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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Taking AIDS less than seriously

It is incredible how AIDS is both taken seriously and not seriously enough. In this typical example, with a global warming spin on it, there's the rightly somber tone that says "this is a serious problem that needs to be fixed!" And then the supposed solutions (after considering how long it will be before modern medicine can find a vaccine) are listed as such:

 "He said it was important to strengthen preventative measures proven to work, like condoms and circumcision, and continue to investigate other more hopeful avenues, like microbicide sex gels and anti-viral drugs to block infection."

Apparently, they don't take human beings seriously enough to consider that they might actually be capable of simply abstaining from sexually promiscuous lifestyles. Nor do they take the risks seriously enough to consider that the supposedly small risk of HIV contraction in spite of condoms is compounded by the unabated promiscuity that modern day morals and their apologists are tolerating, and, in effect, promoting.

There is something seriously wrong about this unwillingness to face the unpleasant and fatal truth: AIDS kills, and sexual promiscuity is a major vehicle of contraction.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pray for a Bishop in South Africa

I realized with some horror a few days ago that I do not pray enough for those who dissent from the Catholic faith, and/or oppress Catholics/Christians. Sometimes, the grace of God shines through and I do pray, but rarely so, since I have made myself dense through an excessively but unnecessarily busy life.

Well.. here's one to pray for. Bishop Kevin Dowling from South Africa needs prayers. His concerns over the HIV epidemic is not the problem. It is commendable, but he doesn't realize that promoting condom use promotes HIV transmission. Condoms are only effective by a percentage that fluctuates somewhere between 85-95%, it seems, and the increased use of condoms means a compounding of the chances of HIV contraction. He imagines the pope as the Pharisees who refuses to lift a finger, and himself as the non-Pharisee who practices genuine compassion. Pray that he realizes before it is too late that, rather than saving these women, he is instead pushing them onto the path of greater harm.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Authority has always been the key issue when it comes to the fullness of truth among Christians. Truth is a person, of course, and that person, Jesus Christ, is unassailable. But while he does not leave us orphans, he is not here in the person. So what do we do when Biblical scholars call into question the inspiration of canonical Scripture?

Michael Holmes, a professor at Bethel University, doesn't consider the story [of the adulterous woman] inspired Scripture. But he said he would include the story in the Bible, because of its long history and because the verses bear the marks of an authentic story about Jesus.

I'm not quite sure how one can be certain that it is an authentic story about Jesus if one is also certain that it is not inspired Scripture. But, moving on..

Such judgments raise questions about what words like canonicity and inspiration mean for evangelicals. If we reserve the word inspired for the text in the earliest manuscripts, yet accept that other material (such as the pericope adulterae) should be included in our biblical canon, are we implying that select biblical passages may be canonical yet not inspired? If so, what should we do with this distinction?

Biblical scholars do agree on two things: The Bible story should be set apart with a note, and Christians should be cautious when reading the passage for their personal devotions.

While these scholars (and those in the comment box of CT) may have had (or continue) to grapple with such issues, I think I'll just be grateful that Mother Church can resolve this for me. I have constant recourse to the teaching authority of the Church (the Magisterium) so as to free me from such worries. Almost as if (gasp) I had recourse to the authority of Christ in the Body. But why should this present any difficulty? After all, where does authority lie if not in that Body, the Church, the pillar and foundation of the Truth? (Timothy 3:16)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A conversion story to ponder

I love conversion stories, and I don't think it's the same thing over and over again. Jennifer's story is particularly thought-provoking in both simple and profound terms. He shares his train of insights that led him ultimately to the Catholic Church, and the path they took is striking.

He ponders the implications of human intervention in the form of Biblical translation, exegesis and preaching, and our own private judgment. And not only does he experience contradictions from different exegetes (whom we assume are all baptized, sincere and prayerful Christians), he actually sees that this is a non-trivial problem. But ultimately, the marvel in this story is the grace of God, who prompts a hunger for truth, uses a skeptic's quest for the truth, and brings him home.

[Link found via the Catholic Converts blog.]

Papa in America

Papa at the National Shrine, USA

The American Papist provides good reports. He's got Days 1 and 2 covered, including transcripts of interviews, reactions from the public, photos, etc. It appears that Papa is making waves, in that calm, academically serene manner of his. May his mission be a great occasion of grace. Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quid est veritas?

My Latin may be mistaken, but this piece about truth is, to my thinking, as accurate as it is timely. Dr. Stan Williams is on to something that the sound byte generation really needs to ponder.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Eric Clapton finding prayer

This is an inspiring story about perhaps the greatest guitar player ever, the hard knocks of life, and finding hope.