I finally scanned some of the pictures I took at World Youth Day! They came out better than expected but they may still be a little dark in some areas - you be the judge!
Click here to check them out!
If God is infinite, then how is it possible for any human being, finite in nature, to know anything about this concept? Would not any attempt at discovering the infinite be doomed to failure?My memory is faint, so I will reconstruct the conversation as cleanly as I can remember. My response was a resounding Of course it would be doomed to failure!. Satisfied yet confused, my friend could not accept my easy concession without concluding that he had been trapped. What is then the point? At best, one could live an agnostic existence, never being certain of God's existence or never having a satisfactory conception of the infinite that would have any effect over the tangible routine of daily life. Behold, I am no skilled manipulator of language, so I simply explained my response.
As a sacred synod has affirmed, God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason (see Rom. 1:20); but teaches that it is through His revelation that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race.Doing it all ourselves also ignores the idea of willful creation - the idea that God would create us with an orientation toward the infinite, manifested by an ever present desire to know more than what we perceive plainly. This concept is much more elusive, but certainly real. Another thing I believe it ignores is divine grace or assistance. That God would not only willfully create us, reveal Himself to us in a way that we can conceive, but would also provide us with grace that further enables us to live according to that revelation and achieve that which He has willed for us - unity with Him. This is the difference between knowing about Him and actually having a relationship with Him.
How can we trust this revelation as coming from God, the Infinite, which is transmitted to us through a book written by human authors and a tradition transmitted by human teachers - human teachers who are sinful and often times perform less than godly acts?Very good! Ay, there's the rub, I responded. My friend was attempting to catch me. How do we know without relying on ourselves? And we can't rely on ourselves alone. The final issue is then one of authority and faith. Again, left to ourselves, we are caught - but we remember that that is why we are given grace. We need grace to believe because faith is a grace. Again, Dei Verbum expresses this best:
"The obedience of faith" (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals," (4) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving "joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it." (5) To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.Faith enables us to cooperate with God's grace and to understand God's revelation and the authority under which it was given and entrusted to the Church, the authority given by Christ to the Apostles, which is thus communicated to their successors and handed down to us today. That such a teaching authority, entrusted to human sinners, is free of corruption is ensured by the merits of Christ's death and resurrection, and Christ does this because He desires that all the world know of Him.
I think I understand what you are saying. The agnostic assumes that the initiative belongs to human beings to know the Infinite, which they really cannot do, whereas you are saying that the initiative belongs to God. It starts with God and ends with God, not the other way around. The Infinite God chose to create us, He revealed Himself to us, and He gives us, finite as we are, what we need to know Him infinitely in time.I explained that it is important to remember that faith is not only the passive reception of a gift from God, but the active free response to God. Some people spend their whole lives fighting against it. But alas, it is a great mystery. Do you desire faith?, I asked. He responded,
Certainly.The desire to have it is already a sign of its work, and the continuing cooperation with grace is itself a work of grace. As the Catechism articulates,
"The preparation of man for the reception of grace is already a work of grace. This latter is needed to arouse and sustain our collaboration in justification through faith, and in sanctification through charity."As we cooperate with grace through faith, we are sanctified by grace and created anew to perform acts of charity which nourish faith. Without grace, it is impossible to please God. And that, said I, is only the beginning of an incredible journey into the Great Mystery, the heights and depths of glorious Truth.
She says a lot of people are having fun finding new titles for Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" which presents problems with every word except "and" and "the." [Dianne] Ravitch said old is ageist, man is sexist and sea can't be used in case a student lives inland and doesn't grasp the concept of a large body of water.Granted - some words are explicitly offensive and have no place. But this is ridiculous. It seems to me that the cure for this has more to do with educating rather than erasing every words that is, could possibly be, or might remotely be offensive.
The New York Times recently reported that National Institute of Health researchers on AIDS are not only avoiding using words like gay and homosexuals in e-mails so as not to offend conservatives in the Bush administration, they are also inventing code words. Times journalist Erica Goode reported that one researcher was told to "cleanse" the abstract of his grant proposal of words like gay, homosexual and transgender even though his research was on HIV in gay men.Hmm. How is education helped by a standard taken to extremes? And just who is responsible for drawing the line?
"Everyone gets their pet causes incorporated in textbooks. The history texts are reluctant to criticize any dictator unless they are long dead. And even then, there are exceptions like Mao is praised in one text for modernizing China but his totalitarian rule is not mentioned," [Ravitch] said.
VOTF does not seek any change in church doctrine. The problems which have come to light in the present crisis are more truly cultural than structural in nature.They do not seek to change doctrine, but this statement is flimsy given how each person chooses to define what doctrine is and what it isn't. And how is it cultural? And not truly structural in nature? Then why the emphasis on structural change?They then go on to state this:
We respect the teaching authority of the Church and recognize the role that the hierarchy should exercise in discernment. It is essential, however, that all the people of God be involved in this process of discernment. We will, therefore, devote ourselves to advancing meaningful and active engagement of the laity in the life of the Church.What does this mean? How does this relate to what they previously stated? Discernment in what? They also state this:
In order to move toward the vision of the Second Vatican Council, we believe it is vitally important that the faithful of each parish engage in, and enthusiastically support, the formation and actions of Pastoral and Finance Councils and Safety Committees. We must empower the laity to protect our children and all the people of God.I do not agree that we have ignored the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. But what is this vision that they refer to? They never really explicitly define this. This is significant. Also, does this statement imply that lay Catholics will be more capable of protecting children? Last time I checked, we were all sinners, clergy and laity both. And sexual abuse is pretty widespread amongst non-ordained clergy - Approx. 90% occurs within families. No, this goal misses the point of reform.
Q. What does Voice of the Faithful feel will be the effect of bringing laity into the governance structure of the Church?This is just crying out for elaboration.
A. The Church hierarchy can learn much from the Catholic laity. We have intellectual, emotional and spiritual contributions to make and knowledge to impart on myriad real-life issues. These include, but are not limited to: human sexuality, women's rights, democratic processes, and the contextual roles of science and history in the healthy life of the Church.
The Vatican appealed to the Russian Orthodox Church to recognize the spiritual needs of the country's 500,000 Catholics, who numerically pose no threat to Orthodoxy.
Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, made this appeal public in an interview Sunday with the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. He was commenting on the charges of "proselytism" leveled against Rome by the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate.
...Archbishop Tauran believes, in part, that the present situation is due to the fact that Russian Orthodox Church leaders regard the Catholic Church as a "church of foreigners."
...Catholics in Russia "are Russian citizens -- not foreigners -- and, therefore, have a right to pastoral care, like all Catholics spread throughout the world and like all Orthodox Christians in Russia and in any other place," he explained.
"This would also help to overcome that psychological attitude of 'besieged fortress' that impedes the Orthodox Church, which suffered so much during the years of Communism, to offer Europe and the world the contribution of its great spiritual riches," Archbishop Tauran concluded.