Although I cast doubt upon the veracity of Ahmed Aboul Gheit claim concerning the president. I see an interesting parallel between the tactics.

In Egypt we have this story via Pajamas Media:

The head of the Coptic Church in Egypt has rejected a court ruling that orders the church to allow divorced Copts to remarry in the church emphasis mine. In a press conference held on Tuesday June 8, Pope Shenouda [III], reading from the statement issued by the Holy Synod’s 91 Bishops, including himself, said: “The Coptic Church respects the law, but does not accept rulings which are against the Bible and against its religious freedom which is guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Mind you divorce has always been legal, this rules order the church to accept divorce in its doctrine. As PJ Media points out concerning the Coptic Pope :

he is not enforcing a totalitarian law that Copts must accept; he is simply saying that, in accordance to the Bible (e.g., Matt 5:32), and except in certain justifiable circumstances (e.g., adultery), Copts cannot remarry in the church: “Let whoever wants to remarry to do it away from us. There are many ways and churches to marry in. Whoever wants to remain within the church has to abide by its laws.”

If this still sounds a tad “non-pluralistic,” know that at least Copts have a way out: quit the church. No such way out for Muslims: Sharia law — Egypt’s “primal source of legislation” — mandates death for Muslims who wish to quit Islam.

The Coptic pope is not taking this laying down:

Pope Shenouda further threatened to defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except in cases where the divorce was on the grounds of adultery. Those that have remarried after divorce will not be allowed in Church.

On the heels of regular persecution of Coptics in Egypt this ruling seems a thinly veiled attempt to divide the strongest Christian church in the area.

Meanwhile in the US we see divide and conquer in another context

The first point to understand is that Obama knows about the debate Catholics are having over him.

That’s why he usually talks only to Catholics who share his agenda. He has been careful to ensure that the terms of his debate with Catholics have always been on his terms. He sends CHA a video and gives Sr. Keehan a pen because he knows that these individuals chose to follow him instead of the bishops. So he makes a place at his table for them and rewards what he sees as their loyalty.

The Bishops however are very clear on what is what.

In April, three bishops of the USCCB ad hoc Health Care Concerns Committee, Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, also met with Sr. Keehan to try to make her understand the bishop’s concerns and thus bring CHA back in line with Church teachings, however the meeting concluded with “the same frustrating results.”

The president of the USCCB reiterated the bishop’s fundamental opposition to the health care reform. “The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The Executive Order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation,” Cardinal George emphatically said.

The cardinal also expressed disappointment with CHA “and other co-called Catholic groups” because, “in the end, they have weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.”

In that regard, Cardinal George highlighted that the USCCB and CHA’s positions on Obama’s health care are not just “two equally valid conclusions inspired in the same Catholic teaching,” and reiterated that what the bishops said on May 21 in their statement “Setting the record Straight” is and will remain the official position of the USCCB on the contentious issue.

The president knows and understands this. It is not possible for a faithful Catholic to support abortion in this manor, thus the attempt to divide the church is what this president and the pseudo catholic organizations. The American Papist again:

I have yet to hear a Catholic who supports the Obama agenda say, “I like Obama’s agenda, but of course I don’t believe what he thinks about or how he acts towards the Church.” It seems that the Catholics who support Obama’s agenda, or the individuals who criticize Catholics for not supporting his agenda, very often couch their support for him in political, not religious terms. But Obama has made religious claims, and overstepped religious boundaries, in pursuit of his political goals. In the ensuing mix-up, there can be no complaint that Catholics who oppose Obama are confusing politics with religion, for when Obama places himself against the authority of the bishops, he has stepped into the Catholic scene.

To provide a couple brief parallel (and purely hypothetical) examples, what if Obama sent a message to a group of orthodox jews who violate kosher laws and praised them for supporting his domestic initiative of promoting American pork consumption?

To put it simply the president understands that a strong and faithful American Catholic Church is going to be a problem for him (as does the media) and his agenda and any attempt to divide or weaken it is in his political interest.

One of the things that I’ve criticized radical Islam for is their inability to take critique without threats.

