholics and Evangelicals may be finding the right venue for dialogue: at the trenches, where they face tremendous challenges in defending the unborn, feeding the hungry, and other works of love. Last Sunday, at the family Mass where we celebrate Ascension Sunday, we had a few visitors from the nearby Uniting and Anglican churches. The parish priest helped them light a candle, they expressed the prayerful hope from their congregations, for the longed for Christian unity. I must confess feeling giddy when they spoke their prayers and parishioners (another jam-packed Sunday Mass) replied affirmatively: "Amen" for each of their prayers. Half a millenium of division.. but nothing is impossible with God. And so we continue to hope. And pray.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blogging around, conversions this way and that

So Christianity Today interviews Dr. Francis Beckwith, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and recent Catholic convert (or revert) (which necessitated his stepping down from the aforementioned position). Note: he suggests that bewildered "on the matter of grace and justification" to try the following:

  1. Read the portion of the Catechism that deals with this matter.
  2. Read the Joint Declaration on Justification by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church.
  3. Remember to read each one charitably.

Bill Cork lays down some thoughts on his having returned to Adventism after nine years as a Catholic.

An Evangelical blogger shares his thoughts on why Evangelicals convert to Catholicism.

Not bad: I found all these through The Catholic Report. A gem of a site. :-)

But, finally, a word from Mark Shea about those who judge converts too harshly: "as a general rule, people do not leave the Church for theological reasons. They leave because they are hurt deeply." Speaking particularly of those who leave the Catholic Church, he points out that "[t]hey leave because they have found some balm for their torment that *we* ought to have given them and they have found it somewhere else--to our shame." Lord grant that I can be a balm to whomever has been hurt by his Church whose members are both saints and sinners at the same time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dr. Francis Beckwith hears the call of the Church Fathers

Found this link about Dr. Beckwith's decision thanks to the Catholic Report. Quite a few of the reactions in Dr. Beckwith's blog were angry. It's come to mind before that the one thing about such reactions that their sources seem to miss is not the anger, nor the hurt, nor the disappointment -- which are all understandable.

It's the pride.

Someone in the comment boxes noted (in different terms) that the same people who hate the Church Magisterium's perceived arrogation of infallible authority are arrogating the same for themselves. This should scare Christians but I've seen well-meaning Christians toss around an unshakable belief in themselves. Pride should scare the wits out of Christians! If we must boast, boast of the Lord and his work. I believe in the Church Magisterium, the Church Councils and the Church Fathers, not because the they more trustworthy than Scriptures, but because they are more trustworthy than me. Christ established them. I trust that the Lord established a Church, not my individual and personal infallibility. I trust that the Holy Spirit works within the Church, through anointed leaders -- just as he had done throughout the history of Israel and the Church. I trust in the body of Christ, to which I belong, and in which I am nurtured, and in which every member is called to a unique charism and ministry. The weight of teaching certitude is simply too great a charism for me. I freely embrace the possibility that I may be mistaken in Scriptural interpretation, and that seems to me to be a safer recourse than asserting that I may be wrong, or may fail to understand. Proceeding with the premise that I cannot be wrong, or that the group I oppose cannot be right seems to me a dangerous presupposition.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Victoria passes therapeutic cloning bill

Please pray for Victoria. Its upper house had approved the cloning bill. Pray for women whose lives will be imperiled. Pray for the soul of this nation. Health Minister Bronwyn pike is allegedly pleased as punch because "this places Victoria at the forefront of medical research."

Meditating on the Luminous Mysteries

These are the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary: The Lord's Baptism, The Wedding at Cana, The Proclamation of the Kingdom, The Transfiguration, and The Institution of the Eucharist. These five mysteries focus on five key events within the public life of the Lord before his passion and death on the cross, and they are full of mystery and insight. Some of the thoughts I had today were these:

  • Why did the Lord choose to use water in baptism? The Lord is not bound to the physical world, is he? In the same vein, why did the Lord choose to use something likewise mundane, bread and wine, to celebrate so deep and holy a sacrament? How good is the Lord, for he deigns to bestow his holiness upon the mundane -- even mundane sinners like me! He humbled himself and was made mundane flesh! Truly God's creation was good from the first instance, as He declared, and He does not abandon what He has made with love! The physical universe is not in itself evil, and the Lord chooses to use the physical universe to sustain us, to teach us -- to bestow love upon us! He also shows us that He is not in the glittery gold and the twinkling and dazzling. He is in water, bread, wine. Truly our Lord makes Himself present in the simple things, making himself accessible to all who will open their hearts when He knocks!
  • In the wedding at Cana, it is amazing that the Lord of the great feast of Heaven would bestow His first miracle upon a wedding feast! I have seen a Jewish wedding (well, a Jewish and Greek wedding feast put together). Heaven, the Lord tells us, is like a wedding feast, full of joy, dancing, singing, laughter. May we remember the Lord's presence in times of joy, not only in times of need.
  • When the Lord proclaimed the Kingdom, He brought liberty to captives, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, mobility to the cripple, healing, and life to the dead. The Kingdom is not just proclaimed, for the Lord's word does not return to Him in vain. When the Word is sent out, frost melts, the waters stir -- the Word is efficacious! When the Lord declares, He works what is declared! Happy are we whom He declares to be washed, adopted as His sons and daughters, our guilt washed away, our just punishments borne by His sacrifice on the cross.
  • In the holy mountain, the Lord's glory was flashed upon the pillars of the Church: James, John and Peter. They must have had need to see that, not only to bear witness, but to sustain them when they are tried in those three terrible days of catastrophe (which becomes euchatastrophic). And the Lawgiver, Moses was there. And the prophet Elijah was there. The Law and the Prophets come together in the New Covenant of the Lord, which is the Lord Himself.
  • In the Eucharist, the Lord institutes the sacrament of love, giving Himself for our nourishment. His life in His blood is given to us for a new life.

The Lord has truly risen, Alleluia!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Victorial Upper House starts debate on cloning

Right to Life Australia (Marcel White) invites us all to voice our opposition to the cloning bill.

We are only a few votes away from the 20 needed to defeat this despicable legislation.

Can you please ring the offices of some of the KEY UPPER HOUSE MPs listed below, and urge them to vote against the cloning bill. If we can get a handful of them to vote our way, we may be able to gain a great victory for pro-life movement. The culture of death through cloning won by ONE SINGLE VOTE in the Federal parliament. It could be that close today and tomorrow.

Let's defeat the cloning bill.

Key MPs to contact:

Justin Madden (Western Metro) 9637-8087
Richard Dalla Riva (Eastern Metro) 9853-3955
Brian Tee (Eastern Metro) 9850-8600
Andrea Coote (Southern Metro) 9681-9555
Phillip Davis (Eastern Victoria) 5143-1038
Johan Scheffer (Eastern Victoria) 9751 2200
Matt Viney (Eastern Victoria) 9651-8911 (temporary number only)
Gordon Rich Phillips (South Eastern Metro) 9794-7667
David Koch (Western Victoria) 5572-3377

There are reasons aplenty to oppose cloning and embryonic stem cell research. We are all called to witness to the truth.