Friday, June 29, 2012

Creation and Humility

Great article from the Dominicana blog:
If you are like me and grew up attending religious education classes of some sort, you may have come across the line, “If God stopped thinking about you at any instant, you would immediately disappear; you would cease to exist.” What a terrifying thought to offer the inquisitive mind of a child! The suggestion seems to be that, on occasion, either through forgetfulness or malice, God annihilates some unfortunate person or persons. But this is not true; God doesn’t even annihilate demons or the damned, much less unsuspecting third graders.

Of course, the remark is well meant, and, properly understood, it is a vivid reminder of a profound metaphysical truth, namely, that we all depend on God for both our coming to be and our preservation in being. Indeed, meditating on this truth can help us to grow in wisdom and humility, whether we are third graders or thirty-somethings.

For some reason, it seems easy for people to accept the notion that they have their origin in God, but the fact that they are preserved in existence by God at every moment never crosses their minds. The key idea here is that God’s act of creation is not a one-time event, but rather extends through time. Since God is universal cause of all things, anything that exists not only has its origin in God, but also its conservation in being. God alone exists necessarily; God alone cannot not exist. All other beings exist contingently; they might not have existed, and they depend upon God, the Necessary Being, for their continuance in existence.
Continue reading...

Excommunication: A Restorative Measure

Over at the National Catholic Register, Dominican Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P., discusses the history of excommunication and its effectiveness as a restorative measure in the life of the church today.
The Church takes this extreme measure only after all other efforts to correct a person have failed. It should not be treated lightly. Some have viewed it as a way to bring errant Catholics (including Catholic politicians) into line. Though its intent is always to restore the offenders to truth and communion, its extreme nature often makes it unlikely that such a thing may occur. Failing reconciliation, excommunication can serve as a clear statement to the faithful of the serious nature of our moral doctrine.
Read the whole article.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Okay to Oppose Heresy

Fr. Robert Barron addresses a very sticky topic that is so very relevant today:

The fact is that we all have a right to act, debate, and indeed vote according to our conscience, which may be (and ought to be) informed by our religious beliefs. It's OK in the United States of America to stand for something with conviction, even if that conviction is religiously motivated. Those who suggest otherwise are simply being disingenuous. They may disagree with the ideas we express, but they can't disagree with the principle upon which we act. This is why we have a public square in which questions can be argued and debated.

Wicked Prayer Book For Sale

The blog of Loome Theological Booksellers reports that they have for sale an edition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1638) known as the "Wicked Prayer Book". This is because of a typographical error in Psalm 37:29 which declares, “The righteous shall be punished”, as seen here:

Purchase the book for $1500.00 at Loome!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yves Congar and Vatican II

I liked this article by Fr. Robert Barron about Cardinal Yves Congar's experience of the Second Vatican Council:
One of the most theologically fascinating and just plain entertaining books I've read in a long time is Yves Congar's My Journal of the Council.

Catholics of a certain age will recognize the name, but I'm afraid that most Catholics under the age of 50 might be entirely unaware of the massive contribution made by Congar, a Dominican priest and certainly one of the three or four most important Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. After a tumultuous intellectual career, during which he was, by turns, lionized, vilified, exiled and silenced, Congar found himself, at the age of 58, a peritus or theological expert at the Second Vatican Council...

During the entire course of the Council, from October 1962 to December 1965, Congar kept a meticulous journal of the proceedings, which includes not only detailed accounts of the interventions by various bishops and Cardinals, but also extremely perceptive commentaries on the key personalities and the main theological currents of the Council. Several times as I read through the journal, I laughed out loud at Congar's pointed assessments of some of the players: "a bore," "useless," "talks too much." But what most comes through is -- if I can risk employing an overused and ambiguous phrase -- "the spirit of the Council," by which I mean those seminal ideas and attitudes that found expression in the discussions, debates and texts of Vatican II.

In the pages of Congar's journal we hear of a church that should be more evangelical and open to the Word of God, of the dangers of clerical triumphalism, of the universal call to holiness, of a liturgy that awakens the active participation of the faithful, of the need for the church to engage the modern world, etc. Attending meeting after meeting and engaging in endless conversations with bishops and theologians, Congar was indefatigably propagating these ideas, which we now take to be commonplace and the permanent achievement of Vatican II.
Read the whole thing!

The Pope's Electric Car

A new car for "The Green Pope":

Hopefully an electric popemobile will be in the near future.

Also, for further reading for those interested in the pope's environmental concerns, check out this article from Dr. Jeff Mirus at The Green Pope's Dilemma:
... The right view of environmentalism both derives from and nourishes a proper vision of the human person. Pope Benedict made precisely this point in his great social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. In the most general terms, his argument is as follows:
The environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. When nature, including the human being, is viewed as the result of mere chance or evolutionary determinism, our sense of responsibility wanes. In nature, the believer recognizes the wonderful result of God's creative activity, which we may use responsibly to satisfy our legitimate needs, material or otherwise, while respecting the intrinsic balance of creation. If this vision is lost, we end up either considering nature an untouchable taboo or, on the contrary, abusing it. Neither attitude is consonant with the Christian vision of nature as the fruit of God's creation. (48)
Thus the Pope stresses that we must guard against two errors:

Nature is greater than man: The neo-pantheistic attitude which finds a kind of salvation in nature is misguided because the human person has a supernatural destiny which nature is destined to help him to achieve.

Nature is raw material to be manipulated: Nature “is a wondrous work of the Creator containing a ‘grammar’ which sets forth ends and criteria for its wise use, not its reckless exploitation.” Without this understanding, we do violence to all of nature, including the nature of man himself.

But these two mistakes are culturally systemic. Therefore, the dilemma faced by Pope Benedict—who is commonly nicknamed the “green” pope for his interest in environmental stewardship—is how to communicate a constructive attitude toward both man and nature without having every environmental discussion co-opted either by the pantheists or the technocrats.
Read the whole article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Discovery at the Mamertino Jail in Rome

Interesting brief video from Rome Reports on the Mamertino jail in Rome. The Mamertino jail is where, according to tradition, the apostles Peter and Paul were imprisoned while in Rome. Artwork and an underground water spring have been discovered there yielding some interesting clues to the history of the place:

The report suggests:
Given this discovery [of the water spring], there is greater probability that this was the place where St. Peter was imprisoned. According to Christian tradition, his jailors became disciples and he baptized them with water from a well that emerged after making the sign of the cross on the ground.

This same water helped create these caverns located more than 12 feet underground in a place difficult to bear..

The Real Vatican II Liturgical Reform

Great featurette from CNS Vatican Report featuring Benedictine Fr. Jeremy Driscoll clearly up a few of the myths regarding the liturgical reform that followed the Second Vatican Council:

It never ceases to amaze me how much confusion there is about the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council. I knew a Ph.D. student once who was convinced that Vatican II "hadn't been implemented" because churches still had kneelers! Clearly this student had never bothered to study what the Council actually taught with regard to the liturgy. Of course, all of the conciliar documents are online. Why don't people just read the Council's document on liturgical reform, Sacrosanctum Concilium? It is manifestly clear to me that Pope Benedict XVI is the one who is actually bringing about the full blossoming of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.


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