Miss Attila in her youth was once a member of what appears to be a cult.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these guys, but I have enough common sense to know that if a church is harassing an individual who has left it 25 years ago then this Gospel passage doesn’t apply to them:

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Matt 16:18

Forget the gates of hell, A church that can’t abide a single Catholic blogger’s critique is no true church. If they had faith or truth they would not need to sic lawyers on a blogger in a cute hat, as Stacy McCain puts it:

Why did Hymers III have his attorney contact LMA to tell her that she has been reported to the FBI? It’s intimidation, pure and simple. They want her to shut up.

Trying to silence critics — isn’t that what cults do?

Read the entire correspondence for yourself and make up your own mind.

For myself: I won’t claim to be even remotely unbiased here. Joy McCain is my friend and I pray for her and her husband daily. Anyone who is threatens them is a foe of mine and I promise this, any future post on the Robert Leslie Hymers cult from her will generate a link and a post here. Generally groups like this can’t stand the light, so we will hit them with the light of the multiplier of linky love.

They do have one thing going for them, as a foe of mine, I am required to pray for them.

You can’t go very far in this area without finding a church of one kind or another.

Big and small, wide and narrow, some based out of houses and others consisting of many buildings churches do the landscape with ministry after ministry of almost every protestant denomination that you can find.

It reaches a point after a while that you almost don’t notice but you can’t help but notice the New Birth Church.

New Birth Sign
Continue reading “A Church Tale”

Pentacost Sunday

There are two different very important things about Pentecost Sunday that I think people should think about.

The first was told to me by my pastor. Consider, Jesus is executed, the Jewish leaders are not big on the people who followed him and the Roman’s certainly are not friendly. Yet starting on Pentecost Sunday the apostles start to fearlessly preach Jesus. This is one of the great proofs of Christianity. Some dramatic thing happened between the day that Christ dies and the day of Pentecost. What is it?

It is actually two things, the appearance of Christ that they saw in person and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The second is something that I was considering one week when I was debating some seventh day Adventists on the Bible. The first evangalists appear at the Pentecost. They are NOT the Apostles.
They are the crowd. Consider the passage in Acts:

We are Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya near Cyrene, as well as travelers from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism, Cretans and Arabs, yet we hear them speaking in our own tongues of the mighty acts of God.” Acts 2:9-11

These people were all visitors, they all heard the apostles in their own languages. They were all aware of it and they likely went home (as they were visitors) before Paul’s and the other Apostles journeys.

They were eyewitnesses to a miracle. They saw it and heard it and when they came home in those days before IPODS, TIVO and DVD’s told what they saw. When a person returned from travels it was a big event. How much bigger was the event when they described the improbable thing they saw and heard? How often was this spread by the people who heard her?

So the ground was prepared, yet when is this ever mentioned?

That is the second story of the Pentecost and it should not be forgotten.

American interest online has an interesting article about the splits that continue in the Episcopal Church:

People like me will be in a tough spot. I think Bishop Glasspool’s election and consecration were ill-advised, but that is by no means the same thing as denying the possibility that in due time and with due order and deliberation, such a step could be taken without harm to Christian faith and morals.

They are talking about the second openly gay (in this case lesbian) bishop. He then compares this to an earlier time:

And those who criticize this step most bitterly need to reflect that earlier steps to desegregate Episcopal churches and ordain African Americans were once bitterly fought as well.

I don’t claim to be a biblical expert, but I can’t seem to find anything in the bible that forbids black people from being ordained. If anyone can show it to be I’d be rather surprised, however there does seem to be something specific about homosexuality even Mr Mead concedes the point.

It’s also impossible to avoid the reflection that the Episcopal church is unilaterally imposing its own vision of the church on a worldwide communion. Whatever one thinks of the matter on a personal basis, the New Testament as well as the Old specifically condemns homosexual behavior as contrary to the will of God…These are not easy questions and a person doesn’t need to be a homophobe or unthinking fundamentalist to continue to accept traditional Christian teaching on this subject.

