quod pro nobis traditum est

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In the news

Here are some interesting opinion pieces on current events. The first one is about the "prosperity gospel" and its relationship to the economy. The second one is about the appeal of the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

St. Clement of Rome

St. Clement of Rome, or Pope Clement I, was a Pope and Martyr of the 1st century, whose feast was yesterday, November 23. He is listed as the first Apostolic Father of the early Church. His writing to the church at Corinth, 1 Clement (c. 96), demonstrates the apostolic authority of presbyters (elders). He also defends the appointment of bishops and deacons as supported in Scripture.

Understanding Critical Scholarship

Listen carefully:

Monday, November 23, 2009

A visible enemy and an invisible faith?

The Gospel lessons during the last Sundays of the Church Year and the season of Advent stress, among other things, being alert or watching and praying. One teaching that comes up in the readings at this time is that of the Anti-Christ.

One obvious understanding of the Anti-Christ is his role "against" Christ (see 1 Jn. 2:18-25, 4:1-4). There are many other passages that could be cited on this teaching but for purposes here John refers to a denial of Jesus coming in the flesh. A denial of Jesus coming "in the flesh" is of the anti-Christ.

In looking at what church fathers have said concerning Matthew 24:15ff other interesting understandings of the Anti-Christ come out. For example, he is referred to as "false word."

Historically, the Anti-Christ is located in a visible church by those who teach that the true church is invisible. If it is taught that the church is only invisible this is debatable, especially since faith accepts that Jesus came in the flesh. Another difficulty with an invisible church understanding is that Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), who is invisible, as being attached to visible means. It may be argued that the same could be said of the Anti-Christ. While it is easy to attach the Anti-Christ to one office, location or place this is not as easy to defend.

Returning to the earlier theme of being alert or watching and praying one must consider that, as Christ is a unity of both human and divine natures so His Church is both invisible and visible. The Anti-Christ, likewise, works against Christ, His Gospel and His Church in both visible and invisible ways.

If we are to be alert then it is clear that we question attempts to place the Anti-Christ in only one place or Church when he could be active prowling around in our own back-yard.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last Sunday of the Church Year

"So we must live by the words of the Lord and support that apostolic ministry of the Church wherever it exists . . . “Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.” Holy Church remains for He gathers us even on this Lord’s Day around His Body at the altar and we are made one with the saints, the martyrs and all the company of heaven. As His words will not pass away, so will His Church continue. Amen."

(Last Sunday of the Church Year, Matthew 24:15-35)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dogmatic Pragmatism

Eleanore Roosevelt is quoted as saying, "Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss events, great minds discuss ideas." This quote could be applied also to the study of theology.

For years I have tried to understand trends within the Church that work against the study of theology, especially by her pastors. One might think that if there was a haven somewhere for the study of theology it would be in the Church(?) Pastors need to have at least the smallest interest in it even when they do not always have the time for it. Forces today not only downplay theology but work actively against such reflection and study. Without arriving at a solution to this ongoing tension or balance in the life of pastors and the Church it seems that the best way to summarize such opposition to theology and its study is "dogmatic pragmatism." This is one time when the use of the word "dogma" may clearly be appreciated in a negative light.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The ends of the world

"In olden time Jacob beheld a ladder erected reaching to heaven, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. But now, having been made man for man's sake, He who is the Friend of man has crushed with the foot of His divinity him who is the enemy of man, and has borne up the man with the hand of His Christhood, and has made the trackless ether to be trodden by the feet of man. Then the angels were ascending and descending; but now the Angel of the great counsel neither ascends nor descends: for whence or where shall He change His position, who is present everywhere, and fills all things, and holds in His hand the ends of the world?" (

- St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (c. 213 - c. 270), the Wonder Worker, Bishop of Neocaesarea

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Liturgical Correctness

Originally posted at BOC Online:

Often the use of "liturgical correctness" in describing how a congregation practices worship is a criticism. What really is "liturgical correctness"? Such terminology is often left to perception since there are a variety of liturgical practices even among those who otherwise are quite close in their practice of the liturgy. This means that a charge of "liturgical correctness" in the negative sense may be raised based on a perception toward one practice or many practices or on a variety of factors.

Such a charge also undermines any attempts at catechesis or instruction in the meaning of, or theological basis for, a practice or practices. Thus what is given in support of the faith and in passing on the faith in the liturgy may be seen in the opposite light, that is, as something which is actually opposed to the faith.

When one is charged with "liturgical correctness" it is best not to take personal offense. The traditional practice is that of the Church. This is the real target of the charge. While there is always the possibility of misunderstanding in liturgical matters the charge of "liturgical correctness" is really not an acceptable charge. Rather than question the motives of those who make such a charge it is best to take the opportunity to show how the traditional liturgy leads one to worship that is humble, orderly and reverent of the Holy Trinity in Christ Jesus our Lord. The liturgy is the connection point between God and His people, the Body of Christ. Liturgical tradition focuses on Word and Sacrament, which are gifts of God for the forgiveness of sins, and which lead people away from focus on our own personal likes and dislikes to a right focus on Who is truly acting correctly toward us in the holy liturgy of the Church.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Feast of All Saints

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival-day in honour of all the Saints: at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice, and give praise to the Son of God.