Good stuff

From the Washington Post

Pope Benedict and the leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church pledged on Saturday to work for peace in the Middle East, saying they feared a widening crisis with “disastrous consequences.”

In a joint declaration following a visit to the Vatican by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, the two leaders said they would “intensify the quest for full unity among all Christians.”

Chrysostomos II said earlier this week he would be willing to mediate to try to arrange a meeting between the Pope and the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, Alexiy II, which would be the first meeting between a Pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch.

Despite “centuries old divisions, diverging roads and … the hard work of closing painful wounds, the Lord has never ceased to guide our steps on the path toward unity and reconciliation,” the Pope said.

Chrysostomos called on the European Union to lodge a formal complaint against Turkey to halt the destruction of Orthodox churches in the Turkish part of Cyprus.

He said Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi had promised to raise the issue at the next meeting of EU leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had also given him her full support.

In their joint statement Chrysostomos and Pope Benedict called for greater respect for the environment and expressed “serious concern” about bioethical issues, saying that certain genetic techniques could end up “damaging the dignity of man.”

The Pope: Necessary for Unity (II)

I am a scriptural Christian and have been since I was “saved” in 1979. I love the Scriptures, and pray regularly that my life might be in accord with all that they mandate.

With which I would draw attention to person of Peter in the Scriptures.

He is always mentioned when the disciples are listed, whether in groups of 3 or 12 (11 after Judas), and always mentioned first. He is mentioned more often than all of the other apostles.

He is given a new name, a powerful one, one which is used at times for God Himself in the OT, “Thou art Peter (Kephas or rock). God gave others new names, but one is especially reminded of Abram becoming Abraham and Sarai becoming Sarah as the first Covenenant is prepared.

Like many f the prophets, Peter knows of his own unworthiness to the call, Depart from me for I am a sinful man”

Three times Christ singles out Peter as the leader of the Church: “You are rock and on this rock I will build my church,” Strengthen the brethren,” and “Feed my sheep.”

 

After the Resurrection and the Ascension nothing changes. It is Peter who presides at the selection of Matthias to replace Judas. It is Peter who holds the inauguaral sermon in the new-born Church in Acts 2. It is Peter who presides at the first ecumencial council in Act 15 (with appropritate deference to the local bishop, James).

Did Jesus make these dramatic statements about Peter in Matthew 16 and give him these authorities just for Peter’s lifetime? It’s possible, but it isn’t the only possibility, nor even the most plausible. Did he single Peter out with a new name just to commission him like any other Apostle, or was he establishing an office of Shepherd for the Church, the People of the New Covenant?

Have those of you who reject the papacy thought it through scripturally? Does it make sense for Christ to give someone keys to a kingdom for only one generation? If the first centruy Church needed someone to be called rock, upon whom the Church would be bulit, then every generation needs the same/.

All of the other interpretations fly in the face of the testimony of the Scriptures. Where the apostles are gathered around Peter, there is the center, on earth of the Church. 1


1 I know there are other interpetations. Some say the mantle of authority was passed to Paul. I do not buy it. It makes all that happens in the gospels fade away as if Jesus, having made some sort of mistake investing his three years with Peter and the disciples then finally turns to someone from outside their three-year experience, someone he could rely on, so to speak. Paul is the author of the epistles, but he was not given keys, nor a new name (not by God), nor was he commissioned as the universal pastor of the Church.

 

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My College Band in Europe


We just got back from a trip to Europe. Played concerts in in Innsbruck, Laupheim, Hamburg, Muenter, Essen, Dresden, Berlin and closed at, of all places, Martin Luther’s Church in Wittenberg. The students were totally cool with each other, with the challenges of the trip, and especially with the music. The Germans and Austrians were extremely hospitable, friendly and helpful. I am a lucky man to know such people.

Here we are in the magnificent Dresdner Kreuzkirche.

kreuzkirche.jpg

We provided music for a mass in “The Most Beautiful Village Church in the World” in Steinhausen, Father Paul was enthusiatic about our singing the mass parts in Latin.  We also performed arrangelments for winds of the Randall Thompson Alleluia, the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium and the Schubert Ave Maria. I chanted the psalm in German and and intoned the chanted Alleluia.

The centerpiece of the Church is the pieta on the altar. The whole church is bulit around it.

steinhausen-pieta1.jpg

The Pope: Necessary for Unity

In all the discussion about Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. I offer this chapter from my book, which should be published soon

The Pope

Feel free to critique!

To Blog Or Not To Blog

I am beginning to understand that a good blog is one which is regularly attended to. Daily entries should not be too long and there should be ample referencing to other sources. Hmm . . . do I want to be a real blogger, one who spends at least an hour a day reading others, writing my own, etc.?

Up until now that has not been my approach.

I will be making up my mind as the summer proceeds.

Why be a Marian Christian? (in other words, why be Catholic?)

A truly Catholic Christian is a Marian Christian; a believer in the Trinity of Father Son and Holy Spirit who stands in relationship to the great cloud of witnesses, the Body of Christ in heaven and on earth, and thus also in relationship to Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. In short, the Marian Christian is one who imitates Christ not only in prayerfully submitting his life to God, not only in denying himself and daily taking up his cross, not only in loving God with all of his heart, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself, but also in loving Mary as Christ does.

One mark of a Marian Christian is a deep understanding of the virtue of purity. In recent years the ideal of purity, especially sexual purity, has been more publicly defamed than ever before. Not only are young people bombarded by a culture that promises the reward of sexual fulfillment without the responsibility of child-bearing, but countless well-funded pro-gay lobbies have raised their voices to establish a climate in which any voice but theirs will be tagged as hateful, bigoted, and thus, immoral and finally illegal. With each victory in the press and in the courts they wax bolder and more aggressive.

As the sexual confusion of the western world threatens to spiral out of control, no one has made a more cogent case for the traditional Christian view of the sanctity of marriage than John Paul II in his Theology of the Body. He builds his case on a strong philosophical foundation as he approaches the biblical texts with both freshness and reverence. His is a remarkable point of view, like all things genuinely Catholic, forever young and new, yet always ancient and old.

A marked decay is observable in Protestant teaching in this area. At my college I am surrounded by colleagues who are convinced Christians must support gay rights. And I observe an increase in confusion and a sort of amorphous helplessness amongst my more conservative Protestant friends.

I would submit that one of the reasons that Marian Christians understand these issues best (along with the other issues related to human sexuality-abortion, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, artificial birth control, etc) is precisely because they are Marian. There is something about taking her out of the picture, as Protestants do, that leaves only two options: cave in or be angry.

The Marian Catholic has more spiritual resources and a deeper understanding of what purity means. Thus, the Marian Christian is better at being pro-life without being angry. I think there are good reasons for this and suggest that the non-Marian Christian should think about them.

Perhaps it’s time to think about coming home.