Most generous of you. This is a great example of the sin of pride and this type of thing isn’t just a protestant issue:

Now is a time to challenge the bishops head on. The definition of Catholicism — of what it means to be Catholic — is what is at stake. Now is a time of upheaval. Dare I say war?

Oh how about that, war against the church, that sounds very faithful:

The Church needs to change. If it is to change it is going to change now. And it will change only with direct challenges to authority from within its fold, not from without.

We as Catholics must be prepared to lose everything — even risk excommunication — in order to gain back our moral authority. As my Italian-born Catholic grandfather used to say, “You can’t excommunicate me. I excommunicate you.”

That my dear friends is the sin of pride, Thomas Peters takes on some of this nonsense

Buddy, just where are you getting your facts? Is it the seminaries with record numbers of young Catholic men ready to embrace a life of celibacy for the sake of the Church? Is it the flourishing proudly-Catholic colleges like Steubenville, Christendom, and a dozen more? Is it the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of young, brave Catholics who proudly live their faith despite all the cultural forces being against it?

How’s that “inspid and weak” Cafeteria Catholicisim working out for you? After all, people with far more ability to threaten the Church have predicted its demise before, and they have all been wrong as yes, you are now mistaken.

Let’s get down to business this is the basics of Christianity:

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. Matthew 16:15-17

This sentence is the basis for all of Christianity. The divinity of Christ. Any denomination or church that doesn’t emphasize this as a blunt fact is unlikely to sustain itself. Lets continue the passage:

And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matt 16:18-19

Well that seems pretty direct too in terms of authority doesn’t it, but hold on a second some might suggest this doesn’t apply to those pope’s who followed Peter, lets take a peek at another passage:

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. John 20:22-24

Now does anyone dispute Thomas’ position among the apostles? Does anyone deny his apostolic authority? Apparently Mr. Rotondaro, his allies in the dissenting group Catholics in alliance for the common group would and perhaps Mr. Mead would too.

The reason why the church is not a democracy is that people given the chance to define sin, will always define it to excuse their own actions or desires. That’s where the Anglican communion came from in the first place. Anglicans aren’t coming over to Rome because of the arguments of our liberal friends.

This morning it is really interesting to see the level of coincidence yesterday.

First of all because I had failed to raise the money to get to Pa-12 I was in Fitchburg instead of being on the road.

Because of this I went to morning Mass for Ascension Thursday.

Because of this I ran into my 80 something godfather.

Because of this I was able to invite him to breakfast with my mother and myself.

He ended up going to the wrong diner, because of this I had to go get him.

Because of this I saw the sign at J & R glass concerning the Governor’s visit.

Because of this after breakfast I headed down there to report on it.

Because of this I heard about the cancellation and the terror arrests

and because of that I have the photos and stories that you read yesterday.

The moral of the story? When you attend Mass on a holy day of obligation, good things happen!

I took it very ill at the short that Mika took at the Pope this morning but after seeing this story at the memeorandum I am even more upset:

“Today we see in a truly terrifying way that the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is born of sin within the Church,” the pontiff told reporters on a plane bound for Portugal.

His comments were his most direct response to press questions, and some of his strongest words yet on the abuse scandal, says the BBC’s Vatican Correspondent, who is travelling with the Pope.

Benedict said the Church has “a very deep need” to acknowledge that it must do penance for its sins and “accept purification”.

However, he added that forgiveness should not be a substitute for justice.

MSNBC portrayed the pope’s remarks saying that the scandal represents the greatest persecution of the church but didn’t mention the rest of the quote saying that its origin is from within, that is: the scandal.

I very much hope that Mika was not aware of the rest of the quote and is a question of a producer giving her incomplete information. If she was aware and she is not ashamed as a journalist she ought to be.

A friend of mine has just become my latest blogchild. She is a former SEPD teacher locally and blogs under the name The Carmelite.

As indicated by the name she will be writing on the Catholic Church and it’s teaching etc. She has taught courses on the Church at local parishes and at local community colleges and has been a guest speaker locally on Catholic Faith and doctrine.

You can find her first post on the search for God here. Stop by and say hello.